Scattershooting on a Saturday night after enjoying a mostly smoke-free evening . . .


It appears that the OHL is in the process of preparing a policy that will deal with mandatory vaccination prior the start of training camps for the 2021-22 season.

Mark Scheig, who among other things covers the OHL and specifically the Erie Otters for tweeted on Saturday afternoon:

OHL“I am hearing that the OHL . . . will be implementing a policy that will require all players, staff, officials, volunteers and, I believe, billet families to be fully vaccinated within two weeks of the start of training camp.

“My understanding is that there will be accommodations to some degree. But the significance of this is non-vaxxed players/staff could be removed from the roster or placed on leave for the duration of the pandemic.”

Players in the OHL are scheduled to report to training camp on Sept. 4 with the regular season to open on Oct. 7.

Meanwhile, there isn’t any word on whether mandatory vaccination is something that might be implemented as a CHL-wide measure, meaning the QMJHL and WHL also would be involved.

As regards the WHL, you have to think it has at least been discussed by the board of governors.

The move towards mandatory vaccination in some areas is getting noisier and noisier, and it isn’t going to go away anytime soon. I also wonder how WHL teams will deal with seating in their home arenas when it comes to opening the doors to those who are fully vaccinated and those who aren’t vaccinated at all.

But when it comes to mandating that players must be vaccinated, can a sports league really tell a group of players ages 16 to 20 that they have to fall in line? Then again there isn’t a players’ union involved, so . . .

F Thanasis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t play in Game 5 of the NBA final on Saturday night after having to enter health and safety protocols. . . . The 28-year-old has averaged 0.7 points and 3.5 minutes per game in these playoffs. . . . The visiting Bucks, who were down 16 points in the early going, won Saturday’s game, 123-119, to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. They get their first chance to wrap it up at home on Tuesday. . . . Milwaukee last won an NBA title in 1971.

ICYMI, the New York Islanders traded F Andrew Ladd and three draft picks to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday afternoon. That’s it. That’s the trade. The Islanders didn’t get anything in return. Don’t you just love today’s NHL where teams are able to do that just to dump some salary? . . . BTW, those draft picks are a second-rounder in 2021, a conditional second-rounder in 2022 and a conditional third-rounder in 2023. . . . Ladd, 35, has played 950 regular-season NHL games, the last four of them in 2019-20. Last season, he played one game — with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, after Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game:

“It was a happenstance instead of a happening.  A quick summary here:

  1. The AL won the game.
  2. The teams wore uniforms made specifically for the All-Star Game.
  3. The uniforms were genuinely ugly.”


Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle didn’t like those uniforms, either: “After bombing horribly with those generic All-Star uniforms — yo, Rob Manfred, nobody loved them — we’ll get more of the same next year at Dodger Stadium. It’s all about sponsorship bucks, and Nike really blew it with this year’s designs, especially the all-blue disasters with unreadable names. We’re thinking they really get creative next year with special team pajamas. Maybe those really silly ones with the squirrels chasing hippos.”


While those All-Star Game uniforms were butt ugly, there was some good news as Rob Manfred, the MLB commissioner, said before the game that there likely will be a couple of changes prior to the 2022 season. That free runner on second base in extra innings? Gone. Seven-inning doubleheaders? Gone. . . . Manfred said those two situations “were adopted based on medical advice to deal with COVID” and that “they are less likely to become part of our permanent landscape than some of the other rules.” . . . Don’t forget that the CBA between MLB owners and the players runs out on Dec. 1, and these parties have a history that isn’t good when it comes to these kinds of negotiations.


A note to CBC Radio: So you really did dump Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap after 16 wonderful seasons. Well, then, I’m just going to have to give you your walking papers, too. I mean, I quite enjoy listening to Kathleen Edwards, but one of her 2012 shows in place of Vinyl Tap just doesn’t cut it. So you are free to count me as a former listener of all things CBC Radio. For whatever that might be worth. . . . Hey, Randy, please let me know where Vinyl Tap ends up after you’ve taken care of business. Oh, and thanks so much for 16 years of great listening.

Headline at The Onion: Conor McGregor Undergoes 3 Hours Of Surgery To Repair Fractured Ego

A midweek tweet from comedy writer Alex Kaseberg (@AlexKaseberg): “Just learned on ‘Jeopardy’ a coyote can run 40 MPH, twice as fast as a roadrunner. Next thing you know they’ll try to tell us a coyote can’t paint a train tunnel on a canyon wall and then get run over by the train that comes out of it.”


Three athletes, two of them residents of the Olympic Village, have tested positive for COVID-19 in Tokyo. . . . These are the first two athletes who are staying in the Village to have tested positive. Another athlete who is not staying there also has tested positive. There are a number of athletes staying in hotels. . . . The IOC has said that the Olympic Village will be the “safest place” in Tokyo when it comes to avoiding the coronavirus. . . . Organizers haven’t identified the athletes or their countries of residence. . . . Since July 1, there have been 55 positive tests involving people linked to these Games.


The Colorado Rockies are without manager Bud Black, first-base coach Ron Gideon and four players as they play a weekend series against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers. All are involved with MLB’s contact-tracing protocols. . . . Three RHP — Yency Almonte, Jhoulys Chacin and Antonio Senzatela — and OF Yonathan Daza were placed on the injured list. . . . The team wouldn’t say whether anyone was experiencing symptoms or had tested positive. . . . It is known that the Rockies were one of the first teams to reach the 85 per cent vaccination rate.




Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News, after six players with the New York Yankees went on the MLB COVID-19 list:

“They can say whatever they want to, but one of the reasons it happens this way, absolutely, is because there are members of this baseball team — and others for sure — who are too stupid or selfish or stubborn or all of the above to get vaccinated, one summer after one of the darkest our country has ever known.

“And that is on these ballplayers who don’t just endanger themselves, but endanger people around them. This isn’t about religious liberty or politics or anything else at this point with the anti-vaxxers. It is about living in a new kind of bubble, the one in Stupidville. You feel sorry for these guys. There’s a reason why doctors are now talking about a ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated.’ ”

That complete column is right here.

Lupica, again: “Tom Brady is telling us now that he played last season with a torn MCL . . . why? Was Brady this chatty in Foxboro, I can’t recall.”

Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“If I was Joe Biden, I would send a heath expert to the WNBA with instructions to find out how that league became a sports-world leader in COVID vaccinations. While men’s leagues struggle to reach minimum levels of vax, the WNBA steps up and takes it like a woman. It’s almost as if WNBA players value team over personal politics and misinformation.”


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JUST NOTES: The USHL’s Fargo Force needs a head coach following the departure of Pierre-Paul Lamoureux. He had been the head coach for two seasons after earlier working as associate head coach, director of scouting and assistant coach at various times. Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald tweeted: “Pierre-Paul Lamoureux stepping down after leading Fargo to the Clark Cup Finals. Lamoureux says he will invest more time in his family. Not sure if it played a role, but it was fairly widely known in USHL circles that he wasn’t exactly compensated like other league head coaches.”


WHL asks players to opt out of lawsuit. . . . Yes, Matvichuk wants to keep coaching. . . . Blades sign three 2019 draft picks


D Nick Ross (Regina, Kamloops, Vancouver, 2004-09) has signed a one-year contract with Jegesmedvék Miskolc (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). This season, with Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), he had nine goals and 31 assists in 52 games. He was second on the team in assists. . . .

F Dalibor Bortňák (Kamloops, 2008-11) has signed a one-year contract with Košice (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, with Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga), he had 10 goals and 21 assists in 54 games. . . .

F Parker Bowles (Tri-City, 2011-16) has signed a one-year contract with Orli Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with Lillehammer (Norway, GET-Ligaen), he had 20 goals and 25 assists in 48 games. . . .

F Gilbert Brulé (Vancouver, 2002-06) has signed a two-year contract with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). This season, with Sibir Novosibirsk (Russia, KHL), he had seven goals and 15 assists in 30 games. . . .

D Clint Filbrandt (Tri-City, Kootenay, 2012-14) has signed a one-year contract with DEAC Debrecen (Hungary, Erste Liga). This season, with U of Lethbridge (USports, Canada West), he had two goals and five assists in 25 games. . . .

F Calder Brooks (Calgary, Prince Albert, Spokane, 2011-15) has signed a one-year contract with Lyon (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, with St. Mary’s U (USports, Atlantic University Sport), he had six goals and 15 assists in 29 games. He also had three goals and one assist in three games with the Wichita Thunder (ECHL). . . .

F Danis Zaripov (Swift Current, 1998-99) has signed a one-year contract extension with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL). This season, he had nine goals and 23 assists in 48 games. He was third on his team in points. . . .

F Milan Jurík (Prince Albert, 2006-07) has signed a one-year contract extension with Mulhouse (France, Ligue Magnus). An alternate captain, he had six goals and 17 assists in 42 games this season. . . .

F Brendan Shinnimin (Tri-City, 2007-12) has signed a two-year contract extension with Växjö Lakers (Sweden, SHL). This season, he had 17 goals and 16 assists in 47 games. He tied for the team lead in goals and points. . . .

F Marek Kalus (Spokane, Brandon, 2010-13) has signed a one-year contract with the Linz Black Wings (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with Orli Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga), he had 20 goals and 30 assists in 50 games. He led the team in goals and points.


Rick Westhead, TSN’s senior correspondent, reported Tuesday that the WHL “is asking current and former players to opt out of a class-action minimum-wage lawsuit against the league, suggesting that the future of amateur sports in Canada is at risk. The WHL shared its message in an e-bulletin that was sent Tuesday by email to a distribution list that includes current and former players. The group email was obtained by TSN.” . . . Westhead’s complete story is right here.

It began with a report in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette that had Richard Matvichuk, the former head coach of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars, as a candidate for the head-coaching position with the ECHL’s Komets.

Matvichuk wasn’t the favourite, reported Justin A. Cohn, but he was believed to be in the chase.

Then came a rumour that, no, Matvichuk didn’t want to coach, and that he would stay in Prince George and get involved with minor hockey.

Well, it turns out that Matvichuk, a 46-year-old native of Edmonton, isn’t through with coaching. At least, he hopes he isn’t.

As he told Taking Note: “Yes, I want to coach.”

And why shouldn’t he?

A defenceman, Matvichuk played three seasons (1989-92) with the Saskatoon Blades before going on to a professional career that included 796 regular-season NHL games and another 123 in the playoffs. His name is on the Stanley Cup (Dallas Stars, 1998-99).

His coaching career includes two seasons as assistant GM/assistant coach with the Texas-based Allen Americans, who then were in the CHL. He then spent two seasons (2014-16) as director of hockey operations and head coach of the ECHL’s Missouri Mavericks. He was the ECHL’s coach of the year in the second of those seasons.

Matvichuk brought that track record to the Cougars, and he guided them to first place in the B.C. Division with a franchise-record 45 victories in his first season. That marked the first time the franchise had won a WHL banner.

But the Cougars went all-in that season, then were upset in six games by the Portland Winterhawks in the first round of the playoffs.

The Cougars spent the past two seasons trying to get back on track, as often happens to teams that try to seize the moment by going all-in.

General manager Mark Lamb, who was nearing the end of his first season with the Cougars, fired Matvichuk with 16 games remaining this season. Matvichuk’s three-year contract was to have expired following the season.

At the time, the Cougars were 16-30-6 and on an 11-game losing skid. Lamb stepped in as head coach and the slump reached a franchise-record 17 games before it finally ended. The Cougars went 3-11-2 under Lamb to finish at 19-41-8 and out of the playoffs.

During the season, the Cougars’ ownership, having surveyed the damage, reached the conclusion that it would never again go all-in, that the price to be paid just isn’t worth it because, as they found out, there aren’t any guarantees.

It also has to be pointed out that the Cougars’ 2018-19 season, at least in terms of grabbing a playoff spot, was done in by perhaps the worst stretch of scheduling in WHL history.

The Cougars were 11-14-3 in December when they headed into an absolutely bizarre 11-game road trip that was broken up by the Christmas break and included three separate treks into the U.S. Division.

Here’s a bit of what I wrote in February:
“If you’re wondering why things went south in Prince George this season, it may have had something to do with the schedule. As bad as 16-30-6 may sound now, the Cougars were 11-14-3 as they began an insane 11-game road trip that was interrupted by the Christmas break and included three separate jaunts into the U.S. Division. They went 3-8-0 on that trip, came home and beat Kelowna twice, and are 0-8-3 since those victories.

“Team management has since gone on the record as saying it will never again accept such goofy scheduling.”

The Cougars split with the visiting Victoria Royals on Dec. 1 and 2, then didn’t play at home again until Jan. 11 and 12 when they swept Kelowna.

It’s no wonder that Matvichuk doesn’t feel that he is done with coaching.

The WHL will have three of its coaches working benches during the U-17 World Hockey Challenge in November. . . . Michael Dyck, the head coach of the Vancouver Giants, has been named by Hockey Canada as head coach of Team Canada White. . . . Ryan Marsh, the associate coach with the Saskatoon Blades, will be an assistant coach alongside Dyck. . . . Steve O’Rourke, an assistant coach with the Prince George Cougars, is to be an assistant coach on Team Canada Red. . . . The tournament is to be held in Medicine Hat and Swift Current, Nov. 2-9.

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The Saskatoon Blades have signed three 2019 bantam draft selections to WHL contracts. . . . F Brandon Lisowsky, from Coquitlam, B.C., was taken in the first round, ninth overall. He is the eighth of the 22 first-round selections to sign a WHL contract. This season, Lisowsky had 61 goals and 48 assists in 53 games with the Burnaby Winter Club’s bantam prep team. . . . F Hayden Smith, from Kamloops, was selected in the second round. He had 24 goals and 23 assists in 30 games with the Yale Hockey Academy’s bantam prep team. . . . G Ethan Chadwick, from Saskatoon, was a third-round pick. He had a 2.83 GAA and a .920 save percentage in 22 games with the bantam AA Saskatoon Stallions.


The Regina Pats have signed D Layton Feist to a WHL contract. Feist, from Coldstream, B.C., was selected in the first round, 17th overall, of the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. This season, he had eight goals and 14 assists in 20 games with the OMAHA (Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association) North Zone Kings. . . . His older brother, Tyson, is a defenceman with the Pats.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed F Brayden Boehm to a WHL contract.  He was a second-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . From Nanaimo, he had 16 goals and 24 in 30 games with the Delta Hockey Academy’s prep green team this season.


The Swift Current Broncos have signed F Caleb Wyrostok to a WHL contract. From Medicine Hat, he was a ninth-round selection by the Broncos in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Wyrostok, 16, played this season for the Northern Alberta X-Treme elite 15 team, putting up 20 goals and 15 assists in 30 games.

The MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders have signed Geoff Grimwood as their new general manager and head coach. Grimwood, from Victoria, spent 2018-19 as the GM and head coach of the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. Prior to that, he was the GM and head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers for three seasons.

Bob Beatty, a veteran junior A coach, has signed on with the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons as an associate coach. For the past two seasons, Beatty has been the head coach of the bantam prep team at the Shawnigan Lake, B.C., School. In Fort McMurray, Beatty will be working alongside Dave Dupas, who is preparing for his first season as general manager and head coach.

Pierre-Paul Lamoureux is the new head coach of the USHL’s Fargo Force. A native of Grand Forks, N.D., he played three seasons (2004-07) with the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels and worked as their associate coach in 2016-17. Lamoureux was the Force’s associate head coach for the past two seasons. . . . Lamoureux, 31, will be the youngest head coach in the league. He takes over from Cary Eades, who stays on as general manager and president of hockey operations.


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