QMJHL follows OHL in going to mandatory vaccinations; still quiet on WHL front . . . Swedish goalie headed to Portland? . . . Pats, Royals swing deal

Sheep
It was 31C in the smoke on Monday afternoon just a few kilometres east of Kamloops where about 20 California bighorns — females and yearlings — stopped off for lunch. Or was it an early dinner? The gal on the right was eyeballing me to make sure I didn’t move any closer.

The QMJHL is moving to mandatory vaccinations for all of its “players and staff qmjhlnewwho are in contact with players,” according to Karissa Donkin of CBC News. . . . The policy also will include members of billet families who are eligible to be vaccinated. . . . Karl Jahnke, the QMJHL’s chief marketing officer, told Donkin that players had been notified of the policy a few weeks ago, adding that should a player choose not to be vaccinated “obviously, it’s a personal decision but they won’t be able to play.” . . . Trevor Georgie, the president and general manager of the Saint John Sea Dogs, said his organization has had “one player (who) won’t be able to meet those guidelines. We have one billet family that won’t be able to meet the guidelines, and we have one staff member (who) may not be able to meet those guidelines.” . . . Donkin’s story is right here.

The OHL also has moved to mandatory vaccinations and has posted its protocol on its website, something the QMJHL hasn’t yet done.

The WHL, which has teams in four provinces and two states, has yet to say anything, one way or the other, about mandatory vaccinations.


Fauci


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The New York Times: “California and New York City both announced that they would require their workers to get a coronavirus vaccine or get tested weekly amid the spread of the more contagious Delta variant.”

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The New York Times: “President Biden is considering requiring all civilian federal employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or be forced to submit to regular testing, social distancing, mask requirements and restrictions on most travel, officials said on Tuesday.”

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The New York Times: “LL Cool J, Elvis Costello, Andrea Bocelli, Carlos Santana and the New York Philharmonic will join Bruce Springsteen and others at the Central Park concert New York City is planning, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. Proof of vaccination will be required.”

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Deer1
A couple of young bucks were among five deer who came down out of the smoke for dinner behind the Drinnan residence on Tuesday evening. That is a hay field and, yes, the owner irrigates.


Might Swedish G Jesper Wallstedt play for the Portland Winterhawks in 2021-Portland22? Or will he go back home to play? Or does he end up in the AHL? . . . Jim Matheson, the veteran hockey writer with Postmedia in Edmonton, tweeted Monday afternoon that he is “hearing” that Wallstedt “might be playing for Portland . . . rather than back with Lulea.” . . . Wallstedt and Sebastian Cossa of the Edmonton Oil Kings were the two best goaltenders available in last weekend’s NHL draft. Cossa was taken by the Detroit Red Wings in the first round; the Minnesota Wild took Wallstedt five picks later. . . . Of course, because Wallstedt, who is to turn 19 on Nov. 14, was drafted from a European team, the Wild could sign him and place him with its AHL affiliate, the Iowa Wild. . . . The Winterhawks acquired Wallstedt’s WHL rights from the Moose Jaw Warriors on July 6 for a sixth-round pick in the WHL’s 2023 draft. The Warriors had selected him in the 2019 CHL import draft.


Rob Vanstone, in the Regina Leader-Post, looking forward to the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ home-opener on Aug. 6: “You can’t bring peanuts, blow horns, selfie sticks or sunflower seeds into Mosaic Stadium, but you can bring in COVID-19. Proof of vaccination is not required for entry.”

Meanwhile, you will have to be fully vaccinated if you hope to attend the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ home-opener against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Aug. 5.


Texas


MLB’s trade deadline arrives on Friday afternoon, so when the Washington Nationals yanked SS Trea Turner in the first inning of a Tuesday night game with the Phillies in Philadelphia, well, a lot of people were wondering where he would be going. . . . It turns out that he had tested positive, so will be out at least 10 days, which will take him past the trade deadline. . . . It wasn’t immediately known if he is vaccinated, but OF Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers is fully vaccinated and he, too, has tested positive. He reportedly has mild symptoms.


The Regina Pats have acquired G Keegan Maddocks, 18, from the Victoria Royals for F Carter Massier, 20. . . . Maddocks, an eighth-round pick by the Royals in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, is from Langley, B.C. He was 0-1-0, 3.31, .900 in two games with the Royals in the 2021 development season. . . . When the 2021 season ended, the Pats also had G Matthew Kieper, 17, and G Spencer Welke, 19, on their roster. As for 2001-born players, the roster included F Carter Chorney, D Ryker Evans, F Logan Nijhoff and F Zack Smith. . . . Massier had five goals and seven assists in 24 games in the Regina hub in the 2021 development season. In 91 regular-season games with the Pats, he has 13 goals and 14 assists. He is from Peace River, Alta. . . . The Royals’ season-ending roster included three 2001-born players — D Graeme Bryks, F Tarun Fizer, F Brayden Tracey.



The Calgary Hitmen have signed four members of their hockey operations Calgarydepartment to contract extensions — general manager Jeff Chynoweth, head coach Steve Hamilton and assistant coaches Trent Cassan and Joel Otto. The length of the extensions wasn’t revealed. Chynoweth is preparing for his fifth season with the Hitmen, while Hamilton has been head coach through three seasons. Otto is going into his 15th season, with Cassan entering his sixth.


Swing


The Swift Current Broncos have signed German D Rayan Bettahar to a WHL Scurrentcontract. He was the fifth overall selection in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. . . . Bettahar, 17, played just three games in 2020-21, putting up one assist for the Jungadler Mannheim U-20 side. In 2019-20, he had two goals and 25 assists in 35 games for the program’s U-17. . . . He is the first German player to have been selected by the Broncos in the import draft. . . . Swift Current also selected Russian F Alexei Shanaurin in the June 30 draft. He signed a WHL contract on July 21. . . . The Broncos didn’t have any imports on the roster with which they finished the 2021 development season.



The schedule has been released for the IIHF Women’s World Championship that is scheduled to open in Calgary Aug. 20. The opening day features a tripleheader — Czech Republic vs. Denmark, noon MST; Finland vs. Canada, 4 p.m.; and Switzerland vs. U.S., 7:30 p.m. . . . The complete schedule is right here. . . . Team Canada opened training camp in Calgary on Tuesday.


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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

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Rob Mahon is the new radio voice of the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders. Mahon spent the past four seasons doing play-by-play for the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. In Prince Albert, he takes over from Trevor Redden, who left the position after four seasons. . . . Former NHLer Matt Smaby is the new head coach of the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks. He takes over from P.K. O’Handley, the head coach since 2002 who stepped aside and now serves as the organization’s president. Smaby has coaching experience as an assistant at the U of North Dakota and with Salzburg Red Bull in Austria. In the pandemic-riddled 2020-21 season, he ran the Grand Forks, N.D., Youth Hockey Program.


Dogs

Todd: No vaccine for what ails NHL . . . Bedard, Stankoven, Canada are big in Texas . . . WHL’s Americans opening sections for vaccinated fans

Donkey


When the NHL awoke on Thursday, it should have been awash in T.J. Oshie and Marc Andre Fleury, Anze Kopitar and David Backes.

Oshie, a forward with the Washington Capitals, scored three goals on nhl2Wednesday night. It was his first game back following the death of his father, Tim, at 52, from Alzheimer’s Disease.

Fleury and his Vegas Golden Knights won another game on Wednesday night. This one was Fleury’s 490 regular-season victory, moving him into third place on the career list.

Kopitar, the captain of the Los Angeles Kings, earned his 1,000th regular-season point on Wednesday night.

Yes, there was lots for the NHL to celebrate.

But, by Thursday morning, none of those things mattered unless you were related to one of those three players.

Instead, any NHL-centred conversation was all about the shenanigans that had taken place at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. And then the NHL threw more gasoline on the conversation by announcing that it had fined the New York Rangers $250,000 for going public with its disgust over the league’s decision not to hit Washington F Tom Wilson with anything more than a $5,000 fine for his actions in a Monday night game.

And then, not long after announcing it had fined the Rangers, the league, as if to try and prove that this all really was part of a Saturday Night Live skit, announced it has cut a sponsorship deal with Clorox, which now is the “official cleaning and disinfecting product partner of the NHL.”

You just can’t make this stuff up. You just can’t.

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Jack Todd, a regular contributor to the Montreal Gazette, sat down at his keyboard on Thursday morning and wrote this piece right here that kind of explains the NHL in about 1,200 words.

As Todd wrote, “The NHL is a sick league and for this sickness, there is no vaccine in sight.”

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Team Canada won the gold medal at the IIHF U18 World championship in CanadaFrisco, Texas, on Thursday, beating Russia, 5-3, in the final. . . . Canada last won this tournament in 2013 in Sochi, Russia. . . . Sweden won the bronze medal, whipping Finland, 8-0, earlier in the day. . . . Canada got two goals F Shane Wright, its captain, F Brennan Othmann, F Logan Stankoven and F Connor Berard. . . . Stankoven, who plays for the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, gave Canada a 4-2 lead at 16:39 of the second period and that goal stood as the winner. . . . Stankoven finished with four goals and four assists in seven games. . . . Russian F Matvei Michkov was named the tournament MVP. He scored his tournament-leading 12th goal in the final. He also led the tournament with 16 points. . . . F Shane Wright, Team Canada’s captain, and Bedard tied for second, with 14 points. Wright, who played five of his team’s seven games, had a team-high nine goals. . . . Bedard had a goal and an assist, to finish the tournament with seven goals and seven assists in seven games. He tied the tournament record for most points (14) by a 15-year-old and now shares it with F Connor McDavid, who did it in Sochi in 2013.


Teleport


The Tri-City Americans didn’t play on Thursday night, but they’ll will be in Americansaction at home tonight against the Seattle Thunderbirds, and they will have five sections open to fans who have been vaccinated. . . . Fans will have to show proof of vaccination. . . . From a news release: “There will not be refunds or exchanges if you cannot show proof of vaccination. A face-covering must be worn at all times except while actively eating or drinking. Children ages 2-15 may sit in the vaccinated section, but only with proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72-hours of the game.” . . . Meanwhile, there were two WHL games last night . . .

G Sebastian Cossa stopped 29 shots as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the host TigersMedicine Hat Tigers, 3-0. . . . Edmonton finished its season at 20-2-1 with its second straight win, while the Tigers wound up at 14-8-1. . . . This was the final game of the schedule involving the five Alberta teams. . . . Cossa, who is eligible for the NHL’s 2021 draft, put up four shutouts in 19 appearances. Last season, as a freshman, he had four shutouts in 33 games. This season, he finished 17-1-1, 1.57, .941. . . . F Scott Atkinson, the Oil Kings’ captain who was playing his final WHL game, opened the scoring with his sixth goal at 10:26 of the first period. . . . F Logan Dowhaniuk (5) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 16:32 of the second. . . . F Kaid Oliver (11) got the empty-netter. . . . F Ethan Cap, also playing his final WHL game, drew two assists. . . . The Tigers got 25 stops from G Garin Bjorklund. . . .

In Kelowna, the Kamloops Blazers got two goals from each of F Orrin Centazzo Kamloopsand F Matthew Seminoff as they beat the Victoria Royals, 5-1. . . . The Blazers, who have won three in a row, now are 15-4-0. They went 6-0-0 against Victoria in this developmental season. . . . The Royals (2-15-2) have lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . Centazzo, who has five goals, opened the scoring at 4:00 of the first period and made it 2-0, on a PP, at 1:26 of the second. . . . Seminoff made it 3-0 at 6:01 and F Caedan Bankier (9) upped the lead to 4-0 at 7:22. . . . F Tarun Fizer (6) got Victoria’s goal 12 seconds into the third period. . . . Seminoff finished the scoring with his 10th goal at 12:12. . . . F Josh Pillar helped out with three assists. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 28 shots for Kamloops. He is 13-3-0, 2.36, .915.


Media coverage of the WHL has taken a hit with the news that Greg Harder, the Regina Leader-Post’s man on the Pats beat for more than 20 years, has left sports. Harder, who absolutely owned the Pats/WHL beat in that city, now is the newspaper’s arts and features editor. . . . Rob Vanstone of The Leader-Post has more on Harder right here. . . . Vanstone’s piece doesn’t mention whether Harder will be replaced in the sports department, but recent history would indicate that won’t happen. The Leader-Post sports department that once was home to 10 or 12 writers and copy editors now is down to two.


Yes, today is May 7. And, yes, Green Shirt Day was on April 7. . . . But what’s to keep us from promoting organ donation on the seventh day of every month, saving the really big annual push for April 7? . . . If you have even had a glimmer of thought about registering for organ donation, do the research and ask some questions. . . . And if you have thought about being a living kidney donor, again, please do the research and ask the questions. Be sure to investigate the Living Kidney Donor Program. You will learn, for example, about how you are able to be a living donor without being a blood-type match for any one person in particular. Yes, you can look it up!

And, hey, happy Green Shirt Day for May.

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Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity.

——

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.


Lie

Enough of the ‘it’s just like the flu’ junk! . . . Virtanen latest Canucks player on protocol list . . . QMJHL has 15 more positives on two teams

Please don’t bother wasting your breath trying to tell me that “this is just like the flu.”

Because it isn’t.

I lost another friend to COVID-19 on the weekend, so I’m well aware that this isn’t just like the flu. It just isn’t.

Bob Watson was a photographer at the Regina Leader-Post during my time there. He was one of those people who was quick to smile and really would give you the shirt — or in his case, the photographer’s vest — off his back.

After we moved to Kamloops, Bob and I reconnected on social media. No, we didn’t communicate on a regular basis, but we did often enough to stay in touch. And he always — always — asked how Dorothy was doing.

Anyway . . . knowing Bob the way I did, I know that he and his wife, Karen, did all they could to stay safe. Still, she tested positive, and so did he. Karen has since recovered, but Bob didn’t make it. . . . Rob Vanstone of The Leader-Post has more on Bob right here.

You may also want to take a few minutes and read this column right here from Daphne Bramham of the Vancouver Sun.

She, too, worked at The Leader-Post and was friends with Bob.

She writes, in part: “It’s why I can’t separate the sadness over his death from my raw anger at the stupidity of anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers including the two Regina women fined $2,800 for organizing a Saturday protest that attracted 30 people, the owners and customers at the Corduroy and Gusto restaurants in Vancouver who ignored the ban on indoor dining, and the loudmouth Instagramer building an audience by provoking people as he drives up and down Robson Street with his megaphone.”


Mars


Another day, another player off the Vancouver Canucks’ roster added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. The latest addition is F Jake Virtanen, who went on the list on Tuesday. His presence means that 18 of the Canucks22 players on the roster are on that list.

There were reports over the long weekend that some of the Canucks had tested positive for the P.1 variant, which first surfaced in Brazil and now is causing problems in Canada, especially in B.C., Alberta and Ontario.

However, Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, threw cold water on those reports.

“I’m not aware that any of the cases in the Canucks organization are related to P.1,” she told reporters on Tuesday.”I don’t know where that started, but not that I’m aware of.”

Neither the NHL nor the Canucks have made an official statement of any kind since the original positive test on Gaudette was confirmed. Reports of the P.1 variant being involved appeared to come from sources within the Vancouver organization, player agents and family members.

Dr. Henry also said that what the Canucks are going through shows that COVID-19 spreads “very, very easily.”

She added: “It just tells us that once this virus gets hold, it can spread very quickly, despite having routine testing protocols, having protocols to try and protect people as much as possible.”

F Adam Gaudette was the first of the Vancouver players to go on the protocol list on Tuesday, followed the next day by D Travis Hamonic.

Over the next few days, they were joined by forwards Travis Boyd, Jalen Chatfield, Jayce Hawryluk, Nils Hoglander, Bo Horvat, Zack MacEwen, Marc Michaelis, Tyler Motte, Antoine Roussel and Brandon Sutter, defencemen Alex Edler, Quinn Hughes and Tyler Myers, and goaltenders Thatcher Demko and Braden Holtby.

And now Virtanen.

There also have been reports that three members of the coaching staff have tested positive, and two players off the taxi squad have been deemed as close contacts.

So far, the NHL has postponed six Vancouver games, with the Canucks not likely to play again before mid-April.

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Meanwhile, the Canucks AHL affiliate, the Utica Comets, has issues of its own and hasn’t played since March 10. They have had players and staff in isolation since March 22. The Comets were back on the practice ice on Monday. . . .  Ben Birnell of the Utica Observer-Dispatch reported: “It is not clear how many Comets players had positive COVID-19 tests. The AHL does not disclose which players are unavailable because of positive tests or close contacts.” . . . The Comets hope to return to game action on Friday against the visiting Rochester Americans.


Walmart


The NCAA’s Frozen Four is scheduled for this weekend in Pittsburgh. On Tuesday, the UMass Minutemen, one of the four competing teams, revealed that they will be missing at least four players because of COVID-19 contact tracing protocols. That includes starting G Filip Lindberg and F Carson Gicewicz, their leading sniper. Also out are G Henry Graham and F Jerry Harding. . . . Graham was the No. 3 goaltender. . . . This means that senior Matt Murray will be the starting goaltender on Thursday when UMass opens against the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, the defending champs. . . . It also means that Zac Steigmeyer, a senior equipment manager, will be the backup goaltender. Steigmeyer played goal in high school. . . . The other semifinal on Thursday has the St. Cloud State Huskies meeting the Minnesota State Mavericks. . . . The final is scheduled for Saturday.


The QMJHL announced Tuesday that the Gatineau Olympiques have experienced 11 positive tests within qmjhlnewtheir organization, while the Quebec Remparts have had four players come up positive. . . . The Baie-Comeau Drakkar, Blainville-Boisbriand and Rimouski Oceanic, teams that played the Olympiques and Remparts last week, didn’t have any positives, nor did any of the officials who worked those games. Still, the QMJHL has had those three teams go into isolation for 14 days. . . . “Therefore,” the league said in a news release, “the 2021 President Cup playoffs will not begin until at least the end of the mandatory quarantine period. With player safety being the league’s top priority, the league will ensure that infected players have sufficiently recovered and are back to full health before even considering return to play scenarios.”


If you’re wondering when the U.S.-Canada border might open again to what now is termed non-essential travel, you should know that the bookmakers at Bodog have after June 1 as the most likely date, at -300 — you would need to bet $300 to make $100. The least likely outcome of before June 1 is +200 — you would need to bet $100 to make $200.


There were five games in the WHL on Tuesday night . . .

F Owen Pederson’s PP goal at 5:04 of OT gave the Winnipeg Ice a 3-2 victory over the Saskatoon Blades in WinnipegRegina. . . . Pederson has seven goals for the Ice (9-4-0). . . . The Blades (9-2-2) have lost three in a row (0-2-1) after opening with a 9-0-1 record. . . . Ice F Peyton Krebs (7) had a goal and an assist, and also took some turns on defence. . . . Krebs has 23 points, including 16 assists, in 13 games. After being blanked in his first game, he has at least a point in 12 straight. . . . The Ice is down to four regular defencemen, with Mike Ladyman, Carson Lambos, Nolan Orzeck and Karter Prosofsky all sidelined. Owen Boucher, Anson McMaster, Brandt Young and Ben Zloty are left to shoulder most of the load, with some of the forwards dropping back on occasion. . . . Saskatoon F Evan Patrician tied the game, 2-2, at 1:53 of the third period. . . .

The host Everett Silvertips erased a two-goal deficit with the game’s last four goals and beat the Portland EverettWinterhawks, 6-4. . . . Portland led 2-0 before the game was two minutes old as F Jaydon Dureau (2) and F Reece Newkirk (4) scored on its first two shots. . . . F Seth Jarvis gave Portland a 4-2 lead with the club’s sixth shorthanded goal of the season at 9:29 of the second period. . . . Everett tied it on PP goals from F Jacob Wright (4) and F Hunter Campbell (4), the latter at 14:49 of the third period. . . . F Ben Hemmerling (2) broke the tie at 16:52, and F Jackson Berezowski (2) added the empty-netter. . . . F Gage Goncalves (6) had a goal and two assists for the winners. . . . Everett was 2-for-3 on the PP. . . . Everett (8-1-0) is 3-0-0 against Portland (4-3-2) this season. . . . Everett G Dustin Wolf now is 7-1-0, 1.12, .961. . . .

The Tri-City Americans erased a 1-0 deficit with four straight goals en route to a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Jordan Gustafson (3) gave the Thunderbirds (5-4-0) a 1-0 lead at 1:45 of the first period. . . . D Ian Ferguson (1) pulled the Americans (4-4-0) even at 2:18 and F Samuel Huo (6), playing in his 200th career game, gave them the lead at 2:36. . . . F Connor Bouchard (2) and F Booker Daniel (1) added second-period goals. . . .

F Connor Bedard scored twice and added two assists as the Regina Pats dumped the Swift Current Broncos, 6-1, in Regina. . . . Bedard has 10 goals and 16 assists in 14 games. His WHL season is expected to end after a game with the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday. He and eight other WHLers will begin preparations to join Canada’s U18 team for the IIHF World championship in Texas. . . . F Carson Denomie scored his 12th goal of the season for the Pats (5-6-3). . . . D Mathew Ward (3) scored for the Broncos (3-9-1). Ward, who turned 17 on Jan. 24, has three goals and 13 assists in 13 games. . . .

F Brayden Tracey scored the winner as the Victoria Royals beat the Prince George Cougars, 3-2 in OT, in Kamloops. . . . Tracey, who won it at 4:36 of extra time, finished with two goals — he’s got three — and an assist as the Royals (1-3-1) picked up their first victory of the season. . . . G Connor Martin got the victory with 43 saves. . . . Tracey and D Gannon Laroque (1) gave the Royals a 2-0 lead in the second period. . . . The Cougars (1-2-2) tied it on two goals from Jonny Hooker (2), the second one at 1:14 of the third.


——

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.


Carpet

Rockets hit with another positive test; will this one cost them 14 days? . . . Virus may have found Canucks, too

The Kamloops Blazers were to have visited the Kelowna Rockets on Tuesday night. However, that game didn’t happen after the Rockets were forced to put WHL2all team activities on hold after the organization experienced a positive test. . . . According to the WHL, “The positive COVID-19 test results belong to a hockey staff member . . . within the team cohort. No players within the team cohort have tested positive at this time.” . . . The WHL also said that it would provide further information “pending determination of close contacts and further test results.” . . . Upon its return to play, the WHL stated: “If a WHL club has one or more players or staff test positive for COVID-19 at any point in the season, the club will be required to suspend its club activities for a minimum of 14 days.” . . . It would seem, then, that the Rockets are done until at least April 13 unless this turns out to be a false positive. The Rockets are scheduled to play eight games from March 30 through April 13. . . . This is the second positive in the Kelowna organization. The WHL said on March 19 that a positive test had been found during the return-to-play testing phase. That individual and someone who was identified as a close contact had to self-isolate for 14 days, but it was business as usual for the rest of the team because it was determined not to have occurred during the season. . . .

The Rockets have played two games to this point — they beat the Victoria Royals 5-0 in Kelowna on Friday and lost 6-0 to the Vancouver Giants in Kamloops on Sunday. They next are scheduled to play on Friday against the Prince George Cougars in Kamloops. . . . The Rockets also announced on Tuesday that F Ethan Ernst is out indefinitely after having surgery to repair a scaphoid fracture. The scaphoid is a small bone in an area of the wrist that has poor blood supply, so the healing time may be longer than normal. Ernst, who turned 19 on Jan. 26, was pointless in two games this season. He was injured in Sunday’s loss to Vancouver.


Prison


Meanwhile, the QMJHL has scrubbed a Wednesday game that was to have had qmjhlnewthe Cape Breton Eagles play host to the Charlottetown Islanders. According to the Eagles, “Even though all Eagles players and staff have tested negative to COVID-19, the league is postponing the game as a precaution due to a few players experiencing flu-like symptoms.” . . . This move follows the cancellation of a game between the Eagles and Islanders that was to have been played on Sunday. That morning, the league said that “a few players from the Eagles experienced flu-liked symptoms and as a precaution, the QMJHL has cancelled the game. In the current context and as per QMJHL protocols, all Eagles’ players and staff will be tested for COVID-19 and put in preventive isolation prior to returning to regular team activities.”


These pandemic times can call for interesting manoeuvring to get players on the ice. Such was the case on Tuesday when the Spokane Chiefs announced that PGthey have acquired F Mitchell Kohner from the Prince George Cougars “on a one-year loan agreement.” . . . The Chiefs have lost veteran F Jack Finley, who will be out at least six months once he has surgery to repair a should injury, so had room to add Kohner. “This is a unique situation where an American player wasn’t able to rejoin his team due to COVID restrictions . . .,” Scott Carter, the Chiefs’ general manager, explained in a news release. . . . Kohner, from Rosemount, Minn., turned 19 on Feb. 11. A 10th-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, he had two assists in 49 games with the Cougars in 2018-19, then put up eight goals and six assists in 59 games in 2019-20. . . . Kohner is expected to being practising with the Chiefs in about a week, after clearing WHL protocols. . . . His playing rights will revert to the Cougars after this season. . . .

The Cougars also announced that F Ilijah Colina, who turned 21 on Feb. 18, “is no longer with the team due to personal reasons.” . . . He has played 200 regular-season games — 117 with the Cougars, 83 with the Portland Winterhawks — over five seasons with 27 goals and 52 assists. . . . Prince George has added D Hudson Thornton, 17, to its roster. He will complete his quarantine period and then join the team. From Winnipeg, Thornton had two goals and two assists in 23 games with the USHL’s Fargo Force this season. He was a second-round pick by the Cougars in the 2018 bantam draft.


Valet


The Brandon Wheat Kings got goals from seven different players en route to a Brandon7-1 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders in Regina on Tuesday night. . . . F Ridly Greig (3), F Ben McCartney (6) and F Reid Perepeluk (2) each had a goal and an assist. . . . Greig scored 22 seconds into the game and the Wheat Kings (7-2-1) built a 4-0 lead in the second period. . . .  Brandon, which was 4-for-7 on the PP, has won four in a row. . . .  Even with F Dallyn Peekeekoot making his WHL debut, the Raiders (3-5-2) were able to dress only 17 skaters, including 10 forwards. Peekeekoot, from Ahtahkakoop First Nation, Sask., was a 10th-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. The Raiders announced his signing earlier Tuesday. . . . The Raiders had G Max Paddock back on the bench in support of Carter Serhyenko, who went the distance. . . . Raiders D Kaiden Guhle remains out with an undisclosed injury, while F Ozzy Wiesblatt, who has 11 points in nine games, also sat out this one. . . . F Kyle Crosbie, who turned 21 on Feb. 18, no longer is shown on the Raiders’ roster and apparently has left the team for personal reasons. He was pointless in six games. . . .

D Layton Feist scored at 4:33 of OT to give the Regina Pats a 3-2 victory over the PatsMoose Jaw Warriors. The game was played in Regina with the Warriors designated as the home team. . . . Feist, who has three goals, had tied the game 2-2 at 12:34 of the third period. . . . The game’s first two goals came from 15-year-old skaters. F Connor Bedard (8), the first overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, got Regina on the board at 10:29 of the second period. F Brayden Yager (3), the third-overall selection, tied the score at 1:59 of the third. . . . Bedard, who drew the lone assist on the winner, now has 19 points in 10 games; Yager, who turned 16 on Jan. 3, has seven points in 10 games. . . . F Eric Alarie (7) had Moose Jaw’s other goal. He scored seven goals in 61 games as a freshman in 2019-20. . . . The Pats improved to 4-4-2; the Warriors, who have lost five straight, are 4-5-1. . . . So just to go over that again — the Pats won on the road, while the Warriors won a home game that was played in Regina. Try explaining that to someone 10 years from now. . . .

F Eric Florchuk, who had a goal and two helpers, broke a 4-4 tie at 18:03 of the Vancouverthird period as the Vancouver Giants beat the Victoria Royals, 5-4, in Kamloops. . . . Flochuk, who has two goals, had drawn an assist on F Tristen Nielsen’s fifth goal in three games, this one on a PP, at 16:51 of the third. . . . The Royals (0-3-0) erased a 2-0 first-period deficit to hold leads of 3-2 and 4-3. . . . Nielsen also had an assist, giving him nine points in three games. . . . F Adam Hall (3) had two goals for the Giants (2-1-0), with F Justin Sourdif earning three assists. . . . F Brayden Tracey and F Taran Fizun each had a goal and an assist for the Royals (0-3-0). . . .D Alex Kannok Leipert, the Giants’ captain, played his 200th regular-season game.


Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post had a birthday on Tuesday. How did he celebrate? The same way he did a year ago. Well, not quite. This time, he wrote about what has changed over the past year, which, as he discovered, wasn’t much. . . . In fact, as he laments in this column right here, there isn’t much evidence to show that we the people are prepared to rid ourselves of this virus and that means that he may well be writing the same column a year from now, too. Unfortunately, he is correct.


F Adam Gaudette of the Vancouver Canucks left Tuesday’s practice after being informed that he had tested positive for COVID-19. The Canucks are scheduled to play the visiting Calgary Flames tonight (Wednesday). The Flames flew into Vancouver on Tuesday evening. . . . There will be more testing and contact tracing before a decision is made on tonight’s game. . . . F Jake Virtanen didn’t practise on Tuesday; the Canucks said he was ill, but didn’t indicate that it was virus-related. . . .

Meanwhile, the Montreal Canadiens played their first game since March 20 on Tuesday night, beating the visiting Edmonton Oilers, 4-0. F Jesper Kotkaniemi, who had been on the COVID-19 protocol list, scored one of the goals. F Joel Armia didn’t play as he remains on the protocol list.


Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., announced on Tuesday that Kevin Dickie has retired as its executive director of athletics. He spent 13 years at Acadia. That included three years as head coach of the Axemen hockey team for three seasons. . . . Before moving into administration, Dickie was a coach in the SJHL and WHL. He was the head coach of the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs for five seasons, then spent three seasons with the Axemen before joining the Saskatoon Blades as an assistant coach for 1999-2000. He took over as head coach the next season, a position he held for three seasons. . . . According to a news release, Dickie will leave his position after the USports annual general meeting in June. . . . That news release is right here.


If you missed it, the Texas Rangers opened up their home park — Globe Life Park  — to fans on Monday night for an exhibition game with the Milwaukee Brewers. The park has a capacity of 40,300 and a big crowd was anticipated; attendance was announced at 12,911. . . . “Plenty of fans sat shoulder-to-shoulder, but large portions of the stadium were empty as the Rangers lost to the Brewers, 4-0,” reported Jonathan Zizzo in The New York Times. . . . Texas announced 3,484 new cases and 41 more deaths on Tuesday, increasing the seven-day totals to 28,667 and 688. . . . On Tuesday night, with the Brewers beating the Rangers, 6-3, attendance was announced as 10,859.


Masks


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.


Arrow

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while eagerly awaiting Opening Day (it arrives on Thursday) . . .

Scattershooting2

Let’s start with a gem from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “A Dodgers fan group is rubbing it in against the Red Sox by paying for a ‘Thank you for Mookie Betts’ billboard next to Fenway Park. ‘Now why didn’t we ever think of that?’ moaned the chairman of the Babe Ruth Preservation Society.”

——

Perry, again: “Ohio State safety Marcus Hooker was arrested on DUI charges after he passed out behind the wheel while waiting in a McDonald’s drive-thru line. Defense lawyers can’t decide whether to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or ‘I deserve a break today.’ ”


The visiting Calgary Hitmen got 41 stops from G Brayden Peters as they handed CalgaryEdmonton its first loss of the WHL’s developmental season, beating the Oil Kings, 2-1, on Sunday. While Calgary improved to 5-5-1, Edmonton now is 9-1-0. . . . The Oil Kings had beaten the Hitmen twice on the weekend — 4-3 in Edmonton on Friday and 5-2 in Calgary on Saturday. . . . F Sean Tschigerl (4) and F Riley Stotts (3) had Calgary ahead 2-0 before F Josh Williams (7) scored for Edmonton at 8:30 of the third period. . . . Calgary remains without D Tyson Galloway, who was injured on Friday, and D Luke Prokop, who was hurt on Saturday.


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco, in a column dedicated to pet peeves:

“The I’m-so-cool NBA arena walk-in, every player wearing headphones. Do you guys ever, like, talk among yourselves, like teammates? . . .

“At college football games in the South, how the head coach always has to have a mean-looking cop in a Mountie hat escort him on and off the field, like he’s the pope or something. Let the cops go do cop stuff. . . .

“TV college game announcers who remind us every four minutes what a ‘well-coached team’ this is. Announcers, many of them former coaches, are insufferable coach suck-ups. Please throw in an occasional ‘crappily coached team.’ ”


The Brandon Wheat Kings ran their winning streak to three games with a 5-2 Brandonvictory over the Swift Current Broncos in Regina. . . . The Wheat Kings now are 6-2-1. . . . The Broncos (2-6-1) opened the schedule with five straight losses, running their two-season skid to 23, then went 2-0-1 before this loss. . . . Swift Current led 2-0 with 13 minutes left in the second period, only to give up the game’s last five goals. . . . D Braden Schneider was back in Brandon’s lineup after sitting out two with an injury.



F Gage Concalves enjoyed his first career three-goal game and also added an assist as the host Everett Silvertips beat the Tri-City Americans, 6-1. . . . The Silvertips, who are 5-0-0 for the first time in franchise history, led 3-0 before the game was 14 minutes old and never looked back. . . . Goncalves has five goals. . . . D Ronan Seeley had a goal and three assists for Everett F Samuel Huo scored his fourth goal for the Americans (2-3-0). . . . G Braden Holt stopped 20 shots for the Silvertips, who have allowed two goals in their five games.



The visiting Portland Winterhawks scored the game’s last four goals and six of the last seven as they beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 7-4. . . . F Simon Knak (4) tied the game 4-4 tie at 13:50 of the second period and F Seth Jarvis (2) scored while shorthanded at 4:49 of the third to give Portland its first lead. . . . Jarvis finished plus-5. . . . The Winterhawks (3-1-2) have four shorthanded goals in their six games. . . . Seattle (3-2-0) got the game’s opening goal from F Connor Roulette (3) scored on a first-period penalty shot. . . . D Nick Cicek had three assists for Portland.


The QMJHL scrubbed a Sunday game between the Cape Breton Eagles and qmjhlnewCharlottetown Islanders because of COVID-19 protocol. According to the QMJHL, on Sunday morning “a few players from the Eagles experienced flu-liked symptoms and as a precaution, the QMJHL has cancelled the game. In the current context and as per QMJHL protocols, all Eagles’ players and staff will be tested for COVID-19 and put in preventive isolation prior to returning to regular team activities.”


F Oren Shtrom’s first WHL goal, at 4:11 of OT, gave the host Medicine Hat Tigers Tigersa 5-4 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Tigers (7-3-0) had beaten the Hurricanes 3-0 at home on Friday and 6-3 in Lethbridge on Saturday. . . . Shtrom, a 16-year-old from Gilbert, Ariz., was a third-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. He has a goal and four assists in nine games. . . . He is believed to be the first Oren to score for the Tigers since Oren Koules struck six times in 33 games in 1979-80. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (5) had two goals and an assist for the Tigers, while D Cole Clayton had three assists. . . . F Justin Hall scored his eighth goal in 11 games for Lethbridge (3-6-2). He went into the season with 16 goals in 102 games.



F Tristen Nielsen scored three times and added two assists to spark the VancouverVancouver Giants’ 6-0 victory over the Kelowna Rockets in Kamloops. . . . The Giants were the home team, so this was their home-opener. . . . Nielsen scored once on the PP, once shorthanded and once at even strength, all in the first period. . . . F Justin Sourdif drew four assists. . . . G Trent Miner stopped 20 shots for his fifth career shutout. . . . D Mazden Leslie, the 10th overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, scored twice in his first WHL game. . . . Nielsen turned 21 on Feb. 23; Leslie won’t turn 16 until April 15. . . . The Giants now are 1-1-0, as are the Rockets. Kelowna had blanked the visiting Victoria Royals, 6-0, on Saturday.


Time


F Peyton Krebs had a goal, his sixth, and two assists as the Winnipeg Ice got Winnipegpast the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-1, in Regina. . . . No less an authority than Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post says that Krebs has been the “best player in the East Division hub.” . . . Krebs has 11 points over his past four games so Vanstone may be correct. . . . Vanstone also pointed out that while there have been 10 shutouts in the WHL this season, none of them have been in the Regina hub. . . . Krebs has six goals and 11 assists as the Ice, which had lost its previous two games, has opened 6-3-0. . . . The Warriors (4-5-0), who have lost four in a row, were without D Daemon Hunt (suspension) and F Ryder Korczak (undisclosed injury). . . . The game was played in 2 hours 3 minutes, the fastest game to date this season.


Tuna



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.


Dogs

Hey, Silvertips, does Wolf give up goals in practice? Three games. Three wins. Three shutouts . . . Stankowski adding new chapter to career

Silvertips
Goaltender Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips has his eyes on the prize during a 3-0 victory over the Tri-City Americans on Wednesday night. Wolf has gone the distance in each of Everett’s three games and has yet to surrender even one goal. (Photo: Chris Mast/mastimages.com)

G Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips put up his third straight shutout on Wednesday night, stopping 30 shots in a 3-0 victory over the visiting Tri-City EverettAmericans. . . . The Silvertips are 3-0-0 this season, with Wolf yet to allow even one goal. . . . If you’re wondering, Chris Worthy of the Flin Flon Bombers posted four straight shutouts in 1967-68, and that’s the WHL record. . . . Wolf now has 23 career shutouts, three off the WHL record that is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 179 games, 2005-09) and Carter Hart (Everett, 190 games, 2013-18). Wolf now has appeared in 130 games. . . . Wolf, a seventh-round pick by the Calgary Flames in the NHL’s 2019 draft, has stopped all 70 shots he has faced this season, having earlier blanked the Spokane Chiefs, 2-0, and the Americans, 7-0. . . . Wolf lowered his career GAA to 1.82, second to the 1.73 of Kelly Guard (Kelowna, 115 games, 2002-04). . . . The Silvertips are next scheduled to play Friday against the host Portland Winterhawks. . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings were without D Braden Schneider as they dumped the Moose Jaw Warriors 8-2 in the Regina hub. Schneider was injured in the second period of a 6-4 loss to the Saskatoon Blades when his right knee appeared to get twisted underneath him in a collision. Last night, the Wheat Kings, who were 5-for-7 on the PP, got two goals and an assist from F Jake Chiasson, a goal and two helpers from F Nate Danielson, and three assists from each of F Ridly Greig and D Rylan Thiessen. . . . The New York Rangers selected Schneider with the 19th overall pick of the NHL’s 2020 draft. They have signed him to an NHL contract. . . . 

The Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Swift BladesCurrent Broncos, 6-5 in OT, in the Regina hub. . . . F Tristen Robins got the winner just 29 seconds into OT. That was his second goal of the game and fifth of the season. . . . Saskatoon D Aidan De La Gorgendiere had tied the scored with 42.8 seconds left in the third period. . . . F Josh Filmon’s first WHL goal gave the Broncos (1-5-1) a 5-3 lead at 12:01 of the third period. . . . F Blake Stevenson scored for Saskatoon at 16:31. . . . G Nolan Maier picked up his 84th career victory and now is one away from the franchise’s career record (Tim Cheveldae, 1985-88). Cheveldae spent six seasons (2013-19) as the Blades’ goaltending coach. . . . The Blades now are 6-0-1. Les Lazaruk, the long-time radio voice of the Blades, reports that the franchise’s best seven-game start (6-0-1, with the 1 being a tie) came in 1985-86. The 1975-76 Blades, Lazaruk tweeted, won their first six games before dropping a 7-3 decision to the Kamloops Chiefs.


Sheep 2
It’s a sunny Wednesday afternoon and a couple of old guys are strolling along Shuswap Road east of Kamloops. One of their pals was just over the edge of the road. The other three regulars weren’t anywhere in sight.

Tim Peel, the former NHL referee, really didn’t give the league any choice when he spoke out loud without realizing his mic was live.

After saying what he said, the NHL, I suppose, had no choice but to bring a nhl2premature end to his career.

But I would suggest that the NHL really over-reacted.

Peel, who worked more than 1,400 regular-season and playoff games during his NHL career, was doing a game between the Detroit Red Wings and host Nashville Predators on Tuesday night. Early on, with his mic live, he uttered these words: “It wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a f—— penalty against Nashville early in the . . .“ The mic got cut off at that point, so the rest of the sentence went unheard.

Just before that, Peel had given F Viktor Arvidsson of the Predators a minor penalty for tripping.

So the guy said the quiet part out loud. What’s the big deal? And don’t try to tell me that this is about gambling or the integrity of the game. After all, this is a league that hides player injuries more than any of the other big four sports. This is a league that doesn’t put any pressure on a coach to name his starting goaltender. So let’s forget the gambling/integrity part of it.

Simply put, this was a case of the NHL over-reacting.

Peel, 54, was scheduled to work his last game on April 24, after which he planned to skate off into the sunset.

So why couldn’t the NHL bring him in behind closed doors, slap him on the wrist, tell him to take a few days off, like maybe three weeks, and then have him work that final game?

What would have been the harm in that?

Instead, the NHL chose to scapegoat a veteran referee, and for what?

Because if you think Peel’s misstep is going to result in a change to the way NHL games are officiated, well, that’s just not going to happen.

Referees will continue to watch defencemen cross-check forwards into submission in the defensive zone, and the standard of officiating will change in the playoffs.

Besides . . . if it wasn’t like that what would we have to complain about?


There was an interesting goaltending matchup in the NHL on Wednesday night as the Pittsburgh Penguins dumped the visiting Buffalo Sabres, 5-2. Tristan Jarry, who earned the victory, backstopped the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings to the 2014 Memorial Cup title; Dustin Tokarski, who was in goal for the Sabres, won the 2008 Memorial Cup with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . According to Jay Stewart (@jaystewie), the Chiefs’ vice-president of business operations: “From what I can tell, this is the first time since Feb. 13, 2002, that goaltenders who won Memorial Cups in the WHL played in the same NHL game.” Stewart’s research shows that Trevor Kidd, who won with Spokane in 1998, played for the Florida Panthers against Steve Passmore and the Chicago Blackhawks. Passmore won the 1994 Memorial Cup with the Kamloops Blazers.


There always are a lot of good stories in and around a hockey season. I don’t think there was a better story to the WHL’s 2016-17 season than G Carl Stankowski, then of the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Back then, the Calgary native was a 16-year-old freshman who got into only seven regular-season games. But then G Rylan Toth, 20, was injured. Toth had played in 58 games, going 36-18-1, so there wasn’t any doubt about who was No. 1. But now he couldn’t answer the bell and the torch was passed — GULP! — to Stankowski. All the kid did was go 16-2-2, 2.50, .911 in leading the Thunderbirds to the WHL championship. . . . Since then, he has dealt with some serious health issues that he now hopes he has learned to handle as he plays with the Winnipeg Ice in the Regina hub. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post caught up with Stankowski this week and his column is right here.



How are things in B.C.? Thanks for asking. . . . Here are Wednesday’s numbers, thanks to Janet Brown of CKNW: “716 new cases, 383 Fraser Health, 303 hospital (-11), 85 ICU (+2), 3 deaths, 71 new variant cases for total 1,581, 148 active.” . . . That’s right, 716 newbies. But, hey, they’re only numbers, so party on, Garth!


Jesus


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: Kierra Lentz is the new director of marketing for the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks. From Salmon Arm, she recently graduated with a diploma in broadcasting from SAIT in Calgary. . . . The AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers have named Tyler King as their assistant general manager of business operations. According to a news release, King “will oversee the Oilers’ day-to-day off-ice operations, reporting to the organization’s board of directors as well as head coach and general manager Tyler Deis.” He was the Brooks Bandits’ business manager from 2017-19, during which time they play host to the 2019 national junior A championship. He also spent 14 months with Hockey Canada as logistics manager for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship that was held in the Edmonton bubble.


Morons

The strain of loving a critically ill child . . . Bedard scores twice in WHL debut, but Pats lose . . . BCHL prepping to play games

Ferris2
That’s Elmo from Sesame Street keeping Ferris company in her hospital bed in Vancouver. Ferris’s mother, Lindsey, says her daughter often crosses her legs in this fashion. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

If you’re a parent with a young child, you will have known the helpless feeling that takes over when your youngster is ill. Still, you know that the illness will be gone in a day or two and your child will be back to running and playing and generally creating havoc.

But what if your child was four years of age and had been ill, seriously ill, for most of that time? What does that do to your emotional state and to that of others in your family? What about your family’s financial status when there have been numerous trips to Vancouver, along with a number of lengthy stays?

That is the situation in which Lindsey and Pat Backmeyer find themselves. Ferris, their four-year-old daughter, was diagnosed with Mainzer-Saldino Syndrome shortly after birth and has been on dialysis — peritoneal dialysis (PD) or hemo-dialysis — for most of her life. She now is in B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver after having undergone a kidney transplant a week ago. Unfortunately, the kidney began bleeding into Ferris’s abdomen and had to be removed a few hours later.

Ferris was moved from the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit on Thursday but still has a long road ahead of her.

Lindsey is a respiratory therapist at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops and hasn’t been shy about telling Ferris’s story, even if it means baring her own soul. It’s hard to read Lindsey’s writings without your gut tightening, your heart breaking and your eyes tearing up.

“We have felt an overwhelming cocoon of support by my work family . . since the beginning,” Lindsey wrote earlier this week after Alexa McMillan, a co-worker, issued a plea for financial help to the Kamloops business community. “They protect me, provide for me and my family and have provided endless emotional support.”

As someone who works in the healthcare field, Lindsey has “a pretty solid understanding of critical care medicine and the reality is Ferris has been critically ill for a huge part of her life.

“I’ve spent four years assessing her and caring for her and very few people actually know what it’s taking to keep our ship afloat. My immediate family, closest friends, home nurses and then my work people probably understand best.

“I’ve worked on the other side of what I witnessed Saturday. It was like the hardest night shift ever, where you just did all the things working on your patient for hours except I so rarely see people survive that. I’ve been scared for Ferris’s life before and every time I’ve had a work person by my side . . . through the night. Saturday night was no exception.”

Her training and understanding of all that she and her family — including daughters Tavia, 9, and Ksenia, 7 — have been through has Lindsey knowing full well what’s happening to them from an emotional standpoint, but also financially.

“I have ridiculous trauma to overcome,” Lindsey explained. “My work family would also attest that I’ve worked really hard to keep it all going. If we aren’t here or she’s not admitted, I’ve been at work. Lots of times it’s the very next day. The reality is Ferris’s life has been financially devastating and I really just want to be able to maintain the quality of life we’ve had. For my big girls and for Ferris.

“Even if we get to make our way home . . . I know now this will never be over.”

While the Backmeyers do have a home in Kamloops, they have been in a rental in Vancouver since the last week of December. Pat has been doing a lot of commuting as he attends Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, with plans to become a registered nurse.

The whole family, including Lindsey’s mother, Leslie, thought they were on their way back to Kamloops last weekend, but then the call came saying that a kidney was available and transplant surgery had been scheduled.

“Living in limbo is pretty accurate,” Lindsey wrote, “or like a marathon that you never get to finish but always have to run. Feels like we are on a runaway train. It’s bumpy and scary and makes you nauseous and every once in awhile we get allowed off and create life and memories and then the train comes and we have no choice but to get back on.

“If and when we get to go home I need to give myself a bit of time before coming back. I never have done that before. Ever.”

In her plea to local businesses, McMillan asked that they contact her or donate to a GoFundMe page that has been set up to benefit the Backmeyers. That page is right here.



The WHL’s Regina hub swung into game action with two games on Friday. The Pats dropped a 6-3 decision to the Prince Albert Raiders in the second game, with highly touted Regina F Connor Bedard, 15, scoring his first two goals at 5:01 and 5:49 of the second period. . . . In the earlier game, the Moose Jaw Warriors got past the Brandon Wheat Kings, 4-3, in OT. . . .

Meanwhile, the Portland Winterhawks announced that their final 11 home games of this developmental season will be played at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland. Their first home game, on March 21, is to be played at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash. . . .

As first reported by Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post earlier this week, Shaun and Gavin Semple of the Brandt Group of Companies now own all of the Regina Pats. They had owned 50 per cent and now have purchased the other half from Todd Lumbard and Anthony Marquart. The move was unanimously approved by the WHL’s board of governors on Friday. Shaun Semple has replaced Marquart as the franchise’s governor. Lumbard, a former goaltender with the Pats and Brandon Wheat Kings, had been the team president; he remains with the organization as an advisor.


Menu


The BCHL has received the all-clear for the return of game play from provincial government and health officials. The league plans to set up pods in five league centres — Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Penticton, Port Alberni and Vernon — with three or four teams in each place. The abbreviated season will begin the first week of April and the hope is that each team will play 18 or 20 games before it ends. . . . The Wenatchee, Wash., Wild opted out of this season because the U.S.-Canada border is closed to non-essential travel. That leaves the BCHL with 17 teams that could being play in April, although the league has given teams a couple of days to make that decision. . . .

Meanwhile, the AJHL had 13 of its 15 teams back playing games on Friday for the first time since Nov. 21. The final all-clear came earlier in the day when it announced that its third round of testing featured 389 players and staff, and no positives. . . . The Canmore Eagles and Lloydminster Bobcats are the only two teams not playing, both having opted out. . . . On Friday, five games were played in five different venues with all teams playing in their home arenas.


Deadspin has put together a brief slideshow that provides some first-person information on a handful of high-profile athletes who have contracted COVID-19 and their experiences. It’s right here and well worth a look.

One slide features Demi Washington, a Vanderbilt basketball player. Washington, 19, had a mild case, but wasn’t allowed to return to play until she had a cardiac MRI. That test uncovered acute myocarditis.

“It’s horrifying to think that, without that MRI, I would have gone back out there and played and something could have gone wrong,” she wrote for The Athletic. “I could have passed out on the court. I could have died. I saw what happened to Keyontae Johnson and it terrified me. After he collapsed, he was ultimately diagnosed with acute myocarditis — just like me. I wonder how many other athletes are playing with it right now and have no idea.”


Quarantine


The Duke Blue Devils men’s basketball team had its season come to an end on Thursday with the news that one player tested positive. That knocked the Blue Devils (13-11) out of the ACC tournament and may have taken away any chance they had of qualifying for March Madness. The last time Duke was in the NCAA tournament was 1995. . . . “If they do get an invitation, it will be a basketball equivalent of a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award,’ Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, wrote on Friday. “This year’s Duke squad is not nearly as powerful as the ones that fans have come to expect for most of the Mike Krzyzewski Era in Durham.” . . . On Friday came word that No. 16 Virginia had to pull out of the ACC tournament because of a positive test, thus forfeiting a semi-final game to Georgia Tech. Virginia no doubt will get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Virginia won the title in 2019; there was no tournament a year ago. . . . Also on Friday, No. 11 Kansas withdrew from the Big 12 tournament after a positive test. The Jayhawks were to play No. 13 Texas in a semifinal game, so the Longhorns now are into the final. . . . Florida International and North Carolina A&T are among smaller schools that have had to withdraw from tournaments. . . . The 2021 tournament is scheduled to begin on Friday in Indianapolis. . . . The Sports Curmudgeon has more on the tournament right here.


You will recall that Clarkson shut down its men’s hockey program for this season earlier in the week and there was speculation that the move was virus-related. College Hockey News reported via Twitter on Thursday that it “was a school decision based not on positive COVID tests — but on a party attended by most of the team that broke the school’s COVID safety protocols.”

——

College Hockey News also reported that the Bentley Falcons (5-11-0) had withdrawn from the Atlantic hockey tournament. One week earlier, Holy Cross pulled out before the first round began. . . . Bentley had beaten Air Force to move into a second-round best-of-three series against American International, which now gets a bye into the semifinals. . . . From CHN: “For its part, AIC hasn’t played since January, due to its own COVID-19 issues and that of other league teams. By the team of the semifinals, the Yellowjackets will have gone almost seven weeks without a game. Bentley missed most of January with COVID issues, though played most of February.”


Once again, thanks for asking how things are going in B.C., as government and health officials work on loosening some restrictions . . .

Robyn Crawford, CKNW/Global BC — 648 new cases; no new deaths; 255 in hosp, 67 in ICU; 5,070 active; 9,155 in isolation; 79 new variant cases (total at 717).

CBC News — Alberta is reporting 425 new cases of COVID-19 and 2 additional deaths. And 365 more people have recovered from coronavirus.

CBC News — Number of new COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan climbs again with 176. That pushes the province’s 7-day average up to 134; 3 additional deaths have also been recorded.

CBC News — Manitoba announces 104 new cases of COVID-19, the 1st time the number has been above 100 since February 18. The province’s 7-day average now rises to 74. Health authorities also say there has been 1 additional death.


——

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: Former WHL F Ryan Hollweg is the new head coach of the U18 AAA Vancouver North West Hawks. Hollweg, 37, played 233 games with the Medicine Hat Tigers over five seasons (1999-2004) before going on to a pro career that included 228 NHL games. He finished up playing (2012-18) with HC Plzen in the Czech Extraliga. Hollweg was the North West Hawks’ associate coach for two seasons (2018-20) under Chris Shaw.


Wreath

COVID-19 takes beloved Regina sportscaster . . . Darby Mills loses her father, ex-General, to virus . . . Remember MacTavish vs. Harvey?

I spent 17 years in the Regina Leader-Post’s sports department and had the good fortune of spending time in Warren Woods’ company on more than one occasion. He really was one of those people who had the ability to lift a room. His smile. His laugh. His demeanour. He didn’t work at it; he was just Woodsy.

When you hear the name ‘Woodsy,’ you don’t picture some miserable SOB who prefers the clouds to the sunshine. You think of someone with a lifelong smile and an infectious laugh — well, Woodsy had the smile but his laugh was more of a cackle.

When I was told in early December that Woodsy was in a Regina hospital after having contracted COVID-19, I just knew that he would laugh/cackle and the virus would run for the hills. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

Woodsy, 66, died in a Regina hospital on Wednesday afternoon.

The Regina sporting community — indeed, all of Saskatchewan — will be a long time getting over this loss.

Now . . . if you think this pandemic is a hoax, I’ve got news for you. It’s real and we’re in it for a while yet. So wear a mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Again and again and again. Just do your part.

Woodsy’s memory and those of so many others deserve nothing less.

If you didn’t know Woodsy, Rob Vanstone will introduce you to him via the tweet below.


Back in the day, Stan Mills played junior hockey with the Oshawa Generals, alongside the likes of Harry Sinden, Alex Delvecchio and Lou Jankowski. But you perhaps know more about Stan’s daughter, Darby, a Canadian rocker who came to fame with the Headpins. . . . These days, Darby is mourning the loss of her father. Stan, 90, who had dementia, died on Jan. 14 in a long-term care home in Vernon, B.C. He was a COVID-19 victim, gone five days after being diagnosed. . . . “He was a great man and he worked his whole life to supply his four children with everything he and mom possibly could,” Darby told Megan Turcato of Global News. “(He was) just a wonderful guy that we are all going to miss greatly, for sure.” . . . Having lost her father, Darby wants people to know that this pandemic is real. “Before you lose someone to this . . . wash your hands, throw on a mask,” she said. . . . Turcato’s story is right here, and there is a great photo at the bottom of it that shows Stan moments after scoring a goal against Guelph during the 1950-51 OHA season.


One of the great moments in NHL history occurred 18 years ago — on Jan. 20, 2003. That was the night when Craig MacTavish, then the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers, reached up and . . . well, you should watch the video. . . . As a point of interest, the coach to MacTavish’s left, the gentleman wearing the headset, is Billy Moores, one of hockey’s truly good guys. Moores spent 17 seasons on staff with the U of Alberta Golden Bears, but left for one season (1985-86) to work as general manager and head coach of the WHL’s Regina Pats.


Beauty


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

——

CBC News — The Dutch government has proposed the first countrywide curfew since the Second World War and a ban on flights from South Africa and the U.K.

Skylar Peters, CJOB Winnipeg — Manitoba is reporting 154 new cases of COVID-19, and 6 new deaths Wednesday. . . . Totals — Cases: 27,893 . . . Active: 3,137 . . . Deaths: 788 . . . Hospitalized (infectious/total): 129/273 . . . ICU: 25/36 . . . Winnipeg test positivity rate: 6.7% . . . Provincial test positivity rate: 9.5%.

CBC News — Saskatchewan is reporting 234 new cases of COVID-19 and  4 additional deaths. . . . Superspreader event at Saskatoon karaoke bar now linked to over 80 COVID-19 cases. Crackers Restaurant was closed after an outbreak linked to the establishment was declared Jan. 10.

CBC News — Alberta reported 21 more COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday and 669 new cases of the illness. Laboratories conducted about 14,900 tests over the past 24 hours putting the positivity rate at about 4.5 per cent.

Richard Zussman, Global BC — There are 500 new cases of COVID-19 in BC, for a total of 62,412 cases in British Columbia. There have been 14 new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,104 deaths. There are 4,345 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. There are 320 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 66 of whom are in intensive care.

Daily Hive Vancouver — British Columbians petition government to close provincial border. . . . The petition asks Premier John Horgan to ban recreational travel into the province for one month to curb COVID-19 transmission at a time when officials believe new variants could be circulating in the community. . . . It has more than 5,000 signatures so far, and many of the supporters say they’re tired of seeing people from places like Ontario come to BC for vacation at a time when locals are adhering to public health restrictions.

CBC News — Ontario reports another 2,655 cases of COVID-19 and 89 deaths. 54,307 tests completed, 4.9% positivity rate.

CBC News — Quebec is reporting 1,502 new COVID-19 cases and 66 more deaths.

CBC News — The British diplomat whose kidnapping in 1970 by radical Quebec separatists triggered the October Crisis has died. James Richard Cross was 99. His death, from COVID-19 on Jan. 6, was confirmed Wednesday by his son-in-law, John Stringer. Cross spent 59 days in captivity after armed members of the Front de libération du Québec barged into his Montreal home on Oct. 5, 1970.

CBC news — New Brunswick Public Health reports 21 new COVID-19 cases, with new cases in five of the province’s seven zones, and declares an outbreak at a special care home in Edmundston.

CNN, Wednesday, 2:56 p.m. PT — 405,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

CNN, Wednesday, 7:27 p.m. PT — 406,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

CNN, Wednesday, 8:02 p.m. PT — The United States reported at least 4,229 coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, the second highest number of new deaths in a single day since the pandemic began.

——

The NHL has postponed the Carolina Hurricanes’ games through Saturday as the team deals with COVID-19 and protocols. The Hurricanes, who beat host Nashville, 4-2, on Monday, were to have played the Predators again on Tuesday but that game was postponed. Now two games against the visiting Florida Panthers that had been scheduled for Thursday and Saturday have been scratched and Carolina’s training facility has been closed. The Hurricanes next are scheduled play on Tuesday and Thursday nights when they are to entertain the Tampa Bay Lightning. . . .

Later Wednesday, the NHL added four players from the Washington Capitals, including F Alex Ovechkin, to the COVID-19 list and fined the team $100,000 for violating protocols. F Evgeny Kuznetsov, D Dmitry Orlov and G Ilya Samsonov also went on the list. The Capitals were fined for “social interactions among team members who were in close contact and who were not wearing face coverings.” . . . The players reportedly gathered in a hotel room during a recent road trip and that isn’t allowed under the NHL’s protocols. According to those protocols, each player is “required to stay in a single occupancy room, and no individual shall permit guests or other personnel in their room.” . . . Washington is next scheduled to play on Friday against the visiting Buffalo Sabres. As of Wednesday night it wasn’t clear if the four players would be able to play. . . . The Capitals share their playing facility with the NBA’s Washington Wizards, who were back at practice Wednesday after going through an outbreak that resulted in five postponements. . . .

The number of NBA postponements reached 16 on Wednesday when the league postponed that night’s game between the Memphis Grizzlies and host Portland Trail Blazers. . . . The Grizzlies were involved in contact tracing and didn’t have eight healthy players for the game. . . . Fifteen of the postponements have come since Jan. 10. . . . Whoops! Make that 17 total postponements. Late Wednesday night word came that Friday’s game between the Washington Wizards and Milwaukee Bucks has been scrubbed. The Wizards, who had six straight games postponed, have six players out because of protocols.


——

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.

——

Want an easy win to feel great? Register to be an organ donor today. It will only #TakeTwoMinutes and you could save a life. Great deed and fuzzy feels without any hassle. #Register2Give taketwominutes.ca


Tears

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after watching Brady cash in as he proves again that he’s the GOAT . . .

Scattershooting2

It was a tough weekend for Saskatchewan Roughriders’ supporters of a certain age as they learned of the deaths of Steve Molnar and Bruce Bennett. . . . Molnar, who was a terrific fullback in the Ron Lancaster/George Reed era, was 73 when he died on Saturday. Molnar backed up Reed, then took over as the team’s workhorse following Reed’s retirement and had a terrific 1976 season. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post has more on Molnar right here. . . . Vanstone also remembers Bennett with a piece that is right here. Bennett, 77, died on Tuesday of complications from pneumonia and COVID-19. Bennett was Saskatchewan’s starting safety in 1966 as the Roughriders won the Grey Cup. Bennett went from there to a truly hall-of-fame career.


Mantle

Actor Rob Gough purchased a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card for US$5.2 million at auction in November. Had you strolled into your neighbourhood’s cornerstone in 1952, you could have purchased a pack of Topps baseball cards for a nickel. Gough’s card was graded Mint 9, meaning it was never bounced off a wall, stuck in the spokes of a bicycle, or atop a stack that had an elastic wrapped around it. . . . There are reportedly three Mint 10 Mantles in existence. . . . Prior to this purchase, a 2009 autographed Mike Trout card from Bowman that sold in August for $3.93 million had held the highest price of any sports card. Prior to that, the record ($3.7 million) belonged to a T206 Honus Wagner card that changed hands in 2016. . . . Records in other sports: A 1979 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky rookie card, $1.29 million, sold in December; a 2003-04 Upper Deck LeBron James rookie card, $1.8 million, sold in July.


Cat


On Thursday, Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, weighed in on the NBA trade in which James Harden moved from the Houston Rockets to the Brooklyn Nets:

Harden and (Kyrie) Irving both want/need the ball to be as effective as they can be. (Kevin) Durant does not need the ball as much as the other two, but he is more efficient offensively than the other two in the sense that he scores a lot of points with the ball in his hands for a relatively short time. There is an unalterable fact about NBA basketball that applies here.  There is only one ball in use on the court at any given time. We will soon find out if James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant learned their lessons about ‘sharing with others’ in kindergarten.”

——

Here is the curmudgeonly one on Urban Meyer’s move to the Jacksonville Jaguars as head coach: “In his seven years at Ohio State, Meyer’s teams lost a total of nine games. If his first year with the Jags results in the Jags losing fewer than nine games, he might be the Coach of the Year in the NFL.”



Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, who tracks such things, provides us with a couple of headlines . . .

At Fark.com: “NHL announced that each division will have sponsor names this year. NFL expected to follow suit, starting with the Waste Management NFC East.”

At TheOnion.com: “Nervous Browns fan still worried team going to blow 48-37 lead over Steelers from days ago.”


A couple of notes from Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle:

As part of its pandemic vigilance, the NBA may eliminate shoot-arounds — a notion certain to be applauded by the players. Show up in the morning with a game that night? Total waste of time for everybody. . . .

“More good news: Players are banned from touching hands with teammates at the free-throw line. Not sure who started this, several years ago, but it’s very dumb. (Ball clanks off the front rim.) ‘Hey, great miss, man.’ And if it goes in, why would you want your routine interrupted?”


So . . . what happened to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who started 11-9 and finished 1-5. Head coach Mike Tomlin explained to reporters: “We were a group that died on the vine.”



Among other things, the late Tommy Lasorda was known for run-ins with mascots. If you haven’t seen Lasorda get Youppi, the Montreal Expos’ mascot, tossed from a game, click right here. . . . But Lasorda also got into it with the Phillie Phanatic and the San Diego Chicken. . . . As Michael Clair of MLB.com pointed out: “Probably for the best that Lasorda never appeared on Sesame Street.”


Doctors


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .


CBC News — Manitoba is reporting 189 new cases of COVID-19 and 8 additional deaths. Sunday’s total includes 95 new cases in the Northern health region and 65 new cases in the Winnipeg health region. The province’s 5-day test positivity rate is 10.4%.

CBC News — Saskatchewan is reporting 287 new cases of COVID-19 and 3 new deaths. There are 4,121 known active cases in the province.

CBC News — Alberta is reporting 750 new cases of COVID-19. The province is also reporting 19 new deaths, pushing Canada’s total COVID-19 death toll past 18,000.

Keith Baldrey, Global BC — Latest BCCDC data shows 5 kids (under 20 yrs) were in the ICU with COVID-19 over the holidays and that 3 more people in their thirties in BC died from the virus. This is not just an old person’s ailment folks.

CBC News — Ontario sees 3,422 new cases and 69 additional deaths linked to COVID-19. Toronto recorded more than 1,000 new infections.

CBC News — Quebec is reporting 1,744 new cases of COVID-19. Sunday’s case count was impacted by a delay in the transmission of laboratory data. The province is also reporting 50 new deaths, 8 of which occurred in the last 24 hours. . . . 1,460 people are in hospital, including 215 in intensive care.

CBC News — There are 36 new COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick on Sunday, a single-day record. 24 of those cases are in Zone 4, the Edmundston region. Public health recommended that Zone 4 move to the red level alert effective at midnight Sunday.

CBC News — Nova Scotia is reporting 4 new cases of COVID-19, all related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. There are 29 known active cases in the province. No one is currently in hospital.

CBC News — 1 new case of COVID-19 has been identified in Newfoundland and Labrador. The new case is in the Eastern Health region and is travel-related. There are 6 known active cases in the province, including 1 hospitalized patient.

Public Health Agency of Canada, Sunday, 4 p.m. PT — Total cases: 708,619 . . . Active cases: 75,281 . . . Recovered: 615,324 . . . Deaths: 18,014.

CNN, Sunday, 5 p.m. PT — 23.9 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.

CNN, Sunday, 4 p.m. PT — 397,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

——

The NBA postponed a scheduled Sunday night game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the host Oklahoma City Thunder when COVID-19 protocols prevented the 76ers from dressing the league-minimum eight players. . . . Philadelphia had only nine players available on Saturday when it lost, 106-104, to the Grizzlies in Memphis. . . . This was the 14th postponement of this NBA season, with the last 13 of those occurring within the past week. . . .

Things don’t seem to be going too well as tennis players and their entourages begin to arrive in Melbourne for the Australian Open that is scheduled to open on Feb. 8. In fact, there already are calls to cancel the event amid reports that at least 72 players are in quarantine. . . . There’s more right here. . . .

An AHL exhibition game between the San Diego Gulls and Ontario Reign scheduled for Saturday in Irvine, Calif., was cancelled due to COVID-19 protocols. The Gulls are playing out of Irvine for the next while. . . . The game would have featured the pro debuts of F Trevor Zegras and D Jamie Drysdale, both of whom played for the gold medal at the World Junior Championship. Zegras, the tournament MVP, and Team USA beat Drysdale and Team Canada, 2-0, in the final. . . .

Kim Mulkey, the head coach of the Baylor U women’s basketball team, contracted COVID-19 on Christmas Day. She was back on the sideline for the first time on Saturday. . . . Mechelle Voepel of ESPN.com wrote that Mulkey said she is feeling OK physically, but “when asked if she is concerned about the season being completed amid a pandemic, she didn’t mince words:

“The answer is this: The season will continue on. It’s called the almighty dollar. The NCAA has to have the almighty dollar from the men’s tournament. The almighty dollar is more important than the health and welfare of me, the players or anybody else.

“One conference does this, one conference does that. The CDC says this. Everybody is confused. I’m confused. I’m uncomfortable coaching. I understand, COVID is real. I’ve had it — come talk to me sometime. But I don’t know . . . all the calls and procedures, that’s gonna go on and make it unusual, uncomfortable for every program. We’re no different at Baylor.”


——

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.

——

Did you know there are more than 750 people in BC waiting for transplants? You can give someone hope by registering your decision today at taketwominutes.ca. One organ donor can save up to eight lives. #Register2Give #TakeTwoMinutes


JUST NOTES: If you weren’t aware, Tom Brady picked up a cool $500,000 in bonus money with Sunday’s victory by his Tampa Buccaneers over the host New Orleans Saints. So far this season, Brady has picked up $1.25 million in playoff bonus money. . . . Almost two weeks after domestic terrorists attacked the U.S. Capitol, their leader not only is still in the White House, but there are reports that he is selling pardons and commutations. Is this a great time to be alive, or what? . . . If you were wondering, there were about 16,000 fans in the stands for the Sunday NFL playoff game between the Cleveland Browns and the Chiefs in Kansas City. The Saints had about 3,500 fans at their game, with 500 of those being vaccinated healthcare workers who were admitted free of charge. . . . On Saturday, there were 6,700 fans in the stadium in Buffalo, all of whom had to test negative before being admitted. Each fan paid US$63 for the test, too. In Green Bay, the Packers played in front of about 6,000 fans.


Tip

Yes, Ray Ferraro had quite a season — 108 goals — with 1983-84 Wheat Kings . . . Name only WHL team he didn’t score against . . .


These days, you may know Ray Ferraro as the analyst on some of TSN’s telecasts from the World Junior Championship in Edmonton. You may even

RayFerraro
RAY FERRARO (Photo: TSN)

remember him from an NHL career during which he played 1,258 regular-season games and totalled 898 points, including 408 goals, with six teams. . . . But there was a time when he had the greatest goal-scoring season in WHL history. That was in 1983-84 when he was with the Brandon Wheat Kings, who had acquired him from the Portland Winterhawks with whom he had won the 1983 Memorial Cup. . . . The really interesting thing about that deal is that it was a one-for-five exchange and Ferraro wasn’t the one. The Wheat Kings acquired Ferraro, D Brad Duggan and forwards Derek Laxdal, Dave Thomlinson and Tony Horacek for C Blaine Chrest, at the time a 17-year-old prospect of note. . . . It’s not like Ferraro hadn’t scored in Portland. In 1982-83, playing mostly in a third-line role, he had 41 goals and 49 assists. A broken wrist meant that he only played 50 games. . . .

In Brandon, playing mostly on a line with wingers Stacy Pratt and, in the latter half of the season, Dave Curry, who was acquired from the Seattle Breakers, Ferraro struck for 108 goals in 72 regular-season games. What is mostly forgotten is that Ferraro finished with 192 points, then added 13 goals and 15 assists in 11 playoff games. . . . Add it all up and he wound up with 220 points, including 121 goals, in 83 games. . . . The figure that stands out, of course, is 108, because, for one thing, that’s a lot of goals. And for another thing, it will never be broken. I know, never say never, but in this instance that is a record that won’t be broken, if only because of the way the game is played today. . . .

This was a long introduction leading to a couple of stories that appeared in the Regina Leader-Post on Tuesday. Rob Vanstone of The Leader-Post spoke with Ferraro about his memorable season. . . . Ferraro, for example, remembers having scored 54 goals in 36 games by the time the 1984 World Junior Championship began in Sweden. He also remembers being disappointed, really disappointed, at not being invited to play for Team Canada. Of course, had Ferraro played for Team Canada he wouldn’t have scored 108 goals for the Wheat Kings. . . . Vanstone covers all that and more in this piece right here. . . . If you check out the photos that accompany that story, you will notice that it was a Cooperall season. . . .

Vanstone also took the time to chat with two of the goaltenders who were terrorized by Ferraro that season. . . . Doug Lunney, who was then with the Winnipeg Warriors, told Vanstone that Ferraro “was the first guy I ever saw who had the confidence and patience to slam the brakes on in mid-deke on a breakaway, then slide the puck in an open net after the goalie over-committed.” . . . Vanstone also spoke with Jamie Reeve, who faced Ferraro while with the Regina Pats. . . . That piece is right here. . . .

Ferraro

Ferraro broke the WHL’s single-season record of 96 goals that had been set by Brandon C Bill Derlago in 1976-77. At the time, Ferraro, who was a terrific interview, admitted the record pursuit was causing him sleepless nights.

I was at The Leader-Post at the time and wrote a lengthy feature on Ferraro that appeared in the paper of March 23, 1984.

“I tried to tell myself not to think about it because when you think about it, it’s just that much harder to get,” he told me. “It was just impossible not to think about. I’d go to bed at night — I really had a lot of trouble sleeping the last couple of weeks — and all I could think about was getting this record.

“I wanted to get it over with so I could get back to playing the type of hockey I should be playing. I noticed I was turning away from guys, trying for the poke-check and the breakaway.”

He also admitted that he was having problems comprehending his accomplishment.

“I can’t believe I’ve got this many goals,” he said. “I was coming here hoping to get 70 goals, not 38 past that. Man, that’s a lot of goals.”

Here’s a look at how many goals Ferraro scored against each of the WHL’s 13 other teams that season: Prince Albert, 10 games, 24 goals; Winnipeg, 12-21; Regina, 10-15; Saskatoon, 10-14; Lethbridge 6-7; Calgary, 6-7; Medicine Hat, 6-6; Victoria, 2-5; Kelowna, 2-3; Portland, 2-3; New Westminster, 2-2; Kamloops, 2-1; and Seattle, 2-0.



If you’re a WHL fan and have a Twitter account, you should be following John Winton (@NewWestBruins); Kevin Shaw (@theblueliner); and Victoria Cougars Hockey Project (@victoriacougars). . . . Winton posts all kinds of interesting things involving the New Westminster Bruins. . . . Shaw is always posting about Regina Pats’ history, including highlights of each date in franchise history. . . . The Victoria Cougars Hockey Project provides ample items involving that franchise’s history in the B.C. capital.



Protip


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Public Health Agency of Canada: Wednesday, 4 p.m. PT: Tested: 13,775,115 . . . Cases: 572,982 . . . Active: 72,927 . . . Recovered: 484,583 . . . Deaths: 15,472.

CBC News: Global deaths from COVID-19 top 1.8M mark: Johns Hopkins University.

CBC News: Air travellers entering Canada must have a negative COVID-19 test before arrival, Ottawa says.

CNN, Wednesday, 3 p.m. PT: 341,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

CNN, Wednesday, 8:10 p.m. PT: 342,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

Ryan Struyk, CNN: The US coronavirus death toll will reach 396,000 by Inauguration Day, according to a new CDC ensemble model estimate.

Kate Feldman, New York Daily News: The United States hit another grim COVID-19 landmark Tuesday with its highest daily death toll since the pandemic started. . . . At least 3,725 Americans died Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracker, more than 1,000 fatalities higher than the previous peak on Dec. 16. . . . More than 247,000 new cases were also reported Tuesday.

The New York Times: Roughly 60 percent of Ohio nursing home workers offered a coronavirus vaccine have refused to be inoculated, Gov. Mike DeWine announced at a news conference on Wednesday, citing anecdotal evidence.

——

The governors of Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont have announced “an extension of the suspension of interstate youth hockey competitions for public and private schools and youth hockey leagues through at least Jan. 31.” . . . At the same time, “the prohibition will no impact interstate collegiate, professional or U.S. national team hockey activities, which will remain subject to existing health and safety protocols ard/or restrictions.” . . .

Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN’s top college football analyst, will work Friday’s Sugar Bowl — No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Ohio State — from home after testing positive. Interestingly, Herbstreit’s two sons, Jake and Tye, are redshirt freshmen with Clemson. . . .

Meanwhile, Greg McElroy of ESPN was to have worked on the telecast of the Cotton Bowl and the radio broadcast of the Rose Bowl. But he, too, has tested positive and will miss both games.

In the world of NCAA hockey, North Dakota was to have travelled to Omaha this weekend, but the doubleheader was postponed because of positives tests in the Omaha program. . . .

The Texas Bowl, that was to have featured TCU (6-4) and Arkansas (3-7), has been cancelled. It was scheduled to be held on Thursday in Houston’s NRG Stadium. . . . The decision was made “due to an increased number of positive tests and other circumstances within the TCU football program,” according to organizers. . . .

The BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament that is held annually in Indian Wells, Calif., from March 8-21 has been postponed. The ATP-WTA event was cancelled last spring. Organizers are hopeful that it will be played at some point later in 2021. . . .

Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on the TV sitcom Gilligan’s Island, has died of COVID-19. She was 82 when she died in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning.


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

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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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