Blades and Raiders help Big River celebrate special occasion . . . First Nation opens complex in honour of ex-NHLer Jim Neilson . . . Rangers were there, too

Hey, folks, this is what it’s all about . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades joined the people of the Big River First Nation on Tuesday to take part in the grand opening of the Jim Neilson Sports Complex, a multi-use facility that includes a 1,500-seat arena. It is named in honour of Neilson, the late NHL defenceman who was from Big River.

Joel Willick of MBC Radio has more on the opening right here.

Meanwhile, Dan Tencer, the Blades’ scouting director, posted four tweets later Tuesday, and here they are, in order:

  1. I’m in the hotel elevator last week in downtown Saskatoon and a mother and daughter get in. I ask about the very yummy plate of food they have and the daughter smiles. They tell me they’ve come from a barbecue for a gender reveal.
  2. Mom sees the logo on my shirt and asks if I work for the Blades. I say yes, I lead the group that scouts players for them. She excitedly says “you’re coming to Big River! We’re all coming out to watch.” I tell her I can’t wait to be there and they should find me and say hi.
  3. Game today ends, I’m outside by the team bus. Same mother and daughter walk up with the little girl imploring her mom to find the “scout leader.” It made my week. I was so touched that she had remembered our 25-second meeting.
  4. I was so proud that we were there to play at the opening of the new rink in their community. Hockey is a wonderful game and can facilitate so many connections in so many ways. Small as it might be, I’m so glad they found me again today.



Music


More than a few followers of the Kamloops Blazers were surprised (shocked?) when D Mats Lindgren, 18, was traded to the Red Deer Rebels on Aug. 29. Those Kamloopssame people were even more surprised to find out that Lindgren, a fourth-round selection of the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL’s 2022 draft, had asked out of Kamloops. . . . So what happened? . . . “It was the best thing for me for personal reasons and I’m just excited for this new opportunity,” Lindgren told Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com. . . . Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, told Marty Hastings of Kelowna This Week: “Sometimes, players are looking for a different opportunity. Sometimes, things aren’t a perfect fit. This is a scenario where both teams are able to give their players an opportunity with another team.” . . . The Blazers, who open their exhibition season at home to the Kelowna Rockets on Friday, acquired D Kyle Masters, 19, and a lottery-protected 2025 first-round draft pick in the deal. If the Rebels miss the 2024-25 playoffs and thus are in the draft lottery, the pick will move to the 2026 draft. . . . Lindgren would have eaten up a lot of minutes for the Blazers this season, and would have been on the No. 1 power-play unit on a team that will play host to the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament. So to find out that he had asked for a trade immediately after the NHL draft left a lot of people wondering what had gone wrong in Kamloops. . . . The Blazers, then under general manager Matt Bardsley, selected Lindgren with the seventh pick of the WHL’s 2019 draft. Bardsley was able to get Lindgren signed a couple of months later, but two years later the GM resigned for what he said were family reasons. . . . Just spit-balling here, but you wonder if Bardsley’s departure, followed by that of associate coaches Cory Clouston, after the 2020-21 development season, and Mark Holick, after last season, had anything to do with Lindgren’s unhappiness?

Meanwhile, Holick is back at Yale Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., where he will coach the U17 men’s prep team. He had spent three seasons as the head coach of Yale’s U18 prep team before joining the Blazers. That lasted one season before he resigned citing “personal reasons.”


Yogi


You could make the case that a penalty taken by an inactive player cost the Saskatchewan Roughriders a victory in what ended up being a 20-18 loss to the CFLlogoWinnipeg Blue Bombers in Regina on Sunday. . . . With the game tied 17-17 in the fourth quarter, and neither team having yet scored in the second half, the Roughriders had moved into field goal range when a schmozzle developed at the Saskatchewan bench. WR Duke Williams of the Roughriders, not dressed because of an ankle injury, was flagged for yapping with fewer than 11 minutes to play. Saskatchewan took a holding penalty on the next play and, because the penalty had pushed them out of field goal ranger, was forced to punt.

According to freelancer Jeff DeDekker, who covers Saskatchewan home games for The Canadian Press, Roughriders head coach Craig Dickenson had this to say about the Williams penalty:

“I can tell you this much, moving forward there will be no players on the bench area that aren’t either playing or thoroughly involved in coaching because that was very disappointing. That hurt us and it hurt us bad.

“It was a stupid penalty and Duke feels bad about it and he should. Hopefully he’s expressed that to his teammates.

“He’s an emotional guy and his emotions got the best of him. I think they called it pretty tight. I don’t know what he said to the guy but it wasn’t complimentary. I’ll talk to (Roughriders general manager) Jeremy O’Day and see what we can do. That hurt our team. He feels bad about it and he should.”

On Tuesday, the Roughriders released an American, but it wasn’t Williams. Instead, it was DL Garrett Marino, who also has been more than a handful in the discipline department. Already having served a four-game suspension for, among other things, a hit that took out Ottawa Redblacks’ QB Jeremiah Masoli, Marino got away with a late hit on Winnipeg QB Zach Collaros late in Sunday’s game.


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Hockey Canada insists it can change its culture without replacing leadership, changing culture.


THINKING OUT LOUD — I don’t know what it means, but think about this for a moment: The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks signed F J.T. Miller to a contract the other day that will pay him US$56 million over seven seasons; the NFL’s Denver Broncos signed QB Russell Wilson to a five-year, US$242,588,236 deal that included a $50-million signing bonus. . . . Miller is 29 years of age; Wilson is 33. . . . Summer is over. How do I know? Because the junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League opened its regular season with one game on Wednesday night. There are two more on tonight’s schedule and four on Friday. . . . I also know that summer is over because the NFL season gets started tonight (Thursday). I’m riding with the host Buffalo Bills over the Los Angeles Rams. Could it be a Super Bowl preview?


LittleLeague


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Vincent Tremblay, the play-by-play voice of the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, tweeted Tuesday that the club “will have a sponsor on the helmet.  Real estate company Trilogies Inc.” . . . Hmm, corporate logos on helmets. Can other junior teams be far behind? Not if there’s sponsorship money involved. . . .

Joe Mahon, who played in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks and Calgary Hitmen, will be in the NHL this season . . . as a linesman. Mahon, 28, is from Calgary. He has been officiating since 2019. Last season, he worked in the WHL and the AHL; this season, he’ll see action in the AHL and NHL. And he’ll be wearing No. 89. . . . Mahon played two seasons in the WHL. He had two goals and an assist in 41 games with Portland in 2012-13, then put up nine goals and nine assists in 56 games with the Hitmen in 2013-14. . . .

Eddie Gregory is the new play-by-play voice of the Vancouver Giants, having joined them after spending 18 seasons calling games for the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express. Gregory, 40, takes over from Dan O’Connor, who left for the athletic department at UBC where he now is sports information co-ordinator. . . .

Damon Pugerude has signed on as the Everett Silvertips’ head equipment manager. He had been with the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles, as head trainer and equipment manager, for the past six seasons. He also has worked with the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs and the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder and Sherwood Park Crusaders.


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.


Babymaking

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while cringing at Hockey Canada’s chutzpah . . .

Scattershooting2

If you ever wondered about the arrogance of Hockey Canada, well, wonder no longer. You only had to see the end of the IIHF World Women’s Championship HockeyCanadain Herning, Denmark, on Sunday to understand. . . . Yes, that was Scott Smith, the president and CEO of Hockey Canada, handing out the gold medals to the Canadian team after its 2-1 victory over the U.S., in the process allowing controversy to creep into what should have been a time that belonged strictly to the winners. . . . The arrogance, the tone deafness . . . call it whatever you want . . . it was off the charts. . . . What it wasn’t was surprising. . . . If you haven’t realized it before, you should be aware by now that the Hockey Canada pooh-bahs seem to be planning to wait this out while the whole mess gets swept (shovelled?) under the carpet and disappears from the public mind. . . . At the end of the day, it’s all about the power and the accompanying perks. Once your nose is in the trough, it’s awfully hard to walk away on a voluntary basis. Obviously, the time has come for someone — politicians? sponsors? — to push harder.


Old friend Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times is nearing a well-earned retirement. For a long time now, he has allowed me to lift items from his weekly Sideline Chatter column. Yes, he has taken the odd thing from me, but the exchange is heavily weighted the other way. . . . His column is wonderful. If you aren’t familiar with it, here’s how he opened this week’s effort:

Warning: Dogleg ahead … and maybe    a giraffe leg.

Play at the Skukuza Golf Club in the wilds of South Africa had to be held up until the carcass of a giraffe — killed by a couple of lions, who were then replaced by 20 hungry hyenas — could be hauled away from the fairway of the third hole.

“It is what makes Skukuza so special,” greenskeeper Jean Rossouw told the London Daily Mail, “not knowing what is going to happen every time you play.”


Soup


DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME, SAYS COVID-19 — Craig Dickenson, the head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, was back on the sideline for Sunday’s Labour Day Classic — that isn’t played on Labour Day — in Regina. Dickenson had tested positive for you know what and missed practices starting on Tuesday. He also missed Saturday’s walk through because he needed a negative test before he would be allowed to return. . . . The Roughriders know they have to be careful with this because it was only in July when they had 13 players and five staff members test positive. . . . ICYMI, the Blue Bombers (11-1) escaped with a 20-18 victory over the Roughriders (6-6). And now it’s on to Winnipeg for Saturday’s Banjo Bowl. If you’re a Roughriders’ fan you are pleading with your guys to play with more discipline — even a player who wasn’t dressed took a penalty yesterday and took them out of FG range — but you know you’re likely yelling into a void.


Headline at The Beaverton: Man who is “done with COVID” sure doing everything he can to keep it going.

——

One more from The Beaverton: No one is ever productive working from home declare CEOs working from Barbados.


Newquik


The Florida State football team had 140 staff members and 116 players on hand for its team photo. As Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel wondered: “Do the grad assistants really need grad assistants?”


Mark your calendar. Game 1 of the World Series is scheduled for Oct. 28. As Bob Molinaro asks in the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot: “Who will be the next Mr. November?”



ICYMI, Nick Saban, the head coach of the Alabama football team, signed a contract extension the other day that will pay him US$93.6 million through the 2030 season. . . . As sports business analyst Darren Rovell noted on Twitter — $26,326: In-state student tuition, room & board at Alabama for the 2022-23 school year. . . . $29,315: What Alabama football coach Nick Saban gets paid PER DAY this season.”


Teeth


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Jon Gruden, man, there’s a man who can apologize. Not. On eight years of his email hate, Gruden said, ‘I’ll make no excuses for it, it’s shameful. BUT. I am a good person. . . . I made some mistakes but I don’t think anyone here hasn’t.’ Gruden should be given another chance to work. The job should involve a mop and broom.”

——

Ostler, again: “Cameron Smith, world No. 2 golfer, calls LIV golfers not receiving world ranking points ‘perhaps a little bit unfair.’ Pal, if you’re looking for a shoulder to cry on, try your Saudi sugar daddies. They seem like sympathetic folks.”


THINKING OUT LOUD — A tip of the fedora to the Moose Jaw Warriors. Admission to their Black-White game on Sunday was by donation, and proceeds went to the Saskatchewan Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association in memory of Ethan Williams. Well done, Warriors! Never forget. . . . The American League’s third wild-card spot could come down to the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles, and they’ll meet 10 times between now and season’s end. Seven of those games will be in Baltimore. They start with a doubleheader in Baltimore today (Monday). . . . Oh, did I mention that Baltimore has won six of nine meetings with Toronto to this point? . . . Of course, both teams still are within range of the AL East-leading Yankees, who are folding like a cardboard suitcase in a rain storm. . . . Is it time to blow up Hockey Canada entirely, including rules and regulations and everything else, and start over?


Desk


Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “Kudos to the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation, which doesn’t want its players working in the KHL because of its disapproval of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. If you play in the KHL this season, you can’t play hockey for a Swedish national team.”



You may have watched Northwestern and Nebraska in a college football game from Dublin, Ireland, a couple of Saturday’s ago. At one point in the telecast, St. Andrew’s Cathedral could be seen. “In Omaha,” wrote comedy writer Brad Dickson, formerly of the Omaha World-Herald, “it would be razed to make room for a strip mall.”


Scott Frost, Nebraska’s head coach, is on the hot seat this season. After losing, 31-28, to Northwestern in Dublin, the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Nick Canepa wrote: “Scott Frost . . . unemployment nipping at his nose.” . . . The Wildcats bounced back with a 38-17 victory over the North Dakota Fighting Hawks on Saturday.


Chicken


THE COACHING GAME:

The WHL’s Vancouver Giants have added former NHL D Brent Seabrook to their staff as a player development coach. Seabrook, from Delta, B.C., isn’t a stranger to the Giants. He joined the coaching staff in December when head coach Michael Dyck was with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship tournament that was postponed shortly after it got started. . . . Seabrook won three Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks during an NHL career that included 1,114 regular games and 123 more in the playoffs. . . . He spent four seasons (2001-05) with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes. He played 15 seasons in Chicago before retiring after the 2019-20 season. . . .

The BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers have added Tyler Gow to their staff as an assistant coach. Gow, 39, is from Nanaimo. He finished his junior A career by playing 40 games with the Clippers in 2000-01, then spent for years at St. Norbert College, an NCAA Division III school. In Nanaimo, Gow will be working alongside Colin Birkas, the general manager and head coach, associate coaches Bob Beatty and Bob Foglietta, assistant coach Dave Liffiton, skills coach Ben Walter and goaltender coach Sean Murray.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Wisconsin Lumberjacks of the Superior International Junior Hockey League played an exhibition game against the host Brooks Bandits of the AJHL on Thursday night. The Bandits won. 23-0. Shots were 56-12. . . . A couple of nights earlier, the Lumberjacks had dropped a 7-1 decision to the host Okotoks Oilers. . . . The Lumberjacks ventured into the SJHL on Sunday, where they were outshot, 49-19, and beaten, 3-2, by the Kindersley Klippers.


Service


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.


Shopping

Truitt takes over Raiders’ bench . . . Oil Kings lose Lauer to Jets . . . Is Pierce up next in Edmonton?


The Prince Albert Raiders introduced veteran WHL coach Jeff Truitt as their new head coach on Friday morning. He takes over from Marc Habscheid, who has signed on as the head coach of Pioneers Vorarlberg of the Austrian-based ICE Hockey League. . . . Truitt, 57,was an assistant coach alongside Habscheid for the previous four seasons. . . . A Moose Jaw native, Truitt has won WHL titles as a coach with the Lethbridge Hurricanes (1997), Kelowna Rockets (2003, 2005) and the Raiders (2019). . . . Interestingly, he moved up to head coach of the Rockets, replacing Habscheid, after the 2002-03 season. . . . He spent four seasons (1993-97) as an assistant coach with Lethbridge and was an assistant in Kelowna for four seasons (2000-04). He then spent two seasons as the Rockets’ head coach. . . . In 2009-10, Truitt was the director of hockey operations with the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Before joining the Raiders, he spent five-plus seasons as the Red Deer Rebels’ associate coach. . . . According to the WHL, Truitt has a regular-season record of 136-94-23 as a head coach. He is 29-21 in playoff games. . . . BTW, if you’re new to the WHL, that’s general manager Curtis Hunt to the right of Truitt in the above tweet.


After a four-year interlude in Edmonton, Brad Lauer is back in the NHL. Lauer, the head coach of the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings for the past four seasons has signed on with the Winnipeg Jets as an assistant coach. . . . Under Lauer, the Oil Kings are the reigning WHL champions. . . . Lauer, 55, began his coaching career by spending five seasons (2002-07) as an assistant coach with the Kootenay Ice (remember them?). . . . Before joining the Oil Kings, Lauer spent eight-plus seasons as an NHL assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators. . . . As a player, Lauer was with the Regina Pats for three seasons (1983-86) before going on to a pro career that included 323 regular-season NHL games. . . .

If you’re wondering who might succeed Lauer with the Oil Kings, perhaps we need look no further than Luke Pierce, who has worked as an assistant in Edmonton for four seasons. Pierce, 38, spent six seasons with his hometown BCHL-Merritt Centennials, the last five-plus as general manager and head coach. He then was the head coach of the Kootenay Ice (remember them?) for two seasons (2015-17). . . .

The Jets also added former Kamloops Blazers D Nolan Baumgartner, 46, to their organization. Baumgartner, who played four seasons (1992-96) in Kamloops, will work as an assistant coach with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. He also is a former Moose player and team captain. Baumgartner spent the past four-plus seasons as an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks.


PianoBar


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, had this in his daily missive on Thursday:

“Having mentioned Russell Westbrook, I ran across an interesting stat about him and his contract with the Lakers.

“Assuming Westbrook plays the entire 2022-23 season with Los Angeles, he will have made a total of $91.3M in salary from the Lakers.

In 1979, Jerry Buss bought the Lakers franchise PLUS the Los Angeles Kings franchise PLUS The Forum from Jack Kent Cooke for a total of only $67.5M.”


The Saskatchewan Roughriders showed 11 players out with “illness” on the injury list released by the CFL team on Friday. They were to have played the visiting Toronto Argos today (Saturday), but the game has been moved to Sunday. . . . Some players appear to have recovered, because the team had said 13 players and three staff members tested positive.


You may recall prior to the past NBA season when Andrew Wiggins, a Canadian, caused consternation in the camp of the Golden State Warriors when he was refusing to get vaccinated. Of course, he eventually reconsidered and now that he has a championship to his credit how does he feel? “I still wish I didn’t get (vaccinated), to be honest with you,” he said. . . . To which Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe, responded: “About a million Americans would offer a rebuttal if they weren’t like, you know, dead.”



Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe on a certain Kansas City Royals outfielder: “Andrew Benintendi played the dense card when asked about his anti-vax status at the All-Star Game. ‘I’m just here to answer baseball questions,’ said the former Red Sox outfielder. The natural follow-up should be, ‘But this IS a baseball question.’ When you choose to make yourself unavailable to your team, it’s a baseball issue. Benintendi’s intransigence may prevent him from being traded to a contender. The Yankees reportedly backed off when they learned Benintendi is a personal freedom fighter.”


THINKING OUT LOUD: The folks at Mount Allison U in Sackville, N.B., get it. They have stated that the school“will be maintaining mandatory indoor masking into the fall term. We will also be asking new students and staff to upload vaccination status and will provide testing kids.” . . . Anyone else just itching to see that Sleeman 2.0 commercial one more time? . . . Terry Mosher, aka Aislin, the Montreal Gazette’s brilliant editorial cartoonist, is the latest to produce a book in conjunction with what will be the 50th anniversary of the Summit Series. From Montreal to Moscow will be available in late August.


Husband


THE COACHING GAME:

The AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats have signed Nigel Dube, their general manager and head coach, to a five-year contract extension. He has been with Lloydminster since November 2018. There is a complete news release right here.


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): Hockey Canada’s NDA forbids TSN from disclosing final score for all games.


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.


ColdCase

Scattershooting on a Wednesday night while wondering if CFL will have to postpone a game . . .

scattershooting

You have to think warning bells are going off in team offices of various leagues these days.

The CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders didn’t practise on Tuesday. They didn’t COVIDpractise on Wednesday. Their scheduled game against the visiting Toronto Argonauts on Saturday is likely to be postponed.

All because the team has had 13 players and five members of its support staff test positive for COVID-19. TSN’s Dave Naylor reported that “at least one QB” had tested positive.

Jeremy O’Day, the Roughriders’ general manager and vice-president of football operations, told reporters on Wednesday: “We’re not at the point where we’re changing or postponing any games right now, but it is getting close to the point where it becomes difficult to have a game if you haven’t had enough time to practise or to make sure that you have enough players to put on the roster.”

The Roughriders last played on Saturday when they dropped a 30-24 decision to the Argos in a game played at Acadia U in Wolfville, N.S.

It turns out that Saskatchewan had one player miss that game with symptoms; he later tested positive.

Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post wrote on Wednesday: “Comprehensive testing has been a daily occurrence since the team returned to the Queen City. Dating back to July 12, the Roughriders have had 13 players and five staff members test positive. Three players had been removed from COVID protocol, as of Wednesday afternoon.”

Vanstone’s comprehensive story is right here.


Facebook


As the pandemic drags on — I see some in the medical/scientific communities are referring to a seventh wave on the way or maybe even here already — I continue to be dumbfounded by the apparent inability of  provincial health officials to get on the same page. Some recent headlines . . .

From Winnipeg radio station 680 CJOB on Wednesday: Manitoba’s chief public health officer says the province has no immediate plans to expand fourth COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to include all adults.

From CBC News on July 13: Sask. not offering 2nd COVID-19 booster doses to people under 50 until fall, despite low booster rates.

From CBC News on Tuesday: Alberta expands access to second COVID-19 booster shots to all adults.

From the Saanich News on July 7: B.C. rolling out fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose in the fall.


Milk


Jim Souhan, a columnist with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, writing in advance of the PGA Tour’s 3M Open in Blaine, Minn., this week: “Imagine being worried about losing Dustin Johnson to LIV Golf. Have you ever met Dustin Johnson? He needs a caddie to make it through a sentence. Beige wants its personality back.”

More from Souhan’s column: “The only humorous aspect of LIV has been watching formerly popular golfers who joined it trying to defend the move. They can’t, and they embarrass themselves trying.

“On Friday (at The Open), Woods limped to the 18th green while receiving a massive ovation as he missed the cut. Phil Mickelson also missed the cut. LIV golf’s biggest name received a few golf claps.

“Woods will be remembered as a champion. Mickelson will be remembered as a sellout. Even LIV money won’t buy back his reputation.”

Souhan’s complete column is right here.



The tweet above is Marc Habscheid introducing himself to fans of his new team. . . . Over the past couple of days, the Pioneers have signed former WHLers Matt Revel and Clayton Kirichenko.

THE COACHING GAME:

The QMJHL’s Cape Breton Eagles have hired Jon Goyens as their new head coach. He was the head coach of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar for 2019-20, but left the team during the pandemic season of 2020-21. Prior to that, the Montreal native was with the Lac St-Louis team in the Quebec M18 league. . . . Goyens replaced Chadd Cassidy, who resigned as the Eagles’ head coach on July 6. . . . BTW, the Eagles issued the news release announcing Goyens’ hiring at midnight local time. Why? Because it’s the Q. . . .

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks have added Angus Redmond to their staff as the goaltending coach. Redmond, 26, is from Langley, B.C. He is a former Silverbacks goaltending, having played 132 games over four seasons (2012-16) before moving on to Michigan Tech for one season. He has spent the past five seasons playing in the ECHL and AHL.


Waiter


THINKING OUT LOUD: Does anyone have any idea what Hockey Canada will look like in a year? Two years? . . . Hey, Calgary Flames fans, how are you coping? First, Johnny Hockey takes a hike and now it seems that Chucky is going to follow him out the door. Ryan Pike (@@RyanNPike), the editor of @FlamesNation, points out that “in the salary cap era (2005-06 onward), there were 39 100+point seasons prior to 2021-22. All 39 of those players were on the same team the following season. To call Calgary’s off-season ‘unprecedented’ would be an understatement.” . . . Pike also points out that “Jaromir Jagr being traded by Pittsburgh following the 2000-01 season is the last time a 100-point player changed teams before the following season.” . . . The MLB All-Star Game always seems to be worth watching, but those uniforms have got to go. Whatever happened to each player wearing his club’s uniform?


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.


Turn

COVID-19 finds Roughriders . . . AHL team takes bite out of two WHL coaching staffs . . . Red Wings add former Everett coach as assistant


Riders


The WHL’s Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds have vacancies on their coaching staffs after the San Jose Barracudas signed Louis Mass and Kyle Hagel as assistant coaches. . . . The Barracudas are the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. . . . Both men were on the ice with the Sharks at their development camp late last week. . . . Mass, who had been the Silvertips’ associate coach, spent four seasons with Everett. . . . Hagel had been with Seattle for five seasons. . . . They will be working with Barracudas head coach John McCarthy. . . .

Meanwhile, a couple of former Silvertips coaches were making news on Monday.

The long and winding coaching road finally has led Jay Varady to the NHL. A former assistant coach with the Silvertips, Varady now is an assistant with the Detroit Red Wings. He spent the past four seasons in the Arizona Coyotes organization, one as an NHL assistant and three as head coach of the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners. . . . Varady, 44, spent eight seasons (2003-11) on the Silvertips’ staff, the last four as associate head coach. Since leaving Everett, he has coached the Ducs d’Angers in France, the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers, the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs and the Roadrunners. . . .

Kevin Constantine, the Silvertips’ head coach for eight seasons, has been named the head coach of Hungary’s national men’s team. Constantine, 63, also is the head coach of Fehérvár AV19 in the Austrian-based ICE Hockey League, Fehérvár AV19 plays out of Székesfehérvár, Hungary. . . . Constantine did two stints as the Silvertips’ head coach — 2003-07, 2013-17.


Kong


A report from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “A group of farmers and unemployed youngsters have been busted for running a fake Indian Premier League, streaming staged cricket matches online and swindling Russian bettors out of thousands of dollars. But we’ll never know how it turned out. The scam was detected before it reached the championship round.”

——

Perry, again:

No kidding — Simone Biles got reverse-carded at the airport.

The 4-foot-7 world-champion gymnast was mistaken for a child when she caught a flight home after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom this month.

“The flight attendant (tried) to give me a coloring book when I board . . .” she wrote on Instagram. “I said, ‘No, I’m good, I’m 25.’

“The other flight attendant gave me a mimosa, so we’re in the clear.”

Even better, the pilot stuck the landing.



As you no doubt are aware, the BCHL withdrew from the Canadian Junior bchlHockey League, the umbrella under which junior A leagues operate in Canada, more than a year ago. That means that BCHL teams can’t compete for the Centennial Cup that was won this season by the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits at a 10-team tournament in Estevan, Sask. . . . With the BCHL on the outside of the CJHL and looking in, it is at least a bit interesting that the Wenatchee Wild will play four road exhibition games against USHL teams in September, while the Cranbook Bucks will go on the road to play games against the AJHL’s Bandits and the Okotoks Oilers. . . . If you’re wondering, the Wild will play two games against the Fargo Force and singles versus the Sioux Falls Stampede and Sioux City Musketeers.


THINKING OUT LOUD: Canada’s women’s soccer team had a chance to clinch a berth in the 2024 Paris Olympics on Monday night when it met the U.S. in Monterrey, Mexico, and the game wasn’t on Sportsnet or TSN. There is something horribly wrong with that picture. . . . By the way, the Americans won, 1-0. . . . If you were able to watch the Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat the visiting Calgary Stampeders, 26-19, on Friday night, you were treated to the CFL at its best. . . . And then, if you were lucky, you switched over to watch the Milwaukee Brewers and the host San Francisco Giants. OF Mike Yastrzemski won it with a ninth-inning walk-off grand slam, the first time the Giants have managed that since Bobby Bonds beat the Los Angeles Dodgers with one in 1973. The best part, though, was listening to Jon Miller, Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow call the game. . . . I don’t know when/why the Saskatchewan Roughriders decided to try and become the CFL’s version of Al Davis’s Oakland Raiders but it isn’t working.


Waldo


There was an interesting development in the junior B Kootenay International kijhlJunior Hockey League on Monday when it released its regular-season schedule, one that includes the Spokane Braves. . . . Because of the pandemic, the Braves have sat out the past two seasons. . . . From the KIJHL news release: “The Spokane Braves are scheduled to play their first KIJHL regular-season game since February 2020 when they host Osoyoos Coyotes on Sept. 23 to begin their long-awaited 50th season. The league is continuing to monitor circumstances around the Canada-U.S. border and will provide updates.” . . . Taking Note has been told that the Braves have been given until Aug. 1 to declare their intentions for 2022-23. So you have to think that the KIJHL has another schedule ready to be released, one that doesn’t include Spokane. . . . With the U.S. and Canadian governments not allowing anti-vaxxers to cross their borders, the Braves don’t have enough vaccinated players to ice a team. In fact, owner Bob Tobiason and head coach Darin Schumacher aren’t vaccinated, either. That fact prevented Tobiason from attending the KIJHL’s annual general meeting at Fairmont Hot Springs in late June.


After the International Olympic Committee decided — finally! — to give the late Jim Thorpe back his classic pentathlon and decathlon gold medals from the 1912 Olympic Summer Games in Stockholm, comedy writer Alex Kaseberg summed things up: “In an equally timely move, the IOC strongly feels women should be allowed to vote.”


Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “Phil Mickelson keeps saying how happy he is that he went with that Blood Money Tour. And, boy, he sure looks happy these days, doesn’t he?”


Family


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes revealed on Monday that F Yegor Klavdiev, 19, won’t be returning for a second season. He has decided to stay at home in LethbridgeBelarus and begin his pro career with Shakhtyor Soligorsk of the Belarusian Extraliga. . . . Lethbridge GM Peter Anholt, from a news release: “We are really disappointed about the news of Klavdiev not returning. It’s disappointing to lose a good player who was going to be a key 19-year-old for us this coming season and someone that we were going to count on. The timing isn’t great for us, but his decision was made, and we respect that and wish him the best in his next step.” . . . Klavdiev had 21 goals and 26 assists in 61 games last season; he was one of three 20-goal scorers on the roster. . . . F Justin Hall led Lethbridge with 34 goals last season, but that was as a 20-year-old. F Jett Jones, who is to turn 20 on Aug. 27, was the other 20-goal man last season, with 20. . . . In the CHL’s 2022 import draft, the Hurricanes selected Slovakian F Alex Ciernik, who turns 18 on Oct. 8, in the first round and then passed on their second pick. The Hurricanes also hold the rights to Swiss F Liekit Reichie, 19, who had two goals and nine assists in 34 games after being claimed off waivers from the Prince George Cougars last season.

The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express is looking for a head coach with Brandon Shaw having left to join the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs as an assistant coach. Shaw, who was with Coquitlam for one season, also was the assistant general manager. . . . Shaw has been coaching in the BCHL for the past five seasons — two with the Merritt Centennials and two with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. . . .

The OHL’s Soo Greyhounds have extended the contract of general manager Kyle Raftis for four years, taking him through the 2025-26 season. Raftis is preparing for his ninth season with the Greyhounds.


Jason Knight, a former WHL player, died on June 30 in Regina, four days after his 49th birthday. . . . Knight played 56 WHL regular-season games over three seasons (1990-93) — 26 with the Saskatoon Blades, 29 with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and one with the Tacoma Rockets. He finished with three goals and four assists. . . . From the obituary: “There will be no Funeral Service at this time but a Celebration of Life will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made, in memoriam, to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, 100 – 119 14 Street NW Calgary, AB, T2N 1Z6 or to KidSport Canada, 423 – 145 Pacific Avenue, Winnipeg, MB, R3B 2Z6.” . . . That obituary is right here.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Puns

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if the Calgary Wranglers are coming back . . .

scattershooting

Camper2

Hello, friend. Yes, you . . . from the white one-ton truck that was pulled in off Wittner Road east of Kamloops on Saturday morning. You know, on the south side of the South Thompson River, just across from the Lafarge plant.

I was wondering if you lost your camper?

When I walked past your truck with the white camper on the back I didn’t see anyone, so I assumed you were fishing off the shore. I even wondered if you might be camping there for the weekend.

Then when I went for my Sunday morning stroll, I noticed your truck was gone but the camper was still there, albeit on its roof.

I can only assume that it slid off the back of your truck as you drove away and that you didn’t notice it. I mean, you wouldn’t be ignorant enough just to dump the old camper right there now, would you? Perhaps you were too busy trying to figure out how to use your turn signals to notice that the camper was gone. Hey, it happens to all of us.

Anyway . . . by now you likely have noticed that it’s missing and now you know where it is, so I’m sure you’ll drop by one day this week and pick it up.

Right?

Camper3



Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Jon Berti of the Miami Marlins leads all of baseball in steals, with 25,  at the season’s halfway point. Unless you count the former treasurer of the Oakville, Ont., Minor Baseball Association, who is accused of  embezzling $468,000 from the league.”

——

Perry, again: “Green Bay Packers QB  Aaron Rodgers has a new tattoo on his left arm — intricate astrological designs by Hungarian artist Balazs Bercsenyi. What were you expecting, a bull’s-eye with the words ‘insert vaccination here?’ ”


THINKING OUT LOUD: If you were on Twitter the afternoon of July 4, I think you’ll admit it was kind of surreal with tweets about the mass shooting in Highland Park, Ill., and a hot dog-eating contest in Coney Island, N.Y., seemingly alternating in that particular social media universe. . . . During the NHL’s 2022-23 regular season, the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames will meet three times — none once in the season’s second half. Seriously! In the CFL this season, the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos meet on four occasions. . . . Battle of Alberta? Not in the NHL, I guess. . . . In the WHL, the Edmonton Oil Kings and Calgary Hitmen will clash on eight occasions. . . . Still with the NHL’s 2022-23 schedule, the New York Rangers and New York Islanders will see each other only three times, all before Christmas. . . .

Hey, Blue Jays fans, how did you survive Friday night with your favourites and the host Seattle Mariners available only on Apple TV+? In its attempts to find new fans, MLB does that every once in a while just to remind some of us that at the end of the day it really does take those of us who are regular viewers for granted. . . . Don’t look now but here come the Baltimore Orioles. . . .

Yes, the Saskatchewan Roughriders should release DT Garrett Marino after that embarrassing performance on Friday night. Will they? Marino, in his second season with the Roughriders, has proven he can be a productive player, so I would be shocked if he is cut loose. . . . Until Sunday night, I haven’t been eagerly awaiting the arrival of robo umps in Major League Baseball. But after watching Giancarlo Stanton of the New York Yankees take six pitches, all of which were balls, and be called out on strikes, well, I guess it’s time.



“Kevin Durant is turning into the Taylor Swift of baseball,” writes Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe. “But at least her breakups result in good songs.”



Lazuli
I had company for a brief time on my Sunday morning walk. Lazuli buntings are frequent visitors to our neighbourhood in Campbell Creek.

After I posted a story here the other day about the Kelowna Rockets switching radio stations — they left AM 1150 after more than 20 years and now are with 104.7 The Lizard — one reply to the tweet about the piece had me chuckling. . . .

BTW, some WHL fans really are waiting anxiously to find out if Regan Bartel, the long-time radio voice of the Rockets, will ever pitter-patter and get at ‘er again. . . . Hey, TSN, do you still need a play-by-play voice for your Winnipeg Jets telecasts?


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Brandon Wheat Kings have promoted Chris Moulton to director of hockey operations. He had been the director of player personnel since joining the organization on July 2, 2021. Before signing on with Brandon, Moulton spent 13 seasons with the Spokane Chiefs as director of scouting and director of player personnel. . . . Moulton’s promotion follows the May 6 announcement that general manager Doug Gasper had resigned for personal reasons. He had been with the Wheat Kings for three seasons, the first two as assistant general manager and the last one as GM. . . .

The OHL’s board of governors has approved the sale of the Niagara IceDogs to a group headed by majority owner Darren DeDobbelaer and including minority owner Wayne Gretzky. . . . DeDobbelaer and Gretzky both are from Brantford, Ont. . . . They purchased the IceDogs from Denise and Bill Burke, who had bought the franchise from the late Eugene Melnyk. . . . Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered has reported that the price the DeDobbelaer group paid is “believed to be $18 million, which is actually 10 percent less than the $20 million owners Bill and Denise Burke were seeking for the franchise.” . . . The IceDogs play out of St. Catharines, Ont. . . . This isn’t Gretzky’s first time being involved in the ownership of a major junior franchise. He was involved in the ownership of the OHL’s Belleville Bulls (1982-84) and  owned a piece of the QMJHL’s Hull Olympiques (1985-92).



DeerApple
We had a visitor to our Jon Gold apple tree at noon on Sunday. She helped herself — without asking, I might add — and then laid down under the tree and digested her meal.

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.


Posters

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after watching Canucks ring the pipes in loss to Blackhawks . . .

Scattershooting2

You know what I wish? I wish people would quit talking about wanting things to get back to “normal.”

I mean, what is “normal?” If you are remembering how things were two years ago, forget about it. Well, maybe don’t forget about it, but file those days in your memory bank, preferably in a chamber way in the back.

You may remember the good old days when someone would dial 911 if you walked into a store wearing a mask. When you didn’t use hand sanitizer at least a dozen times a day. When you didn’t have to wear a mask to a hockey game and there weren’t capacity limits on any of the arenas. When vaccination status didn’t matter when you invited friends over for dinner. When some areas of our hospitals weren’t bursting at the seams and when our healthcare workers weren’t burning out quicker than cheap candles.

You may remember them, but those days are gone. They’re not coming back, either, no matter how much you want to see them again.

In a year or two, when enough people have been fully vaccinated, including booster shots, and COVID-19 has been beaten down, perhaps society will be able to develop a new “normal.”

But we are a long way from there these days.

For now, the only Normal in our world is a town in Illinois.

Here in B.C., we have no idea what our normal will look like. We’re almost two years into the pandemic. We’ve had wildfires and all the smoke that came with them. We’ve had the landslides and the flooding.

About all that’s left is the locusts and I hear they’re gathering over the Pacific with a spring invasion in mind.


HELPIN’ OUT THE PACK: I have a dear friend who is a huge fan of the Green Bay Packers. A news release arrived in my inbox on Friday, and I could hardly wait GreenBayto forward it to him. . . . “Green Bay Packers fans in Canada now have the opportunity to purchase shares in the iconic franchise, the organization announced today,” the release reads. “Approximately 174,000 shares remain available for purchase. The team has clarified Canadian regulatory requirements and now is able to proceed with sales in Canada. The offering will continue until Feb. 25, 2022, subject to extension, or until fully subscribed. . . . The cost of a share in Canada is US$300, with a handling fee for each transaction.” . . . You are limited to purchasing a maximum of 200 shares and remember that they don’t appreciate in value. . . . So, for a mere Cdn$379.25 — that was the exchange rate on Friday — you are able to help the Packers pay Aaron Rodgers’ salary. . . . My friend? I would expect him to give himself a Merry Christmas with a share or five.


Liquor


TWO NEW IMPORTS: A pair of WHL franchises added import players late in the week. . . . The Regina Pats claimed Slovakian F Alex Geci, 18, off waivers from the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, which had selected him in the 2020 CHL import draft. He had one goal and two assists in nine games with the Sting this season. . . . Meanwhile, Russian F Alexei Shanaurin, 17, has arrived in Swift Current and is skating with the Broncos. They selected him in the 2021 import draft. . . . Neither Geci nor Shanaurin played on Saturday night. . . . Alan Caldwell, who tracks these things, informs that 21 of the WHL’s 22 teams now have their limit of two imports. The exception? The Red Deer Rebels.



CHANGES, CHANGES: The CFL’s West Division semifinal will feature the Calgary Stampeders and the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina on Sunday. CFLThe West final is to be played in Winnipeg on Dec. 5. . . . Between those dates, pandemic-related rules regarding flying will change in Canada, with travellers needing to be fully vaccinated after Nov. 30; negative test results no longer will be enough. . . . Dave Dickenson, the Stampeders’ head coach, admitted on Saturday that should the Stampeders advance they will have a different look in Winnipeg than they will in Regina. In other words, there are a few unvaccinated players in the Calgary locker room. . . . Meanwhile, the Roughriders moved third-string QB Paxton Lynch to the practice squad late last week because he is unvaccinated so is unable to fly. According to Murray McCormick of the Regina Leader-Post, Saskatchewan head coach Craig Dickenson said that Lynch is the lone unvaccinated player on the team’s roster. . . . “We’ve encouraged guys to get vaccinated and given them motives and incentives, which are mainly about the ability to play and travel,” Craig Dickenson said. “If they chose not to, that is their choice. We do the best we can. If someone doesn’t want to get vaccinated, we aren’t going to force them.” . . . With Lynch out of the picture, QB Mason Fine came off the Saskatchewan practice roster and is behind starter Cody Fajardo and Isaac Harker on the depth chart.


Early


PERRY’S CORNER: “House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy spoke for 8½ hours into the early hours Friday morning in futile opposition to President Biden’s social spending bill,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Veteran observers say it was like watching a Yankees-Red Sox doubleheader.”

——

More from Perry: “Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Aminata Diallo has been arrested for allegedly setting up an attack on a soccer teammate. Jacques Gillooly immediately proclaimed his innocence.”

——

Perry also had this one: “According to NFL memes, NFL teams with cat names and those with bird names are tied at 209-209-10 all time. The Jaguars and Falcons will break the tie Nov. 28 — we hope.”


STORM WARNING: The junior B Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League were back on home ice Sunday night, beating the North Okanagan Knights, 4-1. The Storm had one game postponed — it was to have entertained the Chase Heat on Nov. 17 — because its home arena is being used as an evacuation centre for Merritt residents who have had to flee a massive flood.


BIG GAME COUNTRY: It you’re a hockey fan, you might be eagerly awaiting WHLSaturday night. That’s when the Kamloops Blazers, now 14-2-0, are scheduled to visit the Everett Silvertips (14-0-1). . . . The Blazers beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-1, in Kent, Wash., on Saturday and will be back there on Wednesday. Kamloops then will meet the host Portland Winterhawks on Friday before moving on to Everett. . . . The Silvertips, who dropped the visiting Thunderbirds, 5-2, on Sunday, are at home to the Tri-City Americans on Wednesday and then will visit the Victoria Royals on Friday. . . . Kamloops holds an 11-point lead over the second-place Kelowna Rockets (8-4-1) in the B.C. Division. . . . The Silvertips are atop the U.S. Division, eight points ahead of Seattle (11-5-1). . . .

Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference-leading Winnipeg Ice (19-1-0) will play their next seven games at home, starting Wednesday against the Swift Current Broncos (6-9-3). Of note are a doubleheader with the Saskatoon Blades (11-7-1) on Dec. 3 and 4, with the Edmonton Oil Kings (14-3-3) there for two on Dec. 8 and 11. . . . When the Ice finishes the homestand it’ll be wrapping up a stretch in which it played 12 of 14 games on home ice.


Map


CHEF’S KISS: Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, with a cooking-related anecdote: “Antonio Brown’s former live-in chef outing Brown for allegedly obtaining a fake vax card is the best sports-chef story since 2004. That’s when Gary Sheffield accused Barry Bonds of luring away his live-in chef with a car, a home and repayment of student loans. It was history’s most celebrated case of chefjacking.”


JUST NOTES: After a day of NFL watching, I am left to wonder if the magic has left Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. You don’t hear Seahawks fans saying the team needs to “Let Russ Cook” these days. . . . Remember when the Pittsburgh Steelers ran the ball, ran the ball and ran the ball some more? . . . Some games you just aren’t destined to win. That’s what the Vancouver Canucks will be telling themselves today after hitting five posts in a 1-0 loss to G Marc-Andre Fleury and the visiting Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night. Of course, another loss won’t do anything to keep the vultures from circling Rogers Arena. . . . It won’t happen, but it wouldn’t hurt if MLB added player-of-the-year awards to its trophy case, because that’s what the MVP honours have become. Why not have MVP and POY awards? . . . We can only hope that Sunday’s CFL division semifinals are more entertaining than what we’ve seen down the stretch.


Mental


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.


Igram

Lightning strikes twice in two years for ex-WHLers . . . Raiders sign import goalie . . . Horrible day for Roughriders

Vaccine



A brief weather-related note: As we were driving into Kamloops early this afternoon, the temperature was 31C. . . . That is 16 degrees higher than what it was at 2 a.m. . . . It also is 16 degrees ‘cooler’ than what it was here on June 29. . . . Is this a great time to be alive, or what?


Grant Armstrong has added a couple of rings to his haberdashery since leaving the WHL. Armstrong and his wife, Lezlie, were in Tampa Bay on Wednesday night to celebrate with the Lightning as they won their second consecutive Stanley Cup. . . . “I’m a little weary because it was a late night,” he told Tom Zillich of the Surrey Now-Leader on Thursday, “but well worth it. It’s special.” . . . Zillich’s complete story is right here. . . . Armstrong was with the Portland Winterhawks for five seasons (2007-12) and the Victoria Royals for three (2013-16) before working for the Brandon Wheat Kings for three seasons (2016-19) as general manager. . . . He has been scouting for the Lightning for two seasons and, yes, he now has two Stanley Cup rings. . . .

Also on Tampa Bay’s scouting staff is Josh Dye, a former Portland scout who has been with the Lightning for two seasons, meaning that he, too, has a pair of rings. Dye scouted for Portland from 2006-13 before spending three years with Newport Sports Management Inc. He returned to Portland prior to the 2016-17 season as the team’s U.S. and European scout. . . .

And let’s not forget Jason Berger, the Lightning’’s assistant equipment manager. Berger spent four seasons (2007-11) with the Seattle Thunderbirds as their equipment manager. He just completed his fourth season with the Lightning.

——

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s front office also includes two former WHL players — Jamie Pushor and Stacy Roest. . . . Pushor is assistant general manager, director of player personnel. Pushor played 204 regular-season games over five seasons with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. He has been with the Lightning for 10 seasons now. . . . Roest, the Lightning’s assistant general manager, director of player development, played four full seasons (1991-95) with the Medicine Hat Tigers. He has been with the Lightning for eight seasons; he also is the general manager of Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch. Roest’s son, Austin, is a 17-year-old forward preparing for his second season with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips.


History


The Prince Albert Raiders have signed G Tikhon Chayka of Belarus, who was Raiderspicked in the CHL’s 2001 import draft. . . . Chayka, who turns 18 on Aug. 26, got into three games with Belarus at the IIHF U18 World championship in Texas, going 2-1-0, 2.67, .911. . . . In 29 appearances with Team Belarus in a junior league there, he was 3.60, .870. . . . The Raiders didn’t have any imports on their roster in the Regina hub earlier this year. They finished the 2019-20 season with three on their roster — F Daniil Stepanov, now 20, of Belarus; F Aliaksei Protas, now 20, also of Belarus; and F Ivan Kechkin, now 19, of Russia.


Martyr


The CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders haven’t opened training camp — that happens on Saturday — but they lost four players to torn Achilles injuries on Thursday as they worked out at Mosaic Stadium in preparation for things getting serious. DE Freddie Bishop, MLB Larry Dean, RB Jonathan Femi-Cole and DB Nelson Lokombo all went down in a matter of minutes. General manager Jeremy O’Day told reporters that he expects all four to be out long-term. . . . Bishop and Dean were projected as starters after signing in February. . . . “It wasn’t a competitive drill by any means,” O’Day told reporters. “It happened close enough that while one trainer was dealing with one, then another trainer was dealing with another.” . . . Murray McCormick of the Regina Leader-Post has more right here.



——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Barry Wolff has signed a two-year contract extension with the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders. According to a team news release, the contract contains “an option for a third year if he chooses.” Wolff is heading into his fourth season with the junior A team. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia tweeted on Wednesday that “longtime Vancouver Giants equipment manager Shingo Sasaki has left the club for a post with the Vancouver Canucks’ AHL team in Abbotsford.” . . .

Scott Burt, a former WHL player and assistant coach, has signed on as head coach and director of hockey operations with the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush. Burt spent 2019-20 as an assistant coach with the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads. Burt, 44, played three seasons (1995-98) in the WHL, suiting up with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Swift Current Broncos, Edmonton Ice and Red Deer Rebels. He later spent six seasons (2013-19) as an assistant coach with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Jackson Playfair has joined the UBC Thunderbirds men’s hockey team as a full-time assistant coach. Playfair, 27, played in the WHL for three seasons (2012-15) with the Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans before going on to spend four seasons at Dalhousie U. His father, Jim, also a former WHL player, is an associate coach with the Edmonton Oilers. . . .

USA Hockey has added F Cross Hanas of the Portland Winterhawks to the roster for the 2021 World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Mich., from July 24-31. Hanas, a draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings, is the only WHL player on the 44-man roster. . . . Matt Bardsley, who spent the previous three seasons as the Kamloops Blazers’ general manager, has joined the Philadelphia Flyers as an amateur scout. He left the Blazers with three years left on his contract, saying that he wanted to get his family back to the U.S. He will spend most of his scouting time working WHL games out of Portland. . . .

The Winnipeg Ice will have a new play-by-play voice following the resignation of Mitch Peacock, who had been its manager, broadcast and communications. He handled the play-by-play for each of the previous two seasons. . . . Hockey Canada has invited 45 players, 17 of them from the WHL, to it U-18 summer development that is scheduled for the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on the Tsuut’ina National near Calgary, from July 25 through Aug. 4. The six-man coaching staff includes three WHL head coaches — Brent Kisio (Lethbridge Hurricanes), Brad Lauer (Edmonton Oil Kings) and Dennis Williams (Everett Silvertips). There’s more right here.


Soccerplayer

Nova Scotia, with virus numbers rising, pulls plug on Women’s Worlds . . . WHL adjusts schedule; some teams won’t get in 24 games . . . CFL provides an update

It sure looked as though the IIHF Women’s World Championship was going to start in Halifax and Truro on May 6. But that’s before COVID-19 reared its ugly head and said: “Not so fast.”

On Wednesday, with Team Canada already training in Halifax and one day WomenHockeybefore nine other teams were to begin arriving for their quarantine sessions, the Nova Scotian government chose to inform the IIHF and Hockey Canada that the tournament was off.

In a statement, Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney and Scott Smith, the president and COO, said: “While we are disappointed with the cancellation, we understand the decision was made with the health and safety of all participants and the community at large as the top priority.”

René Fasel, the IIHF president, said: “This is very disappointing news to receive with just a few weeks until the tournament was to begin. We strongly believe that we had the adequate safety measures in place to protect players, officials, spectators and all residents in Halifax and Truro, based on the IIHF and Hockey Canada’s experiences from hosting the IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton. In the end, we must accept the decision of the government.”

On Wednesday, Nova Scotia reported 25 new COVID-19 cases, which, according to CBC News, is “the highest daily total since November 24 when 37 cases were diagnosed. It pushes the province’s seven-day average to 10, which is the first time it has been in double digits since early December.”

On April 15, Nova Scotia had 42 active cases; on Wednesday, it announced that it now had 79.

In a news release, Premier Iain Rankin admitted to being “very concerned” about the rising number.

“We are seeing early signs of community spread and we must strictly follow all public health protocols to get back on track, especially in the greater Halifax region,” Rankin said.

CBC News reported that “19 of the new cases are in the central health zone, which includes the Halifax area. Four cases are related to travel outside the region.”

Canada’s Atlantic provinces have done better than the rest of the country — the far north excluded — at keeping COVID-19 at bay and one of the major weapons has been travel restrictions. So with the numbers threatening to keep going up, the province chose the health of its citizens over playing host to an international tournament.

Really, it’s hard to argue with the decision.

The IIHF and Hockey Canada are still hopeful of holding the tournament at some point during the summer. There also were reports later Wednesday that the Dallas Stars and USA Hockey are exploring the possibility of playing it in Texas, perhaps in Frisco and Plano, where the U18 IIHF World championship is to open on Monday.

But, at least for now, the Women’s world championship has been scrubbed for a second straight year. The tournament also was to have been held in Halifax and Truro a year ago.


Hotel


The WHL announced a number of schedule changes on Wednesday, all of them WHL2necessitated by teams having missed games because of positive tests. . . . The end result is that without any more postponements a number of teams won’t play 24 games in this developmental season as was originally hoped. . . . Two of the teams that have experienced positive tests, the Calgary Hitmen and Kelowna Rockets, will play 21 and 16 games respectively. . . . The Hitmen, by the way, have completed their 14-day isolation period and have been cleared to resume team activities. They now are scheduled to return to game action on Friday afternoon against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The WHL’s news release on the schedule changes is right here. . . .

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Meanwhile, there were three WHL games played on Wednesday and PP goals were the hot item. All told, the six teams involved struck for 26 goals, with 13 of them coming with the man advantage. . . .

F Nolan Ritchie scored twice to help the Brandon Wheat Kings to a 6-2 victory Brandonover the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Wheat Kings (16-3-2), who have won five straight, now hold a three-point lead over the idle Saskatoon Blades (14-3-3) and the Winnipeg Ice (15-5-1), which beat the Moose Jaw Warriors last night, atop the Regina hub standings. . . . The Broncos (4-16-1) have lost two in a row. . . . F Lynden McCallum (13) gave Brandon a 1-0 first-period lead, with Ritchie, who has 10 goals, making it 2-0 at 14:49 of the second. . . . D Mat Ward (5) scored for the Broncos, on a PP, at 16:39. . . . Ritchie got that one back at 17:33 and D Rylan Thiessen (1) added another at 19:04. . . . F Brett Hyland (3) and D Vince Iorio (5) added PP goals for Brandon in the third period. . . . The Wheat Kings were 3-for-6 on the PP; the Broncos were 1-for-6. . . . Brandon held a 33-18 edge in shots. . . .

F Jakin Smallwood opened and closed the scoring as the Winnipeg Ice got past Winnipegthe Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-5 in OT, in the Regina hub. . . . The Ice (15-5-1) has points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . The Warriors are 8-11-2. . . . F Cade Hayes (4) gave the Warriors a 5-4 lead with a PP goal at 14:38 of the third period. . . . F Peyton Krebs (13), who now has points in 20 straight games, tied the game at 18:48 with G Carl Stankowski on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . Smallwood, who had opened the scoring at 1:08 of the first period, won it with his 13th goal at 1:46 of OT. . . . The Ice erased deficits of 3-2, 4-3 and 5-4 to win this one. . . . Winnipeg was 2-for-4 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 2-for-3. . . . Krebs finished with two goals. After being blanked in his first game, he’s got 13 goals and 26 assists in his 20-game streak. Last season, he scored 12 times in 38 games. . . . The Ice also got two goals from F Skyler Bruce. He has three on the season. . . . Hayes finished with two goals and an assist. . . .

F Justin Sourdif and D Alex Kannok Leipert each scored once and added two Vancouverassists to help the Vancouver Giants to a 5-3 lead over the Victoria Royals in Kelowna. . . . The Giants (9-3-0) have won four in a row. . . . The Royals (1-10-1) have lost seven straight. . . . The game’s first five goals came via the PP. . . . F Brayden Tracey (8) gave the Royals a 1-0 lead at 3:25 of the first period. . . . Kannok Leipert (4) tied it at 15:32. . . . Victoria went back out front on a goal by F Tarun Fizer (3) at 2:58 of the second period. . . . The Giants took control with the next three goals — from F Eric Florchuk (4), at 14:58, Sourdif (5), at 16:21, and F Zack Ostapchuk (4), at 3:18 of the third. . . . F Ty Yoder (3) got Victoria to within a goal at 4:57, but F Justin Lies (2) restored Vancouver’s two-goal lead at 13:47. . . . The Giants finished 3-for-9 on the PP; the Royals were 2-for-5. . . . Vancouver had a 38-20 edge in shots, including 11-5 in the first period and 12-5 in the second.


Masks


The CFL said Wednesday that it hopes to open its 2021 season on Aug. 5, which CFLwould be almost two months later than the June 10 opening date at which it once was aiming. . . . The plan is to open training camps in late June, have each team play 14 games, down from the normal 18, and hold the Grey Cup game in Hamilton on Dec. 12 instead of Nov. 21. . . . Here’s Randy Ambrosie, the CFL commissioner: “We will play CFL football in 2021.” . . . He then admitted that it all hinges on getting approval from public health officials in various jurisdictions and getting the OK from government and health officials to have “a significant number of fans in the stands, in a significant number of venues at the start of the season, and in the rest of our venues soon after that, so a 2021 season is financially tenable for our clubs.” . . . In the end, like so many other things, the CFL will go ahead if the virus allows it. . . . In the meantime, get vaccinated so that we can get all sports back and with fans in the stands. . . .

In Regina, Jeremy O’Day, the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ general manager, informed players that the reporting date is July 2, followed by a seven-day quarantine period. Training camp is set to open on July 10. . . . O’Day also had this message for players: “We know these have been challenging times. One major way to help us with our return to play and getting fans in the stands is by getting vaccinated. Our medical professionals are strongly encouraging everyone to get vaccinated. The vaccines are safe, effective and are critical to getting our team back on the field. If you would like to speak to one of the Roughrider doctors about the vaccine, please let me know and we will arrange that.” . . . Justin Dunk of 3Down Nation has more right here.


The seven-team Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) was to have opened its 2021 season on June 5. It announced on Wednesday that it has moved opening day of its 14-game season to June 24. Under normal circumstances, teams each would play 20 games. . . . The CEBL spent its 2020 season in a bubble in St. Catharines, Ont., but says it won’t be playing in that environment this season.


——

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: The Regina Pats unveiled their player card sets on Wednesday morning and sold out the first printing — 500 sets — in fewer than three hours. It wasn’t long before there was a Connor Bedard card available on eBay for $100, and a complete set — including “Connor Bedard Official WHL Rookie Card” — for $149.95 or best offer. . . . The AJHL’s Blackfalds Bulldogs, who are to being their first season in the fall, have added Brady Bakke to their coaching staff. He spent two seasons (2017-18) as an assistant coach with the U18 AAA St. Albert Raiders, and then two seasons as an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. Bakke, 27, is from Red Deer.


Earth

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

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

A long long time ago

I can still remember how

That football used to make me smile

And Gainer knew if he had the chance

That he could make those people dance

And maybe they’d be happy for a while

But 2020 made me shiver

With every paper they’d deliver

Bad news on the doorstep

I couldn’t take one more step

I can’t remember if I cried

When I read about this season — died

Something touched me deep inside

The day the football died

So . . .

Bye, bye 2020 Grey Cup

Drove my Chevy to Mosaic but the gates were locked up

So now we’re home drinking whiskey and rye

Singin’ this’ll be the day football died

This’ll be the day football died

Did you write the three-down rule

And do you have faith in the refs above

If video review tells you so?

Do you believe in Calvillo?

How SJ Green caught that touchdown throw?

And can you teach me how to play like Fajardo?

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

I saw you taking selfies with him

You both had giant smiles

For one game, I’d drive for miles

I was a lonely middle-aged CFL fan

With a Riders jersey and a minivan

But I knew I was out of luck

The day the football died

I started singin’

Bye, bye 2020 Grey Cup

Drove my Chevy to Mosaic but the gates were locked up

And now we’re home drinking whiskey and rye

Singin’ this’ll be the day football died

This’ll be the day football died

For 110 years we’ve been on our own

And Kevin Waugh, his job was blown

But, that’s not how it used to be

When Kevin worked for the CTV,

In a coat he bought in the 70s

And a voice that came from our TVs

Oh and while the commish was looking down

The politicians stole his commish crown

The parliament was adjourned

No money was returned

And while Trudeau read a book on plastics

The fans said “hey, this is drastic!”

And we sang “Green is the color…”

The day the CFL died

We were singin’

Bye, bye 2020 Grey Cup

Drove my Chevy to Mosaic but the gates were locked up

And now we’re home drinking whiskey and rye

And singin’ this’ll be the day football died

This’ll be the day football died

Helter skelter in a summer swelter

The fans looked for a thunderstorm shelter

Eight miles away and moving fast

It landed hail on the grass

The players tried for a forward pass

With the slick field, they landed on their ass

Now the half-time air was sweet perfume

The Riders led by 22

Eskimos stood no chance

Oh, but we never got the chance

‘Cause they’re no longer the Eskimos

The front office chose to yield

Do you recall what was revealed

The day the football died?

We started singin’

Bye, bye 2020 Grey Cup

Drove my Chevy to Mosaic but the gates were locked up

So now we’re home drinking whiskey and rye

And singin’ this’ll be the day football died

This’ll be the day football died

Oh, and there we were all in one place

A generation lost in space

With no time left to start again

So come on George be nimble, George be quick

George Reed just moved the yardsticks

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

Oh and as I watched him on the field

My hands were clenched in fists of appeal

No DB born in Sask

Could break Russ Jackson’s spell

And as “The Flame” climbed high into the night

That came out of his helmet, right?

I saw too many laughing with delight

The day the football died

We were singin’

Bye, bye 2020 Grey Cup

Drove my Chevy to Mosaic but the gates were locked up

And now we’re home drinking whiskey and rye

Singin’ this’ll be the day football died

This’ll be the day football died

I met Rob Vanstone who wrote his views

And I asked him for some happy news

But he just smiled and turned away

I went down to the Rider store

Where I’d bought many clothes before

But the man there said the Riders wouldn’t play

And in the streets the children screamed

The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed

But not a word was spoken

The church bells all were broken

And the three men I admire most

Ron Lancaster, George Reed, Eagle Keys

They caught the last train for the seas

The day the football died

And they were singing

Bye, bye 2020 Grey Cup

Drove my Chevy to Mosaic but the gates were locked up

And that is why we’re drinking whiskey and rye

Singin’ this’ll be the day football died

This’ll be the day football died

They were singing

Bye, bye 2020 Grey Cup

Drove my Chevy to Mosaic but the gates were locked up

So now we’re home drinking whiskey and rye

Singin’ this’ll be the day football died.

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