Lots of food for thought in losses by Broncos and Warriors . . . QMJHL increases penalties for fighting at government request . . . Mustangs cleared for return to ice

Four of the WHL’s 22 teams are publicly owned and, as such, are obligated to hold annual general meetings and to release their financial statements.

Two of those teams — the Moose Jaw Warriors and Swift Current Broncos — whlannounced combined losses of more than $1 million on Tuesday night, something that should have set off alarm bells among fans hoping for some kind of 2020-21 season.

Moose Jaw finished the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season in last place in the East Division, while Swift Current was in the cellar of the Central Division. So neither team was in line to reap the rewards that come with qualifying for the playoffs.

The Broncos, whose average attendance dropped 444 from the previous season, lost $791,000, ending a run of six straight seasons in which they had shown a profit. Season-ticket sales were down 345, which is a big number for a team that plays in a 2,879-seat facility.

The Warriors, with their attendance down 366 per game, lost $391,299, running their two-season deficit to $556,444.

After Tuesday’s meeting, Randy Palmer of moosejawtoday.com reported that the team attributed $282,286 of its deficit  to “pandemic-related lost revenues.”

The Warriors also had to pay $180,846 as its share of the settlement of a $30-MooseJawWarriorsmillion class-action lawsuit, although that settlement has yet to be approved by the court. Still, assuming that it is, each of the WHL’s Canadian teams will be on the hook for that amount.

The Warriors, Palmer reported right here, still have $610,653 in the bank, but they did defer their annual $200,000 payment that is part of their commitment to the Multiplex. They have two payments left in a 10-year pledge.

It’s worth mentioning, too, that the Warriors Booster Club raised $238,771 in 2019-20.

The Warriors, like all WHL teams, are going to have a different organizational look whenever it is that play resumes. As club president Chad Taylor told Palmer: “We’ll need the help of the community when we get going again and hockey will look different — our staff will look different, we’ll be leaner — but that is the times and we’ll make it work.”

The Broncos, meanwhile, also will be leaner. These days, Dean Brockman, the SCBroncosdirector of hockey operations and head coach, is the only employee working on the hockey side of things, with Nathan MacDonald and Ryan Stricker on the business side. Their retail store — The Stable — is open and management has authorized 10 paid hours per week for communications.

Trent McLeary, a former Broncos player who now is chairman of the team’s board of directors, said after the AGM that “it’s a fight to survive,” stating that it will take the franchise years to recover from the loss.

“It’s like how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” McLeary told Steven Mah of the Southwest Booster. “We don’t think we have to make this up in one year . . . so there’s lots of challenges, lots of things that are going to challenge us as an organization, as a community. But we’re not the only ones, you look at baseball, you look at soccer, you look at everything.”

(Mah’s story is right here.)

The WHL’s two other publicly owned teams — the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Prince Albert Raiders — have yet to hold their annual general meetings.

The Raiders’ meeting is scheduled for Oct. 7. Following the 2018-19 season, one Raiders50in which they won the WHL championship, they announced a profit of $633,314. In the previous five seasons, they had shown losses totalling $806,571 in four of them; the exception being a profit of $3,892 in 2015-16.

When the 2019-20 season was halted, the Raiders were 36-18-10 and had clinched first place in the East Division. They had two home games remaining and may well have had a deep playoff run in their future. Their average attendance also was up 27 over the previous season, meaning the championship love affair in that city still was in full bloom.

The Hurricanes have said they will hold their AGM on a November date that Lethbridgehasn’t yet been announced.

They are coming off four straight profit-making seasons. Last season’s profit of $282,168 allowed the four-season total to grow to $1,639,321. (Don’t forget, though, that they had losses totalling more than $1.25 million in the previous five seasons.)

When the 2019-20 season ended, Lethbridge was 37-19-7 and third in the Central Division. Its attendance was down one fan per game, to 3,970, over 2018-19. Still, it lost three home dates to the cancellation, and who knows how many playoff games were in its future?

The Hurricanes pay the City of Lethbridge an annual maintenance fee of $166,667 for their home arena, the Enmax Centre. Last month, the Hurricanes and the City agreed to a one-year deferment of that payment, in the process adding a year to the arena lease that now runs through 2029-30. The Hurricanes asked for the deferment, citing revenues lost to the pandemic.

We will find out in November just how much they lost.

I would suggest that the four publicly owned franchises are far from being the WHL’s biggest spenders. Of course, the privately owned teams don’t have to share their numbers with the public. But judging by what the Broncos and Warriors reported, and what is surely to come from the Hurricanes and Raiders, you have to think there is some major pain being felt.

And that’s why the WHL can’t afford to start a season without being able to operate at less than 50 per cent capacity in its arenas. The losses from a season played without restrictions, albeit a shortened one, were large. Losses from a season played without fans in the stands would be mind-numbing.


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Here, in summation, is what I believe has happened with the QMJHL and qmjhlnewfighting. . . . The league approached the government and asked for $20 million in subsidies to help its 12 Quebec-based team get through the pandemic. . . . Isabelle Charest, a former Olympic speed skater who is the junior education minister, suggested the league needed to do more to eliminate fighting. . . . On Wednesday, the QMJHL’s board of governors voted to slap a fighter with a major and a misconduct, meaning that player would have to sit out 15 minutes. A player also would face a one-game suspension after accumulating three fights, with more time off for each fight after that. . . . Here is the QMJHL’s Rule 47: “All players involved in a fight will now be assessed a misconduct penalty (duration of 10 minutes) which will be added to the major penalty (five minutes), except if a player involved is considered an instigator or an aggressor. An automatic one-game suspension will be assessed after the third fight, and for any additional fight.” . . . There is a chart right here that explains all possible situations. . . . I guess we can assume the QMJHL now is awaiting an etransfer from the government.


Flushot


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs said Wednesday that they have been “approved to resume our training hockey-related activities.” Things had been on hold since Sept. 25 when one of their players tested positive. . . . According to the Mustangs, all tests “administered . . . this week have come back negative and there is no risk of the spread of the virus.: . . .

The Tennessee Titans have a reported nine positive tests in their organization, and the NFL has said their game against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers that had been scheduled for Sunday will be played Monday or Tuesday. . . . The Titans have halted football-related activities until at least Saturday. . . . The Minnesota Vikings, who played the visiting Titans on Sunday, haven’t had any positives. They should return to their practice facility today (Thursday). . . .

The CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, who are forecasting a $10-million loss, revealed Wednesday that they have terminated some employees and laid off others in both business and football operations. . . . In a statement, the team said it “had to make significant adjustments to our workforce including temporary and permanent layoffs in both the Business Operations and Football Operations.” . . . Matt Lowry, a content provider with the team for four years, tweeted that he had been laid off, and added: “There’s too many awesome co-workers to thank, but you know who you are, and you’ll hear from me. And please WEAR A MASK so we can all enjoy the 2021 CFL season from wherever you may be.” . . .

The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group is in the process of terminating 40 per cent of its staff at TD Place. The arena and stadium are home to the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s and the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks, both of which are owned by OSEG. However, staff from those teams weren’t included in the terminations. . . .

MLB announced Wednesday that it will allow about 11,500 fans into NLCS and World Series games at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Fans haven’t been allowed into MLB games since spring training. . . . Face masks will be mandatory and, according to MLB, “No seats will be sold within 20 feet of where a player can be located on the field, in the dugouts or in the bullpen.” . . . Some numbers from Deadspin’s Jesse Spector: “In September, there were 6,913 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tarrant County, Texas, including 447 reported on Wednesday, the final day of the month. That brings the cumulative tally for the county to 46,527 people stricken by coronavirus, with 721 dead from the pandemic.”



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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.



JUST NOTES: Steve Hogle, who spent six seasons as president of the Saskatoon Blades, has been hired as the general manager of Hockey Edmonton. Hogle is from Edmonton and played minor hockey there. Before joining the Blades, he was with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers as vice-president of communications and broadcasting. He replaces the retiring Dean Hengel with Hockey Edmonton. . . . The Minnesota Twins, who were eliminated from the American League playoffs yesterday, have lost 18 straight post-season games, going back to 2004. Since then, the Houston Astros, who finished off the Twins, have won 43 playoff games. . . . Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has a good look at Al Murray, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s assistant GM and director of amateur scouting, right here. It’s well worth your time.


Books

Royals add experience on back end . . . Cougars get some size up front . . . Warriors’ 50-50 draw way, way up there


MacBeth

D Petr Šenkeřík (Kootenay, Prince George, 2009-10) signed a one-year contract with Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic, Extraliga) after a successful tryout. Last season, Šenkeřík had three assists in 12 games with Vsetín (Czech Republic, 1. Liga); two goals and two assists in nine games with Slovan Ústí nad Labem (Czech Republic, 1. Liga); and one goal and seven assists in 12 games with Karlovy Vary (1. Liga). Karlovy Vary won promotion to Extraliga for this season. . . .

F Radek Duda (Regina, Lethbridge, 1998-2000) signed a one-year contract with Benátky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). Last season, with Freiburg (Germany, DEL2), he had 15 goals and 21 assists in 47 games.


 

The Victoria Royals have a acquired D Jameson Murray, 19, and a 10th-round selection in VictoriaRoyalsthe 2019 WHL bantam draft from the Everett Silvertips for a seventh-round pick in 2019. . . . From Kelowna, Murray was dealt by the Calgary Hitmen to the Silvertips last season for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2019 or 2020 bantam draft. . . . In 63 games over two seasons with Calgary, he had two goals and seven assists. He was pointless in seven games with Everett last season. . . . The Hitmen placed him on their protected list three years ago. . . . The deal allows Everett to get down to nine defencemen, although two of those — Jake Christiansen (Calgary Flames) and Wyatte Wylie (Philadelphia Flyers) — are with NHL teams. Still on the roster are three freshmen defenders — Alex Moar, 17, Ronan Seeley, 16, and Dylan Anderson, who turns 16 on Oct. 23.


The Prince George Cougars and Seattle Thunderbirds got together on a deal on Monday afternoon. . . . The Cougars get F Mike MacLean, 20, D Sam Schoenfeld, 16, and an PrinceGeorgeundisclosed conditional 2021 bantam draft pick from the Thunderbirds for F Keegan Craik, 17, and a fifth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . MacLean, 6-foot-7 and 235 pounds, obviously adds size to the Cougars’ roster. From Penticton, he had two goals and two assists in 38 games with Seattle last season. He also got into 24 games with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats, putting up three goals and three assists. . . . Schoenfeld, like MacLean, is a list player. Last season, he had one goal and eight assists in 32 games with the Okanagan Hockey Academy Elite 15s. . . . Craik, from Brentwood Bay, B.C., was a fifth-round selection by the Cougars in the 2016 bantam draft. He got into two games with the Cougars last season, going pointless. In 27 games with the Delta Hockey Academy prep team, he had 13 goals and 16 assists. . . .

MacLean joins F Josh Curtis and D Joel Lakusta as the 20-year-olds on the Cougars’ roster. . . . Moving MacLean allows Seattle to get down to three 20-year-olds — F Zack Andrusiak, F Noah Philp and F Nolan Volcan.


The Calgary Hitmen are down to three goaltenders after announcing late Monday Calgaryafternoon that they have “reassigned” Nick Sanders, 20, “to a team and league to be announced at a later date.” . . . Sanders, from Calgary, was a sixth-round selection by the Tri-City Americans in the 2013 WHL bantam draft. . . . He made 29 appearances with the Americans before being dealt to the Prince Albert Raiders on Oct. 13, 2016, along with a third-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft, for G Rylan Parenteau, 20. . . . Sanders got into 34 games with the Raiders in 2016-17 and four last season before bowing out due to hip problems. The Raiders sent him to Calgary on Jan. 8 for a sixth-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . The Hitmen still have goaltenders Matthew Armitage, who turns 19 on Oct. 30, Carl Stankowski, 18, and freshman Jack McNaughton, who will hit 17 on Oct. 30, on their roster. . . . Stankowski was acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds on Aug. 7. He was Seattle’s starting goaltender in the playoffs as the Thunderbirds made their run to the 2017 WHL championship, but hip and health issues kept him sidelined last season. . . .

Meanwhile, the Hitmen are left with two 20-year-olds on their roster — F Jake Kryski and F Luke Coleman — so have room to add one.


The buzz in junior A circles on Monday had to do with F Trevor Wong, a 15-year-old KelownaRocketsfrom Vancouver who is the only one of the WHL’s 22 first-round 2018 bantam draft selections who has yet to sign. . . . The Kelowna Rockets selected Wong with the 18th overall selection, knowing that he was looking at going the NCAA route. In November, he made a verbal commitment to the U of Denver, starting with the 2020-21 season. . . . On Monday, there were rumblings that Wong either has signed, or is on the verge of signing, with the Rockets. He attended their rookie camp late in August. . . . Last season, with the St. George’s School bantam varsity team, he had 141 points, including 64 goals, in 30 games.


SJHL

If you are an SJHL pass-holder and plan on visiting Humboldt for Wednesday’s game between the Broncos and Nipawin Hawks, you need to know that it won’t get you in the door.

This will be the Broncos’ home-opener, in Elgar Petersen Arena, which has a capacity of HumboldtBroncosaround 1,800. It will be the Broncos’ first home game since the bus accident on April 6 that claimed 16 lives.

As one might expect, the national media, likely even some international media, has descended on the community again, coming in like grasshoppers during a red-hot growing season.

All of this resulted in the SJHL sending out the release pictured above on Saturday. Bill Chow, the SJHL president, tells Taking Note that was done after “Humboldt sent out a media accreditation request about 7-10 days ago.”

It could be that not everyone received, or paid attention to, the accreditation notice from Humboldt. One observer who works in the media told Taking Note on Monday morning that “I’ve been told that the SJHL has informed all the local media from around the province that their league media passes won’t be honoured Wednesday and they won’t be allowed in to cover the game as there is no space due to national media.”

Perhaps there are people on the SJHL beat who simply assumed that their SJHL pass would get them in the door. That, however, may not be the case.

You have to feel for the SJHL for the position in which it finds itself — a small arena with minimal press facilities being home to an event such as this. With so many media people wanting in, and with TSN no doubt having a number of employees onsite to handle the national telecast, the SJHL no doubt finds itself in a no-win situation.



Craig Button, TSN’s director of scouting, released his first Craig’s List on Monday, his rankings of players eligible for the NHL’s 2019 draft. F Jack Hughes of the U.S. National Team Development Program is No. 1, ahead of F Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . In fact, there are four WHLers in Button’s Top 10. The list runs 40 deep and is right here.


D Jarret Tyszka, who spent the past three seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds, is in concussion protocol after being injured during a Sunday game while playing with the SeattleMontreal Canadiens’ prospects team.

Tyszka, 19, was released from a Montreal hospital on Monday after being stretchered off the ice. He was playing for the Canadiens against the Toronto Maple Leafs when he was hit from behind into the boards by F Hudson Elynuik, who played out his junior eligibility last season with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Elynuik was given a match penalty for cross-checking. . . . Tyszka was a fifth-round pick by the Canadiens in the NHL’s 2017 draft. Elynuik is with the Leafs as a free-agent invitee.

Joël Bouchard, the head coach of Montreal’s AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket, was behind the Canadiens’ bench. He wasn’t happy with his team’s response, or lack of same.

Google translation: “This is unacceptable. We play as a team, we play as a team. We warned them that it had to change. The guys on the ice that time did not play for the rest of the time.”

Google translation: “Even though it’s a rookie camp, they’re wearing a Canadiens jersey. I do not advocate violence, but I ask them to stand up. We protect each other every time we have the same colour of sweater. It’s like that in any league in the world.”


A Facebook post from Randy Palmer of the Moose Jaw Express:

“Okay, this is something that has been brewing and has been the kind of thing that flies MooseJawWarriorsunder the radar until you think about it.

I can guarantee you what you are about to read is going to utterly blow your mind.

The 50-50 for the Moose Jaw Warriors’ home-opener is starting . . . STARTING . . . at over $166,000.

The winner of the massive monster 50-50 from last season never claimed his/her prize. So it rolled into the first 50-50 of the next season.

That means, from the second the 50-50 booth opens at Mosaic Place on opening night, the winner of that night’s 50-50 is guaranteed at least $83,000.

I predict the take home will be around $150,000 before the night is over.

Marc Smith of CHAB says well over $200,000. And, honestly, he’s probably right.

The best thing?

You have to be in the building that night to collect the prize.

Capacity is 4,500.

Gonna bet they’re going to stretch that a bit.”

The Warriors home-opener, against the Brandon Wheat Kings, is scheduled for Sept. 22.


If you’re a regular here, you will have seen a few paragraphs the other day relating to how junior-aged players are able to attend WHL training camps and maintain their NCAA eligibility.

That post elicited an offer from Ross Beebe, the educational advisor to the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen and the NCAA policy advisor for Global Sports Camps.

“This is year 24 for me so I am very familiar with the ‘ins/outs’ of the NCAA,” Beebe writes. “Should any of your readers wish/require more NCAA information on amateurism or academic standards, I would be more that happy to share my knowledge. This is a volunteer position for me so there would be no cost.”

If you are looking for answers, you may reach Beebe at roscolangleyrivermen@shaw.ca


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to help her get to $3,000 in donations you are able to do so right here.


Nick Redding is the new head coach of the junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Redding, 26, is from Spokane. He played four seasons with the KIJHL’s Spokane Braves, before going on to Eastern Washington U. Last season, he was the general manager and assistant coach with the Braves. Earlier this summer, Redding had signed with the Seattle Thunderbirds as the hockey operations co-ordinator. . . . The Thunder Cats had been looking for a head coach since late in August when GM/head coach Brad Tobin left to join the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles as assistant GM and associate head coach.


Liz Thunstrom turned 80 recently and on Friday received a belated birthday present that thrilled her no end. It was a ride in the Fanboni during a Vancouver Giants game at the Langley Events Centre. . . . The Langley Times has more right here.


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