No large gatherings in Alberta through August . . . Calgary and Edmonton lose major events . . . WHL planning to open on schedule

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer, has said that restrictions on large gatherings in that province will run through the end of August.

Since Thursday, a number of events scheduled for Edmonton, including K-Days, and the city’s folk and jazz festivals, have been cancelled.

On Thursday, the Calgary Stampede and that city’s folk music festival were cancelled. On Friday, the City of Calgary extended its ban on large public gatherings and events through Aug. 31.

“The virus that causes COVID-19 will be with us for many months to come, and the relatively low case numbers we’re seeing in many parts of the province are the result of our collective efforts and sacrifices,” Hinshaw said in her daily briefing. “COVID-19 is still with us, and it spreads rapidly through social interactions.

“We have had several instances in the province of social gatherings where one person passed the virus on to many others at a single event before the individual knew they had COVID.”

She mentioned a bonspiel in Edmonton that included 73 attendees, 40 of whom later tested positive for COVID-19.

“Unfortunately,” she added, “this virus does not respect our feelings. I am keenly aware of the depth to which these measures are affecting everyone. I do not take them lightly. I ask you to do the same.”

Meanwhile, according to a tweet from Rod Pedersen, Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, told him that the league plans “to open the 2020-21 season on schedule and the June 27 import draft is unchanged.”

That, of course, is what Robison would be expected to say.

The WHL hasn’t yet released its 2020-21 regular-season schedules, but chances are it would begin the weekend of Sept. 25, about five weeks after teams will want to open training camps.

However, you would hope that the WHL has Plan B, Plan C, Plan D and maybe a few others . . . you know, just in case.

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, with 19 teams in B.C. and one — the Spokane Braves — in Washington, normally would open its regular season in mid-September. Steve Hogg, the general manager of the Summerland Steam, has told John Arendt of Black Press that “we have full plans on having a league,” but that it might not get rolling until mid-October.

You also are free to wonder if the annual CHL import draft really will be held on June 27. It normally is held a day or two after the NHL draft, which, this year, is scheduled for June 26 and 27 in Montreal.

But . . . hold on . . . there are rumblings that the NHL may postpone its draft because there will be a whole lot to sort out if it is to be held prior to the end of the regular season. And you will recall that the NHL’s regular season remains in a holding pattern.



The Bellingham Bells of baseball’s West Coast League have cancelled their 2020 season, but the league says its remaining 11 teams are preparing to open on June 5. . . . The league includes two Canadian teams — the Kelowna Falcons and Victoria HarbourCats. . . . The Bells’ hand was forced when the city shut down all activities in its facilities through Aug. 31. . . .

The 10-team Cape Cod Baseball League, perhaps the top summer league for college players, has cancelled its 2020 season. The league has been around since 1885 and has played every season since 1945. . . . Its season was to have opened on June 13, with playoffs starting on Aug. 4. . . .

The 12-team Western Canadian Baseball League is expected to cancel its 2020 season after officials meet on Wednesday. The 12-team league features teams in Melville, Moose Jaw, Regina, Swift Current, Weyburn and Yorkton, all in Saskatchewan, and the Alberta communities of Brooks, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Okotoks. . . .

Organizers have cancelled the World Triathlon event that was scheduled to be held in Edmonton. The Grand Final of the ITU World Triathlon group was set for Aug. 17-23. . . . Reid Wilkins of Global News has more right here, including news that the Prairie Football Conference, which is scheduled to begin play in mid-August, is looking at a delayed start.



A nondescript wooden cudgel discovered in a Vermont home in 1980 — and just sitting in an umbrella stand ever since — turned out to be a circa-1850s hockey stick now up for auction online. It’s been appraised at $3.5 million,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Proving once again that it pays to forecheck.”


Pizza


Greg Cote, in the Miami Herald: “The PGA Tour is planning a mid-June return with no fans, assuring the look and ambiance of it will have all the excitement of a Tuesday practice round. Meantime, GolfTV reported exclusively that the gum Tiger Woods chews on a golf course is orange-flavored Trident. Run to the store and start hoarding!”



Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with the Thought of the Day, this one from A.J. Liebling: “Khrushchev, too, looks like the kind of man his physicians must continually try to diet, and historians will someday correlate these sporadic deprivations, to which he submits ‘for his own good,’ with his public tantrums. If there is to be a world cataclysm, it will probably be set off by skim milk, Melba toast, and mineral oil on the salad.”


Wasps


Nick Deschenes has signed on as the head coach and director of player personnel with the junior B Summerland Steam of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. . . . He has spent the past four seasons working with minor hockey programs and academies near his home in West Kelowna. . . . Prior to that he spent one season (2012-13) as the GM/head coach of the KIJHL’s Grand Forks Border Bruins and the next two as the GM/head coach of the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. . . . Deschenes takes over the Steam from Ken Karpuk, who departed after one season. . . . Tim Hogg, the play-by-play voice of the Steam has more right here.


Barry Petrachenko spent 20 years running BC Hockey. On Monday, the province’s hockey CEO lost his job. . . . If you’re wondering what happened, Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week has the story right here.


StayAway

Scattershooting on a Wednesday night and, hey, it’s George Reed’s birthday . . .

Scattershooting

Hey, we’re scattershooting from the road so we’re doing some catching up . . .


You know that you might be in Regina when you pick up a copy of The Leader-Post and the major headline above the fold reads: RIDER LEGEND HITS 80. . . . And the sports section front and second page are both all George Reed all the time. . . . Hey, not complaining. Just sayin’ . . . Hey, George, happy birthday and here’s to many more!



Brad Flynn is an assistant coach with the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels. His fiancee, Christine, was diagnosed with breast cancer in April and is undergoing treatment. The other day, all of the Rebels players had their heads shaved in a show of support for her. Well done, Rebels! Well done! You can bet that really means a lot of Christine and Brad.


When old friend Bob Ridley walked into the broadcast booth in the ENMAX Centre in Lethbridge a couple of Friday’s ago, he began his 50th season of calling the play-by-play of games involving the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Going into the game, the Tigers had played 3,936 regular-season, playoff and Memorial Cup games, and Ridley had been on the air for 3,935 of them. (Yes, there’s a story behind the game he missed and it involves women’s curling. Ask him about it the next time you see him.) . . . As blogger Darren Steinke points out, “If you called 80 games a season . . . for 49 campaigns, you would still fall short of Ridley’s current total.” . . . And let’s not forget that Ridley was the Tigers’ bus driver for the vast majority of those seasons, too. . . . Steinke has more right here in a blog posting.



Here’s a plug for old friend Dickson Liong’s podcast — Two Peas in a Pod . . . cast. He and Jon Guarin talk about, in Liong’s own words, “topics that society is afraid to talk about, including mental health, relationships and everyday struggles.” . . . Check it out right here.


Headline at TheOnion.com: Tearful Justify holds press conference blaming failed drug test on contaminated salt lick.


IceCream


Thanks to Rod Pedersen, whose new show is available via Facebook, for the kind words: “The WHL and CFL lost two huge media figures when Gregg Drinnan and Drew Edwards walked away from their blogs (Taking Note and 3DownNation). They left for different reasons, but now a huge hole has been created in coverage of both leagues. 3DownNation will be okay because Justin Dunk has assumed control but as far as the Dub goes, there will never be another Gregg Drinnan. He doesn’t just belong in a Hall of Fame for WHL Writers; it should be named after him. Teams and head offices sometimes saw these guys as a pain, but we’re going to see now why the media is so important to what happens on the field, the ice, in the stands and at the turnstiles.”


From Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “For you big believers in Bad Things Happen in Threes, Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) is out for the Steelers, Drew Brees (thumb) is out for the Saints and Christie Brinkley (broken arm) is out for Dancing With The Stars.”

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One more from Perry: “The Cowboys opened as 20-point favorites over the Dolphins earlier this season— the largest opening spread in 30 years. Stealing a page from the college-football book, Miami asked to be paid a $950,000 appearance fee.”

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Perry, again: “The NCAA banned Georgia Tech’s basketball team from postseason play for one year because boosters provided impermissible benefits to a recruit — including clothing and a strip-club visit. Which certainly puts a whole new spin on ‘shirts and skins’.”



Can anyone explain how ex-Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon became so dumb so quickly? As Jack Finarelli, aka The SportsCurmudgeon, writes: “Joe Maddon’s teams in Chicago accumulated a five-season record of 471-340, which is a winning percentage of .581. To put that in perspective, there are 25 managers in the Baseball Hall of Fame whose career records are below .581.”

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If you haven’t already read it, Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times spells out right here what went wrong at Wrigley Field.


Headline at TheOnion.com: Overwhelmed Dolphins GM asks players to please use automated email form when making trade requests.