WHL final opens tonight in Edmonton . . . Thunderbirds, Oil Kings ready to roll . . . Another hall of fame opens doors to Kid Dynamite

The 2022 Kamloops Kidney Walk is almost upon us. It will take place (virtually, Dorothy-040719thanks to the pandemic) on Sunday. . . . What this means is that you’re running out of time if you would like to sponsor my wife, Dorothy, who received a kidney on Sept. 23, 2013, and is fund-raising for a ninth straight year. . . . Thanks to so many of you who stop by here, she has set a new personal-best as she closes in on $4,000. . . . If you would like to join an NHL head coach, a former WHL franchise owner, a former WHL general manager who once won three Memorial Cups in four years, three former WHL play-by-play voices, the wife of a WHL general manager and head coach, the head coach of a team that will play in the Memorial Cup later this month, someone who once worked in the WHL office and a whole lot of other friends and acquaintances by donating, you are able to do so right here. . . . Thank you so much in advance.


Breakfast


The WHL’s 2022 championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup gets started tonight (Friday) in Edmonton as the Oil Kings face the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . EdCupEdmonton went into these playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed. The Oil Kings swept the No. 7 Lethbridge Hurricanes and No. 3 Red Deer Rebels, then dismantled the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice, 4-1. So the Oil Kings go into this final with a 12-1 record. . . . Seattle, the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, has travelled a much more difficult road. It started by eliminating the No. 5 Kelowna Rockets, 4-1, then went seven games to sideline the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks and seven more to oust the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers. That all adds up to the Thunderbirds taking a 12-7 record into Game 1. . . . In the process, the Thunderbirds went 5-0 in elimination games, became the 16th team in WHL history to win a series after trailing 3-1, and became the first team in WHL history to win two Game 7s on the road in one playoff year. No, playing at Rogers Place in Edmonton isn’t going to bother these guys. . . . The Oil Kings were 29-4-1 at home in the regular season; they are 7-0 in the playoffs. On the road, they were 21-10-3 in the regular season and are 5-1 in the playoffs. . . . The Thunderbirds were 23-10-1 on the road in the regular season and are 6-4 in the playoffs; at home, they were 21-8-5 in the regular season and now are 6-3 in the playoffs. . . .

The Oil Kings will be a whole lot fresher, having played six fewer games this spring. . . . For what it’s worth, the Oil Kings are averaging 4.38 goals per game, while allowing 2.08. . . . The Thunderbirds are scoring 3.32 per game, and surrendering 2.42. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa is 12-2, 1.97, .909, while Seattle’s Thomas Milic is 12-7, 2.16, .926. . . .

It doesn’t mean a thing, but these teams last faced each other on Oct. 26, 2019, when the host Oil Kings scored the game’s first three goals and the last three in a 6-2 victory. F Dylan Guenther, who will be a key figure in the championship final, had two goals and an assist.

There is a comprehensive series preview right here.

——

So . . . the Seattle Thunderbirds’ home arena is booked for graduation ceremonies, meaning their WHL championship series will follow a 2-2-3 format. Should the series go seven games, five of them will be played in the home of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

But, you’re wondering, why couldn’t the Thunderbirds play in the Everett Silvertips’ home arena, or where the NHL’s Seattle Kraken play? . . . Here’s the explanation . . .



If you watched Game 1 of the NBA final on Thursday night, you were listening to Mark Jones call the play, with Mark Jackson providing the analysis and Lisa Salter on the sidelines. It was the first time in the history of the NBA final that a telecast featured all Black announcers. . . . How did that come to be? Because Mike Breen, who had been scheduled to call the play, remains out after testing positive for COVID-19, and because analyst Jeff Van Gundy and ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski both have tested positive. . . . Breen missed Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final after testing positive last week.


Gerry James, who once was the head coach of the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, doesn’t get nearly his dues as one of Canada’s all-time greatest athletes. Sheesh, this is a man who played in the CFL and the NHL at the same time; in fact, he is the only man ever to play in the Grey Cup game (Nov. 28, 1959) and a Stanley Cup game (April 9, 1960) in the same season. . . . The Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame will be the sixth such honour for James. He also is an honoured member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame (1981), Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame (1982), Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame (1994), Yorkton Sports Hall of Fame (1998) and Winnipeg Blue Bombers Hall of Fame (1999). . . . Through it all, he also was a huge supporter of Special Olympics. . . . Hey, Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, are you paying attention? It’s long past time for you to make room for Gerry (Kid Dynamite) James alongside his father, Eddie, who already is an honoured member.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals have signed general manager and head coach Tyson Ramsey to a four-year contract extension that is to run through the 2025-26 season. Ramsey joined the Oil Capitals as an assistant coach prior to 2018-19 and took over as GM/head coach for the 2019-20 season.


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.


Meteor

Oil Kings one win from WHL final . . . Western Conference tied at 2-2; resumes Friday in Kamloops . . . Settlement in sexual assault case


After two games on Wednesday night, the WHL’s four remaining teams rested or travelled on Thursday. . . . And when they return to the ice Friday night, the WHLplayoffs2022team that holds the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy for having had the best regular-season record will be facing elimination. . . . Yes, the Winnipeg Ice is down 3-1 to the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Eastern Conference’s best-of-seven final. They’ll play Game 5 in Edmonton on Friday. . . .

The Western Conference final is tied 2-2 and the Seattle Thunderbirds will face the Blazers in Kamloops on Friday. The Thunderbirds held F Logan Stankoven, the WHL scoring leader, to one assist on Wednesday night and will need a similar effort if they are to win Game 5. Stankoven had seven goals — including hat tricks in Games 1 and 3 — in the first three games of the series. . . . A late, late Tuesday night tweet from Geoffrey Brandow: “The franchise record for goals in a single playoff belongs to Dean Evason (21 in 17 games in 1984, under the Kamloops Junior Oilers moniker); the circuit record is 24 by Blair Chapman of the Saskatoon Blades in 1976 (20 games). 9 players have hit 20.” . . . Stankoven leads these playoffs in goals (17) and points (29).



WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference

In Edmonton, F Carter Souch scored the No. 2 Oil Kings’ first two goals as they Edmontonskated to a 4-2 victory over the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Oil Kings, now 11-1 in these playoffs, lead the series, 3-1, with Game 5 in Edmonton on Friday night. . . . Souch (6) got the scoring started at 5:01 of the first period, but Winnipeg tied it at 6:12 when F Owen Pederson (8), who had missed Game 3 with a one-game suspension, scored on a PP. . . . Souch (7) sent Edmonton out front again, at 9:23. . . . F Justin Sourdif (4) gave the Oil Kings a two-goal lead at 11:47 of the second period. . . . The Ice got to within a goal at 18:22 on Pederson’s ninth goal of the playoffs. . . . Edmonton got some insurance at 11:24 of the third period when F Dylan Guenther (13) counted on a PP. . . . F Josh Williams had three assists for Edmonton. . . . Each team was 1-for-4 on the PP. . . . G Sebastian Cossa stopped 20 shots for Edmonton. Cossa, whose NHL rights belong to the Detroit Red Wings, is 11-1, 2.04, .906 in the playoffs. . . . The Ice got 32 stops from G Gage Alexander. . . . Edmonton F Jaxsen Wiebe didn’t play as he completed a two-game suspension for a headshot major he incurred in Game 2. . . . The Ice was without F Matt Savoie, its leading regular-season scorer, for a second straight game. He suffered an undisclosed injury in Game 2.

——

Western Conference

In Kent, Wash., F Nico Myatovic scored the game-winning goal as the No. 4 SeattleSeattle Thunderbirds beat the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers, 2-1 in OT. . . . That tied the Western Conference final, 2-2, with the teams scheduled to play Game 5 in Kamloops on Friday night. . . . Game 6 is to be played back in Kent on Sunday. . . . The Blazers took a 1-0 lead into the second period after F Daylan Kuefler (7) scored, on a PP, at 19:06 of the first. . . . It was the 13th time in 14 games that the Blazers had scored the first goal. . . . Seattle got that one back, on a PP, at 1:55 of the second period with F Jordan Gustafson (4) pulling the trigger. . . . The goaltenders — Thomas Milic of Seattle and Dylan Garand of Kamloops — kept the game at 1-1 until Myatovic ended it with his third playoff goal, at 11:16 of extra time. . . . Myatovic, who won’t turn 18 until Dec. 1, is from Prince George. He was a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 draft. In 67 regular-season games, he scored four times — one of them a winner — and added 24 assists. In the playoffs, he has three goals and four assists in 16 games. This was his second playoff winner, the other coming on May 14 in a 3-1 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland in Game 5 of their conference semifinal. . . . F Lucas Ciona drew an assist on each of Seattle’s goals. . . . Milic finished up with 35 saves, two fewer than Garand. . . . The Thunderbirds had an 8-5 edge in OT shots. . . . Seattle was 1-for-1 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-for-4. . . . Seattle was without F Henrik Rybinski for a second straight game, while F Lukas Svejkovsky was scratched with an undisclosed injury after apparently being injured in Game 3. . . . Rybinski and Svejkovsky have combined for 10 goals and 21 assists in the playoffs after totalling 56 goals and 85 assists in the regular season.




My wife, Dorothy, a kidney transplant recipient in 2013, will take part in the 2022 #kamloops Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year on June 5. Yes, it’s virtual again. But she will be there, and you are able to sponsor her right here.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.

2023 WJC to Halifax/Moncton . . . Oil Kings’ Cossa blanks Rebels . . . McCrimmon not going anywhere

The 2023 World Junior Championship will be played in Halifax and Moncton. The bid from the Maritimes cities won out over other bids from Kitchener and London, Ottawa, Quebec City and Trois-Rivieres, and Regina and Saskatoon. . . . You may recall that the tournament had been awarded to Novosibirsk, Russia, but the IIHF cancelled that plan after the attack on Ukraine. . . . Halifax last played host to the tournament in 2003. . . . The 2023 tournament will run from Dec. 26, 2022, through Jan. 5, 2023. . . . The 2022 tournament, which got started in December in Edmonton and Red Deer before being postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests among players and on-ice officials, is to be held in Edmonton, Aug. 9-20.



Sportsnet has a story right here on how professional teams are altering their travel arrangements in order to avoid mandatory testing for COVID-19.


Dan Shulman, who has been handling play-by-play of Toronto Blue Jays games COVIDon TV and radio of late, informed fans via Twitter on Thursday that he’ll be away for a few days “because of a close contact with someone who tested positive.” The Blue Jays began a series in Cleveland against the Guardians on Thursday and Ben Wagner and analyst Pat Tabler had the call on TV and radio. . . . Yes, Sportsnet has turned to simulcasting. . . .

Meanwhile, Karl Ravech of ESPN, who is the play caller for the network’s Sunday night MLB game, has tested positive so won’t be doing this week’s game that has the Los Angeles Dodgers in Chicago against the Cubs. Boog Sciambi will be calling the play in his place, joining analysts Eduardo Perez and David Cone.


Facebook


The WHL playoffs resumed on Thursday night with one game — the host WHLplayoffs2022Edmonton Oil Kings opened their Eastern Conference semifinal with a 4-0 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors will start the other semifinal in Winnipeg against the No. 1 Ice tonight. . . . One Western Conference semifinal also is to begin tonight as the No. 8 Vancouver Giants visit the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers. . . . There are four games scheduled for Saturday, including Game 1 between the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks and No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . .

Joshua Critzer, who covers the Winterhawks for @pnwhockeytalk reported from Portland’s practice on Thursday that “Clay Hanus, Jaydon Dureau and Aidan Like, all of whom missed games in Round 1, are in regular jerseys. No one is in a non-contact sweater.” . . .

——

THURSDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference

In Edmonton, G Sebastian Cossa earned the shutout and added an assist on the Edmontongame-winning goal as the No. 2 Oil Kings opened an Eastern Conference semifinal with a 4-0 victory over the No. 3 Red Deer Rebels. . . . The series will resume in Edmonton on Saturday night. . . . F Dylan Guenther (5) opened the scoring, on a PP, at 10:18 of the first period, with D Kaiden Guhle, the game’s first star, and Cossa drawing the assists. . . . D Simon Kubicek (1), Guhle (3) and F Dawson Seitz (2) added second-period goals. . . . Cossa finished with 18 saves as he recorded his first career playoff shutout to go with 14 in three regular seasons. . . . Red Deer starter Chase Coward was beaten four times on 27 shots. Connor Ungar came on for the third period and stopped all eight shots he faced. . . . Red Deer was blanked three times during the regular season, all of them at home. Cossa stopped 21 shots in a 4-0 victory in Red Deer on Feb. 11. . . . Red Deer F Liam Keeler didn’t return after absorbing a check from behind at 16:49 of the first period. Seitz was given a minor penalty on the play. . . . Troy Gillard, the Rebels’ play-by-play voice, called the game off a monitor at home after tweeting: “Omicron says it’s my turn to call a game from home.”


Gym


JUST NOTES:

Bill Foley, the owner of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, confirmed on Thursday that general manager Kelly McCrimmon will be back for a fourth season. McCrimmon, 61, is a former player, coach, general manager and owner of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings. . . .

D Ronan Seeley of the Everett Silvertips has joined the Chicago Wolves, the AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes. Seeley, who will turn 20 on Aug. 2, was a seventh-round selection by Carolina in the NHL’s 2020 draft. He has played four seasons with the Silvertips. . . .

Jay Pandolfo is the new men’s hockey coach at Boston University. Pandolfo, who replaces Albie O’Connell, played four seasons with the Terriers before going on to a professional career that included 899 games and two Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils. . . . He worked as an assistant coach with the Boston Bruins for seven seasons (2014-21). In 2021-22, he was an associate coach at BU. . . . O’Connell went 58-49-16 in his four seasons with the Terriers. . . .

Curtis Brolund will return for a fourth season as head coach of the U-18 AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. The team’s executive made the announcement on Thursday. The Wheat Kings went 33-4-3 this season.


Fred


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Fired

Blades give fans chance to gamble on playoff tickets . . . Milne fills hat as Ice dumps Warriors . . . Pickleball big in Washington

Vacation


The Portland Winterhawks and Saskatoon Blades have qualified for the WHL playoffs and have playoff tickets/packages available for purchase.

It’s interesting to see the different approaches these organizations have taken.

The Blades (34-23-4) are fifth in the Eastern Conference and appear headed for Saskatoona first-round confrontation with the Moose Jaw Warriors (34-22-5). The Warriors, who hold a three-point edge, are scheduled to be in Saskatoon on Friday to conclude the season series. The Blades are 5-2-0; the Warriors, who beat the visiting Blades 7-0 on Saturday, are 2-4-1.

Saskatoon has made available what it calls a Playoff Pass. One adult Playoff Pass sells for $79. “This will guarantee your seat through the entire post-season, no matter how far we make it,” reads a news release on the Blades’ website. “That means you could enjoy as many as 16 playoff games for less than $80!”

So here’s the deal . . . this is an opportunity for you to roll the dice.

If you purchase one adult Playoff Pass and the Blades bow out in a first-round sweep, meaning two home games, well, that will have cost you $39.50 a game. But if they get into the second round and end up playing six home games, it’s $13.17 per game. A third-round appearance and, say, nine home games and it’s $8.78 per game.

“Or,” as Colin Priestner, the Blades’ president and general manager, told me, “you can just buy game-to-game and get the same seat with credit card on file but you’ll pay a higher price each round.”

OK, Blades fans, which will it be?

BTW, a youth Playoff Pass can be yours for $39, with a child’s going for $29.

The Blades haven’t yet revealed single-game playoff ticket prices but a regular-season adult ticket is $25.

Meanwhile, the Winterhawks are third in the Western Conference and could be Portlandheaded for a first-round matchup with the Vancouver Giants or Victoria Royals.

The Winterhawks are selling 11-game packages for various prices, running from US$152 to $362.

Single-game tickets will go on sale once opening-round matchups are set. But a seat will cost anywhere from $18 to $63.50 in the first round. Should the Winterhawks get to the championship final, the prices will run from $20 to $66.50. (BTW, the priciest seats are the ones along the glass.)

Portland’s info, including a seating diagram, is right here.



The IIHF has released the schedule for the U18 men’s World Championship that is to run April 23 through May in Landshut and Kaufbeuren, Germany. . . . With Russia and Belarus having been suspended from international competition, this will be an eight-team tournament. Canada (1), the U.S. (4), Czechia (5) and Germany (8) will be in Group A, with Sweden (2), Finland (3), Switzerland (6) and Latvia (7) in Group B. . . . There are more details right here.


Recipes


The Columbus Blue Jackets were without head coach Brad Larsen and assistant coach Steve McCarthy, both former WHLers, when they met the visiting New York Islanders on Tuesday night. Yes, both coaches tested positive and entered COVID-19 protocol. With them gone, associate coach Pascal Vincent ran things at the bench. . . . The Blue Jackets dropped a 4-3 decision to the Islanders. . . . Just wondering, but do you think the WHL would let the public know if a team or teams had staff members, say a coach or even an athletic therapist, out of action because of COVID-19? Hey, just thinking out loud.


Dorothy-040719My wife, Dorothy, is fund-raising, again, as she takes part in her ninth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. Unfortunately, this one will be held virtually, again, but she continues to take it seriously. She is more than a little thankful for having had a kidney transplant more than eight years ago, and this is her way of giving back. . . . As of Tuesday evening, Dorothy is the No. 1 fund-raiser in B.C. . . . If you would like to donate to the cause and become a member of her team, you are able to do so right here.



TUESDAY IN THE WHL:

F Mikey Milne scored his 33rd goal just 24 seconds into the game and the host WinnipegIceWinnipeg Ice went on to beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 8-1, in the night’s only game. . . . Before the game was eight minutes old, Winnipeg held a 4-0 lead as F Conor Geekie (21), F Zach Benson (22) and F Jack Finley (24) joined the party. . . . Milne finished with three goals — his first WHL hat trick — and an assist. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 22 shots to record the victory. He is 29-2-1, 2.03, .913 this season. . . . The Ice (48-9-5) is the first WHL team this season to crack the 100-point barrier. It leads the Eastern Conference by six points over the Edmonton Oil Kings (46-13-3). . . . The Warriors (35-22-5) are fourth, three points ahead of the Saskatoon Blades (34-23-4).


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald, who once upon a time was that newspaper’s man on the Silvertips’ beat, tweeted Tuesday that “the Snohomish County-led effort to make pickleball Washington’s official state sport came to fruition Monday when Governor Jay Islee signed the bill into law.” Take that baseball, football and hockey. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia posted this tweet on Tuesday: “(The Vancouver Giants’) injury report, which had been listing C Ty Halaburda (upper body) as sidelined week-to-week, has him now at indefinite. D Alex Cotton (LBI, week-to-week), LW Cole Shepard (LBI, week-to-week), G Jesper Vikam (LBI, week-to-week) and C Zack Ostapchuk (UBI, day-to-day).” The Giants have eight regular-season games remaining, starting with a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader against the visiting Spokane Chiefs. The Giants are tied for sixth in the Western Conference with the Victoria Royals, who have five games left. . . . G Tavin Grant, who played with the Prince George Cougars (2014-18), was the EBUG for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies on Tuesday night as they met the Canucks in Abbotsford. Due to injuries, the Marlies signed G Talor Joseph, 27, who plays for the BCIHL’s Trinity Western Spartans and started him. Grant didn’t get into the game, as Joseph turned aside 34 shots in the Marlies’ 5-3 victory.



Former WHLer Ryan Pilon is the new coach of the Estevan Bears, a U18 AAA men’s hockey team. He takes over from Riley Hengen, who had been the interim head coach since Nov. 24 when Jeff Smith was fired. . . . The Bears just completed their second season in the SMAAAHL. . . . Pilon, 25, played parts of five seasons (2011-15) in the WHL with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Brandon Wheat Kings. He has been an assistant coach with the U18 AAA Beardy’s Blackhawks, who were dropped from the SMAAHL by Hockey Saskatchewan and replaced by the Bears, and the junior  B Delisle Chiefs of the Prairie Junior Hockey League.


Carrot


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.


Romance

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after getting a real deal on cheap gas . . .

scattershooting


On Sunday, Westhead tweeted that “Branch said OHL commissioned an ‘independent investigation’ after a player reached out via its ‘player communications tool’ to report alleged incident.


There was a time when MLB had the best playoff format of them all; of course, that was before TV money came to rule the roost. But back in the day the American and National League teams with the best regular-season records met in the World Series. Now they are bickering over whether 14 teams should get into post-season play. That’s like holding a debate over whether to add more chopped lettuce to a Subway ham sandwich.

——

Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, in a column about what’s on the MLB commissioner’s consideration list: “Expand playoffs, for the fans’ good! Bud Selig is in the Hall of Fame solely because he expanded the playoffs. Hmmm. Our side has proposed expansion of playoffs to 14 teams, the players say they’ll go for 12. Why be so exclusive, like the playoffs are some snooty country club? Propose 32-team playoffs! We have only 30 teams, but we could add two minor-league teams to even out the brackets.”

——

Headline at TheOnion.com: MLB owners propose CBA that offers players college credit in lieu of salary.



The price of gas hit $1.95.9 a litre in Kamloops at some point on Sunday. But don’t feel sorry for me because I was able to find one station at $1.75.9. With a deal like that, how could I not stop and fill up even though the gas gauge still was above half?



ICYMI, the pandemic is over. Done. Finis. It is because the NFL says it is. On Thursday, the NFL told its 32 teams that life is back to normal. No more protocols related to COVID-19. No more mandatory testing. As Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) tweeted: “Being around everyone is back.”

——

Meanwhile, David Rising of The Associated Press wrote this on Sunday morning:

“The official global death toll from COVID-19 is on the verge of eclipsing 6 million — underscoring that the pandemic, now in its third year, is far from over.

“The milestone is the latest tragic reminder of the unrelenting nature of the pandemic even as people are shedding masks, travel is resuming and businesses are reopening around the globe. The death toll, compiled by Johns Hopkins University, stood at 5,996,882 as of Sunday morning and was expected to pass the 6 million mark later in the day.”

At the same time, Johns Hopkins had the U.S. death toll at 958,437. Through Friday, the seven-day average was 1,541. . . . What about Canada, you ask? Johns Hopkins had the death toll at 36,998, with a seven-day average of 62 through Friday.

The NFL is right. What pandemic?

——
T. Ryan Gregory is a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Guelph . . .


Fixes


If you’re a sports fan who loves great anecdotes, you can’t go wrong with The Baseball 100. This marvelous book was written by Joe Posnanski, a veteran writer who obviously is a huge baseball fan. He rates his top 100 baseball players of all-time, and has provided an essay on each one of them. The key is that the essays aren’t over-populated with numbers; rather, he has stories to tell about each of the players. The book is pricey — the Canadian cover price is $54 — but it’s 700-plus pages of great reading. Get your hands on one and thank me later.


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, isn’t taking sides in the baseball mess. As he explained: “Neither side is worthy of praise or support. If you ‘take sides’ here, you are merely selecting the tallest of the Seven Dwarfs.”

——

My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.


After a Global AgeWatch Index ranking of the world’s top 96 places for seniors to live, RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com noted: “Its top three are Switzerland, Norway and the L.A. Lakers.”


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.


Beer

OHL investigating alleged anti-Russian slur . . . Iran makes mark on international stage . . . Gauthier continues big week with Winterhawks

Rick Westhead of TSN tweeted on Friday afternoon that “a Russian player on the OHL’s North Bay Battalion (one of two Russians on NB) was allegedly targeted during Thursday game with an anti-Russian slur by at least one Sudbry Wolves player, North Bay GM Adam Dennis confirms. Dennis says OHL is investigating and conducting interviews.”

Shortly after, Dan Milstein, a Ukraine-born hockey agent, tweeted: “Disturbing news . . . I confirm Rick Westhead’s report that my teenage Russian-born client on OHL North Bay Battalion was targeted with Anti-Russian slur at (Thursday’s) game.”


It is because of information like this that I subscribe to Hockey Unfiltered with Ken Campbell:

“Iran has a national hockey team that is currently playing in the Division IV World Championship in Kyrgyzstan. Their backup goalie’s name is Oveis Hassanzadeh Moghadam Tabalvandani. Their first-line left winger is Mohammadmatin Ghaharzadehmahabadi and manning the blueline is Abbas Dehghanimohammadabadi. Despite a spirited effort, Iran lost 13-1 to the host country in its international hockey debut before beating Singapore 5-2 on Friday.”

Seriously, while Campbell did have that in a Friday piece, he also reported this:

“The Canadian Hockey League could be doing a major about-face when it comes to having players from Russia and Belarus included in its 2022 import draft. A source close to the situation said the CHL was prepared this week to announce that players from those two countries would be barred from the draft this year as a response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“But there was significant pushback from some owners on the proposal, which led the CHL to delay making an announcement. It’s believed they will continue deliberating and will have a decision by the end of this month. There are 24 Russians and 13 Belarusians playing in the Ontario, Western and Quebec Leagues this season. The OHL has the majority of Russian players this season, with 15 on rosters. There is only one player from Ukraine in the entire CHL this season, Barrie Colts defenseman and Vegas Golden Knights prospect Artur Cholach.”

You are able to check out Campbell’s work right here.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes are on the road for six games because the Brier, the Canadian men’s curling championship, has taken over the ENMAX Centre. . . . The Hurricanes met the Wheat Kings in Brandon on Friday night, losing 6-3, and also will make stops in Regina, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Regina (again) and Moose Jaw before returning home to face the Pats on March 16.


My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here. . . . A huge thank you to those who already have joined Dorothy’s team. Much appreciated!


Richard Doerksen’s name first shows up in a WHL Guide prior to the 1978-79 season. He is listed, quite simply, as statistician. I am pretty sure he kept the WHL stats with pencil and paper in those days. . . . Anyway, Doerksen, now the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, was Hartley Miller’s latest guest on Cat Scan. They chatted about the past two seasons, scheduling and rescheduling and a whole lot more. . . . It’s a 30-minute listen and it’s all right here.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

F Nolan Ritchie, playing in his 100th regular-season game, had three goals and an assist to lead the host Brandon Wheat Kings to a 6-3 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Friday night. . . . Brandon F Jake Chiasson had a goal and an assist in what was his first game this season. He underwent shoulder surgery after being injured while at an Edmonton Oilers rookie camp in September. The Oilers selected him in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . .

F Connor Bedard had one assist to run his point streak to 14 games as the Regina Pats dropped a 3-2 decision to the visiting Red Deer Rebels, who have won seven in a row. . . . F Jake Neighbours of the Edmonton Oil Kings also is riding a 14-game streak, but he is out week-to-week with an undisclosed injury. . . . Bedard has 29 points, including 16 assists, in his past 14 games, while Neighbours has 23 points, 10 of them goals. . . .

Dan O’Connor, the radio voice of the Vancouver Giants, called the play of his 700th WHL game on Friday night in Langley, B.C. The Giants lost 4-3 in OT to the Kamloops Blazers as F Daylan Kuefler tied the game at 19:31 of the third period and won it at 4:43 of extra time. O’Connor also has done play-by-play with the Prince George Cougars. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings clinched a playoff spot by scoring the game’s last five goals in a 7-2 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . In Kelowna, F Gabriel Szturc’s 12th goal, at 1:29 of OT, gave the Rockets a 5-4 victory over the Victoria Royals who took a 4-2 lead into the last 10 minutes of the third period. Kelowna has won nine of 10 from Victoria. . . . In Prince George, the Spokane Chiefs scored the last three goals and beat the Cougars, 4-3. F Graham Sward (8) broke a 3-3 tie 37 seconds into the third period. The Cougars are 2-13-1 in their past 16 outings. . . .

F Jakin Smallwood scored his 20th goal of the season with 0.7 showing on the clock as the visiting Winnipeg Ice got past the Saskatoon Blades, 4-3, in OT. F Jack Finley (17) had pulled Winnipeg even with a PP goal at 17:15 of the third period. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt scored his 10th goal and added two assists as the Prince Albert Raiders escaped from Moose Jaw with a 5-3 victory over the Warriors. . . . The Seattle Thunderbirds scored once in each period as they beat the Tri-City Americans, 3-1, in Kennewick Wash. . . .

G Taylor Gauthier, who signed a three-year free-agent deal with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins earlier in the week, stopped 47 shots as the Portland Winterhawks beat the Silvertips, 4-2, in Everett. Portland scored the game’s last four goals. Gauthier is 14-1-0, 1.66, .945 since being acquired from the Prince George Cougars. The Winterhawks have taken four straight from the Silvertips and now trail the U.S. Division leaders by five points. . . .

Russian F Ivan Miroshnichenko, a potential top 10 selection in the NHL’s 2022 draft, has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the Russian Hockey Federation has said he will be taking time away from the game. “At the moment,” the federation said in a tweet, “he is receiving medical treatment in Germany and might miss the entirety of next season.” Miroshnichenko, 18, had 16 points, including 10 goals, in 31 games with the VHL’s Omskie Krylia club. He captained the Russian team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup last summer, putting up four goals and five assists in five games.


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.

——


Kids

Dorothy gearing up for virtual Kidney Walk . . . CHL dumps series versus Russia . . . School drops South Island Royals program

First things first . . . Dorothy is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. She has participated in every one since she underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation — you should know that Mel Recchi was first on the bus — you are able to do so right here.


You may not have noticed but I was away for a few days. No writing. Not a whole lot of Twitter surfing. Just kicking back, reading . . . oh, and driving.

We made a return trip over the Coquihalla — the first one since October —  and I have to tell you that there are some engineering and reconstruction miracles taking place on the stretch of highway between Merritt and Hope. Yes, there still is a lot of work to do before the highway is back to its pre-flood state, but what we got to drive on is a whole lot better than what I had expected.

It’s also good to see that the Coquihalla continues to attract so many NASCAR drivers-in-training. Speed limit? What speed limit? It’s 120 km-h between Kamloops and Merritt. From Merritt to Hope, the signs tell you that it’s 110, 100, 90, 80 or 60, depending on what kind of construction area you find yourself driving through. In reality, though, the areas without traffic cones have only imaginary speed limits. And don’t get me started on the driver of the Toyota SUV with Alberta plates who was in the left lane all the way from Hope to Merritt . . . speeding up and slowing down as the mood struck him.

No matter. The overall condition of the Coq was the star of this trip.


Ukraine

While I was away, national teams from Belarus and Russia were banned from almost the entire surface of our planet because Dr. Evil has chosen to attempt a violent takeover of Ukraine.

On Wednesday, the CHL, which governs the three major junior hockey leagues, CHLannounced it has cancelled what used to be an annual series of six games featuring OHL, QMJHL and WHL teams against a touring Russian side. The series, which has lost its lustre in recent years, should have been permanently discarded.

At the same time, the CHL announced that “the date and format for the 2022 CHL import draft has yet to be determined and will be announced at a later date.”

That buys some time for the three leagues to see how things develop in Ukraine. If war continues to rage, those leagues will have to decide whether to keep the 2022 import draft open for eligible Russian and Belarusian players.

The CHL’s statement also pointed out that it “is committed to the safety and well-being of all of its current players and is supportive of their continued development regardless of their country of origin.”

Hopefully that means the CHL and its teams will continue to care for current Belarusian and Russian players even after this season ends, rather than casting them to the winds. Michael Traikos of Postmedia reports that “there are about 36 Russians and Belarusians currently playing in the CHL.”

You have to think there are some awfully confused young men among that group. Here they are in a foreign country while the leaders of their countries have drawn the wrath of the vast majority of the world by blasting away at Ukraine.

While these teenagers haven’t had anything to do with any of that, you have to wonder what they think when they venture into arenas and see fans waving yellow-and-blue flags to show their support for Ukraine.


Monster


Rob Manfred, the MLB commissioner, and the owners have cancelled the first two series of what was to have been the 2022 regular season. These are the first MLB games cancelled by a labour dispute since 1994 and 1995, and this time there isn’t any doubt about who’s at fault. The owners locked out the players in December and then didn’t even make a proposal for more than 40 days.

Here’s Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“There are a lot of questions. But ‘who is to blame?’ is not one of them. There are no ‘both sides’ in this fight. This is on the owners, who instituted a self-described ‘defensive lockout’ Dec. 2, then waited six weeks to present an offer. And still failed to address the real issue:

“They’re making more and more money while players are getting less.

“Listening to Commissioner Rob Manfred speak on the owners’ personal broadcast mouthpiece, MLB Network, would have been comical if it wasn’t sad. (Incidentally, please don’t think you’re going to get both sides of the argument by watching an outlet run by the owners, which let go well-respected reporter Ken Rosenthal because he wasn’t sucking up enough to Manfred.)”


The MJHL has suspended D Klim Georgiev, 20, of the Dauphin Kings for 18 mjhlgames for a racist gesture during at game against the host Waywayseecappo Wolverines on Feb. 18. . . . Georgiev, who is from Toronto, was given a gross misconduct as the third period ended. . . . Nathan Liewicki of CBC News reported that Georgiev “raised his stick and made what seemed to be a bow-and-arrow gesture toward some of the Wawayseecappo players who were skating away from Dauphin’s end of the rink.” . . . Georgiev will miss the Kings’ final 11 regular-season games and seven playoff games. . . . Georgiev began the season with the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals before being traded to Dauphin. . . . Liewicki’s story, written after the gesture but before the suspension was handed down, is right here.

Meanwhile, in B.C., Zaya Morro, a player with the U17 AAA North Island Silvertips, has alleged via an Instagram post that an opposing player uttered a racist slur in his direction in a game on Nov. 7.

“As a Black player in B.C. hockey I am continually made aware that I am different,” Morro wrote. “I have to play harder, play smarter, just because of the colour of my skin. I have to be more resilient because unfortunately there is still soooo much racism in hockey and in Canada. February (was) Black History Month and as I look back at how far we have come I am also reminded how much further we need to go.”

According to Morro, an opposing player “racially assaulted” him after Morro had won a puck battle. That player, Morro wrote, “felt the need to yell ‘nice hit you F**king N****r.’ I’ve experienced other racial slurs and have been able to shake them off but being called a N****r . . . I can’t explain the anger, sadness and complete disgust it made me feel. I have never been an angry kid but this brought out something in me I never knew was there. Thankfully, my team captain also heard what was said and we were able to tell the referee who immediately threw (the offending player) out of the game.”

According to Morro, the offending player eventually was suspended for six games.


With racism so often rearing its ugly head in the arenas and on the ice surfaces of our country, I really wonder what kind of conversations take place around the dinner tables in so many homes. I really do.


A letter dated March 1 and signed by Bruce Bidney, the principal of Spectrum Community School in Victoria, has informed parents that the school “will no longer be hosting the South Island Royals program following the completion of the 2021-22 school year.” . . . The letter continues: “This means that the hockey programming your child experienced this school year will no longer be embedded in the school day. Spectrum will remain an option for your child’s academic programming as will our hockey Skills Academy. . . . In recent conversations with BC Hockey, we have mutually agreed to no longer offer the in-school programming exclusive to our South Island Royal student-athletes. We will continue offering dryland training the school day to students registered in our Spectrum Skills Academy.”: . . . According to their website (southislandroyals.ca), the program features three male teams — U18AAA, U17AAA and U15AAA. . . . In his letter, Bidney doesn’t offer up any reasons for ending the South Island program.


Phone


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings have signed Craig Carter, their assistant general manager and director of player personnel, to a two-year extension. He has been with the Spruce Kings since April 2020. . . . The WHL’s injury/roster report dated March 1 doesn’t show any players in COVID-19 protocol, the first time that has happened since teams returned from the Christmas break. . . . Just don’t think for a minute that means the pandemic is over. In the OHL, the Peterborough Petes had seven players test positive, resulting in the postponement of a game that had been scheduled for last Saturday. As Mike Davies of the Peterborough Examiner noted: “The postponement comes less than 24 hours after the OHL announced the lifting of proof of vaccination and capacity limits for spectators beginning on Tuesday.” The Petes are scheduled to play host to the Niagara IceDogs tonight (Thursday).


Work


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.


Liquor

Hockey venues almost ready in Beijing . . . Chow to leave SJHL after season . . . Milestone night ahead for Lazaruk

BeijingNIS
The NIS (National Indoor Stadium) is sparkling in preparation for the start of the men’s and women’s Olympic hockey competitions. (Photo: Dan Courneyea)

Dan Courneyea, Taking Note’s man in Beijing, reports that folks are hard at work as they put the final touches on venues with the Olympic Winter Games about to get rolling. While organizers refer to Feb. 4 as the opening date, some competitions actually start today (Wednesday).

“Lots of final preparation still being done before the first puck drop,” Courneyea told Taking Note late Monday night Pacific Time. “Everything is coming together.” That missive, with the National Indoor Stadium photo, arrived Monday at 11:15 p.m. PT, which was 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday in Beijing.

The women’s hockey begins with Pool A games today. It’s Switzerland and Canada in the NIS and China against Czechia in the Wukesong. Both games start at 8:10 p.m. PT.

BeijingWukesong
Only some final touches are left before Wukesong Arena is ready for the Olympic hockey competitions in Beijing. (Photo: Dan Courneyea)

Bill Chow announced on Monday that he will be leaving his post as commissioner of the SJHL on May 31. Chow, who has been commissioner for sjhl10-plus years, said that he won’t complete his contract that is set to expire on May 31, 2023. . . . Chow didn’t give a specific reason for his decision, saying in a news release that “there have been many factors that have gone into my final decision.” . . . Chow was named commissioner in the spring of 2011 after having retired at the age of 52 after almost 30 years with the Prince Albert Police Service and leaving as a staff sergeant. . . . In his last few years with the SJHL, he dealt with, among other things, the bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos that took 16 lives and then the first two years of the pandemic. . . . He also spent 25 years as a WHL scout, 10 of them with the Spokane Chiefs.


Chad Leslie was named general manager of the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos on ScurrentMonday, more than two months after he stepped in as the interim GM. Leslie, from Elkhorn, Man., had been the club’s assistant GM since the start of the 2020-21 season. He was named interim GM on Oct. 14 when Dean Brockman, who had been GM and head coach, resigned. . . . Before becoming the assistant GM, Leslie spent two seasons as the Broncos’ director of scouting. . . . The complete news release is right here.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Les Lazaruk, the play-by-play voice of the Saskatoon Blades, will call his 2,000th WHL game tonight (Wednesday) from Regina.“To put 2,000 games under your belt is just an astonishing achievement at any level, in any capacity, in any industry,” Tyler Wawryk, the Blades’ director of business operations, told Pat McKay of CTV News. “When you think of Blades hockey, especially when you think of the sound of Blades hockey, it’s Les Lazaruk.” . . . Of course, 2,000 games means a whole lot of bus miles. Here’s Wawryk, again: “He has a knack for sleeping on the bus. It doesn’t matter what the weather’s like and how loud it is and what position he’s in, he can always find a way to grab a couple of Zs on the bus. I have a few videos of him sleeping upright, and he snores like a chainsaw.” . . . The Blades will salute Lazaruk on Friday as they play host to the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . McKay’s complete story is right here. . . .

The Thief River Falls, Minn., Norskies of the Superior International Junior Hockey League have shut down for the remainder of this season. A news release from the league stated that “an issue that the Norskies struggled with since the outset of the campaign — a shortage of players — is ultimately what led to the decision.” . . . The departure of the Norskies, who are expected back next season, leaves the SIJHL with six teams as it prepares to resume play on Feb. 4. The league has been shut down since Jan. 5 because of Ontario government restrictions due to COVID-19. . . . A complete news release is right here.


It would seem that you don’t have to be a hockey fighter in order to end up with CTE. Ralph Backstrom, who died on Feb. 7 at the age of 83, played 15 seasons in the NHL and four more in the WHA, totalling 490 penalty minutes in 1,336 games. He was hardly a fighter, but he still was found to have CTE.




The Canadian men’s Olympic hockey team was to have met Switzerland in an exhibition game on Tuesday. However, that game, which was to have been played in Zug, was postponed after Swiss D Christian Marti tested positive. Canada is to open preliminary play in Beijing against Germany on Feb. 10 at 5:10 a.m. PT.


One of the more bizarre happenings of this pandemic occurred in San Francisco on Saturday night as the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets visited the Golden State Warriors. . . . Kyrie Irving of the Nets is unvaccinated and not allowed to play home games because of a New York City regulation that allows only those who are vaccinated in city facilites. The San Francisco Department of Public Health also has such a mandate, however it made an exception for visiting NBAers. That meant that on Saturday night every person in the Chase Center was vaccinated . . . except for one.

Here’s Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle: “If anyone can find a plausible explanation for this exemption, please come forward. It’s reckless and irresponsible, although not terribly surprising in light of so many people, companies, counties and government agencies mistakenly letting their guard down as the pandemic rages on. The local health order states that visiting players ‘are, by definition, present in the venue only occasionally,’ but how does that make sense? You might ‘only occasionally’ stray from your personal safe zone in these difficult times, but that’s when you put yourself most at risk.”



Facebook


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.


Dads

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after watching the Canadian men’s soccer team make more memories . . .

Scattershooting2

Another voice is gone as the Baltimore Evening Sun has its last run . . .


Here’s hoping that you were able to watch at least some of the soccer game between the men’s national teams from the United States and Canada that was played at Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field on Sunday afternoon.

Because that Canadian soccer team is doing far more for our country than the hooligans who took over parts of our nation’s capital on the weekend as they protested about lost freedoms or whatever it is that has them upset today.

As for lost freedoms, well, let’s see . . . they have left big rigs idling overnight on residential streets . . . they have defaced a statue of Terry Fox, a true national hero who believed in science . . . they have danced on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier . . . they have urinated on the National War Memorial . . . they have defecated on Ottawa sidewalks . . . they have threatened and intimidated folks, many of them volunteers, who operate a service that feeds the homeless . . . and, oh yes, there were the Confederate and Nazi flags, too. . . .

The hooligans have, in other words, acted like the boors they are.

Meanwhile, in Hamilton, our men’s soccer team continued what has become CdaSoccerperhaps the biggest story in the world of international soccer with a 2-0 victory over the U.S.

The objective, of course, is to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, a tournament Canada hasn’t been in since 1986. The 2022 affair is scheduled for Qatar, from Nov. 21 through Dec. 17. After Sunday, Canada remains atop the CONCACAF qualifying standings with six wins and four draws in 10 games. It now is four points clear of the Mexico and the U.S.

Canada is to play El Salvador (2-3-5) on Wednesday, then will be off until March 24 when it is to play in Costa Rica. Then it’s back home for a March 27 date with Jamaica. The schedule concludes on March 30 in Panama.

Canada is all but certain to earn a sport in Qatar, where it will have an opportunity to make some noise and, oh, is that going to be a lot of fun.

Before then, though, you are going to want to learn about Cyle Larin, who scored Canada’s first goal yesterday. A 26-year-old from Brampton, Ont., he now has 23 goals for Canada, more than any other player in the program’s history.

You also will want to learn about Milan Borjan, 34, the starry keeper who was Qatar2022born in Croatia. His family emigrated to Winnipeg in 2002 before settling in Hamilton. You can bet Sunday’s victory meant a whole lot to him, especially a remarkable hand save off a header from a corner in the 43rd minute.

Let’s not forget, too, that Canada was without perhaps its top two players, with the blazing fast Alphonso Davies out with myocarditis after a bout with COVID-19 and mid-fielder Stephen Eustaquio having apparently tested positive in Portugal.

This Canadian team is a whole lot of fun to watch and has been spreading an immense amount of joy, something that is going to continue almost certainly until Christmas.

By then the hooligans hopefully will have returned to their homes, wherever that may be, as they continue to search for their freedom or whatever it is that they lost.


There isn’t a journalist in Canada today who is doing better and more important work than Rick Westhead of TSN. Last week, TSN aired a story involving Tess and Ian White, a former WHLer/NHLer who lost himself and his family in a world of drug abuse. It’s a painful watch, but it’s more than worth it just to watch Tess’s courage under this kind of pressure. Ian spent four seasons (2000-04) with the Swift Current Broncos.


HHelper


Gord Broda, the president and governor of the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders, and his wife, Barb, had the winning bid of US$1 million for a special kind of automobile at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Friday. The object of their affection was a custom-built 1968 Ford Shelby Mustang 427. The Mustang was part of the Pegasus Project with all proceeds from its sales going to the air ambulance organization STARS — Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service. . . . “I do have a passion for cars and it made it pretty easy,” Broda told Jason Kerr of the Prince Albert Daily Herald. “We certainly wanted to make a contribution to STARS and this was a really fun and exciting way to do it to be part of the auction and buy the car and make a donation.” . . . As Kerr explained, “the Pegasus Project began in 2019 to raise money to renew the STARS’ helicopter fleet, in response to the Humboldt Broncos’ bus crash in April 2018.” . . . Kerr’s story is right here.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Kamloops Blazers are 7-2-0 in their past nine games, and have won each of their six outings. F Logan Stankoven, who had been with Canada’s national junior team, has 10 goals and 14 assists in those nine games. This weekend, which was a three-in-three assignment, he totalled five goals and six assists. . . . F Luke Toporowski, who has been playing alongside Stankoven since being acquired from the Spokane Chiefs earlier this month, has 12 points in his six games with Kamloops. He has nine goals over that stretch and, yes, he has scored at least once in each game. . . . Interestingly, Stankoven, a natural centre, moved to right wing, with Caedan Bankier slotting in at centre. He is coming off back-to-back two-point outings. . . .

Dan Courneyea, who heads up the Blazers’ off-ice officials, will miss a handful of games. He’s in Beijing for one more stint as part of the crew that will be working hockey games at the Olympic Winter Games that open on Friday. He also was in Vancouver in 2010 and PyeongChang in 2018. . . . If you’re wondering, Beijing is 16 hours ahead of Vancouver, meaning noon on Monday in Vancouver is Tuesday, 4 a.m., in Beijing. . . .

Jeremy Colliton, who played in the WHL with the Prince Albert Raiders (2001-05), has taken over as head coach of the Canadian men’s Olympic hockey team. He replaces Claude Julien, who fell and suffered fractured ribs during a team-building session in Switzerland.



Samuel Dodge of mlive.com reported on Sunday: “The University of Michigan ice hockey program is under investigation by the university for, among other allegations, attempting to hide COVID-19 cases before last year’s NCAA Tournament, according to documents obtained by MLive/The Ann Arbor News.”

From College Hockey News: “Michigan coach Mel Pearson is accused of instructing players to lie on their COVID-19 tracing forms during last year’s NCAA Tournament, among other allegations currently being investigated by the university.

“Documents obtained by The Ann Arbor News describe a set of allegations being investigated by outside law firm WilmerHale. That’s the same firm that investigated former Michigan athletic doctor Robert Anderson for decades-long sexual abuse. Anderson was an employee from 1966-2003 and passed away in 2008. Last week, Michigan settled a lawsuit with Anderson abuse survivors for $490 million.”

The CHN report is right here.


Bike


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.


Bargain

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.

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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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


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