Victoria fans doff hats for Bedard . . . Howe’s six-pack sparks Pats . . . Firkus, Warriors stun Rockets with late goal

F Connor Bedard’s I Can Sell Out the B.C. Division Arenas Tour made its second stop on Saturday night, this one in Victoria. How’d it go? Well, his team won, he scored three goals and some fans threw hats onto the ice. And when is the last time that happened for a visiting player?

Anyway, the Pats (11-11-2) won the game, 9-5, and now are 2-0-0 in the B.C. ReginaDivision. . . . The Royals (3-17-3) have lost eight straight (0-7-1). . . . The announced attendance was 7,006. That is the largest crowd in Victoria since Feb. 22, 2020, when 7,006 fans watched the Royals beat the Kelowna Rockets, 4-3 in OT. . . .

Bedard, F Tanner Howe and D Stanislav Svozil combined for 14 points. . . . Howe, a Prince Albert native who will turn 17 on Monday, scored four times and added two assists. This season, he has 33 points, 15 of them goals, in 23 games. In 87 games over his 16- and 17-year-old seasons, he has 102 points, including 42 goals. . . . Svozil, a sophomore from Prerov, Czech Republic, had a goal and three assists. He has four goals and 20 assists in 21 games this season. . . .

As for Bedard, well, he scored three times — the second time he has done that this season and the fourth time in two seasons — and added an assist as he extended his point streak to 23 games. He leads the WHL in goals (22), assists (31) and points (53). His leads are four, five and 14, respectively. . . . In 101 career regular-season games, Bedard has 181 points, 85 of them goals. . . .

The Royals actually led this game 2-1 at 14:51 of the first period. The Pats scored the next six goals — three by Bedard, two by Howe and one by Svozil. . . . F Jake Poole (13) had a goal and two assists for Victoria, which ws 4-5 on the PP, with F Alex Thacker adding three assists. . . .

The Bedard tour continues with stops in Kelowna on Tuesday and Kamloops on Wednesday. . . . Yes, both building will be sold out. . . . Perhaps the B.C. Division teams could kick back 10 per cent of the gate to Berard?

——

ELSEWHERE IN THE WHL ON SATURDAY NIGHT:

F Tyson Laventure scored three times to lead the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 6-Lethbridge4 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . The Hurricanes swept the weekend doubleheader, having won 4-3 in Brandon on Friday. . . . Lethbridge (14-10-1) has won two in a row. . . . The Hurricanes are 3-1-0 on a six-game swing that continues Friday in Kennewick, Wash., against the Tri-City Americans. . . . Brandon (8-15-2) has lost two straight. . . . Brent Kisio, the Hurricanes’ head coach, posted his 249th regular-season victory, all of them with Lethbridge. According to Dustin Forbes, the Hurricanes’ radio voice, Kisio is 40th coach in WHL history to get to 250. . . . Laventure, who has eight goals, opened and closed the scoring, and his second goal, at 6:35 of the second period, provided a 4-1 lead and proved the winner. He completed his first WHL hat trick with an empty-netter. . . . F Jett Jones had three assists for the winners. . . .

F Jagger Firkus scored the winner with 18 seconds left in the third period as the WarriorsNewMoose Jaw Warriors beat the Rockets, 4-3, in Kelowna. . . . The Warriors (15-9-0) have won two in a row. . . . The Rockets now are 9-10-1. . . . Firkus (14) had two goals and two assists as he ran his point streak to 17 games. . . . Larry Fisher (@LarryFisher_KDC) pointed out that Firkus and the goaltender he beat, Jari Kykkanen, were U15 teammates in Lloydminster, Alta., for two seasons. . . . F Brayden Yager (13) added two goals and an assist — he set up the winner with a terrific pass on a PP — for Moose Jaw. . . . Moose Jaw had a 3-1 lead until F Andrew Cristall (16) and F Colton Dach (7) got Kelowna even in the latter half of the third period. . . . The Warriors were 3-5 on the PP. . . .

F Riley Fiddler-Schultz’s three-point night sparked the Calgary Hitmen to a 5-Calgary2 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . The Hitmen now are 12-6-3. . . . The Tigers (8-11-5) had won their previous two games. . . . Calgary erased a 1-0 deficit with three second-period goals — from F Zac Funk (7), F Sean Tschigerl (5) and F David Adaszynski (2). . . . Fiddler-Schultz’s 13th goal came with the man advantage as the Hitmen were 3-8 on the PP. . . . The Tigers were 0-6. . . .

F Caedan Bankier broke a 1-1 tie early in the second period and the Kamloops KamloopsBlazers went on to beat the Cougars, 4-1, in Prince George. . . . The Blazers (11-5-4) moved into a tie atop the B.C. Division with the Cougars (13-10-0), who had won their previous four games. Kamloops holds three games in hand. . . . Bankier’s 14th goal of the season came at 4:11 of the second period, and F Fraser Minten (7) added insurance, on a PP, at 8:02. . . . Bankier got his second goal of the game, shorthanded, just 40 seconds into the third period. . . . Kamloops F Logan Stankoven now is on a 16-game scoring streak after drawing one assist. . . . The Blazers got 34 stops from G Dylan Ernst, who is 10-4-2, 2.29, .922 this season. . . .

In Red Deer, the Rebels scored the first six goals en route to a 6-1 victory over RedDeerthe Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Red Deer (17-4-3) has lost its previous three games (0-1-2). . . . The Raiders (9-13-2) had a four-game winning streak snapped. . . . F Kai Uchacz (18) had a goal and two assists. . . . F Arjun Bawa scored his first WHL goal for the Rebels. He is the son of Robin Bawa, who played in the WHL with the Kamloops Junior Oilers, Kamloops Blazers and New Westminster Bruins. Robin was the first person of Indian descent to play in the NHL. He split 61 games between the Washington Capitals, Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. . . . Prince Albert is 1-1-0 on a five-game road trip that continues today in Medicine Hat as the Raiders play their third game in fewer than 48 hours. . . .

F Egor Sidorov struck for three goals as the Saskatoon Blades got past the Saskatoonvisiting Winnipeg Ice, 5-2. . . . The Blades (16-5-0) gained a measure of revenge on the Ice, which had beaten them, 6-3, in Saskatoon on Friday. . . . The Ice (22-3-0) had won its previous two games. . . . Sidorov completed his hat trick with the game’s last two goals, at 13:11 and 16:24 of the third period. . . . F Trevor Wong had three assists for Saskatoon. . . . Ice F Ty Nash (12) scored the game’s first goal; he has goals in five straight. . . . Sidorov, now with 12 goals, has played in only 10 games this season. He also has nine assists. . . . The Blades held Pride Night for this one, thus the sharp sweaters in the above tweet. . . .

In Swift Current, the Broncos scored the game’s last two goals to beat the SwiftCurrentEdmonton Oil Kings, 5-3. . . . The Broncos (11-11-0) had beaten the visiting Oil Kings, 5-2, on Friday. . . . The Oil Kings (4-20-1) have lost three in a row. The Oil Kings, the WHL’s defending champions, lost 18 games (50-14-4) all of last season. . . . Edmonton overcame one-goal deficits on three occasions, but couldn’t do it a fourth time. . . . F Josh Filmon (12) broke a 3-3 tie at 13:07 of the third period, and F Mathew Ward (12) added insurance at 18:06. . . .

F Parker Bell had two goals to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 4-2 victory over Tri-Citythe Spokane Chiefs in Kennewick, Wash. . . . The Americans (9-13-0) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Chiefs (4-15-1) have lost four games. . . . F Carter Streek (6) has goals in three straight after giving Spokane a 1-0 lead at 2:53 of the first period. . . . The Americans scored the next four goals, two of them from Bell (8). . . . Tri-City D Lukas Dragicevic had an assist as he ran his point streak to 15 games.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees now are 23-0-0 this season after posting a 4-2 victory over the Kings in Powell River on Saturday night. . . . The Vees went 9-0-0 in November. . . . They are scheduled to entertain the West Kelowna Warriors on Dec. 3 and then travel to Wenatchee, Wash., for a Dec. 9 date with the Wild.


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.


Lowbridge

Punch hits 90! Happy Birthday!! . . . Aldridge: We have lost the impact of shame in our society . . . Svatos’ brain showed CTE


David Aldridge of The Athletic wrote a superb column on the latest imbroglio involving Kyrie Irving and the New York Nets. Here is just one paragraph:

“We have lost the impact of shame in our society. The notion that certain things shouldn’t be done, and certain things shouldn’t be said, because they would bring shame to us and embarrassment to our families. You didn’t steal candy from the store not just because you feared getting caught and arrested; you didn’t steal because it was wrong, and because if you got caught, you would be ashamed of what you did. So this isn’t just about Kyrie Irving. It’s about a team that, in the pursuit of a championship, seems incapable of self-reflection, of someone saying ‘Whoa. Maybe we shouldn’t do this.’ ”

And then along came the Boston Bruins on Friday to announce the signing of F Mitchell Miller, a player who was a fourth-round selection by the Arizona Coyotes in the NHL’s 2020 draft.

The Coyotes later did some due diligence and discovered an extremely unsavoury situation in Miller’s past, so they renounced his rights. As Sportsnet reported: “Miller . . . had assaulted, bullied and abused a Black classmate with a learning disability.” The victim has said that this went on for years.

No matter. The Bruins, without speaking with the victim’s family, signed Miller to a three-year entry-level deal. He will report to the AHL’s Providence Bruins.


“Marek Svatos, who played parts of eight NHL seasons and skated for Slovakia in the 2006 Olympics in Torino, had the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) at the time of his death in 2016,” writes Rick Westhead of TSN. “Svatos’ wife, Diana, confirmed his posthumous diagnosis in a series of recent interviews with TSN. Diana – who said the date of her husband’s death has been misreported on the Internet – wanted to speak publicly about Svatos’ life and death because she says it was more complicated than media reports have portrayed.

“Svatos died Nov. 4, 2016, at the age of 34 in his home in Lone Tree, Colo. A coroner reported Svatos had codeine, morphine and anti-anxiety medication in his system when he died, The Denver Post reported at the time. His official cause of death was an accidental overdose, Diana said.”

Svatos played two seasons (2000-02) with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice.

Westhead’s complete story — it’s a tough but important read — is right here.


Prince


“An upstart Okanagan hockey program is coming under fire by a parent who claims allegations of hazing and cyber bullying within the program are being dismissed,” Wayne Moore of castanet.net wrote earlier this week. “James Kellett levelled those accusations against Okanagan HC which operates three teams (U18, U15 and U14) within the new Junior Prospect Hockey League. The accusations are at this point unproven, but have triggered a public statement and investigation from the league.

“Accusations include hazing, what Kellett termed sexual misconduct involving cyber bullying and other off ice infractions involving the organization. Many came about during a road trip from Sept. 20 to 25 in Edmonton.”

Moore’s complete story is right here.

On Friday, Carli Berry of infotel.ca reported that the RCMP is investigating the situation after “receiving information about misconduct” within the Okanagan HC.

Berry wrote: “RCMP initiated the investigation after receiving information Nov. 3 about misconduct and it is being handled by the Kelowna Vulnerable Persons Section as it involves people under the age of 18, according to a RCMP media release.”



Friday in the WHL . . .

If you aren’t already following Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) on Twitter for WHL stats and info, you should be.

The Red Deer Rebels ran their season-opening record to 14-0-0 with a 4-1 victory over the host Swift Current Broncos. . . . The 1967-68 Estevan Bruins RedDeerhold the WHL record for longest season-opening winning streak, at 22 games. . . . The Rebels tied a franchise record with 14 straight victories; the 2001-02 team also won 14 in a row. . . . The Broncos had won their previous four games. . . . F Kai Uchacz scored twice, giving him 13, and added an assist. . . . Uchacz now is tied for the WHL goal-scoring lead, along with F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats, F Austin Roest of the Everett Silvertips and F Reid Schaefer of the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Rebels had a 41-20 edge in shots, including 20-8 in the third period. . . . Next up for the Rebels? Their nine-game road trip continues tonight with stop No. 3, a visit to the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . .

The Tri-City Americans overcame a 3-1 third-period deficit and beat the host Tri-CityBrandon Wheat Kings 4-3 on a goal by D Lukas Dragicevic at 3:11 of OT. . . . Dragicevic, 17, has three goals and nine assists in a nine-game point streak. On the season, he has five goals and 14 assists in 15 games. . . . Tri-City snapped a three-game losing skid; Brandon has lost five straight. . . . The Americans are 2-3-0 in a six-game swing into the East Division that will end with a game tonight against the Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Americans trailed 3-1 early in the third period, then tied it on goals from F Jake Sloan, at 7:47, on a PP, and F Ethan Ernst, at 15:16. . . . F Nate Danielson scored one of Brandon’s goals while it was two-men short. . . . F Cash Koch, the 24th overall selection in the 2022 WHL draft, made his Tri-City debut. Koch, 15, is from Calgary. . . .

F Rhett Melnyk’s fourth goal of the season, at 3:57 of OT, gave the host Edmonton Oil Kings a 4-3 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . F Carson Golder, a former Victoria player, gave Edmonton a 3-1 lead at 17:52 of the second period. . . . The Royals tied it on goals from F Alex Edwards, at 19:30, and F Anthony Wilson, at 3:56 of the third. . . . Victoria went 1-4-1 on its Central Division trip and now is 3-12-3. . . . The Oil Kings, who had lost nine in a row, are 2-12-1. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen ran their winning streak to five with a 5-1 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The game was played at the 2,000-seat Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on the Tsuut’ina First Nation. Announced attendance was 1,096. . . . F Riley Fiddler-Schultz had a goal and two assists for the Hitmen. . . . The Tigers have lost four straight (0-2-2). . . .

F Samuel Honzek and F Jaden Lipinski scored shootout goals to give the visiting VancouverVancouver Giants a 4-3 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Honzek and Lipinski also had regulation-time goals for the Giants, who completed their Central Division trip with a 3-2-1 record. . . . F Ty Thorpe had a goal and two assists for the Giants. . . . F Cole Shepherd scored once and drew two assists for Lethbridge, which acquired Shepherd, 20, from the Giants prior the start of the season for a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2023 draft. . . .

F Robbie Fromm-Delorme set up three goals, two of them on the PP, to lead the PortlandPortland Winterhawks to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland scored the game’s first four goals. . . . Seattle F Kyle Crnkovic had his point streak end at 11 games. Acquired from the Saskatoon Blades as the season was getting started, he had at least one point in each of Seattle’s first 11 games. He has seven goals and 10 assists in 12 games. . . . F Jared Davidson, Seattle’s leading scorer, was scratched with an undisclosed injury, while F Mekai Sanders played his first game this season. Sanders last played a game on March 18; he missed all of Seattle’s run to the 2022 WHL final thanks to a knee injury. . . . These two teams will meet 12 times this season, with a second meeting tonight, this time in Kent, Wash. . . .

The Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s final two goals to beat the host Prince Albert Raiders, 3-2. . . . F Riley Ginnell tied it at 4:19 and F Jagger Firkus snapped the deadlock with a shorthanded goal at 5:25. . . . The Warriors are without head coach Mark O’Leary, who is one of the Canadian coaches at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge ongoing in Langley, B.C. . . .

D Ty Gibson scored twice to help the Everett Silvertips to a 5-3 victory over the EverettBlades in Saskatoon. . . . Gibson, a 19-year-old from Victoria, went into the night with three goals in 98 career regular-season games. This season, he has three goals and an assist in 15 games. . . . F Austin Roest scored his 13th goal of the season and added an assist for Everett. This was his fourth straight game with a goal and an assist. . . . The Silvertips are 3-2-0 on a six-game East Division trip that concludes tonight against the Prince Albert Raiders. . . .

The Prince George Cougars got two goals from F Chase Wheatcroft in a 7-2 victory over the Chiefs in Spokane. . . . The Chiefs have lost six in a row. . . . The Cougars got three assists from Slovakian D Viliam Kmec. It was the sophomore’s first three-point game; he had four two-pointers last season, the final one on Dec. 10. . . . He has six points, all assists, in 15 games this season.



Grouchy


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

F Ben Thornton doesn’t have a timeline for returning to play with the Brandon BrandonWheat Kings, but has been cleared to fly so will be rejoining his teammates on Monday. He has been doing what his father, Erin, told Taking Note is “very light exercise this week” and is waiting to see how he responds to that. . . . Thornton was injured on Oct. 14 during a game against the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. He absorbed a nasty hit, was taken off the ice on a stretcher and then went via ambulance to Royal Columbia Hospital in New Westminster. He spent on night in hospital and since then has been at the family home in Chilliwack while dealing with concussion-related issues. . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees are 15-0-0 after beating the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings, 4-0, on Friday night. . . . The Vees are scheduled to entertain the Wenatchee Wild tonight. . . . The Wild improved to 3-9-1 with a 5-4 OT victory over the visiting Merritt Centennials last night. . . .

The Prince George Cougars acquired F Cole Dubinsky, who is to turn 20 on Dec. 4, from the Regina Pats on Friday, giving up F Zackary Shantz, 17, and third-round selection in the 2023 WHL draft in the exchange. . . . The Cougars now have the maximum three 2002-born players on their roster, the others being F Noah Boyko and F Chase Wheatcroft. . . . Dubinsky, from Ardrossan, Alta., was a fourth-round pick by Regina in the 2017 WHL draft. He put up 38 goals and 65 assists in 203 regular-season games with Regina. This season, he had two goals and five assists in 11 games. . . . Shantz, from Sucker Creek, Alta., was a third-round pick by the Cougars in the 2020 WHL draft. A WHL freshman, he is pointless in four games this season. . . . Regina now is carrying three 20-year-olds — F Jakob Brook, D Luke Bateman and D Tanner Brown. . . .

The Kam River Fighting Walleye of the Superior International Junior Hockey League fired head coach Matt Valley on Friday. The Walleye, which plays out of the municipality of Oliver Paipoonge, Ont., was 49-12-2-1 in Valley’s two and a half seasons behind the bench, and he was the SIJHL’s coach of the year for 2021-22. . . . “It was a tough decision for our organization,” general manager Kevin McCallum said, “but we believed we had to make a decision on bringing in a full-time coach.” . . . McCallum and Vern Ray, the hockey operations advisor, will handle the coaching duties while a search for a replacement continues.


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.


Zeuss

Vanstone honoured with Ridley award . . . Hitmen crown Royals . . . Pats’ radio voice big on geckos

Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post is the most-deserving recipient of the WHL’s 2022 Bob Ridley Award. He has covered the WHL and the Regina Pats for more than 30 years. . . . At one point, he was part of a sports department that featured 12 or 13 people. That same sports department today is down to two writers and he continues to provide the WHL and the Pats with great coverage. . . . The award was unveiled on Feb. 27, 2021, and immediately presented to, yes, Bob Ridley, the longtime radio voice of the Medicine Hat Tigers. Vanstone is the second recipient of the award. . . . According to the WHL, the award “is presented annually to a distinguished member of the radio, television, and print journalism industry in recognition of their outstanding contributions to sports journalism and the WHL.”


In a game postponed from Wednesday night, the Calgary Hitmen beat the CalgaryVictoria Royals, 5-2, on Thursday. The game was played in the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on Tsuut’ina Nation, which is located at Calgary’s southwest edge. . . . Inclement weather in Calgary and area on Wednesday resulted in the postponement. . . .  F Riley Fiddler-Schultz scored Calgary’s last two goals, giving him nine this season. . . . Calgary has won four straight. . . . D Kalem Parker had a goal for Victoria. He has eight points, including seven assists, over his past six games. . . . The Royals are 1-4-0 on a trek through the Central Division that wraps up Friday night against the Edmonton Oil Kings.


Pic1
Kamloops experienced its first snowfall of the season on Monday. Shortly after it began, a visitor stopped by our front yard to take a break. She wanted to stay off the roads and highways, which turned into a real mess.


On Wednesday in the WHL . . .

F Ryan Hofer scored three times to lead the Everett Silvertips to a 6-3 victory Everettover the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . Hofer, who is from Winnipeg, has 10 goals. He had scored once on Tuesday in a 5-4 loss to the Ice in Winnipeg. . . . F Joby Baumuller made his debut with the Wheat Kings. He was a first-round pick by Brandon in the WHL’s 2022 draft. Baumuller, 15, plays for the U18AAA Notre Dame Hounds in his hometown of Wilcox, Sask. . . . The Wheat Kings have lost four in a row. . . . They also lost G Carson Bjarnason and D Mason Ward during the game. Bjarnason left early in the second period and didn’t return when he came up ill, while Ward left in the third period after a collision with Hofer.

In Saskatoon, F Trevor Wong had a goal and two assists as the Blades beat the SaskatoonTri-City Americans, 5-1. . . . D Lukas Dragicevic had the Americans’ goal as he ran his point streak to eight games. He’s got two goals and eight assists during that time. . . . The Americans were without F Reese Belton, who started a two-game suspension after taking a headshot major and game misconduct in Prince Albert on Tuesday.

D Sam McGinley scored at 2:57 of OT to give the host Swift Current Broncos a 5-4 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . McGinley, who finished plus-4, has two goals this season. . . . Vancouver had erased a 4-2 deficit on third-period goals from F Jaden Lipinski and F Samuel Honzek. . . .

In Portland, F Noah Boyko’s goal in the fifth round of a shootout gave the Prince George Cougars a 4-4 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . The Cougars forced OT on third-period goals 49 seconds apart by F Hudson Thornton and F Ondrej Becher, his second of the game.


Pic2
The doe’s rest was interrupted by the arrival of four friends, three of whom are pictured here. While all of this was happening, there were eight deer in a field to the east of here.



Bob Irving, the longtime radio voice of the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers who retired following the 2021 season, is exactly right with his thoughts on the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and Gerry James, whose coaching history includes a stint with the Moose Jaw Warriors. If you aren’t aware of James’ exploits as a football-playing hockey player — or was he a hockey-playing football player? — let Google be your friend.


Dante De Caria, the radio voice of the Regina Pats, lives with a few pets. That includes, according to Drew Postey of CTV News Regina, “two crested geckos, Reginatwo gargoyle geckos, three pink tongue skinks and a black and white Argentine tegu.” . . . Yes, De Caria has quite an interest in reptiles. . . . “The geckos,” he told Postey, “are kind of from the same family tree, an island called New Caledonia, a French colony very close to Australia, the pink tongue skinks come from the east coast of Australia and the black and white Argentine tegu hails from Argentina or South America.” . . . De Caria is in his second season with the Pats, who will be boarding their bus late this month and heading into the B.C. Division for the first time since mid-November, 2018 — hey, the Kootenay Ice (remember them?) were still in the WHL. Before the Pats head west this time, you have to think the players will do a reptile check before letting De Caria on the bus. Right? . . . Postey’s complete story is right here.


Sign


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Edmonton Oil Kings have added G Jake Pilon to their roster. Pilon, 16, plays for the U18AAA Calgary Flames. . . . Andrew Peard, the Oil Kings’ play-by-play voice, reports that G Alex Worthington “sustained a minor injury in practice earlier this week and likely won’t be available this weekend.” Peard also notes that Pilon is the son of Jeff Pilon, a former offensive lineman with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders. . . .

The Red Deer Rebels have added D Luke Vlooswyk, 15, to their roster as they head out on a swing into the East Division. Vlooswyk, who plays for the U18AAA Calgary Buffaloes, was a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2002 draft. . . . The Rebels, who are 13-0-0 this season, open an eight-game road trip tonight against the Swift Current Broncos. The Rebels are on the road because the Canadian Finals Rodeo has taken over the Centrium. . . .

F Ethan Rowland, 20, who began this season with the Kamloops Blazers, has joined the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. They acquired his rights from the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers on Thursday in exchange for future considerations. . . . Rowland lost his spot on the Kamloops roster because of a rule that limits WHL teams to three 20-year-old players. . . . Rowland will join his younger brother, Jackson, in Okotoks. Jackson, 18, is in his first season with the Oilers. . . . F Kobe Verbicky, 19, who also started this season with Kamloops, had his BCHL rights dealt by Vernon to the Cowichan Capitals on Thursday.


Yale


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.


Whisper

Who knew the WHL had different eras? Live-puck and dead-puck? . . . Tigers bring back 14-year-old for a look . . . Ex-WHLer getting a look in QMJHL

Darlene4
The fall colours are glorious along the South Thompson River, about 14 kilometres east of Kamloops.

The WHL’s latest available Official Guide includes a category — it’s on Page 273 — with the header: LONGEST WINNING STREAK.

It shows that the Victoria Cougars hold that record, having won 24 straight games from Feb. 6, 1981, through Oct. 9, 1981. That streak obviously overlapped two seasons.

It has the 1967-68 Estevan Bruins next, with 22 straight victories, from Oct. 6, 1967, through Dec. 12, 1967. That was a season-opening streak.

In third spot are the 2013-14 Portland Winterhawks, who won 21 in a row from Jan. 11, 2014, through Feb. 28, 2014.

There is nothing in this particular entry to indicate that Victoria and Portland were playing in “modern WHL history,” while Estevan was playing in some other era. In fact, there is nothing anywhere in the WHL records to indicate that the league differentiates between records set prior to 1978 and after.

In fact, prior to Sunday night I had never heard anyone involved with the WHL refer to “modern WHL history” or “modern WHL mark” or anything else of that ilk.

And yet there was the WHL on Sunday night, tweeting that the Red Deer Rebels “improved their season-opening win streak, becoming the first team in modern WHL history (1978-present) to start a season with 13 consecutive victories.”

No, the WHL didn’t use the word ‘record,’ as in “the Rebels have set a modern WHL (1978-present) record for the longest season-opening win streak.”

However, Chris Wahl the WHL’s senior manager, communications, wrote a piece that was posted on the league’s website on Sunday. It included:

“Over the past 44 years, no Western Hockey League team had ever started a season with 13 consecutive wins.

“Until Sunday.

“The Red Deer Rebels dispatched the Edmonton Oil Kings 7-2 at Rogers Place, earning their 13th win in as many tries, setting a new, modern WHL mark in the process. . . .

“The Rebels streak unseats the 1988-89 Swift Current Broncos 12-game run as the longest season-opening winning streak since the WHL adopted its current name in 1978. . . .

“The all-time League record for consecutive wins to begin a season is 22, set by the WCHL’s Estevan Bruins in 1967.”

(In its first season, it was the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League (CMJHL). Prior to its second season, 1967-68, it changed its name to Western Canada Junior Hockey League (WCJHL). Before a third season got started, there had been another name change, this time to the Western Canada Hockey League (WCHL). That name lasted through the 1977-78 season, after which it was changed to Western Hockey League.)

It would seem, then, that the WHL has decided to split its record book into two sections — 1966-67 through 1977-78, and 1978-19 through the present.

If that’s the case, it really is too bad because this league has a whole lot of interesting history, some of it from before 1978. For example, the New Westminster Bruins won a record four straight WHL championships — 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978. Does that now become the olden day record? If that’s the case, it would leave the Kamloops Blazers (1994, 1995) and Medicine Hat Tigers (1987, 1988) to share the ‘modern’ WHL record of two straight.

Wouldn’t it have been easier just to point out that the Rebels have the second-longest season-opening winning streak (13 games) in league history, and that the 1967-68 Estevan Bruins hold the record (22)? This doesn’t diminish what the Rebels are doing this season. Not at all. And, who knows, maybe they’ll get to 22 before they’re done.

And wouldn’t it be a terrific move for the WHL to hire a historian, provide that person with a desk, a computer and a subscription to newspapers.com, and turn her/him loose?


Darlene1
The trumpeter swans are back on the South Thompson River, which means winter won’t be far behind. This was one of about 30 of the noisy birds that had gathered on the river’s south shore 20 kilometres east of Kamloops on Monday.

The Red Deer Rebels got to 13-0-0 with a 7-2 victory over the host Edmonton Oil Kings on Sunday. . . . The Rebels, who scored the game’s last six goals, got a RedDeergoal and two assists from F Kai Uchacz, who has 11 goals and three assists in 13 games. . . . The defending-champion Oil Kings went 1-11 on the PP as their record slipped to 1-12-1. . . . Troy Gillard, the Rebels’ director of broadcasts and media, tweeted on Monday that the Rebels’ winning streak “is the second-longest in team history.” In 2001-02, the Rebels put together a 14-game streak. They got it started on Jan. 6 with a 4-2 victory over the host Saskatoon Blades. On Feb. 9, Red Deer won its 14th in a row, 6-2 over the visiting Portland Winterhawks. The streak ended on Feb. 13 when the Rebels, playing at home, lost, 5-4 in OT, to the Prince Albert Raiders. Interestingly, the Rebels went on to win their next three games. . . . The Rebels take their 13-0-0 mark into Swift Current on Friday, so could equal the franchise record for longest victory streak in any era while stretching their ‘modern’ era record for longest victory streak to open a season. . . .

In Regina, F Connor Bedard scored twice and added three assists on Sunday in leading the Pats to a 7-3 victory over the Tri-City Americans, who had won four Reginain a row. . . . The Pats had lost their previous four games. . . . Bedard, who is on a 14-game point streak, enjoyed the third five-point game of his career. . . . He leads the league in goals (13), assists (16) and points (29), all in 15 games. . . . Regina D Corbin Vaughan drew a major and game misconduct for a headshot at 12:23 of the first period. He was playing in his second game after serving a four-game suspension that was issued under supplemental discipline following a game against Prince Albert on Oct. 12. . . .

In Sunday’s other game, F Riley Fiddler-Schultz gave host Calgary a 3-1 lead Calgaryover the Vancouver Giants and the Hitmen held on for a 3-2 victory. . . . Fiddler-Schultz has seven goals this season, including a five-goal outing. . . . Calgary now has won three straight. . . . The Hitmen will play their next two homes games — Wednesday against the Victoria Royals and Friday against the Medicine Hat Tigers — at the 2,000-seat Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on the Tsuut’ina Nation. The Hitmen bill the facility as “our home away from the Dome.”


Darlene2
This guy was in a field in front of hoodoos along Shuswap Road east of Kamloops on Monday afternoon. He was slowly walking east . . .

JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

F Gavin McKenna, a 14-year-old who earned four assists in the only WHL game he has played, will be in the Medicine Hat Tigers’ lineup tonight against the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . F Cayden Lindstrom has been added to the Team White roster for the U17 World Hockey Challenge that is to run in Langley, B.C., from Thursday through Nov. 12. . . . Lindstrom got the call after F Ollie Josephson of the Red Deer Rebels was ruled out because of an undisclosed injury. . . . McKenna, who will turn 15 on Dec. 20, was the first overall selection in the WHL’s 2022 draft. From Whitehorse, he made his WHL debut by setting up four goals in a 9-1 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes on Sept. 24. . . .

D Trevor Thurston, 20, has joined the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Eagles. He has totalled 107 WHL regular-season games, spending time with the Kamloops Blazers, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Prince Albert Raiders. He started this season with the Raiders, getting into three games before going on to the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials. . . . A fourth-round pick by Kamloops in the 2017 WHL draft, he put up 13 goals and 14 assists in those 107 games. . . . Brent Thurston, Trevor’s father, played in the WHL with the Victoria Cougars and Spokane Chiefs. He was with the Chiefs when they won the 1991 Memorial Cup in Quebec City. . . . The Thurstons are from Delta, B.C. . . .

F Lucas Ciona of the Seattle Thunderbirds has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Calgary Flames, who selected him in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2021 NHL draft. This season, he has seven goals and 10 assists through nine games for the Thunderbirds. . . . Seattle took him in the second round of the WHL’s 2018 draft. In total, he has 92 points, including 38 goals, in 165 regular-season and playoff games with the Thunderbirds. . . . The 9-1-0 Thunderbirds, who play out of Kent, Wash., are at home to the Prince George Cougars tonight. . . .

The OHL’s Sudbury Wolves, who started 3-7-1, fired head coach Craig Duncanson on Monday, with assistant general manager Ken MacKenzie taking over on an interim basis. . . . Duncanson played three seasons (1983-86) with the Wolves. He had been the head coach since July 2021. . . . He is a former NHLer, having been a first-round pick by the Los Angeles Kings in the 1985 draft. . . . The Wolves open a seven-game homestead on Wednesday.


Darlene5
And here’s the fellow from the earlier photo, having quickly moved from a slow walk to a trot. Why? Because the ladies were a couple of hundred metres to the east. (BTW, a photographer I worked with in Regina told me that some blur in a photo denotes speed.)

THINKING OUT LOUD — If this World Series goes deep, Game 6 would be played on Thursday, which is Nov. 5. A seventh game would be played on Nov. 6. Until now, the latest ever date for a World Series game was in 2001 and 2009 when they played on Nov. 4. . . . Might be time to move the entire series to a neutral site with a dome. Just kidding. I think. . . . And let’s not forget that Thursday is going to feature the Houston Astros and the host Philadelphia Phillies in Game 5 of the World Series, while Thursday Night Football will have the Houston Texans against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles. . . . The Estevan Bruins hold the WHL record for the longest winning streak to open a season, at 22. Case closed. Unless the league wants to split its history into four eras — CMJHL, WCJHL, WCHL, WHL — and declare record-holders for each, that is. . . . Sheesh! It wasn’t that long ago that the WHL was making a big deal, and rightfully so, about its 50th anniversary season. There wasn’t any talk then about live-puck and dead-puck eras.


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.


Darlene3
This lady stopped by one afternoon last week to dine on leaves from a peach tree from which I had trimmed a few branches. She and some friends cleaned up that pile of leaves in about two days.

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while remembering a dear, dear friend . . .

Scattershooting2

Norm, this one’s for you . . .

Norm Weseen, a dear, dear friend who was a huge fan of the Vancouver Giants, died Saturday night on the Lower Mainland.

Norm, who was in his 80s, lived a lot and saw a lot. He was a sportscaster on the Prairies in an earlier life, then moved to B.C., where he worked in various communities and covered enough curling that the B.C. Interior Curling Association honoured him as a life member in 1989. He also was a big, big hockey guy and, before his health began to catch up to him, he was a Giants’ season-ticket holder; in fact, I believe he held two of them. He loved nothing more than to attend a Giants’ practice and bump into the late Pat Quinn.

I came to know Norm about 20 years ago when he phoned out of the clear blue just wanting to talk hockey. It wasn’t long before we were having regular conversations during which we would solve a whole lot of problems. He knew his way around arenas in Estevan and Weyburn. He had worked in Smithers, B.C., and loved the Watson brothers.

With the Giants, he especially liked the lunch-bucket guys like Milan Lucic and Garet Hunt. And, of course, there was no one better in Norm’s mind than Brendan Gallagher.

Norm also introduced me to Dickson Liong, a courageous young man with cerebral palsy who has written for the Giants, as well as the Vancouver Canucks and their AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks. (There’s more on Dickson right here.)

One other thing . . . my wife, Dorothy, fell in love with Norm. She underwent a kidney transplant more than nine years ago, and whenever we talked he always started the conversation with: “How is Wonder Woman doing?” Of course, whenever he called and she answered the phone, I would have to wait 10 or 15 minutes for my turn. And it never was too early in a new year for him to start asking when he would be able to make a donation in support of Dorothy and her annual Kidney Walk fund-raiser.

Yes, Norm was a dear, dear friend. It is true, however, that time waits for no one and it caught up with Norm on Saturday.

RIP, old friend. Dorothy and I’ll be missing you.


After the excruciating way in which the Victoria Royals lost at home on Saturday night, one has to think they will be excited about hitting the road for their next six games.

The Royals dropped a 6-5 OT decision to the visiting Vancouver Giants on VictoriaRoyalsSaturday in a game that, if you’re a Victoria fan, ended in bizarre fashion. If you are a Giants’ supporter, well, you must have loved it.

Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist called it a “near-epic collapse.”

The Royals, who got three goals from F Jake Poole, held a 5-3 lead with 107 seconds left to play in the third period.

F Ty Thorpe got Vancouver to within a goal at 18:12.

Vancouver F Samuel Honzek tied it with 1.4 seconds remaining in the period.

F Zack Ostapchuk, the Giants’ captain, won it at 1:09 of extra time. (The Royals, in their recap, gave the game-winner to F Ty Halaburda, which, if a change is made, would really rub in some salt because he is from Victoria.)

Meanwhile, I am left to wonder what would constitute an epic collapse.

It all allowed the Giants to improve to 2-5-3 with the Royals falling to 2-8-2.

The Royals, who open a swing through the six-team Central Division on Wednesday against the Red Deer Rebels, will be hoping a change of scenery proves to be the cure for what ails them.

“It was a really tough loss and (the road swing) will be a good way to turn the page,” Dan Price, the Royals’ general manager and head coach, told Dheensaw. “Our players are disappointed but are very mature, confident and resilient.”

Of course, it should be mentioned that the Rebels have opened the season with a franchise-record 10-game winning streak.


The Vancouver Giants returned home — they play out of the Langley Events VancouverCentre — on Sunday and won their second game in a row for the first time this season, beating the Kamloops Blazers, 6-3. . . . Each team was playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours; the Giants were playing their fourth game in fewer than 96 hours. . . . Vancouver (3-5-3) also is taking its show on the road. The Giants will play six games in the Central Division, starting Thursday night against the Edmonton Oil Kings — and two against the Prince George Cougars before next playing at home against Kamloops on Nov. 18.


Mistakes


My upcoming reading list includes three new releases, including the book referred to in the above tweet — Rising from the Deep: The Seattle Kraken, a Tenacious Push for Expansion, and the Emerald City’s Sports Revival. It is the work of Geoff Baker, a former Toronto Star and Montreal Gazette sports writer who now is on the Kraken beat at the Seattle Times. . . . Also on my list are The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson, written by the prolific Jeff Pearlman. His books always are great reads, but he asks that you not buy the one about Brett Favre. Seriously! . . . And, finally, I am looking forward to getting my hands on The Book of Joe: Trying Not to Suck at Baseball and Life, by former MLB manager Joe Maddon and Tom Verducci, a sports writer of note.


Lottery


The Prince Albert Raiders, playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours, weren’t any kind of match for F Riley Fiddler-Schultz and the host Calgary CalgaryHitmen on Sunday. Fiddler-Schultz, the team captain, struck for five goals, four of them in the first period, in leading the Hitmen to a 6-1 victory. . . . Fiddler-Schultz tied F Pavel Brendl’s franchise record for most goals in one game. Brendl scored five in an 8-2 victory over the visiting Raiders on Nov. 11, 2000. . . . Fiddler-Schultz’s four first-period goals tied Brendl and F Owen Fussey for most goals in a period. Brendl scored four third-period goals in a 5-2 victory over the Warriors in Moose Jaw on Oct. 18, 2000; Fussey had four in the third period of a 7-3 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes on Feb. 6, 2002. . . . Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) also tweeted that Fiddler-Schultz, who had gone six games without a goal, now has had one three-goal game, a four-game and this five-goal effort during his career. Brandow also noted that Fiddler-Schultz set a franchise record for fastest three goals (2:43) — F Michael Bubnick held the previous record (6:48) from a 5-3 less to the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Jan. 13, 2002. . . .

According to the WHL, “The last five goal performance in the WHL was recorded by former Lethbridge F Justin Hall on Feb. 26, 2022. The last six goal performance was recorded on Feb. 27, 2009 by Tyler Ennis of the Medicine Hat Tigers.”


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Don’t sleep on the Saskatoon Blades. They are 9-2-0 after winning their sixth straight game, 5-1 over the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Sunday. The Blades got two goals and an assist from F Trevor Wong in that one. . . . Freshman F Samuel Honzek put up six points — three goals, three assists — in the Vancouver Giants’ back-to-back victories. Honzek, who is to turn 18 on Nov. 12, is from Trencin, Slovakia. He has six goals and seven assists in his first 11 games. . . . It was a rather nice late autumn Sunday in Kamloops; it was anything but on the flatlands. In fact, things were so nasty that the WHL had to postpone a game that was to have had the Moose Jaw Warriors facing the Pats in Regina. That game now will be played on Wednesday night.


Juryduty


THINKING OUT LOUD — To the boss at the Vancouver Province: If you notice that your Sunday newsstand sales have shrunk by one, it’ll be because I bailed. You’ve gone from five crossword puzzles to one on Sundays? Thanks for the entertainment value over the past few years, but I’m out. . . . NFL observer Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) points out that the New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos all are 5-2. The Saints’ first-round draft pick, he adds, belongs to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Browns’ first pick belongs to the Houston Texans. The Broncos’ first pick belongs to the Seattle Seahawks. . . . How would the Seahawks’ brass respond if the Broncos were to offer QB Russell Wilson to them for QB Geno Smith? Yeah, that’s what I thought? . . . There are 15 teams in baseball’s National League. The Philadelphia Phillies went 87-75 (.537) in the regular season. That was the NL’s sixth-best record, something that wouldn’t have got them into the playoffs in any other season but this one. Now they’re going to the World Series. Make of that what you will.


The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks played their home-opener on Saturday night and lost their sixth straight game, this one 5-1 to the Buffalo Sabres.

The Canucks’ fans aren’t taking it well.

After Saturday’s debacle, Thomas Drance of The Athletic wrote that the Canucks “finVancouverCanucksally . . . returned to the supposedly friendly confines of Rogers Arena. And this one had it all. It had the road team opening the scoring with a fluky power-play goal. A gentleman wearing a retro Canucks jersey and a paper bag on his head, posing for photos with other fans in his section. The fans booed during play as the game twisted away from Vancouver. They booed as the Sabres top line cycled the puck endlessly in the Vancouver end. They booed the Canucks on the power play. They even booed ‘Sweet Caroline.’ ”

If you subscribe to The Athletic, Drance’s piece is right here. If you don’t subscribe, you should give it some thought.


Newlyweds


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.


Fantasy

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after nature’s paintbrush put some white on the hilltops . . .

Scattershooting2


You likely are aware that if a male hockey player joins a major junior team, he almost always loses his NCAA eligibility. Right?

What about a female player?

The QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques recalled Ève Gascon on Saturday and she qmjhlnewwas the backup goaltender for a pair of weekend games against the visiting Val-d’Or Foreurs. The Olympiques brought Gascon, 18, in from the Saint-Laurent Patriotes of the Quebec Collegiate Hockey League.

Gascon attended the Olympiques’ training camp prior to the start of this season and got into two games, going 2-0-0, 1.78, .934.

OK, now comes the NCAA part of the story . . .

Gascon has verbally committed to attend the U of Minnesota-Duluth and play for the Bulldogs in 2023-24. And it turns out that NCAA rules are different for women than for men, and women don’t lose their eligibility for playing major junior hockey.

Here’s Matt Wellens of the Duluth News Tribune from a story he wrote in August:

“The NCAA has separate rules for men’s and women’s hockey as it pertains to trying out and playing for professional teams — the NCAA classifies major junior leagues in Canada as professional.

“While men’s hockey players have strict rules pertaining to tryouts and playing with professionals . . . women’s hockey recruits may try out and play for a professional team prior to full-time enrolment, granted they do not receive ‘more than actual and necessary expenses,’ according to the NCAA Division 1 manual (Page 69, 12.2.2.2.1 and 12.2.3.2.1).”

——

BTW, the only females to have played in the QMJHL are Manon Rhéaume and Charline Labonté. Rhéaume played in one game for the Trois-Rivieres Draveurs in 1991-92. Labonté played in 26 games for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in 1999-2000 and two more in 2000-01.

Old friend Bob Duff of detroithockeynow.com reported Sunday that Rhéaume will be part of the TV team that will be doing Detroit Red Wings games on Bally Sports Detroit.

According to Duff, who once covered the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades for the StarPhoenix, she “is living in the Detroit area. Rhéaume is working as the Girls Program Coordinator for the Little Caesars AAA Hockey Club. As well, she is serving as the head coach of the 12U girls team in Detroit.”

She will make her Detroit TV debut on Wednesday when the Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Red Wings.


Crew


Headline at TheOnion.com: Urban Meyer still adjusting to speed of NFL cover-ups.


It’s safe to say that MLB hitters as a group had an abysmal 2021 regular season. . . . The Associated Press reported: “The major league batting average dropped to .244 this season, its lowest since the year of the pitcher in 1968, though offense picked up markedly following baseball’s midseason crackdown on grip-enhancing substances for pitchers.” . . . The complete statistical story is right here.



If you happen to have an autographed picture of Shoeless Joe Jackson in your collection, you should know that one sold recently for US$1.47 million at Christie’s and Hunt Auctions in New York. That one, from 1911, is believed to be the only one around.


Nobody


There were 11 WHL games over the past two days — three on Sunday and eight WHLon Saturday — but there aren’t any scheduled today (Monday), which is Thanksgiving Day here in Canada. . . . Here’s a look at Sunday’s games . . .

In Calgary, F Riley Fiddler-Schultz had three assists to lead the Hitmen to a 4-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Calgary (1-2-0) scored the game’s first three goals and later added an empty-netter. . . . The Broncos (2-3-0) got 37 stops from G Reid Dyck, a 17-year-old from Winkler, Man., as they lost their third straight game. . . .

In Regina, the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Pats, 4-2, in a game in which the last three goals were scored in the final 1:36 with two of them into an empty net. . . . D Logen Hammett gave Brandon a 2-1 lead on a PP at 7:56 of the third period. . . . Brandon scored two empty-netters before the Pats got their second goal at 19:50. . . . D Chad Nychuk had two goals and an assist. . . . The Wheat Kings (2-3-0) got 39 stops from G Carson Bjarnason, a 16-year-old freshman from Carberry, Man., who earned his first WHL victory in his first start and fourth appearance. . . . According to the WHL’s online scoresheet, the Wheat Kings didn’t dress a backup goaltender. Ethan Kruger left a Saturday game with an apparent leg injury. . . . The Pats (2-3-0) have lost three in a row. . . .

In Portland, G Dante Giannuzzi stopped 29 shots to lead the Winterhawks (2-2-1) to a 3-0 victory over the Spokane Chiefs (1-3-1). . . . It was Giannuzzi’s first shutout of this season and the second of his career. He was making his 37th appearance, all with Portland. . . . Portland scored three first-period goals, the first from F Jack O’Brien at 2:40. . . . Rich Franklin, who had been with the Winterhawks for 10 years, worked his last game before heading to Palm Springs, Calif., where he will work with the Seattle Kraken’s NHL affiliate.

Some highlights from Saturday’s WHL games . . .

G Lochlan Gordon earned his first WHL victory in his first appearance to lead the Portland Winterhawks to a 4-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds (2-1-0) in Kent, Wash. . . . Gordon, 18, was a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2018 draft. He stopped 28 shots as the Winterhawks won their first game this season. . . . Portland scored the game’s last three goals. . . .

F Bear Hughes scored twice and added an assist as the Spokane Chiefs dumped the Tri-City Americans, 5-1, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Spokane was 3-for-6 on the PP. . . . The Americans are 2-1-0. . . .

F Tristen Robins drew three assists — one shorthanded, two on the PP — as his Saskatoon Blades skated to a 6-2 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . Saskatoon (2-1-0) was 3-for-4 on the PP. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic had two goals and an assist, with D Rhett Rhinehart adding a goal and two helpers. . . . Blades F Jayden Wiens was hit with a major penalty and a game misconduct after running into Brandon G Ethan Kruger at 8:33 of the second period. Kruger left the game favouring his left leg. . . .

F Connor McClennon scored three times — he’s got five — to lead the Ice to an 8-0 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders in Winnipeg. . . . The Ice (4-0-0) got two goals from F Jakin Smallwood and three assists from F Matthew Savoie. . . . Winnipeg was 4-for-7 on the PP. . . . The Raiders are 0-4-0. . . .

D Alex Cotton scored twice, the second in OT, to give the host Lethbridge Hurricanes a 2-1 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Cotton tied the game at 13:49 of the second period and won it at 2:28 of OT. . . . The Hurricanes improved to 3-1-0; the Rebels are 2-2-1. . . .

F Lukas Svejkovsky scored the only goal of a shootout to give the Medicine Hat Tigers a 3-2 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Tigers (2-2-0) got 35 saves through OT from G Garin Bjorklund. . . . Svejkovsky, who scored his sixth goal of the season in the first period, was the first shooter in the second round. . . . The Oil Kings are 3-1-1. . . .

F Logan Stankoven had two goals and two assists as the Kamloops Blazers dumped the visiting Prince George Cougars, 8-3. . . . F Fraser Minten added two Kamloops goals and F Dylan Sydor had three assists. He has five assists in two games after recording five in 15 games in the 2021 development season. . . . Yes, he’s Darryl’s son. . . . F Riley Heidt drew three assists for the Cougars. . . . The Blazers are 2-0-0; the Cougars slipped to 0-3-0. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets (1-1-0) broke a 3-3 tie with two quick goals in the middle of the second period and went on to beat the Royals, 6-4, in Victoria. . . . F Jake Poole broke the tie at 9:31 and D Caden Price made it 5-3 at 12:44. . . . The Royals (1-2-0) got two goals from F Brayden Schuurman — he’s got five — and a goal and two assists from D Gannon Laroque.


Parents


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “New York has gone a full decade without any championships from its NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL teams. ‘Looking for something?’ asked a fan from Boston, which has six.”

——

Perry, again: “Mick Jagger, in Charlotte, N.C., for a Rolling Stones concert, dropped into a small bar for a drink the night before and nobody recognized who he was. ‘Why couldn’t that have been me?’ asked Jags coach Urban Meyer.”


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle hits the nail squarely on the head: “The pro-DH crowd won’t ever acknowledge this, but the game is so much more interesting when the pinch-hit-or-leave-him-in dilemma comes into play. In authentic baseball, there’s a lot more to removing a pitcher than just pointing to the bullpen. Now that it seems likely there will be a universal DH next year, I’d love to see this year’s World Series decided by a pitcher’s two-run triple.”


Toys


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Hello, Adele, it’s me. Welcome back. Yes, you’ve been gone too long. . . . If you are an unemployed placekicker, you may get a call today. Going into Sunday night’s NFL game, kickers had missed 12 field goals and 12 extra points on the day. In a game between the Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals, the two kickers combined to miss five field goals in the last 2:12 of the fourth quarter and in OT. . . . If you are a fan of the Detroit Lions, you may be aware that they are the first team in NFL history to lose twice in the same season on field goals of at least 50 yards and no time left on the clock. Yes, it happened to them again on Sunday, this time to the Minnesota Vikings.


Canadians

Canucks lose one more player to COVID-19 list . . . AJHL shuts down two more teams . . . Miner posts third straight shutout


It was one week ago today (Tuesday) when F Adam Gaudette was removed from the ice during a Vancouver Canucks’ practice because of a positive test.

On Monday, Vancouver F Nils Hoglander was added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, the 17th player Canucksoff the roster to land there. Keep in mind that being on the list doesn’t mean a player has tested positive; he might have been deemed a close contact of someone who is positive.

There also are three coaches who have tested positive, while two players off the taxi squad are believed to have tested positive or been deemed as close contacts.

So far, D Jordie Benn, F Brock Boeser, F Tyler Graovac, F J.T. Miller, D Nate Schmidt, F Jimmy Vesey and F Jake Virtanen haven’t gone into protocol, although all are self-isolating.

The Canucks, who haven’t said a word about any of this since the original confirmation of Gaudette’s status, are believed to have been hit by the P.1 variant from Brazil.

The Canucks have had four games postponed by the NHL. Two others, scheduled for Thursday and Saturday, haven’t officially been scrubbed but are showing on the NHL schedule as having been postponed.

Still, Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, told The Canadian Press via email on Monday that he expects the Canucks to complete their 56-game schedule.

While admitting that the numbers are “concerning from a health and safety standpoint,” Daly wrote that they aren’t necessarily concerning “from a scheduling standpoint.”

Brent Sutter, the owner, general manager and head coach of the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels, has spoken with his son Brandon, a veteran forward with the Canucks.

“We FaceTimed (Sunday) night,” Brent told Sportsnet’s Eric Francis, “and he was pretty down and out, feeling pretty sick. Brandon has tested positive and he’s got symptoms — body aches, headaches, chills — just like you have the flu. I guess each guy is different in terms of how it affects you, especially with this Brazilian variant. For younger people to get this sick, it’s scary.”

Brandon has moved to the basement of the family’s home, away from his pregnant wife and two young children, ages two and three.

“They were just told to get into quarantine and have the wife and kids go down to the rink to get tested every day,” Brent said. “There’s a lot to this, what the families have to do now. We’re keeping fingers crossed.”

As for a return to play, well, that’s got Brent wondering. As he told Francis: “”It’s not like you’re talking two or three guys. If all these guys have been sick and they have to be cap compliant, could the Canucks come back and play? I don’t know how they can do it.”

Francis’s piece is right here.


The AJHL has suspended the team activities of two more teams on Monday. That means the AJHL now has ajhlsix of its 13 teams unable to partake in hockey activities. . . . The Camrose Kodiaks and Drumheller Dragons were in one cohort and the league says that “as the result of a positive COVID-19 test in the Camrose Kodiaks cohort . . .” both teams are suspended for 14 days, as per the league’s return-to-play protocol. . . . Earlier, the league did the same with the Drayton Valley Thunder, Grande Prairie Storm, Okotoks Oilers and Whitecourt Wolverines. . . . In normal times, the AJHL features 15 teams; however, the Canmore Eagles and Lloydminster Bobcats opted out of the return to play.



Meanwhile, there were five games in the WHL on Monday. Some highlights . . .

F Dylan Guenther scored twice and added an assist as the Edmonton Oil Kings dumped the host Red Deer EdmontonRebels, 6-1. . . . He’s got 12 goals and 11 assists in 12 games. . . . The Oil Kings (12-1-0) swept the three-game weekend series, outscoring the Rebels (2-9-2), 20-4, in the process. . . . F Kaid Oliver (8) and F Jaden Luypen, Guenther’s linemates, each added a pair of goals. . . . Luypen has 10 goals in 13 games. He finished last season with nine in 64 games. . . . This was that line’s last game together as Guenther is preparing to go into isolation before joining Canada’s U18 team for the IIHF World championship in Texas. . . . Edmonton has won each of its last 17 regular-season meetings with Red Deer. . . . The Oil Kings scored three first-period goals while enjoying a 20-1 edge in shots. . . . G Sebastian Cossa stopped 15 shots in recording his 11th straight victory. Andrew Peard, the play-by-play voice of the Oil Kings, says that ties the franchise record set by Tristan Jarry (Nov. 14-Dec. 15, 2013). . . . F Dawson Seitz, the 20th overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, made his WHL debut with Edmonton. . . . F Jake Neighbours of the Oil Kings is on a 12-game point streak, with five goals and 17 assists over that stretch. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen scored twice in the shootout to earn a 5-4 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . CalgaryEach team scored once in each of the first two periods and twice in the third. . . . F Josh Prokop and F Riley Stotts scored in the circus for the Hitmen (6-6-2), with F Brett Kemp counting for the Tigers (9-3-1). . . . F Sean Tschigerl (6) had two goals for Calgary, which got three assists from F Riley Fiddler-Schultz, who enjoyed his first career three-point outing in his 111th game. . . . Tschigerl went into this season with five goals in 64 games over two seasons. He has six goals in 14 games this season. . . . F Oren Shtrom (3) scored twice for Medicine Hat. . . .

F Jagger Firkus scored in the fourth round of a shootout to give the Moose Jaw Warriors a 4-3 victory over MooseJawthe Pats in Regina. . . . F Ryker Evans (2) had given Regina (4-6-3) a 3-0 lead at 5:01 of the third period. . . . The Warriors (6-6-1) tied it on goals from F Kade Runke (1), F Josh Hoekstra (1) and F Eric Alarie (8), the latter scoring at 19:43. . . . Regina F Connor Berard had his career-opening point streak stopped at 12 games. He was credited with nine shots on goal. . . . Bedard scored in the second round of the shootout, only to have F Brayden Yager tie it. . . . Bedard will play two more games with the Pats before going into isolation prior to joining Canada’s U18 team. . . . All three games between these teams have needed extra time. The Warriors won the first one, 5-4 in OT, with the Pats taking the second, 3-2 in OT. . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings ran their winning streak to seven games with a 3-2 victory over the Prince BrandonAlbert Raiders in Regina. . . . F Ridly Greig (5)  broke a 2-2 tie with a shorthanded goal at 9:27 of the third period. . . . Greig scored after blocking a pair of shots on the same kill. . . . F Nolan Ritchie (6) had pulled the Wheat Kings (10-2-1) into a tie, on a PP, at 14:12 of the second. . . . F Justin Nachbaur (4) scored both goals for Prince Albert (4-7-2). . . . D Braden Schneider had the primary assist on each of Brandon’s first two goals. . . .

G Trent Miner recorded his third straight shutout as the Vancouver Giants beat the Blazers, 4-0, in VancouverKamloops. . . . Miner finished with 30 saves, meaning he has stopped all 64 shots he has faced while in the Kamloops hub. . . . Miner is the second WHL goaltender to put up three straight shutouts this season, after Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips. . . . Vancouver and Kamloops each is 4-1-0. . . . The WHL record for consecutive shutouts is four and is held by Chris Worthy of the Flin Flon Bombers (Dec. 29, 1967 through Jan. 13, 1968). . . . F Zack Ostapchuk (2) scored the game’s first goal at 10:14 of the first period. F Justin Sourdif (1) and F Justin Lies (1) added second-period goals, with F Adam Hall (4) counting in the third. . . . Lies was ejected with a checking-from-behind major at 2:18 of the third.


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Poor

Hamilton: No plans “right now” to sell Rockets. . . . Hitmen take out Hurricanes. . . . Calgary, Edmonton to open on Saturday


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F Peter Lorentzen (Tri-City, 2001-03) has retired. This season, with the Stavanger Oilers (Norway, GET-Ligaen), he had two goals and seven assists in 31 games. He announced on Feb. 27 that he would retire at the end of this season. . . . Stavanger lost Game 6 of a best-of-seven semifinal to Storhamar, 3-1, on Monday night. . . .

F Jaroslav Vlach (Prince George, 2009-11) has signed a three-year plus option year extension with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Liberec, he had seven goals and seven assists in 43 games. He also had four goals and five assists in six games while on loan to Benátky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga).


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The rumours have been strong enough that Bruce Hamilton felt a need to issue a public denial.

Hamilton is the majority owner, president and general manager of the WHL’s Kelowna KelownaRocketsRockets, the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup.

For the last while there have been rumours circulating throughout the hockey community that the Rockets either are for sale, or that Hamilton will guide the organization through the 2020 Memorial Cup and then sell the franchise.

On Tuesday, he told Regan Bartel, the team’s radio voice, that the Rockets aren’t for sale.

“To purchase this thing (franchise) won’t be a small operation, put it that way. It will have to be something big,” Hamilton said. “Someday it will happen, but I have no plans right now to do that. I am enjoying what I am doing. . . .

“It would be news to me if it was sold. I have the most shares, so I don’t think it is going to be sold under my watch right now anyway. I think it is too bad that there is a group of people, I will call ‘agents,’ that phone around and ask questions and then spread rumours which is unfortunate.”

Hamilton, who also is the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors, made the point that he still is enjoying his hockey life.

“If my passion wasn’t here, we wouldn’t have bid for the Memorial Cup,” Hamilton said.


If you were following along on Monday night, you will be aware that the WHL playoff game between the visiting Victoria Royals and the Kamloops Blazers was delayed twice Kamloops1due to broken panes of glass.

That glass was due to be replaced anyway, and it all will be gone before another season gets here.

A couple of years ago, the WHL established new standards for boards and glass, and Kamloops’ city council has agreed to fund the necessary changes. Hockey Canada also has been pushing for improvements.

Following Monday’s game, Jeff Putnam, Kamloops’ parks and civic facilities manager, tweeted: “And before next season there will be a brand new board and glass system that is equivalent to NHL standards as well as other facility improvements. The new glass will be ‘acrylic’ which is almost impossible to shatter and much easier to handle for our crew.”

It is believed that the replacement cost will be around $1 million.


The Tri-City Americans have signed G Mason Dunsford to a WHL contract. Dunsford, a 15-year-old from New Westminster, B.C., was a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . He played this season with the Elite 15 team at the Burnaby Winter Club, and helped his club with the CSSHL championship. . . . He was 2.60, .911 in 23 regular-season games, then went 2.25, .931 in four playoff appearances.


The ECHL’s Fort Wayne Comets have added G Jiri Patera of the Brandon Wheat Kings and D Dalton Hamaliuk of the Moose Jaw Warriors to their roster. . . . Patera, who turned 20 on Feb. 24, was a sixth-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL’s 2017 draft. This season, Patera, who is from Praha, Czech Republic, was 22-20-2, 3.31, .906 with the Wheat Kings. . . . Hamaliuk played out his junior eligibility with Moose Jaw, putting of four goals and 19 assists in 66 games this season.


F Noah Philp of the Seattle Thunderbirds has joined the AHL’s Stockton Heat on an ATO. Philp, who doesn’t have any junior eligibility remaining, had 26 goals and 49 assists in 56 games with Seattle this season.


D Dylan MacPherson of the Medicine Hat Tigers has signed an ATO with the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds. MacPherson, who played out his junior eligibility this season, spent three seasons with the Tigers. This season, he had two goals and 10 assists in 62 games.


In the QMJHL, the Halifax Mooseheads, the host team for the 2019 Memorial Cup qmjhltournament, beat the visiting Quebec Remparts, 3-1, on Tuesday night in Game 7 of a first-round series. . . . The Remparts went into Game 6 in Halifax on Monday with a 3-2 lead in the series. The Mooseheads tied the series with a 6-1 victory. . . . The Mooseheads (49-15-4) had finished first in the Eastern Conference; the Remparts (27-28-13) were eighth. . . . Next up for the Mooseheads will be the Moncton Wildcats, who beat the Baie-Comeau Drakkars, 3-2, in Game 7 last night.


A former WHL linesman worked his final NHL game on Tuesday night . . .


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NOTES: The only first-round WHL playoff series to go to Game 7 was decided Tuesday night in Lethbridge’s Nicholas Sheran Arena as the Calgary Hitmen beat the Hurricanes, 4-2. . . . The Hitmen will meet the Edmonton Oil Kings in the second round. That series will open with games in Edmonton on Saturday and Sunday. . . . The Oil Kings (42-18-8) finished atop the Central Division; the Hitmen (36-26-6) were third. . . . Edmonton was 7-0-1 in the season series; Calgary was 1-6-1. . . . They have met four times since the trade deadline, with Edmonton winning all four — 3-2, 5-1, 6-1 and 3-1. . . . Among the story lines: Steve Hamilton, in his first season as Calgary’s head coach, spent the previous eight seasons with the Oil Kings, the last four as head coach. . . .

There aren’t any WHL playoff games scheduled until Friday night when two series are to open. . . . The Saskatoon Blades will face the Raiders in Prince Albert, while the Victoria Royals and Vancouver Giants will open in Langley, B.C. . . . The other second-round series will open Saturday night with the Spokane Chiefs visiting the Everett Silvertips. . . .

Steve Ewen of Postmedia — that’s him hard at work in the above tweet — filed a neat story about the Vancouver Giants on Tuesday. It involves head coach Michael Dyck and associate coach Jamie Heward and how they helped unload the team bus in Kent, Wash., the other night, a move that allowed their players to get a bit more rest. . . . That story is right here. . . . Ewen also reported that Giants F Justin Sourdif was in a regular sweater for Tuesday’s practice. Sourdif missed the last five games of the Giants’ six-game first-round victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Vancouver will open the second round in Langley, B.C., against the Victoria Royals on Friday night. . . .

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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The visiting Calgary Hitmen scored three first-period goals, two of them by F Carson CalgaryFocht, en route to a 4-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Calgary won the series, 4-3. It was the only one of the eight first-round series to go the distance. . . . The Hitmen will move on to play the Edmonton Oil Kings in the second round. That series is to open in Edmonton on Saturday. . . . Focht (3) got the Hitmen on the scoreboard, on a PP, at 3:30. . . . F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (1) made it 2-0 at 15:23. . . . Focht (4) upped it to 3-0 at 16:19. . . . The Hurricanes cut into the deficit at 2:49 of the second period as F Zachary Cox (2) scored, then got to within a goal at 12:52 on a goal from D Alex Cotton (1). . . . Calgary wasn’t able to put it away until F Mark Kastelic (5) scored an empty-netter at 19:41 of the third period. . . . Calgary was 1-4 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-2. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 25 shots for the Hitmen, two more than Lethbridge’s Carl Tetachuk. . . . Lethbridge F Logan Barlage was given a slashing major and game misconduct after he hacked Focht off a game-ending faceoff. Should Barlage be suspended, he will serve it at the beginning of the 2019-20 regular season. . . .

The Hurricanes won the first two games of the series — 3-2 and 4-1 (OT) — in the Enmax Centre, before announced crowds of 3,566 and 3,788. . . . With the world men’s curling championship then taking over that arena, the Hurricanes were forced to move to the Nicholas Sheran Arena, the home of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorn women’s and men’s hockey teams. The Hitmen won Game 5 there, 6-5, before 1,200 fans, and clinched the series last night in front of 1,151 fans.


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