Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering how noisy things will be tomorrow (PM Justin Trudeau is in town) . . .

Scattershooting2

The National League wild-card game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals took four hours 15 minutes to play. The teams combined to use nine relief pitchers as the Dodgers won, 3-1. . . . Meanwhile, regular-season MLB games averaged three hours 10 minutes, the longest in history.

Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, offers up the perfect explanation as to why games are taking so long and when something might be done about it:

“Yes, much of the problem is the time between innings when the TV networks insert a profusion of advertisements. Having acknowledged that, let us come to the realization that it is those ads that drive major numbers of dollars into the league coffers and thereby to the owners. Those ads are not going away. So, the only meaningful way for MLB to address this is to stop all the time-wasting activities on the field. We know what they are; they have been chronicled in hundreds of places; the fact that there have not been changes to address them in any meaningful way can only mean that MLB does not see this as a problem worthy of resolving.

“So . . . I have abandoned any idea that the execs in MLB and/or the MLBPA care at all about this issue. This is the vector heading for MLB now and into the foreseeable future. Only when ratings drop enough for the TV networks to refuse to pay more for television rights will there be any real action to effect change.”

Bingo!


——

Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News, writing about the Kyrie Irving situation: “The Nets should look into getting rid of him sooner or later, seeing if there is possibly a taker for him, with all of his baggage, old and new, perhaps from one of the teams from the dumber states when it comes to COVID, and that means we’re talking about you Florida and Texas.”


The four women in the above tweet worked Sunday afternoon’s BCHL game between the Langley Rivermen and the host Surrey Eagles, who won 4-3 in a shootout. Grace Barlow and Megan Howes were the referees, with Melissa Brunn and Colleen Geddes on the lines. . . . For more, there is a BCHL news release right here.

Meanwhile, Katie Guay, an on-ice official since 2006, became the first woman to referee an AHL game on Saturday night when she was on the ice alongside Brandon Schrader as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins beat the visiting Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 2-1. . . . On Sunday, Kelly Cooke became the second woman to referee an AHL game when she worked with Beau Halkidis as the host Utica Comets beat the Rochester Americans, 6-2.


Pigeons


There were nine games played in the NHL on Thursday night, the second night of the regular season. My satellite TV package includes six TSN channels. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators were playing on four of them, but all were blacked out. I have access to nine Sportsnet channels — the Pittsburgh Penguins and Florida Panthers were on three of them. . . . Sorry, NHL, but if you can’t do better than that you’re not going to attract new eyeballs. . . . As for me, I watched the NFL game (Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles until the MLB playoff game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants started.


Headline at fark.com: Australian cricket player suffers 10th concussion, says he’s ready to try out for the NHL.


“Cleveland Browns sack-master Myles Garrett has decorated his front yard for Halloween with tombstones featuring the names and jersey numbers of opposing quarterbacks,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “What’s he handing out this year, Nestle Crunch?”

——

Perry, again: “The Mississippi state auditor has ordered ex-QB Brett Favre — who was paid $141 million over his 20-year NFL career — to return $828,000 in welfare money he was paid for speeches he never gave. The word for that is . . . speechless.”


Auto


The WHL’s Victoria Royals had 15 skaters dressed, three below the maximum WHLallowed, when they met the Cougars in Prince George on Saturday night. When the teams played again on Sunday afternoon, the Royals, playing their fourth game in six days, were down to 13 skaters, including only eight forwards. . . . You are free to wonder at what point this becomes a safety issue for the players who are in the lineup. . . .

That was one of three WHL games played on Sunday. Some highlights . . .

In Prince George, the Cougars scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Victoria Royals, 4-2. . . . F Craig Armstrong (3) had two goals — the last two — and an assist. He broke a 2-2 tie at 5:45 of the third period. . . . F Riley Gannon (3) had a goal and an assist for the Royals (1-6-0). . . . The Cougars (2-3-0) now will travel to Victoria for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader as these teams face each other in six straight games. The series is to conclude in Prince George on Oct. 26 and 27. . . .

In Edmonton, G Connor Ungar stopped 29 shots to help the Red Deer Rebels to a 2-1 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . The Rebels (4-3-1) erased a 1-0 deficit with second-period goals from F Jace Weir (3) and F Ben King (3), the latter via the PP. . . . The Oil Kings now are 4-2-1. . . .

In Winnipeg, the Ice ran its season-opening winning streak to seven games with a 3-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Ice (7-0-0) held a 46-20 edge in shots. . . . F Connor McClennon (6) snapped a 1-1 tie 17 seconds into the third period. . . . The Broncos (2-5-0) have lost five in a row.

——

There were nine WHL games on Saturday. Some highlights . . .

In Everett, G Koen MacInnes stopped 31 shots to help the Silvertips to a 3-0 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . That was his first shutout this season and the fourth of his career. . . . F Jackson Berezowski (5) scored twice as Everett improved to 4-0-0. . . . Seattle (2-2-1) was without F Lucas Ciona, who drew a two-game sentence after taking a charging major for running into G Braden Holt on Friday night when visiting Everett won 5-4 in OT. . . .

In Portland, the Winterhawks erased a 3-0 deficit and beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-3. . . . F Dawson Pasternak (1) pulled the Winterhawks even at 14:41 of the third period and F Marek Alscher (1) broke the tie at 17:05. . . . Portland improved to 3-2-1; the Americans are 2-3-0. . . .

In Prince George, the Cougars scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Victoria Royals, 3-1. . . . The Cougars (1-3-0) won for the first time this season, while the Royals fell to 1-5-0. . . . F Riley Heidt (2) broke a 1-1 tie at 15:52 of the third period. . . .

In Langley, B.C., G Dylan Garand blocked 23 shots as the Kamloops Blazes skated to a 5-0 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Garand, a candidate to be Canada’s starting goaltender at the 2022 World Junior Championship, has one shutout this season and nine in his career. . . . Kamloops (5-1-0) was 3-for-4 on the PP. . . . The Blazers went 3-1-0 in playing four road games in five nights. . . . The Giants are 2-1-0. . . .

In Brandon, D Chad Nychuk’s fifth goal of the season, at 3:41 of OT, gave the Wheat Kings a 4-3 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . This was the Broncos’ first game since general manager/head coach Dean Brockman announced his resignation on Thursday. . . . F Ridly Greig (4) pulled Brandon (4-3-0) into a 3-3 tie at 11:03 of the third period. . . . The Broncos, who have lost four in a row, are 2-4-0. . . . With G Ethan Kruger still injured, the Wheat Kings again started Carson Bjarnason, a 16-year-old from Carberry, Man., who now is 3-0-0, 3.84, .895. . . . According to the online scoresheet, Brandon played a third straight game without having a backup goaltender in uniform. . . .

In Moose Jaw, F Tristen Robins had a goal and an assist — his fifth straight multi-point game — as the Saskatoon Blades edged the Warriors, 4-3. . . . F Cade Hayes (3) pulled the Warriors (3-3-0) into a 3-3 tie at 12:59 of the third period. . . . F Egor Sidorov (2) won it for the Blades (4-1-1) at 14:30. . . . Saskatoon was 3-for-4 on the PP. . . . Blades G Ethan Chadwick, a 17-year-old from Saskatoon, stopped 25 shots to earn the victory in his first career start. . . .

In Prince Albert, the Raiders scored the only two goals of a shootout to beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 3-2. . . . D Kaiden Guhle and F Reece Vitelli had the shootout goals as the Raiders improved to 2-5-0. . . . The Tigers (2-3-1) forced OT when F Noah Danielson (1) scored while shorthanded at 4:08 of the third period. . . .

In Red Deer, G Brayden Peters stopped 25 shots for his first shutout of the season and second of his career as the Calgary Hitmen beat the Rebels, 2-0. . . . The Rebels (3-3-1) had won 8-1 in Calgary on Friday night. . . . The Hitmen (2-3-0) got a goal and an assist from D Keagan Slaney (1), who had been acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings earlier in the week. . . .

In Winnipeg, F Matt Savoie scored twice and added an assist as the Ice ran its record to 6-0-0 with a 6-3 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . The Ice has outscored its opponents 40-10 in the six games it has played. . . . Savoie scored his second and third goals on a team-high six shots. . . . The Pats are 2-5-0.


——


G Dawson Green came out of a Saturday MJHL assignment with two pucks — one for the shutout and one for the goal. . . . Green, a 20-year-old from Brandon, is in his first season with the Winnipeg Blues after playing two seasons with Neepawa. . . . On Saturday, before 112 fans at the RINK Training Centre in Winnipeg, he stopped 23 shots in a 3-0 victory over the Selkirk Steelers, and he put it away with an empty-net goal at 19:44 of the third period. . . . This season, Green is 9-0-0, 1.46, .944, with one goal.



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.


SocialMedia

Oil Kings add big defenceman in deal; send four assets to Hitmen . . . Bankier leads Blazers to sweep . . . QMJHL to retire No. 4


If there was any doubt about whether the Edmonton Oil Kings are serious about Edmontonthe title chase this season, it ended on Wednesday afternoon when they cut a deal with the Calgary Hitmen. Yes, the Oil Kings, the CHL’s top-ranked team, are all-in. . . . The Oil Kings (3-1-1) acquired D Luke Prokop, the first player in junior hockey history to come out as gay, from the Hitmen (1-2-0) in exchange for D Blake Heward, D Keagan Slaney, a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2022 draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2024. . . .

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Prokop, 19, is from Edmonton. The Hitmen selected him with the seventh-overall pick of the WHL’s 2017 draft. He has one goal and one assist in three games this season. In 153 career games, he put up eight goals and 35 assists. . . . He came out on July 19. He signed an entry-level deal with the Nashville Predators, who had selected him in the third round of the NHL’s 2020 draft, and is the only openly gay player signed to an NHL contract. . . . “He has had a significant impact on our team, our city and the entire hockey community with his courage and determination,” Hitmen general manager Jeff Chynoweth said of Prokop in a statement. “The trade provides Luke the opportunity to finish his WHL career in his hometown. We wish him the very best.” . . .

Slaney, 18, had two goals and nine assists in 78 games with Edmonton. From CalgaryAirdrie, Alta., he was the 20th overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Heward, from Regina, is the son of former WHL/NHL D Jamie Heward, who now is an assistant coach with the AHL’s Henderson, Nev., Silver Knights. Blake, a seventh-round pick by the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL’s 2018 draft, has three assists in 23 games with the Oil Kings. . . .

The Oil Kings and Hitmen are scheduled to meet for the first time this season on Nov. 5 and 6 when they go home-and-home, opening in Calgary and finishing the Friday-Saturday doubleheader in Edmonton. . . . Prokop should make his Edmonton debut on Friday against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . On Friday, the Hitmen are at home to the Red Deer Rebels.

——

There were three WHL games on Wednesday night . . .

In Moose Jaw, the Prince Albert Raiders built a 3-0 lead and hung on for a 3-2 victory over the Warriors. . . . F Sloan Stanick, acquired this week by the Raiders (1-4-0) from the Regina Pats, took a major for goaltender interference at 15:50 of the third period. The Warriors (2-2-0) scored twice on the PP but weren’t able to equalize. . . . D Kaiden Guhle had two assists in his first game back with the Raiders after being with the Montreal Canadiens. . . .

D Chad Nychuk scored twice, including the winner at 2:22 of OT, as the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Saskatoon Blades, 5-4. . . . The Blades (2-1-1) had a 35-24 edge in shots, but were outshot 4-0 in OT. . . . Nychuk has four goals for Brandon (3-3-0). . . . The Blades got two goals and an assist from F Brandon Lisowsky and a goal and two helpers from F Tristen Robins, who has two goals and six assists in three games. . . . Saskatoon was without F Jayden Wiens, who served the first of a two-game suspension after running into Brandon G Ethan Kruger in Saskatoon’s 6-2 victory in Brandon on Oct. 9. Kruger left that game with an apparent left leg injury, Kruger was scratched for a second straight game last night and, according to the online scoresheet, the Wheat Kings didn’t dress a backup goaltender for a second straight game. . . .

F Caedan Bankier scored three goals and set up two others to lead the Kamloops Blazers to an 8-3 victory over the Royals in Victoria. . . . Bankier, who scored twice on the PP, has five goals with the Blazers at 4-0-0. They had beaten the host Royals, 3-2, on Tuesday. . . . F Brayden Schuurman scored his sixth goal for the Royals (1-4-0). . . . Bankier had three goals, including the OT winner, in a 4-3 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets on May 1 during the 2021 development season. The 18-year-old from Surrey, B.C., was a third-round pick by the Minnesota Wild in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . The Blazers will complete a stretch of four road games in five nights by playing the Rockets in Kelowna on Friday and the Giants in Langley, B.C., on Saturday.


Jamie Kompon, now an associate coach with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, spent two seasons (2014-16) as the Portland Winterhawks’ general manager and head coach. He is in his sixth season on the Jets’ staff.


Saturday


I hope you took time away from watching the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs play one of a gazillion hockey games that will be on TV this season to watch at least some of Canada’s men’s soccer team beating Jamaica, 4-1, in a World Cup qualifier on Wednesday night. . . . And if you did I hope you got to see Alphonso Davies’s goal because it was one for the ages. Yes, it should be the GOAL OF THE YEAR on every year-end highlight show two months down the road.


The QMJHL will retire No. 4 across the league in honour of the great Guy qmjhlnewLafleur. The ceremony will take place on Oct. 28 in Quebec City as the Remparts play host to the Shawinigan Cataractes. . . . From a QMJHL news release: “Lafleur was elected the league’s all-time greatest player as determined by a panel of experts during the 50th anniversary season celebrations, just ahead of the great Mario Lemieux. The Outaouais native played two seasons with the Quebec Remparts from 1969 to 1971, collecting 233 goals and 146 assists in 118 games. On Feb. 5, 1971, he became the only QMJHL player to score five goals in a single period. He finished that game with 11 points. The “Démon Blond” also led the 1971 Remparts to a Memorial Cup championship, the first of 13 national championships for the QMJHL.” . . . The Guy Lafleur Trophy is awarded to the most valuable player in the QMJHL playoffs. . . . Lafleur was among the first players inducted into the QMJHL Hall of Fame in 1997. . . . If you’re wondering, the QMJHL has had this on its agenda for a while now, but the pandemic kept getting in the way.


Cheese


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.


Vegas

No Ridley, no victories for Tigers . . . Benton back with ‘Tips for two . . . WHL, Raiders backtrack on alternate sweaters


The Medicine Hat Tigers and Swift Current Broncos completed a season-Tigersopening home-and-home series on Saturday night. The Broncos won the opener, 2-0, at home on Friday, then completed the sweep with a 3-2 victory in Medicine Hat on Saturday. . . . However, you can bet that the participants recognized that something was missing. Bob Ridley, the radio voice of the Tigers, wasn’t there; he’s in Lethbridge undergoing radiation treatments. . . . Darren Steinke, who keeps track of such things, notes that Ridley has done the play-by-play on 4,021 of the 4,022 games the Tigers have played since entering the WHL for the 1970-71 season. That includes regular-season games, one tiebreaker, playoff games and Memorial Cup games. . . . And let’s not forget that Ridley drove the Tigers’ bus for a lot of those seasons. You don’t even want to think about how much coffee he drank back in those days. . . . In Ridley’s absence, Scott Roblin of CHAT in Medicine Hat is calling the games.


The Everett Silvertips will play their season-opener tonight (Sunday) when Everettthey face the Chiefs in Spokane. The Silvertips won’t play again until Friday when they hold their home-opener, this time against the Portland Winterhawks. . . . With Mike Benton, the Silvertips’ radio voice for the previous six seasons, having left to join Seattle radio station KJR, you are wondering who will be doing the play-by-play for Everett now, aren’t you? . . . Well, a little birdie has told me that Benton will handle the first two games as the Silvertips work to get a new voice into place. . . . With KJR, Benton is handling the pre-game, intermission and post-game shows for Seattle Kraken games.


The WHL issued a statement late Saturday after the Prince Albert Raiders had unveiled a third sweater that included a controversial logo from their past. Yes, this qualifies as one of those ‘Yikes, what were they thinking?’ moments. . . . Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com has more right here.


Meanwhile, on the ice in the WHL on Saturday . . .

If you’re on Twitter, there are some interesting noise-related comments on the thread here . . .

In Regina, the Pats scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 5-2. F Sloan Stanick scored twice and added an assist for the Pats in a game that was televised nationally by CBC with Victor Findlay calling the play and Sam Cosentino providing the analysis. . . . If you’re on the Connor Bedard watch, he was interviewed during CBC’s pre-game show and again in the second intermission. Oh, he also scored the game’s last goal, his third in two games. . . . Regina had won, 3-1, in Prince Albert on Friday night. While the Pats rode the iron lung home after the game, the Raiders got some shut-eye in their own beds before heading south Saturday at 6:15 a.m. . . . Rob Vanstone has more on Saturday’s game right here. . . .

The Winnipeg Ice completed a home-and-home sweep of the Brandon Wheat Kings, winning 7-1 in the Manitoba capital. F Connor McClennon had two goals for the Ice, with D Carson Lambos adding a goal and two assists. . . . The Ice had won, 10-2, in Brandon on Friday. . . .

The visiting Swift Current Broncos opened up a 3-0 first-period lead en route to a 3-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . G Isaac Poulter stopped 29 shots for his second victory in two nights. . . . The Broncos had beaten the Tigers, 2-0, in Swift Current on Friday. . . .

F Tristen Robins scored the game-winner and added an assist on the insurance goal as the host Saskatoon Blades beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-2. . . . The Warriors had dumped the Blades, 7-1, in Moose Jaw on Friday. . . .

The host Red Deer Rebels skated to a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings, scoring the game’s last three goals, the final two into an empty net. . . . The Rebels earned a split in their season-opening home-and-home series, having lost 4-1 in Edmonton on Friday. . . . Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate noted that Saturday’s victory was “just the second time the Rebels have beat Edmonton since December 2018, a span of 20 games.” . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s last three goals, the first two early in the second period and both from F Matthew Rempe, as they beat the Winterhawks, 3-1, in Portland. . . .

F Connor Levis broke a 4-4 tie with a PP goal at 15:09 of the third period as the Kamloops Blazers beat the Cougars, 5-4, in Prince George. The Cougars had come back from 3-0 and 4-3 deficits but weren’t ever able to grab a lead. . . . D Hudson Thornton had a goal and two assists for Prince George. . . .

G Jesper Vikman, a 19-year-old from Stockholm, Sweden, stopped 16 shots in his WHL debut as the Vancouver Giants defeated the host Victoria Royals, 5-0. . . . The game wasn’t as kind to Victoria G Sebastian Wraneschitz, who is from Vienna, Austria. He gave up three goals on six shots and left 7:24 into the game. . . . Vancouver F Connor Horning scored once and added an assist in his 200th regular-season WHL game. . . . The Giants were without head coach Michael Dyck, as he served a one-game suspension after his team was involved in a “multiple-fight situation” against Prince George on Sept. 24. Associate coach Keith McCambridge took over in Dyck’s absence. . . .

In Spokane, the Tri-City Americans erased a 3-2 deficit with three third-period goals as they scored a 5-3 victory over the Chiefs. . . . F Parker Bell’s goal at 15:13 of the third period broke a 3-3 tie and stood up as the winner.


It doesn’t happen often, but a veteran of the QMJHL wars has made his way to Royalsthe WHL. F Bailey Peach, 20, has been added to the Victoria Royals’ roster and was in the lineup on Saturday night. . . . From Falmouth, N.S., he cleared QMJHL waivers after being released by the Charlottetown Islanders. He played three seasons (2017-20) plus five games last season with the Sherbrooke Phoenix before moving on to the Islanders last season. In 184 regular-season QMJHL games, he put up 40 goals and 67 assists. He added one goal and five assists in 26 playoff games. . . . Peach joins F Tarun Fizer and F Graeme Bryks as the Royals’ 20-year-olds.


G Robin Lehner of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights hit the send button on the above tweet on Saturday evening. He has more than 107,000 followers. You can bet that we are going to be hearing a lot about this over the next few days.


Helf


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.


Specials

Raiders to hit road early for TV appearance . . . Bedard opens with a pair . . . Three hat-tricks, one shutout on WHL’s opening night

The CHL is back on TV this (Saturday) afternoon as the Regina Pats play host to CHLthe Prince Albert Raiders in a game that is to be shown on CBC. . . . If you tune in, you’re going to get Victor Findlay doing the play-by-play with analysis by Sam Cosentino, who is hardly a stranger to major junior hockey. . . . Findlay has a whole lot of play-by-play experience, having called a lot of Canadian university games, as well as a couple of Champions Hockey League finals, some Ottawa Senators games and an IIHF U-18 World championship. . . . It’ll be a quick turnaround for the teams after Regina won, 3-1, in Prince Albert on Friday night. The Raiders’ bus is to hit the road at 6:15 a.m. . . . You may recall that CHL climbed into bed with Sportsnet in 1998 and then the two parties signed a 12-year “partnership extension” on Feb. 18, 2014, that was to run through the 2025-26 season. . . . Their relationship ended this summer, with Sportsnet bailing and the CHL signing on with TSN, RDS and CBC on what the hockey people called “multi-platform, multi-year broadcast partnerships.” . . . It all starts today at 1 p.m. Regina time — that’s noon PT — and you can bet the spotlight will be on Regina F Connor Bedard, who, at 16, comes with all the adjectives you might imagine. He scored the game’s first and last goals on Friday in Prince Albert and, yes, he was named first star. . . . Blogger Darren Steinke was in Prince Albert on Friday night and his report is right here.

——

Elsewhere in the WHL on Friday night . . .

G Isaac Poulter stopped 20 shots to record the first shutout of the season as the host Swift Current Broncos got past the Medicine Hat Tigers, 2-0. That was Poulter’s second career shutout. His first came on March 13, 2019, when he stopped 33 shots as the Broncos beat the host Regina Pats, 2-0. . . .

In Moose Jaw, F Brayden Yager, 16, who is from Saskatoon, struck for three goals as the Warriors beat the Blades, 7-1. Alex Clarke of Weyburn, Sask., became the first woman to work as an on-ice official in a WHL regular-season game when she partnered with Ryan Lundquist on the lines. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings got three goals from F Josh Williams and three assists from F Jakub Demek as they defeated the visiting Red Deer Rebels, 4-1. Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate points out that the Oil Kings have won 18 of their last 19 meetings with the Rebels. Yes, that’s domination. . . .

F Noah Boyko scored three times and F Justin Hall had a goal and four assists as the host Lethbridge Hurricanes dropped the Calgary Hitmen, 9-2. . . .

In Brandon, the Winnipeg Ice thrashed the Wheat Kings, 10-2. Winnipeg got two goals from each of F Skyler Bruce and F Mikey Milne. Ice G Daniel Hauser stopped 20 shots, including a pair of penalty shots. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., the Tri-City Americans scored twice in a five-round shootout to beat the Portland Winterhawks, 5-4. Dwayne Jean Jr., a 17-year-old freshman from Edmonton, got the shootout winner.



Hygiene



In case you missed it, this from Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle: “The Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a ball completely out of Dodger Stadium on Thursday night, a shot that landed on top of the left-field pavilion and disappeared into the night. According to the Dodgers’ website, only five other players have done that since the park opened in 1962: Willie Stargell (1969 Pirates), Stargell again (1973 Pirates), Mike Piazza (1997 Dodgers), McGwire (1999 Cardinals) and Giancarlo Stanton (2015 Marlins).”



F Zac Rinaldo refuses to get vaccinated against COVID-19 so it would seem the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets are through with him. Earlier, the team told Rinaldo to stay away from their training camp. On Friday, Rinaldo, 31, cleared NHL waivers and the Blue Jackets told him not to bother reporting to camp with the Cleveland Monsters, their AHL affiliate, when it opens on Tuesday. . . . Rinaldo signed a one-year, two-way contract in August. He won’t be getting his NHL salary (US$750,000), but will draw his AHL salary ($300,000) while he doesn’t play. . . . The Blue Jackets have told Rinaldo that he is free to look for other opportunities.


AuntEdna


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.


Fur

Looking for WHL rosters? Look no further . . . Thompson no longer on Sharks’ staff . . . NHL lays out restrictions for unvaccinated players

Unvaxxed


If you’re looking for WHL rosters, I would suggest that you check out the work of Alan Caldwell. He has the latest rosters right here, and you should know that they include a whole lot more than name and position. . . . And if you aren’t following him on Twitter, he’s at @smallatlarge.


The OHL, under commissioner David Branch, has issued an indefinite OHLsuspension to D Logan Mailloux of the London Knights. Yes, that’s the same Logan Mailloux who was selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . Branch’s reasoning behind the suspension was that Mailloux “violated the league’s expectation of appropriate conduct for an OHL player.” . . . He will be eligible to apply for reinstatement on Jan. 1 “based in part on his conduct since his return to Canada and the appropriate treatment, counselling, mentoring and/or education he receives from the date of this decision.”. . . Ken Campbell has more at his site right here.



The Prince Albert Raiders announced on Wednesday that Bruno Zarrillo is the club’s new director of player personnel, replacing Curt Brownlee “effective immediately.” . . . Brownlee had been with the Raiders since 2011, first as a scout and then as director of player personnel for the past two-plus seasons. . . . Zarillo has been scouting for the Raiders since 2011-12. . . . The last sentence of the Raiders’ news release stated: “No further comments will be made at this time.”


NoVax


You will recall that the Edmonton Elks weren’t able to play an Aug. 26 game after having 13 positive tests. That game, in Toronto against the Argonauts, now will be played on Nov. 16. . . . The Elks now will play their final three regular-season games in seven days, meeting the host Saskatchewan Roughriders on Nov. 13, playing in Toronto on Nov. 16, and facing the B.C. Lions in Vancouver on Nov. 19. . . . The Elks, Argos and Lions will be allowed to each add five players to their game rosters for those dates.


Rocky Thompson no longer is part of the San Jose Sharks’ coaching staff. The Covidformer WHL player and coach had been the NHL team’s associate coach. . . . “Due to a medical exemption that prevents me from taking the COVID-19 vaccine, under the new league protocols, I am not permitted to fulfill my duties on the Sharks coaching staff at this time,” Thompson said in a news release.”I will have no further comment on this matter.” . . . As a player, Thompson split three seasons (1994-97) between the Medicine Hat Tigers and Swift Current Broncos. He later was an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oil Kings for three seasons (2007-10). . . .

Meanwhile, in MLB, Bob Boone, a vice-president with the Washington Nationals, has quit rather than comply with the organization’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Boone, 73, is a former catcher, and is the father of New York Yankees manager Aaron and Bret, who also play in the majors. Bob had been with the Nationals since 2005. The Nationals told employees on Aug. 14 that they have until Sept. 15 to be fully vaccinated or face losing their jobs unless there is a medical exemption involved.


Demons


The NHL is going to make life a lot tougher on unvaccinated players than those nhl2who have been vaccinated once the approaching season gets started. . . . Emily Kaplan of ESPN reported: “On the road, unvaccinated players will not be able to go anywhere except for the team hotel, practice facility and arena, according to a 27-page document outlining the protocols, which was obtained by ESPN. At the team hotel, unvaccinated players can’t use the bar, restaurant, gym or pool and cannot have teammates or visitors in their rooms. . . . Unvaccinated players are prohibited from carpooling or using saunas. They are encouraged not to eat and drink on flights, attend bars or clubs or eat indoors — even at home — with people outside their households or personal bubbles.” . . . Kaplan has more, a whole lot more, right here.

——

In the meantime, two NFL teams — the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers — are 100 per cent vaccinated. That’s all players and staff. . . . The NFL’s regular season is scheduled to get rolling on Thursday with the Buccaneers, the defending Super Bowl champions, entertaining the Dallas Cowboys, who were 0-4 in the preseason, if that means anything.



The Oakland A’s have closed their minor-league complex in Mesa, Ariz., at least through Sunday because of COVID-19 issues. . . . “Following a number of positive COVID-19 tests by members of the Oakland A’s organization at the Lew Wolff Training Complex, the Club will close the Mesa complex through Sunday,” a news release from the A’s reads.“We are following Major League Baseball’s recommendations for testing and protocols to ensure the health and safety of our players and staff.”


Marines


Boxer Oscar De La Hoya is in a Los Angeles hospital after having tested positive for COVID-19. De La Hoya, who said he is fully vaccinated, was quoted as saying: “I feel bad, bad, bad, bad. I have Covid, my chest doesn’t — I can’t breathe well.” . . . The 48-year-old was to have returned to the ring on Sept. 11 in Los Angeles against Vitor Belfort, a former UFC champion. That fight isn’t going to happen now. . . . De La Hoya last fought in 2008 when he lost to Manny Pacquiao.


Matt Hagan, the NHRA points leader in Funny Car and the defending champion, won’t be able to compete in the U.S. Nationals after testing positive. The Nationals are being held this weekend in Indianapolis.


Musketeers


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: General manager Steve Yzerman has made some changes to the Detroit Red Wings’ scouting staff. Two men who know their way around the WHL — Bruce Haralson and Marty Stein — are gone, while Greg Hawgood has been added. Haralson had been with the Red Wings since 1996, first as an amateur scout and then, for the past 12 seasons, as a pro scout. Before joining Detroit, he split 10 seasons between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Hartford Whalers. Stein had been an amateur scout since 1996. Hawgood, a former Kamloops Blazers defenceman who was the team’s head coach for part of one season, was a scout with the Chicago Blackhawks for the past three seasons. . . . Think about his for a minute or two — in his last three seasons with Kamloops, Hawgood put up 119, 123 and 133 points. . . .

The Regina Pats have added Ken Schneider to their staff as an assistant coach. Schneider spent the past three seasons scouting for the Pats. He is a former WHLer (Brandon, 1980-82). He has coached at various levels and was behind the bench with the Ile-des-Chenes, Man., North Stars when they won the Allan Cup as Canada’s national senior champions.


Coffee

QMJHL follows OHL in going to mandatory vaccinations; still quiet on WHL front . . . Swedish goalie headed to Portland? . . . Pats, Royals swing deal

Sheep
It was 31C in the smoke on Monday afternoon just a few kilometres east of Kamloops where about 20 California bighorns — females and yearlings — stopped off for lunch. Or was it an early dinner? The gal on the right was eyeballing me to make sure I didn’t move any closer.

The QMJHL is moving to mandatory vaccinations for all of its “players and staff qmjhlnewwho are in contact with players,” according to Karissa Donkin of CBC News. . . . The policy also will include members of billet families who are eligible to be vaccinated. . . . Karl Jahnke, the QMJHL’s chief marketing officer, told Donkin that players had been notified of the policy a few weeks ago, adding that should a player choose not to be vaccinated “obviously, it’s a personal decision but they won’t be able to play.” . . . Trevor Georgie, the president and general manager of the Saint John Sea Dogs, said his organization has had “one player (who) won’t be able to meet those guidelines. We have one billet family that won’t be able to meet the guidelines, and we have one staff member (who) may not be able to meet those guidelines.” . . . Donkin’s story is right here.

The OHL also has moved to mandatory vaccinations and has posted its protocol on its website, something the QMJHL hasn’t yet done.

The WHL, which has teams in four provinces and two states, has yet to say anything, one way or the other, about mandatory vaccinations.


Fauci


——

The New York Times: “California and New York City both announced that they would require their workers to get a coronavirus vaccine or get tested weekly amid the spread of the more contagious Delta variant.”

——

The New York Times: “President Biden is considering requiring all civilian federal employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or be forced to submit to regular testing, social distancing, mask requirements and restrictions on most travel, officials said on Tuesday.”

——

The New York Times: “LL Cool J, Elvis Costello, Andrea Bocelli, Carlos Santana and the New York Philharmonic will join Bruce Springsteen and others at the Central Park concert New York City is planning, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. Proof of vaccination will be required.”

——


Deer1
A couple of young bucks were among five deer who came down out of the smoke for dinner behind the Drinnan residence on Tuesday evening. That is a hay field and, yes, the owner irrigates.


Might Swedish G Jesper Wallstedt play for the Portland Winterhawks in 2021-Portland22? Or will he go back home to play? Or does he end up in the AHL? . . . Jim Matheson, the veteran hockey writer with Postmedia in Edmonton, tweeted Monday afternoon that he is “hearing” that Wallstedt “might be playing for Portland . . . rather than back with Lulea.” . . . Wallstedt and Sebastian Cossa of the Edmonton Oil Kings were the two best goaltenders available in last weekend’s NHL draft. Cossa was taken by the Detroit Red Wings in the first round; the Minnesota Wild took Wallstedt five picks later. . . . Of course, because Wallstedt, who is to turn 19 on Nov. 14, was drafted from a European team, the Wild could sign him and place him with its AHL affiliate, the Iowa Wild. . . . The Winterhawks acquired Wallstedt’s WHL rights from the Moose Jaw Warriors on July 6 for a sixth-round pick in the WHL’s 2023 draft. The Warriors had selected him in the 2019 CHL import draft.


Rob Vanstone, in the Regina Leader-Post, looking forward to the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ home-opener on Aug. 6: “You can’t bring peanuts, blow horns, selfie sticks or sunflower seeds into Mosaic Stadium, but you can bring in COVID-19. Proof of vaccination is not required for entry.”

Meanwhile, you will have to be fully vaccinated if you hope to attend the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ home-opener against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Aug. 5.


Texas


MLB’s trade deadline arrives on Friday afternoon, so when the Washington Nationals yanked SS Trea Turner in the first inning of a Tuesday night game with the Phillies in Philadelphia, well, a lot of people were wondering where he would be going. . . . It turns out that he had tested positive, so will be out at least 10 days, which will take him past the trade deadline. . . . It wasn’t immediately known if he is vaccinated, but OF Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers is fully vaccinated and he, too, has tested positive. He reportedly has mild symptoms.


The Regina Pats have acquired G Keegan Maddocks, 18, from the Victoria Royals for F Carter Massier, 20. . . . Maddocks, an eighth-round pick by the Royals in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, is from Langley, B.C. He was 0-1-0, 3.31, .900 in two games with the Royals in the 2021 development season. . . . When the 2021 season ended, the Pats also had G Matthew Kieper, 17, and G Spencer Welke, 19, on their roster. As for 2001-born players, the roster included F Carter Chorney, D Ryker Evans, F Logan Nijhoff and F Zack Smith. . . . Massier had five goals and seven assists in 24 games in the Regina hub in the 2021 development season. In 91 regular-season games with the Pats, he has 13 goals and 14 assists. He is from Peace River, Alta. . . . The Royals’ season-ending roster included three 2001-born players — D Graeme Bryks, F Tarun Fizer, F Brayden Tracey.



The Calgary Hitmen have signed four members of their hockey operations Calgarydepartment to contract extensions — general manager Jeff Chynoweth, head coach Steve Hamilton and assistant coaches Trent Cassan and Joel Otto. The length of the extensions wasn’t revealed. Chynoweth is preparing for his fifth season with the Hitmen, while Hamilton has been head coach through three seasons. Otto is going into his 15th season, with Cassan entering his sixth.


Swing


The Swift Current Broncos have signed German D Rayan Bettahar to a WHL Scurrentcontract. He was the fifth overall selection in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. . . . Bettahar, 17, played just three games in 2020-21, putting up one assist for the Jungadler Mannheim U-20 side. In 2019-20, he had two goals and 25 assists in 35 games for the program’s U-17. . . . He is the first German player to have been selected by the Broncos in the import draft. . . . Swift Current also selected Russian F Alexei Shanaurin in the June 30 draft. He signed a WHL contract on July 21. . . . The Broncos didn’t have any imports on the roster with which they finished the 2021 development season.



The schedule has been released for the IIHF Women’s World Championship that is scheduled to open in Calgary Aug. 20. The opening day features a tripleheader — Czech Republic vs. Denmark, noon MST; Finland vs. Canada, 4 p.m.; and Switzerland vs. U.S., 7:30 p.m. . . . The complete schedule is right here. . . . Team Canada opened training camp in Calgary on Tuesday.


——

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: Rob Mahon is the new radio voice of the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders. Mahon spent the past four seasons doing play-by-play for the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. In Prince Albert, he takes over from Trevor Redden, who left the position after four seasons. . . . Former NHLer Matt Smaby is the new head coach of the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks. He takes over from P.K. O’Handley, the head coach since 2002 who stepped aside and now serves as the organization’s president. Smaby has coaching experience as an assistant at the U of North Dakota and with Salzburg Red Bull in Austria. In the pandemic-riddled 2020-21 season, he ran the Grand Forks, N.D., Youth Hockey Program.


Dogs

Lightning strikes twice in two years for ex-WHLers . . . Raiders sign import goalie . . . Horrible day for Roughriders

Vaccine



A brief weather-related note: As we were driving into Kamloops early this afternoon, the temperature was 31C. . . . That is 16 degrees higher than what it was at 2 a.m. . . . It also is 16 degrees ‘cooler’ than what it was here on June 29. . . . Is this a great time to be alive, or what?


Grant Armstrong has added a couple of rings to his haberdashery since leaving the WHL. Armstrong and his wife, Lezlie, were in Tampa Bay on Wednesday night to celebrate with the Lightning as they won their second consecutive Stanley Cup. . . . “I’m a little weary because it was a late night,” he told Tom Zillich of the Surrey Now-Leader on Thursday, “but well worth it. It’s special.” . . . Zillich’s complete story is right here. . . . Armstrong was with the Portland Winterhawks for five seasons (2007-12) and the Victoria Royals for three (2013-16) before working for the Brandon Wheat Kings for three seasons (2016-19) as general manager. . . . He has been scouting for the Lightning for two seasons and, yes, he now has two Stanley Cup rings. . . .

Also on Tampa Bay’s scouting staff is Josh Dye, a former Portland scout who has been with the Lightning for two seasons, meaning that he, too, has a pair of rings. Dye scouted for Portland from 2006-13 before spending three years with Newport Sports Management Inc. He returned to Portland prior to the 2016-17 season as the team’s U.S. and European scout. . . .

And let’s not forget Jason Berger, the Lightning’’s assistant equipment manager. Berger spent four seasons (2007-11) with the Seattle Thunderbirds as their equipment manager. He just completed his fourth season with the Lightning.

——

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s front office also includes two former WHL players — Jamie Pushor and Stacy Roest. . . . Pushor is assistant general manager, director of player personnel. Pushor played 204 regular-season games over five seasons with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. He has been with the Lightning for 10 seasons now. . . . Roest, the Lightning’s assistant general manager, director of player development, played four full seasons (1991-95) with the Medicine Hat Tigers. He has been with the Lightning for eight seasons; he also is the general manager of Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch. Roest’s son, Austin, is a 17-year-old forward preparing for his second season with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips.


History


The Prince Albert Raiders have signed G Tikhon Chayka of Belarus, who was Raiderspicked in the CHL’s 2001 import draft. . . . Chayka, who turns 18 on Aug. 26, got into three games with Belarus at the IIHF U18 World championship in Texas, going 2-1-0, 2.67, .911. . . . In 29 appearances with Team Belarus in a junior league there, he was 3.60, .870. . . . The Raiders didn’t have any imports on their roster in the Regina hub earlier this year. They finished the 2019-20 season with three on their roster — F Daniil Stepanov, now 20, of Belarus; F Aliaksei Protas, now 20, also of Belarus; and F Ivan Kechkin, now 19, of Russia.


Martyr


The CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders haven’t opened training camp — that happens on Saturday — but they lost four players to torn Achilles injuries on Thursday as they worked out at Mosaic Stadium in preparation for things getting serious. DE Freddie Bishop, MLB Larry Dean, RB Jonathan Femi-Cole and DB Nelson Lokombo all went down in a matter of minutes. General manager Jeremy O’Day told reporters that he expects all four to be out long-term. . . . Bishop and Dean were projected as starters after signing in February. . . . “It wasn’t a competitive drill by any means,” O’Day told reporters. “It happened close enough that while one trainer was dealing with one, then another trainer was dealing with another.” . . . Murray McCormick of the Regina Leader-Post has more 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: Barry Wolff has signed a two-year contract extension with the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders. According to a team news release, the contract contains “an option for a third year if he chooses.” Wolff is heading into his fourth season with the junior A team. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia tweeted on Wednesday that “longtime Vancouver Giants equipment manager Shingo Sasaki has left the club for a post with the Vancouver Canucks’ AHL team in Abbotsford.” . . .

Scott Burt, a former WHL player and assistant coach, has signed on as head coach and director of hockey operations with the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush. Burt spent 2019-20 as an assistant coach with the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads. Burt, 44, played three seasons (1995-98) in the WHL, suiting up with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Swift Current Broncos, Edmonton Ice and Red Deer Rebels. He later spent six seasons (2013-19) as an assistant coach with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Jackson Playfair has joined the UBC Thunderbirds men’s hockey team as a full-time assistant coach. Playfair, 27, played in the WHL for three seasons (2012-15) with the Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans before going on to spend four seasons at Dalhousie U. His father, Jim, also a former WHL player, is an associate coach with the Edmonton Oilers. . . .

USA Hockey has added F Cross Hanas of the Portland Winterhawks to the roster for the 2021 World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Mich., from July 24-31. Hanas, a draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings, is the only WHL player on the 44-man roster. . . . Matt Bardsley, who spent the previous three seasons as the Kamloops Blazers’ general manager, has joined the Philadelphia Flyers as an amateur scout. He left the Blazers with three years left on his contract, saying that he wanted to get his family back to the U.S. He will spend most of his scouting time working WHL games out of Portland. . . .

The Winnipeg Ice will have a new play-by-play voice following the resignation of Mitch Peacock, who had been its manager, broadcast and communications. He handled the play-by-play for each of the previous two seasons. . . . Hockey Canada has invited 45 players, 17 of them from the WHL, to it U-18 summer development that is scheduled for the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on the Tsuut’ina National near Calgary, from July 25 through Aug. 4. The six-man coaching staff includes three WHL head coaches — Brent Kisio (Lethbridge Hurricanes), Brad Lauer (Edmonton Oil Kings) and Dennis Williams (Everett Silvertips). There’s more right here.


Soccerplayer

WHL dumps inter-conference play, changes playoff format . . . Sasakamoose book well worth your time . . . Raiders’ radio voice steps aside

The WHL’s 2021-22 season won’t include any interlocking play between WHL2Eastern and Western conferences, which means, unfortunately, that fans in U.S. and B.C. division centres won’t get to see F Connor Bedard, the most-publicized prospect to enter the league in some time, live and in person. . . . Bedard is the first player to receive exceptional status in order to allow him to claim a full-time WHL roster spot as a 15-year-old. Bedard, who will turn 16 on July 17, has 12 goals and 16 assists in 15 games for the Pats in the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season. He left the Pats mid-season in order to play for Canada at the IIHF U18 World championship in Texas, where he had seven goals and seven assists in 14 games. . . . Bedard is eligible for the NHL’s 2023 draft. . . . It also means that those same U.S. and B.C. division fans won’t get to see F Matthew Savoie of the Winnipeg Ice. He was denied exceptional status prior to the 2018-19 season, but still got into 22 games and earned seven assists. He spent 2020-21 with the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints, putting up 21 goals and 17 assists in 34 games. . . . Savoie is eligible for the NHL’s 2022 draft. . . .

The WHL didn’t offer a reason for dumping inter-conference play in the news release it issued on Tuesday following the conclusion of its annual general meeting. However, I think we can assume that it’s all about trying to save money after not seeing any playoff revenue for two seasons now. . . . The WHL also announced that it plans to open its regular season on Oct. 1, with each team playing a 68-game schedule within its own conference. . . . The WHL added that “with the anticipated lifting of health restrictions in all jurisdictions” it expects to play its games without attendance restrictions. . . . If all goes according to plan, the regular season will end on April 3. . . . That would mean the WHL playoffs would start on April 8. Keep in mind that because of the pandemic the WHL hasn’t featured a playoff game since May 13, 2019, when the host Prince Albert Raiders won the championship with a 3-2 OT victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . The WHL has changed its playoff format, going back to a conference format that last was used in the spring of 2014. The two division winners will be seeded first and second, with the next six teams slotted three through eight. The first round will have one vs. eight, two vs. seven, etc., with teams reseeded by points after each round. . . . The WHL’s complete news release is right here.


With the Vegas Golden Knights having opened one Stanley Cup semifinal on VegasMonday night with a 4-1 victory over the visiting Montreal Canadiens, it seems the rest of the hockey world is learning what WHL fans have known for a long, long time. Yes, Kelly McCrimmon, the Golden Knights’ general manager, knows what he is doing.

Here’s columnist Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, writing about the Golden Knights prior to the start of the series:

“Just four years into their history, the stunning story of their rookie season is kind of yesterday’s news. Today, they are merely one of the best teams in the NHL. Owned by Bill Foley. The fans are of another level. The presidential work and so much other work done by George McPhee. The GM, McCrimmon, is the most effective in the NHL. Unafraid of making enormous trades. Unafraid of giant-sized signings. Unafraid of drafting players and then sending them packing in exchange for tangible assets. Unafraid of doing what others may think about, but rarely act upon.”

Doesn’t that pretty much describe the way McCrimmon operated when he owned the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings?

Simmons’ complete piece is right here.


SasakamooseIf you are in the market for something to read, may I suggest you take a gander at Call Me Indian, a book that was published last month and tells the story of Fred Sasakamoose. What’s it all about? Well, the subtitle pretty much tells it all — From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL’s First Treat Indigenous Player. . . . To think that Sasakamoose went from playing hockey and trying just to survive at a residential school in northern Saskatchewan to the lineup of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks in a few short years almost beggars belief. But he did just that, and a whole lot more. . . . Considering all that is happening these days involving residential schools and their history, both here and in the U.S., this really is a timely read. . . . Sasakamoose, who died of COVID-19 on Nov. 20 so didn’t live to see his book published, doesn’t go easy on himself either. He bares his heart and soul, including his issues with alcohol and parenting. In fact, if there is a hero in this book it isn’t Sasakamoose, rather it’s his long-suffering wife Loretta with whom he had nine children. . . . Give this book a try; I guarantee it’ll stay with you for a long time after you’re finished with it.



ICYMI, the CFL’s board of governors voted Monday to have the league’s nine CFLteams begin a 14-game regular season on Aug. 5. The season is to begin with a rematch of the last Grey Cup game — the Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 33-12, in Calgary on Nov. 24, 2019. . . . The CFL hasn’t played a game since then because of the pandemic. . . . The 2021 season is to open with that rematch being played in Winnipeg. . . . The 2021 Grey Cup game is to be played in Hamilton on Dec. 12. . . . Training camps are to open on July 10, with players needing to report and go through a quarantine process that will be decided in conjunction with local health officials. . . . There won’t be any exhibition games. . . . Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun takes a look at the CFL situation right here. . . . BTW, the Labour Day Classic in Regina is scheduled for Sept. 5, with the Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg on Sept. 11. In other words, all is almost right with the world.


Bobcats


Abbotsford Aces? Fraser Valley Falcons? The Vancouver Canucks are asking hockey fans in the Fraser Valley what they should name the AHL franchise that is to begin play in Abbotsford in the fall. The Canucks are moving their AHL affiliate, formerly the Utica Comets, to Abbotsford. . . . Daniel Wagner of vancouverisawesome.com has more right here.


Eric Bélanger has signed on as the first head coach in the history of the Trois-TRLionsRivières Lions, an expansion ECHL franchise that will be affiliated with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. . . . Bélanger, 43, spent the previous two seasons as the head coach of the midget AAA Chevaliers de Lévis. . . . His playing career included 820 NHL regular-season games split between the Los Angeles Kings, Carolina Hurricanes, Atlanta Thrashers, Minnesota Wild, Washington Capitals, Phoenix Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers. . . . In 2008-09, he was teammates with Marc-André Bergeron with the Minnesota Wild. Bergeron now is the Lions’ general manager.


Milkyway


The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, a 20-team junior B league, kijhlsaid Monday that it will open its 2021-22 season on Oct. 1 and wrap things up on Feb. 20. . . . “All 20 of the KIJHL’s member clubs will complete a 42-game regular season schedule that includes eight games against divisional opponents and two games each against teams in the opposing division within the same conference,” the league said in a news release. . . . That means that the Spokane Braves will be back after not operating in 2020-21 due to the U.S.-Canada border being closed to non-essential traffic. . . . The KIJHL news release is right here.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Trevor Redden, the play-by-play voice of the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders for the past four seasons, is leaving the position, citing wanting to prioritize “a different work-life balance, and being able to spend more time with family and friends.” He made the announcement via social media on Tuesday. Redden said that he will be remaining in Prince Albert where he works with Pattison Media Ltd. . . . Former Moose Jaw Warriors head coach Mike Stothers has joined the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks as an assistant coach. He spent the previous five seasons as head coach of the AHL’s Ontario Reign. Stothers, 59, was the Warriors’ head coach for three seasons (2011-14). . . .

The junior B Creston Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have signed Bill Rotheisler, their general manager and head coach, to a one-year deal through 2021-22. Rotheisler is preparing for his second season in Creston, although his first season amounted to only three games because of the pandemic. If you aren’t familiar with Rotheisler’s story, including his battle with lymphatic cancer, Google is your friend. . . . Serge Lajoie, who spent one season (2018-19) as head coach of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, has been named head coach of Alberta’s male U16 team. Lajoie also is the head coach of OHA Edmonton’s U18 prep team.


Backseat

WHL heads into season’s final night . . . Winterhawks, Giants finish with victories . . . Happy birthday to the guy traded for a bus — Tom Martin!


On May 1, Medina Spirit, trained by Bob Baffert, won the Kentucky Derby.

On Sunday, it was revealed that Medina Spirit had failed a drug test and that Baffert had been suspended indefinitely from Churchill Downs in Kentucky, the site of the Derby.

The horse tested positive for betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory.

Baffert, who has had five horses test positive in the past year, called the situation “disturbing” and added that it was “the biggest gut punch in racing for something I didn’t do.”

We now await the outcome of a second round of testing on Medina Spirit.

In the meantime . . .

On Monday, Baffert told ESPN: “I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I know everybody is not out to get me, but there’s definitely something wrong. . . . There’s problems in racing. But it’s not Bob Baffert.”

Also on Monday, Baffert was blaming “cancel culture” and saying that Medina Spirit “has never been treated with” betamethasone.

Sheesh, he even talked about the possibility of a groom taking cough medicine, urinating in the horse’s stall and the horse eating some of the tainted hay.

By Tuesday, Baffert was admitting that the horse had been treated with an anti-fungal ointment that contains betamethasone.

Talk about a new take on “the dog ate my homework . . . or did he?”

Anyway . . . the Preakness Stakes is scheduled for Saturday. Medina Spirit will come out of the three-hole in the field of 10.


Better


Fernando Tatis Jr., the San Diego Padres’ most watchable shortstop, and at least two coaches with the New York Yankees have tested positive. . . . The Padres put Tatis Jr., who was asymptomatic, and teammates Jorge Mateo and Jurickson Profar, who were close contacts, on the injured list. . . . The Padres are in Denver where they beat the Colorado Rockies, 8-1, on Tuesday night. . . . Phil Nevin, the Yankees’ third-base coach, and first-base coach Reggie Willits tested positive despite having been fully vaccinated. An unidentified member of the team’s support staff also tested positive after having been fully vaccinated. . . . As of last night, the team was awaiting test results for other coaches and support staff. . . . The Yankees are in Tampa Bay where they beat the Rays, 3-1, on Tuesday. They are planning to play again today as scheduled. . . . Lindsey Adler of The Athletic reported that a source had said the game was allowed to proceed because contact tracing and the high rate of vaccinations among Yankees personnel indicated there was no significant additional risk.


Lives


Three more WHL teams concluded their seasons on Tuesday, with the last four set to do the same tonight (Wednesday) with the Prince George Cougars meeting the Blazers in Kamloops and the Victoria Royals facing the Rockets in Kelowna. . . .

F Kishaun Gervais broke a 2-2 tie at 4:10 of the third period and the Portland PortlandAlternateWinterhawks went on to a 5-3 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . This was the final game of the season for both teams. . . . Portland finished 13-8-3 by winning its last four games. . . . Tri-City (7-12-0) lost four in a row. . . . Portland got out to a 2-0 lead on goals from D Nick Cicek (5), at 12:06 of the first period, and D Clay Hanus (1), on a PP, at 2:47 of the second. . . . The Americans, who were beaten, 9-1, by the visiting Winterhawks on Sunday night, tied it on second-period goals by F Jake Sloan (4), at 3:13, and F Booker Daniel (4), at 16:57. . . . Gervais broke the tie with his first goal of the season, and F Gabe Klassen (8) made it 4-2, on a PP, at 10:03. . . . F Nick Bowman (5) pulled the Americans to within a goal, on a PP, at 15:23, but F Jaydon Dureau (10) put it away with the empty-netter. . . . Cicek also had two assists as he closed out his major junior career with a three-point outing. . . . Portland was 2-for-2 on the PP; Tri-City was 1-for-3. . . . The Winterhawks held a 43-20 edge in shots, including 16-1 in the first period. . . . From the WHL: “After 60 days and 55 games, the 2020-21 WHL U.S. Division schedule came to a successful conclusion on Tuesday.” The five U.S. teams went through 4,103 tests for COVID-19 with only two of those turning up positive. . . .

F Tristen Nielsen, playing the final junior game of his career, drew four primary Vancouverassists to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 6-1 victory over the Victoria Royals in Kamloops. . . . The Giants finished their season at 12-10-0. . . . The Royals, with one game remaining, are 3-16-2. . . . Nielsen, who turned 21 on Feb. 23, finished the season with 32 points, 15 of them goals, in 22 games. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk (7) scored shorthanded at 11:03 of the first period and D Marko Stacha (1) scored at 12:13 to give Vancouver a 2-0 lead. . . . Stacha, a freshman from Ilava, Slovakia, scored his first WHL goal in his 22nd game. He also has five assists. . . . F Keanu Derungs (5) scored for the Cougars, on a PP, at 19:29. . . . But the Giants closed it out with one second-period goal — from F Justin Sourdif (11) — and three in the third. . . . D Alex Kannok Leipert (7), on a PP, F Justin Lies (3) and F Bryce Bader (5), on a PP, finished the scoring. . . . D Tanner Brown had three assists, with Sourdif adding two helpers to his goal. . . . Last season, Brown had one goal and one assist in 57 games. This season, he finished with two goals and eight assist in 22 games. . . . The Giants outshot the Royals, 37-13, including 20-2 in the second period. . . .

Meanwhile, on Monday night, a pair of 16-year-olds — F Connor Levis and F KamloopsFraser Minten — had five-point outings as the Kamloops Blazers whipped the host Kelowna Rockets, 10-2. . . . That lifted the Blazers’ record to 17-4-0, with the Rockets slipping to 9-5-1. . . . Levis scored three times — his second hat trick of the season — and drew two assists, with Minten scoring once and adding four assists. . . . F Caedan Bankier (11) and F Josh Pillar (10) each chipped in a goal and three assists. . . . Levis, the 20th selection in the 2019 bantam draft, has nine goals and five assists in 21 games, while Minten, a fourth-round pick in that same draft, has three goals and 15 assists in 19 games. . . . The Blazers also got two goals from F Matthew Seminoff (12) and singles from D Inaki Baragano (5) and F Orrin Centazzo (6). . . . F Alex Swetlikoff (5) and F Dillon Hamaliuk (6) replied for the Rockets, their goals coming early in the third period to cut the deficit to 6-2. . . . The Blazers got 24 saves from G Dylan Ernst. . . . Kamloops, which held a 44-26 edge in shots, scored four times in each of the second and third periods as it went 5-for-7 on the PP. Kelowna was 0-for-2. . . .

——

The WHL’s department of justice came down on the Seattle Thunderbirds and Spokane Chiefs after their starting goaltenders got into a scrap late in the third period of Sunday’s game. Each team was fined $500.



Prince Albert is another step closer to a new arena, one that would be home to the WHL’s Raiders, as city council has voted to award design-related contracts for an estimate $3.2 million to firms from Saskatoon and Toronto. . . . Interestingly, the vote was 6-3 with one councillor, Tony Head, upset that local companies didn’t receive more consideration from the city’s administration. . . . Jason Kerr has that story right here.


Truck


ICYMI, the Priestner Sports Corporation, which owns the Saskatoon Blades, has purchased the National Lacrosse League’s Saskatchewan Rush from Bruce Urban. Urban moved the franchise from Edmonton to Saskatoon in 2016. . . . Both teams play out of Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre. . . . The PSC is headed up by Mike Priestner, who also owns Go Auto, which controls 47 Canadian dealerships. . . . Colin Priestner will be the Rush’s governor and president while continuing on as the Blades’ president and general manager. . . . Derek Keenan will stay on as the Rush’s GM.


Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. 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.


Reading

Two OHL teams file lawsuits over COVID-19 losses . . . Berard and Canada into semifinal at U18 tourney . . . Ominous words from B.C.’s top doctor?

That was a public service announcement from the premier of Nova Scotia. Please pay attention to what he has to say.


A pair of OHL teams — the Kingston Frontenacs and Sudbury Wolves — had pandemic-related insurance claims rejected by insurers and now have filed lawsuits claiming breach of contract, according to Rick Westhead of TSN. . . . Westhead reported that the Frontenacs filed a $1.1-million lawsuit against Lloyd’s Insurance Co., on Jan. 22, and the Wolves filed a $1-million lawsuit against Intact Insurance Co., on March 12. . . . Both teams are claiming that insurers breached contracts by “refusing to cover financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Westhead wrote. . . . His complete story is right here. . . . You are free to wonder if this is the start of something.


An update to something I mentioned here late last week. . . . F Peyton Krebs isn’t Vegasgoing to the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights; rather, he bypassed the AHL and went straight to the NHL where he made his debut with the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday night against the host Minnesota Wild. . . . Krebs recorded his first NHL point — an assist — in 9 minutes 5 seconds of ice time in a 6-5 loss to the Wild. He got the primary assist on a first-period goal by F Alex Tuch that gave Vegas a 3-2 lead. . . . Vegas selected him with the 17th pick of the NHL’s 2019 draft. Krebs just finished his 19-year-old season with the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice by leading the Regina hub with 43 points in 24 games. . . . He has AHL experience, having put up a goal and four assists in five games with the Silver Knights before the WHL season began. . . .

Meanwhile, the NHL’s San Jose Sharks have said they have assigned F Ozzy Wiesblatt of the Prince Albert Raiders to the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda. The Sharks selected him 31st overall in the NHL’s 2020 draft. Wiesblatt, who turned 19 on March 9, made his AHL debut before the WHL season started, scoring one goal in three games. . . . This season with the Raiders, he had seven goals and 21 assists in 23 games in the Regina hub.



F Connor Bedard had two goals and three assists on Monday as Canada dumped U18Czech Republic, 10-3, in one of four quarterfinal games at the IIHF U18 World Championship in Frisco and Plano, Texas. . . . Also on Monday, Sweden dumped Team USA, 5-2; Finland blanked Switzerland, 2-0; and Russia beat Belarus, 5-2. . . . The semifinals are scheduled for Wednesday with Canada playing Sweden at 2 p.m. PT, and Finland meeting Russia at 6 p.m. PT. . . . Bedard, 15, has three goals and six assists in five games. . . . Russian F Matvei Michkov, who turned 16 on Dec. 9, leads the tournament in goals (10) and points (12).


It appears that the WHL’s Everett Silvertips have lost D Kasper Puutio to KalPa EverettKuopio of Finland’s top professional league. It was announced Monday that Puutio has signed a two-year contract with the Liiga team. . . . Puutio, who will turn 19 on June 3, played with the Swift Current Broncos, who had selected him first overall in the 2019 CHL import draft, and the Silvertips in 2019-20, but pandemic-related travel restrictions meant he stayed in Finland this season. . . . Playing in Liiga with Kärpät, Puutio had a goal and two assists in 29 games. He also had two assists with Finland’s national junior team as it finished third at the World Junior Championship in Edmonton. . . . The Silvertips acquired him from the Broncos on Jan. 10, 2020. He had one goal and 15 assists in 35 games with the Broncos, then added four goals and eight assists in 21 games with the Silvertips. . . . The Florida Panthers selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2020 draft.


The AHL announced that is has postponed a game between the Utica Comets and host Rochester Americans that was to have been played on Monday night. The move was made “out of an abundance of caution in accordance with league protocols.” . . . The AHL didn’t release any other information. . . . Earlier this season, the Comets lost 10 straight games due to an outbreak within their roster.

Meanwhile, the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche placed G Devan Dubnyk on the COVID-19 protocol list on Monday. Later that night, it was confirmed that he has tested positive and will be sidelined for at least two weeks while he is in quarantine.


Whistleblower


If you are in B.C., and if you’re looking forward to big crowds at sporting events in three or four months, well, there were some ominous words from Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, on Monday.

During a news conference, she said:

“We have seen that things can happen and change very quickly . . . there is not likely to be big events of any sort, even outdoors, through this summer, and into the fall and winter of next year.”

I don’t know exactly what this means, but I have a feeling there will be a whole lot more on this in the days ahead.

Meanwhile, there was one WHL game on Monday night . . .

In Kamloops, F Matthew Seminoff opened and closed the scoring and D Fraser KamloopsMinten picked up four assists as the Blazers beat the Victoria Royals, 5-2. . . . Kamloops (14-4-0) has won two in a row. . . . Victoria (2-14-2) had points in each of its previous two games (1-0-1). . . . The Blazers points percentage now is .778, putting them back atop the B.C. Division, just ahead of the idle Kelowna Rockets (8-2-1, .773). . . . Seminoff, who has eight goals, gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 4:19 of the first period. . . . The Royals tied it at 10:46 when F Brandon Cutler (8) scored on a PP. . . . Kamloops went back in front at 1:23 of the second period on a goal by F Daylan Kuefler (4). But the Royals got it right back when F Tarun Fizer (5) scored 25 seconds later. . . . However, Kamloops scored the game’s next three goals. . . . F Tye Spencer (2) broke the tie 16 seconds after Fizer’s goal. . . . F Connor Levis (6) struck on a PP at 18:24, and Seminoff wrapped up the scoring at 14:40 of the third period. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 24 shots for Kamloops, four fewer than the Royals’ Adam Evanoff. . . . Minten, 16, was a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. He went into this game with a goal and seven assists in 15 games. . . . D Austin Zemlak made his WHL debut with the Royals. From Fort McMurray, he was the ninth overall selection in the 2020 bantam draft. . . . The Blazers were without F Connor Zary for a third straight game after he was injured on a high hit in a 5-1 loss to the Prince George Cougars on Wednesday night. The Blazers have four games remaining before wrapping up their season on May 12 and you have to wonder if Zary will return at all. . . . F Jonny Hooker of the Cougars had his suspension set at four games on Monday. He has sat out two, so won’t play tonight or Wednesday — the Cougars are scheduled to play Kelowna and Vancouver — before being eligible to return Saturday against Victoria.


CBC News reported Monday afternoon that Bernie Lynch, a longtime hockey coach who was on the staff of the WHL’s Regina Pats in 1988-89, “has been charged with sexual assault and assault . . . following a complaint from a former player.” . . . The Regina Police Service issued a warrant for his arrest on Friday and, according to CBC News, Lynch turned himself in to police in Devon, Alta. . . . “He faces one count each of sexual assault and assault,” CBC reported, “dating back to August 1988. The complainant was 17 at the time.” . . . The complete story is right here.


——

Don’t forget that my wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, 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.


Gator