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 . . .

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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.

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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.


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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

——

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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

——

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.



Deer

OHL expected to move on from Feb. 4 start date . . . Who’s on your Pats’ all-time teams? . . . Zach needs a kidney


As we head into Christmas weekend, it would seem that we are at least a month CHLaway from major junior hockey being played anywhere. . . . The OHL pooh-bahs have met and are expected to announce today (Wednesday) that they haven’t cancelled their season but have gone away from having a target date. The OHL had announced on Oct. 29 that it was planning to open a 40-game regular season on Feb. 4. With Southern Ontario entering a four-week lockdown on Dec. 26, the Feb. 4 date became unreachable. . . . The WHL, which had targeted a Jan. 8 start date, has moved on from that and now says its board of governors will meet later in January to reassess its position. . . . The QMJHL, unlike the OHL and WHL, has government (read: taxpayers) money in its jeans, and is planning to play some bubble hockey late in January. . . . Of course, we are going to have to wait and see whether COVID-19 will allow it.


Let the arguments begin! Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post and Kevin PatsShaw, who is a walking, talking Pats encyclopedia, put their heads together and came up with lists of the best players in the history of the WHL franchise. . . . They didn’t produce just a first team, but also second, third and fourth teams. . . . They’re all right here, so take a look and discuss, then direct all comments to Mr. Vanstone. . . . I don’t know who I would have dropped off their first team, but I would have found room for Jason Smith.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: 155 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba, the 2nd day in a row where the cases have been below 200. That hasn’t happened since the end of October. The province is also reporting 18 additional deaths.

Skylar Peters, CJOB Winnipeg: The province says it handed out 283 warnings and 62 tickets in the latest round of COVID-19 enforcement (Dec. 14-20), including: 2 $5,000 business tickets; 48 $1,296 individual tickets; 12 $298 mask-wearing tickets; 35 of those tickets were related to gatherings at homes.

CBC News: Saskatchewan has 181 new COVID-19 cases, well below the province’s 7-day average of 216. Health authorities are also attributing 3 additional deaths to the virus.

Courtney Theriault, City News: 11 new COVID deaths in Alberta, now up 871 . . . 1021 new cases on 14199 tests (7.2% +) . . .  802 in hospital (+7), 152 in ICU (+1) . . . 18331 active cases in AB (-834).

CBC News: B.C. announces 444 new cases of COVID-19, the lowest single-day total in more than a month.

CBC News: Ontario has 2,202 new cases of COVID-19, pushing the 7-day average to 2,288. There are 636 in Toronto, 504 in Peel Region, and 218 in York. 45,265 tests were completed, with a positivity rate of 5%. 1,005 people are in hospital with 273 in ICU.

CBC News: Quebec reports 2,183 new COVID-19 cases, the province’s highest single day total since the pandemic began. 28 additional deaths are also being attributed to the virus.

CNN: The continent of Antarctica has recorded its first coronavirus cases after 36 individuals tested positive on a research base, according to the Chilean military.

——

Strike another bowl game off the schedule. The Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl has been cancelled because South Carolina can’t answer the bell due to virus-related issues. The game was to have had South Carolina (2-8) — yes, 2-8! — against Alabama Birmingham (6-3) in Tampa Bay on Saturday. . . .

Might the Music City Bowl be in jeopardy? Scheduled for Dec. 30 in Nashville, the game is to feature No. 15 Iowa (6-2) and Missouri (5-5). However, Iowa has suspended in-person football activities until Saturday after an increase in positives. According to the Des Moines Register, six coaches and several players have come up positive. That includes head coach Kirk Ferentz. . . .

The NFL had 14 players and 31 other personnel test positive from Dec. 13-19. In that span, 6,927 people underwent 41,501 tests. . . . Since Aug. 1, the NFL has had 201 positives among players and 359 among other personnel. That’s out of 840,460 tests. . . .

The San Francisco 49ers have lost quarterbacks Nick Mullens and Jimmy Garoppolo to injuries, which means C.J. Beathard will start against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday. However, they ran out of quarterbacks on Tuesday when Josh Johnson went on the reserve/COVID-19 list. That’s why they signed Josh Rosen off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice squad.


Zach16

——

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.

The Bookshelf: Part 3 of 3 . . .

Bookshelf

What follows is the third and final part of my annual Bookshelf piece, a Larsonthumbnail look at some of the books I have read in the past year. Hopefully, you will find something you want to read or to purchase as a gift. . . .

As for the 10 books that I most enjoyed this year, here they are, in alphabetical order . . .

The Arena: Inside the Tailgating, Ticket-Scalping, Mascot-Racing, Dubiously Funded, and Possibly Haunted Monuments of American Sport — by Rafi Kohan

The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood, by Sam Wasson

Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth, by Rachel Maddow

Circe, by Madeline Miller

Gloves Off: 40 Years of Unfiltered Sports Writing, by Lowell Cohn

The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck

The Jordan Rules, by Sam Smith

The Rhythm Section, by Mark Burnell

The Splendid and the Vile: A Sage of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Bliz, by Erik Larson

The Wax-Pack: On the Open Road in Search of Baseball’s Afterlife — Brad Balukjian

And now here is Part 3 of 3, and thanks for reading . . .

The Neon Rain — This is No. 6 in author James Lee Burke’s terrific books that follow the exploits of Dave Robichaux, a Vietnam veteran who now is a police detective in New Orleans. In this one, Robichaux discovers the body of a young prostitute on a river bank and from there, well, he runs into all kinds of uglies. Burke’s writing carries these books to great heights; in fact, when he writes about bayou country and the heat and humidity, the sweat almost forms on your forehead and runs off the tip of your nose.

——

Nightwork — Douglas Grimes, a pilot grounded by an eye problem, now is a night clerk in a fleabag hotel, who doesn’t hold out much hope for the future. Until he stumbles on a body and $100,000. In time, he makes his way to Europe and the adventures begin. This book, by Irwin Shaw, isn’t loud and obnoxious, like you might think it would be. It just flows along, quietly and enjoyably.

——

Nine Innings — The Baltimore Orioles played the host Milwaukee Brewers in just another American League game on June 10, 1982. Author Daniel Okrent took that one game and dissected it, then used it to tell all kinds of baseball stories. Nine Innings was published in 1985, but it still is a marvellous read.

——

Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit — Matt McCarthy, an Ivy Leaguer out of Yale, was selected by the Anaheim Angels in the 21st round of MLB’s 2002 draft. A southpaw pitcher, he played one year as a pro — he went to training camp with the Angels and was assigned to the Pioneer League’s Provo Angels. This book, published in 2009, is the story of that season. McCarthy tells it like it was, too, as testosterone- and adrenaline-fuelled young men spend a summer in Mormon country. There’s a cultural divide in the locker room, too, as the American players don’t mix with those from the Dominican Republic. McCarthy’s telling of the night Larry King — yes, that Larry King — and family were in the ballpark is worth the price of admission.

——

100 Things Roughriders Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die — If you are a follower of the Saskatchewan Roughriders or just an average CFL fan, this book is for you. Author Rob Vanstone, the sports columnist at the Regina Leader-Post, has been following the Roughriders for more than 50 years, first as a young fan, most recently as a sports journalist. He is a walking, talking Roughriders encyclopedia — I know because I used to work with him — and he has gotten it all down between the covers of this book.

——

One Minute Out — In the ninth book in author Mark Greaney’s series that follows the Gray Man, an assassin who actually is a good guy, he is in hot pursuit of the Consortium, a world-wide organization that profits from sex trafficking. Good escapism.

——

Prince of Fire: This is No. 5 in author Daniel Silva’s series that follows the adventures of Gabriel Allon, who longs to be able to focus on being perhaps the world’s greatest restorer of classic art but, in truth, is an Israeli assassin. In order for something like this to work, you need a likeable leading man, and that’s the case in these books. Prince of Fire isn’t an exception. . . . I also read The English Assassin (2), The Confessor (3), A Death in Venice (No. 4), The Secret Servant (7), The Defector (9), The Heist (14), The Black Widow (16) and The New Girl (19). . . . The Confessor, which involves the Catholic Church, the Second World War and the Holocaust, was especially good.

——

Red Metal — Written by Mark Greaney and H. Ripley (Rip) Rawlings IV, this is strictly a war novel with a mine in Kenya at its core. It’s full of all kinds of action and all kinds of battles as the U.S. ends up in conflict with Russia while wondering if China is next on the list. This book isn’t boring. Not at all. Greaney is the author of The Grey Man books; Rawlings is a former United States Marine Corps infantry and reconnaissance officer.

——

Red Robinson: The Last Deejay — Red Robinson was a pioneer among North American disc jockeys, spinning the hits on Vancouver radio stations while still in high school. During the course of his career, he met a lot of celebrities — Elvis Presley, Pat Boone, Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Roy Orbison, the Everly Brothers and a whole lot more — as he emceed and promoted all kinds of shows. Unfortunately, author Robin Brunet spends too much time on Robinson’s career as an advertising executive and not enough on stories about Robinson and his starry friends.

——

The Rhythm Section — Stephanie Patrick lost her parents and a sister in the crash of a passenger jet that, as it turns out, wasn’t an accident. Author Mark Burnell takes Patrick on quite a journey and a few name changes and personalities, from the brink of a drug-induced death to a world of international intrigue, and it’s all oh, so readable. This book, Burnell’s first novel, was published in 1999, something that, considering where the story goes and where history took us after that year, no doubt will surprise the reader.

——

The Splendid and the Vile: A Sage of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz — What a slam-bang of a book this is! A work of non-fiction that relies a lot on diaries — did everyone in England keep a diary in the 1940s? — it follows Prime Minister Winston Churchill as the Germans, having taken France, launch a horrendous air attack on London and other British cities. By using the entries from a variety of diaries, author Erik Larson allows the reader to feel the intensity and the emotions of a country under siege. Brilliant! . . . This was the best book I read in 2020.

——

Tear It Down — It’s easy to read one of author Nick Petrie’s books that features ex-Marine Peter Ash and make comparisons to writer Lee Child and his creation, Jack Reacher. So let’s just say that if you like the Reacher books, you will enjoy Ash’s exploits. Tear It Down is the fourth in the Ash series and each one of them is good escapism.

——

Walking Shadow — This is No. 21 in author Robert B. Parker’s series featuring Spenser, a private detective with a crackling wit. Come for a mystery and stay for the repartee between Spenser, Hawk, the friend, bodyguard and confidante, and Susan Silverman, Spenser’s psychologist gal pal. If you are looking for a few hours of escapism, you can almost always count on Spenser and that’s the case here. It all starts with an actor being shot while onstage . . .

——

The Wax-Pack: On the Open Road in Search of Baseball’s Afterlife — Brad Balukjian opened a pack of Topps 1986 baseball cards, then spent the summer of 2015 trying to visit each of the 14 players whose cards he discovered. (Fourteen? The 15th card was a checklist.) This is the story of that summer. It was a terrific idea and Balukjian executes it to perfection — like a neatly turned 6-4-3 double play.

——

The Wild One — The fifth book in author Nick Petrie’s series that follows the adventures of longer Peter Ash takes the reader to Iceland and into horrific weather as he searches for a young boy who might have some key numbers embedded in his photographic memory. It’s been said before, like three titles earlier on this list, but if you’re a Jack Reacher fan, you’ll like this series, too.

——

Here’s what they call a buzzer-beater for you. I found time on Saturday to finish Al Strachan’s Hockey Hot Stove: The Untold Stories of the Original Insiders. If you remember when the Hot Stove was appointment viewing during Saturday night’s second intermission on Hockey Night in Canada, you will enjoy this book. I don’t want to provide any spoilers, but there are a lot of anecdotes about the ‘Original Insiders,’ along with a pile of behind-the-scenes stuff involving the show. Yes, Strachan, who was the star of the show whether you want to admit it or not, deals with his disappearance, too.

That’s it for another year. . . . Enjoy reading!

These days are long and the nights are even longer, especially if you are a fan of the CFL and the Saskatchewan Roughriders and you have transplanted yourself to the Chicago area. . . . That, in brief, is the story of Trevor Grimm, who doesn’t have the CFL to watch and can only dream of the fact that the 2020 Grey Cup game was to have been played in Regina. . . . So with all that time on his hands, he came up with what follows, and, really, it’s too good not to share. . . . Trevor, over to you . . .

2020 Grey Cup (to the tune of “American Pie” by Don McLean) . . . yes, it’s really that long!

A long long time ago

I can still remember how

That football used to make me smile

And Gainer knew if he had the chance

That he could make those people dance

And maybe they’d be happy for a while

But 2020 made me shiver

With every paper they’d deliver

Bad news on the doorstep

I couldn’t take one more step

I can’t remember if I cried

When I read about this season — died

Something touched me deep inside

The day the football died

So . . .

Bye, bye 2020 Grey Cup

Drove my Chevy to Mosaic but the gates were locked up

So now we’re home drinking whiskey and rye

Singin’ this’ll be the day football died

This’ll be the day football died

Did you write the three-down rule

And do you have faith in the refs above

If video review tells you so?

Do you believe in Calvillo?

How SJ Green caught that touchdown throw?

And can you teach me how to play like Fajardo?

Well, I know that you’re in love with him

I saw you taking selfies with him

You both had giant smiles

For one game, I’d drive for miles

I was a lonely middle-aged CFL fan

With a Riders jersey and a minivan

But I knew I was out of luck

The day the football died

I started singin’

Bye, bye 2020 Grey Cup

Drove my Chevy to Mosaic but the gates were locked up

And now we’re home drinking whiskey and rye

Singin’ this’ll be the day football died

This’ll be the day football died

For 110 years we’ve been on our own

And Kevin Waugh, his job was blown

But, that’s not how it used to be

When Kevin worked for the CTV,

In a coat he bought in the 70s

And a voice that came from our TVs

Oh and while the commish was looking down

The politicians stole his commish crown

The parliament was adjourned

No money was returned

And while Trudeau read a book on plastics

The fans said “hey, this is drastic!”

And we sang “Green is the color…”

The day the CFL died

We were singin’

Bye, bye 2020 Grey Cup

Drove my Chevy to Mosaic but the gates were locked up

And now we’re home drinking whiskey and rye

And singin’ this’ll be the day football died

This’ll be the day football died

Helter skelter in a summer swelter

The fans looked for a thunderstorm shelter

Eight miles away and moving fast

It landed hail on the grass

The players tried for a forward pass

With the slick field, they landed on their ass

Now the half-time air was sweet perfume

The Riders led by 22

Eskimos stood no chance

Oh, but we never got the chance

‘Cause they’re no longer the Eskimos

The front office chose to yield

Do you recall what was revealed

The day the football died?

We started singin’

Bye, bye 2020 Grey Cup

Drove my Chevy to Mosaic but the gates were locked up

So now we’re home drinking whiskey and rye

And singin’ this’ll be the day football died

This’ll be the day football died

Oh, and there we were all in one place

A generation lost in space

With no time left to start again

So come on George be nimble, George be quick

George Reed just moved the yardsticks

‘Cause Russ Jackson is not our friend (just kidding)

Oh and as I watched him on the field

My hands were clenched in fists of appeal

No DB born in Sask

Could break Russ Jackson’s spell

And as “The Flame” climbed high into the night

That came out of his helmet, right?

I saw too many laughing with delight

The day the football died

We were singin’

Bye, bye 2020 Grey Cup

Drove my Chevy to Mosaic but the gates were locked up

And now we’re home drinking whiskey and rye

Singin’ this’ll be the day football died

This’ll be the day football died

I met Rob Vanstone who wrote his views

And I asked him for some happy news

But he just smiled and turned away

I went down to the Rider store

Where I’d bought many clothes before

But the man there said the Riders wouldn’t play

And in the streets the children screamed

The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed

But not a word was spoken

The church bells all were broken

And the three men I admire most

Ron Lancaster, George Reed, Eagle Keys

They caught the last train for the seas

The day the football died

And they were singing

Bye, bye 2020 Grey Cup

Drove my Chevy to Mosaic but the gates were locked up

And that is why we’re drinking whiskey and rye

Singin’ this’ll be the day football died

This’ll be the day football died

They were singing

Bye, bye 2020 Grey Cup

Drove my Chevy to Mosaic but the gates were locked up

So now we’re home drinking whiskey and rye

Singin’ this’ll be the day football died.

Scattershooting on a Saturday night while wondering when to get out the snow shovel . . .

Scattershooting

The SJHL revealed Friday night that it has been given the OK for its teams to SJHLplay games “effective immediately.” Teams will be permitted to have a maximum of 150 fans at games, all of whom must wear masks. The league released a 24-game exhibition schedule Saturday night, with the first game scheduled for Thursday when the La Ronge Ice Wolves are to visit the Flin Flon Bombers. The two teams will meet four times in 10 days. Exhibition games will be played through Nov. 1.

With the Bombers being included, it tells us that the SJHL has received an exemption from government and health officials for the Bombers to travel in from Manitoba and for Saskatchewan teams to go into Manitoba. This isn’t a surprise, what with Flin Flon located pretty much atop the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border.

But remember that the Saskatchewan government has told curlers they aren’t to travel outside the province for games, nor are curlers from other provinces to travel into Saskatchewan for competition.

The WHL, which is planning on opening its regular season on Jan. 8, wants to have its five Saskatchewan teams play in a division with the two Manitoba teams — the Brandon Wheat Kings and Winnipeg Ice. But the WHL needs clearance for interprovincial play in order for that to happen.

Benny Walchuk of GX94 in Yorkton talked with Bill Chow, the SJHL president, and that interview is right here.


The BCHL has almost all of its teams playing exhibition games at the moment Wenatcheeas they prepare to open the regular season on Dec. 1. The exception is the Wenatchee, Wash., Wild, which isn’t involved because of U.S.-Canada border restrictions. . . . Instead, the Wild has scheduled a series of six scrimmages in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho about a three-hour drive from Wenatchee. . . . According to the Wild, the scrimmages will include “10-16 Western Hockey League players joining the Wild camp on a limited basis to participate in the scrimmages.” . . . Those scrimmages are scheduled for Oct. 22, 12:15 p.m.; Oct. 23, 7:15 p.m.; Nov. 6 and 7, and Nov. 13 and 14. Times for the latter four are TBA.



Nick Saban, the head coach of the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide, tested positive earlier in the week. But Saban, 68, turned in three negatives before Saturday so was on the sideline on Saturday night in a 41-24 road victory against No. 3 Georgia. Yes, that was Saban with his mask down around his chin getting in the face of an on-field official.

On Friday, Kurt Streeter of The New York Times wrote, in part:

This is, of course, an unpredictable disease. Saban is 68 years old, a particularly vulnerable age for this virus. But that does not seem to matter to major college football, which keeps twisting itself into knots, straining to rationalize playing games amid a pandemic that has led to at least 217,000 deaths in the United States — with no end in sight.

Even with infection hitting its most famous coach, the mind-set of the college game’s most vigorous enablers has not altered. They are bent on moving forward.

“He knows the risks,” they say. “Let’s keep going.”

“Move on.”

Streeter’s column is right here.


Here’s Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post in a column that explains who/what is in charge of the sports world these days:

What a tonic it would be to attend a live sporting event that features a prominent franchise.

“The problem, though, is that nobody calls the shots.

“Airborne particles that we cannot see will dictate a future we still cannot envision.

“Who knows what next week will bring, let alone next month or next year?

Take a look at the daily COVID figures, from coast to coast, and sigh.

“A long winter looms.”

The complete column is right here.


Snow

. . . or it could be you any morning this month!


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Here’s Brad Dickson, a humorist who used to be a columnist with the Omaha World-Herald: “The mayor and county health director held a press conference where they said go ahead with your Halloween parties and trick or treat ‘just be smart about it.’ At what point do people stop getting the benefit of the doubt about being smart on Covid?”

——

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) has scheduled its regular season to open on Dec. 1 with all eight of its teams in a bubble in Omaha, Neb. The 26-game season will be split into two parts, with each team playing 10 games in the first three weeks of December in Omaha. . . . In the New Year, each team will play 16 games — eight home and eight away. . . . The NCHC comprises Colorado Springs, Denver, Miami, Minnesota Duluth, North Dakota, Omaha, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan. . . . From a news release: “Overall medical support and COVID-19 testing for all participating student-athletes, staff and officials in the Pod will be conducted through the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), located in Omaha. Medical protocols and testing strategies for the entire season are currently being developed with top medical professionals from UNMC and the Global Center for Health Security.” . . . That news release is right here. . . .

The 11-team Atlantic Hockey Association is to open its regular season on Nov. 1. Each team will play 24 games and will have the ability to add four games. . . . From the Colonial Sports Network: “In an attempt to limit exposure of travel during the season, the AHA has divided 10 teams into eastern and western pods, with five teams in each geographical pod and Air Force standing alone on the outside looking in. The eastern pod consists of AIC, Army, Holy Cross, Bentley and Sacred Heart. Robert Morris finds itself in the western pod, joined by Canisius, Mercyhurst, RIT and Niagara.” That leaves Air Force to bounce back and forth between pods. . . .

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times checks in: “Attention, Dan Mullen (the Florida football coach who wanted to ‘see 90,000 (fans) in The Swamp’ for the LSU game — only to have to postpone it because so many of his players tested positive for COVID-19): Your Karma of the Year Award awaits you down at the front desk. A gentle reminder: Just be sure when you come to pick it up you’re wearing a mask.” . . . More from Ms. Karma: Mullen announced on Saturday that he also has tested positive. . . .

Oulun Kärpät, a team in the Finnish Liiga, has been quarantined until Oct. 24 after one of its players tested positive. The test came back on Friday night. At least three games will have to be rescheduled. . . .

At least one ringette and two minor hockey organizations in Ottawa have suspended play until current restrictions are lifted. The Nepean Minor Hockey Association, West End Hockey League and the City of Ottawa Ringette Association have shut down. . . . At the time they suspended operations, 10 skaters, including coaches, were allowed on the ice at any one time, with only practices without spectators permitted. All dressing rooms are closed so players had to arrive with their gear on. . . . Hockey Eastern Ontario, which oversees the region’s amateur hockey, has had an undisclosed number of positive tests show up in players and volunteers. In a statement, Ottawa Public Health said, according to CBC, that recent contract tracing investigations have “identified confirmed transmissions and outbreaks between staff and players.” . . . The CBC piece is right here. . . .

Things have reached the point in Winnipeg where officials are talking about shutting down arenas if hockey fans and players don’t do a better job of following public health orders. “The warning comes as the city battles the worst surge of COVID-19 cases in the province since the beginning of the pandemic,” writes Sara Petz of CBC, “prompting Mayor Brian Bowman to urge people to think of others, and wear a face mask.” . . . At one point in a Friday news conference, Mayor Bowman said: “Wear a friggin’ mask.” . . . That story is 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.


JUST NOTES: In the past few days, the telephone scammers have been on the line from California, Idaho, Maine, Montana and New Jersey? Or might it be Agent Orange trying to get my vote? . . . He’s got endorsements from the Taliban and Kirstie Alley so how can anyone be undecided? . . . Wondering how many games your favourite WHL team might play in the 2021 season? Andy Beesley, the Prince George Cougars’ vice-president of business, told Hartley Miller of mypgnow.com and the GOAT 94.3: “As a baseline, I would expect to have 30-plus games, probably 34 games is a very minimum amount, maybe up to 50, but those details are yet to be determined.” . . . Bob Tory, the GM of the Tri-City Americans, told Myck Miller of KEPR-TV that “all our players have had their medicals done . . . we’ve been fortunate. We haven’t had one player test positive.” Tory said that while the Americans would love to have a full house for their opener in January, he isn’t counting on it. “No . . . we’re hoping that that’s the case,” he said. “But we have to prepare for the fact that we might have to start the season with no fans and then hopefully . . . if that’s successful they allow 25 per cent then 50 and then maybe full attendance.”


YardSale

Hockey world is mourning loss of Hawerchuk . . . Here’s hoping CFL is able to find itself


As you no doubt are aware, the CFL won’t happen in 2020. For the first time since 1919, the Grey Cup won’t be awarded.

(There wasn’t a Grey Cup game for four years — 1916-19 — because of the First World War. The CFL didn’t pause for the Second World War.)

I would suggest that this day of reckoning has been in the CFL’s windshield for a few years now. I don’t know exactly when it was that the CFL came to the fork in the road and took the wrong one, but somewhere along the way it lost track of who it is.

Hopefully it can find itself over the next few months. Hopefully it can figure out where the fans went in Edmonton and Toronto and B.C. Hopefully it can get things back on track in Montreal. Hopefully it can get back to being the CANADIAN Football League.

I spent a fair amount of time around the CFL and its teams while with the Winnipeg Tribune and Regina Leader-Post through 1999. It hurts to see this happen to the CFL, but here’s hoping it comes back with a redesign that makes it bigger and better whenever COVID-19 allows another season to be held. . . .

In the meantime, two columnists I worked with while in Regina took a look at the CFL and the situation in which it now finds itself. . . . Ed Willes of Postmedia has his take right here, while Rob Vanstone of The Leader-Post has a column right here. . . . Ed Tait of the Blue Bombers has a terrific piece right here with thoughts from LB Adam Bighill and QB Zach Collaros. . . . Here’s part of what Collaros had to say: “The optics of going to the federal government without consulting with us at all was definitely tough. Guys were definitely not happy about that. It’s kind of a microcosm of how this pandemic has been handled from leadership in North America. The transparency is not there, the communication hasn’t been great. That needs to improve moving forward if 2021 is going to be successful.”


Fans of the Vancouver Canucks have had to put their plans for a Stanley Cup parade on hold since their favourites now find themselves at 2-2 with the defending-champion St. Louis Blues in the opening round of the NHL’s bubble tournament. . . . The Canucks, you may recall, won the first two games, only to have the Blues wake up in time for a 3-2 OT victory in Game 3 on Sunday, and then pound their way to a 3-1 triumph on Monday. . . . The Blues have gotten more and more physical with the Canucks young guns, especially Elias Pettersson, as the series has worn on. How the Canucks and Pettersson respond in Game 5 tonight will tell the story.

Meanwhile, the NHL revealed on Monday that it completed the third week of its return to play without any positive tests. There had been 5,640 tests administered through Aug. 15. . . . Yes, if everyone is on the same page with the same goal in mind, the bubble approach does work.


Nuts


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The U of Notre Dame reported 147 positive tests — 146 students and one staff member — on Tuesday, so suspended in-person classes for two weeks just eight days into the fall semester. Some of the positives apparently were traced to an off-campus party where there were neither masks nor social distancing. . . . The U of North Carolina at Chapel Hill cancelled in-person undergraduate classes on Monday with at least 135 positive tests on campus. A spokesperson said that as of Monday morning, there were 177 students in isolation and 349 in quarantine. . . . Also on Tuesday, Michigan State ordered undergrads to stay home for the remainder of the fall. MSU hadn’t yet started its fall semester when it told students to say home “effective immediately.” . . . In a letter to students, Samuel Stanley Jr., MSU’s president, said the move was due to the “current status of the virus in our country — particularly what we are seeing at other institutions as they re-populate their campus communities.” . . .

The Atlanta Braves have placed OF Nick Markakis on the 10-day IL because he may have been exposed to the virus. Interestingly, Markakis, 36, originally opted out of playing this season. However, he changed his mind and returned to the Braves shortly after the season began. . . .

Here’s Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot with a pertinent observation: “Something’s wrong with the business model at many American universities when the cancellation of a football season threatens to wreck a school’s budget.”



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.


Stars


The 16-team USHL announced Tuesday that it hopes to open a 54-game regular season on Nov. 6 and wrap it up on April 24. Teams will open training camps on Sept. 14 with exhibition games to start in mid-October. . . . From a news release: “All activities are designed to take place in accordance with local, state and federal guidelines as well as the League’s Return to Play Protocols which are currently being finalized. The regular season schedule allows for flexibility for games to be moved to the back of the schedule due to postponements, capacity restrictions, or other factors.” . . . The news release didn’t make any mention of the situation in Des Moines, Iowa, where Buccaneer Arena, the home of the USHL’s Buccaneers, was damaged by an intense storm on Aug. 10. The ImOn Ice Arena in Cedar Rapids, the home of the RoughRiders, also suffered some damage.


These leagues are hoping to start their 2020-21 regular seasons on these proposed dates:

AHL: Dec. 4

AJHL: Sept. 18

BCHL: Dec. 1

ECHL: Dec. 4

Heritage Junior B Hockey League: Oct. 28

KHL: Sept. 2

KIJHL: Oct. 2

MJHL: Sept. 25

NAHL: Oct. 9

NHL: Dec. 1

OHL: Dec. 1

Pacific Junior Hockey League: Sept. 29

QMJHL: Oct. 1

SJHL: Oct. 9

USHL: Nov. 6

Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League: Sept. 7 (48 games), Oct. 12 (40), Nov. 16 (40), Dec. 14 (32)

WHL: Dec. 4



Paul McFarland now is the general manager and head coach of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs. An assistant coach with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs in 2019-20, McFarland signed as Kingston’s head coach on May 8. He was named general manager on Tuesday. . . . The Frontenacs had been looking for a GM since July 23 when they announced that they wouldn’t be renewing Darren Kelly’s contract. . . . Prior to his one season with the Maple Leafs, McFarland was an assistant coach with the NHL’s Florida Panthers for two seasons.


The SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos have reinstated assistant coach Curtis Toneff. The team made the announcement on Monday after a stay of proceedings had been agreed to regarding charges faced by Toneff. . . . He had been charged with assault on June 2 after a May 24 incident. The Broncos suspended Toneff after the charge was laid. . . . Last season was Toneff’s first with the Broncos after two seasons as head coach of the junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.


Plaid

Welcome back, Jack! . . . Are you ready for Riders Trivia? . . . Fortier finds work in Texas


Good news is great for the soul.

Right?

OK, here’s some good news.

Jack Redlick, the Alberta Midget Hockey League’s coach of the year for 2018-19, has returned to the St. Albert Raiders as their head coach.

Redlick, a former WHLer (Kamloops, Vancouver, Regina, 2000-03), sat out the 2019-20 season after being seriously injured in an accident on June 29. Redlick, 36, was riding his motorcycle near Idaho Falls, Idaho, when another motorcycle driver crossed the centre line and struck him head-on.

In March, Redlick posted this on Facebook:

Redlick
Jack Redlick is fit and ready to get back into the coaching game. (Photo: Jack Redlick/Facebook)

“On my birthday eight months ago I got a birthday gift that forever changed my life. When a man crossed the centre line and hit me head on. After almost three months in the hospital, eight surgeries, an amputation and 55 pounds later, today I took my first running steps. I’ve figured out how to skate again and although neither running nor skating is pretty. I’m back, and it will only get better.

“I’ve had so many people say they are sorry this happened to me. My response is always the same: ‘Don’t be, you should be happy for me, I shouldn’t be here.’

“As coaches we always teach our players that in both hockey and life there are only two things you can truly control — your work ethic and your attitude. Might as well make what you can control positive in nature. Things happen for a reason. No sense bitching about it. Just OORAH up, and accept the challenge no matter the obstacles. Don’t waste your time with the negativity. Focus on the process and not the result. Live in those 10-second evolutions. Lol.

“All those hockey cliches that I preached to my players over the years, I’ve had to live by for the last eight months. Sport truly does reflect life.”

With all that Redlick has been through since the end of March, it’s great to see him back and eager to get started. So here’s hoping that the next hockey season gets started on time.



Here is some more good news; well, it is if you’re a fan of the Saskatchewan Roughriders or even just looking for something to do on a nightly basis. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post holds a Riders Trivia gathering every night at 9 o’clock CT. . . . You will find him on Twitter at @robvanstone and that will get you started.


Northland Properties, which is huge in the hospitality industry, has laid off thousands of workers, according to Bob Mackin of thebreaker.news. . . . Tom Gaglardi, who owns the NHL’s Dallas Stars and is the majority owner of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, is Northland’s president. His father, Bob, is the organization’s founder. . . . The company, which is based in Vancouver, had about 12,000 employees before all of this hit. Taj Kassam, the senior vice-president of corporate affairs, wouldn’t tell Mackin how many had been laid off. . . . Mackin’s story is right here.



The government of the province of Quebec wants sporting events cancelled through Aug. 31. The ban also will apply to cultural events and festivals. . . . However, the Montreal Impact of the MLS has said that it was told none of this will apply to professional sports teams. . . .

The Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament, which had been scheduled for Montreal from Aug. 7-16, has been postponed to Aug. 6-15, 2021. . . . Chances are that the men’s tournament, set for Toronto at the same time, also will be postponed. . . .

The XFL appears to have left us, without being able to complete its first season. The spring football league suspended its inaugural season on March 12. It now has laid off all employees and is refunding money to those who purchased 2021 season tickets. . . . Kevin Seifert and Field Yates of ESPN reported that the XFL “currently has no plans to return in 2021.” . . . Headline at fark.com: EXFL. . . .

Earlier this week, the 13-team National Lacrosse League cancelled the remainder of its regular season. It had suspended play on March 12. In a statement, the league said “officials are looking at any number of scenarios to return to play when all stakeholders and health officials deem that possible. There is no timeline on when decisions will be made.” . . . The NLL includes franchises in Calgary, Halifax, Saskatchewan, Toronto and Vancouver. . . .

With Japan now struggling to contain COVID-19, Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the organizing committee for the Tokyo Olympic Summer Games, has cast some doubt on whether they will be held in 2021. “I don’t think anyone would be able to say if it is going to be possible to get it under control by next July or not,” he said on Friday. “We certainly are not in a position to give you a clear answer.” . . . The Games were to have been held in July. They have been postponed to July 23, 2021, with the Paralympics to start on Aug. 24. . . .

Los Angeles County has extended what it calls its “safer-at-home” order through May 15. It was first set in place at midnight on March 20. . . .

The 2020 Cloverdale, B.C., Rodeo and Country Fair has been cancelled. It had been scheduled to run from May 15-18. . . . The Falkland, B.C., Stampede that is a May long weekend tradition has been postponed until Aug. 28-30. The Stampede was first held in 1919.


The Thought for the Day from Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, this one from Will Rogers: “There are men running governments who shouldn’t be allowed to play with matches.”


Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated has taken a look at some of the ideas that have been floated regarding the potential return of pro sports to our entertainment landscape. . . . Word of warning: There isn’t any false hope in her story. All you will find here is reality. . . . Like this from Zach Binney, who has a PhD in epidemiology and teaches at Emory U in Atlanta:

“If people just decide to let it burn in most areas and we do lose a couple million people it’d probably be over by the fall. You’d have football. You’d also have two million dead people. And let’s talk about that number. We’re really bad at dealing with big numbers. That is a Super Bowl blown up by terrorists, killing every single person in the building, 24 times in six months. It’s 9/11 every day for 18 months. What freedoms have we given up, what wars have we fought, what blood have we shed, what money have we spent in the interest of stopping one more 9/11? This is 9/11 every day for 18 months.”

Think about that for a bit as we await decisions by the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL and so many others.


Conspiracy


Jason Fortier is the new head coach of the Odessa Jackalopes of the junior North American Hockey League. They play out of Odessa, Texas. . . . Fortier signed on as general manager of hockey operations and head coach. . . . Fortier is the BCHL’s reigning coach of the year after guiding the Coquitlam Express to the league’s best regular-season record. . . . Fortier left the Express late in March. Long-time BCHL observer Brian Wiebe reported at the time that Fortier wasn’t able to reach agreement on a contract with Express owner Fayaz Manji.


Tom Webster, a former NHL coach who played in the NHL and WHA, died on Friday morning. He was 71. . . . Webster was a brother to Barry Webster, a long-time member of the Moose Jaw Warriors’ board of directors. . . . Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times has more on Tom Webster right here.


Condolences to old friend Daryl Lubiniecki on the death of Lolamae, his wife of 53 years. She left us on Thursday after battling cancer. . . . There is a complete obituary right here. . . . Daryl served the Saskatoon Blades as general manager, head coach and advisor and also worked with the Prince George Cougars over a long career in the WHL. He also supplied us with more laughs than should have been legally allowed.


Scattershooting on a Saturday night while wondering why some people just don’t get it . . .

Scattershooting


Joe Vardon of The Athletic has written the best piece that I have read to date on the quandary facing professional sports in North America because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s all about the pressure to get back into action, even if there aren’t fans in the arenas or stadiums, because of the need for TV money.

Rodney Fort, a sports economist and professor at the U of Michigan, told Vardon: “If there is ever going to be a comeback, all we have to look at is how (sports) shut down. What was the plan at shutdown? The plan was no fans, play the games. And presumably they were saying that it was because the TV money was such that, even though they might lose money, having the TV money meant they lost less than if they didn’t have the TV money.”

At the same time, Richard Sheehan, a sports economist and U of Notre Dame professor, explained to Vardon how a return to play would almost certainly lead to the deaths of some support staff.

Vardon wrote: “Applying medical theories of virus containment espoused by doctors . . . and tracking the data of coronavirus patients and mortality rates in China, South Korea and Italy, Sheehan said he doesn’t see any way the NBA, NHL or MLB could play this summer.”

This piece is oh, so thought-provoking, and it’s all right here.


Feet


The Colorado Avalanche have had a second player test positive for COVID-19. The NHL now has had four players test positive — two from Colorado and two from the Ottawa Senators. . . . The Avalanche and Senators played the Sharks in San Jose on March 7 and 8. That was after officials in that area had recommended against large gatherings. . . .

The NBA’s New York Knicks announced Saturday evening that Jim Dolan, the executive chairman and CEO of the Madison Square Garden Company, has tested positive. He is in self-isolation with “little to no symptoms,” according to the team, and “continues to oversee business operations.” . . .


“British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who on March 3 bragged he ‘shook hands with everybody’ at a hospital with COVID-19 patients, has now tested positive for it,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “On the bright side, though, he’s the slam-dunk favorite for the inaugural Rudy Gobert Touch of Stupidity Award.” . . .


Today’s Thought of the Day from Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, originated with Mark Twain: “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.”


And here’s Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post with the question of the day . . .


Pyramid


The 2020 Manitoba 55+ Games have been cancelled. They were to have been held in Selkirk, June 16-18. . . . The Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame has postponed its 2020 induction dinner. It still will be held in Brandon, but has been moved from May 9 to Sept. 19. . . .


There still is some hockey being played in this world of ours . . .


Headline at fark.com: NCAA announces severe revenue reduction after canceling March Madness. Players to make the same amount.


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“President Trump reportedly phoned Alex Rodriguez for advice on the coronavirus. President Andrew Jackson had his infamous Kitchen Cabinet of outside-the-loop advisers. Trump might be assembling a Dugout Cabinet. Paging Yogi Berra. . . .

“What am I, chopped liver?” wonders Jose Canseco, sitting by his phone.

“A-Rod knows his stuff, I’m sure. But if I was prez, I would seek out Doc Rivers for a second opinion.” . . .


The Providence, R.I., branch of The First Baptist Church in America has a readerboard that recently read: “Had not planned on giving up quite this much for Lent.” . . .


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