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.
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.
“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.
The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed F Zakhar Polshakov of Belarus to a WHL contract. 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.
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