Government hits WHL’s Sask. teams with PST . . . Big crowd watches Blades dump Pats . . . Garand blanks Rockets again

By now you will be aware that the cost of most everything is rising, rising, rising . . . with no end in sight. Well, six WHL teams learned earlier this week that their ticket prices will be going up, too, and there isn’t anything they can do about it.

That’s because this increase is thanks to the Saskatchewan government having slapped a six per cent PST on various entertainment events, all of which had been exempt. That announcement was part of the government’s latest budget that was announced on Wednesday.

“I’m just not sure about pairing an additional tax with the recovery of the live entertainment industry,” Tim Reid, the president and CEO of Regina Exhibition Association Limited, the Regina Pats’ landlord, told Regina radio station 980 CJME. “After everything we’ve been through, I just feel like the timing and the consultation has been not in the right place. . . .

“I think it probably gives us an opportunity to understand the co-dependencies between what we do to drive the visitor economy that they depend on and some of the decisions that they make fiscally.

“This is not an insignificant item for a business like ours, and it does change the affordability of our events.”


The IIHF recently created an Ethics Board and, according to a news release, its purpose “is to determine if the actions of an IIHF Member National Association IIHFor an individual associated with the IIHF or its members could constitute an ethical conduct violation.” . . . That Ethics Board now has two cases on its table. . . . From that same news release: “The IIHF Council has referred the Russian Ice Hockey Federation to the Ethics Board for review, due to reports that the RIHF allegedly sent instructions to Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) teams to take demonstrative actions in support of the Russia-Ukraine war. As such an action would constitute a violation of the IIHF Ethics Code, the Ethics Board will investigate further and determine whether this case will be referred to the IIHF Disciplinary Board. . . . The IIHF Council also decided to refer IIHF Life President René Fasel to the Ethics Board for review, following reports of his involvement with Russia and the KHL as well as public statements made about the war.” . . . Fasel has long been a supporter of Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator who chose to launch attacks on Ukraine. . . . The Ethics Board will ponder things and then decide whether to refer either case, or both of them, to the Disciplinary Board. . . . Fasel, 72, now works as an advisor to the KHL. He has been critical of the IIHF’s decision to ban Russian and Belarus from future competitions.

Yes, those were the days. . . . Back in the days when newspapers were seriously into newspapering, we at the Regina Leader-Post tried to cover the local scene like a blanket. That included a nightly SJHL roundup that sometimes gave a headline to Cam Moon. Yes, that Cam Moon, who now is a radio voice of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers after all those years with the Red Deer Rebels. . . . BTW, on nights when Ian Hamilton was at his desk at The Leader-Post, we often had SJHL roundups that included quotes. . . . Yes, those really were the days! . . . BTW, Part 2: Lucas Punkari, who covered the Prince Albert Raiders for the Daily Herald not that long ago, now is at the Brandon Sun. Just in case you were wondering. These days he is busy churning out MJHL playoff previews.

The World Figure Skating Championships are taking place this week in Montpellier, France, and somehow things are just fine even though the Russians aren’t there, having been punted by the International Skating Union. . . . And just how have things been without the Russians? . . . Jon Wertheim of sicom wrote: “One official, who preferred to remain anonymous, remarked that, if anything, the event would be more legitimate, not less, since without Russians competing, there would be considerably less skepticism and speculation ‘over who was and was not doping.’ ” . . . Wertheim’s piece on whether various sports are missing the Russians is excellent and it’s right here.



Marc Habscheid, the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, asks the on-ice officials why the fire alarm hasn’t sounded during Friday night’s game in Brandon. (Photo:

F Nolan Ritchie scored twice and added two assists as his Brandon Wheat Kings Brandongot past the visiting Prince Albert Raiders, 5-3. . . . The Wheat Kings also got a goal and two assists from F Riley Ginnell. . . . Ritchie, who scored on the PP and while shorthanded, has 29 goals, while Ginnell has 14. . . . Brandon G Ethan Kruger blocked 34 shots as the Raiders held a 37-19 edge in shots. . . . The Raiders’ loss allowed the idle Moose Jaw Warriors to clinch a playoff spot. . . . The Wheat Kings (29-24-5) appear headed for the sixth-place finish in the Eastern Conference. They are nine points behind Saskatoon and seven ahead of Lethbridge. . . . The Raiders (24-30-5) are ninth, two points out of the last playoff spot that is held by Swift Current. The Raiders hold two games in hand. . . .

In Lethbridge, F Carter Souch put up four points to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings Edmontonto a 5-2 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Souch had three assists as the Oil Kings took a 4-0 lead through two periods, then added his 20th goal into an empty net at 19:42 of the third. . . . Souch now has 68 points in 61 games. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa stopped 24 shots in running his numbers to 31-7-3, 2.26, .914 this season. . . . Freshman F Brayden Edwards scored both goals for Lethbridge, giving him four in 39 games. . . . Edmonton (46-12-3) is tied with the idle Winnipeg Ice for top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Ice has two games in hand. . . . Lethbridge (26-29-4) is seventh, seven points behind Brandon and one ahead of Swift Current. . . .

G Chase Coward stopped 13 shots to help the Red Deer Rebels to a 3-0 victory RedDeerover the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Coward has two career shutouts, both of them this season. . . . F Arshdeep Bains, the WHL’s leading point getter, scored his 35th goal and added an assist. His goal, at 14:05 of the second period, was the winner. . . . Red Deer F Ben King had an assist and now has at least a point in 14 straight games. He has 31 points, including 13 goals, during that stretch. . . . Bains now has 96 points, two more than King. . . . The Rebels (40-17-4) are sixth in the Eastern Conference and appear headed to a first-round series with Brandon. . . . The Tigers (11-44-4) have lost three in a row. . . .

D Marek Schneider’s first WHL goal proved the winner as the host Saskatoon SaskatoonBlades beat the Regina Pats, 3-1. . . . The Blades (34-22-4) now have clinched a playoff spot. They are fifth in the conference, one point behind Moose Jaw and nine ahead of Brandon. . . . Schneider, who turned 19 on Feb. 5, scored his first goal in his 56th game, 36 of them this season. He broke a 1-1 tie at 16:14 of the second period. . . . The announced attendance was 7,523 as the Blades ran a Kids Takeover promotion and also welcomed Regina F Connor Bedard for perhaps the last time this season. . . . Bedard had his point streak end at 21 games, the longest in the WHL this season. He put up 23 goals and 22 assists in those 21 games. . . . Regina (23-30-5) has lost three straight. It is 10th in the conference, four points behind eight-place Swift Current but with three games in hand. . . .

G Dylan Garand turned aside 41 shots in winning for the 30th time this season Kamloopsas the host Kamloops Blazers blanked the Kelowna Rockets, 6-0. . . . The Blazers have won nine in a row and six of those victories are over Kelowna. These two teams played home-and-home each of the previous two weekends and are doing it again this weekend. Yes, they’ll play in Kelowna tonight. . . . Garand, who blanked the Rockets, 4-0, in Kamloops last Saturday, has four shutouts this season 12 in 129 career appearances. This season, he is 30-7-0, 1.98, .929. . . . The Blazers got two goals and an assist from F Logan Stankoven, who now has 85 points, including 37 goals, in 51 games.. . . . F Reese Belton helped out with three assists. . . . Kelowna has lost seven in a row (0-5-2). . . . When the same two teams hit the ice in Kelowna tonight, it will be the 14th meeting between them this season. Kelowna is 7-4-2; Kamloops is 6-6-1. . . . Kamloops (44-14-2) will clinch the B.C. Division pennant with a victory tonight. The Blazers are second in the Western Conference, two points behind Everett. . . . The Rockets (34-19-6) are fifth, six points in arrears of Seattle, their likely first-round opponent. . . .

F Niko Huuhtanen struck for three goals and an assist as the Everett Silvertips Everettskated to a 7-2 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . Huuhtanen, an 18-year-old freshman from Finland, has 35 goals and 37 assists in 57 games. Interestingly, he scored just one goal in his first 15 games. . . . This was his first hat trick. . . . F Michal Gut picked up his 14th goal and two assists, with F Jackson Berezowski getting three assists. . . . Everett F Alex Swetlikoff had his 29th goal and an assist to run his point streak to 15 games. He’s got eight goals and 14 assists in those games. . . . Everett had a 48-15 edge in shots, including 20-2 in the third period. . . . This was the 12th meeting of the season between the Chiefs and Silvertips, each of whom now has played 60 games. So they have played 20 per cent of their games against each other. . . . BTW, the Silvertips won all 12 games; the Chiefs are 0-10-2. . . . Everett (42-10-8) leads the Western Conference by two points over Kamloops. . . . The Chiefs (19-36-5), who have lost four in a row, are tied with Prince George for the conference’s last playoff spot. . . .

F Marcus Almquist scored in a third straight game as his Victoria Royals VictoriaRoyalsdoubled up on the visiting Prince George Cougars, 4-2. . . . Almquist, an 18-year-old from Denmark, has four goals in 36 games with three of them coming in his last three games. . . . F Riley Gannon’s 21st goal, at 2:19 of the third period, gave the Royals a 3-1 lead. . . . Victoria now has won five in a row. . . . The Royals (22-34-6) are tied for sixth with Vancouver in the conference, with the Giants holding four games in hand. . . . The Cougars (20-35-3), who have lost three in a row, are tied with Spokane for the conference’s last playoff spot. . . . Prince George has two games in hand over Spokane. . . .

The host Portland Winterhawks got two goals and two assists from F Gabe PortlandKlassen en route to a 7-1victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . The home side led this one 6-0 early in the second period. . . . Klassen’s second goal was his 30th of the season. . . . F James Stefan scored his 33rd goal and added two assists, with F Jaydon Dureau and F Cross Hanas each earning three assists. . . . The Winterhawks (41-15-5) are third in the conference, three points behind Kamloops. . . . Tri-City (17-38-5) is four points out of the last playoff spot. . . .

F Lukas Svejkovsky scored twice as his Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Vancouver SeattleGiants, 5-2, in Langley, B.C. . . . Sjejkovsky played 85 games over two seasons (2018-20) with the Giants, who dealt him to the Medicine Hat Tigers. Seattle acquired him from the Tigers this season. He has 27 goals this season, 14 of them in 27 games with the Thunderbirds. . . . F Reid Schaefer and F Jared Davidson, who combined to score nine goals in the 2021 development season, each scored his 30th goal for Seattle. Davidson also had two assists. . . . Seattle (37-17-6) is a comfortable fourth in the Western Conference, seven points behind Portland and six ahead of Kelowna. . . . Vancouver (23-31-4) is tied for sixth with Victoria, 24 points behind Kelowna and seven ahead of Prince George.

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



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


Or, for more information, visit right here.



Claim allegations detail horrific abuse in CHL . . . WHL start date in serious jeopardy . . . WJC teams plagued by COVID-19

If you are the least bit squeamish, you may  not want to click on the link in the tweet below. There are some horrific revelations in the story by Rick Westhead of TSN. . . . Please pay attention to the WARNING that accompanies it. . . .

The WHL’s plan to open its next regular season on Jan. 8 took another hit on Tuesday when the Alberta government announced mandatory restrictions that whlinclude the shuttering of all indoor rinks and arenas. The closures take effect on Sunday at midnight and are to run for at least four weeks. . . . Also on Tuesday, Manitoba announced that its restrictions, which have shut down junior hockey in the province, were being extended into January. . . . In Saskatchewan, public health orders are in place through Dec. 17. . . . The WHL has yet to have players report to their teams. It had hoped to have players travel on Dec. 26, then open mini-training camps on Dec. 27, all with the aim of opening a regular season of up to 50 games on Jan. 8. Teams would play strictly within their own divisions during the regular season. . . . In Washington state, which is home to four WHL teams, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday that restrictions that now are in place will run at least through Jan. 4. . . . In Oregon, home to the Portland Winterhawks, indoor recreation spaces will remain closed at least through Dec. 17. . . . The OHL, which also has yet to bring in its players, has said it wants to open a regular season on Feb. 4. Perhaps the WHL will announce in a day or two that it is aiming for early February, too.

With the rosters of the American, Canadian and Swedish national junior hockey teams having already been impacted by COVID-19, Hockey Canada officials now are being asked about minimums involving the 10-team World Junior Championship that is to open in an Edmonton bubble on Dec. 25.

As in: What is the minimum number of teams needed for the tournament to be played? The answer seems to be eight.

As in: What is the minimum number of players needed for a team to be eligible to play a game? The answer seems to be 17 — 15 skaters and two goaltenders.

Team Canada is out of its two-week quarantine, forced on it when two players tested positive. But before returning to the ice on Tuesday, five players were Canadasent home, all of them for health reasons — F Ridly Greig of the Brandon Wheat Kings, D Daemon Hunt (Moose Jaw Warriors), D Mason Millman (Saginaw Spirit), D Matthew Robertson (Edmonton Oil Kings) and F Xavier Simoneau (Drummondville Voltigeurs).

Those decisions left the camp roster at 41; it will be down to 25 in a few days.

Meanwhile, the Swedish team, which went into Tuesday having had four players already test positive, found out that three coaches have tested positive, including head coach Tomas Montén. Assistant coach Anders Lundberg and video coach Adam Almqvist also have tested positive. . . . F Albin Grewe, a third-round pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL’s 2019 draft, is the fourth player to have tested positive, after F William Eklund, D William Wallinder and F Karl Henriksson.

The Swedish Ice Hockey Association now is working with the IIHF to determine the alternatives. . . . What is known for sure, is that the four players and three coaches won’t be taking part in the WJC. . . . Johan Stark, the Swedish federation’s secretary general, said: “If we see that the trend is going in the wrong direction, we must consider whether participation is possible or not.” . . .

Germany also has had issues with COVID-19 and has lost three players to positive tests — G Tobias Ancicki, F Nino Kinder and F Lukas Reichel. The Chicago Blackhawks selected Reichel with the 17th overall pick of the NHL’s 2020 draft.

The Austrians haven’t escaped unscathed, either, with D Thimo Nickl, a fourth-round pick by the Anaheim Ducks in 2020, having tested positive.

And don’t forget that Team USA also lost three players to COVID-19 protocol. G Drew Commesso, F Robert Mastrosimone and D Alex Vlasic  all are from Boston University, which had to pause it’s men’s hockey program.

Rene Fasel, the longtime president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, has tested positive, as has general secretary Horst Lichtner, the IIHF’s second most-powerful man. The two had to postpone a trip to Belarus where they were to have met with Alexander Lukashenko, the country’s embattled president. . . . The 2021 men’s world championship is to be split between Latvia and Belarus, but the IIHF is under pressure to drop Belarus. The International Olympic Committee has suspended Lukashenko and wants the IIHF to honour that suspension.


The BCHL’s Langley Rivermen announced on Tuesday that they “have decided to pause the season effective immediately.” With things on hold until at least Jan. 8, the Rivermen statement read: “We feel it is in the best interest of the Langley community, the players, the staff and billets to pause until January, pending further news” from the B.C. government. . . . Under the restrictions implemented by the B.C. government and health officials, players 19 and older are prohibited from practising, while those 18 and younger are able to skate with restrictions. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia takes a further look right here at the situation in which the BCHL finds itself.


CBC News: Global cases of COVID-19 top 68M: Johns Hopkins University.

CBC News: Manitoba is reporting 13 more COVID-19 deaths and 245 new cases. That’s the lowest daily case total in 17 days and drops the 7-day average to 324.

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 6 more COVID-19 deaths and 183 new cases. That brings the 7-day average down to 264, but the number of hospitalizations hits a record high of 144, with 27 people in intensive care – also a record high.

CBC News: Alberta reports 1,727 new COVID-19 infections, setting another record with 20,388 active cases. Across the province, 654 people are being treated in hospitals for COVID-19, including 112 in ICU. Another nine deaths were added to the toll, bringing the total to 640 since March.

rdnewsNOW: Red Deer with 373 active COVID-19 cases.

Don Martin, CTV: Sad but necessary. A desperate Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has waved the white flag and imposed Canada’s most restrictive regime of shutdowns to fight a horrific COVID surge hitting its hospitals.

Richard Zussman, Global BC: There are 566 news cases of COVID-19 in the province. There have been 38,718 cases of the virus in BC. . . . There have been an additional 16 deaths due to COVID-19. There have been a total of 543 deaths in BC due to the virus. . . . There have been 265 deaths in the province from COVID in the last month. That is nearly half of all of the deaths due to the virus. . . . There are 352 people in hospital with COVID-19 in BC. There are 74 in ICU.

CBC News: Ontario has 1,676 new COVID-19 cases, lowest daily total since November 26. It sends the province’s 7-day average down slightly, from 1,820 to 1,816. Toronto has 588 cases, while Peel Region has 349 and York Region has 141. There are 10 additional deaths. . . . There are 794 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ontario; 219 in ICU and 132 on a ventilator. 39,200 more tests were completed in the province with a 5% positivity rate.

CBC News: 36 additional deaths and 1,564 new COVID-19 cases reported in Quebec. That sends the 7-day case average to 1,598 from 1,544.

KGW: 36 COVID-19 deaths in Oregon, most reported in a single day. . . The Oregon Health Authority also announced 1,341 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday.

KOMO News: The Washington State Department of Health reported 2,923 new COVID-19 cases, 145 additional hospitalizations and 26 more deaths in the past 24 hours.

The New York Times: North Carolina’s governor imposed a 10 p.m. curfew on Tuesday in the hope of slowing the spread of the coronavirus. The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 in the state has nearly doubled in the past month.

CNN: America surpasses 15 million confirmed Covid-19 cases. At least 284,887 in US have died from the virus since the pandemic began.


The NFL revealed on Tuesday that it had 18 players and 27 other personnel test positive during the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5. Since Aug. 1, it has had 173 players and 297 other personnel confirmed positive. . . .

WR Dez Bryant, now with the Baltimore Ravens, tested positive while taking warmups shortly before Tuesday’s game against his own club, the Dallas Cowboys. Prior to the game, Bryant was seen on the field hugging some of the Cowboys. . . . The game went on as scheduled, but without Bryant. . . .

The Green Bay Packers said Tuesday that only employees and players’ household families will be allowed to attend games at Lambeau Field for the remainder of this NFL season. . . .

The football game scheduled for Saturday between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines won’t happen for the first time since 1917. The Wolverines have had an outbreak of COVID-19. . . . The Cincinnati Bearcats won’t be visiting the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Saturday. The Bearcats have been hit by the virus. The two teams will meet Dec. 19 in the AAC championship game, but only if the virus allows it, of course. . . . No. 8 Indiana and Purdue are supposed to meet on Saturday. However, Indiana cancelled practice on Tuesday and has paused all football-related activities because of positive tests. Purdue also cancelled Tuesday’s practice to “evaluate the results of recent COVID-19 testing.” . . .

The ECHL will open its 33rd regular season with five games on Friday and five more on Saturday. Eleven of the league’s 26 teams have opted out, at least for this season. . . . The Fort Wayne Komets and Toledo Walleye had said they would start in mid-January, but now say it will be in mid-February. . . .

Jairo Castillo, a scout with the Los Angeles Dodgers, has died of complications from COVID-19. He died Sunday in the Dominican Republic at the age of 31. . . . Castillo once scouted for the Toronto Blue Jays.


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



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


Or, for more information, visit right here.


Scattershooting on Saturday night while chuckling over Pop’s latest thoughts . . .


The NHL told its teams on Saturday that they could restrict admission to their dressing rooms in an attempt to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. . . . The league chose NHLnot to impose the restrictions, while leaving the decision up to each of its 31 teams. . . . If a team chooses to close its dressing room to the media, coaches and players will be made available in interview areas. . . . Earlier in the day, the New York Islanders, who lost to the visiting Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2 in OT, enforced the media restriction. “We will . . . pro-act to what we’re all going through to try and prevent as much potential associations with anybody who somehow contracted something,” Lou Lamoriello, the Islanders’ president and general manager, said.“We cannot control the amount of press that go in the room who have credentials, who come from everywhere. It’d be different if we knew the people.”

At the same time, the Washington Capitals and Penguins had their dressing rooms open after a Saturday afternoon game in Pittsburgh, which the visitors won, 5-2, and the Anaheim Ducks opened their room to the media after a practice session. The San Jose Sharks didn’t open their room after a pratice, and the Dallas Stars kept their room closed after a 1-0 loss to the visiting Nashville Predators. The Los Angeles Kings also kept their room closed after beating the visiting Minnesota Wild, 7-3.

Later Saturday, the New York Rangers announced that their dressing room will be closed, while Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston said on Hockey Night in Canada that the NHL is expected to make the closure league-wide at some time over the next couple of days.


The WHL and its 22 teams won’t have to act to restrict media from dressing rooms because that’s something that happened prior to the 2002-03 season.

The WHL’s media policy, in place since then, reads in part: “The dressing rooms of each team are considered restricted access — no access is granted without the permission of the team concerned. Access to the dressing room, by the media or other personnel, is strictly at the discretion of each team.”


Among cancellations related to the COVID-019 virus announced Saturday were the 2020 world women’s hockey championship and the Arctic Winter Games.

The IIHF pulled the plug on the women’s championship that would have brought 10 Halifaxwomenteams to Halifax and Truro, N.S., from March 31 through April 10. It’s expected that Halifax and Truro will play host to the 2021 tournament. The decision to cancel this year’s tournament was made during a conference call on Saturday. . . . The 2003 women’s championship, which was scheduled for Beijing, was cancelled due to the SARS outbreak.

From The Hockey News:

“The Women’s World Championship is also the seventh event the IIHF has cancelled this week. . . . International hockey’s governing body announced Monday the 2020 U18 World Championship Div. II Group B tournament in Bulgaria was set to be cancelled. Other events cancelled included U18 World Championship Div. II Group A in Tallinn, Estonia; U18 World Championship Div. III Group A in Istanbul, Turkey; U18 World Championship Div. III Group B in Kockelscheuer, Luxembourg; Women’s World Championship Div. I Group B in Katowice, Poland; and Women’s World Championship Div. II Group A in Jaca, Spain. Those decisions came on the recommendation of the IIHF’s medical committee.”

The men’s world championship, scheduled for Zurich and Lausanne, Switzerland, from May 8-24, remains a go, at least for now. Rene Fasel, the IIHF’s president, has said the tournament would be cancelled rather than play in empty arenas.

Also still on tap, at least for now, is the men’s U-18 World championship that is scheduled for Plymouth, Mich., from April 16 through April 26.

Meanwhile, the 2020 Arctic Winter Games that were to have been held in Whitehorse, from March 15 through March 21, also were cancelled. The event would have drawn more than 2,000 participants, some of them from such countries as Finland, Greenland, Norway and Russia. . . . Catherine Elliott, Yukon’s acting chief medical officer of health, had recommended the move.


Daryl Wolski, a player agent with 2112 Hockey Agency who specializes in international placements, had four interesting tweets on Saturday:

“NLA and NLB leagues in Switzerland may considering cancelling both seasons on March 15.”

“KHL and VHL to meet to discuss 2020-21 season potential options for teams based in China.”

“Asia Hockey League will stream final playoff games and will have no fans allowed.”

“NLA teams in Switzerland get 1.6 millions Swiss (about Cdn $2.2 million) per team for TV rights therefore will consider playing with no fans.”

Steve Kerr, the head coach of the Golden State Warriors, and Gregg Popovich, who fills the same position with the San Antonio Spurs, are men of strong opinions, opinions they aren’t afraid to share.

And, I say, good for them.

On Friday, Kerr, along with players Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, attended an anti-gun rally in Oakland that shone a spotlight on, what Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, called “the city’s progress in combatting gun violence.”

Kerr told Ostler: “I do some work with the Giffords Center. Gabby Giffords was there, the former congresswoman from Arizona, who has become a friend. We put together the event with the Giffords Center. It was really a chance for us to learn what Oakland is doing to reduce gun violence, and it’s remarkable. They’re doing work that is groundbreaking, they’ve reduced gun violence by 50 percent over the last five years.”

Ostler’s story is right here.

Meanwhile, Popovich was, according to Kristian Winfield and Dennis Young of the New York Post, ripping “into Donald Trump’s response to coronavirus.”

Popovich said: “I think most people understand the situation we’re in. Anything we can do in any facet of our lives, either as groups or individuals that can bring honor to our country, that can make us not be embarrassed about the way our government performs its job, would be wonderful.”

“Today,” Popovich said on Friday, “it was our president blaming Barack Obama for the fact that we don’t have the (testing) kits that we need right now. Seriously.”

Popovich then came up with a quote for all-time. “I think,” Popovich said, “he thinks Barack Obama tripped Mary Decker.”

In the 1984 Olympic Summer Games, Decker fell in the 3,000-metre race.

The Post’s story is right here.

The Kootenay Ice are gone. Again. . . . This time it’s the Ice from the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. The 14-year-old franchise, which played out of Trail, has been suspended by BC Hockey, apparently because of low player numbers. . . . Keegan Goodrich, BC Hockey’s vice-president of communications, told Jim Bailey of the Trail Daily Times: “It’s not cancelled; we just aren’t operating it until numbers change.” . . . Bailey’s story is right here.

The WHL honoured a couple of familiar faces with Distinguished Service Awards this weekend. . . . Bernie Burtney, the supervisor of off-ice officials for the Saskatoon Blades, was saluted on Friday night. Burtney has been a volunteer with the Blades for 30 seasons. . . . On Saturday night, it was Dean (Scooter) Vrooman’s turn to be honoured. Vrooman, who has retired, spent 32 seasons with the Portland Winterhawks, and was the team’s radio voice for 26 of those. He also handled corporate sponsorships and made numerous appearances on behalf of the club in the community. . . . The WHL presents two such awards each season, one to someone from each conference who has made “an extraordinary contribution.” . . . Perhaps next season the WHL will consider honouring the late Pat Rozek, who was the Kamloops Blazers’ scorekeeper for 25 seasons at the time of his death on Dec. 22, 2016, at the age of 64.

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