Hey, CFL, what are you thinking? . . . Milic, Myatovic push Thunderbirds to Game 5 victory . . . Blazers, Giants ready for Game 6

I am hardly privy to what has been going on behind closed doors in the negotiations between the CFL and the CFLPA but, sheesh, gentlemen, read the room. Do you really think your fan base is so solid that you can play these kinds of off-season games? . . . Oh, and let’s not forget that you had all winter to get this done, didn’t you?


There remain six teams alive in the WHL playoffs with the Seattle Thunderbirds WHLplayoffs2022having stayed alive with a 3-1 victory over the host Portland Winterhawks on Saturday night. . . . Portland leads the Western Conference semifinal, 3-2, with Game 6 scheduled for Kent, Wash. on Monday night. . . . The visiting team has won four of the five games in this series, including the last three. In fact, Portland is 2-0 in Kent, having won Games 1 and 4 there. . . .

Meanwhile, in the other Western Conference semifinal, the Vancouver Giants will be hoping to fight off elimination for a second time today as they play host to the Kamloops Blazers in Langley, B.C. . . . The No. 2 Blazers hold a 3-2 lead in the series, but the No. 8 Giants are coming off a 5-2 victory in Kamloops on Friday night. . . . Vancouver may be without D Alex Cotton, a Langley native who was an early-season acquisition from the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Cotton, besides eating up a whole lot of minutes, runs the first PP unit. He took a hit from Kamloops F Drew Englot late in the first period on Friday. Cotton, a fifth-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL’s 2020 draft, played a bit early in the second period and then retired for the night. . . . Cotton, who turned 21 on Thursday, has six goals and 10 assists in these playoffs. . . . The Giants already are without D Mazden Leslie, who was injured in Game 1. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported on Saturday that “Brenden Pentecost, 19, who split the season between the Giants and the B.C. Hockey League’s Coquitlam Express, is the most likely candidate to be added to the lineup if Cotton has to sit out.” . . . If the Giants are able to live to play again, Game 7 would be in Kamloops on Tuesday night.

——

SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

Western Conference

In Portland, F Nico Myatovic broke a 1-1 tie at 2:02 of the third period and the SeattleSeattle Thunderbirds went on to a 3-1 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Portland leads the conference semifinal, 3-2, with Game 6 in Kent, Wash., on Monday night. . . . Myatovic, 17, is from Prince George. He was a sixth-round pick by Seattle in the WHL’s 2019 draft. He had four goals and 24 assists in 67 regular-season games, and now has one goal and two assists in 10 playoff games. . . . F Henrik Rybinski (3) put the visitors out front at 12:46 of the first period. . . . F Robbie Fromm-Delorme (2) got Portland even at 19:15 of the second period. . . . Myatovic (1) broke the tie at 2:02 of the third period, with F Reid Schaefer (3) getting the empty-netter at 19:52. . . . Seattle was 0-for-4 on the PP; Portland was 0-for-3. . . . G Thomas Milic, selected the game’s first start, blocked 32 shots for Seattle. . . . Portland got 34 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Portland F Tyson Kozak, who had a goal and an assist in Friday’s 5-1 victory, was among the scratches. He’s out with an undisclosed injury believed to have been incurred in the third period on Friday.


Phone


So . . . there’s someone out there somewhere who earlier this week opened a Twitter account and called it NFL Schedule Leaks. In advance of the actual schedule being released on Thursday, this person made up a bunch of games and “leaked” them on the Twitter account. Inside of three days, the account had more than 10,000 followers. . . . “Guess who just got 10k followers by literally making up a bunch of NFL games because I was bored and faking out almost the entire football twitter landscape? This guy right here,” he tweeted on Thursday, then adding: “No wonder half this country thinks the election was rigged. Good (bleeping) lord.” . . . Just more proof that this is a great time to be alive.


The Penticton Vees won Games 1 and 2 of the BCHL final, beating the Nanaimo Clippers twice at home — 4-1 on Friday and 3-1 on Saturday. The announced attendances: 4,459 on Friday, 3,906 on Saturday. . . . The series is to resume Tuesday and Wednesday in Nanaimo.


Children


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

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Crows

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if spring finally has arrived (sorry, Brandon and area) . . .

scattershooting

F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats will be on the roster when Hockey Canada announces the roster of the team that will play in the IIHF U-18 world HockeyCanadachampionship in Germany later this month. . . . That means he will be reunited with David Struch, who was fired as the Pats’ head coach on Nov. 18 and will be an assistant coach with Team Canada. . . . Bedard and his Pats closed out their WHL regular season on Sunday with a 7-4 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. Bedard put up five points — two goals and three assists — to finish the season with 100 points, including 51 goals, in 62 games. . . . Bedard, who will turn 17 on July 17, is the third 16-year-old in WHL history to score 50 times in one season. F Glen Goodall of the Seattle Thunderbirds scored 63 times in 1986-87, which was his third season in the WHL, while F Dan Lucas of the Victoria Cougars struck 57 times in 1974-75. . . . The U-18 tournament is to run from April 23 through May 1 in Landshut and Kaufbeuren, Germany. . . . I believe that Bedard also is eligible to play in the 2022 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup early in August in Red Deer and the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, which is scheduled for Aug. 9-20 in Edmonton. . . . As for his future in the WHL, well, there already are rumblings in the hockey world that he could end up with the Blazers if Kamloops wins the right to play host to the 2023 Memorial Cup. Now that would be a trade for the ages!


SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

In Regina, F Connor Bedard ended his season with a flourish, putting up five points as the Pats beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 7-4. . . . Included in Bedard’s effort were his 50th goal and 100th point of the season. He finished with 51 goals. . . . F Tanner Howe (27) snapped a 4-4 tie, on a PP, at 7:15 of the third period. Bedard followed with No. 50, on another PP, at 13:50, then got No. 51 into an empty net at 19:36. . . . Howe’s season shouldn’t be overlooked in all the Bedard hype. Howe, who turned 16 on Nov. 28, finished with 69 points, including 42 assists, in 64 games. . . . F Cole Dubinsky (20) added two goals and an assist for the winners. . . . D Denton Mateychuk (13) score twice for Moose Jaw. . . . The Warriors will meet the Saskatoon Blades in the first round of the playoffs; the Pats didn’t qualify. . . . Regina ended up tied for ninth with the Swift Current Broncos and Calgary Hitmen, each with 59 points, two shy of a playoff spot. . . .

In Calgary, F Alex Thacker’s OT goal gave the Lethbridge Hurricanes a 3-2 victory over the Hitmen. . . . Thacker’s 14th goal came just 19 seconds into extra time. . . . The Hurricanes led this one 2-0 before the first period was 12 minutes old. . . . Calgary F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (28) tied it, on a PP, at 18:27 of the second period. . . . The Hurricanes finished seventh in the Eastern Conference and will meet the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings in the opening round. . . . The Hitmen didn’t qualify.


Osprey
The osprey have arrived back on the South Thompson River east of Kamloops. This happy couple have started rebuilding their nest, while also looking for food. The latter won’t be an issue with lots of fish in the river.

SOME NUMBERS: F Arshdeep Bains of the Red Deer Rebels won the Bob Clarke Trophy as the WHL scoring king with 112 points. He was one of four players with at least 100 points, the others being linemate Ben King (105), F Logan Stankoven (104) of the Kamloops Blazers and F Connor Bedard (100) of the Regina Pats. . . . King led in goals (52), one more than Bedard. . . . Bains was tops in assists (69), five more than D Olen Zellweger of the Everett Silvertips. . . . King finished with 15 game-winning goals, one off the WHL record that was set by F Brian Propp of the Brandon Wheat Kings in 1978-79. . . . G Daniel Hauser of the Winnipeg Ice had the best GAA, at 2.00, while G Taylor Gauthier, who was acquired by the Portland Winterhawks from the Prince George Cougars during the season, was tops in save percentage (.928). . . . Hauser and Dylan Garand of Kamloops led in victories, each with 34. . . . Hauser had a WHL-high eight shutouts. . . .

According to numbers compiled by the WHL, the average attendance for 748 games was 3,203. That’s down from 4,154 for 694 games in 2019-20 and from 4,361 for 748 games in 2018-19. Of course, this season’s numbers are skewed because of pandemic-related restrictions in the early going.


THINKING OUT LOUD: Nothing sums up the end of the race for playoff spots in the WHL’s Western Conference like the Prince George Cougars starting Saturday in seventh place, dropping a 3-1 decision to the Rockets in Kelowna that night, and, despite the loss, moving up to sixth place in the final standings. . . . The Winnipeg Ice won the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s top regular-season team. If the Ice goes on a deep playoff run, will it play all of its home game in what is the smallest arena in the 60-team CHL? The most frequently announced attendance in the Wayne Fleming Arena is 1,621. . . . The playoffs open on Thursday with the Lethbridge Hurricanes visiting the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Because of a Paul McCartney concert in Spokane on April 28, the Chiefs and Kamloops Blazers will open with three games in Kamloops, and then have a break between Game 3 (April 25) and Game 4 (April 29). This is the first stop on the tour, so they will start setting up and staging on April 24. Perhaps the Chiefs can get Sir Paul to hang around and do the anthems before Game 4. Hey, why not? After April 28, he’s off until May 2 in Seattle.


Insomnia


If you’re a baseball fan, you no doubt were disappointed on Wednesday when Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts yanked left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who was throwing a perfect game through seven innings. Kershaw had thrown 80 pitches and the Dodgers held a 7-0 lead over the host Minnesota Twins at the time.

There was a whole lot of indignation on social media, with Roberts getting mostly roasted.

But the best take I saw came from Joe Posnanski, who wrote in part:

“There was no chance in the world that Clayton Kershaw was pitching nine innings on Wednesday in Minnesota. We all knew it. We might not have liked it, might have wished for something else, but I mean, when that game started, if someone had asked you, “What are the chances that Clayton Kershaw throws a nine-inning complete game today?” you would have said: Zero percent.

“Not 1%. Not 0.5%. No: 0.000000000000000%.”

Posnanski went on to point out that Kershaw “finished last season with his elbow barely intact . . . he only began throwing again in January . . . in a shortened spring training, he threw a grand total of 101 pitches . . .” Posnanski also mentioned that Kershaw hadn’t thrown a complete game in almost five years and it was “like 30 degrees with a howling wind at Target Field.”

Posnanski’s complete take is right here.


Google is your friend if you aren’t aware of Tom House and his accomplishments in the world of baseball.


Bacon


Joe Maddon, the manager of the Los Angeles Angeles, ordered up a bases-loaded walk in a Friday game.

How did that work out?

Here’s Joe Posnanski: “Here’s something funny about managing a baseball game: You could do the absolute right thing from a percentage and logic standpoint and have it blow up in your face. And you could do the dumbest thing imaginable for the dumbest reason imaginable and have it work out perfectly.”

His complete take on Maddon’s move is right here, and it’s a great read.



From Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Kiara Thomas was arrested and charged with assault in Laurel, Mississippi, for punching an umpire at a 12-year-old girls softball game, WLBT-TV reported. The capper? In her mugshot, Thomas rocks a ‘Mother of the Year’ t-shirt.”

——

Perry, again: “LSU outfielder Gavin Dugas was hit by a pitch 13 times in his first 103 plate appearances this season. Twins scouts love him, saying he’d be a perfect for Target Field.”


Dennys


The Athletic’s Chris Branch reports: “MLB commissioner Rob Manfred gifted every major leaguer a shiny new pair of Bose headphones on Opening Day as a way of saying, ‘I’m sorry for trying to withhold as much money from you as possible’ after a lockout that got particularly nasty at points. At least those pregame playlists will sound crisp now.”

——

One more note from Branch: “Jrue Holiday started Milwaukee’s 133-115 loss to Cleveland on (April 10), his 67th game this season, but didn’t stick around for long. Seconds after the opening tip, Holiday intentionally fouled Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, exited the game and never came back. Why? Holiday’s game total triggered a $306,000 bonus in his contract. That’s $38,250 per second of play. Not bad.”

The aforementioned Dwight Perry chimed in with: “Which pencils out to a tidy $136.8 million an hour.”


Headline at The Beaverton — Canada to distribute remaining vaccines through “Roll Up the Rim to Win” contest.

One more from The Beaverton — Study finds cycling healthiest way to get hit by a car.


Headline at TheOnion.com — Climate report finds Antarctica could support multiple golf courses by 2050.


It was just a week ago when I mentioned in this space that OF Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins was capable of having an MVP-type season if only he could stay healthy. . . . Well, he went down in the Twins’ 8-4 victory over the Red Sox in Boston on Friday afternoon. He left the game in the first inning with soreness in his right knee, and now is likely to miss at least a week.


Manure


If you’re a regular in these parts, you know that my wife, Dorothy, is with us today because of a kidney transplant. And now she is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to be on her team by sponsoring her, you are able to do that right here.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Feta

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after watching a terrific Brier final . . .


It’s not too late for you to tell me why you no longer go to WHL games, or why you cut back on the number you attend. Or if you’re one who attends regularly, let me know why you think other folks should be going. . . . Thanks to those who already have contacted me. I hope to put something together at some point in the next week or 10 days. . . . If you want to, you are able to DM me via Twitter or email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.


Who was the last goaltender in professional hockey to play without a mask? Was it Andy Brown of the WHA’s Indianapolis Racers or Gaye Cooley of the NAHL’s Philadelphia Phantoms? What about Joe Daley of the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets? . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post decided to try and find out, and settle the age-old argument in the process. Was he successful? You are able to find out right here in the best thing you will read today. . . . You should know, too, that Vanstone is writing a book about goaltenders and their love/hate relationship with facial protection. Can’t wait to read that one.


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


Stuart Kemp has led quite a life, going from professional wrestling announcer to being an active wrestler — yes, he has taken a chair or two to the noggin — to the president of the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club, one of the most successful organizations of its kind in junior hockey. . . . He also has experienced some serious health problems over the past few years but really is persevering as he continues to put one foot in front of the other. . . . Kemp was the latest guest on Hartley Miller’s Cat Scan podcast out of Prince George. Give it a listen right here. You won’t be sorry that you did.


Bacon


“Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley has been suspended for the 2022 season for betting on NFL games,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Evidently he didn’t get the express written consent of the NFL’s official betting partners, Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel.”

——

More from Perry:

“Last week wasn’t a good week for truth-telling, as a lot of pants spontaneously caught fire:

  • MLB: We are canceling the first two weeks of the season.
  • Seahawks: There are no plans to trade Russell Wilson.
  • Wilson: My aim is to play my whole career in Seattle.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: We didn’t attack Ukraine.

Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, tweeted Saturday that he saw F Luke Toporowski of the Kamloops Blazers “with crutches, sporting a knee brace on left knee” on Friday night. Toporowski had left the Blazers’ 4-2 victory over the visiting Rockets in the first period following a collision with Kelowna D Tyson Feist as both players were leaving the penalty box. . . . Toporowski has 35 goals this season, including 20 in 22 games with the Blazers since being acquired from the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Toporowski and Feist were teammates with the Spokane Chiefs for a few games in 2017-18 and 2018-19 before the latter was dealt to the Regina Pats. . . . The Blazers likely will learn more about Toporowski’s injury when their medical staff sees him today.


You may recall that offensive lineman Alex Karras of the Detroit Lions once was suspended for a year because of gambling. Legend has it that upon his return to game action, he was asked to call the pre-game coin flip, at which point he told the referee: “I’m sorry, sir, I’m not permitted to gamble.”



Shopping


SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

F Bear Hughes struck for three goals and added two assists to lead the host Spokane Chiefs to a 6-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Hughes, the Chiefs’ captain, has 21 goals. . . . The Chiefs also got a goal, his 10th, and three assists from F Carter Streek. . . .

F Dylan Guenther scored twice — he’s got 38 — and added an assist as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Broncos, 5-1, in Swift Current. . . . G Sebastian Cossa stopped 20 shots in posting his WHL-leading 30th victory of the season. He lost the shutout when Russian F Alexei Shanaurin scored his second goal in 21 games with 0.1 left in the third period. . . . Cossa is 30-6-3, 2.22, .915 this season. Over his three-season career, the 6-foot-6, 215-pounder is 68-13-7, 2.09, .923. . . .

F Connor Bedard scored twice to help the host Regina Pats to a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Bedard is riding a 17-game point streak during which he has 17 goals and 18 assists. . . . Bedard, 16, has 73 points, including 37 goals, in 47 games this season. Add in the 15 games he played in the 2021 development season and he has 101 points, 49 of them goals, in 62 games. . . . The Pats also got two assists from F Tanner Howe, who turned 16 on Nov. 28. He’s got 54 points, including 31 assists, in 49 games. . . . Brad Herauf, in his eighth season as an assistant coach with the Pats, has been running the bench along with assistant Ken Schneider since Feb. 11 as John Paddock, the club’s GM and head coach, deals with an undisclosed illness. . . .

In Portland, the Vancouver Giants opened up a 6-0 lead and then hung on to beat the Winterhawks, 6-5. . . . F Adam Hall scored twice for the Giants, giving him 14. He scored his second at 8:11 of the second period to give the visitors that 6-0 lead. . . . The Winterhawks got back in it with three second-period goals, two from F Marcus Nguyen, who has 17, and two in the third. . . . D Clay Hanus had four assists for Portland. He leads WHL defencemen with 62 points — 15 goals and 47 assists — in 58 games. . . .

F Drew Englot scored in the 12th round of a shootout to give the Kamloops Blazers a 4-3 victory over the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . Each team scored twice in the circus — in the fifth and seventh rounds — before Englot won it. . . . F Daylan Kuefler, who has 32 goals, scored all three of the Blazers’ goals, each one on a PP. . . . Kamloops was 3-for-8 on the PP; the Rockets were 2-for-7. . . . Kelowna erased 2-0 and 3-1 deficits on goals from F Colton Dach (19) at 13:22 of the third period and F Adam Kidd (13) at 14:16. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 35 shots for Kamloops; G Talyn Boyko had 30 saves for the Rockets. Both are draft picks of the NHL’s New York Rangers. . . .

The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the game’s last three goals to beat the host Moose Jaw Warriors, 5-2. . . . The Hurricanes went 3-3-1 in a seven-game road trip with the Canadian men’s curling championship in their home arena. . . . Belarusian F Yegor Klavdiev’s 12th goal, at 3:25 of the second period, broke a 2-2 tie. . . . F Brayden Yager tied the Warriors’ franchise record for goals in one season by a 16-year-old when he scored No. 29 at 1:02 of the second period. He now shares the record with Theo Fleury (1984-85). Fleury did it in 71 games; Yager has played 53 games this season. He also played 24 games in the 2021 development season but the WHL has decreed that skaters are rookies if they haven’t appeared in more than 25 games prior to this season. The rule for goaltenders is 25 times on the scoresheet or more than 420 minutes played. . . . Fleury tweeted: “Congrats young man honoured to share the record with you tonight. Here’s hoping you break it!!!” . . .

G Daniel Hauser stopped 25 shots and D Nolan Orzeck had a goal, his fifth, and two assists to lead the Winnipeg Ice to a 5-0 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Hauser has five career shutouts, all of them this season. He is 21-2-1, 2.20, .909 this season. Include his eight appearances from last season and he is 28-2-2, 2.42, .906 in his career. . . .

The Everett Silvertips scored two goals in each of the first two periods en route to a 4-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . F Ben Hemmerling (8) broke a 2-2 tie at 7:14 of the second period and F Jackson Berezowski (38) made it 4-2 at 15:00. . . . Seattle F Matthew Rempe was tossed after taking a boarding major at 9:30 of the first period. He already has been suspended three times for a total of five games this season. . . .

F Ben King’s WHL-leading 45th goal was the winner as the Red Deer Rebels beat the Tigers, 6-2, in Medicine Hat. . . . King has 14 game-winners this season, two shy of the WHL single-season record. F Brian Propp scored 16 winners for the 1978-79 Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . F Arshdeep Bains drew three assists for Red Deer. He leads the WHL in assists (45) and points (88). . . .

D Nolan Allan scored the goal and Tikhon Chaika suppled the goaltending as the visiting Prince Albert Raiders beat the Saskatoon Blades, 1-0. . . . Allan scored his fourth goal in 52 games this season at 12:12 of the third period; it was his third game-winner. He went into the season with three career goals in 81 games. . . . Chaika blocked 31 shots in recording the third shutout of his freshman season. The 18-year-old is from Minsk, Belarus. He is 17-15-3, 2.84, .905. . . . G Nolan Maier turned aside 28 shots for the Blades on Nolan Maier Bobblehead Night. . . . Chaika was selected as the game’s first star. On Friday night in Prince Albert, Maier wasn’t named a star despite turning aside 49 shots in the Blades’ 3-2 OT victory. . . .

In Prince George, the Cougars scored the game’s last nine goals as they rallied to a 9-1 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . F Koehn Ziemmer scored four times, giving him 27, and F Craig Armstrong got his 11th goal and added three assists. . . . Ziemmer single-handedly erased Victoria’s 1-0 lead with goals at 9:04, 9:25 and 13:33 of the first period. He got his fourth goal at 1:24 of the third period. . . . The Cougars were without Mark Lamb, their general manager and head coach, for a second straight game due to illness. In his absence, associate coach Josh Dixon and Steve O’Rourke, their development coach, ran the bench.


Has anyone had a better description of Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers than Charles Barkley? He told ESPN Radio: “I think he’s the pretty girl that you gotta tell her she’s pretty every day.”


Bikers


The OHL’s Oshawa Generals fired head coach Todd Miller on Saturday. OshawaAssistant coaches Kurtis Foster and Mike Hedden will run things for the remainder of this season. . . . “We feel our team is underperforming right now,” Roger Hunt, the Generals’ general manager, said in a news release. “We all think the group can benefit from a different voice down in the room.” . . . Miller was in his first season as Oshawa’s head coach. He spent 10 seasons as an assistant coach with the OHL’s Barrie Colts before working as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings last season. . . . The Generals, who dropped a 7-2 decision to the Frontenacs in Kingston on Friday, were 24-24-5 and tied for sixth place with the Ottawa 67’s (23-25-7) in the 10-team Eastern Conference going into Saturday’s games. . . . The Generals beat the visiting Peterborough Petes, 5-4 in OT, on Sunday. Oshawa is to meet the host Hamilton Bulldogs in the OHL’s Outdoor Showcase today.


Veteran junior coach Mike Vandekamp is a free agent again after he and the GrandePrairieAJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm parted company on Saturday. According to a news release from the team, the parties “mutually agreed to part ways effective immediately.” Vandekamp was the Storm’s general manager and head coach for two seasons. . . . This season, the Storm finished 22-30-8 and didn’t qualify for the playoffs. . . . Until a replacement is hired, the Storm said that business manager Ryan Carter and assistant coach Chris Schmidt will run things.


Children


With MLB’s labour difficulties over, at least for now, Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News writes that it’s a big deal for his city: “We need baseball in New York right now, unless you think that the Knicks can write some kind of miracle on their side of the East River or think the Nets can make a run in the playoffs with Dr. Kyrie Irving of the Center for Sports Disease Control, as a part-time, un-vaxxed star. We need baseball more than ever after another lost pro football season, as the Giants and Jets continue to be teams from Loserville over there in Jersey.”

——

More from Lupica: “Novak Djokovic, another graduate of the Center for Sports Disease Control along with Dr. Irving, says he hasn’t yet gotten vaccinated because he doesn’t trust the science behind the vaccine. Right. Got it. Six million people, worldwide, have now died because of this pandemic. What does Dr. Djokovic think that number would be if there had been a vaccine he doesn’t trust from the beginning? If he is allowed to play in the French Open, I hope he gets his Asics hat handed to him by Rafael Nadal.”



Mom


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.


Mom2

Hurricanes delete one from staff . . . Blades’ Maier closing in on career mark . . . Oil Kings’ streak now at 13

Earlier this week, I posted a piece here that led with some comments on announced attendance totals at WHL games this season.

Yes, some teams really are struggling at the gate, but there are a number of possible reasons, some of them pandemic related.

Anyway . . . that piece created a lot of interest and a few comments.

So now I’m asking readers to drop me a line and explain why they no longer go to games or why they don’t go to as many games as they once did. Also feel free to comment on what you think the WHL and its teams might do to increase attendance at their games.

You are able to contact me by DM at Twitter (@gdrinnan) or via email at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.

Responses will be used for a posting here at some point in the not-too-distant future.


The OHL announced on Thursday that it has “expelled” Terry Christensen, the OHLFlint Firebirds’ president of hockey operations, for conduct that is “prejudicial to the welfare” of the league. An investigation, sparked by an allegation that was made via the OHL’s player communications system, revealed that Christensen had make remarks that violated the league’s Harassment and Abuse/Diversity Policy. . . . “His conduct violated the league’s expectation of the appropriate conduct of a representative of an OHL Team and he has lost the privilege to participate in the League,” the league said in a statement. . . . Christensen had been with the Firebirds since May.

Meanwhile, Jeff Marek of Sportsnet tweeted Thursday morning that “the OHL is launching an independent investigation into the Niagara IceDogs over alleged offensive comments made by people in senior positions on a team group chat.”

Greg Cowan is a sports reporter with the Owen Sound Sun Times:

https://twitter.com/GregCowanST/status/1501969145952407553?s=20&t=mGTe9yMl1lERdkg59YQaXw


The Lethbridge Hurricanes fired assistant coach Jeff Hansen on Friday. Hansen, Lethbridgefrom Calgary, was in his fifth season after spending four seasons as the video coach with the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Lethbridge general manager Peter Anholt, in a news release: “Jeff is a good man and a hard worker, and this wasn’t an easy decision, but we felt it was time to make a change. We weren’t happy with the development of our defence and the accountability of our blueline.” . . . The Hurricanes’ coaching staff now comprises head coach Brent Kisio, Matt Anholt, the assistant GM/assistant coach, and video coach Ryan Aasman. According to the news release, those three will run things “for the remainder of the season.”


FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

In Brandon, the Winnipeg Ice scored three third-period goals and beat the WinnipegIceWheat Kings, 6-3. F Mikey Milne’s 28th goal of the season, at 2:37 of the third period, broke a 3-3 tie. . . . Through a promotion involving Heritage Co-op, fans 18 and older who purchased an adult ticket received a $10 gas card. Announced attendance was 2,880. . . . The same teams meet again tonight in Winnipeg. . . . The Ice (38-9-5) leads the East Division by 12 points over the Moose Jaw Warriors. Winnipeg, with five games in hand, trails the Eastern Conference-leading Edmonton Oil Kings by eight points. . . . The Wheat Kings (28-19-5) are a comfortable sixth in the Eastern Conference. . . .

F Braxton Whitehead broke a 3-3 tie at 15:30 of the third period as the host ReginaRegina Pats beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-3. . . . Whitehead has seven goals. . . . Regina F Connor Berard had a goal, his 35th, and an assist as he ran his point streak to 16 games. He has 33 points, including 16 goals, in what is the WHL’s longest active such streak. . . . Lethbridge is 2-3-1 on a seven-game road trip while the Canadian men’s curling championship is in their home arena. The Brier ends on Sunday. . . . Regina (21-27-4) is 11th in the Eastern Conference, but just two points shy of eighth. . . . Lethbridge (23-27-4) is seventh, two points ahead of the Prince Albert Raiders and Calgary Hitmen, who are tied for eighth. . . . From Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post: “Factoring in last season, when Bedard debuted as a 15-year-old, he has 99 points (including 47 goals) in 61 games as a WHLer. Bedard is on the verge of tying the Pats’ record for most WHL goals by a player who has yet to turn 17. Jeff Friesen had 48 goals over his first 74 games. He scored three goals in four games as a 15-year-old call-up with the 1991-92 Pats. The following season, he had 45 goals in 70 games en route to being named the CHL’s rookie of the year.” . . .

F Egor Sidorov’s 16th goal, at 2:40 of OT, give the visiting Saskatoon Blades a 3-Blades2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders before a sellout crowd of 2,600. . . . G Nolan Maier turned aside 49 shots for the Blades, but wasn’t selected as one of the three stars. Gee, do you think the Blades are that unpopular in P.A.? Maier now has 117 regular-season victories, three shy of the WHL career record that, according to quanthockey.com, is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops, 1988-92). . . . Maier now is tied for fourth with Mac Carruth (Portland, 2009-13), two behind Jordan Papirny (Brandon, Swift Current, 2012-17). . . . F Hayden Pakkala scored twice for the Raiders, giving him nine this season. . . . The same teams will meet again tonight, this time in Saskatoon, on Nolan Maier Bobblehead Night. . . . The Blades (32-18-4) are fifth in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Raiders (22-28-4) are tied for eighth. . . .

In Swift Current, F Jalen Luypen scored twice, the second into an empty net, as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Broncos, 3-1. He’s got 25 goals. . . . The Oil Kings have won 13 in a row. They’ll go for 14 tonight back in Swift Current. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa stopped 25 shots in posting his WHL-leading 29th victory. . . . The Oil Kings (43-11-3) lead the Eastern Conference by eight points over Winnipeg, which has five games in hand. . . . Swift Current (20-29-7) is 10th, one point out of eighth. . . .

F Jagger Firkus broke a 2-2 tie with his 31st goal, at 5:12 of the third period, and the host Moose Jaw Warriors went on to a 5-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Warriors (32-19-5) are fourth in the Eastern Conference, eight points behind the Red Deer Rebels and one ahead of Saskatoon. . . . The Hitmen (20-27-8) are tied for eighth with Prince Albert, two points behind Lethbridge and one ahead of Swift Current. . . .

F Ben King had a goal, his 44th, and four assists as the Red Deer Rebels clinched a playoff spot with a 6-3 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . King leads the WHL in goals and points (85). He has one more point than linemate Arshdeep Bains, who signed with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks earlier in the day. Bains had a goal and two assists in this one. He leads the WHL with 53 assists. . . . The Rebels were 4-for-5 on the PP; King leads the WHL with 21 PP goals. . . . Red Deer (37-16-3) is third in the Eastern Conference, four points behind Winnipeg, which has four games in hand. . . . Medicine Hat (10-40-4) is in next-season country. . . .

F Tarun Fizer scored his 13th goal and added an assist to help the Victoria VictoriaRoyalsRoyals to a 5-3 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. Fizer, who has three goals and five assists in his past three games, iced this one with an empty-netter. . . . The Cougars, who have lost seven in a row, had been 7-0-0 against the Royals this season. . . . Prince George led 2-0 before the game was seven minutes old, but surrendered the next four goals. . . . Victoria (17-33-6) closed to within one point of Prince George (19-32-3) and the Spokane Chiefs, who are tied for seventh in the Western Conference. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers got two goals from F Logan Stankoven — he’s got 33 — Kamloopsas they beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 4-2. . . . Stankoven broke a 1-1 tie at 14:27 of the first period and then added insurance at 1:53 of the third. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Garand stopped 24 shots in his first appearance since suffering a leg injury on Feb. 16. . . . F Luke Toporowski of the Blazers, a 35-goal man, didn’t return after a collision with Kelowna D Tyson Feist in the first period. . . . The same teams are to meet tonight in Kelowna. In fact, they also will play home-and-home each of the next two weekends. . . . The Blazers (40-14-2) lead the B.C. Division by 10 points over the Rockets (34-15-4). . . .

In Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds scored two late third-period goals, Portlandboth with their goaltender on the bench in favour of the extra attacker, but ended up dropping a 3-2 shootout decision to the Portland Winterhawks. . . . D Luca Cagnoni, the 14th shooter, won it with the only goal of the circus. . . . Portland nursed a 2-0 lead from the 11:18-mark of the second period. . . . Seattle F Reid Schaefer (27) scored at 17:58 of the third period and F Jared Davidson (28) tied it at 19:28. . . . Portland got 51 saves through OT from G Taylor Gauthier . . . The Thunderbirds saluted head athletic trainer Phil Varney, one of hockey’s good guys, as he worked his 1,000th game. He is in his 15th season with Seattle. . . . Seattle F Henrik Rybinski missed his fifth straight game with an undisclosed injury. . . . Seattle F Lucas Ciona, who has 32 points, including 17 goals, didn’t finish with apparent arm injury. . . . Portland (38-14-5) is third in the Western Conference, one point out of first. . . . Seattle (34-14-6) trails Portland by seven points. . . .

F Fabian Lysell’s 19th goal of the season broke a 2-2 tie at 18:08 of the third period as the Vancouver Giants beat the Tri-City Americans, 3-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Jaden Lipinski, who has five goals, scored twice for the Giants, his second forging a 2-2 tie at 17:04 of the second period. . . . F Samuel Huo, who has 24 goals, scored twice for the Americans. . . . Vancouver (21-29-3) is sixth in the Western Conference, 27 points behind Kelowna and four ahead of Spokane and Prince George. . . . Tri-City (15-34-5) is last in the conference, six points out of a playoff spot. . . .

F Niko Huuhtanen scored twice, giving him 30, and added an assist as the host Everett Silvertips dumped the Spokane Chiefs, 6-3. . . . Everett erased a 2-1 deficit with four straight goals. . . . Everett (37-9-8) is tied with Kamloops atop the Western Conference, but the Silvertips hold two games in hand. . . . Spokane (18-32-5) is tied for seventh with Prince George, four points behind Vancouver and one ahead of Victoria.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Vancouver Canucks signed F Arshdeep Bains, 21, to a three-year free-agent deal on Friday. CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) reported that the entry-level contract calls for an NHL salary of US$750,000 for 2022-23 and $775,000 each of the next two seasons. There also is a $50,000 signing bonus payable each season. His minor-league salary would be $70,000. Bains is from Surrey, B.C.; the Canucks’ AHL affiliate is just down the road in Abbotsford. . . .

The QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques added G Ève Gascon to their roster on Thursday. She had been 9-5-0 with the CÉGEP St-Laurent Patriotes in the Quebec Collegiate Hockey League (Division 1). . . . Gascon is to join the Olympiques this morning (Saturday) and could get the start against the visiting Val D’Or Foreurs later in the day. . . . The last woman to play in the QMJHL? G Charline Labonté got into 26 games (4-9-2, 5.22, .841) with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in 1999-2000 and two in 2000-01.


Shawn Mezei, a former WHL player, died in Lethbridge on Wednesday. He was 36. Funeral arrangements hadn’t yet been arranged as of Friday night. Mezei was a native of Taber, Alta. A defenceman, he played 116 games over five seasons with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, totalling two goals, 12 assists and 165 penalty minutes.


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


Colonel


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.


Pearls Before Swine
Pearls Before Swine

WHL positive tests somewhere above 150 . . . Winterhawks, Gauthier on real roll . . . BCHL suspends Nanaimo coaches pending investigation

Dan Courneyea, our man at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, was on hand Beijingfor the opening day of the men’s hockey competition on Wednesday.

“Well . . . that was an interesting first day of men’s ice hockey,”  he reported. “ROC almost lost to the Swiss, who played a great game. A bounce is how that game ended.

“Denmark has come to play! They also played a great game and beat Czechia in what I saw was a big upset. Denmark, as a team, played very well with their goalie standing on his head.”

ROC scored a first-period goal and hung on for a 1-0 victory over Switzerland. In the other game to which our man referred, Denmark, playing in the Olympics for the first time, got past Czechia, 2-1.

In one other game, Sweden eked out a 3-2 victory over Latvia.

“Three games today,” he added. “It’s just going to get better as it goes along.”

Games on the second day (Thursday) will have Slovakia meeting Finland (National Indoor Stadium, 12:40 a.m. PT), China taking on the U.S. (5:10 a.m. PT, NIS), and Canada versus Germany (5:10 a.m. PT, Wukesong Sports Centre).

There is a women’s game Thursday, too, with Czechia and the U.S. meeting in a quarterfinal at 8:10 p.m. PT. On Friday, it’ll be Sweden and Canada at 5:10 a.m. PT and Switzerland versus ROC at 8:10 p.m. PT. The other quarterfinal will have Japan playing Finland on Saturday at 12:40 a.m. PT.


According to the WHL’s weekly roster/injury report, teams didn’t report any players in COVID-19 protocol until after the Christmas break. Since then, teams have shown 149 players having been in protocol.

However, the real number isn’t known because four teams — the Kamloops WHLBlazers, Lethbridge Hurricanes, Medicine Hat Tigers and Red Deer Rebels — haven’t listed even one player as having been in protocol. Interestingly, each of those teams has been shut down by the WHL at one point or another. Kamloops, Medicine Hat and Red Deer were among 15 teams that were told to pause team activities on Jan. 7 “as a result of multiple players and staff being added” to the protocol list “due to exhibiting symptoms or having tested positive for COVID-19.”

Also on Jan. 7, the WHL announced that Lethbridge had been “cleared to resume team activities” after it had been put on pause.

That figure of 149 also doesn’t include staff members who have  tested positive.

Here are the WHL teams who have reported having had players in protocol since returning from the Christmas break — Saskatoon Blades, 18; Seattle Thunderbirds, 17; Swift Current Broncos, Victoria Royals, each 14; Tri-City Americans, 13; Prince George Cougars, 11; Everett Silvertips, 10; Prince Albert Raiders, 9; Portland Winterhawks, 8; Spokane Chiefs, Vancouver Giants, each 7; Edmonton Oil Kings, Kelowna Rockets, Moose Jaw Warriors, Winnipeg Ice, each 4; Brandon Wheat Kings, Calgary Hitmen, each 2; and Regina Pats, 1.

As well, Spokane had two players test positive in November, but they weren’t shown on the roster report.


Airport


The Spokane Chiefs were in Portland for a Wednesday night date with the PortlandWinterhawks, the second of five straight games between these teams. . . . Portland, which had posted a 7-3 victory in Spokane on Saturday, delivered a quick message with five first-period goals, en route to a 9-0 victory. . . . They’ll play the next three in Spokane — on Friday, Saturday and Tuesday — and finish their season series on Feb. 20 in Portland. . . . Portland has points in 17 straight games — 16-0-1. . . . After last night, Portland is 7-1-0 in the season series; Spokane is 1-6-1. . . . Also last night, Portland G Taylor Gauthier, a recent acquisition from the Prince George Cougars, set a franchise record for longest shutout streak. He now has put up three straight shutouts and the shutout streak is at 232:19. The previous record (174:57) was set by Brendan Burke during the 2013-14 season. . . . In nine starts with Portland, Gauthier, who will turn 21 on Tuesday, is 9-0-0, 1.33, .954. His three shutouts leave him with nine in his WHL career.


Some Super Bowl trivia for you just in case you are trying to impress someone between now and Sunday. . . . In nine different Super Bowl games, there has been a starting quarterback named Joe — Namath, Kapp, Montana (4 times), Flacco, Theismann and Burrow. . . . In 10 different Super Bowl games, there has been a starting QB named Tom — Brady.


The BCHL has notified players with the Nanaimo Clippers that it “has appointed bchlan independent investigator to review allegations of Code of Conduct breaches” by Darren Naylor, the team’s vice-president, general manager, head coach and director of hockey operations, and Colin Birkas, the associate GM and associate coach. . . . In a Tuesday email from the Executive Committee to “Nanaimo Clippers Players,” the players were informed that the BCHL “has placed the coaches on temporary administrative leave while the investigation proceeds. At this time, the allegations are allegations only; no findings have been made against the coaches.” . . . According to the BCHL, it “cannot comment on particulars of the investigation itself due to privacy laws . . .” The letter also informs players that they may be contacted by the investigator “to discuss the allegations. It is very important for all concerned, particularly the game of hockey, that you provide the investigator with your full and honest cooperation. This is not the time for silence or silencing others; no one should lie on any person’s behalf for any reason.” . . . The league has told the Nanaimo players that “we will be advising your billets about this situation” and “we strongly encourage you to inform your parents as soon as possible as they will want to hear this development from you first . . . Please do not hesitate to reach out for support, whether it is to your parents, your billets or the league.” . . . The letter also indicates that the league will be “appointing an interim coaching solution to continue your day-to-day team activities and games.” . . . The Clippers are 23-13-2 and five points out of first place in the nine-team Coastal Division. They are scheduled to be in Powell River for games with the Kings on Friday and Saturday nights.


Pipe


Chad Harden, who scouts for the Calgary Hitmen, will be back in the Calgary Stampede’s chuckwagon races this year. Krista Sylvester of the Calgary Citizen reports that Harden, who was facing a potential lifetime ban after an accident in the 2019 Rangeland Derby, has been invited to return and has accepted the invitation. Harden received a stiff reprimand after the accident in which one horse died and three others were injured. A driver since 2000, Harden also was fined $10,000 and had to pay $10,000 for the horse that was killed. . . . Sylvester’s story is right here.


The Regina Pats ran out of goaltenders this week. Yes, they did! That’s how PatsKelton Pyne, a 16-year-old from White City, Sask., came to make his WHL debut with 36 saves in a 6-3 loss to the host Edmonton Oil Kings on Tuesday. . . . Matthew Kieper and Drew Sim, the two goaltenders on the Pats’ roster, both are sidelined with concussions. . . . Pyne wasn’t selected in the WHL draft and has been on the Pats’ protected list since last fall. . . . He is a regular with the U-18 Regina Pat Canadians of the Saskatchewan Male AAA Hockey League. . . . The Pats are scheduled to meet the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Friday and then visit the Saskatoon Blades on Saturday. Regina’s goaltenders are expected to be Pyne and Spencer Welke, who has come in from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post has more on this story right here.


The B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League will have a new team — the Logan Lake LoganLakeMinersMiners — when the 2022-23 season arrives. The Miners will play out of the Logan Lake Recreation Centre. As an independent team, they will, according to a news release, feature players “enrolled in full-time courses at Thompson Rivers University and Nicola Valley Institute of Technology.” . . . Those schools are located in Kamloops and Merritt, respectively. . . . Logan Lake will get a look at a couple of BCIHL teams this weekend as the Okanagan Lakers meet Vancouver Island University at the Recreation Centre on Friday and Saturday nights. There won’t be an admission charge for either game, but public health guidelines will be in place. . . . The BCIHL’s news release is right here.


Bed


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.


Barrow

Hornung lived life of courage and grace . . . Wouldn’t allow his circumstances to shorten his horizons

Brad Hornung was a remarkable person. He really was.

Hornung, who died on Tuesday at the age of 52, spent almost 35 years in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down after he was injured in a hockey game on March 1, 1987. Circumstances didn’t prevent him from living a life of courage and grace.

He was 18 and in his second season with the WHL’s Regina Pats when he was injured. A solid player with strong defensive skills, he was producing a point a game and was certain to have been selected in that summer’s NHL draft when it all came crashing down in the blink of an eye.

We got an idea of what kind of person Hornung was shortly after he was injured. At the time, doctors were of the opinion that he wouldn’t ever again be able to breathe on his own. He quickly proved them wrong.

“That was my goal,” he would say later, “not to be dependent on a ventilator to breathe. Back then, they were big huge machines.”

Eventually, he was able to get around in a specialized wheelchair. It had electrodes in pads on the headrest and he was able to manoeuvre it by applying pressure with the back of his head. Yes, it took him a while to master it. “I took out a salad bar one day,” he told author Roy MacGregor, who included a chapter on Hornung in his book The Home Team: Fathers, Sons & Hockey.

Even after what happened, Hornung was goal-oriented. He graduated from high school. He earned a degree from the U of Regina. He worked for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks and then for NHL Central Scouting.

In an interview with Austin Davis of the Regina Leader-Post in the spring of 2014, Hornung said:

“The game of hockey has been good to me. It’s been good to my family. My Dad made a living in it. He loved it. I love it.

“I didn’t feel any bitterness or any anger towards it. I don’t think most people would be (angry), because I don’t consider myself to be any different than anybody else.”

Hornung spent most of the last 35 years of his life at the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre in Regina, where he had his own room. He didn’t spend a lot of time feeling sorry for himself.

As he told Davis, “I’ve had a full life here. I haven’t had any limitations. I’ve been able to travel and do a lot of things.”

On June 8, 2018, the U of Regina saluted Hornung by presenting him with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. In addressing the gathering at the Conexus Arts Centre during the spring convocation, Hornung said:

“I am not a special or isolated case, because I see this happen every day. And we are seeing it in the recovery of those who were affected by the Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy. If there is a moral to my story, it is that people tend to underestimate themselves and how well they would react to different circumstances.”

Shortly after, Hornung closed with this:

“The bad news is that unpleasant things are going to happen to all of you at one time or another in your lives. Sadly, that is a fact.

“The good news, however, is that you have the strength within you to face these challenges in ways you cannot even imagine right now. Happily, that is also a fact. And it is the most important one to remember.

“Congratulations on your graduation, and please don’t ever forget — even in what may seem like your darkest hour, there is always a place in your life for hope.”

So don’t be sad over the fact that Brad Hornung no longer is with us. Rather, be happy that we had him with us for as long as we did and admire him for what he was able to do with his life.

Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post has more right here and right here.

Brad Hornung dies of cancer at 52 . . . Pats forward was left quadriplegic after being injured in 1987

Brad Hornung, who was left a quadriplegic following a check in a WHL game on March 1, 1987, died in Regina on Tuesday. The former Regina Pats forward would have turned 53 on Sunday.

Hornung had been diagnosed with bone and colon cancer about four weeks ago. At the time, he felt that something wasn’t right and that perhaps he might have pneumonia. Instead, doctors discovered he had terminal cancer.

Hornung died at the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre in Regina, which had been his home since shortly after he was injured.

Hornung played one game with the Pats in 1984-85, then had 17 goals and 18 assists in 64 games with them in 1985-86. At the time of his injury, he had 32 goals and 34 assists in 61 games.

He was injured early in the second period of a 6-3 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors at the Regina Agridome. He went head-first into the boards behind the Moose Jaw net and it was immediately apparent that he was in trouble. Hornung was on the ice for about 40 minutes during which time he was given a heart massage and, because he had swallowed his tongue and needed help breathing, a tracheotomy was performed.

Hornung was found to have suffered a burst fracture of the third cervical vertebrae and a crushed spinal cord. He was, Dr. Chris Ekong, a neurologist, said two days after the incident, “completely paralyzed from the neck down.”

At the time, there was speculation in the medical community that Hornung would need breathing help for the rest of his life. But he was breathing on his own inside of three months.

In 2014, Hornung admitted “that was my goal — not to be dependent on a ventilator to breathe.”

He definitely didn’t allow his wheelchair and paralysis to hold him back. He worked as an amateur scout with the Chicago Blackhawks and later worked with NHL Central Scouting.

He also graduated from Archbishop M.C. O’Neill Catholic High School, then went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Regina’s Campion College in 1996. He also took business administration classes at the U of Regina.

He is survived by his mother Terry, who lives in Regina, and sister Leanne Wright of Las Vegas, both of whom were with him when he died. His father, Larry, a former pro defenceman, died in Regina on May 8, 2001, at the age of 55.

Scattershooting on a Monday morning while listening to the snow melt . . .

Scattershooting2

ChinaClock
The scoreclock tells the tale after the Chinese women’s hockey team beat Japan at the Olympic Winter Games. (Photo: Dan Courneyea)
ChinaWin
The Chinese women’s hockey team celebrates its 2-1 shootout victory over Japan at the Olympic Winter Games. (Photo: Dan Courneyea)

There was some excitement at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing on Sunday with the Chinese women’s hockey team earning a 2-1 victory over Japan. The game went to a shootout and the Chinese scored the lone goal, that coming in the fourth round. . . . “China is not as good as Japan,” reports Dan Courneyea, our man at the hockey competition. “They just brought a better game. . . . China’s goalie kept them in the game.” . . . Interestingly, the winning goal came from Hannah Miller, who is from North Vancouver. On the Chinese roster, she is Le Mi. . . . According to Reuters, Miller joined a Chinese team — KRS Vanke Rays — in 2018 in order to be eligible for these Games. She played NCAA hockey at St. Lawrence U, and also was member of Canada’s U-18 women’s team. . . .

On Monday, Canada ran its record to 3-0 by beating the ROC — shhh! don’t say Russia — 6-1 in a game that was delayed when, according to reports, the latter’s COVID-19 test results weren’t made available. The game eventually started with both teams wearing N95 masks. . . . But, wait, there’s more. The ROC players left their masks in the dressing room for the third period, while the Canadians continued to wear theirs. It turns out, too, that F Emily Clark of Canada was removed during the pregame warmup because of what reports say was an inconclusive test. . . . Canada, with Emerance Maschmeyer making her Olympic debut in goal, had a 49-12 edge in shots. She is the sister of former WHL D Bronson Maschmeyer (Vancouver, Kamloops, 2008-12). . . . Canada has outscored its opposition 29-3 in six games, with the U.S. up next. They are scheduled to be on your TV tonight (Monday) at 8:10 p.m. PT.


Yes, it’s true. COVID-19 bit the WHL again on Sunday, with an undisclosed Vancouvernumber of Vancouver Giants players apparently having tested positive and forcing the postponement of at least one game. . . . The Seattle Thunderbirds were scheduled to play the Giants in Langley, B.C., on Sunday, but that game will be rescheduled. . . . This was the WHL’s first postponement since a Jan. 29 game that was to have had the Brandon Wheat Kings in Prince Albert was scuttled because the Raiders weren’t able to dress 14 healthy players. . . . The Giants had dropped a 3-2 decision to the visiting Kamloops Blazers on Friday and then were beaten 7-2 by the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash., on Saturday. . . . Vancouver is scheduled to visit the Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday and then meet the Cougars in Prince George on Friday and Saturday nights.


The Regina Pats lost a hockey game on Sunday, falling 5-4 in OT to the host Calgary Hitmen, but the hockey world was left abuzz over a goal by F Connor Bedard, who won’t turn 17 until July 17. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post writes about the goal right there.


Cash


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Bucs QB Tom Brady, to no one’s surprise, announced his retirement last week. That takes the undecided list down to Brett Favre (yes/no/yes/no/maybe) and Aaron Rodgers (still doing his own research).”


After Brady made it official, comedy writer Alex Kaseberg (@AlexKaseberg) tweeted: “But wait, don’t you have to rip off your shirt and dance in the end zone in front of the crowd to retire from the Bucs?”


And then there was this from Football Hall of Fame Dick Butkus, who recently joined Twitter (@thedickbutkus): “I think it’s great Giselle let Tom Brady retire. Hopefully she’ll let him keep Rob Gronkowski in the yard.”


With the Olympic Winter Games ongoing and the pandemic raging, the KHL has chosen to end its regular season with its playoffs scheduled to begin on March 1. . . . According to the KHL, there are 120 players from 22 of its teams on national teams in Beijing. By ending the regular season and starting playoffs on March 1, all players will have the opportunity to quarantine before play begins.


Dinner


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Giants, after the NFL’s Washington Football Team revealed that its new nickname will be Commanders: “A Commander? To some old-timers, reader Kevin Love reminds us, a Commander is a Philip Morris cigarette back in the 1960s. The TV commercial jingle was, ‘Have a Commander, welcome aboard!’ Selling point: A special vacuum ‘gently cleans every bit of tobacco.’ You still got lung cancer, but it was a tidy lung cancer. And when you checked into the hospital, they welcomed you aboard.”

——

Ostler, again: “Speaking of the military, credit is due to the sports-star anti-vaxxers like Aaron Rodgers, Kyrie Irving and Novak Djokovic for keeping our military busy. My mom was in a hospital in Eugene, Ore., for a heart procedure. Her meals were served by National Guard soldiers, helping fill manpower shortages caused by sick non-vaxxers clogging hospitals. Hey, Aaron and friends: Have a Commander, welcome aboard.”


Some people are raising a fuss over the Arizona Coyotes’ plan to play three NHL seasons in a new arena at Arizona State U, one that will have somewhere around 5,000 seats. The critics seem to think it’s beneath the NHL to have a team playing in such a small facility. Hey, the Winnipeg Ice is in its third season in a 1,600-seat barn, doesn’t seem to have put a shovel in the ground on a new facility yet, and the WHL is still alive and kicking.


If you are on Twitter, you will want to take a few minutes and read the threat that resulted from the question — New Yorkers: What’s the most New York thing that’s ever happened to you? . . . I mean, there’s an eel on the subway, bad manners from Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, and a whole lot more. Enjoy!


Poop


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.


Escape

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

Scattershooting2

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


HHelper


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



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

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

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



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

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

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

The CHN report is right here.


Bike


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Bargain

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

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


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


Wolves


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


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




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



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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Looters

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