Season over for Blades’ captain . . . Regina, Saskatoon combine to bid on 2023 WJC . . . Blazers clinch B.C. flag

TurnSignals


The Saskatoon Blades announced on Wednesday that D Aidan De La SaskatoonGorgendiere, their 19-year-old captain, won’t play again this season. He will be undergoing surgery to repair an undisclosed injury. . . . “Aidan has been battling through an ailment for most of the season and, over the weekend, it finally reached a point where surgery was the only option for him,” Colin Priestner, the Blades’ president and general manager, said in a statement. “We will miss his leadership and it certainly is difficult news given how much he means to our team on and off the ice.” . . . De La Gorgendiere is the Blades’ highest-scoring defenceman, with 45 points, including 41 assists, in 54 games. His 45 points are the fourth-highest on the team. . . . F Tristen Robins, 20, wore the captain’s ‘C’ for the first time on Wednesday night as the Blades dropped a 3-2 decision to the Pats in Regina.



Yes, it’s true. The virus reared its ugly head in the NHL again on Wednesday. The Winnipeg Jets were without F Kyle Connor and D Nate Schmidt when they met the Sabres in Buffalo last night after both players tested positive earlier in the day. . . . Connor hadn’t previously tested positive, while Schmidt missed time with COVID-19 last season while with the Vancouver Canucks. . . . Both players are expected to miss at least three games. Considering that Connor leads the Jets with a career-high 82 points, including 41 goals, this is a serious blow to a team that is chasing a playoff spot. . . . The Jets beat the Sabres, 3-2 in a shootout.


The 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship was to have been held in IIHFNovosibirsk and Omsk, Russia, but those plans were scrubbed after the dictator chose to attack Ukraine. There have been reports that the IIHF has asked Canada to play host, even though the 2022 tournament is to be held in Edmonton in August. One option for Canada is for Ottawa and Quebec City to share hosting duties, while organizations in Regina and Saskatoon are preparing a joint bid. . . . From a press release issued by Tourism Regina and Tourism Saskatoon: “This is an exciting opportunity to host the IIHF World Junior Championships throughout Saskatchewan with potential games being played in municipalities like Humboldt, Swift Current, Prince Albert and Moose Jaw.”


Doctor


Perry Bergson covers the Brandon Wheat Kings for the Brandon Sun . . .


WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:

In Regina, the Pats scored the game’s first three goals and held on for a 3-2 Reginavictory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . D Ryker Evans’ 14th goal, on a PP at 1:31 of the third period, stood up as the winner. . . . The Blades had stopped Regina F Connor Bedard’s 21-game streak on Friday in Saskatoon and held him to one assist last night. . . . The Blades won the season series, 5-1-0. . . . The Pats (24-31-5) are five points from the Eastern Conference’s last playoff spot. . . . The Blades (34-24-4) are fifth, three points behind the Moose Jaw Warriors, with each team having six games remaining. . . .

C Carson Latimer scored two first-period goals, the second via the PP, to lead PrinceAlbertthe Raiders to a 2-1 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings in Prince Albert. . . . Latimer, who has 16 goals, struck at 14:27 and 16:33. . . . C Charlie Elick, the third overall selection in the WHL’s December draft, scored his first goal for Brandon. . . . The Raiders, who got 34 saves from G Chaika Tikhon, had lost their previous four games. . . . Prince Albert (25-32-5) now are within three points of eighth place but have only six games left. . . . The Wheat Kings (30-25-5) appear headed to a sixth-place finish in the conference. . . .

In Calgary, the Hitmen opened up a 2-0 first-period lead and went on to beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 3-2. . . . F Cael Zimmerman’s 12th goal, at 19:57 of the first period, gave the Hitmen a 3-1 lead. . . . Calgary (23-31-8) is 10th, four points from a playoff spot with six games left. . . . The Tigers (11-46-4) won’t be in the playoffs. . . .

F Raphael Pelletier broke a 4-4 tie at 5:34 of the third period and later added an SwiftCurrentempty-netter as the visiting Swift Current Broncos beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 6-4. . . . Pelletier, who also had an assist, now has 19 goals. He went into this season with six goals and nine assists in 69 career regular-season games. This season, he now has 46 points in 60 games. . . . The Broncos (26-31-7) are seventh, one point ahead of eighth-place Lethbridge (27-30-4), which is three points ahead of Prince Albert. . . .

The host Kamloops Blazers scored three goals early in the first period en route Kamloopsto a 8-2 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Blazers, who led 6-0 before the second period was four minutes old, clinched first place in the B.C. Division. . . . F Logan Stankoven led the Blazers with two goals, giving him 40, and two assists. . . . Stankoven, a Kamloopsian who turned 19 on Feb. 26, has 91 points in 53 games. He leads the WHL in points per game — 1.72. F Ridley Greig of the Brandon Wheat Kings is second, at 1.62. . . . F Koehn Ziemmer scored his 30th goal of the season for the Cougars. He is the first Prince George freshman to get there since F Brett Connolly (2008-09). . . . Kamloops has had its two largest announced crowds of the season for its last two games — 4,969 for a 6-0 victory over the Kelowna Rockets on Friday and 4,745 last night. . . . With two games left in the season series, the Blazers hold an 8-2-0 edge; the Cougars are 2-7-1. . . . Kamloops (45-15-2) is two points behind the Western Conference-leading Everett Silvertips (43-10-8), who hold a game in hand.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Terry McFaul has been named the Kelowna Rockets’ director of player personnel. McFaul has been on the Rockets’ scouting staff for 31 years. He was named head scout on April 23, 2020. . . . If you like playoff OT, you should have been in Nelson, B.C., on Tuesday night for the Kootenay International Hockey League game. The Revelstoke Grizzlies and the Leafs got into the third OT period before the visitors got a goal from D Will McPhee at 15:04 for a 4-3 victory. Revelstoke G Brandon Weare stopped 49 shots, 12 more than Dylan Marshall of the Leafs. The Grizzlies lead the best-of-seven series, 3-1, with Game 5 in Revelstoke tonight.


Gas


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.


Amazon

Visiting the time capsule and discovering the time Jim Harrison was in goal for the Estevan Bruins and a whole lot more . . .


It is time to let your imagination run wild for a few minutes. OK?

Just imagine that NHL teams only carried one goaltender. And let’s imagine that one team’s goaltender was injured during a pre-game warmup, played the first two periods, but then couldn’t continue.

If that team was the Pittsburgh Penguins, would Sidney Crosby go in goal for the third period? If it was the Edmonton Oilers, would it be Connor McDavid?

Because that’s exactly what happened with the Estevan Bruins during a game in 1967-68, the second season of what is now the WHL.

I had never heard this story from the annals of WHL history until stumbling on it while doing some research on Saturday.

I was looking for a goaltender, any goaltender, who might have started his WHL career by going 20-plus games without a regulation-time loss.

The Bruins — Scotty Munro was the general manager and Ernie (Punch) McLean the coach — had opened the 1967-68 season with a 22-game winning streak, so I started there.

Gord Kopp was Estevan’s goaltender — teams only carried one goaltender — so he had opened the season with 22 straight victories.

GordKopp
Gord Kopp, during a brief stint with the EHL’s Charlotte Checkers.

Unfortunately, WHL statistics from the early seasons are embarrassingly scarce. So I was relying on newspapers.com where a subscriber is able to access a whole lot of newspapers, including the Brandon Sun, Edmonton Journal and Regina Leader-Post.

Through these newspapers, I was able to ascertain that the Bruins won their 22nd straight game on Dec. 10, 1967, beating the host Swift Current Broncos, 9-6.

However, Kopp was injured in the warmup, suffering a broken nose and a bad facial cut. I think it’s safe to assume that Kopp took a puck to the face. I don’t know whether he wore a mask with the Bruins, although I did find a photo of him wearing one of those form-fitting Fibreglas masks from a time in his brief minor pro career.

Anyway, he played the first two periods in Swift Current before apparently deciding that he couldn’t continue.

This is where things get interesting because it was F Jim Harrison, perhaps the Bruins’ best player, who donned the pads and played the third period. Not only that, but Harrison had scored three goals through 40 minutes. While I wasn’t able to find out how many saves he made in the third, the Bruins did hold period leads of 5-3 and 7-3. So the Broncos outscored the visitors 3-2 with Harrison in goal.

(Harrison finished that season with 75 points, including 32 goals, in 46 games. F Gregg Sheppard led the team with 81 points, 35 of them goals, in 58 games.)

But when is the last time a WHL player — or any junior player for that matter — had a hat trick and played goal in the same game?

Still, the Bruins came out of that game boasting a 22-0-0 record.

And then came Dec. 12, 1967, and a game in Saskatoon against the Blades.

“You have to concede the Bruins win No. 23 tonight when they take on the Blades in Saskatoon,” wrote Ron Campbell in that day’s Regina Leader-Post.

With Kopp unavailable, the Bruins brought in Ed Dyck, who had turned 17 on Oct. 29, from the junior B North Battleford Beaver-Bruins. With Dyck in goal, the Bruins dropped a 4-3 decision to the Blades before 1,410 fans.

Estevan took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from Harrison and D Dale Hoganson, but F Orest Kindrachuk got the Blades to within one before the period ended. F Ron Fairbrother pulled Saskatoon into a 2-2 tie with the only goal of the second period, then gave his guys a 3-2 lead at 5:46 of the third.

F Greg Polis scored for Estevan at 6:18, only to have F Jim Nicholls score what proved to be the winner, at 10:59, as the Blades improved to 7-12-3.

“Those Blades played a whale of game,” Munro told Jack Cook of the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. “We were bound to lose one eventually, and I’m glad we didn’t give it away. Blades were good enough to take it tonight.”

BTW, Cook reported that “there was no shortage of professional scouts at the game with five NHL clubs represented by nine men . . . including Dennis Ball, Danny Summers, Lorne Davis, Metro Prystai, Johnny Walker, Bud Quinn and Rudy Migay.”)

Cook also wrote: “Young Dyck, playing in his first junior A game, was remarkably calm and had little chance on the four shots that beat him.”

Dyck played four straight games with the Bruins. He beat the Oil Kings, 5-3, in Edmonton on Dec. 13, then dropped a 2-1 decision to the Buffaloes in Calgary the next night. (The Buffaloes had been 0-17-2 in their previous 19 outings.) On Dec. 16, Dyck beat the visiting Buffaloes, 7-4.

Dyck would go on to a couple of stellar seasons with the Calgary Centennials, and would spend three seasons in the NHL and one in the WHA.

Kopp returned for a Dec. 17 game against the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings, and stopped 23 shots in a 5-0 victory for his 23rd straight triumph.

However, Kopp’s run ended four nights later with a 4-1 loss in Brandon. The Wheat Kings outshot the Bruins, 28-20 in that one, as Brandon head coach Elliott Chorley chose to use only six forwards and four defencemen for most of the game. Yes, it was a different game in those days.

Chorley had Larry Romanchych between Jack Wells and Bob Young, although Young was injured early on and Gerald Canart slid into that spot. The other forward unit featured Jack Borotsik between Ray Brownlee and Bob Clyne, who scored twice. The defence pairings had Bill Mikkelson with Mark Kennedy, and Jack Criel with Jim Wilton.

At that point, the Bruins were 25-3, with Kopp at 23-1 and Dyck at 2-2.

In the end, however, it turned out that Kopp didn’t start his WHL career in 1967-68. As I learned with more digging, Kopp played some in 1966-67 when Prince George native Pete Neukomm was the Bruins’ starter. (Kopp actually lost his final appearance of 1966-67, 3-2, to the visiting Regina Pats.)

All told, Kopp got into 103 games with Estevan over the 1967-68 (55) and 1968-69 (48) seasons. In 1967-68, he played in 55 of the team’s 60 regular-season games, with a 2.76 GAA, .902 save percentage and six shutouts. He was 3.33 and .900 without a shutout in 1968-69. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any statistics from 1966-67.

——

All of this was necessary because the WHL wasn’t able to confirm whether G WinnipegIceDaniel Hauser of the Winnipeg Ice had set a record or was near a record when he went into Saturday’s game in Saskatoon with a career mark of 22-0-2.

Hauser, who turned 18 on Jan. 29, was 7-0-1 with Winnipeg in the development season of 2021. This season, he was 13-0-1 before the Blades beat the Ice, 7-2, on Saturday night.

It would seem that Hauser does indeed hold the record for longest unbeaten streak by a goaltender to begin his WHL career, at 22-0-2. Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun pointed out that Scott Olson, a native of Bloomington, Minn., who spent parts of three seasons (1977-80) with the Wheat Kings, started his career on a 15-0-3 run. We will assume, unless we hear differently, that Olson held the record before Hauser’s arrival.

The 5-foot-11, 160-pound Hauser, from Chestermere, Alta., was a sixth-round selection by Winnipeg in the WHL’s 2019 draft.

——

When you go down a rabbit hole like I did in chasing Gord Kopp and the Estevan Bruins, you stumble on things like this . . .

The Bruins beat the visiting Weyburn Red Wings, 5-1, for their 20th straight victory on Dec. 5. The next day, The Leader-Post reported: “The Bruins moved one step closer to the all-time junior hockey win streak mark set at 25 by the now-defunct Portage Terriers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in 1942.”

Of course, the Bruins didn’t quite get there.


glass


Tweet of the week — Sunaya Sapurji (@sunayas), after Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers repeated the nonsense about the validity of U.S. President Joe Biden’s election victory in a Friday interview with ESPN: “Has anyone gone from ‘He could host Jeopardy!’ to ‘Legit horse paste conspiracy loon’ faster than Aaron Rodgers!?!”


John Stockton, the NBA Hall of Fame guard who starred at Gonzaga, has had his season tickets suspended by the school because he refuses to wear a mask at men’s basketball games. In an interview, Stockton, a devout anti-vaxxer, told Theo Lawson of the Spokane Spokesman-Review: “I think it’s highly recorded now, there’s 150 I believe now, it’s over 100 professional athletes dead — professional athletes — the prime of their life, dropping dead that are vaccinated, right on the pitch, right on the field, right on the court.” . . . Lawson also wrote: “During the interview, Stockton asserted that more than 100 professional athletes have died of vaccination. He also said tens of thousands of people – perhaps millions – have died from vaccines.” . . . Yes, we are in this for a long time yet.


Ducks


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Robot umpires — or ABS, the Automated Ball and Strike System — will be used in Triple-A games this season, Major League Baseball announced. So now players will be subjected to a whole different kind of annoying robocalls.”

——

A reminder from Perry: “Only 22 days till pitchers and catchers don’t report.”


The Fredonia State Blue Devils are an NCAA Division III team that plays out of the State University of New York in Fredonia. . . . And here’s a goalie goal from the Blue Devils’ Logan Dyck, a 22-year-old from Calgary . . .


Headline at fark.com: Seahawks uninstall Norton.



Fishing


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.


Abducted

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after some uninspiring NFL playoff games . . .

Scattershooting2

Shortbread
Do you know what this is? The last two shortbread cookies are on the verge of disappearing, signalling the end of another festive season in our home. Yes, it is one of the saddest pictures every year. And, yes, they tasted mighty good.

Think about taking two minutes out of your busy day to watch this. It will help you understand how a whole lot of people are feeling at this point of this seemingly never-ending pandemic . . .


The way I figure it, there was a WHL record set in Portland on Sunday night as Portlandthe Winterhawks erased a 2-0 deficit and beat the Kamloops Blazers, 5-2. . . . Four of the coaches — two with each team — total 1,875 regular-season victories. . . . Don Hay, Portland’s associate coach, holds the WHL career record, of course, having put up 750 victories. . . . Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, is No. 10, at 472. . . . Kamloops1Mike Johnston, Portland’s vice-president, GM and head coach, has 432, good for 16th spot. . . . Mark Holick, the Blazers’ associate coach, has 221 victories to his credit. . . . Understand that those numbers all are unofficial as we await a new WHL Official Guide and Record Book, but that is a whole lot of victories signifying that those men have been behind WHL benches for a whole lot of games. . . . Oh, the stories they can tell!


It was late Friday night — early Saturday morning further east of here — when there was some interesting discourse on Twitter, featuring Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) and Taylor Rocca (@taylorrocca).

Brandow is a stats guy who posts interesting facts and numbers from every WHLmajor junior hockey game; Rocca is the WHL’s director of communications.

Brandow, in the course of posting tidbits after Friday night’s WHL games, wondered about the fact the WHL hasn’t made available an updated Official Guide and Record Book since the 2019-20 season.

Rocca’s responses provide some insight into the workings of the WHL’s Calgary office during this pandemic:

“Contrary to popular belief, we do not have a staff member solely dedicated to media guide/stats. We’re a small office desperately working to simply keep junior hockey on the ice, players healthy, etc. Because, you know, we’re into Year 2 of a global pandemic. . . .

“I’m not trying to fight. Just trying to provide some context. In the case of our office, specifically, we experience widespread layoffs and had LITERALLY one full-time Communications staff member for over a year who was responsible for . . .

“Web/social content, PR/media relations (people have had some questions), mobile app mgmt, dev consult/admin/launch of new streaming service, internal/external comms/Club support, COVID test results processing, etc. I’m sure I’m missing plenty of other time-consuming tasks. . . .

“Point I’m trying to make is most people don’t understand the incredible challenge it has been for small staffs to keep these leagues running. Speaking for myself, I’ve worked nothing short of 100+ hours a week, almost every single week since March 2020. . . .

“I’m not one to speak out or be overly vocal, especially on social media.

But a lot of people in junior hockey are beyond burnt out. They’re doing the best they can every day to show up & make sure the hockey gets delivered. That is what needs to happen first. For the players. . . .

“People work in jr hockey because they love the game. It’s not for the pay. When we’re frustrated about a stream that errors, or a media guide that’s later than ideal, we need to remember there are hard-working people doing their best to survive & meet beyond high demands. . . .

“Just remember: There are real people w/ real emotions, who have been working tirelessly to keep these leagues alive & navigate a world that no one has a blueprint for. And sometimes, keeping the players/staff healthy & games going is all that’s possible from one day to the next.”

It all ended on a positive note as Brandow wrote: “Fair’s fair.  I greatly appreciate the explanation and once again, I apologize for the outburst.”

Rocca closed with: “It’s all good, Geoffrey. The media guide is on the list. It will get done. All I ask for is your patience & understanding. Appreciate the time & effort you put into tracking stats across the entire CHL. I check in on them every single game night & I’m always impressed.”

While you aren’t able to download a new WHL Guide, the OHL’s new Media and Information Guide (aka record book) is available right here, while the QMJHL’s updated Media Guide, which includes a records section, is right here.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS — While the OHL is playing without fans in most of its buildings, the QMJHL has decided that it won’t resume its schedule until at least Feb. 1. It had hoped to start up again during the week of Jan. 17, but government-imposed restrictions aren’t likely to be lifted before then. . . . The CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game that was to have been held in Kitchener, Ont., on Feb. 2, has been postponed. Officials hope to reschedule it for some point during this season. . . . Congrats to referee Brett Iverson, who was presented with a WHL Milestone Award prior to Saturday’s game in Langley, B.C. Iverson has been working WHL games since 2008-09 and has been on the ice for more than 650 regular-season games. He also has done four WHL finals and two Memorial Cup tournaments. . . . If you were watching the Prince George Cougars and Vancouver play in Langley, B.C., on Friday night, you may have seen Giants F Ty Thorpe shove a linesman at 19:30 of the second period. Somehow, he escaped with only a misconduct penalty, but he missed Saturday’s rematch after the WHL hit him with a one-game suspension. . . . The Cougars swept the two games from the host Giants, leading some fans to wonder whether Vancouver will be buying or selling as the trade deadline arrives today (Monday).



Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “You can start marking time until the guy who runs Tennis Australia, Craig Tiley, walks the plank for his role in this fiasco with Novak Djokovic. I still love Djokovic trying to blame the mistakes on his paperwork on his agent. . . . Got it. . . . Dog ate my visa.”

——

Lupica, again: “It’s going to be fun, now that ESPN has hired David Cone, to go back to watching Sunday Night Baseball with the sound on.”


Wrench


In the SJHL, the Humboldt Broncos beat the host Melfort Mustangs, 4-3 in OT, sjhlon Friday night. No, wait a minute. Not so fast. . . . That was thought to be the final score until the Mustangs protested over what they felt was an officiating error at 10:23 of the third period. The Mustangs won the protest, so the teams replayed the last 9:37 of the third period prior to Saturday night’s game in Humboldt. . . . On Friday, the Broncos scored a 5-on-3 goal at 10:23 to get to within 3-2, at which point there was confusion over whether anyone should be allowed out of the penalty box. When no one was allowed out, Humboldt scored again another PP goal, then thought it had won it in OT. . . . When play resumed Saturday night, Melfort stretched that 3-2 lead to a 5-2 victory. . . . Humboldt then won the regularly scheduled game, 6-4. . . . There is a complete explanation right here.


There was a time, before the birth of the Toronto Blue Jays, when a lot of Canadian baseball fans got their fix through Dave Van Horne, the voice of the Montreal Expos. Van Horne, who has been calling Miami Marlins’ games for the past 21 years, has chosen to retire. It seems the Marlins cut his schedule back to 54 games last season and wanted him to do fewer than 20 games in 2022. In speaking with Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Van Horne, 82, took the high road, saying: “After they made the last offer to have me come back in some role in 2022 . . . less than 20 games, I could not do it. I said I’m a baseball play-by-play broadcaster. I’m not one who makes guests appearances and works on recorded interviews. . . . I’m not upset about it. I’ve thought about it during last season. I thought this could very well be it for me. I’m comfortable with the decision I’ve made. Life goes on. I have, in effect, retired. I’m living on my pensions. I have no plans to pursue anything else. I will not pursue another baseball broadcast position.” . . . Jackson’s story is right here.


Antlers


The NFL’s regular season ended on Jan. 9 and the next day, as is the norm, featured a number of teams firing their head coaches. “Since the NFL is all about sponsorships,” wondered Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Babe, “how long until we start hearing about ‘Black Monday, brought to you by LinkedIn?’ ”



There was a time when pro and college football teams didn’t each employ a couple of dozen assistant coaches and aides. As Steve Spurrier, a former head coach at Florida, explained to the Orlando Sentinel, the Gators back in the day had only one nutritionist on staff: “We had one, and it was me. I used to go around during meals and tell the players to stop eating just meat and potatoes and go put something green on their plates. That’s how we handled nutrition back then.”


Bacon


THINKING OUT LOUD — Isn’t there something strange about hockey leagues that hand out minor penalties for checking to the head, but allow two players to stand and repeatedly punch each other in the face? . . . The Florida Panthers, one of the NHL’s best and most-entertaining teams, were at home and on my TV set a couple of times in recent days, beating the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars in front of a whole lot of empty seats. Meanwhile, Gary Bettman’s NHL doesn’t include a team in Quebec City, which has an arena and a huge hunger for hockey. . . . The worst thing about live sports on TV in Canada? The same commercials over and over and over and over, again. The first time I saw the spot for Cavendish waffle fries, I thought I might like to try them. By the 10th or 12th time in a couple of hours, well, there’s not a chance. . . . Isn’t it absolutely bizarre the way the NFL allows non-playoff teams with coaching vacancies to interview coaches from playoff teams while their teams are involved in preparing for games? Two of the men on the Buffalo Bills’ coaching staff interviewed for head-coaching positions prior to their Saturday night playoff game. . . . Do you think that it will bother the NFL that it let two more teams into the playoffs and the first weekend of play wasn’t especially entertaining? You’re right. They’ll likely add two more to the bracket next season.


Remote


Perhaps you follow Kevin Shaw (@theblueliner) on Twitter or perhaps you have seen reference to a tweet or two of his on this site. When it comes to the history of the Regina Pats, he’s THE MAN. He often posts tweets involving Pats games from the 1960s and early ’70s, and chances are that the stories in those posts were written by Mal Isaac, then of the Regina Leader-Post. . . . Isaac, who went through two hearts, both of which were stronger and tougher than any hockey player, died on Saturday. He was 84. . . . Condolences to Vivian and family, and to Mal’s brother, Dale. Both brothers are in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.


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.


Kitchen

Flyers, host Habs play without fans . . . NHLer suggests season be paused . . . B.C. restrictions coming today?

Merry Christmas . . .


Welcome to the start of the college football bowl season. That’s right. It kicks off today with the Bahamas Bowl in Nassau. . . . It’s the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (6-6) against the Toledo Rockets (7-5), and it’s on TSN at 9 a.m. PT (noon ET). It’ll be the ESPN telecast with Matt Barrie calling the play, Booger McFarland doing the analysis, and Katie George on the sidelines. . . . The Rockets are 10-point faves and the over-under is 50.5. . . . Enjoy!


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“The tragedy is that we could have been long-since done with all this pandemic. If everyone masks, everyone gets vaccinated, the coronavirus has no place to go and it dies.

“Sports could have played a bigger role, but a few — too many — athletes decided they were stronger than COVID-19 and smarter than scientists.”


The Montreal Canadiens got past the visiting Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2 in a shootout, in the Bell Centre on Thursday night without any fans in attendance. CovidThe decision to play in an empty building was made late in the afternoon at the request of Quebec public health officials. . . . The Canadiens said they will have clarity regarding their next game — Saturday against the Boston Bruins — sometime this morning. . . . “We have obtained assurances that we will be able to welcome our fans to our January games at 50 per cent capacity.” . . .

The Nashville Predators put F Nick Cousins and assistant coach Dan Hinote into COVID-19 protocol on Thursday before beating the visiting Colorado Avalanche, 5-2. . . . The Predators had seven players and seven staff members in protocol. Hinote was to have run the bench last night, with head coach Dan Hynes and assistants Dan Lambert and Todd Richards also in protocol. Instead, they brought in head coach Karl Taylor and assistant Scott Ford from their AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. They were joined by assistant GM Scott Nichol. . . . The Avalanche was without G Darcy Kuemper and D Cole Makar, who went into protocol just prior to game time, as well as F Andre Burakovsky, F J.T. Compher and D Devon Toews, and ended up playing with 11 forwards and five defenceman. . . .

The Calgary Flames added two more players to the list on Thursday. At that point, they had 18 players, three coaches and eight support staff in protocol. The Flames also confirmed that the Omicron variant was present in some of the positive tests. . . . F Dillon Dube and D Oliver Kylington were the latest to join the list. That left only F Matthew Tkachuk, G Dan Vladar, F Blake Coleman, F Michael Stone, and F Mikael Backlund as roster players who hadn’t yet tested positive. . . . Calgary’s games have been postponed through Saturday. . . .

The Edmonton Oilers added F Devin Shore to the list where he joined head coach Dave Tippett and F Ryan McLeod. . . . Edmonton then went out and beat the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-2. . . .

The Carolina Hurricanes managed to arrange for a private plane to pick up F Sebastian Aho, F Seth Jarvis and a member of the training staff, who had been quarantining in Vancouver, and take them to Minneapolis. There, they pick up four players who were in isolation and then took everyone home to Raleigh. . . . The Hurricanes dressed 10 forwards and six defencemen for Thursday’s game against the visiting Detroit Red Wings, which they won, 5-3. . . .

The Boston Bruins placed F Anton Blidh, F Trent Frederic, G Jeremey Swayman and a staff member into protocol, where they joined F Patrice Bergeron, F Brad Marchand and F Craig Smith. . . . The Bruins dropped a 3-1 decision to the host New York Islanders last night. . . . If you watched the game on TV, did you get the feeling that Boston play-by-play voice Jack Edwards was unhappy about not being in the building? . . .

Before losing, 4-1, to the visiting Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, the Florida Panthers put five players into protocol — F Sam Bennett, D Aaron Ekblad, D Radko Gudas, F Ryan Lomberg, D Brandon Montour, F Frank Vatrano and F Carter Verhaege. . . . The Kings were without D Drew Doughty after he went into protocol earlier Thursday.


Contact


The virus has made its way to the OHL and the QMJHL.

The OHL’s Owen Sound Attack postponed a pair of weekend games “due to COVID protocols.” It seems that the Attack had one player test positive. . . . The Attack is the third OHL team to be forced to postpone games, after the Erie Otters, who had 13 positives, and Sudbury Wolves (12).

On top of all that, Kingston has been found to have the highest COVID-19 rate in Canada, so the OHL has postponed the Frontenacs’ two weekend games. They were to have entertained the Barrie Colts on Friday and visited the Oshawa Generals on Sunday. . . .

The QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs had a player come up positive. He was placed in isolation, while all other staff and players were tested twice, with all coming back negative. The situation is being closely monitored.


Adrian Dix, B.C.’s minister of health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s health officer, are scheduled to hold a news conference today at 1 p.m. PT. There is speculation that new restrictions could be coming, including a 50 per cent capacity limit to arenas, including NHL and WHL venues. . . . The Vancouver Canucks are scheduled to entertain the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. . . . The Kamloops Blazers and Victoria Royals are at home Friday night, with the Royals, Kelowna Rockets and Vancouver Giants to play home games on Saturday. . . . The Giants also have a home game scheduled for Sunday. . . . After Sunday, the WHL pauses for the Christmas break, not returning until Dec. 27.



If there aren’t any further developments before Sunday, QB Nick Mullens will start for the Cleveland Browns against the Las Vegas Raiders. That’s because Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum, who are ahead of him on the depth chart, are two of 20 Browns on the COVID-19 list. Both tested positive. Keenum was added on Thursday. . . .

Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) tweeted Thursday afternoon that “over 125 NFL players have been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list since Monday.” . . . The Los Angeles Rams added nine players on Thursday, including LB Von Miller, raising their total to 25. . . .

All three of the Chicago Bears’ co-ordinators are in COVID-19 protocol. Bill Lazor (offence), Sean Desai (defence) and Chris Tabor (special teams) took part in meetings remotely on Thursday. The Bears, who also have six players on the list, are to play host to the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night. . . .

The Seattle Seahawks, who got through the 2020 season without even one positive test, had two on Thursday as they put WR Tyler Lockett and RB Alex Collins on the list. . . .

The NFL issued a news release on Thursday, stating that it is upping its defence against COVID-19:

“Effective immediately, all clubs will implement preventative measures that have proven effective: masking regardless of vaccination status, remote or outdoor meetings, eliminating in-person meals, and no outside visitors while on team travel. We will continue to strongly encourage boosters shots as the most effective protection. Finally, and based on expert advice, we will adjust the return-to-participation requirements for those who have recovered from COVID-19. All of these changes are grounded in our data and science-backed approach, with safety our No. 1 goal for the entire NFL community.”


In the world of NCAA men’s basketball, the CBS Sports Classic Saturday game was to have featured the No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes and the No. 21 Kentucky Wildcats from Las Vegas. However, there were some positive tests among the Buckeyes and the game was cancelled. . . .

High school wrestling in Clark County, Wash., is on hold until at least Jan. 3. Micah Rice, the sports editor of The Columbian in Vancouver, Wash., reports that more than 80 COVID cases were traced to four tournaments that were held on Dec. 4. The events involved wrestlers from 13 counties.



Fourdollar



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.


Cavemen

Terrific series on Wheat Kings wraps up . . . Robison says “95 per cent” of WHL players, staff fully vaccinated . . . Virus loose in Pil Country?

Vacation

After posting this, I’m outta here for a bit.

I’m taking some time off to prepare for the fourth or fifth or sixth wave, or whatever it is, that now has its tentacles all around us.

Health officials in B.C. revealed 717 new positives on Friday — up from 513 on Thursday — which tells me that we are headed back to mandatory masking and more restrictions. For what? The third time? Fourth time? I actually have lost count.

How many times do we have to go through this before the people who make these decisions reach the conclusion that we can’t just keep doing this? Open . . . close . . . open . . . close . . . on with the mask . . . off with the mask . . . on with the mask . . . off with the mask . . .

Oh, and by the way, one of these days it may dawn on the decision-makers that recommendations don’t carry a whole lot of water with a number of people. Yes, it’s far past time to ditch the carrot and go to the stick . . . make it a big stick.

I don’t know who said it first — “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result” — but that someone surely had today’s society in mind. Because that is exactly what we keep doing. Over and over and over and over and over again.

I mean, really, are we any further ahead today than we were a year ago?

Of course we are, if only because there are a whole lot of people who are fully vaccinated. But B.C. is running more than 700 positives a day and Alberta is above 500. Alberta announced 582 positives on Friday, its third straight day above 500. Earlier in the day, the Alberta government backtracked on plans to lift most of its restrictions on Monday, saying that it will revisit things in six weeks.

What has become obvious is that the Delta variant is running the show now, and six weeks from now might not be much better, if at all, than what we are living with today.

While I’m away, get vaccinated, if you haven’t already, wear your mask when indoors and wash your hands . . . and stay safe.


If you haven’t already, you really should check out the 17-day series that Perry BrandonBergson put together for the Brandon Sun. It’s an oral history of the Brandon Wheat Kings’ 1978-79 season, the one in which they lost only five regular-season games, then went on to win the WHL championship before losing 2-1 in OT to the Peterborough Petes in the Memorial Cup final. That final game was to have been played in the Montreal Forum, but ended up in the arena in Verdun, Que., all of which is a story in itself. . . . Anyway, the gang at The Sun ran a whole lot of stories that appeared in the paper during that season, and Bergson interviewed almost every player who was on the Wheat Kings’ roster. Those interviews provide great insight into exactly what a WHL team goes through as it rides a bus through the grind of a championship season. . . . The series concludes in Saturday’s Sun, after which Bergson should take a bow.


Clubbing


Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, says that 95 per cent of his league’s players and team staff are fully vaccinated. He made that statement in an WHL2interview with Guy Flaming on The Pipeline Show.

At the same time, Robison said the WHL isn’t following the OHL and QMJHL in mandating vaccinations, although he admitted that may change.

“We have strongly recommended to our players, staff and hockey operations side to be fully vaccinated in time for training camp and start of the regular season,” Robison said. “We have not taken the position of mandating it yet. . . . Through education and discussions with players and staff we’re over 95 per cent currently vaccinated. We’re not sure we’ll need to take the mandated position.

“But, quite frankly, it’s in everyone’s best interest to be vaccinated in order to play in our league because of the cross-border travel with the U.S., and currently some restrictions that are in place in Manitoba for quarantine if you’re not vaccinated. I think it really speaks to the fact that everyone needs to be vaccinated; we’re hopeful we’ll be able to get to 100 per cent and we’ll deal with those circumstances where there are some exceptions along the way.”

The WHL’s 22 teams will be opening training camps on Sept. 1.

When Flaming asked why the WHL hasn’t mandated vaccinations, Robison replied:

“That’s something we are continuing to consider. We started out in the process (hoping) that the restrictions would be relaxed further. That hasn’t occurred so as a result of that we may have to take some further measures and mandate it. But at this particular stage we haven’t taken that big step.”

You are able to hear the complete interview right here, and you should know it covers a lot more than COVID-19.


Some headlines from Friday in WHL territory . . .

CBC News — British Columbia announced 717 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday — the highest daily case count since May 7 when the number was 722.

KIRO7 Seattle — COVID-stricken Oregon deploys National Guard to hospitals.

Daniel E. Slotnik, The New York Times — Oregon will deploy at least 500 National Guard troops to help its hospitals deal with a flood of coronavirus patients, as the state faces the largest wave of infections it has seen during the pandemic, the state’s governor said on Friday. . . . The governor, Kate Brown, said that hospitals were at risk of becoming overwhelmed, with 733 Oregonians hospitalized with severe cases of Covid-19, including 185 in intensive care. . . . The surge comes despite Oregon’s relatively high rate of vaccination, a fact that Ms. Brown noted in a videotaped address. “I know this is not the summer many of us envisioned with over 2.5 million Oregonians vaccinated against Covid-19,” Ms. Brown said. “The harsh and frustrating reality is that the Delta variant has changed everything.”


Salmon



The junior A Buffalo Jr. Sabres, who play in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, announced Friday that they won’t play in 2021-22 “due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on cross-border travel.” They also sat out whatever there was of the 2020-21 season. . . . If you’re in B.C., this makes one wonder about the immediate future of the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild and the junior B Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Neither the Wild nor the Braves played in their respective leagues in 2020-21.


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, was making a case one day this week for these being the Dog Days of August because, as he put it, “while we are sweltering in the heat and humidity, there is a dearth of juicy sporting attractions to take our minds off our discomfort.” . . . I was trying to find a way to disagree with him, but I gave it up after he wrote this: “Finally, to demonstrate what I mean by having a dearth of things to write about in these Dog Days of August, consider this headline from (Tuesday) at CBSSports.com in the world of college football — LSU’s live tiger mascot, Mike VII, is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”



Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, prior to Thursday’s Field of Dreams MLB game between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox in Dyersville, Iowa: “Wouldn’t it add a comforting realism if the White Sox players actually conspire with real gamblers to throw this game?”


Stretcher

——

CTV News Regina — The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is warning of an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the Pil Country section at Mosaic Stadium at the Roughriders game on August 6. The SHA said a person or persons attended the game while infectious with COVID-19, between the hours of 5:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Contact tracing is underway, however, the SHA added that the location of the case or cases in the Pil Country end zone makes contact tracing efforts difficult.

——

CBC News — The University of Saskatchewan announced Friday it expects all students, faculty and staff returning to campus this fall to be vaccinated against COVID-19, a move the U of S faculty association and student union have been calling for. (Note: The U of Saskatchewan was the first Canada West school to mandate vaccinations.)

——

Global News — The University of Regina is following the steps of other Canadian universities by requiring all faculty, staff and students to have both doses of COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 1.

——

A Friday afternoon tweet from Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada: “NHL sent a memo updating vaccination requirements to its teams: ‘Any person whose job, role, position or access entails or entitles them to have personal interactions (within 12 feet) with Club Hockey Operations personnel (including Players) are required to be Fully Vaccinated.’ ”

He added: “There are some limited exceptions — such as valet parking attendants. NHL/NHLPA protocols for players are not yet completed.”


Cure


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.


Scissors

NFL to be hard on unvaccinated . . . Bergson 17-parter on Wheaties arrives Monday . . . Ice inks two imports

Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall in the locker room of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills?

The NFL on Thursday informed its teams that it won’t be postponing any games that can’t be played for COVID-related reasons because there isn’t room in the 18-game schedule. The NFL also said that if a team can’t field a team because of virus spread within unvaccinated players, then that team will forfeit the game and be given a loss in the standings, something that could have rather expensive playoff implications.

As well, the NFL said the forfeiting team would be responsible for all expenses incurred by the other club and that players from both teams wouldn’t be paid for the missed game. The forfeiting team also could be disciplined by Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner.

That brings us to the Bills . . .

Here’s a tweet from OG Jonathan Feliciano, out of the U of Miami: “It’s been proven that COVID was made in lab. Fauci also a part of Pfizer . . . that’s why ppl don’t want to get the vaccine. Sad to come to the realization that you can not trust the government. #dontshootthemessenger.”

And then there was this one from WR Cole Beasley, an SMU product who has been spewing anti-vaxx stuff for a while now: “The players association is a joke. Call it something different. It’s not for the players. Everyone gives me the 98 percent of people who are vaccinated don’t get cover again. The odds of me getting in the NFL and playing for 10 years are lower than that and I’m here.”

Meanwhile, DE Jerry Hughes Jr., who played at TCU, came at it like this: “Sooo the top scientists in the entire world got together to figure out how to combat Covid-19. And when they came up with a vaccine, you question them. They are trying to save lives and you have doubt.”

Yes, these could be interesting times around the Bills, who are scheduled to open camp on Wednesday.

And then there was WR DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals, who fired off this tweet: “Never thought I would say this, But being put in a position to hurt my team because I don’t want to partake in the vaccine is making me question my future in the @NFL.”

Shortly after, Hopkins deleted that tweet, and added this one: “Btw I got about 9 more years in me, y’all have a good day”

That second tweet might have something to do with the fact that were Hopkins to leave the NFL, he would have to repay the Cardinals US$22 million in unearned signing bonus money.

BTW, last week The Associated Press reported that the NFL had four teams that didn’t have as many as 50 percent of their players vaccinated, although it now says those teams have surpassed that mark. USA TODAY reported that 78 percent of NFL players have had at least one shot.

Earlier, the NFL had told its teams that unvaccinated players will be subjected to daily testing; will have to wear masks inside the team facility; won’t be allowed to leave the team hotel while on the road other than for the game; and won’t be allowed to eat meals with teammates on the road or at the team facility.


Organizers announced 19 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday that have been linked to the Tokyo Olympics. With the Games about to get into high gear, the total since July 1 rests at 106. . . .

Remember that it was IOC president Thomas Bach who said a while back that there was “zero risk” of there being any spread because of these Games. . . .

Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle, who is in Tokyo: “As the circus gets under way, the citizens of Tokyo are going about their business in this city, which is somewhat muted under a state of emergency. There are no visible protests, but the displeasure is clear. It has been measured by polls that show how opposed the public is to these Games. Perhaps the most damning development is that Toyota pulled all its Olympic-related advertising in the country. One of the most important corporations in Japan doesn’t want to give any implication of endorsing these COVID Games.”


Phil Hoad, at theguardian.com: “From Wednesday, showing either a health pass, or proof of a negative PCR test dated to within 48 hours, is obligatory in France for anyone wishing to access any cultural or leisure facilities with a capacity of more than 50 people. This includes cinemas, art galleries, libraries, museums, sports centres and work-related events. Cafes, restaurants and trains will fall under the measures at the beginning of August.

“The measures are part of President Macron’s push to reignite France’s flagging vaccination drive amid a fourth wave of the pandemic. With 18,000 cases reported in the 24 hours prior to 20 July, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal described the Delta variant-driven surge as ‘stratospheric’; the national week-on-week infection rate has jumped 125% to 86 per 100,000, well above the national alert threshold of 50.”

The New York Times: “Italy said it will require vaccination proof or a negative Covid test for many social activities, including indoor dining and attending shows, as debate grows over limits being placed on the unvaccinated. France made a similar announcement last week.”


If the 1978-79 Brandon Wheat Kings aren’t the greatest team in WHL history, Brandonthey certainly are in the discussion. Perry Bergson covers the Wheat Kings for the Brandon Sun and is about to unleash a 17-part series on that team, one that went 58-5-9 — the 9 representing ties (remember them?) — and earned 125 of a possible 144 regular-season points. . . . The Wheat Kings won the WHL title that season, but lost the Memorial Cup final in OT. . . . The series will include a capsule on each of the 104 games the team played that season. . . . Bergson, who finished the writing part on Wednesday at 6 a.m., will have a new feature each day as he looks at the 21 players and the late Dunc McCallum, who was the team’s coach. Bergson also has been into The Sun’s photo files and the series will include previously unpublished pics. . . . It all starts on Monday. Watch for it!


Murphy


As I do from time to time, I would like to point out that the cartoons that appear on this website are provided by Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon. . . . Thanks a bunch, Jack. . . . And if you haven’t already you should check out his rants at sportscurmudgeon.com. It’s well worth a daily visit.


The Winnipeg Ice has signed D Martin Bohm and D Maximilian Streule to WHL Winnipegcontracts. . . . Both were selected in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. . . . Bohm, 18, is from Czech Republic. From a news release: “Bohm played for Bili Tygri Liberec in the Czech U20 league where he scored three goals and added seven assists in eight games. He also spent time playing for HC Benatky nad Jizerou in the Czech2 league where he scored two goals in 17 games.  Bohm has represented the Czech Republic at the U16 and U18 levels.” . . . Streule, 17, is from Switzerland. He played last season with the GCK Lions in a U20-Elit league, putting up five goals and eight assists in 28 games.


Stabbing


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: Kris Mallette, the head coach of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, has been added as an assistant coach for Hockey Canada’s U-18 team’s summer development camp. He replaces Dennis Williams, the GM/head coach of the Everett Silvertips, who now is an assistant coach with the national junior team. . . . Carter Duffin has joined the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats as assistant general manager and assistant coach. He spent the past three seasons as the GM/head coach of the junior B Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. . . .

Kelly Buchberger, whose contract as the head coach of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans wasn’t renewed, has joined the Laval Rocket, the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, as an assistant coach. Buchberger, who spent three seasons with the Americans, signed a three-year deal with Laval. . . . The Americans haven’t yet introduced their next head coach. . . .

Daniel Renaud has signed on as the new head coach of the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes. Renaud was the Cataractes’ head coach for three seasons (2017-20) before moving on to become head coach of the Val-d’Or Foreurs. Jason Clarke, former GM/head coach of the Carleton Place Canadians of the junior A CCHL is joining Shawinigan as an assistant coach. . . Darryl Robinson has taken over as the director of scouting for the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles. He joined the Eagles’ scouting staff in 2020 after working with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs.


Stab

The summer of ’01: Where are the locusts? . . . SJHL keeping Chow in commish’s office . . . AJHL will look at 1-on-1 in exhibition OT

At 7:30 p.m., it was 43C in Kamloops. By 8:35, the temperature had retreated to 39C. We had hit our high at 5 p.m. — 46.4C. Hey, Jack, that’s 115.5F.

Environment Canada is calling for a high of 43C on Wednesday.

The overnight low was 24.6C at 5 a.m. You can’t even open windows and catch a fresh breeze. Our skylights are covered. The wall-to-wall windows on the east side of our kitchen are covered by vertical blinds with sheets over top of them. And still the A/C can’t keep up.

I should mention, too, that the South Thompson region, which includes Kamloops, is under a severe thunderstorm warning with the “potential for severe thunderstorms with very strong wind gusts, intense lightning and brief bursts of heavy rain.”

Did I mention there could be intense lightning?

Because the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy has issued a bulletin calling for smoky skies in the South Thompson region.

“The region is being impacted or is likely to be impacted by wildfire smoke over the next 24-48 hours,” reads a statement that was issued Tuesday at 2:49 p.m.

Yes, wildfire season also is upon us with a vengeance. As of Tuesday evening, there are two huge blazes, one of them more than 3,700 hectares, located to the west of us. 

The last thing we need at this point in time is lightning.

In what used to be normal times, we might see 40C for a day or two in July, and the fire season didn’t really get roaring until August. Now we’ve got everything at once.

And if you haven’t heard there have been have been dozens of heat-related deaths in the Lower Mainland, and you can bet that the number will rise province-wide over the next few days.

The intense heat has sped up the snowmelt in some areas so there are flood concerns.

It seems that the only thing missing right now are the locusts. But, then, the murder hornets are said to be on their way.


As a reminder that the pandemic isn’t completely behind us, Baseball Manitoba announced Tuesday that it has cancelled all of its 2021 provincial championships. . . . From a news release: “The decision was made with the safety and development of our members as the top priority. Provincial championships create environments with large gatherings with people from across the province. Also, by cancelling provincial championships, we believe that there is more opportunity for a longer season for more players, as they compete late into summer within their regions.”


Newsflash



If anyone wants it, the title of the hardest-working person in the WHL is up for grabs for the first time in years. That’s because Rick Dillabough no longer is employed by the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun has more on Dillabough and his decision to walk away right here, and it’s great to see former owner Kelly McCrimmon singing the praises of his long-time employee and friend.


ICYMI, Bruce Springsteen was back on Broadway on Saturday night, and Peter Marks, the Washington Post’s theatre critic, was there for the district’s first full-length performance in 15 months. He wasn’t alone.

As Marks wrote, “His curation includes one of the key requirements for admission: a vaccination card. ‘It’s great,’ he remarks. ‘Unmasked, sitting next to each other.’ Bizarrely, theatergoers were greeted outside the St. James by a cadre of screaming, placard-waving anti-vaccination protesters, who feel aggrieved by the fact that the government wants to save their lives. Their rage is a bewildering counterpoint to the joy inside the theater at the freedoms the vaccines have given back to us. The demonstration is as out-of-touch as ‘Springsteen on Broadway’ feels in-touch.”



The SJHL’s board of governors and Bill Chow, the league’s commissioner, have sjhlagreed on a contract extension that will run through the 2022-23 season. Chow is preparing for his 11th season as commissioner. . . . Chow, who spent 10 seasons scouting for the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, was announced as SJHL president in May 2011. That was after he had retired from the Prince Albert Police Service, where he had spent almost 30 years. . . . With the SJHL, Chow took over from Laury Ryan, who had been in place for eight years.


Meat


The AJHL held its AGM on Saturday and decided on a 60-game regular season ajhlthat will have each of the 16 teams playing 16 interlocking games. The addition of the expansion Blackfalds Bulldogs brings the roster to 16 teams. . . . Interestingly, the AJHL will experiment in its exhibition season with an overtime format that will end with teams playing 1-on-1. After each exhibition game, teams will play a six-minute OT period, starting with 3-on-3. At the first whistle after the four-minute mark, it will shift to 2-on-2. And it’ll be 1-on-1 at the first whistle after the two-minute mark. If there aren’t any goals, a “best-of-three” shootout will be held. . . . The AJHL’s complete news release is right here.


Peter Anholt, the general manager of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, has been named to Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence management group. Anholt will oversee the U-18 program. . . . Philippe Boucher, the general manager of the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs, will guide the U-17 program, with James Boyd, the general manager of the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s, doing the same for the U-20s. . . . There is a complete news release right here.


USA Hockey has invited 44 players to the 2021 World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Mich., July 24-31. None of the 44 players were on a WHL team roster in 2020-21. . . . The Showcase will feature three teams this time around, with Finland and Sweden also to appear. The event is used to evaluate players who are eligible for the 2022 IIHF World junior championship that is scheduled for Edmonton and Red Deer, from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5. . . . USA Hockey’s camp roster is right here.


Ding


The Edmonton Oil Kings announced Tuesday that Czech D Simon Kubicek has Edmontoncommitted to play for them in 2021-22. Kubicek, who will turn 20 on Dec. 19, has played 113 regular-season WHL games, all with the Seattle Thunderbirds, putting up 16 goals and 39 assists. . . . On Jan. 25, the Oil Kings acquired Kubicek from Seattle for F Vladimir Alistrov, 20, of Belarus. The teams also swapped undisclosed conditional picks in the WHL’s 2023 prospects draft. . . . Alistrov spent 2020-21 with Dinamo Minsk of the KHL. . . . Kubicek played at home in 2020-21, with Motor Ceske Budejovice of the Czech ELH. He also had a goal and an assist in four games at the IIHF World Junior Championship. . . . Kubicek is the lone import on the Oil Kings’ roster, with the CHL import draft scheduled for today (Wednesday).


——

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: The SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves have hired Kyle Schneider, 22, as their new assistant coach. Schneider, who played for the Ice Wolves as recently as 2019-20, takes over from Gaelan Patterson, now the head coach of the junior B Port Alberni Bombers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. . . . The USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints have signed Greg Brown as their head coach. He takes over from Oliver David, who now is an assistant coach with EHC Biel of the Swiss National League. Brown, 53, spent the previous three seasons as an assistant coach with the NHL’s New York Rangers. . . . The BCHL’s Salmon Arm SilverBacks have signed Tyler Shattock, their assistant GM and head coach, to a two-year extension. Shattock, 31, took over as head coach in the middle of the 2019-20 season. From Salmon Arm, he has been with the team since signing on as an assistant coach in October 2018. . . . Simon Ferguson now is the general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. He has signed a three-year deal that runs through June 2024. Ferguson took over as interim head coach in January 2020, not long after the franchise changed hands. The interim part of his title was dropped in March 2020. His staff includes assistant coach Ayrton Nikkel, Josh Gorges, assistant coach and player development director, goaltending coach Chad Carter and athletic therapist Michael Bois.


Open

Spokane wins WHL lottery, gets first draft pick . . . Wheat Kings to select twice in top four . . . World women’s tourney to Calgary

The Spokane Chiefs own the first selection in the WHL’s 2021 prospects draft — formerly the bantam draft — that is scheduled to be held on Dec. 9. The draft usually is held in the spring — the last draft was held on April 22, 2020 — but the pandemic forced a move.

In announcing that the draft would be held in December, Ron Robison, the WHL WHL2commissioner, said that making the move would allow “additional time for players in the 2006 age group to be evaluated following a challenging season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We anticipate minor hockey leagues and tournaments will be fully operational in the fall . . .”

Because of the unique development season that the WHL completed last month, it came up with a four-phase process to determine the order of selection for the 2021 draft.

When all was said and done, the Chiefs had the first pick, something they last held in 2015 when they took D Ty Smith. The only other time Spokane has selected first overall was in 2006, when it took D Jared Cowen. Both players went on to captain the Chiefs, twice play for Team Canada at the IIHF World junior championship and become NHL first-round draft selections.

The Tri-City Americans hold the second overall pick on Dec. 9, a slot they have never before occupied.

The Brandon Wheat Kings hold the next two selections after trades with the Victoria Royals and Moose Jaw Warriors. Brandon also owns its first-round pick at No. 22.

On Jan. 10, 2018, the Wheat Kings got 2019 and 2021 first-round selections, along with D Jonathon Lambos and F Ty Thorpe, from the Royals for F Tanner Kaspick and F Cameron MacDonald.

Also at the 2018 trade deadline, the Wheat Kings dealt D Kale Clague to the Warriors for first-rounders in 2019 and 2021, a second-round pick in 2018, F Luka Burzan and D Chase Hartje.

Meanwhile, the Swift Current Broncos have the Nos. 6 and 7 picks. The first of those is their own selection, while they acquired the seventh pick from the Portland Winterhawks for G Joel Hofer. In the Jan. 9, 2019, swap, the Broncos also got a 2019 first-round pick, a second, fourth and fifth in 2020, and a third in 2019.

The Edmonton Oil Kings also hold a pair of first-round selections — one they acquired from the Kelowna Rockets at No. 13 and their own at 19th. On Dec. 14, 2019, the Oil Kings sent D Conner McDonald to the Rockets for that first-round pick and a third-rounder in 2023.

Moose Jaw, which dealt its pick to Brandon, has the 16th pick, having acquired it from the Saskatoon Blades. The Warriors actually acquired that pick from Victoria on Jan. 2020, in a deal that had F Brayden Tracey join the Royals.

As things stand at the moment, Saskatoon, Kelowna, Victoria and Portland are without first-round selections.

According to Ryan Kennedy, a senior writer with The Hockey News, F Berkly Catton of Saskatoon is the 2021 draft’s “top prize.” In 2019-20, Catton had 108 points, including 58 goals, in 30 games with the U15 Saskatoon Bandits. In the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season, he had one goal and one assists in five games with the U18 AAA Saskatoon Contacts.

——

The order of selection for the second and all subsequent rounds of the WHL draft were set by using the inverse order of the 2020-21 standings. Here is that order, excluding any trades that may already have been made:

1. Victoria Royals; 2. Red Deer Rebels; 3. Swift Current Broncos; 4. Tri-City Americans; 5. Moose Jaw Warriors; 6. Spokane Chiefs; 7. Lethbridge Hurricanes;

8. Regina Pats; 9. Seattle Thunderbirds; 10. Prince Albert Raiders; 11. Prince George Cougars; 12. Vancouver Giants; 13. Calgary Hitmen; 14. Portland Winterhawks;

15. Medicine Hat Tigers; 16. Kelowna Rockets; 17. Saskatoon Blades; 18. Winnipeg Ice; 19. Brandon Wheat Kings; 20. Kamloops Blazers; 21. Everett Silvertips; 22. Edmonton Oil Kings.


The IIHF’s 2021 World women’s hockey championship will be played in Calgary, Aug. 20-31. . . . The 31-game, 10-team tournament is scheduled for WinSport Arena at Canada Olympic Park. . . . It was to have been held in April in Halifax and Truro, N.S., but was cancelled due to pandemic-related concerns. . . . As of now, teams are scheduled to arrive in Calgary on Aug. 10 and enter quarantine before being allowed to begin practising. . . . A tournament schedule has yet to be released. . . . Team USA has won the past five tournaments.



Just to remind us that the pandemic isn’t yet in the rearview mirror, it now has laid claim to the 2021 CP Women’s Open that was to have been played at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver. The only Canadian stop on the LPGA tour was to have been played Aug. 23-29. . . . The 2020 tournament also was cancelled. . . . The 2022 tournament is to be played at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club, then it is scheduled for Shaughnessy in 2023. . . . Earlier in the year, the PGA Tour’s RBC Canadian Open was cancelled. It had been scheduled for St. George’s Golf & Country Club in Etobicoke, Ont., June 7-13.


Cats


Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on Sunday. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity.

——

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.


Dog

Canucks to return on Sunday vs. Leafs . . . Wheat Kings get new GM . . . BCIHL may add some Heat

OK. We think that the Vancouver Canucks’ schedule has been settled on . . . at least for now.

The Canucks, who last played on March 24 and have been in the midst of a CanucksCOVID-19 outbreak since March 30, are to play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday and Tuesday nights. Earlier in the week, the schedule called for the Edmonton Oilers to visit Vancouver on Friday with the Maple Leafs there on Saturday.

The schedule, as it now sits, has the Canucks concluding their 56-game season by playing 19 games in 32 nights. They actually began the season by playing 19 times in 34 nights.

F Bo Horvat, the Canucks’ captain, addressed the media on Friday and provided some insight into what the club has been through.

“I’ve had the flu before,” he said, “and this doesn’t hit you like a normal flu. It’s not something you want to get, it’s not something you want your family go through either. I can’t stress enough to follow the protocols.”

Horvat also said that he had passed the virus on to his wife, Holly, and that “it hit her a little harder than it hit me.”

“I’m one of the lucky ones,” he said. “My symptoms were fairly mild . . . I’m not going to lie. It was tough to know my family got it from me.”

At the same time, Jim Benning, the Canucks’ general manager, confirmed that the team had been hit by the P.1 variant that originated in Brazil. It is more aggressive than the original virus, which explains why the Canucks, as a group, had so much more illness than any of the other teams that have been hit this season.

Benning also said that the Canucks have three or four players who may not be ready to return on Sunday, while head coach Travis Green, who also tested positive, has yet to return to the practice ice. The team is hopeful that he will be on the ice today.

Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet has more right here.

And there’s a story right here from Karen Larsen of CBC News.


Before Kelly McCrimmon left to join the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, he had been the Brandon Wheat Kings’ general manager since 1989, or for 27 seasons.

With Friday’s announcement that Darren Ritchie is leaving, the club promoted BrandonDoug Gasper, making him its third general manager since McCrimmon’s departure.

Grant Armstrong, who had been the Victoria Royals’ assistant GM, player personnel, succeeded McCrimmon as Brandon’s GM on Aug. 23, 2016.

The Wheat Kings announced on May 7, 2019, that they wouldn’t be renewing Armstrong’s contract.

On July 12, 2019, Ritchie was promoted to general manager. He will be leaving after the completion of this season to join the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs as an amateur scout. He spent 14 seasons with Brandon, moving up from assistant coach (2007-16) to director of scouting (2016-19) and then into the GM’s office.

Gasper, a familiar face in WHL circles, joined the Wheat Kings as assistant GM on Aug. 15, 2019. From Rosetown, Sask., he had been scouting for the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks before joining the Wheat Kings. He also spent six seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors, including a stint as their director of scouting (2015-17). Gasper also has scouted for the Prince Albert Raiders.

Ritchie will work for Toronto out of Brandon; Gasper will be relocating to Brandon from Saskatoon at some point in May.

The Wheat Kings’ news release is right here.

McCrimmon sold the franchise in September to the Brandon-based J&G Group of Companies, headed up by Jared Jacobson, the president and CEO.


The BCHL announced Friday that the Nanaimo Clippers “have been cleared to Nanaimoresume team activities.” The organization had been shut down Thursday to allow for further analysis of a COVID-19 test. It was found to be a negative, so the shackles have been removed. . . . The Clippers are scheduled to play the Victoria Grizzlies this afternoon in Port Alberni. Nanaimo’s Thursday night game against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs had been postponed because of the COVID-19 scare. . . . In that cohort on Friday night, Victoria beat the Cowichan Valley Capitals, 10-0.


The B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League is exploring adding an expansion franchise in Kelowna — the UBCO Heat, which would call UBC’s Okanagan campus home. . . . The Heat has put together a committee that, according to its Facebook page, “now is recruiting marketing staff and potential student-athletes to help build a new team for the BCIHL in Kelowna.” . . . The BCIHL is down to three active teams, with the Trinity Western Spartans moving to USport’s Canada West conference and Selkirk College having cancelled its hockey program. . . . You know that expansion will be on the agenda when the BCIHL holds is annual general meeting virtually on May 18 and 19.


Donuts


It would appear that Mark Rassell, a former WHLer, is thinking about a new career! A native of Calgary, he played four seasons (2014-18) with the Medicine Hat Tigers, then spent two seasons at the U of New Brunswick. . . . He doesn’t mention here whether he knows how to drive a bus, though.


The Kelowna Rockets are scheduled to return to game action tonight in Kamloops against the Prince George Cougars. The Rockets have played only two games in this developmental season, having been sidelined since March 28 because of a COVID-19 outbreak. While the original schedule had the Rockets playing 24 games, the one now on the WHL website has them with 13 games remaining. . . .

Meanwhile, there were four games played on Friday night . . .

F Owen Pederson broke a 3-3 tie at 10:27 of the third period and F Michael Milne Winnipegadded another at 12:30 as the Winnipeg Ice beat the Swift Current Broncos, 5-4, in Regina. . . . Pederson, who has 10 goals, and Milne, who has three, each scored twice in this one. . . . D Owen Williams (4) got the Broncos’ last goal at 15:57 of the third. . . . While the Ice improved to 13-5-0, the Broncos (3-14-1) have lost seven in a row. . . . Winnipeg F Peyton Krebs had his point streak snapped at 16 games. Krebs put up nine goals and 21 assists over that stretch. . . . Winnipeg F Connor McClennon, who had his 12th goal and an assist, ran his streak to 11 games. He has 12 goals and 15 assists in 18 games and has only been blanked twice. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 40 shots for Winnipeg. . . . Swift Current was presented with the only PP opportunities of the game, and went 1-for-5. . . . The Ice went into the game with a PP that was running at a 34.6 efficiency rate (27-for-78), behind only to the Medicine Hat Tigers (41.8). . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers scored the game’s last four goals and beat the visiting TigersRed Deer Rebels, 4-2. . . . F Ben King scored both Red Deer goals, at 10:14 of the first period and 4:36 of the second. He has seven goals, and has put up four goals and five assists over his past five games. All told, he’s got seven goals and 10 assists in 15 games for a Red Deer team that now is 2-13-2 and has lost 10 in a row. . . . F Corson Hopwo (12) scored twice for the Tigers, getting them started at 13:34 of the second period and adding the insurance goal at 13:08 of the third. . . . Hopwo has goals in seven straight games. . . . F Brett Kemp (9) tied the game, at 3:29 of the third, and D Eric Van Impe (3) snapped the tie just 33 seconds later. . . . The Tigers, with points in seven straight (6-0-1), now are 10-3-1. . . . Medicine Hat was 3-for-5 with the man advantage. . . .

The Everett Silvertips scored three goals in the second half of the third period to Everettbeat the host Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-3. . . . Everett, which had lost two in a row, improved to 10-3-0. . . . Seattle, which had won its previous two games, now is 7-6-0. . . . F Gage Goncalves gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 17:20 of the third period and F Cole Fonstad made it 2-0 just 50 seconds later. . . . Seattle F Henry Rybinski (4) scored in his third straight game, getting his guys on the board at 10:03 of the second period. . . . F Jared Davidson (5) put Seattle out front with goals at 13:48 of the second and 9:25 of the third. Davidson also assisted on Rybinski’s goal. . . . The Silvertips tied it on F Jacob Wright’s fifth goal, at 10:15. . . . Goncalves, who has 10 goals, broke the tie at 11:17 and Fonstad, now with 10 goals, got the empty-netter. He also had an assist. . . . Goncalves also had two assists. He has 19 points in 13 games. . . . Everett G Dustin Wolf stopped 34 shots. He’s 9-2-0, 1.81, .938. . . . Seattle dressed 17 skaters, one under the maximum, with F Payton Mount sitting out this one. He was taken to hospital following a game on Tuesday after being struck on the head by a puck that glanced off the wall behind the Seattle bench. He was checked over and released on Wednesday morning. . . .

In Kelowna, F Jonny Hooker broke a 2-2 tie at 18:08 of the second period and PGthe Prince George Cougars went on to a 5-2 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Victoria (1-8-1), which has lost five straight, led 1-0 after one period on a PP goal by F Brayden Tracey (6). . . . D Majid Kaddoura (1) pulled the Cougars even at 2:09 of the second period and D Keaton Dowhaniuk (1) gave them the lead just 1:14 later. . . . Dowhaniuk, the third overall pick in the 2019 bantam draft, scored his first WHL goal. . . . F Trentyn Crane, a fifth-round pick in 2018, got the Royals into a tie at 11:40 with his first WHL score. . . . Hooker broke the tie, and F Kuren Gronick (2) and F Tyson Upper (1) added insurance in the last minute of the period. . . . Prince George (4-3-2) outshot Victoria, 41-21, and had a 39-16 edge in the face-off circle.


Carpenter


My wife, Dorothy, who had a kidney transplant more than seven years ago, will take part in her eighth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk on June 6. Unfortunately, it will be a virtual walk for a second straight year, but that won’t keep her from fund-raising on behalf of the Kidney Foundation. If you would like to help her out, you are able to make a donation 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.


JUST NOTES: Gaelan Patterson is leaving the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves to take over as director of hockey operations for the Nanaimo Minor Hockey Association. Patterson, 30, who played four seasons (2006-10) with the Saskatoon Blades, joined the Ice Wolves prior to the 2018-19 season. From La Ronge, he had been the Ice Wolves’ associate GM/associate head coach. . . . Blaine Gusdal won’t be returning for a 14th season as the head coach of the U of Alberta-Augustana Vikings. The school made the announcement on March 31. Gusdal, 53, is from Erickson, Man. He played two WHL seasons (1984-86), splitting time between the Prince Albert Raiders (one game), Moose Jaw Warriors (59) and Saskatoon Blades (34).


Brunch

Canucks’ Miller says team needs more recovery time . . . Rockets out of quarantine and back on ice . . . Maier, Garand pitch shutouts

F J.T. Miller of the Vancouver Canucks always has worn his emotions on his sleeve and spoken his mind.

So you have to think the team’s management wasn’t at all surprised when he Canuckstook the NHL to task on Wednesday.

“This is nothing to do with hockey,” Miller said during a virtual media availability. “To be brutally honest, we’re going to need more time than this to come back and play hockey. Even the guys that didn’t get it aren’t ready.”

The Canucks are scheduled to play host to the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night. Thanks to a COVID-19 outbreak that impacted players, coaches, staff members and family members that would be the Canucks’ first game since March 24. All told, there were 22 players, three coaches and one staffer who tested positive.

When the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list was released on Wednesday is still contained seven Vancouver players — D Jalen Chatfield, D Alex Edler, F Jayce Hawryluk, F Nils Höglander, F Zack MacEwen, D Nate Schmidt and F Jake Virtanen.

“I don’t feel ready if I’m being honest . . . It’s kind of crazy,” Miller said. “I know everyone has a job to do but to expect our entire team to be ready to play in one practice and a pre-game skate is a bit hard to comprehend.”

Now the NHL wants the Canucks (16-18-3) to play their last 19 games over a 30-day span. They are sixth in the North Division and not likely to qualify for the playoffs.

“I hope people don’t take this the wrong way,” Miller continued, “I’m a super competitive guy . . . but this isn’t about hockey for our team. This is about the health and safety of our players, their family and their children. This isn’t about making the playoffs.

“What we’re being asked to do is not going to be too safe, if you’re asking me.”

The Canucks are scheduled to practice this morning at 11:15, and it’s to be open to the media.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Blackhawks head coach said that F Adam Gaudette, who was acquired Monday from the Canucks, will be given some time before he dresses for a game. Gaudette was the first of the Canucks to test positive. He was removed from the ice during a practice on March 30.


The Colorado Avalanche cancelled their Wednesday morning skate in St. Louis “due to one positive test from (Tuesday’s) COVID-19 testing.” That person went into isolation; all others tested negative. . . . G Philipp Grubauer was added to Colorado’s COVID-19 protocol list on Wednesday. . . . G Devan Dubnyk, acquired Monday from the San Jose Sharks, made his first start for the Avalanche last night, stopping 31 shots in a 4-3 victory in St. Louis. . . . After last night’s victory, Colorado head coach Jared Bender said that Grubauer will be out for “more than 14 days.” . . .

The AHL’s Toronto Marlies are on hold through Wednesday because of the league’s COVID-19 protocol. They have had three games postponed. . . . The Toronto Maple Leafs added F Nick Robertson to the COVID-19 protocol list on Wednesday. He had been with the Marlies so this move quite likely was precautionary. . . . The AHL also has the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, who are affiliated with the Philadelphia Flyers, shut down through Sunday. The league postponed the Phantoms game last night against the host Hershey Bears, and also scrubbed Friday and Sunday games.

The Houston Astros put five players, four of them starters, on the injured list on Wednesday. Catcher Martin Maldonado, infielders Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, DH Yordan Alvarez and utility player Robel Garcia all went on the list. James Click, the Astros’ general manager, later said all five were placed on the list “as a result of health and safety protocols.” . . . The Astros dropped a 6-4 decision to the visiting Detroit Tigers last night.


Xrays


This is interesting because Sportsnet announced on Feb. 18, 2014, a 12-year “partnership extension” with the CHL that was to run through the end of the 2025-26 season. That made Sportsnet the exclusive broadcaster of the CHL and the Memorial Cup. . . . Makes one wonder if Sportsnet will pay TSN to take the contract off its hands?


The four Canadian teams that were to have been part of the West Coast League, a wood-bat summer baseball league, have chosen not to play in 2021. The Edmonton Riverhawks, Kamloops NorthPaws, Nanaimo NightOwls and Victoria HarbourCats had announced that they would play a schedule of games among themselves. The Edmonton, Kamloops and Nanaimo franchises are expansion teams. . . . The Kelowna Falcons announced in March that they wouldn’t take part this season. . . . The WCL’s 10 Oregon- and Washington-based teams are going ahead with a 2021 season.


If you have ever been close to a hockey team you will know that it is people like the equipment manager and athletic therapist/trainer who really keep things going. . . . But what’s it like for the people in those positions with a WHL team in these pandemic times? What’s it like behind the scenes in the Regina hub? . . . Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun checked in with the three men who fill these roles with the Brandon Wheat Kings. He came out of it with a terrific long read that is right here.


The Kelowna Rockets were back on the ice at Prospera Place on Wednesday Rocketsmorning, the first time they have skated since they went into a 14-day quarantine after seven positive tests within the organization. An eighth positive was discovered during the quarantine period, but because it happened to someone already in isolation it didn’t impact the 14 days off.

Head coach Kris Mallette was one who tested positive.

“What’s crazy,” he told Global News, “is how it affects everybody differently, that’s the scariest aspect. I was fortunate that for me it was headaches, aches and a cough but it wasn’t anything that wasn’t manageable without taking some sort of medication.”

The Rockets, who had eight games postponed, have only played twice in what is supposed to be a 24-game season. They are scheduled to return to game action on Saturday against the Prince George Cougars in Kamloops.

Meanwhile, there were four WHL games on Wednesday . . .

G Nolan Maier recorded his ninth career shutout as the Saskatoon Blades beat Bladesthe Swift Current Broncos, 3-0, in Regina. . . . The Blades (13-2-2) have points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Broncos (3-13-1) have lost six in a row. . . . Maier now shares the Saskatoon franchise record for career shutouts with Andrei Makarov (115 games, 2011-13). . . . Maier, who has made 151 appearances in three-plus seasons, stopped 27 shots in posting his second shutout of this season. . . . F Blake Stevenson scored twice, at 10:35 and 12:21 of the first period for a 2-0 lead. He’s got seven goals. . . . F Chase Wouters also scored his seventh goal of the season. . . .

F Ben McCartney scored Brandon’s last three goals as the Wheat Kings beat the BrandonWinnipeg Ice, 5-3, in Regina. . . . McCartney, who has 11 goals, completed his evening with the empty-netter. . . . The Wheat Kings (13-3-2) opened an early 2-0 lead on goals from F Riley Ginnell (4) and F Brett Hyland (2). . . . The Ice halved the deficit at 4:55 of the second period on F Connor McClennon’s 11th goal, but McCartney got that one back at 9:07. . . . F Conor Geekie (7) got Winnipeg back to within at goal at 13:36, but McCartney counted again at 7:18 of the third. . . . F Owen Pederson (8) again pulled the Ice to within a goal, this time at 14:47, but McCartney put it away at 19:51. . . . Ice F Peyton Krebs had an assist to run his point streak to 16 games, while McClennon has points in 10 straight. . . . The Wheat Kings were handed all six of the game’s minor penalties and gave up two PP goals. . . . The Ice (12-5-0) had won its previous six games. . . . Brandon G Connor Ungar stopped 38 shots. He is 5-1-1, 2.57, .915 in the Regina hub. . . . Brandon is 3-0-0 against Winnipeg this season — 3-2, 4-3 and 5-3 — with one meeting left. . . .

F Eli Zummack scored the game’s last two goals to give the Spokane Chiefs a 4-Spokane3 OT victory over the host Portland Winterhawks. . . . Zummack, who has five goals, tied the game on a PP at 19:29 of the third period, then won it at 3:27 of OT. . . . Zummack is on a real roll at the moment. He scored a shorthanded goal and added an assist in Portland’s 7-6 victory on Saturday, then had a goal and three assists in a 4-3 victory over the host Everett Silvertips on Tuesday. . . . F Simon Knak (8) and F Kyle Chyzowski (3) gave the Winterhawks a 2-0 first-period lead. . . . The Chiefs tied it on goals from F Blake Swetlikoff (3), at 6:17 of the second, and F Adam Beckman (9), at 5:35 of the third. Beckman has goals in six straight games. . . . F Tyson Kozak’s first goal gave Portland a 3-2 lead at 9:10. . . . D Bobby Russell assisted on each of Zummack’s goals. . . . G Mason Beaupit was outstanding for the Chiefs, making 48 saves, 25 more than Portland’s Dante Giannuzzi. . . . The Chiefs now are 4-5-3; the Winterhawks are 5-4-3. . . . These teams played each other three times since Friday with Spokane winning twice. . . . D Sage Weinstein, a 15-year-old from Edmonton who was the 18th overall selection in the 2020 bantam draft, made his WHL debut with the Chiefs. . . .

In Kamloops, G Dylan Garand posted a 16-save shutout as the Blazers beat the KamloopsPrince George Cougars, 5-0. . . . That was Garand’s first shutout this season and the sixth of his career. . . . F Josh Pillar scored the game’s first goal, at 8:06 of the first period. He finished with two goals, giving him five, and an assist. . . . F Caedan Bankier had a goal, his fourth, and an assist, with F Connor Zary and F Orrin Centazzo each recording two assists. . . . The Blazers (7-1-0) have won three in a row. . . . The Cougars (3-3-2) had picked up at least a point in each of their previous four games (2-0-2). . . . Kamloops held a 40-16 edge in shots, including 20-2 in the third period.


Lady


Please don’t forget that Dorothy, who had a kidney transplant more than seven years ago, is preparing to take part in her eighth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. Unfortunately, it will be a virtual walk for a second straight year, but that won’t keep her from fund-raising on behalf of the Kidney Foundation. If you would like to help her out, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . And a huge thank you to those who have already responded to this. Love seeing her smile every time she gets a notification of a new donor.

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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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: The AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats are looking for an assistant coach following the departure of Brady Bakke. He joined the Bobcats prior to the 2019-20 season. From a news release: “A search for a new assistant coach has begun and any candidates looking to put their name forward are asked to send a cover letter and resume to nigel@lloydminsterbobcats.com.” . . . The SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves also are in the market for an assistant coach. From a news release: “To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume and references electronically to head coach/general manager Kevin Kaminski at coach.icewolves@sasktel.net.”


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