Oil Kings wrap up WHL title . . . Cossa pitches Game 6 shutout . . . Paddock: Pats plan to build around Bedard, not trade him

The Edmonton Oil Kings won their third WHL championship on Monday night, beating the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-0, to win the best-of-seven series EdCupfor the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 4-2.

The Oil Kings last won the title in 2014 when they needed seven games to get past the Portland Winterhawks in the final. They also took seven games to sideline Portland in the 2012 final. Those teams also met in the 2013 final, with Portland winning in six games.

The Oil Kings went on to win the Memorial Cup in 2014, the last time a WHL team has won the national title.

Edmonton, the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed, skated through these playoffs in 19 games, going 16-3. The Oil Kings swept the No. 7 Lethbridge Hurricanes and No. 4 Red Deer Rebels before taking out the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice, 4-1.

The Thunderbirds, meanwhile, were the Western Conference’s No. 4 seed. They got past the No. 5 Kelowna Rockets, 4-1, then went seven games against both the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks and No. 2 Kamloops Blazers. In the process, Seattle became the first team in WHL history to win two Game 7s in the same playoff season on the road. The Thunderbirds trailed Portland, 3-1, in that series, then fell behind Kamloops, 3-2.

Last night, the Oil Kings came out determined to get more pucks and bodies to Edmontonthe Seattle net. . . . F Jakub Demek (5) opened the scoring, on a PP at 7:15 of the first period, corralling a loose puck in the Seattle crease off a shot by F Josh Williams and tucking it home. . . . Edmonton went ahead 2-0 at 3:44 of the second period as D Kaiden Guhle set a franchise record with his eighth goal of these playoffs. The previous Oil Kings record belonged to Martin Gernát, who scored seven times in 2012. One year later, he scored six more. . . . Guhle was named the playoff MVP. . . . Guhle also played for the Prince Albert Raiders, who won the Ed Chynoweth Cup in 2019. That was the last time the WHL completed a playoff season as COVID-19 resulted in the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 postseason. . . . F Jake Neighbours drew two assists. . . . After getting ahead 2-0, the Oil Kings went into a 1-2-2 defence that oftentimes looked more like 1-4. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa stopped 27 shots. He finished the playoffs at 16-3, 1.93, .919, with five shutouts. . . . Seattle got 34 saves from G Thomas Milic, including 20 in the first period when his guys were outshot, 21-4. . . . Edmonton was 1-for-4 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-6. . . . Seattle was without D Tyrel Bauer, who served the second of a two-game suspension. . . . Edmonton played again without F Dylan Guenther. . . . The Oil Kings will join the host Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL and the QMJHL-champion Shawinigan Cataractes at the four-team Memorial Cup tournament that opens on June 20 in New Brunswick.

——

Meanwhile, the OHL championship for the J. Robertson Cup is going to a seventh game. The host Windsor Spitfires beat the Hamilton Bulldogs, 5-2, on Monday night to tie the series, 3-3. . . . They’ll decide the whole thing in Hamilton on Wednesday night. . . . F Daniel D’Amico led the Spitfires with two goals as they erased a 2-1 second-period deficit with the game’s last four goals. . . . F Logan Morrison had both Hamilton goals.


The Regina Pats held a spring camp on the weekend and Rob Vanstone of the ReginaRegina Leader-Post was there. No, he wasn’t competing for a spot on the Pats’ protected list; he was there in search of a story, and he found two. . . . For starters, John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, told Vanstone that the plan is to build around F Connor Bedard, meaning that the organization is more likely to acquire players than to trade away their star. . . . That story is right here.

Vanstone also chatted with Paddock about a health scare with which the latter dealt during this hockey season. Paddock left the coaching game in early February and didn’t return as he dealt with COVID-19 and lymphoma. Everything seems under control now, though, and Paddock is planning on being behind the Pats bench when a new season arrives. That story is right here.



GasPrice


Before arriving in Toronto for a four-game series with the Blue Jays, the Baltimore Orioles placed OF Anthony Santander, one of their best hitters, and COVIDsouthpaw reliever Keegan Akin on the restricted list. From Sportsnet: “The moves suggest Santander and Akin could not cross the border due to an insufficient COVID-19 vaccine status. Unvaccinated people cannot enter Canada or the United States without a quarantine period.” . . .

From the San Francisco Chronicle: The Golden State Warriors are going to their broadcaster bench for Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night against the Boston Celtics. Tim Roye, the Warriors’ radio play-by-play announcer on radio station 95.7 The Game, tested positive for the coronavirus and was knocked out of action for the broadcast. Roye will also miss Game 6 Thursday in Boston. . . .

From The New York Times: The Rolling Stones postponed a stadium concert in Amsterdam on Monday, after Mick Jagger tested positive for the coronavirus. The announcement came shortly before the show was to begin and after some fans had already entered the stadium, the AP reported. . . .

From Entertainment Weekly: One day after performing on the Tony Awards, Hugh Jackman has tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time and will miss performances of ‘The Music Man.’ . . .

From ESPN News Services: NBA commissioner Adam Silver canceled plans to attend Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics on Monday night in San Francisco because of the league’s health and safety protocols. Silver typically attends all Finals games. The league did not say if Silver had tested positive for COVID-19 or been deemed a close contact of someone who had, nor did it release any details about his health.


Snowman


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The MJHL’s Neepawa Titans have added Zak Hicks and Landon Cameron as assistant coaches. Hicks played in the MJHL with the Winkler Flyers under then-head coach Ken Pearson, who now is the Titans’ head coach. Cameron is a familiar face in Neepawa, having been involved with various levels of hockey in the community.


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.


Single

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while waiting to see if the Thunderbirds can do it again . . .

scattershooting

The Edmonton Oil Kings get their second opportunity at winning the WHL championship for the Ed Chynoweth Cup when they entertain the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight.

It’s Game 6 of the best-of-seven series and the Oil Kings lead, 3-2. The EdCupThunderbirds, who will be facing elimination for the seventh time in these playoffs, won Game 5, 3-2, on Saturday night. Because the Thunderbirds’ home arena in Kent, Wash., has been unavailable due to graduation ceremonies, this series is following a 2-2-3 format. As a result, the Thunderbirds will be designated as the home team tonight and, as such, will have the last change.

While the Thunderbirds welcomed back F Henrik Rybinski in Game 5, they will be without D Tyrel Bauer, their captain, as he completes a two-game suspension.

In Game 5, the Oil Kings remained without F Dylan Guenther, who didn’t finish Game 3. He put up 91 points, including 45 goals, in 59 regular-season games; he had 25 PP points, 13 of them goals. In their last two games against Seattle, the Oil Kings were 0-for-8 on the PP, including 0-for-6 in the Game 5 loss.

A Seattle victory in Game 6 would force a seventh game in Edmonton on Tuesday night.

Earlier in these playoffs, Seattle beat the Portland Winterhawks three times and the Kamloops Blazers twice while staring elimination squarely in the face.

As they face a seventh such game, one thing is certain — Seattle won’t be afraid of the situation into which they will skate tonight.

——

In the OHL, F Mason McTavish’s two goals helped the host Hamilton Bulldogs to a 3-2 victory over the Windsor Spitfires on Sunday. . . . Hamilton holds a 3-2 lead in the championship series, with Game 6 scheduled for tonight in Windsor. . . . McTavish tied the score, 2-2, at 12:58 of the second period, then notched the winner at 1:59 of the third. He has 14 goals in these playoffs. . . . Hamilton scored two PP goals. . . . F Logan Morrison had two assists for the Bulldogs. . . .

The two other Memorial Cup teams have been decided, with the Shawinigan Cataractes having won their first QMJHL championship and the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL as the host team. The four-team tournament is to run June 20-29 in Saint John.


OldSpice


ICYMI, Rob Walton, whose first names seem to be Walmart heir, is the lead in a group that is buying the NFL’s Denver Broncos for US$4.65 billion. The Carolina Panthers changed hands for $2.275 billion just four years ago, and that was an NFL record at the time. . . . Walton isn’t about to go broke, even after spending that kind of money. According to Forbes, Walton is worth at least $60 billion. Well, about $55 billion now.


A couple of weeks ago, there were two MLB managers named Joe. Then the Philadelphia Phillies fired Joe Girardi. Shortly thereafter, the Los Angeles Angels dumped Joe Maddon. It’s amazing how quickly Maddon became a poor manager, though. The Angels were being touted as a playoff team — maybe even a World Series contender — and then came a 12-game losing streak, followed by Joe saying: “Say it ain’t so.” . . . It’s worth noting that the Phillies, under interim manager Rob Thomson, won their first eight games after the change. I wonder if that success had anything to do with Thomson being Canadian, meaning the most-popular words in the Phils’ locker room now are “please,” “thank you” and “I’m sorry.”


“The Angels, trying to snap a 13-game losing streak, used Nickelback tunes for their walk-up music during Wednesday’s game against the Red Sox, a 1-0 loss,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Whatever happened to simply rounding up the bats and burning them?”

——

“Managers Joe Girardi and Joe Maddon got fired one day apart last week,” Perry writes. “Say it ain’t so, Joes.”


Pandemic


THINKING OUT LOUD — I don’t care what the NBA says, it’s the NBA final. Singular. And it’s the NHL final. Singular. Etc., etc., etc. . . . People aren’t really surprised about all these pro golfers, who are independent contractors, taking the money and running, are they? . . . At present, there are seven NHL teams without a head coach — the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets. Throw in openings for assistant coaches and the NHL has more vacancies than the Bates Motel. . . . You are free to wonder how many days Tony La Russa has left as the manager of the Chicago White Sox.


Married


Here’s Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Golf likes to hold itself up as a game of high integrity and morals, somehow above the fray. Players call penalties on themselves, the argument goes, and compete with dignity and respect for their opponent.

“That line of thinking seems haughty and presumptuous even in normal times. And now, as several top PGA Tour pros defect for the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational series, it’s downright comical. . . .

“But peer beneath all these layers, the stream of news flashes over the past few days, and it’s really quite simple. The game’s top players had a choice between money and morals.

“Money won. Shocking.”

——

The great Charles P. Pierce of Esquire, writing on the golf situation: “Watching professional golfers leap for the blood money of the new Saudi golf tour should shock approximately nobody. These guys generally have the social conscience of a flesh-eating amoeba. And that Phil Mickelson was their drum major is even less of a surprise. Good on the PGA for suspending the players who signed up for the Bone Saw Tour.”


Jared Jacobson, the owner and governor of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, won the 60th edition of the Grey Owl golf tournament on the Clear Lake Golf Course in Riding Mountain National Park on Sunday. It was the second time he has won what is one of Manitoba’s most-popular golf tournaments, the first time being in 2014. As the winner, Jacobson was presented with the “Cactus” Jack Wells Memorial Trophy. Yes, it turned out nice again . . . for Jacobson, who won by birdieing each of the last three holes for a 2-under 70 and a two-round total of 141. He had been four shots off the lead while standing on the 16th tee. He ended up with a one-shot victory over Noel Ngo of Winnipeg and Ross Sheard of Brandon.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Former Kamloops Blazers F Kyrell Sopotyk was named to the tournament all-star team at the 2022 Canadian junior national wheelchair basketball championship that wrapped up Sunday in Charlottetown, P.E.I. B.C. won the tournament; Sopotyk and his Saskatchewan teammates placed sixth. Sopotyk, now 20, was left paralyzed from the waist down in a snowboarding accident on Jan. 22, 2021. . . . F Luke Toporowski, who was acquired by Kamloops from the Spokane Chiefs during this season, has signed a two-year deal with the AHL’s Providence Bruins. Toporowski, who completed his junior eligibility this season, is expected to attend training camp with the NHL’s Boston Bruins. Toporowski totalled 63 points, 35 of them goals, in 49 games this season. He had 20 goals and 14 assists in 22 games with Kamloops, then put up 23 points, nine of them goals, in 16 playoff games. . . .



Congrats to former Brandon Sun sports editor Bill Davidson on his being added to the Brandon University Sports Wall of Fame. As the sports editor, he had more than a little to do with hiring me in June 1971. I couldn’t have started in the sports journalism field under a better editor, too, because he, more than anyone else, taught me the basics and fundamentals and the importance of getting the little things right. Oh, and he always kicked my butt at Hearts, too.



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.


Single

T-Birds stare down elimination for a sixth time . . . Road warriors win in Edmonton . . . Game 6 set for Monday

And one more makes six . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds, facing elimination for the sixth time in these EdCupplayoffs, got past the host Edmonton Oil Kings, 3-2, on Saturday night. The Oil Kings lead the WHL’s best-of-seven championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 3-2.

The Thunderbirds will face elimination for a seventh time on Monday when the teams meet for Game 6 in Edmonton. The Thunderbirds will be designated as the home team, so will have the last change. Seattle’s home arena in Kent, Wash., has been unavailable because of graduation ceremonies, so the series is following a 2-2-3 format with the last three games to be played in Edmonton. A seventh game, if needed, would be played there on Tuesday night.

The series winner will advance to the four-team Memorial Cup tournament that is to be played in Saint John, N.B., June 20-29.

The Thunderbirds, the Western Conference’s No. 4 seed, overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks, then trailed the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers, 3-2, before winning that series. In the process, Seattle became the only team in WHL history to win two Game 7s on the road in the same postseason.

In other words, these Thunderbirds are quite familiar with being in this position.

Last night, the Thunderbirds erased a 1-0 first-period deficit — F Josh Williams Seattle(4) scored for Edmonton at 6:25 — with the game’s next three goals.

F Conner Roulette (5) tied the score at 2:13 of the second period and F Matt Rempe (8) gave the Thunderbirds the lead, on a PP, at 8:51. F Lucas Ciona (9) upped the lead to 3-1 at 2:21 of the third period.

F Carson Golden (3) pulled the Oil Kings to within a goal at 9:14 of the third period, but that’s as close as the home team could get.

Both goaltenders were terrific, with Seattle’s Thomas Milic finishing with 28 saves, three fewer than Edmonton’s Sebastian Cossa.

Seattle was 1-for-5 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-for-6.

The Oil Kings scratched F Dylan Guenther, who last played in Game 3. He didn’t finish that one due to an undisclosed injury. . . . Seattle D Tyrel Bauer, the team captain, sat out the first game of a two-game suspension. He was suspended for a first-period hit on F Brendan Kuny in Game 3. Kuny isn’t likely to play again in the series. . . . The Thunderbirds had F Henrik Rybinski back in their lineup. He hadn’t played since Game 1.

——

In the QMJHL, the Shawinigan Cataractes won their first Presidents Cup on Saturday, beating the host Charlottetown Islanders, 4-3 in OT. . . . Shawinigan won the best-of-seven final, 4-1. . . . The Islanders led 3-1 before the second period was six minutes old, but Shawinigan came back to score the game’s last three goals. . . . F Olivier Nadeau made it 3-2 on a PP at 12:50 of the second period. . . . F Pierrick Dubé scored the game’s last two goals, tying the score at 10:38 of the third period and winning it just 41 seconds into OT. . . . Dubé scored 12 goals in the playoffs. . . .

The OHL’s championship final will continue today (Sunday) with the host Hamilton Bulldogs entertaining the Windsor Spitfires. The series is tied, 2-2. Game 6 is to be played in Windsor on Monday.


Messages


THE COACHING GAME: Evan McFeeters has signed on as the new head coach of the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders. He joins the Crusaders after two seasons as an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits, who won the Centennial Cup as junior A champions last month in Estevan, Sask. Before joining the Bandits, McFeeters spent five seasons with the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles as assistant general manager and assistant coach. In Sherwood Park, he replaces Jeff Woywitka, who was fired as head coach and assistant GM in April. Woywitka had taken over for the fired Adam Manah in November.


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.


Pizza

Oil Kings chasing WHL title tonight . . . Thunderbirds facing elimination for sixth time . . . Seattle captain draws two-game suspension

The Edmonton Oil Kings could become the WHL’s first playoff champion since EdCupthe spring of 2019 with a victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds tonight (Saturday).

The Oil Kings returned home Wednesday night after having won twice in Kent, Wash. — 4-0 on Tuesday and 3-2 earlier Wednesday. That put the Oil Kings in control of the series for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, with a 3-1 lead.

Keep in mind, however, that the Thunderbirds haven’t been an easy out in these playoffs. In fact, this game will mark the sixth time that Seattle will have faced elimination. Yes, the Thunderbirds are 5-0 in elimination games, having come back from a 3-1 deficit against the Portland Winterhawks and 3-2 against the Kamloops Blazers. In the process, the Thunderbirds became the first team in WHL history to win two Game 7s on the road.

If they are to win this series, they’ll have to do it on the road, too. Because the arena in Kent is busy with high school graduation ceremonies, this series is running on a 2-2-3 format with as many of the last three games as needed to be played in Edmonton. Should a sixth game be necessary, it would be played on Monday with the Thunderbirds designated as the home team. If needed, Game 7 would be be played on Tuesday.

Seattle will be without D Tyrel Bauer, its captain and a dominating shutdown defender, tonight and again on Monday if there is a Game 6. Bauer, 20, who has signed with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, drew a two-game suspension for an early first-period hit on Edmonton F Brendan Kuny on Wednesday. Bauer was given an interference major and game misconduct on the play. Kuny received medical attention from personnel from both teams, was placed on a backboard, then removed from the ice surface on a stretcher and taken to an area hospital. He rejoined his teammates before the night was done and returned with them to Edmonton where he was examined by the team’s medical staff on Thursday. Kuny, a 20-year-old from Ardrossan, Alta., won’t play again in this series.

The Prince Albert Raiders hold the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions, having won it in 2019. The WHL was closing in on its 2019-20 playoff season when the COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation of the remainder of the season late in March. There wasn’t a true regular season in 2020-21 — with teams playing an abbreviated development season — before things resumed in earnest last fall.

The Oil Kings are gunning for the organization’s first WHL title since 2014. They went on to win the Memorial Cup that spring, the last time a WHL team has won it.

The 2022 Memorial Cup is scheduled to run from June 20-29 in Saint John, N.B.

The only team assured a spot in the four-team tournament to date is the host Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL. They were eliminated in the first round, then fired head coach Gordie Dwyer on May 26, replacing him with Gardiner MacDougall, the head coach of the U of New Brunswick Reds for 22 seasons. MacDougall is to return to the Reds when the tournament is over.

——

Meanwhile, the OHL playoffs continued on Friday night in Windsor where the Hamilton Bulldogs beat the Spitfires, 3-2, in OT. . . . F Will Cuylle gave Windsor a 2-1 lead at 12:41 of the second period, and the Spitfires nursed that edge into the last two minutes of the third period. . . . D Nathan Staios then pulled Hamilton even at 18:03 with G Marco Costantini on the bench for an extra attacker. . . . D Gavin White won it with his second goal of the playoffs, at 7:31 of extra time. The goal came 10 seconds after the conclusion of a Hamilton PP opportunity. . . . They’ll play Game 5 in Hamilton on Sunday, with Game 6 scheduled for Monday in Windsor. . . .

In the QMJHL, the visiting Charlottetown Islanders scored four times in the second period on Thursday night and went on to beat the Shawinigan Cataractes, 7-0. . . . G Francesco Lapenna earned the shutout with 16 saves. . . . Shawinigan still holds a 3-1 lead in the series with Game 5 scheduled for Charlottetown tonight. . . .

Remember that all of these playoff games are being televised by TSN.


Jury


THE COACHING GAME:

The Kamloops Blazers announced on Friday that Mark Holick is leaving the Kamloopsorganization for “personal reasons” after one season as associate coach. . . . Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week: “Originally, the plan was for Mark to move his family up here. There were some schooling- and work-related situations with his wife and the roads closed there for half the winter. That didn’t make it easier. And there is a situation right now they’re dealing with that was just going to make that move impossible. When you added everything up, it just wasn’t going to work out with him and his family moving forward.” . . . Clouston said that the Blazers, who will be the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament, are likely to hire two full-time assistant coaches before the 2022-23 season gets here. . . . Hastings’ story is right here. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen have signed assistant coach Matt Stajan to a two-year extension. A veteran of 1,003 regular-season NHL games, Stajan just completed his first season on Calgary’s coaching staff. He works alongside head coach Steve Hamilton and fellow assistant Trent Cassan. . . .

The Regina Pats have signed five members of the their hockey operations staff Reginato what the team referred to as “multi-year contract extensions.” . . . Assistant coach Brad Herauf is preparing for his eighth season with the Pats. A Regina native, he stepped in as interim head coach early in February and remained in that position through season’s end as John Paddock, the general manager and head coach, was sidelined with health-related issues. . . . Ken Schneider, the club’s other assistant coach, just completed his first season on the coaching staff. He previously had scouted for the Pats for three seasons. . . . Rob Muntain, the goaltending coach, is returning for his 12th season with the club. . . . Greg Mayer, the athletic therapist, is preparing for his 19th season. He is the longest-serving member of the hockey operations department. . . . Gord Cochran, the Pats’ equipment manager, will be back for his ninth season in Regina.


Beer


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Prince George Cougars have acquired F Chase Wheatcroft, 20, from the Winnipeg Ice for a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2023 draft. Wheatcroft, from Calgary, was acquired by the Ice from the Lethbridge Hurricanes during the 2021-22 season. In 55 games, he totalled 16 goals and 22 assists. He added a goal and five assists in 15 playoff games. . . . Wheatcroft is the second 20-year-old forward picked up by the Cougars of late. Last month, they added Nolan Boyko from the Saskatoon Blades. He and Wheatcroft were teammates in Lethbridge at one point. . . .

Cole Waldie will be the play-by-play voice of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars when another season gets here. The former radio voice of the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings has joined the Cougars as their director or broadcasting, communications and public relations. Waldie spent the past three seasons with the Spruce Kings. He replaces Fraser Rodgers, who left after five years with the Cougars to return to the BCHL’s Penticton Vees as their vice-president of business operations and director of broadcasting, communications and public relations. . . .

A couple of interesting notes from the annual meeting of the junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. For starters, accountant Jason Traska reported that despite attendance being limited to 500 fans per game for a lot of the season the organization was able to pay off a $40,000 COVID-19 loan and have money left over. As well, the blog Rider News reported: “Oddly enough, overall attendance was down but beer sales were up, and that’s great news for the Fernie Brewing Company and anyone who sells Tylenol.” . . . Oh, and did we mention that seven people — yes, SEVEN — attended the AGM.


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.


Genie

Oil Kings have edge after road win . . . Kubicek and Cossa shine in 4-0 triumph . . . Game 4 scheduled for tonight

It you are a junior hockey fan, TSN is the place to be this week. All three major TSNjunior leagues are into their best-of-seven final series and all games now are being televised by TSN. . . . On Tuesday night, the Edmonton Oil Kings skated past the Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-0, in Kent, Wash. Edmonton leads that series, 2-1, with Game 4 in Kent tonight (Wednesday) and, yes, it’ll be on TSN with Victor Findlay calling the play and Kevin Sawyer providing analysis. . . .

In the QMJHL, the Charlottetown Islanders and Shawinigan Cataractes are scheduled to resume hostilities tonight (Wednesday). Shawinigan won twice in Charlottetown — 5-1 and 4-3 in OT — so takes a 2-0 lead into Game 3 on home ice and on TSN. . . . This will be the first game in a doubleheader on TSN tonight — the QMJHL game starts at 7 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET), with the WHL game to follow. . . . Game 4 in the QMJHL final is to be played in Shawinigan on Thursday night. . . . Adam Dunfee is doing the play-by-play and Marc Methot is the analyst. . . .

In the OHL, the host Windsor Spitfires dumped the Hamilton Bulldogs, 6-3, on Monday night to take a 2-1 lead in that championship series. F Alex Christopoulos and F Wyatt Johnston had two goals each for the winners. With the arena in Windsor tied up with graduations, they won’t get to Game 4 until Friday night. . . . Jon Abbott is calling the play for TSN in this series, with Craig Button beside him.


Jerks


TUESDAY IN THE WHL:

Championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup

In Kent, Wash., D Simon Kubicek, who began his WHL career with Seattle, had a EdCupgoal and an assist and G Sebastian Cossa stopped 21 shots as the Edmonton Oil Kings skated to a 4-0 victory over the Thunderbirds. . . . The Oil Kings lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 in Kent tonight. The teams then will return to Edmonton for the remainder of the series, starting with Game 5 on Saturday. . . . In these playoffs, Cossa now is 14-2, 1.98, .911 with four shutouts. He wasn’t challenged a whole lot in this one as the Oil Kings played a near-perfect defensive game, rarely allowing the Thunderbirds free travel through the neutral zone. . . . After the third goal-less first period in as many games, the Oil Kings had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring while shorthanded in the second period when F Jake Neighbours and F Jalen Luypen broke in alone on Seattle G Thomas Milic. The two skaters played give-and-go and it ended with Milic making a tremendous pad save on Neighbours at 15:28. . . . F Jakub Demek (4) gave the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead at 17:02 of the second period, just 12 seconds after Edmonton had killed off a penalty. Demek, starting in his zone, broke down the right wing and got around a Seattle defender to beat Milic with a backhand-to-forehand. . . .

Kubicek (3) gave his guys a 2-0 lead when he scored at 4:10 the third period, Edmontonjust seven seconds into a PP from a play that developed after Edmonton won a faceoff in Seattle’s zone. . . . Kubicek, 20, is from Czech Republic. He played in 113 regular-season games with Seattle before being dealt to Edmonton for Belarusian F Vladimir Alistrov on Jan. 25, 2021. Kubicek didn’t play for Edmonton in the 2021 development season, while Alistrov, then 19, never did play for the Thunderbirds. . . . This season, Kubicek had 41 points, 14 of them goals, in 68 regular-season games with Edmonton. He also led the WHL in penalty minutes, with 133, but keep in mind the WHL doesn’t include misconducts, game misconducts, etc., in individual penalty totals. . . . The Oil Kings went ahead 3-0 when D Kaiden Guhle (7) scored from the high slot at 11:47 of the third period. . . . F Carter Souch (12) provided the empty-netter for Edmonton at 19:19. He’s got goals in five straight games now. . . . The Oil Kings were 1-for-4 on the PP; the Thunderbirds were 0-for-3. . . . Milic finished with 33 saves. . . .

Edmonton F Dylan Guenther, who had 91 points, including 45 goals, in 59 regular-season games, didn’t finish the game. He has 21 points, 13 of them goals, in 16 playoff games. . . . The Thunderbirds scratched F Henrik Rybinski for a second straight game after he absorbed a check from Guhle in Game 1. He missed three of the seven games against the Kamloops Blazers in the Western Conference final and sat out Game 2 against Edmonton on Sunday. Rybinski has 18 points, 14 of them assists, in 17 playoff games after putting up 65 points, including 44 assists, in 47 regular-season games.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Jason Clarke, already the head coach, has added the general manager’s duties to his role with the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan. He signed a two-year deal. Before jumped into the QMJHL after being the owner, general manager and head coach of the junior A Carleton Place Canadiens of the Central Canada Hockey League. He was an assistant coach with the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes when the 2021-22 season began, but signed on as head coach of the Titan in late November. . . . With the Titan, he replaces Sylvain Couturier, who resigned on May 27. . . .

Who says you can’t go home again? Former NHLer Eric Fehr has signed on with the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers, his hometown team, as director of player development. In a 17-year pro career, Fehr, a former Brandon Wheat Kings star (2001-05), was on teams that won the Calder Cup, Spengler Cup and Stanley Cup. . . . In 2021-22, Fehr, 36, played five regular-season and two playoff games with Ak Bars Kazan in the KHL.


Robbery


Before you start complaining about the many viewings we are being treated to of Justin Bieber in that Tim Hortons commercial . . . just be thankful that he isn’t offering gambling advice.



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.


Nap

Seattle goalie stars in Game 1 win . . . Kelowna paper reports Rockets’ home needs more than $7 million in work . . . Ex-WHL assistant now head coach in AJHL

All three major junior hockey leagues are into their best-of-seven championship series. . . . The WHL final got started on Friday night with the WindsorSeattle Thunderbirds in Edmonton against the Oil Kings. . . . In the OHL, the Windsor Spitfires opened in Hamilton against the Bulldogs on Friday night. Windsor won, 4-3 in OT, getting the winner from former Bulldogs D Michael Renwick at 9:30 after Hamilton had been assessed a checking-from-behind major at 6:56. Hamilton went into the game with a 12-0 record in these playoffs and, including the regular season, had won 24 in a row at home. They’ll play Game 2 on Sunday afternoon in Hamilton. . . . In the QMJHL, the Shawinigan Cataractes will face the host Charlottetown Islanders in Game 1 tonight (Saturday). . . . The QMJHL’s opening playoff rounds all were best-of-five because the league got off to a later start than its two counterparts. But it now is caught up, so the final is best-of-seven. . . .

TSN will televise all three series, starting with the third game in each — Hamilton at Windsor on Monday, 4 p.m. PT; Edmonton vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., Tuesday, 7 p.m. PT; and Charlottetown at Shawinigan, Wednesday, 4 p.m. PT. . . . There is a complete telecast schedule right here. . . . TSN also will show all games in the Memorial Cup, which is to run in Saint John, N.B., from June 20 through June 29.

——

FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Championship Final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup

In Edmonton, the Seattle Thunderbirds, fresh off a Game 7 victory in Kamloops, opened the best-of-seven WHL final with a 2-1 triumph over the Oil Kings. . . . SeattleEdmonton went into the game with a 7-0 record at Rogers Place in these playoffs. . . . They are scheduled to play Game 2 in Edmonton on Sunday, before shifting to Kent, Wash., for games on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Remember that because of issues with building availability in Kent, Games 5, 6 and 7, as needed, would be played in Edmonton. . . . Last night, F Matt Rempe (6) got the scoring started for Seattle, backhanding home the rebound off a shot by F Reid Schaefer at 1:59 of the second period. . . . F Conner Roulette (4), who had an assist on Rempe’s goal, upped Seattle’s lead to 2-0 at 8:55 of the third period, tipping in a shot by D Tyrel Bauer. . . . Edmonton got on the board at 11:40, on a PP, as F Carter Souch (10) found the range with a redirect of a shot by D Luke Prokop. . . . The Oil Kings were 1-for-2 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-1. Referees Chris Crich and Fraser Lawrence handed out only three minor penalties. . . . Seattle G Thomas Milic, who was named the game’s first star, continued his strong playoff run with 43 saves. . . . Edmonton got 20 stops from G Sebastian Cossa.


Music


According to a report prepared by consultants hired by the City of Kelowna, Prospera Place, the home of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, is in need of about Kelowna$7.7 million worth of upgrades. The report, acquired by the Kelowna Daily Courier through a Freedom of Information request, was prepared by Toronto-based Stadium Consultants International. . . . The arena, which opened on March 28, 1999, is owned by GSL Group, which also owns, among other things, the WHL’s Victoria Royals and that city’s Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. In Kelowna, an agreement between GSL Group and the city calls for ownership to be turned over to the city in 2029. . . . According to the SCI report, 6,500-seat Prospera Place should have its roof and outer walls replaced within seven years. There also should be improvements made to ventilation, vinyl and carpeted floors, among other things. . . . Ron Seymour of The Daily Courier wrote: “Issues are said to include some water leakage on the roof, outdated and undersized food and beverage facilities, small dressing rooms, and a cramped concourse. But other aspects of the building are said to be in surprisingly good condition given their age.” . . . The consultants suggest replacing the roof would have an estimated cost of $2.4 million, while upgraded lighting would come in at $1.5 million. . . .

The Rockets were to have been the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup; however, that event was cancelled because of the pandemic. Many observers expected Kelowna to be awarded the 2023 tournament, but the Kamloops Blazers were named the host team on May 27. As that announcement was being made in Kamloops, the Rockets issued an open letter stating that they weren’t able to bid on the 2023 Memorial Cup because of “significant deficiencies” in Prospera Place. . . . Seymour wrote that GSL Group issued a statement this week saying it “had complied with all the terms and conditions for building maintenance set out in the agreement with the city.” . . . From that statement: “Prospera Place and GSL Group have been and continue to be in compliance with our obligations and contractual agreements. That will not change, nor will our commitment to Kelowna.”

Seymour has stories right here and right here.


The Minnesota Twins opened a three-game series in Toronto against the Blue Jays on Friday, and the visitors were missing four players. The U.S. and Canada both have pandemic-related restrictions that don’t allow unvaccinated people to cross their borders. Thus, the Twins placed four players on the restricted list before flying into Toronto after losing four of five games to the Tigers in Detroit. . . . OF Max Kepler and pitchers Trevor Megill, Emilio Pagán and Caleb Thielbar were left behind presumably because all four are unvaccinated. . . . The Twins also are without SS Carlos Correa, who tested positive for COVID-19 while in Detroit. . . . The Twins beat the Blue Jays, 9-3, on Friday night. . . .

Bob Weeks of TSN tweeted on Friday afternoon: “According to Golf Canada, Webb Simpson and Matt Kuchar are not able to play the RBC Canadian Open ‘due to current Government of Canada travel restrictions . . .’ Both are RBC ambassadors.” . . . Neither the American nor Canadian governments allow unvaccinated travellers into their countries.


Banjo


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Brad Flynn has signed a three-year contract as the head coach of the AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs. Flynn, 37, spent the 2021-22 season as an associate coach with the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach with the Red Deer Rebels for three seasons (2018-21). . . . In Bonnyville, Flynn takes over from Rick Swan, the winningest coach in franchise history. Swan left the organization early in April in one of those mutually-agreed-upon parting of the ways. . . . There is a news release right here. . . .

The junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s board of governors has cut the regular-season schedule from 52 games to 48. According to a news release from the 11-team league: “The decision to drop to 48 games will provide VIJHL players with a little more rest in-season and allow clubs to have more prime night home games.” . . . The league also is going to hire a “head of player and safety discipline.” Again, from a news release: “The paid position will be in charge of reviewing all major penalties and determining what supplemental discipline, if any is required.” . . . That news release, which covers the board’s annual meeting, is right here.


My wife, Dorothy, is taking part in her ninth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk, which will be held (virtually) on Sunday. As usual, she is fund-raising on behalf of the Kidney Foundation. . . . If you would like to support her, you are able to do so right here.


Marley


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.


Bishop

WHL final opens tonight in Edmonton . . . Thunderbirds, Oil Kings ready to roll . . . Another hall of fame opens doors to Kid Dynamite

The 2022 Kamloops Kidney Walk is almost upon us. It will take place (virtually, Dorothy-040719thanks to the pandemic) on Sunday. . . . What this means is that you’re running out of time if you would like to sponsor my wife, Dorothy, who received a kidney on Sept. 23, 2013, and is fund-raising for a ninth straight year. . . . Thanks to so many of you who stop by here, she has set a new personal-best as she closes in on $4,000. . . . If you would like to join an NHL head coach, a former WHL franchise owner, a former WHL general manager who once won three Memorial Cups in four years, three former WHL play-by-play voices, the wife of a WHL general manager and head coach, the head coach of a team that will play in the Memorial Cup later this month, someone who once worked in the WHL office and a whole lot of other friends and acquaintances by donating, you are able to do so right here. . . . Thank you so much in advance.


Breakfast


The WHL’s 2022 championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup gets started tonight (Friday) in Edmonton as the Oil Kings face the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . EdCupEdmonton went into these playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed. The Oil Kings swept the No. 7 Lethbridge Hurricanes and No. 3 Red Deer Rebels, then dismantled the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice, 4-1. So the Oil Kings go into this final with a 12-1 record. . . . Seattle, the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, has travelled a much more difficult road. It started by eliminating the No. 5 Kelowna Rockets, 4-1, then went seven games to sideline the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks and seven more to oust the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers. That all adds up to the Thunderbirds taking a 12-7 record into Game 1. . . . In the process, the Thunderbirds went 5-0 in elimination games, became the 16th team in WHL history to win a series after trailing 3-1, and became the first team in WHL history to win two Game 7s on the road in one playoff year. No, playing at Rogers Place in Edmonton isn’t going to bother these guys. . . . The Oil Kings were 29-4-1 at home in the regular season; they are 7-0 in the playoffs. On the road, they were 21-10-3 in the regular season and are 5-1 in the playoffs. . . . The Thunderbirds were 23-10-1 on the road in the regular season and are 6-4 in the playoffs; at home, they were 21-8-5 in the regular season and now are 6-3 in the playoffs. . . .

The Oil Kings will be a whole lot fresher, having played six fewer games this spring. . . . For what it’s worth, the Oil Kings are averaging 4.38 goals per game, while allowing 2.08. . . . The Thunderbirds are scoring 3.32 per game, and surrendering 2.42. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa is 12-2, 1.97, .909, while Seattle’s Thomas Milic is 12-7, 2.16, .926. . . .

It doesn’t mean a thing, but these teams last faced each other on Oct. 26, 2019, when the host Oil Kings scored the game’s first three goals and the last three in a 6-2 victory. F Dylan Guenther, who will be a key figure in the championship final, had two goals and an assist.

There is a comprehensive series preview right here.

——

So . . . the Seattle Thunderbirds’ home arena is booked for graduation ceremonies, meaning their WHL championship series will follow a 2-2-3 format. Should the series go seven games, five of them will be played in the home of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

But, you’re wondering, why couldn’t the Thunderbirds play in the Everett Silvertips’ home arena, or where the NHL’s Seattle Kraken play? . . . Here’s the explanation . . .



If you watched Game 1 of the NBA final on Thursday night, you were listening to Mark Jones call the play, with Mark Jackson providing the analysis and Lisa Salter on the sidelines. It was the first time in the history of the NBA final that a telecast featured all Black announcers. . . . How did that come to be? Because Mike Breen, who had been scheduled to call the play, remains out after testing positive for COVID-19, and because analyst Jeff Van Gundy and ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski both have tested positive. . . . Breen missed Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final after testing positive last week.


Gerry James, who once was the head coach of the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, doesn’t get nearly his dues as one of Canada’s all-time greatest athletes. Sheesh, this is a man who played in the CFL and the NHL at the same time; in fact, he is the only man ever to play in the Grey Cup game (Nov. 28, 1959) and a Stanley Cup game (April 9, 1960) in the same season. . . . The Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame will be the sixth such honour for James. He also is an honoured member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame (1981), Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame (1982), Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame (1994), Yorkton Sports Hall of Fame (1998) and Winnipeg Blue Bombers Hall of Fame (1999). . . . Through it all, he also was a huge supporter of Special Olympics. . . . Hey, Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, are you paying attention? It’s long past time for you to make room for Gerry (Kid Dynamite) James alongside his father, Eddie, who already is an honoured member.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals have signed general manager and head coach Tyson Ramsey to a four-year contract extension that is to run through the 2025-26 season. Ramsey joined the Oil Capitals as an assistant coach prior to 2018-19 and took over as GM/head coach for the 2019-20 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.


Meteor

Blazers or T-Birds? Who’s going to Edmonton? . . . Seattle d-man gets off-day treat . . . Shedding light on arena deficiencies in Kelowna

The combatants for the WHL’s championship final will be known tonight (Tuesday) after the Seattle Thunderbirds and host Kamloops Blazers meet in WHLplayoffs2022Game 7 of the Western Conference final.

The winner of tonight’s game will open the championship series for the Ed Chynoweth Cup against the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Friday night.

Kamloops, the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed, opened this series by winning, 5-2, at home on May 20, and since then the teams have alternated victories. The No. 4 Thunderbirds tied the series, 3-3, with a 2-1 victory in Kent, Wash., on Sunday.

Seattle has won two of the last three games while holding Kamloops F Logan Stankoven to two assists and shutting out F Luke Toporowski. Stankoven leads all playoff scorers in goals (17) and points (30), while Toporowski is tied for second in points (23).

The Thunderbirds also have been in this position before in this playoff season. In their conference semifinal, they went seven games with the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks. In fact, the Thunderbirds won Game 6 at home, 2-1, and then went into Portland and won Game 7, 6-3, on May 17.

Will history repeat? We’ll find out tonight.

Lucas Punkari of the Brandon Sun informs us via Twitter that this will be the first Game 7 in a conference final since 2013 when the Oil Kings, behind 26 saves from G Laurent Brossoit, beat the Calgary Hitmen, 2-0, at Rexall Place in Edmonton on April 30. . . . The last Western Conference final to go the distance featured the Tri-City Americans and Spokane Chiefs in 2008. The Chiefs won Game 7, 4-1, in Kennewick, Wash., on April 29 to end a series that featured five games that went to OT, with three of those going to double OT.


Treat


One day before playing in Game 7 of the Western Conference final, D Tyrel nhl2Bauer of the Seattle Thunderbirds signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. He was selected by Winnipeg in the sixth round of the 2020 draft. . . . Bauer turned 20 on March 23. If he doesn’t earn a spot with the Jets, he is eligible to return for one more WHL season, or he could end up with the Manitoba Moose, Winnipeg’s AHL affiliate.

Three other NHL draft picks who played in the WHL this season have to sign NHL deals by Wednesday or they will go back into the draft or become unrestricted free agents.

F Connor McClennon of the Winnipeg Ice was a sixth-round pick by the Philadelphia Flyers but hasn’t signed. He is eligible to return to the WHL for his 20-year-old season.

D Alex Cotton of the Vancouver Giants and F Bear Hughes of the Spokane Chiefs completed their 20-year-old seasons so have used up their junior eligibility. Cotton was a fifth-round selection by the Detroit Red Wings, while Hughes went to the Washington Capitals in the fifth round. Neither has signed an NHL deal, although Hughes has signed with the AHL’s Hershey Bears for 2022-23. Still, if he doesn’t sign with Washington, he will become an NHL free agent.


Franklin


More light has been shed on the mystery of the deficiencies at Prospera Place in KelownaKelowna. According to the Kelowna Rockets, those deficiencies prevented them from putting in a bid to host the 2023 Memorial Cup.

The Rockets were to have been the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup only to have it cancelled by the pandemic. On Friday, the CHL announced that the 2023 event will be played in Kamloops with the Blazers as the host team.

Anyway . . . Regan Bartel, the longtime radio voice of the Rockets, posted four tweets on Monday that added some clarification to things:

  1. GSL, the owner and operator of Prospera Place, have some explaining to do on Kelowna’s inability to bid for the 2023 Memorial Cup. Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, “City of Kelowna taxpayers shouldn’t be (footing) a bill that could potentially reach the millions of dollars . . .”
  2. “. . . to host this event (for upgrades to building) when the partner (GSL), who stands to gain the most revenue because of this event, was not coming to the party as a full partner.” Substandard lighting was a concern heading into 2020 tournament. City/Rockets paid for it.
  3. “GSL, which is in care and control of the arena until 2029, was not willing to pay the cost to change the lighting. This has been a long standing issue. One just needs to walk through the building. Tell me what has changed since that facility opened in 1999?”
  4. “This is not a facility that is in the care/control of the City of Kelowna”, Basran added. “I truly believe the CHL wants to bring the event back, but it’s clear we have a partner that’s not quite as accepting to make that happen.”

I have a feeling there’s more to come on this story. Stay tuned!


——

The Chicago White Sox are scheduled to open a series in Toronto against the Blue Jays today, and they’ll be without two of their key pitchers. Starter Dylan Cease and reliever Kendall Graveman, both right-handers, have been placed on MLB’s restricted list, which would indicate that they aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 so are able to cross the U.S.-Canada border. . . . Players don’t get paid while on MLB’s restricted list.


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


Senators

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

scattershooting

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

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

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

Not so fast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Glass


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

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

——

SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

Western Conference

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


Masks

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

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



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


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

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


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


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


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


America


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

Portlandtee


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

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


Farm


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


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


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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.


Peanuts

Oil Kings one win from WHL final . . . Western Conference tied at 2-2; resumes Friday in Kamloops . . . Settlement in sexual assault case


After two games on Wednesday night, the WHL’s four remaining teams rested or travelled on Thursday. . . . And when they return to the ice Friday night, the WHLplayoffs2022team that holds the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy for having had the best regular-season record will be facing elimination. . . . Yes, the Winnipeg Ice is down 3-1 to the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Eastern Conference’s best-of-seven final. They’ll play Game 5 in Edmonton on Friday. . . .

The Western Conference final is tied 2-2 and the Seattle Thunderbirds will face the Blazers in Kamloops on Friday. The Thunderbirds held F Logan Stankoven, the WHL scoring leader, to one assist on Wednesday night and will need a similar effort if they are to win Game 5. Stankoven had seven goals — including hat tricks in Games 1 and 3 — in the first three games of the series. . . . A late, late Tuesday night tweet from Geoffrey Brandow: “The franchise record for goals in a single playoff belongs to Dean Evason (21 in 17 games in 1984, under the Kamloops Junior Oilers moniker); the circuit record is 24 by Blair Chapman of the Saskatoon Blades in 1976 (20 games). 9 players have hit 20.” . . . Stankoven leads these playoffs in goals (17) and points (29).



WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference

In Edmonton, F Carter Souch scored the No. 2 Oil Kings’ first two goals as they Edmontonskated to a 4-2 victory over the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Oil Kings, now 11-1 in these playoffs, lead the series, 3-1, with Game 5 in Edmonton on Friday night. . . . Souch (6) got the scoring started at 5:01 of the first period, but Winnipeg tied it at 6:12 when F Owen Pederson (8), who had missed Game 3 with a one-game suspension, scored on a PP. . . . Souch (7) sent Edmonton out front again, at 9:23. . . . F Justin Sourdif (4) gave the Oil Kings a two-goal lead at 11:47 of the second period. . . . The Ice got to within a goal at 18:22 on Pederson’s ninth goal of the playoffs. . . . Edmonton got some insurance at 11:24 of the third period when F Dylan Guenther (13) counted on a PP. . . . F Josh Williams had three assists for Edmonton. . . . Each team was 1-for-4 on the PP. . . . G Sebastian Cossa stopped 20 shots for Edmonton. Cossa, whose NHL rights belong to the Detroit Red Wings, is 11-1, 2.04, .906 in the playoffs. . . . The Ice got 32 stops from G Gage Alexander. . . . Edmonton F Jaxsen Wiebe didn’t play as he completed a two-game suspension for a headshot major he incurred in Game 2. . . . The Ice was without F Matt Savoie, its leading regular-season scorer, for a second straight game. He suffered an undisclosed injury in Game 2.

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Western Conference

In Kent, Wash., F Nico Myatovic scored the game-winning goal as the No. 4 SeattleSeattle Thunderbirds beat the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers, 2-1 in OT. . . . That tied the Western Conference final, 2-2, with the teams scheduled to play Game 5 in Kamloops on Friday night. . . . Game 6 is to be played back in Kent on Sunday. . . . The Blazers took a 1-0 lead into the second period after F Daylan Kuefler (7) scored, on a PP, at 19:06 of the first. . . . It was the 13th time in 14 games that the Blazers had scored the first goal. . . . Seattle got that one back, on a PP, at 1:55 of the second period with F Jordan Gustafson (4) pulling the trigger. . . . The goaltenders — Thomas Milic of Seattle and Dylan Garand of Kamloops — kept the game at 1-1 until Myatovic ended it with his third playoff goal, at 11:16 of extra time. . . . Myatovic, who won’t turn 18 until Dec. 1, is from Prince George. He was a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 draft. In 67 regular-season games, he scored four times — one of them a winner — and added 24 assists. In the playoffs, he has three goals and four assists in 16 games. This was his second playoff winner, the other coming on May 14 in a 3-1 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland in Game 5 of their conference semifinal. . . . F Lucas Ciona drew an assist on each of Seattle’s goals. . . . Milic finished up with 35 saves, two fewer than Garand. . . . The Thunderbirds had an 8-5 edge in OT shots. . . . Seattle was 1-for-1 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-for-4. . . . Seattle was without F Henrik Rybinski for a second straight game, while F Lukas Svejkovsky was scratched with an undisclosed injury after apparently being injured in Game 3. . . . Rybinski and Svejkovsky have combined for 10 goals and 21 assists in the playoffs after totalling 56 goals and 85 assists in the regular season.




My wife, Dorothy, a kidney transplant recipient in 2013, will take part in the 2022 #kamloops Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year on June 5. Yes, it’s virtual again. But she will be there, and you are able to sponsor her 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.

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