Warriors absorb loss; president optimistic but admits ‘if we don’t have those fans back we’ll take staggering losses’ . . . Stevenson sparks Rebels . . . Ex-WHL goalie heads to OHL

With little fanfare, the Moose Jaw Warriors held their annual general meeting on Thursday.

The Warriors are one of four community-owned teams in the WHL — along MooseJawwith the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Prince Albert Raiders and Swift Current Broncos — and, as such, must hold AGMs for their shareholders.

The Warriors didn’t post a news release on their website. But the team did put up a brief video interview with Chad Taylor, the organization’s president.

Taylor said the Warriors showed a loss and warned that, at the moment, things aren’t looking good for the 2021-22 season.

“If it wasn’t for the provincial government our balance sheet . . . would look a lot different than it is today,” Taylor said, referring to the fact that the Saskatchewan government gave each of that province’s five WHL franchises $600,000. “We are still showing a loss. You can’t just recover . . . With no revenues it’s impossible to try and pull a profit out of an organization like this.

“I have to give tremendous credit to the staff. Unfortunately, there were numerous layoffs, pay cuts . . . some people did lose their jobs. It’s heart-wrenching to go through something like this. I think at the end of the day, we did what we could do to play another day . . .”

The Warriors lost $391,299 for 2019-20, after losses of $165,145 for 2018-19 and $463,566 for 2016-17. In 2017-18, the Warriors declared a profit of $704,182.

These days, the Warriors are looking to the future.

“There’s tons of challenges,” Taylor said. “I think it’s important to let Warriors fans know that we need your support, we need you back in the rink. I understand the challenges with some of that with certain people. But if we don’t have those fans back we’ll take staggering losses this (season). It’s trending to look like that today, but I’m optimistic that will work its way out.

“Our corporate sponsorships have been fantastic, given what we’ve been through. I think everybody in their business are re-evaluating certain things and we understand that. It’s going to take us a while to get our revenues back to (pre-pandemic) times and we understand that. We’re trying to make sure that we can manage our expenses properly. We need the revenues to support this club.”

The complete interview is right here.

The Warriors, like the other six Manitoba and Saskatchewan teams, played 24 games in a hub situation in Regina as part of the WHL’s 2021 development season.

The Broncos were part of that hub and told shareholders at their AGM that they had lost $129,968. It stands to reason, then, that the Warriors’ losses may have been in that same neighbourhood.

The Hurricanes, who played games without fans against the other four Alberta teams at home and away, told their shareholders that they had made $72,250.


There was only one game in the WHL on Tuesday night . . .

In Red Deer, the Rebels opened up a 5-0 lead and cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Rebels had a 41-19 edge in shots, including 20-5 in the second period. . . . F Blake Stevenson had a goal and two assists.

——


Nicolas Daigle and Massimo Siciliano, both 19, of the QMJHL’s Victoriaville qmjhlnewTigres appeared in a Quebec City courtroom on Tuesday, charged with sexual assault. . . . They also have been charged with recording the incident; Daigle also has been charged with sharing images of the alleged victim. . . . The charges arose after an incident that is alleged to have occurred in a hotel in Lac-Beauport after the Tigres’ won the QMJHL championship in June. . . . Both players remain with the Tigres, although the QMJHL has said it will “analyze the content of the charges and the file presented to the court. A decision will then be communicated within the next 48 hours regarding the status of the players in the QMJHL.” . . . There is more on this story right here.



Shortstop


This week’s best news? That’s easy. . . . MLB’s regular season is over. So is the experiment with the runner on second base in extra innings. Thankfully. . . . No, it won’t be used in the playoffs. No, it won’t be back next season.



Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, kept an eye on MLB’s injured list during the season. Here’s what he posted on Monday:

I went to check the “almost final” numbers for the number of MLB players who spent time on the Injured List this year and how much money they earned while in that status.  As of October 1st, here are the data:

In total, 823 players spent time on the IL;

Of those players, 481 were pitchers (58.4% of the total);

The number of man-days missed by players on the IL was 46,910; Those players earned a total of $817,313,884 — that’s a lot of cheese;

Justin Verlander missed the entire season and earned the most money of any player on the IL — $32M and change; and

Ten players — including Verlander — collected $10M or more while on the IL.


Some tweets that followed on the thread . . .

“ ‘I am going to potentially ‘sneak’ infect you.’ What a mind-boggling action.”

“Same thing happened at the grand opening of the new Poco Rec Centre. More than one unvaxxed person went around and snuck in through the parkade. Then had the gall to boast about it.”

“We’ve got a big tourney at our rink this weekend. A security company has been hired to guard doors and scan passports and passes. (Same as two weeks ago).  Everything ran so smooth.”

“Our association says anyone unvaxxed, causing a scene, unwilling to present proof of vax or sneaking in will have their child suspended and/or kicked off the team.”

“Hockey parents acting up, hard to believe!”



Story


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: G Roman Basran, 20, has joined the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads after clearing WHL waivers. A native of Delta, B.C., he played in 119 regular-season games with the Kelowna Rockets — 52-40-11, 2.89, .905 — before being waived in July. He later joined the Everett Silvertips, but things didn’t work out there, so now he’s in the OHL.


Socrates

Blazers’ owner: It’s disappointing, but people are dying from this . . . German junior team hit with eight positives; Sweden has two more


The Kamloops Blazers were 41-18-4 and enjoying a 14-point lead atop the WHL’s B.C. Division when the pandemic brought a premature end to the season in March.

They were poised to have their best regular season since 2012-13, when they Kamloops1finished 47-20-5. (In 2016-17, they went 42-24-6, for 90 points, a number last season’s team was within easy reach of with five games remaining.)

The point is that no one has more reason to be upset with how things went down in March than fans of the Blazers, who had waited a long time for a team that could bring them out of their seats. The same could be said for the players and, yes, ownership, too. But, as majority owner Tom Gaglardi points out, this situation really is all about perspective.

“It’s super disappointing, but you have to let go of what you can’t control,” Gaglardi told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. “There are people dying from this, people that are losing livelihoods, that are struggling to get by. The Blazers’ winning window, it’s super discouraging, but you have to look at the things that really matter. We’re all frustrated, but the leagues that rushed out and tried to play have all failed.”

Gaglardi, who also owns the NHL’s Dallas Stars, added: “It’s challenging, but boy, oh boy, is this a league that is determined to find a way. We are trying everything, but we’re not getting a lot of help. We’re not getting help from the public, in terms of managing the virus. It’s growing. The governments are not blessing our plans, but we’re trying.

“I think we will have a season. I really do. I’m a guy that believes we’ll find a way.”

At one point in the interview, Hastings asked about lost revenue and the state of the franchise.

“If the club didn’t have solid sponsorship, in terms of its ownership,” Gaglardi replied, “it would be in a lot worse shape. The business is in terrible shape, obviously, having lost all that revenue and continuing to lose revenue and carry costs. Fortunately, the Blazers are going to survive COVID-19. I think all the clubs around the league will survive it, too.

“This will easily jump into seven figures of damages and bills to pay when we get going again, so it’s devastating.”

While Gaglardi is the franchise’s majority owner, former NHLers Shane Doan, Jerome Iginla, Mark Recchi and Darryl Sydor are the other co-owners.

“It wasn’t exactly a real solid business in the first place,” Gaglardi added, “but it’s going to mean some tough decisions. It’s already meant tough decisions. We’ve had to thin down our staff. We’re just trying to stay around. Luckily, bankers have been supportive and done whatever they can to help us through. We’ll survive, but it’s devastating.”

Hasting’s interview with Gaglardi is right here.



It seems that the virus has found the teams that are holed up in Edmonton awaiting the start of the 2021 World Junior Championship. Eight players off the 2021WJCGerman team have tested positive, as have two management people with Team Sweden.

The 10 teams all were to have come out of quarantine on Friday to begin on-ice preparations. However, the Germans now will quarantine until Thursday. Most of the Swedes will stay in quarantine until Monday. Those who had previous positive tests don’t have to because those infections, according to Hockey Canada, “provide a personal immunity and no threat of infection to others.”

Ryan Allenby, a Team Sweden doctor, ran practice on Friday for the seven players who were cleared to skate. Don’t forget that before even leaving for Canada on Sunday, the Swedes had to drop four players and four coaches, including head coach Tomas Monten, because of positive tests.

Canada and Sweden are scheduled to play an exhibition game on Monday.

The Germans are scheduled to open the tournament against Finland on Dec. 25 and then play Team Canada on Dec. 26. Having to quarantine until Thursday means the Germans will have to scrub exhibition games against Austria and Czech Republic.

Chris Peters of ESPN, who follows this tournament closely, tweeted Friday: “Germany and Sweden shared planes with other countries. Team sources indicated they were concerned with the travel set-up after they saw size of the planes. Sweden was on same flight with Finland and Russia and it looked pretty crowded based on social media posts.”

As near as I can tell, the Germans flew over with the Swiss team. The third flight carried Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Mark Masters of TSN has more WJC news right here.



Christmas2020

COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News, 11:36 a.m. PT: Canada’s total COVID-19 death toll has passed 14,000. Nationally, there have been 493,308 confirmed cases.

CBC News: Number of new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba jumps to 350 after 6 straight days of recording less than 300. The province is also reporting 10 additional deaths.

Anya Nazeravich, CJOB Winnipeg: Manitoba has 350 new cases of COVID-19. . . . Deaths: 547. . . . Hospitalizations: 305. . . . ICU: 43. . . . TP: 13.6% . . . TP in Winnipeg: 13.1%. . . . Active: 5,602. . . . Tests on Thursday: 2,167.

650 CKOM: Saskatchewan reported two more deaths related to COVID-19 on Friday. The province also reported 245 new cases and 485 recoveries, dropping the active caseload to 3,736.

Marc Smith, CTV Regina: With 485 more recoveries Friday, the province’s active case number is 3,736, which is the lowest it’s been since Nov. 29.

CBC News: Alberta is reporting 1,413 new cases of COVID-19 and 25 new deaths related to the illness. There are 19,607 known active cases in the province. 759 COVID-19 patients are in Alberta hospitals, including 141 in ICU. The province has a 7.4% positivity rate.

Dave White, CBC: Two of Friday’s 25 reported deaths involve a woman in her 20s from the Calgary zone and a man in his 40s from the Edmonton zone with no known co-morbidities.

CBC News: B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix announced 624 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 more deaths on Friday.

CBC News: 2,290 new COVID-19 cases in Ontario, the 4th day in a row above 2,000 and the 2nd-highest daily number of the pandemic. There are 40 more deaths, with 877 people in hospital and 261 in intensive care. 68,246 tests were completed; 3.9% were positive. 

CBC News: Quebec reports 1,773 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the province’s 7-day average up slightly to 1,825. Health authorities say there have also been 36 additional deaths.

CNN, 5 p.m. PT: 17.4 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.

CNN, 5 p.m. PT: 313,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

The New York Times: Officials in New York State announced 12,606 new cases on Friday, The Times found, a single-day record that exceeds a previous high of 12,274 cases recorded on April 4, when testing was less widely available and significantly fewer tests were being conducted. But there was also a rare bit of good news: The number of people hospitalized with the virus in the state decreased on Thursday for the first time since late October, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Friday.

——

The 14-team Western Collegiate Club Hockey Association has cancelled its 2020-21 season. It had hoped to begin a delayed season in the spring. . . .

While I have mostly ignored NCAA basketball, it would seem that it has served up quite a buffet for the virus. On Thursday, Kelvin Sampson, the men’s coach at the U of Houston, said his entire roster has tested positive. According to the Washington Post, the team has had 15 players and some coaches test positive so far this season. Take a break? Pause the season? Are you kidding! While a Saturday game with Alabama won’t happen, Sampson hopes to have eight or nine players back in time to play Alcorn State on Sunday. . . . Meanwhile, Louisville head coach Chris Mack says 90 per cent of his team has had the virus and has recovered. . . .

If you haven’t already, search out Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and read up on his views of this NCAA basketball season. . . .

Al Michaels won’t be calling an NFL games this weekend — he was to have done Cleveland-New York Giants — after NBC pulled him “in accordance with NBCUniversal COVID-19 safety protocols.” . . . That means we’ll get Mike Tirico calling the play of that game on Sunday night, alongside Cris Collinsworth and with Michele Tafoya on the sidelines. . . . Tirico was to have handled Carolina-Green Bay, but has been replaced by Joe Davis, who will work with Kurt Warner. . . . BTW, Michaels reports that he feels fine. . . .

Santa Clara County has extended its ban on contact sports that was to have ended on Monday, meaning the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers will continue to play ‘home games’ at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. That includes their final regular-season game on Jan. 3 against the Seattle Seahawks. . . .

All participants in the Australian Open (Feb. 8-21) are going to have to spend two weeks in quarantine in Melbourne before the tournament opens. They will be allowed to train for up to five hours at Melbourne Park during the quarantine. . . .

The Heritage Junior Hockey League, with 14 junior B teams in Alberta, announced Friday that it has “decided all January games will be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” . . . From a release: “After the Alberta government and Hockey Alberta have given further instruction, team officials will once again meet virtually to map out the first few months of 2021.”


Peephole


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: D Nathan Paetsch, who played four seasons in the WHL (Moose Jaw, 1999-2003), announced his retirement Thursday, ending a pro career that began in 2003-04 with the AHL’s Rochester Americans and included 167 NHL games over five seasons. Paetsch, 37, is a native of Humboldt. He got into 258 regular-season and 34 playoff games with Moose Jaw. . . . The BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs have hired former WHL G Mackenzie Skapski as their goaltending coach. Skapski, 26, is from Abbotsford, B.C. He played three seasons (2011-14) with the Kootenay Ice (hey, remember them?). His pro career included two games with the NHL’s New York Rangers. Skapski last played in 2018-19 with the Slovakian team HKM Zvolen. You may recall that Skapski reached the NHL just five years after suffering broken bones in the left side of his face and assorted other injuries after the bus carrying he and his U-18 Fraser Valley Bruins to Williams Lake hit black ice and ended up on its side in a ditch. . . .

Former WHL D David Wilkie picked up his 100th regular-season victory as the head coach of the USHL’s Omaha Lancers on Friday night. According to a tweet from the team, the only Omaha coach to have gotten there quicker was Bliss Littler. Wilkie played four seasons in the WHL (Seattle, Kamloops, Regina, 1990-94). . . . The junior B Sicamous Eagles of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have shuffled the chairs, with Ron Sleeman coming in as general manager, replacing Wayne March, who has been with the club since its inception. Gerald Bouchard is the team’s new head coach, replacing Tyler Gunn, who joined the team on May 8, 2019. The Eagles, who went 15-32-1-1 last season, were 1-1 when this season was put on hold.


Bobsled

Scattershooting on a Saturday night while wondering if the Dodgers will sleep tonight . . .

Scattershooting

Aware early on that they weren’t going to have enough billets for a new season, Sicamousthe junior B Sicamous Eagles of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League put the wheels in motion. Last weekend, they moved into The Eagles’ Nest — a dormitory that was built on the grounds of the Sicamous and District Rec Centre. . . . Wayne March, the Eagles’ general manager, told Jim Elliot of the Eagle Valley News that he looks at this as a pilot project that other teams may be interested in checking out. . . . Elliot reported that the District of Sicamous paid for the construction and the team pays rent, which “is covered by fees paid by the players who would usually fund a stipend given to billet families.” . . . This is an interesting story, and you wonder if this is soon to become part of our new normal. . . . Elliot’s complete story is right here.


The BCHL postponed a pair of Saturday exhibition games after a player with the BCHLSurrey Eagles tested positive. . . . According to the league, as of Saturday afternoon, “The athlete has been placed in a 14-day quarantine and all other players and team personnel have been tested and we are awaiting results.” . . . The BCHL postponed an afternoon game between the Eagles and Langley Rivermen. Also postponed was a game scheduled for last night between the Coquitlam Express and Chilliwack Chiefs. . . . On Friday night, Surrey and Chilliwack played the sixth of six straight exhibition games against each other. . . . The BCHL said it is awaiting “further direction from Fraser Health.” . . . Earlier in the week, the Eagles had said they were desperately in need of billet families. “We’re in desperate need for one but I could really use four,” Jim Turton, the team’s billet co-ordinator, told the Peace Arch News.


Meanwhile, in the QMJHL, Jonathan Habashi, the sports editor of the qmjhlnewDrummondville Journal Express, tweeted Saturday that he was told the Voltigeurs now have five positives. The Voltigeurs had suspended all in-person activities on Thursday after one player tested positive. At that point, other players and staff members were isolated and were being tested. . . . The QMJHL had shut down its 12 Quebec-based teams on Oct. 14 with the number of positives rising in the province. The league said things would be on hold until at least Oct. 28.


Perishable


I don’t know how your week was, but let’s take a moment to think about Andrew Burke of Calmar, Alta. If you haven’t heard his story, well, he accidentally purchased two Lotto 6-49 tickets with the same numbers for the same draw. Later, he was getting the tickets checked at the gas station in which he had bought them when the clerk told him: “You’ve won $2.5 million.” Burke told The Canadian Press: “I said she better check the other ticket because it’s the same number.” . . . Poor guy. Had to share the $5-million jackpot. With himself! LOL!!



With the WHL now allowing players to transfer to junior A teams, at least until Dec. 20, the Chicago Steel of the USHL has let it be know that it isn’t interested in adding any CHL players. . . . Ryan Hardy, the Steel’s general manager, tweeted: “We are empathetic to any player without a place to play but we will not be adding players on loan from the CHL. We are committed to the development of our current players and will not sacrifice their growth for a perceive short-term gain.”


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “COVID-19 was listed among those ‘also receiving votes’ in the latest AP football poll. Or did we just wake up from a bad dream?”

——

“The Japan Swimming Federation has stripped Daiya Seto, the reigning world champion in two individual-medley events, of his team captaincy for the Tokyo Olympics after he was caught cheating on his wife,” Perry reports. “In other words, he got DQ’d for not staying in his own lane.”


Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe: “If you were watching Monday Night Football and were unaware, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is one of Donald Trump’s biggest NFL supporters. Who knew karma might be a football fan? Carry on.”

——

Hough also pointed out this headline from si.com: Nick Saban Adds to His Legacy With Victories Over No. 3 Georgia, and COVID-19 in Same Week.



Roast


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

In spending a chilly Saturday afternoon watching U.S. college football, it dawned on me that the mostly leaderless United States of America has decided that if it has to sacrifice a few hundred thousand people before a vaccine arrives, so be it. . . . The number of college football coaches who should have their facemasks stapled to their faces is off the charts. For example, every time Fox-TV’s cameras showed Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy, his facemask was serving as a chin diaper. . . . Hey, Mike, why even bother? . . . Oklahoma State was playing Iowa State and the Cyclones’ head coach, Mike Campbell, wasn’t much better. . . . No, neither announcer, Tim Brando nor Spencer Tillman, uttered a discouraging word. . . . However, Tillman did use the occasion to introduce a new term into the football lexicon — intentionality. As in, when a linebacker is closing on a running back, he needs to arrive with some “intentionality.”

——

Here’s Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Something to consider: The pandemic dead in America would fill the Bay Area’s six professional sports venues (Chase Center, Oracle Park, Oakland Coliseum, Levi’s Stadium, SAP Center, Avaya Stadium) with only about 2,700 seats to spare.

“We’re days away from full capacity.”

——

Ostler also related a story involving former San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Fred Dean, who died the other day of coronavirus-related causes. Ostler said he heard the story years ago “from a former 49ers’ exec. Dean sat down with the 49ers to hammer out a contract, in the days before agents. The two sides were close to an agreement, so the 49ers threw in a sweetener. ‘We’ll give you $500 for every sack.’ Dean said, ‘OK, but does my wife have to know?’ ”


Plumber


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: Every autumn, tundra and Arctic swans arrive on the South Thompson River and spend the winter here. We have come to recognize their arrival as the start of winter. Uhh, the advance scouts showed up on Wednesday afternoon. The first snow in the river valley, which is where we live, fell overnight Thursday. While the swans will hang around, the snow won’t. I hope. . . . Dorothy was chatting with a longtime married friend from Regina the other day. When she asked the friend how things were going in these pandemic times, the response was: “Well, there’s nobody buried in the back yard yet.” . . . Ron St. Clair, a former radio voice of the Prince George Cougars, will be one of 15 inductees into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame this year. In an earlier life, St. Clair was the official announcer at the Delaware Speedway in Delaware, Ont. He also was the voice of CASCAR. Catherine Garrett of MYPGNOW has more right here.


Kidney Walk: Of grandparents, grandchildren, good friends and transplants

A couple of former sports writers were walking on Rivers Trail, taking part in Kamloops’ 10th annual Kidney Walk on Sunday, when they were joined by Hugh McLennan.

Just minutes earlier, McLennan had been saluted by organizers, participants and volunteers as one of two honourees for this edition of the Kidney Walk. He had undergone a kidney transplant on Nov. 22, 2019, at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. His long-time friend, Louis (Big Rig) McIvor, the other honouree on Sunday, had given McLennan one of his kidneys.

McLennan, the host of the Spirit of the West radio show, is well-known in the ranching community in B.C. — he and wife Billie run cattle near Pinantan Lake, northeast of Kamloops. He also is easily recognizable, what with the 10-gallon hat, walrus moustache and cowboy boots.

By now, though, the cowboy boots were gone, replaced by a pair of sneakers.

TammyLouis2
Tammy Mathieu and Louis (Big Rig) McIvor give grandchildren a ride alongside Hugh McLennan on Sunday during the Kidney Walk along Rivers Trail near McDonald Park. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

It had been apparent early on that McLennan was thrilled to have been selected as an honouree. While doing hemo-dialysis, he had always been more than willing to help out by taking a turn at the microphone and also supplying musical entertainment at past Kidney Walks. He and McIvor also have been quick to promote organ donation and transplantation when given the opportunity.

As thrilled as McLennan was with that honour, though, he wore an even bigger smile as he told the story of a phone call he and Billie had received the previous day.

Their grandson, Reed, who will turn 16 on Nov. 20, is playing midget hockey in Winfield, B.C., which is located between Vernon and Kelowna on Highway 97.

Hugh’s voice was bursting with pride as he talked about the phone call.

A goaltender, Reed’s junior B rights belong to the Sicamous Eagles of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. It seems that the Eagles were scheduled to play the host Spokane Braves on Friday and found themselves short a goaltender, thanks to an issue involving a passport.

So . . . a call went out to Reed, who joined the Eagles in time to ride the bus to Spokane. He was looking forward to what he was looking at as a learning experience and expecting to take in the game from the cozy confines of the bench.

Except that the Eagles found themselves trailing, 3-0, just 3:49 into the game. Shortly after, the call came from head coach Ty Gunn: “McLennan . . . let’s go!”

With Reed in goal, the Braves added two more goals and took a 5-0 lead into the third period. It was 6-1 just 1:02 into the final period.

In the end, I’m sure the Eagles will tell you that they simply ran out of time. They lost the game, 6-5, scoring their fifth goal late in the third period.

Reed more than did his job, though, turning aside 39 of 41 shots in 54 minutes 20 seconds, in his junior B debut.

While Hugh was relating the story of a grandfather and his grandson, McIvor and fiancée Tammy Mathieu also were on Rivers Trail. They weren’t alone as they had two grandchildren in tow — or was it the other way around?

Regardless, with grandchildren in the conversation and on Rivers Trail, I couldn’t help but think about what it must mean to Hugh to be able to be part of his grandson’s life. After all, had Louis not given Hugh a kidney almost two years ago, well, who knows?

My wife, Dorothy, received a kidney six years ago Monday — Sept. 23, 2013. Our only grandchild, Kara, turned three in July. Dorothy had done peritoneal dialysis for almost four years before having her transplant. Again, without that kidney, who knows?

When we got home after Sunday’s Kidney Walk, we spent some time on a video chat with Kara.

Grateful doesn’t begin to explain what that kidney means to our family. You can bet it’s the same with the McLennans and anyone else who has needed a kidney and been fortunate enough to get one.

——

If you are thinking about being a donor, feel free to call the donor nurse co-ordinator at St. Paul’s Hospital (604-806-9027 or 1-877-922-9822), or email donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca.