B.C. capacity restrictions staying put . . . Schedule forces Royals to grind it out . . . Goalie scores in AJHL game

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, announced on Tuesday that capacity limits will remain in place until at least Feb. 16. That means that the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks and the WHL’s five B.C. franchises won’t be able to open up their arenas to 100 per cent capacity for at least another month. . . . “We are still in a pandemic, as much as we would like to be over it,” Dr. Henry said during a news conference. . . . Dr. Henry also said that the rate of transmission and number of hospitalizations in B.C. haven’t been higher since the start of the pandemic almost two years ago. . . . The latest restriction on building capacity was announced on Dec. 17 with the hope that it would be in place for a month. Now it seems that it will be there for at least another month.


The WHL issued its weekly injury/roster report on Tuesday, one day after the WHLleague put the Winnipeg Ice on pause “out of an abundance of caution due to pending further test results for COVID-19 with players and staff.” . . . The weekly report listed 24 players in COVID-19 protocol, with 30 having come out of protocol. . . . The Ice didn’t list any players in either category. . . . So let’s no take the roster report as anything resembling gospel. OK? . . . BTW, the Seattle Thunderbirds, one of three teams not to have been shut down to this point, had 10 players in protocol as of Tuesday, with two others having been cleared to return. . . . The Kamloops Blazers and Vancouver Giants didn’t show anyone out or returning, despite officials from both organizations having said last week that the majority of players and staff had tested positive at some point. . . . The Brandon Wheat Kings and Kelowna Rockets are the other two teams not to have had to pause activities. The Rockets listed two players in protocol, and the Wheat Kings one.


Wolves


The Swift Current Broncos were to have visited the Winnipeg Ice on Tuesday WinnipegIcenight, but that didn’t happen. The WHL announced on Monday that it had postponed the game pending results of those tests with the Ice. The WHL didn’t issue an update on Tuesday. . . . The Ice last played on Saturday against the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . This isn’t the Ice’s first run-in with COVID-19. On Dec. 27, the WHL announced that the Ice had three players and/or staff in protocol. On Jan. 8, Winnipeg was one of 15 teams that were put on pause by the WHL. The Ice was cleared to return to team activities on Jan. 10. . . . Winnipeg is scheduled to visit the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday night.


The Victoria Royals were swept by the Rockets — 6-4 and 9-1 — in a Friday-VictoriaRoyalsSaturday doubleheader in Kelowna. The Royals then rode their bus to Prince George, where they were beaten, 5-3, by the Cougars on Tuesday night. The teams will play there again tonight. . . . The Royals will get back on the bus after that and head for home where they are to entertain the Vancouver Giants on Friday and the Everett Silvertips on Saturday. By then, they will have played six games in nine nights. . . . Before this stretch is over, the Royals will have played 10 games in 16 nights. . . . Victoria listed 12 players on this week’s injury list — five in COVID-19 protocol, two week-to-week, two day-to-day, one two-to-four weeks and two season-ending.




ICYMI, Jim Matheson, Postmedia’s veteran hockey writer in Edmonton, and Oilers F Leon Draisaitl exchanged words during a Tuesday media availability. It was all rather interesting and, at the same time, totally harmless, something that would happen more often if reporters had access to dressing rooms. The pandemic, of course, has changed those rules. . . . But, in this instance, sheesh, the social media world exploded, with a lot of the venom towards Matheson being spewed by those enjoying the anonymity that is so popular with so many members of the peanut gallery.



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.


Looters

NHL’s Jets circling Saskatoon . . . WHL’s weekend schedule takes pounding . . . Maritime junior league shortens sked, pauses until February

Santa


The WHL’s Saskatoon Blades and NLL’s Saskatchewan Rush may be about to get some company in their home arena, SaskTel Centre. Elliott Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada tweeted on Thursday night:

“Earlier tonight, the Winnipeg Jets sent out a survey asking season-seat holders their opinion on the possibility of home games in another jurisdiction. It is believed the Jets are exploring playing some games at Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre while there are attendance restrictions in Manitoba. That arena seats 15,000. At this point, Saskatchewan does not have restrictions. Obviously, there is work that needs to be done, and approvals to be secured. But the Jets are doing their legwork.”


The Portland Winterhawks boarded their bus on Thursday and headed for B.C., Portlandand what they thought would be a three-game weekend. They would meet the Blazers in Kamloops on Friday night, play the Rockets in Kelowna on Saturday and finish up in Langley against the Vancouver Giants on Sunday.

But . . .

The Winterhawks were about halfway to Kamloops when they found out that Friday’s game had been postponed due to an unknown number of positive tests in the Blazers organization.

So instead of having a morning skate in Kamloops today, the Winterhawks will have a full-blown practice.

As of Thursday night, Portland’s games in Kelowna and Vancouver remained on the schedule.

The Winterhawks listed six players in COVID-19 protocol when the WHL released its roster/injury report on Wednesday. They left four players in Portland and will add three new faces to their roster for the games in Kelowna and Langley.

G Taylor Gauthier, who was acquired from the Prince George Cougars on Dec. 27, likely will start one of the two games if they, indeed, get played. Gauthier, a 20-year-old veteran, has had three practices with his new club. He was in protocol, but is out, on the trip and ready to go.

The Blazers, meanwhile, are waiting for results of more tests before being able Kamloops1to decide what’s next for them. The schedule has them heading into the U.S. Division next week for games against the Winterhawks on Wednesday, the Tri-City Americans on Friday and the Spokane Chiefs on Saturday. Of course, a bunch of positive tests could put that trek in jeopardy.

The Rockets reported that their Friday game against visiting Vancouver had been postponed “as a result of multiple Giants players and staff being added” to the protocol list. The Giants listed four players in COVID-19 protocol in the WHL’s roster/injury report that was released on Wednesday. The Rockets said they don’t have any players in protocol.

Between COVID-19 and inclement weather, the WHL’s schedule has taken quite a beating.

Before Thursday was done, all 10 games scheduled for Friday night had been postponed, while eight of 10 games on Saturday’s schedule had met the same fate, as had two of three Sunday games. Yes, the WHL ended up postponing 20 of the 23 games that had been on the schedule.

The changes actually started rolling on Wednesday when the league postponed a doubleheader that would have had the Victoria Royals in Prince George. It also scrapped a home-and-home doubleheader between the Regina Pats and Saskatoon Blades.

Most of the postponements were for positive tests among players and staff with various teams. Some, however, were scrubbed due to miserable weather in the Pacific Northwest.

The Everett Silvertips were to have visited Spokane on Friday, Tri-City on Saturday, and then entertained the Americans on Sunday. But all three games have been postponed because of road closures, potential traffic delays and safety concerns. Also scrubbed is a Friday game that was to have had Seattle visit the Americans.

Games in Brandon and Winnipeg have been postponed because of provincial government-issued restrictions limiting attendance in facilities there. The hope is that the government eventually will lift those restrictions and the games can be rescheduled.

Meanwhile, the WHL issued its roster/injury report on Wednesday. WHLInterestingly, the WHL, before Wednesday, frequently stated in virus-related news releases that “in accordance with WHL policy” the teams involved and the WHL “will not be providing comment or identifying the individuals concerned.”

However, in its first roster/injury report since Dec. 14, the WHL identified the players who were in protocol and those who have come out of it with the 14 teams who filed the information with the league office.

Regina had one player in protocol, as did Saskatoon. The Saskatoon player is F Noah Boyko, who was acquired from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who had 14 players/staffers go into protocol. At the same time, the Blades listed three players as having returned from protocol. The Prince Albert Raiders also showed one player in protocol — D Trevor Thurston, who was acquired from Lethbridge.

Prince George didn’t list any players in protocol, while Victoria showed seven. (On Thursday, the Royals announced they were shutting down their Team Store “until Jan. 11 or until further notice to help curb the spread of COVID-19 at” Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.)

All told, the report — it is available right here — showed 42 players in protocol with another six having come out of protocol. Seattle and Swift Current each listed eight players in protocol.

However, Brandon, the Calgary Hitmen, Edmonton Oil Kings, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat Tigers, Moose Jaw Warriors, Red Deer Rebels and Winnipeg Ice, all with no games on tap, didn’t report.

According to the report, the 14 teams that did report also had a total of four players out with undisclosed illnesses, with another seven having returned from being out with undisclosed illnesses.

What all of this means is that you should check your favourite team’s website to make sure a game still is on the schedule before you leave home and head for the arena.


Change


A chronology of the WHL’s battle with COVID-19 since the Christmas break ended:

Jan. 6 — The WHL announced the postponement of two games involving the CovidPrince Albert Raiders and Swift Current Broncos “due to multiple players and staff being added” to the protocol list. . . . The league also announced the postponement of seven games, all of them involving Western Conference teams, “as a result of travel delays due to weather in the Pacific Northwest or multiple players and staff being added” to the protocol list.

Jan. 5 — The WHL announced the postponement of four games involving the Regina Pats, Saskatoon Blades, Victoria Royals and Prince George Cougars “as a result of multiple players and staff being added” to the protocol list.

Jan. 4 — The WHL announced that the Edmonton Oil Kings, Moose Jaw Warriors and Red Deer Rebels have paused all team-related activities “as a result of multiple players and staff” having been added the COVID-19 protocol list “due to exhibiting symptoms or having tested positive.” The Rebels say that they had eight players and/or staffers test positive as of Monday.

Jan. 1 — The WHL announced that it had shut down the Lethbridge Hurricanes “as a result of 14 players being” on the protocol list “due to exhibiting symptoms or having tested positive.”

Dec. 30 — The WHL announced that it had shut down the Swift Current Broncos “as a result of four players” being on the protocol list “due to exhibiting symptoms or having tested positive. . . . It is believed the exposure . . . occurred outside the team environment.”

Dec. 29 — The WHL announced the postponement of a game scheduled for that night that was to have had the Portland Winterhawks meet the host Tri-City Americans. The move was made “due to goaltenders on both clubs entering COVID-19 protocols and/or sustaining injuries.”

Dec. 27 — The WHL announced that “a total of 36 players or hockey operations staff” were added to the protocol list “as a result of displaying symptoms for COVID-19 or returning a positive test result.” The league reported that Spokane and Victoria each had four people in protocol, with Portland, Saskatoon, Vancouver and Winnipeg each at three; Brandon, Everett, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Regina each at two; and Kelowna, Moose Jaw, Red Deer, Seattle, Swift Current and Tri-City each at one. Calgary, Edmonton and Prince Albert didn’t have anyone in protocols, while Kamloops and Prince George had yet to report.


Noah


The OHL’s board of governors held a Wednesday meeting and later released a OHLstatement saying “the league has reaffirmed its commitment to continue the 2021-22 season.” . . . The OHL has 17 teams in Ontario and three in the U.S. At present, the OHL teams aren’t allowed to have fans attend their games, something that will continue for at least the next three weeks. . . . Later in the day, the OHL announced the postponement of seven more games due to COVID-19 protocol. At that point, the OHL had postponed 49 games, with 20 of those already having been rescheduled. . . . As of Thursday night, the OHL had postponed eight of the 24 games it has scheduled for this weekend.

——

The junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced Thursday that it had postponed weekend games involving the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, Castlegar Rebels, Fernie Ghostriders and Kelowna Chiefs “due to a number of positive COVID-19” tests. . . .

The BCHL announced on Thursday that the Powell River Kings and Wenatchee Wild “have paused all team activities for the next five days per COVID-19 protocol and provincial health regulations.” . . . On Wednesday, the Victoria Grizzlies were shut down. . . . Earlier, the BCHL put four other teams on pause — the Cowichan Valley Capitals, Langley Rivermen, Penticton Vees and Trail Smoke Eaters. . . .

The Maritime Junior Hockey League has cut its regular season from 52 games to 42, and is paused until at least Feb. 2. . . . According to the league: “This decision is due to the amount of time remaining to play the season and playoffs, as well as the dates for both the Fred Page Cup in Summerside and the National Championship. This will remove one home game and one away game for every team against each of their divisional opponents.” . . .

The AJHL announced Thursday that five games involving the Lloydminster Bobcats have been postponed “due to COVID-related issues.” . . .


Meanwhile, even with all the uncertainty, teams in the OHL and QMJHL continue to shuffle the deck chairs. . . . In the QMJHL, there were 13 deals made on Thursday. The Saint John Sea Dogs, who will be the host team for the 2022 Memorial Cup, assuming COVID-19 gives its approval, were especially busy.




JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Kamloops Blazers will be out of their home arena, the Sandman Centre, for a couple of weeks in February 2023. That’s because the building will be home to the 2023 Canadian women’s curling championship, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, from Feb. 17-26. . . . The Blazers also are expected to bid on the 2023 Memorial Cup, which is scheduled to be held in the home of a WHL franchise. . . .

Slovakian F Peter Repcik, who started this season with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes, has signed on with the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Eagles. Repcik, who will turn 18 on Jan. 9, had two assists in 25 games with Lethbridge. The Hurricanes grabbed him in the 2021 CHL import draft. Repcik helped Slovakia to a silver medal at the 2021 Hlinka Gretzky Cup with eight pints in five games. . . . Repcik lost his spot in Lethbridge when the Hurricanes claimed Swiss F Liekit Reichie, 18, off waivers from the Prince George Cougars.


Plunger


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.


Commit

Scattershooting on a Friday night while awaiting the arrival of snow squalls . . .

Scattershooting2
Merry Christmas . . .


Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) of TSN reports that the WHL has contacted former players to inform them that they will be receiving a survey that is related to a potential class-action lawsuit that the WHL, as a member of the CHL, is facing. . . . According to Westhead, Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, has confirmed that the survey will ask the former players “if they attended rookie parties, were hazed, etc.”

The letter, the legitimacy of which Westhead reports Robison has confirmed . . .

Letter


The junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has dropped the kijhlhammer on the Sicamous Eagles “for violations under (its) COVID-19 vaccination policy.” The league explained in a news release: “The sanctions stem from the participation of an Eagles player in team activities, including KIJHL regular-season games, at a time when they did not meet the KIJHL’s requirement of being fully vaccinated.” . . . The team has been fined an undisclosed amount, while general manager Ron Sleeman was suspended for 45 days and head coach Gerald Bouchard drew an eight-game sentence. . . . Sleeman is out until Jan. 23; Bouchard can return to the bench on Jan. 14. . . . The Eagles went into Friday’s action with a 5-13-1 record, good for sixth place in the six-team Doug Birks Division. . . . Here’s Sheila Devost, the Eagle’s president: “The KIJHL has policies and rules for teams to follow . . . when they are not adhered to, there are consequences. We broke the rules and now must respect we have to face the consequences.” . . .

This was the second time the KIJHL has had to take this kind of action. The Beaver Valley Nitehawks were fined $2,500 and GM/head coach Terry Jones got an eight-game suspension after two players got into regular-season games despite not being fully vaccinated. Jones, who hasn’t coached since Nov. 15, is eligible to return tonight (Saturday).


As if hockey leagues in B.C. haven’t had enough scheduling issues because of weather-related road closures, the junior B Golden Rockets of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League had to postpone a Friday night game because of a power outage. It seems that there was an issue with a substation in the area late on Thursday afternoon. . . . The problem hadn’t been fixed by late Friday afternoon and a lot of people were preparing to spend a second night without power. . . . The game against the visiting Kimberley Dynamiters will be rescheduled.


Check


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with some NFL-related thoughts:

“Antonio Brown — along with teammate Mike Edwards — has been suspended for three games by the NFL for acquiring and presenting a false vaccination record to the team and the league. The players are not going to appeal the suspensions and the NFLPA was part of the investigation/adjudication processes. I read one report that said that a forgery of a record that included the seal of the CDC was a Federal crime; I have no idea if that is correct, but it does seem reasonable.  On the assumption that is correct:

“Antonio Brown and Mike Edwards get three games off (without pay) for endangering the health of others, lying to league officials and possibly violating Federal law; and

“Tom Brady got four games off (without pay) for allegedly underinflating a football.

Got that?”


With head coach Michael Dyck having left to join Canada’s national junior team Vancouver— he’s an assistant coach — associate coach Keith McCambridge ran the Vancouver bench on Wednesday night as the Giants dropped a 7-1 decision to the Blazers in Kamloops. It was a homecoming of sorts for McCambridge, who was acquired by the Blazers from the Swift Current Broncos during 1994-95. He played 21 regular-season and 21 playoff games for the Blazers as they won the WHL title and the Memorial Cup. . . . McCambridge was joined behind the bench by former WHL/NHL D Brent Seabrook, who is helping out as a volunteer assistant in Dyck’s absence. . . . BTW, McCambridge is from Thompson, Man., the hometown of former WHL coach-of-the-year Jack Sangster and also F Glen Goodall, who holds the WHL record for most regular-season career games played.


Wings


The AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons announced on Wednesday that they and FortMcMurraygeneral manager/head coach Gord Thibodeau had “mutually agreed to part ways.” According to a two-paragraph news release, Thibodeau, 58, the winningest regular-season coach in AJHL history, resigned for “personal reasons.” . . . At the time of Thibodeau’s departure, the Oil Barons were 26-6-0 and atop the Viterra North Division. . . . “The team is doing well this year and we positioned ourselves at the top of the North Division here,” David Fitzgerald, the team president, told Laura Beamish of Fort McMurray Today, “and he’s a big part of that. So from that perspective we were moving in the right direction. We had to look at things outside of the ice and he’s had to make a decision from a personal perspective and we respect that.” . . . Beamish’s story is right here. . . .

On Friday, the Oil Barons hired Adam Manah as their new GM/head coach. Manah, 34, had been dismissed by the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders on Nov. 26. He had spent the previous six seasons with the Crusaders. He was the head coach for four of those seasons and the assistant GM/head coach last season. Then he added the GM’s duties in March. Manah is familiar with Fort McMurray, having spent three seasons (2005-08) playing with the Oil Barons.


When Saskatchewan Roughriders QB Cody Fajardo met with the Regina media for one of those season-ending gabfests on Monday, Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post asked what it meant for him to be the CFL team’s quarterback. . . . Vanstone later wrote: “Fajardo broke down in front of the cameras and a room full of reporters. The words and images were summarily disseminated far and wide. Fajardo spoke of the ills of social media, and about ‘disgusting’ comments that were often made about himself, and even his family. He paused once or twice to compose himself, while ultimately delivering an impassioned two-minute response — more than a hint of what it is like to reside in the football fishbowl that is Saskatchewan.” . . . That was part of a column that Vanstone wrote in which he took dead aim at the keyboard idiots who ride a horse named Anonymous through social media. “In a supposedly enlightened age, when so much is said and written about the importance of mental health, there are nonetheless people who will simplistically suggest that Fajardo needs to ‘toughen up’ or ‘get a thicker skin’,” Vanstone wrote. “The detractors’ heads, it seems, are considerably thicker.” . . . The complete column is right here.


Whiskey


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered notes that “Tij Iginla, whose father, Jarome, was recently inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, was drafted ninth overall by the Seattle Thunderbirds in its Prospects Draft. So the son already has one over on his dad because Jarome was never drafted by a WHL team.” . . .

The Lethbridge Hurricanes used the 10th overall pick in Thursday’s draft to take F Miguel Marques, a 15-year-old from Prince George who plays at the Delta Hockey Academy. In 16 games, he has 64 points, including 27 goals. Marques signed a WHL contract on Friday and made his debut that night as the Hurricanes dropped a 3-2 OT decision against the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . .

The Victoria Royals went into Friday’s WHL action having played in five straight OT games. They went 4-0-1 in those games. . . . Wait! There’s more. Six of the Royals’ last seven games went to extra time (4-0-2), and to go deeper, it’s seven of nine (4-0-3). . . . Last night, they went into Langley, B.C., and beat the Vancouver Giants, 4-3. This time, they didn’t need OT. . .  .

F Cole Shepard, 19, played his first game with the Giants since March 7, 2020, on Friday night. Shepard had been out since undergoing hip surgery. Shepard had an assist and was plus-2 in a 4-3 loss to visiting Victoria. . . . BTW, Michael Bublé, who owns a piece of the Giants, and his family took part in the ceremonial faceoff. . . .

Nolan Maier of the Saskatoon Blades set a franchise record for goaltenders on Friday when he made his 178th career regular-season appearance in a 4-2 loss to the visiting Calgary Hitmen. Maier, who is in his fifth season with the Blades, had been tied with Braden Holtby, who made one appearance in 2005-06, then played in 51, 64 and 61 games in the next three seasons. . . .

In Regina on Friday night, F Tanner Howe, who is from Prince Albert, scored the Teddy Bear goal for the Pats, who went on to dump his hometown Raiders, 5-2. . . . Howe, who turned 16 on Nov. 28, has 17 points, including nine goals, in 21 games this season. . . .

In Portland on Friday night, the Winterhawks beat the Spokane Chiefs, 4-1. . . . The Chiefs’ next three games also will be against the Winterhawks — tonight in Portland and Dec. 17 and 18 in Spokane. The Winterhawks will interrupt the four-game series for a Tuesday night engagement with the visiting Everett Silvertips.


Shatner


If you were in attendance at the Toronto Raptors’ game on Sunday against the visiting Washington Wizards, Toronto Public Health wants you to self-monitor for 10 days because you may have been exposed to COVID-19. TPH has added the event to the list of exposures on its website. . . . TPH also is telling people to get tested if they demonstrate any symptoms. . . . That warning came Friday, after Masai Ujiri, the Raptors’ vice-chairman and president, revealed on Thursday that he had tested positive. That test followed his attendance at a Giants of Africa in-person event before Sunday’s game. Some other guests have since come up positive, as well. . . . Nav Bhatia was at the Giants of Africa event, so the Raptors’ superfan wasn’t able to attend Friday’s game. He had been at every home game since the franchise entered the NBA in 1995.


JUST NOTES: As of Friday evening, the Vancouver Canucks’ change in direction had cost six men their jobs. So if you’re part of the organization at this moment how are you feeling about job security? . . . The Canucks are 3-0, all at home, under new head coach Bruce Boudreau with two of the victories coming in shootouts. They also have had some co-operation from the schedule-maker. Vancouver beat the Los Angeles Kings, 4-0, on Monday. The Kings had played in Edmonton the previous night, while the Canucks were off. On Friday, Vancouver got past Winnipeg, 4-3 in a shootout. The Canucks had enjoyed Thursday off, while the Jets were beating the Kraken in Seattle. . . . The Canucks next are scheduled to play on Sunday against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes, who are in Edmonton tonight (Saturday). . . . The best part of the World Junior Championship that is quickly approaching? It means that we’ll get to spend some time listening to hockey’s best play-by-play man — Dennis Beyak, who is TSN’s man on Winnipeg Jets’ telecasts. Hey, Sportsnet, throw a gob of money his way, toss in the personal use of a company jet, and make him your national voice. . . . Sunday’s Grey Cup game? Winnipeg Blue Bombers 26, Hamilton Tiger-Cats 18. Winnipeg LB Adam Bighill will be the best player on the field.


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.


Jogging

Milestone victory for Hamilton . . . Habscheid helps out WHL’s Christmas fund . . . Celebration of Swaby’s life on Friday

THE COACHING GAME:

Steve Hamilton, the head coach of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, joined the 200 WHLClub on Sunday when his side dumped the visiting Regina Pats, 10-3. He put up 108 coaching victories in four seasons as head coach of the Edmonton Oil Kings; Sunday’s victory was No. 92 with the Hitmen. . . .

Meanwhile, Marc Habscheid of the Prince Albert Raiders won his 561st regular-season game as a head coach when his guys beat the host Winnipeg Ice, 4-3 in OT, on Sunday. Habscheid is the winningest active head coach in the WHL today. He is sixth on the all-time list and could move up a notch before season’s end; Mike Williamson is next on the list at 572. . . . The Raiders enjoyed quite a trek into Manitoba, as they beat the Wheat Kings, 2-1, on Friday night. . . . Prince Albert is 8-12-1; Winnipeg is 21-1-1, with Brandon at 9-11-0. . . .

Attention WHL coaches . . . you have been forewarned. The head office has opened its Christmas party fund. Habscheid was the first to contribute after being fined $750 on Monday. That’s the price he pays after being ejected from a Nov. 24 game against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. He got the ol’ heave-ho from referees Adam Bloski and Troy Murray prior to the start of the third period of a game the Raiders would lose, 4-1. . . . Habscheid later told Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW that “. . . I just wished them a Merry Christmas, and that was that.” . . . It could be then that Habscheid was tossed for not waiting until December to start spreading Christmas joy. . . .


In the QMJHL, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan signed Jason Clarke as its new head coach, replacing Mario Durocher, who was fired last week. Clarke was working as an assistant coach with the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes. He is a former owner, general manager and head coach of the junior A Carleton Place Canadiens of the Central Canada Hockey League.


Pancakes


The Saskatoon Blades and Regina Pats weren’t done any favours by the schedulemaker last weekend and they came out of it, perhaps predictably, with one victory to show for five games . . .

The Blades won once during their three-game trek into Alberta. They went into the weekend with five healthy defencemen, then lost one of those guys on Sunday. Still, you have to think they were quite pleased with their trip. . . . They opened in Red Deer by beating the Rebels, 3-1, on Friday night. The Blades played again Saturday, this time at 1:30 p.m., and got dumped, 7-0, by the Hitmen, who hadn’t played on Friday. On Sunday, Saskatoon ventured into Edmonton for a 4 p.m. start, scored the game’s first two goals, then gave up five in a row and dropped a 5-2 decision to the Oil Kings, who had been off on Saturday. . . .

Meanwhile, the Pats were in Alberta for two games. They played Saturday night in Red Deer, losing 4-2, and then had to be back on the ice Sunday in Calgary for an 11 a.m. — yes, a.m. — start. They were drubbed, 10-3, by the Hitmen, who got four goals and two assists from F Riley Fiddler-Schultz.

Yes, there oughta be a rule about morning or afternoon starts after a team has played the previous night. And it should never, ever happen when the home team was off the previous night.


A celebration of Matt Swaby’s life is scheduled for Friday, 1 p.m., at the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre. Swaby, who played in the WHL for four seasons, was killed in a farm accident near Prince Albert on Friday. He was 34 and is survived by his wife, Carla, and three sons — Thomas, 6; Blake, 4; and Kody, 2. . . . The celebration of life is to be videotaped and live-streamed at grays.ca/memorial-videos/ . . . A GoFundMe page to benefit the family had raised $178,106 as of Monday evening. That page is right here.



The Dallas Cowboys will be without head coach Mike McCarthy on Thursday when they meet the host New Orleans Saints. He has tested positive, and there are reports that the Cowboys have as many as eight positives in their organization. That includes WR Amari Cooper, who is unvaccinated and has missed two games after a positive test. . . .

NFL teams placed at least seven players on the COVID-19 list on Monday — S Kevin Byard of the Tennessee Titans, OT Kyle Murphy of the New York Giants, CB Patrick Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings, DB Kevin Seymour of the Baltimore Ravens, long-snapper Trent Sieg of the Las Vegas Raiders, RB J.J. Taylor of the New England Patriots and LB T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Off the Mark
Off the Mark

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS . . .

The CBA that governs Major League Baseball expires on Wednesday night at 11:59 ET. At that time, it is expected that MLB will lock out the players; it also is anticipated that this lockout could last and last and last and . . .

And won’t it be fun if any of the owners plead poverty.

After all, the New York Mets have signed RHP Max Scherzer, 37, to a three-year deal worth $130 million. As Darren Rovell, a sports business reporter, pointed out, Scherzer will make $3.95 million more this year than the Mets paid Dwight Gooden for his entire time in New York, factoring for inflation.” Scherzer has averaged 28 starts and 182 innings pitched in his career. Based on that, he will be paid $1.5 million per start, or $238,000 per inning. . . . Remember when people got excited when the New York Yankees signed RHP Gerritt Cole to a deal that pays him $36 million per season? That was in 2019. Scherzer will make $43.3 million a season.

The Mets aren’t the only team throwing money around.

LHP Robbie Ray won the American League’s Cy Young Award in his only season with the Toronto Blue Jays and now is headed to the Seattle Mariners for $115 million over five years.

The Blue Jays turned around and signed RHP Kevin Gausman for $110 million over five years.

Toronto also lost 2B Marcus Semien, who hit 45 home runs in 2021. He is joining the Texas Rangers for $175 million over seven years. The Rangers also have signed SS Corey Seager for $325 million over 10 years. He had been with the Los Angeles Dodgers with whom he was the 2020 World Series MVP.


Meanwhile, in the world of U.S. college football, Lincoln Riley, 38, is leaving Oklahoma after five seasons to become the head coach of the USC Trojans. Why is he moving? Well, his new contract apparently is worth $110 million. As well, USC will purchase the two homes he owns in Norman, Okla., for $500,000 over the asking price; USC is to buy him a $6 million home in Los Angeles; and he will have unlimited use of a private jet for his family. . . .

At the same time, head coach Brian Kelly, 60, is leaving the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for LSU, and it’s expected that he’ll be paid $15 million per season. . . . Kelly’s Notre Dame players found out via social media; he then sent a text to them, telling them that he will inform them officially when they meet at, uhh, 7 a,m.

What do you think? Is it time to pay the players?


YogiBear


The Winter Universiade, featuring university athletes from more than 50 countries, was to have opened in Lucerne, Switzerland, on Dec. 11, with 102 Canadian student athletes in attendance. However, the games were cancelled on Monday as part of the world’s reaction to Omicron, the latest COVID-19 variant. Including coaches and support staff, Canada would have had 144 people in Lucerne. . . . The next Winter Universiade is scheduled for Lake Placid, N.Y., in January 2023.


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.


Raise

Clouston headed for WHL’s Top 10 . . . Carrier lit it up, but nothing near record . . . Coaching change in Russia


MOVIN’ ON UP: Shaun Clouston, the Kamloops Blazers’ general manager and head coach, moved into a tie for 12th on the WHL’s all-time victory list as his club beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-1, in Kent, Wash., on Wednesday night. . . . That was Clouston’s 465th victory — he also has been the head coach of the Tri-City Americans (16) and Medicine Hat Tigers (375). Clouston, 53, now is tied with Dean Clark and Kelly McCrimmon. . . . The Blazers are scheduled to meet the Winterhawks in Portland tonight. A Kamloops victory would lift Clouston into a tie with Jack Shupe and Peter Anholt for 10th on the list. . . . Kamloops (15-2-0) is to play the Silvertips (16-0-1) in Everett on Saturday.


SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE: It turns out that the Tri-City Americans and Kelowna Rockets are sharing not one, but two goaltending coaches. . . . The Rockets acquired G Talyn Boyko from the Americans on Nov. 7. Eight days later, the Rockets announced that Eli Wilson, the Americans’ goaltending coach, would be their goaltending coach, too. It turns out that Kelowna general manager Bruce Hamilton had asked Tri-City GM Bob Tory about sharing Wilson. Tory agreed, as long as Wilson, who lives in Kelowna, would continue to spent one week a month with the Americans. . . . What the Rockets’ news release didn’t mention is that Liam McOnie has joined them as a goaltending consultant. McOnie, who has worked with Wilson for five years, also is a goaltending consultant with the Americans. McOnie also is the general manager and head coach of the junior B North Okanagan Knights of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, who play out of Armstrong, B.C.


Herman


A tip of the Taking Note fedora to F Cole Carrier of the Regina Pats. . . . Carrier, 19, was pointless with the Pats leading the host Medicine Hat Tigers 3-2 and Patsfewer than five minutes remaining in the third period on Tuesday night. . . . He then scored three straight goals — at 15:05, 16:23 and 18:45 — in a span of 3:40 to finish off Regina’s 6-2 victory. . . . As quick as that was, Carrier was 3:16 shy of the WHL record that is held by F Jim Harrison. On Dec. 5, 1966, Harrison scored at 19:31, 19:44 and 19:55 of the third period to give the Estevan Bruins a 6-5 victory over the Pats. According to the Regina Leader-Post of Dec. 5, 1966, Harrison, who also had two assists, “scored the winner . . . after the Bruins had pulled goalie Gordon Kopp for an extra attacker.” The story didn’t indicate why the Bruins had pulled their goaltender in a tie game, but perhaps there was a faceoff in Regina’s zone and Estevan coach Ernie (Punch) McLean chose to play a hunch. . . . Harrison did it in the first season of what was then known as the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League. . . . At that point, Harrison had 40 points, including 18 goals, in Estevan’s first 20 games. . . . That season also was the first for McLean as the Bruins’ head coach. He and Bill Shinske had been among 35 shareholders who had purchased the team from Scotty Munro during the 1965-66 season. . . . Carrier, from Strathcona, Alta., came out of Tuesday’s game, his 19th this season with eight goals. He went into the season with four goals in 44 games.


Prince Albert head coach Marc Habscheid would have been better off to spend his money on postage stamps and send Christmas cards to referees Adam Bloski and Troy Murray, who handled the Raiders’ 5-1 loss to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors on Wednesday night. . . . As Jeff D’Andrea noted in the above tweet, Habscheid came out of the dressing room with his team to start the third period, offered up Christmas greetings and then wasn’t around when the puck was dropped. . . . There wasn’t anything on the WHL’s website late Thursday night, but surely the league will dip into the wallet of the WHL’s winningest active coach (560 victories).


THE TWOS HAVE IT: The Portland Winterhawks were beaten, 3-2 in OT, by the Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday night. Later, Andy Kemper, the Winterhawks’ historian, informed us via Twitter that this “was the 86th time in Winterhawks history that a game ended in a 2-2 score after regulation.” Furthermore, he pointed out that in those games, Portland had 22 victories, opponents had 22, and 22 ended in ties. In games that needed a shootout, Portland has 10 victories and opponents have 10 victories.


IN THE Q: The QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan fired head coach Mario Durocher on Thursday, with assistant coach Greg Leland moving up at least on an interim basis. The Titan are 9-9-2. . . . Leland signed with the Titan on July 3, 2020. . . . Durocher, 58, is a veteran coach who first coached in the league in 1992 when he was an assistant coach with the Sherbrooke Faucons. He had been behind the Titan’s bench since November 2018. . . . In Victoriaville, the Tigres signed general manager Kevin Cloutier to an extension that runs through the 2026-27 season.


Villain


JUST NOTES: I was doing some searching through Regina Leader-Post archives the other night and discovered that the sports section featured a regular column — Curling with Hack Waight. Yes, those were the days. . . . When the CHL’s weekly rankings showed up on Wednesday, the top four slots were occupied by WHL teams — in order, the Winnipeg Ice, Everett Silvertips, Kamloops Blazers and Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . All four teams won that night. That improved Winnipeg’s record to 20-1-0, with Everett at 16-0-1, Kamloops at 15-2-0, and Edmonton at 15-3-3. . . . There will be a party in Whistler, B.C., to celebrate the World Hockey Association’s 50th anniversary. You do remember the WHA, don’t you? The party will run from Oct. 6 through Oct. 9 of 2022. Harrison Brooks of Pique Newsmagazine has more right here.


COACHING CHANGE WITH RUSSIAN JUNIORS: Sergei Zubov, a former NHL defenceman who has two Stanley Cup rings, will be the head coach of the Russian entry at the World Junior Championship that is to open in Edmonton and Red Deer on Dec. 26. Oleg Bratash was to have been the head coach, but he now is an assistant coach, along with Alexander Titov and Vladimir Filatov. It appears that the change was made because of Zubov’s better understanding of the English language. . . . As Bratash explained to Martin Mark of iihf.com: “At the tournament we will speak a lot with the organizers, there will be a strict COVID-19 protocol, and Sergei speaks English as a result of his experience of living in North America. Furthermore, he has coached in the KHL. These aren’t major changes.” . . . Zubov won WJC gold with the Soviet Union team in 1989. He won Stanley Cups with the New York Rangers (1994) and Dallas Stars (1999). . . . The Russian junior team will open camp with medicals at Novogorsk on Dec. 1 and will wrap it up on Dec. 14. . . . You are going to want to watch Russia, assuming F Matvei Michkov makes the roster. Michkov, who turns 17 on Dec. 9, has two goals and three assists in 11 games with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. He also totalled 28 points, including 17 goals, in 11 games with two MJL teams.


Christmas


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.


Deergut

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after watching Canucks ring the pipes in loss to Blackhawks . . .

Scattershooting2

You know what I wish? I wish people would quit talking about wanting things to get back to “normal.”

I mean, what is “normal?” If you are remembering how things were two years ago, forget about it. Well, maybe don’t forget about it, but file those days in your memory bank, preferably in a chamber way in the back.

You may remember the good old days when someone would dial 911 if you walked into a store wearing a mask. When you didn’t use hand sanitizer at least a dozen times a day. When you didn’t have to wear a mask to a hockey game and there weren’t capacity limits on any of the arenas. When vaccination status didn’t matter when you invited friends over for dinner. When some areas of our hospitals weren’t bursting at the seams and when our healthcare workers weren’t burning out quicker than cheap candles.

You may remember them, but those days are gone. They’re not coming back, either, no matter how much you want to see them again.

In a year or two, when enough people have been fully vaccinated, including booster shots, and COVID-19 has been beaten down, perhaps society will be able to develop a new “normal.”

But we are a long way from there these days.

For now, the only Normal in our world is a town in Illinois.

Here in B.C., we have no idea what our normal will look like. We’re almost two years into the pandemic. We’ve had wildfires and all the smoke that came with them. We’ve had the landslides and the flooding.

About all that’s left is the locusts and I hear they’re gathering over the Pacific with a spring invasion in mind.


HELPIN’ OUT THE PACK: I have a dear friend who is a huge fan of the Green Bay Packers. A news release arrived in my inbox on Friday, and I could hardly wait GreenBayto forward it to him. . . . “Green Bay Packers fans in Canada now have the opportunity to purchase shares in the iconic franchise, the organization announced today,” the release reads. “Approximately 174,000 shares remain available for purchase. The team has clarified Canadian regulatory requirements and now is able to proceed with sales in Canada. The offering will continue until Feb. 25, 2022, subject to extension, or until fully subscribed. . . . The cost of a share in Canada is US$300, with a handling fee for each transaction.” . . . You are limited to purchasing a maximum of 200 shares and remember that they don’t appreciate in value. . . . So, for a mere Cdn$379.25 — that was the exchange rate on Friday — you are able to help the Packers pay Aaron Rodgers’ salary. . . . My friend? I would expect him to give himself a Merry Christmas with a share or five.


Liquor


TWO NEW IMPORTS: A pair of WHL franchises added import players late in the week. . . . The Regina Pats claimed Slovakian F Alex Geci, 18, off waivers from the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, which had selected him in the 2020 CHL import draft. He had one goal and two assists in nine games with the Sting this season. . . . Meanwhile, Russian F Alexei Shanaurin, 17, has arrived in Swift Current and is skating with the Broncos. They selected him in the 2021 import draft. . . . Neither Geci nor Shanaurin played on Saturday night. . . . Alan Caldwell, who tracks these things, informs that 21 of the WHL’s 22 teams now have their limit of two imports. The exception? The Red Deer Rebels.



CHANGES, CHANGES: The CFL’s West Division semifinal will feature the Calgary Stampeders and the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina on Sunday. CFLThe West final is to be played in Winnipeg on Dec. 5. . . . Between those dates, pandemic-related rules regarding flying will change in Canada, with travellers needing to be fully vaccinated after Nov. 30; negative test results no longer will be enough. . . . Dave Dickenson, the Stampeders’ head coach, admitted on Saturday that should the Stampeders advance they will have a different look in Winnipeg than they will in Regina. In other words, there are a few unvaccinated players in the Calgary locker room. . . . Meanwhile, the Roughriders moved third-string QB Paxton Lynch to the practice squad late last week because he is unvaccinated so is unable to fly. According to Murray McCormick of the Regina Leader-Post, Saskatchewan head coach Craig Dickenson said that Lynch is the lone unvaccinated player on the team’s roster. . . . “We’ve encouraged guys to get vaccinated and given them motives and incentives, which are mainly about the ability to play and travel,” Craig Dickenson said. “If they chose not to, that is their choice. We do the best we can. If someone doesn’t want to get vaccinated, we aren’t going to force them.” . . . With Lynch out of the picture, QB Mason Fine came off the Saskatchewan practice roster and is behind starter Cody Fajardo and Isaac Harker on the depth chart.


Early


PERRY’S CORNER: “House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy spoke for 8½ hours into the early hours Friday morning in futile opposition to President Biden’s social spending bill,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Veteran observers say it was like watching a Yankees-Red Sox doubleheader.”

——

More from Perry: “Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Aminata Diallo has been arrested for allegedly setting up an attack on a soccer teammate. Jacques Gillooly immediately proclaimed his innocence.”

——

Perry also had this one: “According to NFL memes, NFL teams with cat names and those with bird names are tied at 209-209-10 all time. The Jaguars and Falcons will break the tie Nov. 28 — we hope.”


STORM WARNING: The junior B Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League were back on home ice Sunday night, beating the North Okanagan Knights, 4-1. The Storm had one game postponed — it was to have entertained the Chase Heat on Nov. 17 — because its home arena is being used as an evacuation centre for Merritt residents who have had to flee a massive flood.


BIG GAME COUNTRY: It you’re a hockey fan, you might be eagerly awaiting WHLSaturday night. That’s when the Kamloops Blazers, now 14-2-0, are scheduled to visit the Everett Silvertips (14-0-1). . . . The Blazers beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-1, in Kent, Wash., on Saturday and will be back there on Wednesday. Kamloops then will meet the host Portland Winterhawks on Friday before moving on to Everett. . . . The Silvertips, who dropped the visiting Thunderbirds, 5-2, on Sunday, are at home to the Tri-City Americans on Wednesday and then will visit the Victoria Royals on Friday. . . . Kamloops holds an 11-point lead over the second-place Kelowna Rockets (8-4-1) in the B.C. Division. . . . The Silvertips are atop the U.S. Division, eight points ahead of Seattle (11-5-1). . . .

Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference-leading Winnipeg Ice (19-1-0) will play their next seven games at home, starting Wednesday against the Swift Current Broncos (6-9-3). Of note are a doubleheader with the Saskatoon Blades (11-7-1) on Dec. 3 and 4, with the Edmonton Oil Kings (14-3-3) there for two on Dec. 8 and 11. . . . When the Ice finishes the homestand it’ll be wrapping up a stretch in which it played 12 of 14 games on home ice.


Map


CHEF’S KISS: Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, with a cooking-related anecdote: “Antonio Brown’s former live-in chef outing Brown for allegedly obtaining a fake vax card is the best sports-chef story since 2004. That’s when Gary Sheffield accused Barry Bonds of luring away his live-in chef with a car, a home and repayment of student loans. It was history’s most celebrated case of chefjacking.”


JUST NOTES: After a day of NFL watching, I am left to wonder if the magic has left Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. You don’t hear Seahawks fans saying the team needs to “Let Russ Cook” these days. . . . Remember when the Pittsburgh Steelers ran the ball, ran the ball and ran the ball some more? . . . Some games you just aren’t destined to win. That’s what the Vancouver Canucks will be telling themselves today after hitting five posts in a 1-0 loss to G Marc-Andre Fleury and the visiting Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night. Of course, another loss won’t do anything to keep the vultures from circling Rogers Arena. . . . It won’t happen, but it wouldn’t hurt if MLB added player-of-the-year awards to its trophy case, because that’s what the MVP honours have become. Why not have MVP and POY awards? . . . We can only hope that Sunday’s CFL division semifinals are more entertaining than what we’ve seen down the stretch.


Mental


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.


Igram

Struch pays price in Regina; Paddock back behind Pats’ bench . . . Bedard due to break out? . . . USHL’s Lancers in disarray


Dave Struch became the second head-coaching casualty of this WHL season when the Regina Pats fired him on Thursday morning.

John Paddock, a veteran of the coaching game and twice the winner of the Dunc PatsMcCallum Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s coach of the year, has taken over and now is the organization’s vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach. Paddock ran the Pats’ practice in Regina on Thursday.

According to Pats’ owner/governor Shaun Semple, Paddock “will assume the role of head coach for the remainder of this season and next.”

Struch, 50, was in the final year of his contract. He had been with the Pats since 2014-15. He started as an assistant coach working alongside Paddock, then took over as head coach after the Pats were the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup.

Prior to joining the Pats, Struch spent eight seasons on the Saskatoon Blades’ coaching staff, the last one (2013-14) as head coach.

“Not much to say, as this is what I signed up for as a coach,” Struch told the Regina Leader-Post via text on Thursday afternoon. “I’m sad for my family. Disappointed that I couldn’t help the team get more wins. Expectations are high for this group of young men to be at the top of the conference and I couldn’t make that happen.”

Struch exits with the Pats at 6-10-0, their most-recent appearance a 6-1 loss to the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes that left them with three straight losses. The Pats’ season has been streaky — two victories, seven losses, four victories, three losses.

Assistant coaches Brad Herauf, who is in his seventh season, and Ken Schneider, in his first, were retained.

“I’m positive that with John, Brad and Ken, they will get (the Pats) back to the top where they should be this season,” Struch told The Leader-Post. “I am grateful to the organization for everything they have done for my family and I over the last seven years.”

Paddock, 67, makes his first appearance back behind the bench on Saturday as the Pats begin a six-game road trip against the Moose Jaw Warriors.

He has extensive head-coaching experience that includes stints in the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators. He was the WHL’s coach of the year following the 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons.

Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post has his thoughts on the Pats’ situation right here.

The other coach to depart since this season got started? Dean Brockman left the Swift  Current Broncos on Oct. 14.

——

With the Regina Pats having stumbled through the first part of the WHL’s regular season, there are those who are wondering about the first 16 games of F Connor Bedard’s season.

Bedard, the first player to have been granted exceptional status allowing him to play in the WHL as a 15-year-old, put up 12 goals and 16 assists in 15 games in the developmental season that was played in the Regina hub last spring.

This season, Bedard, now 16, has eight goals and four assists in 16 games.

However, as Ken Campbell wrote Thursday at Hockey Unfiltered, better numbers are likely to be in Bedard’s immediate future.

“The temptation might be to wonder what is going on with Connor Bedard these days,” Campbell wrote. “There also might be a temptation to think that the WHL’s first exceptional player and top prospect for the 2023 NHL draft is lagging behind his competition, namely Adam Fantilli and Matvei Michkov.

“Yes, Bedard has only eight goals and 12 points in 16 games for the Regina Pats after scoring 28 points in just 15 games last season and leading Canada to a gold medal at the World Under-18 Championship. And he has yet to score a single goal on the power play. But there are a couple of mitigating circumstances at play. First, Bedard leads the Western Hockey League in shots with 85, which means he’s been the victim of some terribly bad luck. People in analytics tell us all the time that, particularly with elite players who generate a lot of chances, that luck is bound to change and his shooting percentage will get way above 9.4 percent. Last season, it was 17.4 percent.”

Campbell’s complete piece, which includes notes on a lot more than just Bedard, is right here.


If you are one of those people who puts stock in power polls or rankings or whatever they might be called, consider this from Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press . . .

“ESPN calls itself the worldwide leader in sports, but it’s more like the worldwide leader in hot takes (and arguably clickbait) following Wednesday’s release of their weekly NHL ‘power rankings.’

“In case you missed it, the new U.S. rightsholder for league telecasts has seen fit to demote the Winnipeg Jets down to 20th, a drop of eight spots from the No. 12 position they occupied last Wednesday.

“This, despite the fact the Jets just went a perfect 3-0-0 over the past seven days, including a dominating 5-2 win over Edmonton on Tuesday night. That would be the same Oilers team ESPN has ranked No. 1. Seriously. “You couldn’t make this up.

“Winnipeg has just one regulation loss in the last dozen games (9-1-2), and if it keeps up this impressive pace I suspect the Jets are going to drop all the way to dead-last in the rankings rather quickly.”

BTW, the Jets dropped a 2-1 shootout decision to the host Oilers on Thursday night. Yes, Edmonton F Connor McDavid scored another one of “THOSE” goals.


Monopoly


The schedule has been released for the 2022 Memorial Cup and it comes with a real change. The tournament, which is to be held in Saint John, N.B., from June 4 through June 13, will begin on a Saturday night, rather than Friday, and the championship final is scheduled for Monday night, rather than Sunday. . . . All games will begin at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET) with one exception — the game on June 5 between the QMJHL and WHL champions is to start at 1 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET). . . . There is a news release right here, and it includes ticket-buying information.


Some crazy stuff has been going down with the USHL’s Omaha Lancers. Let’s Lancersstart with some Thursday tweets from Brad Elliott Schlossman, the Grand Forks Herald’s superb hockey writer . . .

On Wednesday, he had tweeted:

“Four months after Omaha (USHL) hired Chadd Cassidy as head coach and GM, and after an 8-4-2 start to this season, the Lancers have pushed him out, per multiple sources.”

These followed on Thursday (all times Pacific):

10:53 a.m.: Situation in Omaha escalating: Lancers have been cutting budgets, everything from video software to some postgame player meals; after ousting Cassidy, Omaha asked him to coach last weekend’s games (per @THNRyanKennedy); Omaha discussed having an injured player be asst coach.”

10:57 a.m.: “Remaining Omaha Lancers staff members are currently resigning. I’m not sure if there will be anyone left when this is done. Players are threatening to boycott upcoming games.”

11:11 a.m.: “Assistant general manager Jeff Cox, acting head coach Sean Walsh, assistant coach Tate Maris and trainer Nick Hart have all resigned from the Omaha Lancers.”

11:49 a.m.: “The remaining Lancers staff was willing to stay for the sake of the players. Then, this morning, team president David DeLuca lost his temper with acting HC Sean Walsh. Assistant coach Tate Maris resigned. Players opted to walk out. Remaining staff backed players and resigned.”

12:30 p.m.: “The Lancers say Chadd Cassidy ‘stepped down as head coach to pursue other opportunities.’ . . . Yeah, and I bench pressed 500 pounds this morning.”

Schlossman later filed this story right here.

And right here is a story from Chris Peters of dailyfaceoff.com who also has been all over this story.


On the subject of crazy stuff, it’s hard to believe that it has been 27 years since one of the highlights of my time around the WHL. Yessss, those were the days! . . . Regina versus Moose Jaw was so much fun. Play-by-play guys in Donald Duck outfits. Coaches battling. . . . Kevin Shaw, the Regina Pats’ unofficial historian, reminds us of what happened 27 years ago with this tweet . . .



Bigfoot


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.


Toad

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after it got dark early out here . . .

Scattershooting2


I took some time away from the keyboard to sit back and watch the sporting world go by.

What I witnessed wasn’t at all pretty.

Of course, the situation involving Kyle Beach and the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks gets messier every time an NHL or NHLPA official opens his mouth.

But let’s be honest. As far as the NHL is concerned, it’s all about protecting the shield. If it wasn’t, Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, would have put Sheldon Kennedy on the payroll as a consultant or advisor a long time ago.

But there’s more going on than that . . .

If you Google “Pittsburgh Penguins,” you will find the NHL team is embroiled in a scandal that involves a couple of coaches and one of their wives.

If you Google “Vancouver Whitecaps,” you will find that Major League Soccer has hired a law firm to conduct an investigation into the team’s handling of alleged misconduct by a couple of coaches. Those accusations were levelled more than 10 years ago; the Whitecaps led an investigation into them in 2019.

And then there was the high school boys hockey game in the Pittsburgh area the other day that was marred by the vulgar chants of students from one school towards the other team’s female goaltender. No, adults in the stands didn’t see fit to intervene.

Meanwhile, there were reports that F Nicholas Daigle of the QMJHL’s Victoriaville Tigres, who has been charged with sexually assaulting a minor, may — or may not — be going to play in the controversial Ukrainian Hockey League. Daigle is one of two players who was charged following the Tigres’ championship victory last season; the QMJHL subsequently suspended both players. Reports indicated that he would be going overseas to play for HC Rulav Oddr of the Ukrainian Hockey League. The team announced his acquisition with this: “To be found guilty and to be charged is a big difference. Nicholas will be the most famous young player in UHL history . . . and the fact that the guy is sexy, the residents of Kharkiv will like him. ” The UHL is the league that found itself embroiled in a nasty racist incident earlier this season. . . . The QMJHL, however, has said that it won’t be releasing Daigle to play in the UHL or, one can assume, in any other league.

PHEW! Take a breath because there’s more . . .

The NFL launched an investigation into allegations of workplace harassment and more with the Washington Football Team, but won’t release the results, although some emails leaked that resulted in the departure of the Las Vegas Raiders’ head coach.

The NBA is investigating allegations of misogyny and racism involving the owner of the Phoenix Suns, while the Portland Trailblazers are investigating allegations of workplace misconduct against their general manager.

The National Women’s Soccer League had its commissioner resign amid a scandal involving misconduct and sexual misconduct. The league and the players association are launching a wholesale investigation.

As well, Rana Reider, who coaches Canadian sprinting star Andre De Grasse has been accused of sexual misconduct and SafeSport is investigating.

Meanwhile, former WHL/NHL D Bryce Salvador tweeted this on Oct. 31:

“I just spent 10 mins on the ice holding the hand of a 12yr player I coach. He lay there motionless, crying that his back hurt, unable to move at all.

“I ultimately called off the game as we waited until the ambulance came.  (we were winning 4-1 with a 1min left in the semi-final game). . . . With the traumatic toll weighing on my 12-year players about the health of their teammate, I then decided we would forfeit the final game.

“What happened next is unbelievable. The coach of the team that we were scheduled to play in the final couldn’t believe that we were not going to play the final game because I felt it was unethical to put 12yrs back on the ice again that day.

“He insisted that we still had enough players to play . . . ‘. . . what, you are just going leave?’

“YES! I need to see how the player is doing!  Where is empathy anymore?”

Where indeed?

——

BTW, if you think the NHL will be in the market for a new commissioner because of recent happenings, well, it’s not going to happen. Bettman works for the owners and his No. 1 priority is to make money for them. During his reign, the NHL somehow got its players to accept a salary cap, and the last two expansion franchises brought in a total of $1,150,000,000. Yes, that’s more than a billion dollars in US funds.



Brock McGillis came out in 2016. A goaltender, he still was playing pro hockey so it was kind of a big deal. These days, he does a lot of speaking in the world of hockey, work that he hopes will help improve the inclusivity in that particular part of our world. . . . But there are roadblocks. I know, you’re shocked! . . . As he told Matt Larkin of The Hockey News:

“I really do appreciate the teams that bring me in – it matters. But I’ve been begging, pleading with the OHL for four years to do this and make it a mandatory program like they’ve done with so many others. Unfortunately, they haven’t. I’ve stopped pleading. I felt like I was a bother and it wasn’t accomplishing anything. I hope they circle back, because it’s needed but, until they engage that conversation, I can’t plead with them, but I will work with individual teams that see the value and other groups. . . . Frankly, I hope the CHL reaches out, especially considering they do have an out player (Luke Prokop). I’m hoping it’ll be the catalyst to a conversation with the CHL. I’m becoming exhausted with leagues and teams dipping a toe in with Pride nights. I’ve told them all, ‘This is performative.’ Sorry, but it is. Studies have shown that it doesn’t move the needle or impact the locker room or anything.”

Larkin’s complete story is right here.


Milk


Just wondering, but whatever happened to the coaches’ union in junior hockey? There was a time when junior hockey coaches had frequent conversations, oftentimes before or after games. . . . Could it be those in-season communications have gone the way of the mask-free goaltender? . . . In an email conversation with the head coach who took over a junior team prior to this season, I asked if any of the league’s other coaches had “called or emailed or contacted you in any fashion just to welcome you to the league?” . . . His response: “The answer to your question is ‘no.’ If they did reach out and give me some form of welcome, it was only because they had another agenda and/or were trying to screw me somehow!” . . . I guess the days of two coaches sharing a post-game beverage before one boards the bus for the trip home are over.


Seatbelts

DOWNHILL FROM HERE: Who fell further faster — the Chicago Blackhawks or Aaron Rodgers? . . . Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle: “After Aaron Rodgers reported that he turned in a 500-page research paper to the NFL detailing supposed problems with the COVID vaccines, the world wondered, ‘What kind of college student was Rodgers?’ Well, he didn’t graduate from Cal (‘Thank God,’ sigh a million Cal alums). Rodgers did major in American Studies at Cal, and one of his classes was Food Appreciation. Food Appreciation.” . . . Here’s Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News: “Even if the Packers win the Super Bowl, the people in charge at Lambeau Field will be willing to drive (Rodgers) to the airport next February.”


THE WORLD OF COVID: The Ottawa Senators, fresh off a six-day trip into the U.S., had two players (D Nick Holden and F Austin Watson) and assistant coach Jack Capuano in COVID-19 protocol as of Sunday night. Yes, chances are there will be more in the days ahead. . . . S Harrison Smith of the Minnesota Vikings didn’t play Sunday against the host Baltimore Ravens because he is on the NFL’s COVID-19 list. Smith, who isn’t vaccinated, is a Pro Bowler. The Vikings lost, 34-31 in OT. They also were without C Garrett Bradbury, who is vaccinated and tested positive. G Dakota Dozier, who is on their practice squad, also is on the COVID list. Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis StarTribune blamed the loss on “Smith’s unwillingness to get vaccinated and the offense’s inability to function without a script or a sense of panic.” . . . The San Jose Sharks have games in Calgary and Winnipeg this week, and because of COVID protocols they’re without head coach Bob Boughner, F Matt Nieto, D Erik Karlsson, D Jake Middleton, D Radim Simek, D Marc-Edouard Vlasic, F Kevin Labanc, F Tino Meier, trainer Ray Tufts and equipment manager Mike Aldrich.


Ex


WORK NEWS: It was good to see old friend Travis Crickard’s name in a news release the other day as he joined the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs as an assistant coach. Crickard spent four-plus seasons on staff with the Kelowna Rockets before Bruce Hamilton announced on Dec. 8, 2018, that they had “mutually parted  ways.” (Wink! Wink!!) . . . Crickard had been head coach of the U-18 AAA Waterloo, Ont., Wolves. . . . Once upon a time he was a goaltender for two seasons with the Flin Flon Bombers. He also was the video coach with the Canadian team that won the IIHF U-18 tournament in Texas last spring. . . . Bobby Jo Love, one of the WHL’s regular referees, made his AHL debut in Abbotsford, B.C., last weekend. The 25-year-old from Smithers, B.C., worked the Ontario Reign’s sweep — 5-2 on Oct. 29 and 3-2 in OT on Oct. 30 — of the Canucks. . . . Congrats to Jayson Hajdu, another old friend, on his new position as director of communications for College Hockey Inc. The Regina native worked in the U of North Dakota’s athletic media relations office (1995-2018) and was the primary contact for men’s hockey there from 2008 through 2018. For the past two years, he’s been the marketing and communications strategist for The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures in Kansas City.


A GOOD READ: It seems the reports of the demise of Marc Habscheid’s Prince Albert Raiders were a bit premature. The Raiders are laughing at the critics after sweeping the Saskatoon Blades on the weekend, winning 5-1 at home and 5-2 in Toontown. Once 2-7-0, the Raiders now are 5-7-1. . . . The same holds true for Dave Struch’s Regina Pats. They also were 2-7-0, but now have won four in a row. . . . If you’re looking for an entertaining hockey-related read, you can’t go wrong with Bearcat Murray: From Ol’ Potlicker to Calgary Flames Legend. Murray, the legendary Calgary-based trainer, told his story and George Johnson, whose fingers play on a computer keyboard the way Oscar Peterson’s tickled the ivories, wrote it. Good stuff! . . . While watching the Nashville Predators and host Vancouver Canucks on Friday night I found myself wondering if the NHL’s crackdown on cross-checking had been relaxed.


Teens


JUST WHAT WE NEED: Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Clear evidence that we’re running out of things to investigate: On Nov. 19, FX/Hulu is offering up a probe into Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.” . . . Perry, again: “BASS announced its 2022 high-school bass-fishing schedule, four tournaments scheduled on weekend days called the Bassmaster High School Series. Back in the good old days, fishing took place on a weekday and we just called it hooky.” . . . You know what is really wonderful these days? You turn on the TV and tune into an NFL game. A woman is part of the on-field officiating crew and from the game’s start to its end no one mentions it.


OUR WORLD IS EMPTIER TODAY: Condolences to Verita van Diemen and sons Ryan and Chad and their families following the death of Case, who was a guiding hand for the Kamloops Blazers Sports Society when the WHL franchise, which then was owned by community shareholders, was going through some difficult times. Case, 74, died on Oct. 30. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when he was 65. He did a two-year stint as the Blazers’ president and I always enjoyed conversing with him. He always gave an honest answer and/or opinion, which might be why I wasn’t surprised to read in his obituary that “Case was thankful to be able to have the choice to go out on his terms.” . . . I also won’t ever forget Case and Verita’s generosity when I was running the Christmas Cheer Fund for the Kamloops Daily News. They were on board with us from the beginning and I always, always heard from them early in the campaign.


The NHL may not want to speak with Sheldon Kennedy, but the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame certainly did. Kennedy was inducted into the Winnipeg-based Hall of Fame on Thursday night. . . .


Beer


NO TAG DAYS FOR BUSTER: Don’t be concerned about Buster Posey’s financial future now that the San Francisco Giants veteran catcher has announced his retirement. Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle: “Financially, Posey should be OK. He invested heavily in BodyArmor sports drink around 2013. Coca-Cola just bought BodyArmor for $5.6 billion. That sale turned the late Kobe Bryant’s $6-million investment into a net gain for his estate of $400 million.” . . . I don’t know about you but I absolutely despise those computer-generated ads that TSN floats onto the field during CFL games and the ones that Sportsnet plasters on the glass during NHL games. . . . Here’s a for-real headline from FoxNews.com: Monkey belonging to Texas special-teams coach’s stripper girlfriend bites child on Halloween.


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.


Divorce

Scattershooting on a Saturday night while waiting for another football Sunday . . .

Scattershooting2

Ice Cube, the actor and not the thing at the bottom of your glass of Chivas, bailed on a movie project the other day. He chose not to get vaccinated so really didn’t have any choice. Not taking the inoculation cost him US$9 million. As Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News tweeted: “He can shoot hoops with Kyrie.”


Another sign the apocalypse is upon us: TMZ reported that “PETA is urging MLB to stop using the term ‘bullpen’ to describe the place where pitchers warm up.” . . . Seriously. The good folks at PETA must have been having a slow Thursday. Apparently, they issued a news release suggesting a change to “arm barn.”


Halloween


“PETA wants baseball to stop using the term ‘bullpen,’ saying it is a holding place for cattle about to be butchered and no place for pitchers,” notes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “But still passing muster, for now: ducks on the pond, dying quail, gopher ball and dog days of summer.”

——

One more from Perry: “The Braves’ Ozzie Albies won Americans free tacos when he stole second base in the first inning of Game 1 of the World Series. How come Jorge Soler’s homer that same inning didn’t earn us free tater tots?”


Headline from @TheOnion: Poll Finds Most Americans Would Swap Democracy For $100 Best Buy Gift Card.


One more headline from @TheOnion: Texas School Censors All Of ‘Huck Finn’ Except The N-Words.


I saw two numbers this week that about knocked me out of the recliner, and I don’t know which one was more shocking. . . . First, The New York Times reported that Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, “made $128 million the last two fiscal years.” . . . And then I saw this headline on Entertainment Weekly’s website: “Here’s when all 136 new Christmas movies will premiere.” . . . OK . . . 136 “new” Christmas movies wins. I’m old enough to remember when there were about six Christmas movies out there. A Charlie Brown Christmas. Miracle on 34th Street. Home Alone. It’s A Wonderful Life. Love Actually. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. . . . Better make it seven because we can’t leave Die Hard off the list. . . . And now we get 136 new ones in a single year. Yikes! . . . BTW, if you aren’t aware, the Christmas movies have been available on your TV since Oct. 22. Enjoy!



There were nine WHL games on Saturday night. The Winnipeg Ice responded WHLrather well after having suffered their first loss of the season one night earlier . . .

In Kelowna, F Jake Poole’s OT goal gave the Rockets a 5-4 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Poole’s third goal of the season came at 4:45 of extra time. . . . F Pavel Novak scored three times for the Rockets (3-3-0). He’s got five, all of them against Victoria. . . . F Mark Liwiski helped Kelowna with his first goal this season and two assists. . . . The Royals, 1ho are 1-11-0 and have lost 10 in a row, got two goals from F Riley Gannon. . . .

In Prince George, F Matthew Seminoff had a goal and two assists to lead the Kamloops Blazers to a 4-1 victory over the Cougars. . . . Seminoff, who has four goals, had scored twice on Friday in a 7-1 victory over the visiting Victoria Royals. . . . The Blazers (8-1-0) have won four straight. . . . The Cougars (5-4-0) had won their previous five games, all against the Royals. . . .

In Spokane, the Everett Silvertips skated to a 3-0 lead en route to a 4-1 victory over the Chiefs. . . . Everett (7-0-1) has yet to lose in regulation time. . . . The Chiefs are 3-6-1. . . . F Michal Gut (3) scored twice, with F Austin Roest’s second goal of the season, at 8:36 of the second period, standing up as the winner. . . . Everett had a 29-15 edge in shots. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., F Gabe Ludwig’s OT goal gave the Seattle Thunderbirds a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Ludwig’s second goal of the season came at 2:01 of extra time. . . . Tri-City F Ethan Ernst forced OT with a goal at 16:29 of the third period. . . . The Thunderbirds, who had a 51-21 edge in shots, are 7-2-1 and have won five straight. . . . The Americans (2-5-1), who were 1-for-8 on the PP, have lost six in a row. . . .

In Brandon, F Keaton Sorensen scored the game’s first two goals and the Prince Albert Raiders went on to a 3-1 victory over the Wheat Kings. . . . Sorensen, who has three goals, scored at 10:45 and 17:06 of the first period. . . . The Raiders (3-7-1) had lost their previous three games (0-2-1). . . . Brandon slid to 5-7-0. . . .

In Lethbridge, G Daniel Hauser recorded his first career shutout with 29 saves to help the Winnipeg Ice to a 7-0 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . The Ice (12-1-0) had lost its first game of the season in Edmonton on Friday night. . . . Hauser, 17, is from Chestermere, Alta. He now is 7-0-0, 1.72, .929. . . . The Ice got a goal and two assists from each of Conor Geekie (5) and Mikey Milne (9). . . . The Hurricanes (5-4-0) had won their previous two games. . . .

In Red Deer, F Ben King scored a PP goal in OT to give the Rebels a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Rebels finished 2-for-9 on the PP. . . . King scored twice, giving him seven, and added an assist. . . . The Rebels (7-4-1) took a 3-1 lead into the third period, only to have Edmonton tie it on two goals from F Jalen Luypen (5), the second one at 16:50. . . . The Oil Kings (7-2-2) have points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . The Rebels are scheduled to play their next seven games on the road as the Canadian Finals Rodeo takes over their home arena. . . .

In Regina, F Connor Bedard had two goals and an assist as the Pats dumped the Swift Current Broncos, 7-3. . . . The highly touted Bedard has six goals and four assists in 11 games. . . . F Logan Nijhoff scored twice (4) for Regina, with D Ryker Evans adding a goal (2) and two assists. . . . The Pats improved to 4-7-0. . . . The Broncos (2-7-2) have lost nine straight (0-7-2). . . . The Pats had won, 4-1, in Swift Current on Friday. . . .

In Medicine Hat, F Kyle Crnkovic scored twice to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 4-2 victory over the Tigers. . . . Crnkovic came out of the night tied for the WHL lead in goals. He and F Connor McClennon of the Winnipeg Ice are at 10. . . . Saskatoon F Tristen Robins had two assists. He leads the WHL in assists (14) and points (21). . . . The Blades (8-2-1) were 4-for-6 on the PP. . . . The Tigers (4-5-2) have lost three in a row (0-2-1).


CarNut


When last we checked in with the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers, the City of St. John’s had punted them from Mile One, their home arena that actually now is Mary Brown’s Centre, and they were headed for Toronto. The Maple Leafs’ ECHL affiliate was going to play its first six home games in the Coca-Cola Centre. . . . But wait! . . . Now comes word that the Growlers aren’t going to leave The Rock. Instead, they will play at least their first six home games at the Conception Bay South Arena in, yes, Conception Bay South.


JUST NOTES: The San Jose Sharks put head coach Bob Boughner and seven players into COVID-19 protocol on Saturday. The players are F Andrew Cogliano, F Jonathan Dahlen, D Erik Karlsson, D Jake Middleton, F Matt Nieto, D Radim Simek and D Marc-Edouard Vlasic. F Noah Grego of the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda also went into protocol. . . . The Tennessee Titans will be without defensive assistant coach Jim Schwartz when they meet the Indianapolis Colts today due to COVID-19 protocols. . . . G Dryden McKay set an NCAA record for career shutouts on Saturday as the Minnesota State Mavericks’ 7-0 victory over the Northern Michigan Wildcats. That was McKay’s 27th career shutout and broke the record he had shared with Ryan Miller, who played 106 games over three seasons (1999-2002) at Michigan State. McKay has played in 105 games for the Mavericks over three-plus seasons. He has three shutouts in eight games this season.


Pancakes


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.


Poll

Tortorella wonders why ‘one guy’ couldn’t stand up and say ‘this is wrong’ . . . Viveiros: Blood test ‘probably saved my life’ . . . Oil Kings end Ice’s run

It was May 23, 2010 and the Chicago Blackhawks were ahead 3-0 in the best-of-seven Western Conference final with the San Jose Sharks. At some point prior to nhl2Game 4, seven men held a meeting to discuss an alleged sexual assault that had occurred one of the two previous days. The incident involved video coach Brad Aldrich and Kyle Beach, one of the Black Aces.

Beach had gone to one of the men to tell him what had happened. According to a report filed by the Chicago law firm of Jenner & Block following its investigation, these seven men met to decide where to go from here. As we now know, they chose to do nothing, to let nothing get in the way of the train that was head for a Stanley Cup championship.

The Blackhawks completed the sweep of the Sharks that night, then went on to beat the Philadelphia Flyers in six games in the Stanley Cup final.

Beach, a power forward who had been the 11th overall selection in the NHL’s 2008 draft, never played a game in the NHL. While his name isn’t on the Stanley Cup, Aldrich’s is — although likely not for long.

Six of the seven men who were in attendance at that meeting now are out of the NHL. John McDonough, the team president; James Gary, the mental health coach; general manager Stan Bowman; Al MacIsaac, senior vice-president of hockey operations; Jay Blunk, an executive vice-president; and head coach Joel Quenneville.

Quenneville resigned Thursday as head coach of the Florida Panthers after meeting with Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner. Cheveldayoff, who was an assistant GM with Chicago, now is the Winnipeg Jets’ general manager. He met with Bettman on Friday and wasn’t disciplined, apparently because he is seen as having been only a minion in the Chicago scheme of things more than 11 years ago.

Still, Cheveldayoff was in attendance at that meeting.

Former NHL coach John Tortorella, now an analyst with ESPN, put it best when he said on ESPN’s The Point: “That’s what’s crazy to me, it’s multiple people. This wasn’t a one-man decision, it was multiple people. I don’t know why one guy couldn’t stand up and go, ‘You know what, no, this is wrong.’ ”

Tortorella hit the nail squarely on its head. But therein lays the rub. Until the people in suits quit trying to protect the shield at all costs and as long as they put winning before humanity this kind of stuff will continue to happen. No matter how many hotlines are set up . . . no matter how many committees are struck . . . no matter how many investigations are held . . .

Former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy, who knows a thing or two about sexual abuse, told Gregory Strong of The Canadian Press: “Posters and buttons and policies and procedures don’t change culture. Until sport makes this a priority as they do winning, they’ll never have the change that I think people expect from them.”

And then there was this from veteran forward Taylor Hall, now with the Boston Bruins.

“Every culture needs to keep getting better, and hockey’s no different,” he said. This is a game that’s a little bit of a . . . I guess what you’d call an old boys’ club. There’s definitely some secrecy and things that need to change and hopefully they can.”

Bingo!


Manny Viveiros, the head coach of the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights, is back SilverKnightswith the team after being away following a diagnosis of prostate cancer. He will be taking another leave in December as he undergoes surgery.

“Unfortunately,” he tweeted, “I’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer. I had to take a leave of absence at the first part of the season. We’ve been trying at the very early stages a game plan of what we want to do going forward. Now that we have one in place through the doctors, we have an opportunity now to go after this and treat this. I’ve been able to get back to work, which is, for me, a really important part of my life.”

Viveiros is a former WHL player who was the general manager and head coach of the Swift Current Broncos when they won the 2018 championship.

He said his diagnosis was the result of a blood test in training camp: “It started with a simple blood test. The staff and players at the Golden Knights training camp went through physicals and everybody got a blood test. My PSA levels came back really high, and we did a follow up of another blood test and they came back very high again. Right away the VGK medical staff set me up with a urologist here in Las Vegas. I went in and saw him and obviously he was very concerned right away. He checked me out and we ended up doing a biopsy and unfortunately it came back that I do have prostate cancer.”

He also believes that the blood test “probably saved my life. Just having a simple blood test. I’m at the age where I’m over 50 and in perfect health. You just never know. I figured if I feel good, there’s probably nothing wrong. Getting a simple blood test can make the difference in catching something very early or saving a person’s life. I can’t help but encourage people, especially if there’s a history in their family, to go get a simple blood test. That can make a world of difference in the future.”


There were nine WHL games on Friday night. Some highlights . . .

In Edmonton, the Oil Kings’ derailed the Winnipeg Ice’s run at a record by Edmontonscoring three third-period goals in a 3-1 victory. . . . F Connor McClennon (10) gave the Ice a 1-0 first-period lead. . . . F Dylan Guenther (4) tied it at 3:28 of the third, and F Carson Latimer (5) broke the tie at 11:42. F Jaxsen Wiebe (2) added the empty-netter. . . . The Oil Kings (7-2-1) have won three in a row. They also have posted 10 straight victories against the Ice. . . . The Ice (11-1-0) had won its first 11 games. The 1988-89 Swift Current Broncos hold the WHL record for longest winning streak to open a season (12). . . . The Ice and Oil Kings were ranked second and third, respectively, in the CHL’s weekly release. The No. 1-ranked Quebec Remparts (9-2-0) lost, 2-1, to the visiting Shawinigan Cataractes on Thursday. . . .

In Everett, the Portland Winterhawks erased a 3-0 deficit and beat the PortlandSilvertips, 4-3, in a shootout. . . . G Dante Gianuzzi stopped 36 shots for Portland (4-5-1), which had lost three straight. . . . Everett (6-0-1) had a 7-0 edge in OT shots. Silvertips Color Guy (@TipsATG) tweeted that Everett hit three crossbars in OT. . . . The Silvertips scored three first-period goals, two via the PP. . . . D Clay Hanus (3) pulled Portland into a tie at 18:37 of the third period. . . . Portland’s first two goals also came via the PP. . . . F Cross Hanas, the first shooter, scored the lone goal of the shootout. . . .

In Kamloops, the Blazers outshot the Victoria Royals, 58-16, in skating to a 7-1 victory. . . . Kamloops held a 20-5 edge in shots in each of the first and third periods. . . . F Matthew Seminoff (3) scored the game’s first two goals. . . . The Blazers (7-1-0) have won three in a row. . . . Victoria (1-10-0) has lost nine straight. . . .

In Spokane, F Mekai Sanders scored twice to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 4-1 victory over the Chiefs. . . . Sanders has four goals this season. He went into this season with three goals in 47 career games over two seasons. . . . F Jared Davidson (1) added a goal and two assists. . . . Seattle (6-2-1) has won four in a row. . . . The Chiefs are 3-5-1. . . .

In Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants went 4-for-5 on the PP and scored twice while shorthanded in beating the Kelowna Rockets, 7-2. . . . The Giants’ PP was 1-for-17 when the game began. . . . F Justin Sourdif (4) scored twice and added two assists, and F Fabian Lysell (2) had a goal and three assists as the Giants improved to 4-2-0. . . . The Rockets are 2-3-0. . . . The Giants were without D Cade McNelly, 20, due to what the team said was personal reasons. Steve Ewen of Postmedia tweeted that GM Barclay Parneta “had no timeline for a return.” . . .

In Lethbridge, the Hurricanes scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Saskatoon Blades, 4-3. . . . F Ty Nash scored his first two goals of the season to tie the game in the second period. . . . F Justin Hall (9) snapped the tie at 1:11 of the third period. . . . F Jayden Wiens (2) scored twice for the Blades, giving them a 2-0 lead by 7:08 of the first period. . . . Saskatoon (7-2-1) had picked up points in each of its previous eight games (7-0-1). . . . The Hurricanes now are 5-3-0. . . .

In Moose Jaw, F Brayden Yager’s seventh goal, on a PP at 4:52 of OT, gave the Warriors a 4-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . F Ryder Korczak (5) had a goal and two assists for the Warriors (4-6-0), who halted a four-game skid. . . . F Noah Danielson (4) had pulled the Tigers (4-4-2) into a 3-3 tie at 18:30 of the third period. . . . Medicine Hat got three assists from F Lukas Svejkovsky. . . .

In Prince Albert, F Brett Hyland had a goal and two assists in regulation and Brandonadded a shootout goal as the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Raiders, 5-4. . . . G Ethan Kruger, who had been out of Brandon’s lineup since being injured on Oct. 9, stopped 33 shots. . . . Hyland’s first career three-point game came in his 33rd outing over three seasons. He has a goal and four assists in seven games this season. . . . The Wheat Kings (5-6-0) had lost their previous three games. . . . The Raiders (2-7-1), who have lost three in a row, got three assists from D Kaiden Guhle. . . . D Remy Aquilon scored his first two goals of the season for Prince Albert. . . . Hyland and F Tyson Zimmer scored shootout goals for Brandon, with Guhle doing the same for the Raiders. . . . Darren Steinke, the travelling blogger, was on hand and posted this story right here. . . .

In Swift Current, the Regina Pats halted a seven-game losing run with a 4-1 victory over the Broncos. . . . While the Pats improved to 3-7-0, the Broncos slid to 2-6-2 with their eighth straight loss (0-6-2). . . . F Zack Stringer (4) and F Cole Dubinsky (6) each scored twice.


JUST NOTES: With the Winnipeg Ice (11-1-0) and Everett Silvertips (6-0-1) both losing on Friday night, the OHL’s London Knights (8-0-0) are the only team in the CHL not to have lost yet this season. . . . Steve Hunter of the Kent Reporter has written a story right here about the Seattle Thunderbirds and attendance for their games at the accesso ShoWare Center. . . . Elizabeth Mantha worked her first game as an AHL referee on Friday night. Her brother, Anthony, plays for the NHL’s Washington Capitals. Elizabeth and former WHLer Cody Beach — yes, he’s Kyle’s brother — were the referees as the Rochester Americans scored a 4-3 victory over the Rocket in Laval.


Wifi


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.


Peloton

%d bloggers like this: