Scattershooting on a Sunday night while pondering the mystery of the Prospera Place deficiencies . . .

scattershooting

Perhaps you are wondering about the “significant deficiencies” in Prospera Place, the home of the Kelowna Rockets, that prevented the WHL team from Kelownabidding to be the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup.

That honour, of course, has gone to Kamloops, with the Canadian Hockey League having announced on Friday that the Blazers would be the host team for the four-team tournament in 2023.

The 2020 tournament had been scheduled for Kelowna before the pandemic got in the way. Because of that cancellation and because preparations were well underway at the time, a lot of observers had expected the 2023 event to go to Kelowna.

Not so fast.

As the announcement was being made in Kamloops prior to a playoff game on Friday night, the Rockets issued an open letter in which they pointed a finger at the GSL Group.

“When we submitted our intent to bid,” the letter stated, “there was an audit conducted of Prospera Place, commissioned by the Rockets, the City of Kelowna, and the GSL Group, who own, operate and manage the arena.

“This audit found that there were significant deficiencies that needed to be upgraded for the facility to meet the CHL standards for hosting the Memorial Cup.”

An agreement couldn’t be reached to “make the necessary capital improvements to the building,” thus the Rockets weren’t able to enter a bid.

At this point, no one in the know has explained what those deficiencies might be.

So let’s turn to Doyle Potenteau of Global News in Kelowna. He covered the Rockets for a number of years while with the Kelowna Daily Courier, including the 2004 Memorial Cup that was held there. Yes, he is more than a little familiar with the arena. Anyway, he filed a story for Global that may have shed some light on the subject.

“It’s not known what the issues are,” Potenteau reported, “but one concern is dressing rooms for the players. While the Rockets have a large room, visiting (WHL) teams to Prospera Place are usually squeezed into two smaller rooms.

“Further, when Kelowna hosted the 2004 Memorial Cup, which the Rockets won, two portable dressing rooms had to be built outside the rink for the third and fourth teams, which happened to be the OHL and QMJHL champions.”

Whatever the deficiencies are, they obviously weren’t an issue on Oct. 3, 2018, when the WHL’s board of governors awarded the 2020 Memorial Cup to Kelowna over bids from Kamloops and the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Since then, however, it would seem that issues have come to the fore involving the Rockets’ home arena.

Of course, it’s also worth mentioning that the WHL board of governors no longer selects the host team. That decision now is made at the CHL level.


Glass


The stage has yet to be set for the WHL’s best-of-seven championship final, the WHLplayoffs2022winner of which will be awarded the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings, the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed, now has to wait until Tuesday to find out whether the Kamloops Blazers or Seattle Thunderbirds will open the final in the Alberta capital on Friday night. . . . Game 2 is scheduled for Edmonton on June 5. . . . TSN is to begin televising the championship series with Game 3 from Kamloops or Kent, Wash., on June 7. . . .

On Sunday night in Kent, the Thunderbirds beat the Blazers, 2-1, in Game 6 of the Western Conference final. It’s even, 3-3, so they’ll decide it all in Kamloops on Tuesday. . . . The last time that Kamloops was the site of Game 7 in a WHL playoff series? That would be May 10, 1994. The Blazers beat the visiting Saskatoon Blades, 8-1, in Game 7 of the WHL final, behind three goals from F Ryan Huska and two from F Jarome Iginla, then went on to win the Memorial Cup in Laval, Que.

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SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

Western Conference

In Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds scored the last two goals to beat the SeattleKamloops Blazers, 2-1. . . . The best-of-seven conference final is tied, 3-3, with Game 7 scheduled for Kamloops on Tuesday. . . . The Blazers had taken a 3-2 lead by beating the Thunderbirds, 4-3 in OT, in Kamloops on Friday. . . . The Blazers won Game 1 of this series at home, 5-2, with Seattle taking Game 2 on the road, 4-1. . . . Seattle, which came back to oust the Portland Winterhawks after trailing 3-1, is 4-0 in elimination games this spring. . . . Last night, F Kobe Verbicky’s first WHL playoff goal gave Kamloops a 1-0 lead at 12:53 of the first period. . . . Seattle tied it at 4:42 of the second period when F Jared Davidson scored his ninth goal of these playoffs. . . . F Lukas Svejkovsky (9), who drew the primary assist on Davidson’s goal, broke the tie at 3:28 of the third period. Davidson returned the favour, too, as he got the primary assist on the winner. . . . Seattle was 0-for-2 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-for-3. . . . G Thomas Milic stopped 34 shots to earn the victory over G Dylan Garand, who made 32 saves.


Masks

Just when you thought the pandemic was over you find out that Mike Breen tested positive so wasn’t able to call the play for Game 7 of the NBA conference final that had the Boston Celtics meeting the Heat in Miami on Sunday night. With Breen out of action, Mark Jones was given the assignment. . . . Jones recently signed a contract extension with ESPN; he’s been there for 32 years. Are you old enough to remember when he was at TSN. . . .

Pandemic over? Johns Hopkins University of Medicine’s Coronavirus Resource Center shows 2,576 deaths and 716,435 new cases in the U.S. in the past week. . . . Those figures for Canada are 305 and 18.292. . . . Over? No, not yet.



Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “The headline said that Rick Bowness had stepped down as coach of the Stars. The truth: He was pushed out. Owner Tom Gaglardi wanted the change. Good-guy Bowness is now contemplating between retirement, family time, grandchildren visits, and continuing to coach in the NHL.”


Headline at The Onion (@TheOnion): Congress Placed on Lockdown after Deranged Man Enters Senate with Gun Control Measures.

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Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): “Electricity” added to “policing” for services no longer provided by the City of Ottawa.


So . . . I’m watching the Toronto Blue Jays and the host Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night. . . . There is a small sign to the left of home plate that reads: $44 — 4 tickets, hot dogs, & sodas — $44. . . . In the eighth inning, Matt Devlin, who is calling the play, reads a Blue Jays’ promo about what the team calls its “value combo.” Devlin informs us that we can get four tickets to the 200 level, four food items and four drinks for $30 per person. . . . You do the math. . . . Hmmmmm!


A puzzler from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Most bitter rivalry on display this month — Edmonton-Calgary in hockey or Johnny Depp-Amber Heard in a courtroom?”


Asked by Detroit radio station WXYT-FM about today’s NBA players, former Los Angeles Lakers star James Worthy replied: “All they do is practise threes, lift weights, get tattoos, tweet and go on social media.”


America


So . . . it has come to this in the WHL where this t-shirt is available in adult and youth sizes on the Portland Winterhawks’ website. . . .

Portlandtee


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Somehow I missed it a few days ago when the junior A Aurora Tigers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League signed Sierra Costa as their general manager. She is the OJHL’s first female GM, and I’m thinking she just might be the first one in all of Canadian junior A hockey. . . . Costa graduated from Humber College’s sports management program. . . . The Tigers are owned by former NHL player Jim Thomson. . . . The fact that this story doesn’t seem to have been a big deal just might signal that a woman in a hockey team’s front office isn’t out of the ordinary any more. . . . And that’s a positive, for sure. . . .

The MJHL’s Portage Terriers will be the host team for the 2023 Centennial Cup tournament. The AJHL’s Brooks Bandits won the 2022 junior A tournament in Estevan on Sunday, beating OJHL’s Pickering Panthers, 4-1, in the final. The 2023 tournament will be held in May with the dates yet to be finalized. Portage la Prairie was to have been the host city for the 2020 tournament but it was cancelled because of the pandemic.


Farm


My wife, Dorothy, a kidney transplant recipient in 2013, will take part in the 2022 #kamloops Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year on Sunday. Yes, it’s virtual again. But she will be there, and you are able to sponsor her right here.


THINKING OUT LOUD — Yes, the annual Kamloops Kidney Walk is set for Sunday, and we’ll be taking part over here in our little corner of the world. If you want to be part of Dorothy’s team, please think about sponsoring her. . . . If you missed it, TSN is going to start showing the WHL’s championship final with Game 3 from Kamloops or Kent, Wash. Can’t imagine why it won’t show us Games 1 and 2 from Edmonton on Friday and June 5, but it does make one yearn for the days when Shaw-TV had a relationship with the WHL. . . . Actually, when Sportsnet handed off the CHL deal to TSN early this season, for some reason I thought we would see quite a few more major junior games, but that hasn’t happened. In fact, when’s the last time a WHL game was shown by TSN? . . . In the days ahead, TSN is going to show the OHL, QMJHL and WHL finals starting with the third game of each. They no doubt will use those telecasts to promote their coverage of the Memorial Cup that opens in Saint John, N.B., on June 20. . . . There isn’t much better than a good cup of coffee on a Sunday morning while listening to Jon Miller call a Major League Baseball game. . . . Coming to a bookstore near you on June 7 — Rickey: The Life and Legend of an American Original, by Howard Bryant. Can’t wait to dig into this one. . . . And speaking of books, Dan Russell, who spent 30 years as the host of the radio show Sportstalk, didn’t pull any punches in his memoir that is just out. Pleasant Good Evening — A Memoir: My 30 Wild and Turbulent Years of Sportstalk is available through Amazon (soft cover and Kindle) and Indigo (Kobo).


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Peanuts

Blazers set to introduce new GM . . . Thunderbirds, Blades make deal . . . Flames add Huska to coaching staff

MacBeth

F Jan Dalecký (Swift Current, 2007-09) signed a one-year contract extension with Herning (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). This season, he had 15 goals and 23 assists in 45 games. . . .

F Rudolf Červený (Regina, 2007-09) signed a one-year contract with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL). This season, with Hradec Králové (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had 21 goals and 17 assists in 49 games. He led his team in goals, was second in points, and was fourth in the league in goals. . . .

F Josh Nicholls (Saskatoon, 2008-13) signed a one-year contract with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). This season, with Litvinov (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had two assists in eight games. He signed with Storhamar (Norway, GET-Ligaen) on Nov. 19 and had 13 goals and seven assists in 22 games.


ThisThat

The Kamloops Blazers are poised to introduce their new general manager at a news conference this morning (Friday).

A source familiar with the situation told Taking Note on Thursday afternoon that Matt Kamloops1Bardsley will be the new general manager.

Bardsley, who has been with the Portland Winterhawks since 1999, would replace Stu MacGregor, who has been reassigned to the scouting staff of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. MacGregor took over as the GM in Kamloops after Craig Bonner left six games into the 2015-16 season. Bonner also is on the Stars’ scouting staff.

Tom Gaglardi, who owns the Stars, is the majority owner of the Blazers. The four minority owners, all former Blazers players, are Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla, Mark Recchi and Darryl Sydor.
Bardsley, 46, has been Portland’s assistant general manager for the past four seasons.

He grew up in San Jose, and moved to Portland in 1987, getting work at the Valley Ice Arena in Beaverton. That facility was Portland’s practice facility. One thing led to another and Bardsley started scouting for the WHL team in 1999.

He moved up to director of player personnel prior to 2008-09, then was named director of hockey operations in time for the 2010-11 season.

In Kamloops, Bardsley takes over a franchise that needs a head coach, lead assistant coach and a director of player personnel.

Don Hay, the head coach for the past four seasons, now is in an advisory role. The Blazers also announced on May 10 that Mike Needham, an assistant coach with the Blazers since 2010, and Matt Recchi, the director of player personnel for 10 seasons, wouldn’t have their contracts renewed.

The present owners have been in control for 11 seasons. In that time, the Blazers have missed the playoffs four times and lost in the first round on five occasions. They have missed the playoffs in three of the past five seasons, including this season.

Since losing in the WHL’s championship final in the spring of 1999, Kamloops has won three playoff series, and has advanced past the second round on one occasion, when it reached the Western Conference final in 2013.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have traded F Nakodan Greyeyes, 17, to the Saskatoon Blades Saskatoonfor a conditional sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft. . . . Greyeyes, from Winnipeg, was a sixth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, but has yet to sign a WHL contract. . . . This season, he had 24 goals and 29 assists in 36 games with the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy midget prep team. He also was pointless in two games with the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings.


The Saskatoon Blades have signed D Marek Schneider, 15, to a WHL contract. Schneider was a second-round selection by the Blades in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. From Prince Albert, he had three goals and 22 points in 30 games with the bantam AA Prince Albert Raiders this season. . . . Schneider expects to play with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos in 2018-19. He is a younger brother to D Braden Schneider of the Brandon Wheat Kings.


The Everett Silvertips have named F Connor Dewar as their captain for the 2018-19 season. Dewar, who will turn 19 on June 26, is preparing for his fourth season with Everett. This season, as an alternate captain, he had 38 goals and 30 assists in 68 games. . . . He succeeds D Kevin Davis and F Matt Fonteyne, both of whom have played out their junior eligibility, as the Silvertips’ captain. Davis and Fonteyne were co-captains this season.


The five-part series — NHL Under Oath — that TSN has been running this week continued Thursday as Rick Westhead, the senior correspondent, continues to shine a light on the league and its reaction to brain injuries. There is a story available right here, along with a video, none of which is at all favourable towards the NHL.

Meanwhile, The Globe and Mail takes the NHL to task in an editorial that is right here.


TheCoachingGame

Ryan Huska, a former WHL player and coach, has moved up to the NHL’s Calgary Flames as an assistant coach where he will work under head coach Bill Peters. Huska, 42, has spent four seasons coaching the Flames’ AHL affiliate — one season with the Adirondack Flames and the past three with the Stockton Heat. Before that, he was with the Kelowna Rockets for 12 seasons, the last seven as head coach. . . . As a player, he spent four seasons (1991-95) with the Kamloops Blazers and won three Memorial Cup titles. . . . He also won one Memorial Cup as a coach — he was an assistant with Kelowna in 2004. . . . There’s more on Huska, from George Johnson of calgaryflames.com, right here.


Todd Nelson, who played four seasons (1986-90) with his hometown Prince Albert Raiders, has signed a three-year contract as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Dallas Stars. In the coaching game since 2002-03, Nelson, 49, has spent the past three seasons as head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins, the AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings.


Brad Lauer is out after three seasons as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. The team announced that it “has mutually agreed to part ways” with Lauer. At the same time, the Lightning announced that it had fired associate coach Rick Bowness. . . . Lauer, from Humboldt, Sask., was an assistant coach with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice for five seasons (2002-07). He also has been an assistant coach in the NHL with the Ottawa Senators and Anaheim Ducks.


Jason Rogers has signed on as director of hockey operations and head coach of the White Rock Whalers, who are preparing for their first season in the junior B Pacific Junior Hockey League, which now features 12 teams. . . . This season, Rogers coached the midget A1 Vancouver Thunderbirds to a provincial title.


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