Hurricanes limit the damage, but 2020-21 could be messy . . . QMJHL looking to play this weekend . . . NHL postpones Tuesday game


While the three community-owned Saskatchewan-based WHL teams combined Lethbridgeto lose more than $1.5 million last season, the Lethbridge Hurricanes, the league’s other community-owned club, managed to lose only $1,030. . . . That appears to have been the biggest revelation as the Hurricanes held their annual general meeting in virtual fashion on Monday night. Originally scheduled for September, it had been postponed to December before finally being held on Monday. . . . While almost breaking even for last season, the Hurricanes, who had shown a profit of $282,168 for the 2018-19 season, have budgeted a loss of about $1.3 million for 2020-21. That, of course, is the worst-case scenario, which isn’t hard to imagine happening in these COVID-19 times. . . . Danica Ferris of Global News has more right here. . . .

The Hurricanes were able to get in 31 home games, averaging 3,970 fans per game. . . . Some numbers for the three community-owned teams that operate in Saskatchewan: The Moose Jaw Warriors, who declared a loss of $391,299, averaged 2,981 fans for 31 home games. . . . The Prince Albert Raiders, who lost $331,895, got in 32 homes games, averaging 2,642 fans. . . . In 32 home games, the Swift Current Broncos averaged 1,954 fans en route to losing $791,000.



The QMJHL, which last played on Nov. 29, plans on resuming play this qmjhlnewweekend, but it won’t be playing in the Maritime provinces. The league had three games scheduled for each of Friday and Saturday nights in the Maritime Division, but has had to scratch them all “following meetings with government and public health officials of the three provinces,” the league said in a news release. “Meanwhile, the league will continue its constructive dialogue with the three provinces to resume playing as soon as possible.” . . . In the meantime, the 12 Quebec-based teams are scheduled to play a total of 15 games over the weekend.



Don’t look now but we already are half-past January, and there are daffodils blooming at English Bay in Vancouver. With that in mind and considering all that is going on around us, it perhaps shouldn’t be a surprise that some places are giving up on a 2020-21 winter season. . . . In Regina, the Highland Curling Club and the Caledonian Curling Club have cancelled the remainder of their seasons. A note from the Callie’s announcement via Facebook: “With the recent extension of the public health order, and continued rise of Covid-19 in our community, the need to end our curling season has become abundantly clear.” . . . Meanwhile, in B.C., the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) shut down Castlegar’s Pioneer Arena on Monday and is closing the Civic Centre in Nelson, effective Jan. 29. With a Public Health Order in place that restricts adult participation in sport and no end in sight, the RDCK said the closures were being done in order to reduce expenses. . . . The Nelson Star has more right here.


If you are an avid reader of Elliotte Friedman’s weekly posting 31 Thoughts, you are able to find the latest one right here. As always, it’s best served up with a hot cuppa coffee or tea, or whatever else is your beverage of choice.


Bigpot


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News — Manitoba announces 111 new cases of COVID-19, which suggests the number of new cases is trending downwards. Today’s total brings the province’s 7-day average down to 172. There are also 11 more deaths due to the virus.

CBC News — Number of new cases in Saskatchewan tops 300 again after falling below that figure for 3 days. With 309 new cases, the province’s 7-day average rises to 300. 6 additional deaths are also being reported.

CBC News — Alberta reported another 17 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday and 456 new cases of the illness. There were 11,096 active cases in the province with 740 people in hospital, including 119 in ICU beds. Total deaths since the beginning of the pandemic now sits at 1,464. Active cases in the province declined by 827 compared to Monday.

Richard Zussman, Global B.C. — There are 465 new cases, including 13 epi-linked cases, for a total of 61,912 cases in British Columbia. . . . There are 12 new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,090.

CBC News — Ontario has 1,913 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest in more than a month. However, the health minister’s office says the number is likely low due to a data collection issue in Toronto. There are also 46 additional deaths. A record high 400 people are in ICUs.

CBC News — 1,386 new COVID-19 cases in Quebec, the lowest number of daily cases since December 4. The province is also attributing 55 additional deaths to the virus.

CBC News — Quebec calls on federal government to ban all non-essential international travel in light of growing emergence of new COVID-19 variants.

CTV News — PM warns Canada could impose new COVID-19 travel restrictions without notice.

CBC News — New Brunswick reports 31 new COVID-19 cases, tied for the 2nd highest number since the pandemic. Authorities recommend 3 health zones — including the province’s 3 biggest cities (Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton) be moved to red alert level.

CBC News, Tuesday, 12:30 p.m. PT — COVID-19 deaths in United States top 400,000, Johns Hopkins University tracking team says. Number of confirmed cases worldwide is 95,914,148 (24,163,823 in U.S.) with 2,049,813 deaths. Canada has had 718,519 cases with 18,232 deaths.

CNN, Tuesday, 4 p.m. PT: 401,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

——

The NHL postponed a game between the Carolina Hurricanes and host Nashville Predators that had been scheduled for Tuesday night. According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, there is a COVID-19 “situation with the Hurricanes.” . . . The Hurricanes have five players on the protocol list — Warren Foegele, Jordan Martinook, Jaccob Slavin, Jordan Staal and Teuvo Teravainen. . . . The NHL now has postponed five games this regular season, with the other four all involving the Dallas Stars, who have yet to play a game. They are scheduled open on Friday at home against the Predators. . . .

The IIHF world men’s hockey championship, scheduled to open on May 21, won’t be taking place in Belarus, a country troubled by political unrest. The IIHF announced the decision on Monday, citing safety concerns. Of course, the decision also was made after three sponsors — Liqui Moly, Nivea and Skoda — said they would withdraw support if the tournament went ahead in Belarus. . . . The tournament was to have been shared with Latvia; the IIHF now is looking for another site. Another option is to move it to Denmark or Slovakia. . . .

The University of Nevada-Las Vegas Rebels have shut down their hockey program until the fall “due to continuous national hardships with COVID-19. . . . As it stands today, the local government determined that a safe enough path for competition could not be found for spring of 2021.” . . .

Hockey East has thrown out the remainder of its 2020-21 schedule because of coronavirus-related disruptions, and now says it will schedule on a weekly basis. . . . The conference has some teams that have played 15 games and some at four, so will work to try and even things out at least a bit. . . .

Devin Heroux of CBC Sports reported Tuesday that the Canadian men’s slopestyle team will miss an international event in Switzerland because two members have tested positive and are in isolation. . . . His story is right here.


Beer



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 a letter to season-ticket holders, the Edmonton Oil Kings, among other things, indicated that should a WHL season get started they will their home games “in the Downtown Community Arena without fans in attendance.” Under what used to be normal circumstances, the Oil Kings played home games in Rogers Place, the home of the the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers, of course, own the Oil Kings. . . . The Montreal Canadiens have signed a three-year affiliate deal with an expansion ECHL franchise that is to begin play in Trois-Rivières in 2021-22.


Fix

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


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

RayFerraro
RAY FERRARO (Photo: TSN)

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

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

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

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

Ferraro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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



Protip


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while waiting for the snow to arrive . . .

Scattershooting


If as expected the sale of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks closes on Dec. 31, Michael Kramer, a 52-year-old native of Los Angeles who has been described by one of his former professors as “a rock star in the world of finance,” will be one of the new owners.

MichaelKramer2
MICHAEL KRAMER

The Winterhawks are planning a news conference at which it will be announced that Kerry Preete, a native of Melfort, Sask., and Kramer have purchased the franchise out of receivership for US$5,850,000.

Preete, 60, spent more than 30 years with Monsanto, and was its executive vice-president and chief strategy officer when it was sold to Bayer A.G., in 2018.

Kramer, who has a bachelor’s degree in finance from California State U Northridge (CSUN), lives in New Canaan, Conn. He is the CEO and founding partner of Ducera Partners LLC, an investment bank. As such, he has been involved in some monster deals.

Ducera advised Monsanto in the US$70-billion deal in which it was purchased by Bayer. Yahoo!finance reported in 2016, two years before the deal was completed, that “approximately $100 to $110 million in fees are expected to be divvied up between lead adviser Ducera and Morgan Stanley for their sell-side advisory roles, according to estimates by consultant Freeman & Co.”

Ducera also was involved in the restructuring or sales of iHeart Radio ($20 billion) and Nieman Marcus ($5 billion), among others.

Kramer also has been described as having been “the architect” of the sales of such professional franchises as the Dallas Stars, New Jersey Devils and Texas Rangers.

If you’re wondering just what it is that Kramer does, he explained during a speaking engagement at CSUN in 2019 how he handled a project involving Hostess Brands in 2012.

As Olivia Herstein of CSUN Today reported, Kramer told his audience:

“It’s the great American icon, the Twinkie. We can’t live without our Twinkies. Seven years ago, I was called by the board of Hostess. They said, ‘We’re having a lot of financial trouble, we’re running out of money — we don’t know how we’re going to continue. Can you come in and help us think through this?’

“When I, or any investment banker, gets involved in these transactions, it is usually a multi-year process. It’s not two or three weeks. In that situation, we had to figure out how to restructure the company. They had approximately 42 different union contracts! Two of the primary unions were the International Teamsters and the Bakers (the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International). So, I got to spend six months of my life, going three or four days a week down to D.C., to the headquarters of the Teamsters, negotiating with their most senior leaders.

“We actually cut a deal. The Teamsters were an incredibly tough counterpart, but we cut a deal. Unfortunately we weren’t as successful with the Baker’s Union. We were forced to totally shut the company down — that was me, I’m the guy who took away Twinkies for a few months. About six months later, we sold the company for approximately $1 billion. In many ways, that’s what we deal with all the time. It was a success in the price we were able to receive for the assets, but a failure in some respects, because a lot of people lost their jobs.”

Meanwhile, thanks to Joshua Critzer’s reporting on Twitter (@jjcritzer), we know that Mike Johnston, the vice-president, general manager and head coach, and Kyle Gustafson, the assistant GM and associate, will remain with the Winterhawks. Critzer also reported that Doug Piper, the franchise’s president and governor, will be staying put.


Dennys


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, lives in the Washington, D.C., area. Of late, it seems that he has been trying to find some morning listening on the ol’ wireless. Here he is, trying to explain his adventure as only he can:

“I have tried for a couple of months to warm up to the current morning show on ESPN Radio. I decided about a week ago that was never going to happen. Jay Williams is the only one of the three hosts who ever says anything that is thought-provoking and among the three, he is generally the silent partner. As of now, I will only listen to these three guys in the morning if my alternatives are NPR’s Morning Edition and a televangelist preaching in some unknown language.

“This restricts my morning radio options in the DC area significantly. There are two other options. One is called The Sports Junkies — a show featuring 4 insufferably uninteresting people sharing inside jokes and ‘frat boy banter.’ The other option is the Kevin Sheehan Show which is now going to be my morning aural experience. I arrived at that position by selecting the least worst option available to me.”


Cooking


“The Gonzaga-Baylor men’s basketball game featuring the 1-2 teams in the country was scuttled by positive tests in the Bulldogs’ camp,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “In a related story, COVID-19 was just voted No. 1 in the latest AP poll.”


The Onion: Taylor Swift Fans Furious After Artist Excluded From ESPN’s List Of Best NBA Players Of 2020.


So . . . Michael Jordan has a new golf course — The Grove XXIII — in Hobe Sound, Fla., and it uses drones to deliver beverages. Why drones? Well, as Nick Piastowski of Golf.com, points out: “He was Michael ‘Air’ Jordan. Not Michael ‘Beer Cart’ Jordan. Not Michael ‘Hot Dog at the Turn’ Jordan.”



The 2021 Kamloops Kidney Walk will be held virtually, as it was in June. Yes, Dorothy will be taking part, as she has since 2014. . . . She already has registered and her granddaughters, Averi and Kara, have joined her team. If you are interested in making a donation — perhaps you are looking for a tax receipt for this year’s filing — you are able to do so right here.



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Bartley Kives, CBC Manitoba: Manitoba announced 273 new cases of COVID-19 and 7 more deaths on Sunday. . . . Active cases: 5,728 (overstated due to backlog in calling patients to designate active cases as recovered). . . . Total caseload: 21,023. . . . Recovered: 14,805. . . . Deaths: 490. . . . In hospital: 304, and In ICU: 43 (Understated. Both these counts do not include long-term COVID patients who are no longer contagious but still require hospital care.) . . . Five-day test-positivity rate: 13.5 per cent. . . . Tests completed Saturday: 2,145.

CTV News: There have been 222 new cases of COVID-19 and three related deaths reported in Saskatchewan in the past 24 hours.

CBC News: Alberta reports 1,717 new COVID-19 cases as well as a record 22 deaths.

B.C.: More crickets.

CBC News: Ontario is reporting 1,677 cases of #COVID19 and nearly 58,200 tests completed. Locally, there are 456 new cases in Toronto, 356 in Peel and 143 in York Region. There are 1,678 more resolved cases.

CBC News: Quebec reported 1,994 new cases of COVID-19 and 33 more deaths.

CBC News: Nova Scotia is reporting 6 new cases of COVID-19. All of the new cases have been traced back to previously reported cases or travel outside Atlantic Canada.

CBC News: N.B. reports 2 new cases of COVID-19, both in Fredericton region.

BNO News: 16,987 COVID deaths were reported in the U.S. this week, making it the deadliest week on record.

Ryan Struyk, CNN: 299,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

Ryan Struyk, CNN: 16.2 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.

——

Pierre Lacroix, a former general manager of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, died on Sunday in Las Vegas. According to Le Journal de Quebec, he died due to COVID-19 complications. He was 72. . . .

Offensive line coach John Benton of the San Francisco 49ers missed their Sunday game with Washington in Glendale, Ariz., after testing positive. This was the 49ers’ first positive test since they were forced to relocate to Glendale.


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: F Štěpán Novotný, who played in the WHL with the Kelowna Rockets and Swift Current Broncos (2008-11), has retired due to concussions. The MacBeth Report tweeted that he “suffered his fourth concussion in 10 years in a game against Liberec on March 3.” . . . The BCHL’s Penticton Vees appear to have lost F Quinn Hutson to the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks. His name now is on the Lumberjacks’ roster on their website. Hutson, who will turn 19 on Jan. 1, is from Chicago and has committed to Boston U. He was in his first BCHL season and led the Vees with 10 goals in 14 games during the extended exhibition season.


Paranoia

Canada down to three goalies as seven players go home . . . Portland WHL fan offers some perspective

In case you haven’t yet seen/heard this Christmas tune . . .


Hockey Canada trimmed seven players from its national junior team selection camp in Red Deer on Thursday, and two of them were goaltenders.

That means Team Canada will go into the World Junior Championship in the 2021WJCEdmonton bubble with Dylan Garand (Kamloops Blazers), Taylor Gauthier (Prince George Cougars) and Devon Levi (Northeastern U) as its goaltenders when the tournament opens on Dec. 25.

The players cut on Thursday were G Brett Brochu (London Knights), G Tristan Lennox (Saginaw Spirit) and forwards Adam Beckman (Spokane Chiefs), Tyson Foerster (Barrie Colts), Hendrix Lapierre (Chicoutimi Sagueneens), Cole Schwindt (Mississauga Steelheads) and Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs). . . . Beckman, 19, led the WHL in goals (48) and points (107) in 63 games last season. . . . Wright, who will turn 17 on Jan. 5, already is seen as the probably No. 1 pick in the NHL’s 2022 draft. . . .

Levi, a freshman at Northeastern, stopped 36 shots on Thursday night to help Red to a 4-0 victory White in an intrasquad game. The goals came from D Justin Barron (Halifax Mooseheads), F Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg Ice), F Connor McMichael (London) and F Dylan Holloway (U of Wisconsin Badgers). In White’s goal, Garand allowed three goals on 21 shots in his half, with Gauthier giving up one goal on 15 shots. . . . White had posted a 6-4 victory on Wednesday night. . . .

All 10 teams are to get into the Edmonton bubble on Sunday. Teams will quarantine for five days and all participants will be tested daily. . . . There weren’t any reported positive tests on Thursday. . . . At this point, Sweden has lost four players and four coaches off its roster, while Germany has had four players test positive. . . . Canada had two unidentified players test positive, then cut five players, saying they were, according to Hockey Canada’s Scott Salmod “unfit to continue to play based on return-to-play protocols.” . . . Switzerland has had three players come up positive, while the U.S. lost three players who attend Boston U where the program was paused due to COVID-19. . . . Austria has had one positive test. . . . That leaves Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Slovakia as the only competing teams not to have reported a positive test.


After reports on Wednesday that the United States had experienced what was whlthen a single-day record of 3,055 deaths to COVID-19, a WHL fan from Portland emailed me what follows:

“I would urge everyone to give the following scenario/exercise some thought and perspective . . .

“It’s a Wednesday night and the Hawks are hosting an Eastern Division team (let’s say Moose Jaw) in the Memorial Coliseum.

“You are at the game — and because you are at the game and you have been to many weekday MC games before . . . you have a real good ‘feel’ for the size of the crowd.

“The ‘true’ attendance at the MC is 3,055 — a routine attendance figure for a Wednesday night home game at the Memorial Coliseum for an Eastern squad.

“Now . . . take a deep breath/close your eyes/and imagine what the size and feel of that crowd is — 3,055 spectators — try and take a good picture of just how many people that is.

“Thanks for reading and hopefully you got a picture in your mind of what 3,055 people looks like to you.”

Then he added . . .

“Damn . . . I was gonna try and equate it to Canada . . . but I see on the same day Canada had 116 deaths. . . . 3,000 people — that’s a half-full rink in many of the WHL rinks.

“That’s a standing room only crowd in Swift Current . . .”


Opportunist


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: Manitoba is reporting 293 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 additional deaths related to the virus. There are 298 COVID-19 patients in hospital in the province, including 43 in intensive care. Manitoba’s 5-day test positivity rate is 13.3%.

CBC News: COVID-19 in Sask.: 4 more deaths, 324 new cases, 345 recoveries reported Thursday. . . . The seven-day average of daily new cases in Saskatchewan is now 283, a record high.

CBC News: Alberta is reporting 1,566 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 new deaths related to the illness.

CBC News: As of Wednesday, there were 202 COVID patients in Calgary hospitals, including 36 in intensive care, pushing the facilities beyond 100 per cent capacity.

Mo Cranker, Medicine Hat News: Medicine Hat is up to 93 active cases of COVID-19. There are 10 new active cases and eight recoveries in the city. . . . Cypress County is at 12 active cases, Forty Mile is at six. . . . Lethbridge is at 229 active cases. Brooks is at 25 active cases.

Richard Zussman, Global BC: COVID-19 cases up in BC. There are 723 new cases in the province of the virus. There have been 40,060 total cases. . . . Tragic day in BC. Most deaths in 24-hour period in the province. There have been 28 deaths due to the virus. There have been 587 deaths due to the virus in BC. . . . There are 346 people in hospital, up 8. There are 83 people in ICU, a new record high. This is also up 8. There are 9,524 active cases and 11,947 people in self-isolation.

CBC News: B.C. has sent a rapid-response team of paramedics to Fort St. James, where at least 60 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the community of around 1,500.

CBC News: Ontario reports 1,983 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, a new single-day high for the province. The new cases come with a record-high 61,809 tests completed. 515 new cases in Peel, 496 in Toronto and 208 in York Region. . . . Ontario records 35 more deaths linked to COVID-19, and there are 829 people hospitalized with the virus; 228 in ICU and 132 are on ventilators.

CBC News: Quebec reports 1,842 new cases of COVID-19 and 33 additional deaths linked to the virus. Province also has 1,218 new recoveries. 848 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in QC, 113 in ICU.

CBC News: 1 new case of COVID-19 has been reported in N.L. The new case involves a man in his 60s in the central region.

CBC News: 4 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Nova Scotia, for a total of 64 known active cases in the province. 1 case is in the Eastern Zone and the other 3 are in the Central Zone. There are currently no COVID-19 patients in hospital in the province.

CBC News: 4 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in New Brunswick.

CBC News: Zero new COVID-19 cases reported in Nunavut on Thursday.

CNN: 292,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

Ryan Struyk, CNN: World War II US battle deaths: 291,557 . . . US coronavirus deaths (so far): 292,091.

NBC News: The U.S. recorded 3,110 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, a new single-day record.

Governor Jay Inslee: Yesterday was the deadliest day of the pandemic so far in Washington. 49 people died — pushing us over 3,000 total deaths from COVID-19. Our hearts are with the families who have lost loved ones to this virus.

CBC News: Ellen DeGeneres says she has COVID-19. Production on comedian’s talk show halted until January.

——

The Oklahoma Sooners were to have played football against the West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday on ABC-TV, but it won’t happen. The game has been cancelled because the Mountaineers have an outbreak. The game had been scheduled for Nov. 28 but didn’t happen then, either. . . . The Washington at Oregon game won’t happen, either. Washington doesn’t have the minimum number of scholarship student-athletes available for the game. . . .

The Kansas City Chiefs are scheduled to visit New Orleans on Dec. 20 and the Saints were planning on having 15,000 fans in attendance. That changed on Thursday when the Saints and the city said that capacity now will be 3,000. . . .

The Chicago Bears closed their facility on Thursday after a positive test. The same thing happened on Nov. 5, and the Bears were back in business the next day. . . . The Houston Texans are scheduled to visit Chicago on Sunday. . . . The Bears put three practice-roster players on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week, and added DeAndre Carter, a punt returner/receiver, on Thursday.


Mike


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.


Fitbit

BCHL hopes to play in Penticton bubble in 2021 . . . Swedish junior star tests positive . . . Daum back in coaching game


The BCHL had hoped to begin its regular season on Tuesday, but that dream ended when B.C.’s Provincial Health Office (PHO) imposed new restrictions last week.

In brief, those restrictions prohibit players 19 years of age and older from BCHLparticipating in practices or games, while allowing players younger than that to take part in drills but with a few restrictions.

Now, according to documents obtained by Taking Note, the BCHL is working on a plan that would have the 17 teams that are partaking in this season — the Wenatchee, Wash., Wild is on hiatus because the U.S.-Canada border is closed to non-essential travel — play in a Penticton bubble. The plan remains a work in progress but the league wants to present what it calls the “BCHL Bubble Concept” to the PHO this month.

That bubble would take place in the South Okanagan Events Centre, the home of the BCHL’s Vees, and the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.

A two-week quarantine period would be followed by a regular season of 20 to 24 games and a seven- or 10-day playoff tournament. One model worked up by the league would have the quarantine period run Jan. 15-29, with a two-day transition into the bubble, the regular season going Feb. 1 through March 22, and playoffs running March 23 through April 2.

According to the documentation, a plan for COVID-19 testing “will be determined by the PHO.” Individuals would be tested as many as five times while in quarantine, although there are “more details to come on this.”

Players would continue to pay $1,500 per month for February and March, as they did for October and November when the teams held extended training camps and played exhibition games within cohorts.

So what’s next? The BCHL needs approval from government and health officials, as well as from Hockey Canada and BC Hockey.

“Once approval is (received),” the documentation reads, “we will notify all players and parents. Then final league decision and alterations to this plan are made. This is just the outlook of a plan and extensive work is going into the procedure.”


F William Eklund won’t be on Sweden’s roster at the fast-approaching World Junior Championship after he tested positive. Eklund, 18, is a top prospect for the NHL’s 2021 draft. He has seven goals and five assists in 16 games with Djurgardens IF in the SHL, his country’s top league. Last season, in the J20 SuperElit, he had 12 goals and 24 assists in 31 games. . . . Sweden’s national junior team would have been expecting him to score for them at the WJC. . . . The 10-team tournament is scheduled to open in a bubble in Edmonton on Dec. 25. With the tournament this close, a positive test means that person won’t be allowed entry into Canada. . . .

At least two other high-end players also will be missing, but not because of positive tests. The New Jersey Devils have decided not to allow F Jack Hughes to play for the U.S., while the New York Rangers aren’t going to let F Alexis Lafreniere join Team Canada.


Rob Daum is back in the coaching game, this time with EC VSV, which plays in the Erste Bank Hockey League out of Villach, Austria. . . . Daum actually is returning to the club he coached last season. He ended up on the outside looking in after he and the team weren’t able to agree to contract terms after the season ended. . . . On Saturday, Daum, 62, got a two-year deal in replacing Dan Ceman, who was 6-10. The change was made despite the club having won its last two games and four in a row on home ice. . . . Daum has been coaching since 1986, and has been in Europe since 2011-12. He coached in the WHL with the Prince Albert Raiders, Swift Current Broncos and Lethbridge Hurricanes, 1989-95).


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: Manitoba is reporting 19 new deaths related to COVID-19, including a woman in her 20s. The province is also reporting 354 new cases of the virus. Manitoba’s test positivity rate is 13.1%. 349 people are in hospital, including 51 in intensive care.

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 202 new cases of COVID-19. No new deaths related to the illness have been reported in the province. . . . The Saskatchewan government says the numbers in the Saskatoon region, where 4 cases were recorded, are ‘much lower than anticipated due to a data-related issue that is in the process of correction and is expected to be updated tomorrow.’

CBC News: Alberta is reporting a record 1,879 new cases of COVID-19. This is the 3rd straight day the province has seen more than 1,800 cases. There have been 6 additional deaths linked to COVID-19 in the province.

As usual, there isn’t a weekend report from B.C. That guarantees us some huge numbers when they are revealed on Monday.

CBC News: Ontario reports new record high of 1,859 COVID-19 cases on Saturday. . . . Ontario health minister says spread of COVID-19 ‘has reached a critical point’ as province reports 1,859 more cases

CBC News: Quebec is reporting 2,031 new cases of COVID-19. The province has added 48 deaths to its total, including 11 that occurred within the last 24 hours. 754 people are in hospital, including 96 in intensive care. . . . With 2,031 new COVID-19 cases today, Quebec has set a grim record. It’s the highest daily case count recorded in any province or territory since the start of the pandemic. . . . Today marks the 1st time the province has topped 2,000 new cases. Case counts are skyrocketing in Montreal (630 new cases), Quebec City (304) and the outlying eastern parts of the province. . . . INSQ epidemiologist Dr. Gaston De Serres says: ‘The system in which people put in information regarding new cases slowed down,’ resulting in a slightly lower case count Friday and a slightly higher count today.

CBC News: New Brunswick is reporting 2 new cases of COVID-19. 1 case is in the Saint John region; the other is in the Edmundston region. Both new cases are under investigation. There are 98 known active cases in the province, including 1 person in intensive care.

CBC News: Nova Scotia is reporting 6 new cases of COVID-19. 4 of the new cases are in the Central Zone and 2 are in the Eastern Zone. All of the new cases are being investigated. There are 95 known active cases in the province. No one is currently in hospital.

CBC News: P.E.I. is reporting 3 new cases of COVID-19. The province has  seen 76 confirmed cases since the pandemic began.

CBC News: 4 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Newfoundland and Labrador. 2 are contacts of a previously announced case, 1 is travel-related and the remaining case is being investigated. There are 26 known active cases of the virus in N.L.

CBC News: Nunavut is reporting 8 new cases of COVID-19. There are 56 known active cases in the province.

KPTV: Oregon Health Authority update: 1,847 new cases of COVID-19 statewide, 24 additional deaths.

The New York Times: Seven states in the Midwest have seen a sustained decrease in infections over the past 14 days, offering a glimmer of hope for a region consumed by the coronavirus.

Ryan Struyk, CNN: “We’re rounding the corner on the pandemic,” President Trump says falsely as the United States reports a record-high 227,885 new coronavirus cases in a single day.

Ryan Struyk, CNN: The United States is now averaging 2,011 coronavirus deaths per day, its highest seven-day rolling average since April 29, according to data from CNN and Johns Hopkins University. . . . The United States is now averaging 182,586 new coronavirus cases per day, the highest seven-day rolling average since the pandemic began, according to data from CNN and Johns Hopkins University. . . . 14.4 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus. . . . The rolling average of new US coronavirus cases has climbed to 182,586 cases per day. That’s up 100% in the last 30 days, up 200% in the last 45 days, up 300% in the last 60 days and up 400% in the last 90 days. . . . The United States has now reported more than 1 million new coronavirus cases so far in December.

CBC News: Moscow, the epicentre of Russia’s coronavirus outbreak, registered 7,993 new cases overnight.

Thomson Reuters: Moscow began distributing the Sputnik V COVID-19 shot via 70 clinics on Saturday, marking Russia’s first mass vaccination against the disease, the city’s coronavirus task force said. . . . The task force said the Russian-made vaccine would first be made available to doctors and other medical workers, teachers and social workers because they ran the highest risk of exposure to the disease.


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.


Bigfoot

COVID-19 has landed in Eagles’ nest; AJHL team has 16 positives . . . Virus forces multitude of schedule changes

Hockey’s worst nightmare showed up in Canmore, Alta., the picturesque Alberta community that is home to the AJHL’s Eagles and is located just over an Canmorehour west of Calgary.

On Nov. 19, the AJHL reported “a member of the Canmore Eagles has tested positive for COVID-19.”

On Friday, reports indicated that at least 16 members of the Eagles have tested positive, along with an untold number of their contacts. For example, general manager/head coach Andrew Milne tested positive, as did his wife and one of their sons.

According to Milne, a former WHL player and coach, the first indication that something might be wrong came on Nov. 14 during a game in Drumheller against the Dragons. It was then that one player began to feel ill.

That player tested positive on Nov. 19 at which time all team members were isolated, including those living with billets.

“We tested everybody,” Milne told Calgary Eyeopener, “and that’s when obviously the number started climbing. And . . . it was evident that we had massive outbreak in our club.

“I think part of the reason for the large numbers was the fact that we were just on a bus and there was very limited ability for us to move about in some recycled air.”

One of the things that seems to have caught Milne by surprise was the quickness with which the virus chewed through his roster.

“It’s amazing how fast the web can unwind and get going,” he said. “You can see how fast it moves and how quickly it gets from one guy to the next.”

The AJHL has three other teams believed to be dealing with positives. The league announced on Nov. 20 that the Calgary Canucks had a positive test, then, the next day, said the Dragons also had one positive. Then, on Nov. 22, the league revealed a positive test with the Okotoks Oilers.

The AJHL season was paused on Tuesday as a result of restrictions implemented by the Alberta government. The league’s board of governors is to meet on Dec. 19 to study its options.

Jennifer Dorozio of CBC News has more right here.

Milne’s interview with Calgary Eyeopener is right here.


The No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes won’t be playing their football game at Illinois today (Saturday) after the game was cancelled because of positive tests. Those positives include Ohio State head coach Ryan Day, who also will miss a game next Saturday at Michigan State. Conference protocols call for coaches who test positive to sit out for 10 days. . . . Nick Saban, the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, also is sideline this weekend after testing positive. . . . And yet you watch NCAA college football, like the Thursday game that had Nebraska at Iowa, and you see head coaches with their facemasks constantly around their chins. You really would think that the pooh-bahs at these universities would have a word with these men about being better. Of course, the other side of the coin is that there are few people in the sporting world who are more oblivious to their surroundings than football coaches.


Beer



CBC News: Manitoba is reporting 344 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 additional deaths related to the virus. 178 of the new cases are in the Winnipeg region. The 5-day test positivity rate is 14.5%. A record 322 people are in hospital, including 45 in intensive care.

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 4 more deaths and 329 new COVID-19 cases, an increase from the previous 7-day average of 244. Concern is also growing about the impact on hospitals, which are up 400% in the last 30 days and forecast to continue accelerating.

CBC News: Alberta is reporting 1,227 new cases of COVID-19 and 9 new deaths. There are 14,217 active cases in the province. 405 people are in hospital, including 86 in intensive care.

Janet Brown, CKNW Vancouver: 911 new cases, 11 deaths (395), 301 hospital (+7), 67 ICU (+3).

CBC News: Elementary school order to close after COVID-19 outbreak leads to 16 cases in Surrey, B.C.

iNFOnews Kamloops: Anti-masker throws hot coffee on Kelowna IGA employee.

CBC News: Ontario reports over 58,000 more COVID-19 tests completed. Data shows 541 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ontario, 151 are in ICU and 101 are on a ventilator.

CBC News: 38 additional deaths, 1,269 new COVID-19 cases reported in Quebec. That’s higher than the previous 7-day average of 1,208. Currently, 669 people are in hospital, and 90 of them are in intensive care.

CBC News: New Brunswick is reporting 12 new cases of COVID-19 and 3 new recoveries. The province has seen a total of 477 cases and 356 recoveries since the pandemic began.

CBC News: Nova Scotia is reporting 9 new cases of COVID-19, all in the central zone. The provincial state of emergency has been renewed, and will now extend to noon on Dec. 13.

CBC News: 4 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Newfoundland and Labrador, bringing province’s total case number to 331. There are currently 31 active cases.

Ryan Struyk, CNN: Today is the 25th consecutive day that the United States has reported at least 100,000 new coronavirus cases, according to data from CNN and Johns Hopkins University.

CBC News: Los Angeles County announces a stay-home order as COVID-19 cases surge in the most populous county in the U.S. The order, which takes effect Monday, comes as the county confirms 24 new deaths and 4,544 new coronavirus cases.

The New York Times: Coronavirus cases in the U.S. topped 13 million on Friday, even as many Americans ignored Thanksgiving travel warnings.

——

Oh my, but the NFL is a messy place these days. . . . With the Baltimore Ravens fighting an outbreak — QB Lamar Jackson is on the reserve/COVID-19 list — their game at the Pittsburgh Steelers that was to have been played Thursday night and then was moved to Sunday afternoon now is scheduled for Tuesday night on NBC. Got that? . . . On the original schedule, Baltimore was to have played at Dallas on Thursday (Dec. 3). That game now will be played on Monday, Dec. 7 (FOX). The regular Monday Night Football game (San Francisco at Buffalo, ESPN) will follow to give us a doubleheader. . . . On top of all that, the Steelers played three players on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos had a player and two staffers test positive so shut down their facility on Friday. This was the third time this season that the Broncos have had to cancel a practice. The New Orleans are scheduled to visit Denver on Sunday. . . . The Los Angeles Rams also shut things down, saying the move was made out of an “abundance of caution.” One player and a staff member tested positive, but later twice tested negative. . . . Assistant coaches Nick Eason and Steve Jackson of the Cincinnati Bengals will miss Sunday’s game against the New York Giants for what the team says is COVID-19 related reasons. . . . The Arizona Cardinals, who allowed 1,200 fans at each of their previous two games, won’t be allowing fans at their Dec. 6 game against the Rams as numbers rise in the state. . . . The Cardinals will be without veteran WR Larry Fitzgerald when they meet the New England Patriots on Sunday. He and WR Trent Sherfield are on the reserve/COVID-19 list. . . .

UFC Fight Night on Saturday was to have been headlined by a heavyweight scrap featuring Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis. That won’t happen, however, because Blaydes has tested positive. . . .

Scratch the Pinstripe Bowl off your schedule of football bowl games. The game, which was to have featured teams from the Big Ten and ACC in Yankee Stadium, was dumped because of an increase in positive cases and travel restrictions that are in place in New York. . . . Eight bowl games now have been scratched. But you can relax because there still are 35 on the schedule. For now. . . .

The Gonzaga men’s basketball team, ranked No. 1 in the NCAA, played Friday morning in Fort Myers, Fla., despite learning that one of its players had tested positive. “We had people out for quarantine due to contact tracing, we had a positive test on an administrative staff, then we had a positive test on a player,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said after a 90-67 victory over Auburn. “It’s how the preseason has went. You just wait to get the news on testing, then you have to react, have to stay agile. We followed COVID protocols with the tournament, and the Florida health board down here have all been great. Our guys have been incredibly diligent about following all the rules.” . . .

Zach Braziller of the New York Post pointed out that some schools have paused their men’s basketball teams for less than what happened with Gonzaga.

“Meanwhile, several programs have shut down for less than what is happening with Gonzaga,” he wrote. “Those schools seem to understand what experts have said, that someone can test negative and not show symptoms, yet still be able to transmit the virus to others because the incubation period can last up to 14 days, according to the CDC.

“Not everyone seems to get that. Playing college basketball during a pandemic is a risk. It’s an even greater risk not to be extra safe.”

His complete column is right here.

You want more? Arizona’s men’s basketball game against visiting UTEP on Sunday won’t happen. UTEP has had a positive test. Arizona was to have opened Wednesday but there Northern Arizona had someone come up positive. . . . Middle Tennessee’s football game today against Florida Atlantic has been postponed. . . . In hockey, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) will begin its schedule in an Omaha bubble on Tuesday, but has had to move Colorado College’s first four games because of a positive test with the Tigers. . . . The Georgetown women’s basketball team experienced a positive test so their opener at Richmond on Sunday has been postponed. . . . Northern Kentucky’s men’s basketball program is on hold after a positive test. . . . The Temple Owls also have paused team activities after a positive test in their men’s basketball team. . . . The Western Collegiate Hockey Association is having to make scheduling adjustments after positive tests in the Ferris State, Minnesota State and Northern Michigan programs. . . . UMass Lowell was to have opened its men’s hockey season on Saturday but that won’t happen after a positive test was discovered in its program on Friday. The university has halted team activities while team members are tested. . . . The River Hawks game with Providence will be rescheduled.


Animals


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.


Corrections

MacLeod: OHL must dump body-checking to play . . . Armada at 18 positives . . . Titans unable to shake virus


Well, that was an interesting day in the world of major junior hockey and I’m not referring to the NHL draft.

First, it was revealed that the QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada now has 18 positives tests in its organization.

Then, Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, reiterated something that she told Rick Westhead of TSN last week: ohlIf the OHL wants to play this season, it will have to ban bodychecking and fighting.

In addressing the subject on Wednesday, MacLeod told reporters: ”It would be safe to say that body contact, unless it’s incremental, will not be permitted as a result of COVID-19. That would pose a challenge in terms of how they amend their play.”

MacLeod also said that the 20-team OHL, while it is in “constant contact” with the government is it works on a reopening plan, hasn’t asked for any financial help. That is unlike the QMJHL, which has asked for a $20-million subsidy from the Quebec government.

According to The Canadian Press, “The OHL said in a statement that it will not comment on its ongoing negotiations with the Ontario government.”

The CP story is right here.

——

——

The QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada had one player test positive on qmjhlnewMonday. On Wednesday, the team said that it now had 18 positives in its organization. . . . As a result, players and staff have gone into a two-week isolation period and all team activities have been suspended indefinitely. . . . This all comes after the QMJHL’s first weekend of regular-season play. The Armada opened by playing a doubleheader with the Sherbrooke Phoenix, which also has suspended in-person activities. It reportedly has one positive case. . . . Of course, the Armada and Quebec Remparts also are in a government-designated red zone and team sports in those areas have been shut down through the end of October. . . . Here’s Gilles Courteau, the QMJHL commissioner, from a news release: “Although our sanitary and medical protocol is very strict and rigorous, we knew that COVID-19 was highly infectious and could eventually hit certain players and team staff members. Nevertheless, we are extremely confident that the measures contained in our contingency plan, which is currently deployed, will prove to be very efficient.”



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

——

The NFL’s Tennessee Titans had hoped to return to their practice facility on Wednesday after not having any positive tests on Monday or Tuesday. But two more players tested positive Wednesday, bringing the organization’s total to 22, with 20 of those having occurred since Sept. 29. . . . The Titans are scheduled to play host to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, in a clash of unbeaten teams, although that now may be in jeopardy. . . .

CB Stephen Gilmore of the New England Patriots, the NFL’s defensive player of the year last season, has tested positive. He is the third New England player to test positive. . . . The Patriots, who are to play the visiting Denver Broncos on Sunday, cancelled their Wednesday practice. . . . Patriots QB Cam Newton tested positive on Saturday. . . .

Production of the CBC-TV show Battle of the Blades is on hold because a member of the production team tested positive. This means that the season premiere that had been scheduled for Oct. 15 has been postponed. . . . The show was to be taped at the CAA Centre in Brampton, Ont. . . .

The host Colorado Rapics and LAFC were to have played an MLS match on Wednesday night. However, it was postponed after the Rapids had a staff member test positive. The Rapids now have had three players and 12 staff members test positive, and they have had three straight games postponed. . . .

Appalachian State and Georgia Southern have postponed their football game that was to have been played on Oct. 14 at Georgia Stadium. The game has been rescheduled for Dec. 12. Appalachian State now has had two straight games postponed because of 19 positive tests around the team.



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.


Allow me to correct something that was posted here on Tuesday night. . . . Phil Andrews, who has been the Regina Pats’ manager of media and communications, as well as the team’s radio voice, tells me that Evan Daum will be doing “the marketing portion of my job . . . not the play-by-play/hockey communications.” . . . So if you are an aspiring play-by-play person, there’s still a chance.


JUST NOTES: A note to B.C.’s political parties — Dorothy and I already have mailed in our ballots, so you are wasting your time with the phone calls. . . . If you haven’t been watching the MLB playoffs, you should know that there’s some real emotion in the mostly empty stadiums. Wednesday night’s game between the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers looked to be a powder keg for a lot of the time. You didn’t need to be a lip-reader to understand what was happening, that’s for sure.

Ice’s new home on ice for a while yet . . . Happy anniversary to The Quad Town Forum


The WHL’s Winnipeg Ice is going to spend at least two mores seasons playing in the 1,600-seat Wayne Fleming Arena on the campus at the U of Manitoba.

Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press reports that “the pandemic fallout is complicating plans by the owners of the Ice to build a new arena. . . . That timing, already affected by the slow pace of obtaining zoning approval for the land, has been further delayed by the pandemic.”

If you’re late to this story, the Chynoweth family sold the Kootenay Ice to Winnipeg wpgicebusinessman Greg Fettes, who is the chairman and governor, and Matt Cockell, the president and general manager, near the end of the 2016-17 season. They left the team in Kootenay for two seasons before moving to Winnipeg, having said that they would build a 4,500-seat arena in the Rural Municipality of Macdonald in time for the 2021-22 season.

“If you’re asking about a change in terms of the current circumstance, obviously I’ve been monitoring what’s happening,” Fettes told Sawatzky. “We don’t know what the hockey landscape’s going to look like after this. So are we taking a step back and making sure we understand that? Yes, absolutely.

“We’re going to do that but for all intents and purposes we’re still on the same track we were on. We’re doing our best to push forward but we are going to pay attention to see how are we going to be able to play games and how does that affect the type of building we build.”

The Ice’s owners say they spent $1.3 million on renovations to the Wayne Fleming Arena prior to moving into it, and now Fettes says there will be more renovating done. But they aren’t going to do anything to enlarge the seating capacity.

The bottom line to this story is that more than three years after the Chynoweth family reached an agreement to sell the franchise, Fettes and Co. have yet to start building the promised new arena. And the WHL now is faced with having a team in the Manitoba capital play at least three seasons in a 1,600-seat facility that was opened in 1981.

According to statistics compiled by the WHL, the Ice averaged 1,512 fans for 31 home games last season. In its last two seasons in Cranbrook that average was 2,214 (2018-19) and 2,442 (2017-18). In 2016-17, the last season under the Chynoweth umbrella, that figure was 1,754.

Sawatzky’s complete story is right here.


Comma


Considering the massive hit that the Canadian newspaper industry has taken in the last while, I’d like to tip my hat to Brad and Tracy Brown, the owners of The Quad Town Forum that is, according to its masthead, “devoted exclusively to covering White City, Emerald Park, Balgonie, Pilot Butte, Vibank, Sedley, Francis, Odessa, Montmartre, Kronau & surrounding areas.” . . . That would be in south-eastern Saskatchewan, just a couple of slapshots from Regina. . . . The Forum, which publishes 48 weeks a year, celebrated an anniversary on Thursday — it was No. 5. . . . The Browns went all-in, moving to Sedley and basing the Forum in Vibank, in 2015. You bet they were swimming against the current. . . . Brad has been in the newspaper business since 1999. He spent some time at the Prairie Post in Swift Current and while there covered the Broncos (2012-14). . . . The introduction in that first issue included this: “Newspapers are supposed to be dead. Gone. Extinct. Killed off by TV and the Internet and rock music and teenagers and Conrad Black and the Harlem Shake and SARS and gluten and pretty much anything else you can think of. Yet here we are, excitedly presenting to you the first issue of the Quad Town Forum.” . . . And here they are now, five years later. . . . Well done, and may the press never stop running! . . . Congratulations to the Browns and, yes, I will raise one in their honour at some point this weekend.

If you would like to check out The Forum, it’s all right here. Feel free to travel over there and tour around the site.


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one from Will Rogers: “People are getting smarter nowadays; they are letting lawyers, instead of their conscience, be their guide.”


hotdogs


The 10-team Western Canadian Baseball League hopes to open its 2020 season in late June or early July. It had been scheduled to get started in late May. . . . The collegiate league features six teams in Alberta and four in Saskatchewan. . . .

The 2020 Little League World Series has been cancelled, along with 82 qualifying tournaments. Also gone is the MLB Little League Classic that would have seen the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles play in Williamsport, Penn., on Aug. 23. . . . The tournament was to have run from Aug. 20-30.



If you missed it, here’s part of what Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S.’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The New York Times earlier this week:

“I would love to be able to have all sports back. But as a health official and a physician and a scientist, I have to say, right now, when you look at the country, we’re not ready for that yet.

“Safety, for the players and for the fans, trumps everything. If you can’t guarantee safety, then unfortunately you’re going to have to bite the bullet and say, ‘We may have to go without this sport for this season.’ “


Paintings


Questions, I’ve got questions: If the NHL is able to get up and running, say at some point in June or even July, how excited will you be to watch the end of the regular season? . . . Will it matter to you if there are fans allowed into the games? . . . Will it matter to you if the Stanley Cup is presented in late August or at some point in September, and the 2020-21 regular season begins in December? . . . Does it matter to you when the NHL holds its draft — in June or August? . . . Do you get excited at the thought of the NBA gathering its teams at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla., to finish its season?



Whatever happened to Andre Dawson, the Hall of Fame outfielder? He’s a mortician and owner of Paradise Memorial Funeral Home in Miami. These days, he’s having to learn how to deal with a pandemic. . . . Steven Wine of The Associated Press has more right here.


So much winning . . .

Oh my, those are some horrid numbers . . . How do you hit a homer and not get credit for a run? . . . Some coaching news here, too

OK. I need someone to tell me that isn’t a nightmare. Surely this isn’t really happening . . . I must have fallen asleep while hunkered down in my recliner . . . Tell me that I did and that none of what follows really happened . . .

It was Wednesday evening when I saw a couple of tweets from Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) of CNN.

The first one showed reported U.S. coronavirus cases (I have added Thursday’s updated numbers):

Feb. 15: 15 cases.

March 15: 3,485 cases.

April 15: 638,111 cases.

April 16: 671,151 cases.

The second one showed reported U.S. coronavirus deaths:

Feb. 15: 0 deaths.

March 15: 65 deaths.

April 15: 30,844 deaths.

April 16: 33,268 deaths.

More than 2,000 people a day are dying from this virus and Agent Orange is nattering on ad nauseam about opening things up. On Thursday, he said: “Our experts say the curve has flattened and the peak in new cases is behind us.”

While still digesting those numbers, all of which are from Johns Hopkins University where they are tracking these things, there came news that Brian Allen, a centre with the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, tested positive three weeks ago. Allen, who now is said to be symptom-free, is the first active NFLer to publicly acknowledge having tested positive. . . . On Thursday came word that Von Miller, a Pro Bowl linebacker with the Denver Broncos, became No. 2 when he tested positive.

And then, as if those figures aren’t bad enough, I awaken Thursday morning to the news that some quack doctor, who surely is in cahoots with Agent Orange, doesn’t think it would be a big deal if schools go back in and a bunch of children die. Obviously, he is perturbed by the fact that there wasn’t even one school shooting in the Excited States in March for the first time since something like 2002. And later in the day, it was Dr. Phil’s turn. (I don’t know if it means anything but the two quacks were given their TV starts by Oprah Winfrey, whose first names spelled backwards is . . . 

And let us not forget the goofy Nebraska state senators who, as Brad Dickson put it on Twitter, “want to basically end social distancing so everyone catches Covid & develops herd immunity. Ya know, it may be faster to just behead the elderly and the vulnerable. #WorstIdeaEver.”

Oh, and what about those covidiots in Michigan who protested at the state capitol in Lansing, demanding that the economy be reopened and damn the consequences. Hey, gang, yes, you have the right to protest but maybe you should first check with the doctors, nurses, first-responders, police and all of those people who are fighting the good fight on your behalf.

Somewhere in all of this I saw something about Agent Orange suggesting the U.S.-Canada border “will be one of the early borders to be released.” The man who speaks in word salad also said this: “Canada’s doing well, we’re doing well, so we’ll see.” Yes, so much winning in the Excited States!

It remained for Doug Ford, the premier of Ontario, to explain things: “I don’t want (Americans) in Ontario.”

In fact, let’s close that border permanently, or at least until Agent Orange and all of his old white pals sail off into the sunset, which might be the only thing that will bring an end to this nightmare.

Hey, maybe we could build a wall and have the Americans pay for it.


On a lighter note, the San Francisco Giants were playing the Los Angeles Dodgers in a game 12 years ago when a batter hit a single that was turned into a home run after video review, but that same batter didn’t score a run. . . . Seriously! . . . Jayson Stark of The Athletic has that great story right here. . . . Stories like these are why I subscribe to The Athletic, which will give you a 90-day free trial these days.


Cockroach


Webster Garrison, a former manager of baseball’s Vancouver Canadians, is breathing on his own and looks to be on the way to recovery after testing positive more than a month ago. . . . Garrison now is a minor-league coach with the Oakland A’s. . . . Garrison, 54, had been intubated for more than three weeks and remains in a Louisiana hospital.


The Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, which is based in Calgary, has shut down for the rest of 2020, cancelling its October induction gala in the process. Also cancelled is the Hall’s Sport + Spirit Charity Gala that was to have been held on May 27. . . .

The seven-team Canadian Elite Basketball Team (CEBL) has postponed the start of its regular season and now is hoping to get started at some point in June. It was to have begun its second season on May 7. . . .

The Tour de France now is scheduled to start on Aug. 29 and run through Sept. 20. Originally, it was to start on June 27. . . . As the race ends, tennis’s French Open will be be starting. . . .

In soccer, the Belarusian women’s Premier League, which was to have opened its season today, has postponed the start of its season indefinitely. . . .

The Mackenzie Tour — aka PGA Tour Canada — has postponed the first six events of its 2020 schedule. Those events had been scheduled for Vancouver (May 28-31), Victoria (June 4-7), Kelowna (June 11-14), Lethbridge (June 25-28), Cardigan, P.E.I. (July 2-5) and Toronto (July 9-12). . . . The MacKenzie Tour plans on issuing an update before the end of this month.


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, has the Thought for the Day, this one from A.J. Liebling: “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.” . . . OK, that actually was the Thought for Yesterday. Here’s the Thought for the Day, from Will Rogers: “Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need.”


Bacon


Hank Steinbrenner, son of the late George Steinbrenner and a co-owner of the New York Yankees, died on Tuesday after a long battle with various health-related issues. . . . It was in 2008 when Hank endeared himself to Yankees fans with this:

“”Red Sox Nation? What a bunch of bullshit that is. That was a creation of the Red Sox and ESPN, which is filled with Red Sox fans. Go anywhere in America and you won’t see Red Sox hats and jackets, you’ll see Yankee hats and jackets. This is a Yankee country. We’re going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order.”


Chris Hebb, the commissioner of the 18-team BCHL, spent some time chatting with Steve Ewen of Postmedia earlier this week. . . . The BCHL was founded in 1961. “We’ve never taken a dime of government support in the history of this league,” Hebb told Ewen. “Here we are, in 18 communities now. In many cases, we are the Vancouver Canucks of those communities, and we could lose teams out of this (COVID-19 crisis).” . . . Reading Hebb’s comments leaves one wondering how many other junior leagues are faced with this same predicament. . . . Ewen’s piece is right here.


Bill Peters is the new head coach of Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, a Russian team in the KHL. . . . Peters has been out of coaching since he resigned as the head coach of the NHL’s Calgary Flames on Nov. 29. That came after he was accused of using a racial slur and of kicking a player. . . . Peters signed a two-year contract with the KHL team. . . . Avtomobilist’s top players are former NHL star Pavel Datsyuk and Nigel Dawes, who was a terrific player with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice (2001-05). . . . Via a video hookup, Peters, a former Spokane Chiefs coach, told Russian reporters: “I think as time goes on we all grow and improve and become better versions of ourselves, and I’m no different than that. You learn from all the experiences that you’re in, and you become better.”


The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express has signed Dan Cioffi as its new head coach. . . . In 2019-20, he was the head coach of the B.C. Major Midget League’s Valley West Giants. . . . Cioffi has BCHL experience, having worked as an associate coach with the Express (2007-10) and also with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (associate coach) and Trail Smoke Eaters (director of player personnel). . . . In Coquitlam, Cioffi replaces Jason Fortier, the reigning BCHL coach of the year who left after being unable to come to terms on a contract. He has since signed on as the general manager and head coach of the NAHL’s Odessa Jackalopes.


Toast


The SJHL’s Estevan Bruins fired Chris Lewgood, their general manager and head coach, on Wednesday. . . . According to a news release, Cory Prokop, the Bruins’ president, announced “that the board made this very difficult decision after determining that the future success of the team, both on and off the ice, would be best served with new leadership at the GM/head coach position.” . . . Lewgood just completed his seventh season as the Bruins’ head coach and had never finished out of the playoffs. They lost the 2017-18 final in seven games to the Nipawin Hawks. . . . In 2019-20, the Bruins finished second in the Viterra Division, at 31-23-4. . . . Estevan is scheduled to be the host team for the 2022 Centennial Cup tournament.


Todd Woodcroft, who had been an assistant coach with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, has signed on as the head coach of the U of Vermont Catamounts. . . . Woodcroft takes over from the retiring Kevin Sneddon, the head coach for the past 17 seasons. . . . The Catamounts finished with a 5-23-6 record in 2019-20, their poorest showing since 2001-02.


Jeff Tambellini is leaving the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters after two seasons as general manager and head coach. Tambellini, 36, is joining the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning as an NCAA free-agent recruiter and pro scout. . . . In his two seasons in Trail, the Smokies were 70-46-15 with one tie. . . . Tambellini is to help in the search for his replacement in Trail, and he also will serve as a special advisor for 2020-21.


Typing