Chico to be the (equipment) man in Abbotsford . . . Oil Kings lose Porter to Avs . . . Fond farewell to Cookie Gilchrist

Some WHL-related moves over the past couple of days . . .

The Prince George Cougars are losing one of the most-popular figures in their organization. Ramandeep (Chico) Dhanjal, their equipment manager, has accepted an offer from the Abbotsford Canucks, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. . . . He will be Abbotsford’s head equipment manager after working with the Cougars for 13 years. . . . Shingo Sasaki, who had been with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants for eight seasons as their equipment manager, will be the assistant equipment manager in Abbotsford. . . .

The WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings have lost Jamie Porter, their director of scouting for the past three seasons. He has joined the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche as an amateur scout. Before joining the Oil Kings, Porter spent 15 seasons with the Swift Current Broncos. He started with them as a scout and finished up as director of hockey operations and director of scouting. . . .

The Everett Silvertips have promoted Louis Mass to associate coach. He has been an assistant coach in Everett through three seasons. The Silvertips also said they have signed him to a multi-year contract extension but didn’t provide any details.


Kent (Cookie) Gilchrist, a former sports editor, columnist and writer with the Vancouver Province, died on Wednesday night. He was 72. . . . Gilchrist, a man with a laugh to be remembered, was one of the good ones. I got to know him years ago while on the CFL beat. We both got our start at the Brandon Sun so always had that in common. . . . And we had some fun on the old WFC Skywriters’ Tours, didn’t we, Cookie? . . . RIP. . . . Patrick Johnston of the Province has a whole lot on Cookie right here.


Pestilence


The Olympic Summer Games are scheduled to open on July 23 and some people already are referencing them as the Pandemic Games. (Actually, the opening ceremonies are on July 23; competition actually begins Tuesday evening Canadian time.)

On Friday, Liam Morgan of insidethegames.biz reported that “an official connected to the delayed Olympic Games has become the first resident of the Olympic Village to test positive for COVID-19.” . . . It was confirmed to Morgan that there “had been 14 more confirmed new infections in Japan linked to the Games since July 1. It brings the total number in that period to 44 . . .”

Morgan reported that four of other 13 cases were from Games connected personnel. There also were seven positive tests among contractors, and two from foreign media.

Morgan added that on Friday,“Tokyo recorded 1,271 new COVID-19 cases, marking the 27th day in a row where the tally is higher than a week prior. It was also the third straight day where the total number of infections topped 1,000.”

Meanwhile, there are experts in the field who believe that these Games are going to serve as a world-wide superspreader.

“I think that bringing people from all around the world together and then dispersing them back around the globe is one of the worst things you can do in the midst of a pandemic,” Dr. John Swartzberg, a UC Berkeley infectious disease expert, told Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Killion wrote:

“The International Olympic Committee has already proclaimed that these ‘will be the Games that conquered COVID.’ That is one more bit of spin from the delusional IOC, the only entity that can cancel the Games and which has steadfastly refused to despite the ravages around the world.”

So . . . let the Games begin!


Team USA and Australia were to have played a pre-Olympic men’s basketball game in Las Vegas on Friday night. But it was cancelled after two of the American players — Bradley Beal and Jerami Grant — were involved in health and safety protocols. Beal apparently tested positive, so won’t be on the American team when it heads for Tokyo.


MLB had planned to come out of its all-star break with one game on Thursday, a nationally televised contest between the Boston Red Sox and the host New York Yankees. But it was postponed when the Yankees had another run in with COVID-19. You will recall that the Yankees had an episode in May that involved 11 members of their travelling party, but only one player — SS Gleyber Torres. . . . This time the Yankees had six players test positive on Thursday, including OF Aaron Judge, who had just returned from the All-Star Game in Denver. That meant that other MLB players involved in the All-Star Game had to undergo testing. Other Yankees reported to have tested positive were 3B Gio Urshela, C Kyla Higashioka and relievers Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes Jr., and Wandy Peralta. . . . Loaisiga actually went on the COVID list on Saturday. . . . The Yankees were among the first MLB teams to reach the 85 per cent vaccination threshold, which meant they were able to reduce restrictions involving such things as mask wearing. As of June 25, the last time MLB updated its list publicly, the Red Sox hadn’t reached that threshold.

On Friday night, in New York, the Red Sox blanked the Yankees, 4-0. This season, these teams have met seven times and the Red Sox have won them all. . . . The headline on the back page of the New York Daily News today: NEW YORK BLANKEES.


Burro


The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed F Zakhar Polshakov of Belarus to a WHL Brandoncontract. They selected Polshakov, who will turn 18 on Sept. 18, in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. . . . He had nine goals and 17 assists in 38 games with his club team in 2020-21 and also captained his country’s team at the IIHF U-18 World championship in Texas, where he had one assist in three games. . . . His father, Alexander, and grandfather, Valeri, both have been prominent in Belarus’s hockey community. . . . The Wheat Kings hold the WHL rights to two other imports — F Marcus Kallionkieli of Finland and D Yaroslav Busygin of Russia — but both have signed pro contracts. Kallionkieli, 20, has signed with the Vegas Golden Knights, who selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2019 draft. The Wheat Kings picked Busygin, 18, in the CHL’s 2020 import draft and actually signed him, but he played at home in 2020-21 because of the pandemic and is expected to play there again in 2021-22.


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.


Docs

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.


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