Hasek speaking out against Russian invasion . . . Clouston: Pats ‘going to try to add’ . . . TWU adds Beach as assistant coach

As another hockey season arrives and dictator Vladimir Putin’s Russia continues its war on Ukraine, the impact, or lack of same, on professional hockey hasn’t been much of a story.

But former NHL goaltender Dominik Hasek is working to get it into the headlines.

Here’s a chunk from Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered:

More than a decade after his Hall of Fame career, Hasek has not stopped taking the road less travelled. He’s one of the very few athletes, past or present, who has the courage to speak out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying Russian NHLers should be suspended and Czech players should be barred from playing in the KHL, the league in which he played in the final season of his career. He also thinks that the government in Czechia should bar any Russians playing for the Nashville Predators (winger Yakov Trenin) and San Jose Sharks (wingers Alexander Barbanov and Evgeni Svechnikov) from playing in Prague when the two teams kick off the NHL’s regular season there Oct. 7 and 8.

“It will be a beautiful hockey celebration,” Hasek told Hockey Unfiltered in a telephone interview. “At the same time, however, I am doing everything to ensure that no Russian players can play here and that they cannot make multimillion-dollar advertisements for Russia and its war and killings in Ukraine.”

Hasek also has thoughts on Russians playing in the NHL. Campbell writes: “Hasek believes all Russian-born NHL players should be suspended by the NHL, with the suspensions lifted only if and when they denounce Russia’s actions.”

Of course, there are people in the hockey community who don’t agree with Hasek.

If you haven’t already, you should hunt up Campbell’s Hockey Unfiltered site and check out stories like this one.


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Are you waiting for the Regina Pats to trade F Connor Bedard, who is the favourite to be the No. 1 selection in the NHL’s 2023 draft? Well, perhaps you Reginashouldn’t be holding your breath. In fact, what if the Pats are working to add to their roster in the hopes of making a run this season? . . . The Kamloops Blazers will be the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup and there has been ample speculation that they are eager to land Bedard. Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, isn’t so sure that Bedard will come available. “I think Regina is going to evaluate things,” Clouston told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. “The information we have is they’re not trading him right now. They believe they have a generational-type player and they’re going to try to add. So, right now, that’s the direction they’re going and I guess time will tell if they’re able to get to a place where they feel confident kind of going all-in at some point with Connor Bedard as the centrepiece or whether they change that mindset. But that, right now, from our understanding, is their mindset They’re looking to add right now.” . . . Hastings’ complete story is right here.


Cotton


The Medicine Hat Tigers have added F Alex Drover, 20, to their roster. Drover, from Port-aux-Basques, Nfld., spent the previous four seasons in the QMJHL. MedicineHatHe played with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, Saint John Sea Dogs and Rimouski Oceanic, totalling 29 goals and 48 assists in 178 regular-season games. Last season, he put up 37 points, including 14 goals, in 44 games with Rimouski. . . . Drover is one of four 20-year-olds in camp with the Tigers, the others being F Brendan Lee, F Dallon Melin and Finnish F Oskari Kuntonen, who was selected by Medicine Hat in the CHL’s 2020 import draft. Last season, he had six goals and 20 assists in 24 games with KooKoo’s U20 side. Melin is coming off four seasons with the Red Deer Rebels; he had 11 goals and 13 assist in 67 games in 2021-22. Lee was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades last season; he finished with 10 goals and 11 assists in 52 games, 22 of them with the Tigers. . . . Melin had two assists Friday in a 6-3 victory over the host Swift Current Broncos. Lee had one assist; Drover was pointless.


WillieNelson


Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle, on the retirement announcement from tennis great Roger Federer:

“Once a teenage brat who would throw his racket on the court, Federer grew up and evolved and became the definition of class and sportsmanship.

“He was doing that in an era of what often seemed relentlessly boorish and unbecoming behavior by professional athletes. When star athletes too often seemed to do something to let their public down, to embarrass themselves or to fail to understand the privilege and position they have.

“Federer never did that. In a modern era of scrutiny and social media, he was a safe harbor.”


The Tofino Resort and Marina, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, is owned by a group that includes retired NHLers Willie Mitchell and Dan Hamhuis. The latter also is one of the six men who own the WHL’s Prince George Cougars. . . . Something happened at the resort on Sunday night that has resulted in a management change, the closure of the place for a week or so, and a whole lot of speculation as to what caused it all. . . . Patrick Johnston of Postmedia has that story right here.


THINKING OUT LOUD — F Nick Suzuki may have been given the captain’s ‘C’ this week, but isn’t F Brendan Gallagher really the captain? Gallagher is one of those players who doesn’t need the ‘C’ to be the captain. . . . If F Connor Bedard really is a generational talent — and all signs point to that being an accurate evaluation — how would the Regina Pats explain it to their fans were they to trade him away? . . . There looked to be a lot of empty seats at Mosaic Stadium on Friday night, but the ticket holders who did show up didn’t hesitate to let their feelings be known as their favourites dropped a 26-24 decision to the Edmonton Elks. Yes, it was ugly. . . . The Roughriders are 3-5 at home. They once were 3-0. Whoops!



THE COACHING GAME:

Former WHL F Kyle Beach has joined the Trinity Western U Spartans of the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League as an assistant coach. . . . From Ian Kennedy of The Hockey News: “Last fall, Beach made headlines stepping forward as ‘John Doe’ in a case in which Beach was sexually assaulted by Chicago Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich during the 2009-10 season. The case made international news headlines, and eventually resulted in a confidential settlement between the Blackhawks and Beach made in December of 2021.” . . . Beach, 32, is from Kelowna. He played in the WHL with the Everett Silvertips, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Spokane Chiefs (2005-10). . . . Beach and TWU head coach Ben Walter, who is in his first season, were teammates with EC Salzburg in Austria’s EBEL and won championships together in 2015 and 2016. . . . Beach spent the past two seasons with the Ten Art BlackDragons in Austria, playing in Germany’s Oberliga. In those two seasons, he totalled 110 points, including 58 goals, in 68 games.


Shifter


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Gino De Paoli is the new play-by-play voice of the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers. The team made the announcement on Friday, three days after he announced he was leaving the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. He had been the voice of the Oilers for 11 seasons. . . . Scott Roblin handled the Tigers’ play-by-play on CHAT last season after Bob Ridley, the only radio voice the team had known since it entered the WHL for the 1970-71 season, took time off for health-related reasons. . . . Roblin left Medicine Hat over the summer and now is covering sports for Global TV in Saskatoon. . . .

Kevin Kaminski, the general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves, begins the regular season by starting a 10-game suspension. From the Ice Wolves: “The suspension is the result of reports received by the league after the final playoff game of last season that was played March 27. The sanction is under appeal but until this is finalized, we will comply with the suspension and assistant coach Kyle Schneider will lead the bench.” . . . Playing at home on March 27, the Ice Wolves dropped a 5-3 decision to the Humboldt Broncos in Game 6. The Broncos won the series, 4-2. . . . The Ice Wolves opened their regular season on Friday night with a 7-4 victory over the visiting Nipawin Hawks.


Sales


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.


Milkshake

Scattershooting on a Thursday night while remembering Queen Elizabeth II and her wonderful sense of humour . . .

Scattershooting2



WHERE ARE THEY NOW DEPT. — Ian Henry had been with the Seattle Thunderbirds since July 2002 when he lost his job a year or so into the pandemic. He was their director of media, communications and digital at the time. These days, he is the communications co-ordinator for the Mercer Island School District where he is doing great work as can be seen in the below tweet. Go ahead. Click on the link. You’ll love it.


There are times when Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, steps outside the sporting arena to offer up a gem, and this is just another reason to read him on a daily basis:

“I feel sorry for people who misuse two English words — unique and masterpiece. Unique cannot have modifiers; things are not very unique or somewhat unique; things are either unique or they are not unique. . . . Masterpiece does not have a proper plural form. An artist or an author can only produce one masterpiece. This is not a pet peeve of mine because I am only allowed one ‘pet peeve’ in life and this one is not nearly important enough to have earned that status.”

That was from his Thursday post, which also included this gem:

“I will spend less time using Facebook. I have spent about 1.5 hours per week on the site over the last month — and it is just not worth it.”



THINKING OUT LOUD — A tip of the fedora to Kyle McIntyre, the SJHL’s new commissioner, on his use of social media to connect with fans. Asked on Twitter for clarification on a player suspension, McIntyre (@SJHLCommish) responded that “the suspension includes all remaining exhibition games and five regular-season games.” That amounts to transparency without any redactions and that’s a breath of fresh air. . . . The NFL’s regular season begins and we are bombarded with gambling-related TV commercials. I bet you’re surprised. . . . How much will the New York Yankees pay Aaron Judge when they get around to signing him after this season? Might he become the first US$50-million-a-year MLB player? Remember that he turned down $213.5 million over seven seasons, starting in 2023, prior to the start of this season.



THE COACHING GAME:

The junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Hockey League have a new head coach in Ken Law. He takes over from Carter Rigby, who apparently has joined the Prince George Cougars as an assistant coach. . . . It should be noted that while the Coyotes have announced the move, the Cougars haven’t yet said a word, although they just might today (Friday) or early next week. . . . Law spent eight seasons (2010-18) with the Coyotes, as their general manager and head coach. He was with the KIJHL’s Kelowna Chiefs for four seasons (2018-22) — three seasons as assistant GM/head coach and last season as GM. . . . Rigby played four games with the Cougars in 2009-10 and three in 2010-11. He went on to play three seasons plus seven games (2011-15) with the Kelowna Rockets before getting into 55 games with the Swift Current Broncos in 2014-15 to conclude his WHL playing career. Rigby, 28, had been preparing for his fourth season as the head coach in Osoyoos.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Ian Wilson is the new play-by-play voice of the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express, taking over from Eddie Gregory, who has filled the position for the past 18 seasons. Gregory now is the voice of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants. . . . From an Express news release: “Wilson comes to the Express with a ton of experience. He currently is the voice of the UFV Cascades, Fraser Valley Bandits and Arena Lacrosse League West. He also brings along his experiences working with the Chilliwack Chiefs, Chilliwack Jets, Richmond Sockeyes and Delta Ice Hawks.”



There was a time back in the day when curling on radio was a big deal, especially on the Prairies. No one was bigger in that area than Chuck Pachkowsky of radio stations CFSL-Weyburn and CJSL-Estevan. He died on Wednesday at the age of 89. . . . Glenn Rogers of discoverweyburn.com 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.


Scattershooting on a Monday night while watching smoke roll in from the west . . .

scattershooting

You have to think that organizers of the 2022 World Junior Championship have their fingers and toes crossed. You will recall that the event actually got started COVIDin Edmonton in December, but the plug was pulled after a number of players and on-ice officials tested positive for COVID-19. The rescheduled event is to begin Aug. 9 in Edmonton and, well, there has been a player test positive. D David Jiricek wasn’t with Team Czechia when it left for Edmonton after he tested positive. He is in quarantine after which it is hoped that he will join the team. . . . Jiricek, who will turn 19 on Nov. 28, was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets with the sixth pick in the NHL’s 2022 draft. His WHL rights belong to the Spokane Chiefs, who selected him in the CHL’s 2020 import draft. . . . Jiricek has played the past three seasons with HC Škoda Plzeň of the Czech Extraliga.

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Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals will be without QB Kyler Murray for at least five games as they go through training camp. He tested positive on Monday. . . . Oh, and the Seattle Seahawks are without head coach Pete Carroll after he, too, tested positive on Monday. He will continue to communicate with the team virtually.


Dinos


Wait! What’s that? Oh, Canada just scored another goal against Switzerland at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer.


Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times is keeping an eye on NFL training camps for us. Here’s an early report: “Breaking news from Panthers camp: WR Robby Anderson wants to go by Robbie now. Three days in, and we’re already down to stuff like this?”



Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, with a few words on unvaccinated baseballers: “As they say in baseball, we’ll shoot any random stuff into our bodies, as long as it’s not something that will help stop a worldwide killer pandemic.”



Headline from The Beaverton: Pope Francis closes Commonwealth Stadium mass with 52-yard Hail Mary.

Headline from fark.com: Mike Trout diagnosed with rare spinal condition that’s been aggravated by carrying the Angels for the last 10 years.


Peanuts


A regular reader responds to something I mentioned here the other day:

“You have mentioned how irritating the (Sleeman) 2.0 ads are. I agree but I find the betting ads are bad enough with the amount of them. But when the sports shows give a segment away to talk about the odds is horrible.”

Hard to disagree with him. It also has made it hard, if not impossible, to watch intermission and halftime shows.


Wayne Kartusch, a longtime president of the SJHL, died in Red Deer on Thursday. He was 82. . . . Kartusch played two seasons (1958-60) with the SJHL’s Regina Pats, before going on to attend the U of Michigan. . . . He later was the SJHL president for 25 years. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post has a whole lot more on Kartusch 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.


Taxes

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.

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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

Bilous, Bruins win Game 7 . . . Ice opens by beating Warriors . . . Bankier streak to 15 as Blazers dump Giants

The host Estevan Bruins won the SJHL championship on Friday night, taking Game 7, 4-0, over the Flin Flon Bombers. G Boston Bilous earned the shutout with 29 saves. . . . Both teams will play in the 10-team Centennial Cup, though, because the Bruins are in as the host team. The national junior A championship tournament runs from May 20 through May 29.


The Brandon Wheat Kings announced Friday that general manager Doug Gasper Brandonhas chosen to leave the organization “for personal reasons.” . . . Gasper joined the Wheat Kings as assistant GM on Aug. 15, 2019, and was named GM on April 16, 2021. . . . Gasper took over from Darren Ritchie, who moved on to the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs as an amateur scout. . . . According to the news release, Gasper “will transition out of his current position over the coming weeks and will assist in hiring his replacement.” . . . Kelly McCrimmon was the Wheat Kings’ general manager for 27 seasons before leaving to join the front office of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. Since 2016, Grant Armstrong, who now scouts for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, Ritchie and Gasper have held the position.


With 14 of the WHL’s 22 teams having had their seasons reach the end of the road, you can bet that the coaching carousel is soon to start spinning.

For starters, the Spokane Chiefs introduced Matt Bardsley as their new general Spokanemanager this week, and you have to think there might be a coaching change in the offing there.

Ryan Smith has been the Chiefs’ interim head coach since head coach Adam Maglio was fired on Feb. 10. Smith had been the club’s associate coach.

Should Bardsley choose to hire his ‘own’ coach, you have to think Kyle Gustafson, who just completed his first season as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, will be in the running. Gustafson had been on the Portland Winterhawks’ coaching staff since 2003 when he chose to join former Winterhawks associate coach Travis Green with the Canucks. Of course, Green was fired as head coach by the Canucks early in the season. Gustafson finished up the season under head coach Bruce Boudreau, who replaced Green.

Bardsley spent 18 seasons in the Winterhawks’ front office, so he and Gustafson are quite familiar with each other. In fact, early in Bardsley’s stint as general manager of the Kamloops Blazers, he offered the Blazers’ head-coaching job, and a four-year contract, to Gustafson.

There are expected to be changes in the Canucks organization and the coaching staff likely won’t escape unscathed. Thomas Drance of The Athletic tweeted on Friday that amateur scouts Brandon Benning, Pat Conacher, Tim Lenardon and Derek Richard have been dropped by the Canucks. Patrick Johnston of Postmedia added that Ted Hampson, another amateur scout, also is gone.

With change in the wind, perhaps Gustafson might be interested in making a pre-emptive move by returning to the WHL. Should that happen, expect Smith to stay on with the Chiefs as associate coach.

Meanwhile, the owners of the Regina Pats would seem to have a coaching Reginadecision on their hands, too.

You will recall that John Paddock, already the vice-president of hockey operations and general manager, took over as head coach after the firing of David Struch on Nov. 18. At the time, ownership stated that Paddock would be the head coach through the 2022-23 season. However, assistant coach Brad Herauf ended up the interim head coach from Feb. 11 through season’s end as Paddock was forced to deal with some health concerns.

It will be worth watching to see if Paddock, who will turn 68 in June, will remain the head coach.


Your daily reminder that the pandemic isn’t over, this one from The New York Times: “George Cheeks, the president and chief executive of CBS, tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, just days after sitting beside President Biden at the White House Correspondents Dinner, the network confirmed on Friday.”


Gift


There were two WHL playoff games on Friday night as the Winnipeg Ice and WHLplayoffs2022Kamloops Blazers opened best-of-seven conference semifinal series with victories. . . . The pace will pick up tonight with all eight remaining teams in action. . . . In the Eastern Conference, the No. 1 Ice will again play host to the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors, who fell 6-1 last night, while the No. 3 Red Deer Rebels visit the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings, who hold a 1-0 edge. . . . In the Western Conference, the No. 2 Blazers and No. 8 Vancouver Giants will meet again in Kamloops, where the home team won, 3-1, last night, while the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks and No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds open their series in Kent, Wash.

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FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference

In Winnipeg, the No. 1 Ice scored in the first minute of each period en route to a WinnipegIce6-1 victory over the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Ice leads the conference semifinal, 1-0, with Game 2 set for tonight in Winnipeg. . . . F Owen Pederson (4) gave the Ice a 1-0 lead 18 seconds into the first period. . . . F Jakin Smallwood (4) upped it to 3-0 just 57 seconds into the second period. . . . F Mike Milne (6) made it 6-0 at 0:11 of the third period. . . . Pederson finished with two goals, giving him five in these playoffs, and an assist, while Milne added two assists to his goal. . . . Winnipeg G Daniel Hauser stopped 18 shots. He lost his shutout bid when F Brayden Yager (3) scored at 17:48 of the third period. . . . Winnipeg was 2-for-4 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-for-4.

Western Conference

In Kamloops, F Caedan Bankier had a goal and an assist, running his point Kamloopsstreak to 15 games in the process, as the No. 2 Blazers opened with a 3-1 victory over the No. 8 Vancouver Giants. . . . Game 2 will be played in Kamloops tonight. . . . Bankier (2) opened the scoring, on a PP, at 18:28 of the first period. . . . Bankier, who put up 60 points in 68 regular-season games, has quietly put together a 15-game point streak. He finished the regular-season on a 10-game tear (five goals, 11 assists) and has put up two goals and six assists in five playoff games. . . . F Reese Belton (1), at 2:43, and F Ethan Rowland (1), at 16:29, gave the Blazers a 3-0 lead with second-period goals. . . . F Adam Hall (8) got the Giants on the board at 7:04 of the third. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Garand stopped 30 shots. In these playoffs, he is 5-0, 0.80, .968. . . . The Blazers lost F Luke Toporowski late in the first period with what appeared to be an injury to his left shoulder. F Daylan Kuefler moved into his spot on the team’s top line, alongside Logan Stankoven and Drew Englot. . . . Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week tweeted later that Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ GM/head coach, said the “early feel” is that Toporowoski’s injury isn’t long-term, that he’s “sore,” and that he’ll be re-evaluated Saturday. . . . Toporowski missed the last 12 games of the regular season with a knee injury. . . . On the same stoppage during which Toporowski left, the Giants lost D Mazden Leslie, who left while favouring his right leg.


JUST NOTES: Greg Brown is the new head coach of the Boston College Eagles men’s hockey team. After spending 14 seasons as an assistant coach or associate coach with the Eagles, he now takes over from the retiring Jerry York. Brown also played at BC before going on to a pro career that included 94 games in the NHL and eight seasons in Europe. . . .

Manny Viveiros was back behind the Henderson Silver Knights’ bench for an AHL playoff game on Friday night. Viveiros, a former WHLer, had been away from the team while undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. In his absence, Jamie Heward, another former WHLer, handled the head-coaching duties. . . . Viveiros was the general manager and head coach, and Heward his assistant, with the Swift Current Broncos when they won the 2017-18 WHL championship. . . . Last night, the host Colorado Eagles beat Henderson, 5-2, thus winning the best-of-three first-round series, 2-0.


Donut


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so 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.


Will

Ostapchuk sparks Giants in first-round WHL stunner . . . SJHL has new commissioner . . . Allan, Dach off to AHL

You are free to wonder about the chances of the Lucius brothers both playing in the WHL next season, Chad with the Portland Winterhawks and Cruz with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . After completing his freshman season at the U of Minnesota with nine goals and 10 assists in 24 games, Chad signed with the Winnipeg Jets on April 27. He was the 18th overall selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft. That came three years after the Winterhawks selected him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Chad, who turned 19 on Monday, is eligible to play next season in the NHL, with the Jets’ AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose, or in Portland. . . . Cruz, 18, had committed to playing at Minnesota starting in 2022-23; however, he de-committed on Monday and now is exploring his options. The Thunderbirds selected him in the eighth round of the WHL’s 2019 draft. Cruz is coming off two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program. Chad spent two seasons there, too, before going to Minnesota.


Kyle McIntyre is the new commissioner of the 12-team SJHL. He takes over SJHLfrom Bill Chow, who resigned after spending 11 years in the position. . . . From an SJHL news release: “McIntyre, a Saskatoon product, played U18 hockey with his hometown Contacts and Blazers before playing four seasons in the SJHL with Swift Current and Yorkton. He also served recently on the board of directors for the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos and Saskatchewan High School Athletics and was heavily involved in both minor hockey and minor baseball in Swift Current.

“McIntyre holds a Master of Educational Administration and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan and recently retired after a 30-year career in education including the past 20 years in a senior leadership position. McIntyre will assume the role fully on June 1.”


Dumbass


And then there were eight. . . . The first round of the WHL playoffs concluded on WHLplayoffs2022Monday night as the host Vancouver Giants eliminated the Everett Silvertips. . . . So now it’s on to the second round, which will open on Thursday with the No. 3 Red Deer Rebels visiting the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings. The other Eastern Conference series is to being on Friday with the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors in Winnipeg to meet the No. 1 Ice. . . . In the Western Conference, the No. 8 Giants will be in Kamloops to face the No. 2 Blazers on Friday, while the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds will open at home in Kent, Wash., to the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks on Saturday. Due to building availability in Portland — the arena is booked for high school graduation ceremonies — the Portland-Seattle series will have a 1-2-1-1-1-1-1 format. . . . Meanwhile, here’s a look at what happened last night in Langley, B.C. . . .

——

MONDAY IN THE WHL:

Western Conference

In Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants scored three first-period goals, each one from a defenceman, as they completed one of the biggest playoff upsets in WHL Vancouverhistory with a 6-3 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . The No. 8 Giants, who finished 47 points behind the No. 1 Silvertips, won the series, 4-2. . . . How large was this upset? Prior to the game, Steve Ewen of Postmedia wrote: “Since the junior league went to a 16-team post-season split between two conferences in 2002, a No. 8 seed has never beaten a No. 1 in the first round of the playoffs, according to the league office.” . . . D Connor Horning (2) gave the Giants 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 1:15, with D Alex Cotton (4) upping it to 2-0 at 3:15, and D Mazden Leslie (2) making it 3-0 at 11:43. . . . After Horning’s goal, the Giants’ PP was 13-31 (41.9) in the playoffs. In the regular season, it operated at 17.7, good for 18th in the 22-team league. . . . F Ben Hemmerling (1) got Everett to within two goals at 12:40 of the second, only to have F Zack Ostapchuk (3), who assisted on each of the first two goals, get that one back at 17:51. . . . F Ryan Hofer’s sixth goal of the series, on a PP, at 10:00 of the third period cut the Everett deficit to two. . . . Vancouver restored its three-goal lead when D Damian Palmieri (1) scored at 15:32. . . . F Adam Hall’s seventh goal in six games, at 16:52, upped the lead to 6-2. . . . Everett D Jonny Lambos (1) closed out the scoring at 18:35. . . . Ostapchuk finished with a goal and four assists, giving him a WHL-leading 16 points, including 13 assists, in the series. . . . F Fabian Lysell added four assists. He totalled 15 points in the series. . . . The Silvertips were without three of their five leading scorers. Already without 46-goal F Jackson Berezowski (season-ending surgery), they lost F Niko Huuhtanen to an apparent leg injury in Game 5 on Saturday. He didn’t play last night and neither did F Michal Gut. Those three combined for 101 goals and 126 assists in the regular season.


Marty Hastings covers the Kamloops Blazers for Kamloops This Week.


PhoneBooth


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: D Nolan Allan of the Prince Albert Raiders has joined the Rockford IceHogs, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. Allan, 19, has signed with the Blackhawks, who selected him 32nd overall in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . F Colton Dach of the Kelowna Rockets also has joined the IceHogs. Dach, 19, was selected by Chicago in the second round of the 2021 draft and signed an NHL contract on Oct. 1. . . . Rockford opens a best-of-three first-round series against the visiting Texas Stars on Wednesday. . . .

Nick Oliver is the new head coach of the USHL’s Fargo Force. He had been an assistant coach with the St. Cloud State Huskies since 2018, after working as assistant coach/director of scouting with the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede for three seasons (2015-18). He also spent two seasons (2009-11) playing with the Force. He replaces Scott Langer, who spent one season as head coach. The Force was 28-28-4 and lost out in the first round of the playoffs. Langer remains the winningest regular-season coach in NAHL history, thanks to a five-season run with the Aberdeen, S.D., Wings.


Oz


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so 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.


Brunch

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while waiting for another 40-at-16 scorer to surface . . .

scattershooting

OK. Let’s adjust the list again.

I am referring to the list of WHL skaters to have scored at least 40 goals in their 16-year-old season.

This time we’re adding Dan Lucas to the list. Lucas, from Powell River, B.C., WHLscored 57 times in 70 games as a 16-year-old sophomore with the Victoria Cougars in 1974-75. One season earlier, at the age of 15, he had six goals and 10 assists in 16 games.

In 1974-75, he added 56 assists to his goal total, giving him 113 points.

If you haven’t been following along, his list got started last week after F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats scored his 40th goal. “Bedard became just the second 16-year-old in the past 30 years, and sixth in WHL history, to reach the 40-goal mark during a regular season,” the WHL reported on its website.

The WHL’s list featured Glen Goodall, Kimbi Daniels, Mark Pederson, Dave Pasin, Jeff Friesen and Bedard.

We since have deleted Daniels because he actually was 17 when he scored 43 goals for the 1989-90 Swift Current Broncos.

And we have added Ron Chipperfield, who put up 40 with the 1970-71 Brandon Wheat Kings.

Today, then, we add Lucas to the list.

And here is that list as it now sits at seven . . . at least for now:

63 — Glen Goodall, Seattle Thunderbirds (1986-87)

57 — Dan Lucas, Victoria Cougars (1974-75)

45 — Jeff Friesen, Regina Pats, Regina Pats (1992-93)

42 — Mark Pederson, Medicine Hat Tigers (1984-85)

41 — Connor Bedard, Regina Pats (2021-22)

40 — Ron Chipperfield, Brandon Wheat Kings, 1970-71

40 — Dave Pasin, Prince Albert Raiders (1982-83)


Puzzle


There is little in sports that I dislike more than the loser point. Yes, it is time for it to be gone. Actually, it’s time was up a long while ago.

On Friday night, the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings held a 5-0 lead over the visiting Salmon Arm Silverbacks, who promptly scored five goals and then won in OT. The Spruce Kings, of course, were rewarded with one point.

Also on Friday night, the host Calgary Flames were beaten, 1-0 in OT, by the Buffalo Sabres. “That might be the point to get into the playoffs . . . that’s a good point for us. We didn’t score. Got a point.” . . . That’s exactly the point. The Flames didn’t score even one goal; for that, they were rewarded with a point.

Going into Saturday night’s WHL games, the Portland Winterhawks were 4-1-0 when playing the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent., Wash. The Thunderbirds, in those same five games, were 1-1-3.

Look, none of that makes any sense whatsoever. Please, it’s time for saner heads to prevail. Yes, even if it means bringing back tie games. Just get rid of the three-pointers.



As anyone who frequents this space will know, my wife, Dorothy, has been able to life a mostly normal life since undergoing a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. Since then, she also has raised money for the Kidney Foundation by taking part in the annual Kamloops Kidney Walk. This year that walk will be held on June 5. As much as we would like to get everyone together and go for a walk, there simply are too many immunocompromised people involved so the walk once again will be held virtually. . . . You are able to take part by sponsoring Dorothy and you may do that right here. . . . Thanks so much to all who have helped already this year; in fact, right now she is the No. 1 fund-raiser in all of B.C.


Adult


I saw this tweet on Thursday and it really struck me how politicians and healthcare officials have dumped pandemic-related mandates and restrictions, while a whole lot people seem to have forgotten about the healthcare workers. . . . But you know what folks? Sorry, but it’s not over.


“If you’re commiserating about the stock market’s recent dive,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, “just be glad you didn’t pay $518,000 for that ball from Tom Brady’s ‘final’ touchdown pass.”

——

Here’s Perry, again:

Not that the Russell Wilson hype train is already off the tracks for Denver fans, but KOAA-TV in Colorado Springs offered its viewers this poll last week:

“Who is the greatest Broncos quarterback of all time?

“a) Russell Wilson

“b) Peyton Manning

“c) John Elway

“d) Gary Kubiak”

Wilson had 8 per cent of the vote in early returns, compared to Elway’s 57, Manning’s 30 and Kubiak’s 5.


SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

D Olen Zellweger drew four assists as the host Everett Silvertips doubled the EverettSpokane Chiefs, 6-3. . . . F Michal Gut added a goal, his 13th, and two assists for Everett. . . . Zellweger, an 18-year-old from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., now has 68 points, including 56 assists, in 48 games this season. He leads all WHL defenceman in assists and points. Zellweger went into the season with four goals and 21 assists in 70 games. . . . With the victory, the Silvertips (41-10-8) moved into sole possession of first place in the Western Conference, two points ahead of the idle Kamloops Blazers (43-14-2). . . .

In Portland, G Taylor Gauthier stopped 20 shots to help the Winterhawks to a 3-Portland0 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Gauthier has 10 career shutouts, including four this season. All four have come since he was acquired from the Prince George Cougars. With Portland, he is 18-3-0, 1.74, .943. Overall, his numbers are 25-8-4, 2.12, .935. . . . F Tyson Kozak scored his 30th goal into an empty net. . . . F Cross Hanas got his 23rd goal at 1:23 of the second period and it stood up as the winner. . . . The Winterhawks (40-15-5) are third in the Western Conference, three points behind Kamloops. . . . Seattle (36-17-6) now trails Portland by seven points.


Dad


There are rumblings around and about claiming that the CFL is at least thinking about going to a four-down game. Of course, even thinking about it is a waste of time and energy. Because — and let’s be honest here — the CFL with anything but three downs isn’t the CFL.


The most-puzzling MLB free-agent signing? Easy. The Colorado Rockies, the same team that dumped 3B Nolan Arenado and let SS Trevor Story walk, signed Kris Bryant for seven years and $182 million. As Keith Law of The Athletic put it: “I have no objection to owners spending money on players, but the Rockies are going to pay Bryant a lot of money to make them a more watchable last-place team.” 



In writing about Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator, and how the oligarchs came to be, the great Charles P. Pierce of Esquire dropped this line: “All gangsters are the same. Some of them just have nukes is all.”



F Kishaun Gervais, who played 50 games over two seasons with the Portland sjhlWinterhawks, now is with the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers. He scored the double OT winner on Saturday night as the Terriers beat the Mustangs, 4-3, in Melfort to even a first-round best-of-seven playoff series, 1-1. The best part of this story? When he was a bit younger, Gervais, now 20, was a stickboy with the Terriers when they won the 2014 RBC Cup as national champions. . . . BTW, the series moves to Yorkton for games Tuesday and Wednesday.


Doc


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.


Knife

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after an entertaining Super Bowl — it was great to see Meadow and A.J. again, too . . .

Scattershooting2

Rick Brodsky spent somewhere around 40 years involved in the WHL. His family owned the Saskatoon Blades and he later purchased the Victoria Cougars, operating the franchise in the B.C. capital for two seasons before moving it to Prince George. He even did a stint as chairman of the WHL’s board of directors. . . . Brodsky recently appeared on Hartley’s Cat Scan — a podcast that is owned and operated by Hartley Miller, a longtime Prince George radio voice and analyst on Cougars’ home broadcasts. . . . Brodsky’s visit was so good that Miller split it into two parts. . . . And it is really good stuff. . . . Part 1 is right here. . . . Part 2 is right here.


When Nanaimo beat the host Powell River Kings 7-3 in a Saturday night BCHL game, the Clippers had assistant coaches Ken McPhalen and Bob Foglietta running the bench for a second straight game. That’s because Darren Naylor, the general manager and head coach, and Colin Birkas, the associate GM and associate coach, were placed on administrative league by the BCHL, a move later endorsed by Clippers’ owner Wes Mussio, pending the outcome of an investigation. The BCHL has appointed what it says is an independent investigator to look into allegations of breaches of a Code of Conduct. . . . The Clippers are next scheduled to play on Friday against the visiting Chilliwack Chiefs.


WR Cooper Kupp of the Los Angeles Rams finally got his MVP award after his side beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20, in Sunday’s Super Bowl. The easy thing, it seems, is to give the NFL’s regular-season MVP award to a quarterback, but Kupp won a Triple Crown of sorts, leading all receivers in receptions, touchdowns and yardage. Kupp was saluted as the NFL’s offensive player of the year after what was one of the greatest offensive seasons in the league’s history, but he deserved to be the MVP. Instead, the award went to QB Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers.


Put it on your calendar: The next Super Bowl is scheduled for State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Feb. 12, 2023. . . . After that, it’s on to Las Vegas for 2024 and New Orleans in 2025. . . . The game on Sunday was quite entertaining, but, yes, the 2021 Grey Cup game was more exciting.


Hose


“Five female competitors were disqualified from the Olympic mixed team ski-jump final near Beijing because officials said their jumpsuits didn’t comply with the rules,” reported Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The NFL, simply out of habit, piled on with a $10,000 fine.”

——

Perry, again: “SiriusXM fired PGA Tour Radio analyst Mark Lye after he said on-air ‘I’ll shoot myself’ rather than watch a WNBA game. Now they call him Unplayable Lye.”




Back in the day when Kevin Kaminski was known as Killer and was putting up points and penalty minutes with the Saskatoon Blades (1986-89), I don’t know how many people saw him as a coach. But here we are. He’s now the general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves and they are saluting him for putting up the 600th career coaching victory on Saturday night. . . . Kaminski has been the head coach of the Long Beach Ice Dogs (WCHL and ECHL), Missouri River Otters (UHL), Youngstown Steelhounds (CHL), Mississippi River Kings (CHL), Louisiana IceGators (SPHL), Portland Jr. Pirates (USPHL Elite), Louisiana Drillers (NA3HL), Fresno Monsters (WSHL) and now the Ice Wolves. . . . All that and he’s still on 52 years of age. . . . The Ice Wolves beat the host Melfort Mustangs, 5-4, on Saturday night for No. 600.


Two sporting figures were guilty of really telling it like it is last week. . . . Here’s Mike McDaniel after signing on as the Miami Dolphins’ head coach, when asked how he feels when someone points out his lack of head-coaching experience: “The thing that trips me up is every single head coach in the history of football has never been a head coach until he’s been a head coach. Everyone has to have their first time.” . . . And then there’s legendary surfer Kelly Slater, who is retiring at the age of 50 but told The Associated Press that he’s not worried about future plans: “Everyone who retires from surfing just goes surfing more.”


gas


THINKING OUT LOUD:

It was in the wee hours of Friday when Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa put a big bow on an 8-5 victory over Canada’s Jennifer Jones in a women’s curling match at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. I watched a lot of it and must say I don’t know that I have ever seen a team in any sport have as much fun and do as much smiling as the Fujisawa foursome. . . .

When Pittsburgh played the host Ottawa Senators on Thursday night, Penguins star Sidney Crosby was gunning for his 500th regular-season goal. If you live in Canada, the game was only available via TV in the Ottawa zone. The rest of us got to listen to the bizarre Jack Edwards cheering his Boston Bruins on to a 6-0 loss at the hands of the visiting Carolina Hurricanes. . . . On Friday night, with Jay Woodcroft and Dave Manson making their debuts behind the bench as the Oilers played the New York Islanders, the game was blacked out everywhere but in the Edmonton zone. . . . The NHL really makes it easy to become less and less of a fan. . . . BTW, the Penguins are home to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night and you know that the hockey gods will see to it that Crosby gets No. 500 in that one. . . .

So . . . F Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins punched Pittsburgh Penguins G Tristan Jarry in the head, albeit with a gloved hand, and then poked him in the facemark with his stick. That resulted in a six-game suspension for Marchand, who later told Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic: “Of course it was stupid. I’m not denying that. I absolutely should not have done it. But suspension-worthy? I don’t think so.” . . . Marchand is appealing the suspension. Perhaps the NHL should overturn it and then give him 10 games for stupidity. . . . BTW, this is the NHL-record eighth time Marchand has been suspended. That’s one more time than the retired and nasty Chris Pronger. . . .

It’s just about time for Elon Musk or Richard Branson or one of those other guys who don’t pay taxes to put the guy who is in the ice bath in the garbage can and the gal on the forklift platform into one of their rocket ships and send them to the sun. Please! . . .

The best of the Super Bowl commercials? I would vote for the Chevy ad that featured Meadow and A.J. . . . E.J. Schultz of Ad Age has an excellent story right here on the commercial and its ties to the original opening to The Sopranos. Good stuff.


Moray


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.


Bob

Hockey venues almost ready in Beijing . . . Chow to leave SJHL after season . . . Milestone night ahead for Lazaruk

BeijingNIS
The NIS (National Indoor Stadium) is sparkling in preparation for the start of the men’s and women’s Olympic hockey competitions. (Photo: Dan Courneyea)

Dan Courneyea, Taking Note’s man in Beijing, reports that folks are hard at work as they put the final touches on venues with the Olympic Winter Games about to get rolling. While organizers refer to Feb. 4 as the opening date, some competitions actually start today (Wednesday).

“Lots of final preparation still being done before the first puck drop,” Courneyea told Taking Note late Monday night Pacific Time. “Everything is coming together.” That missive, with the National Indoor Stadium photo, arrived Monday at 11:15 p.m. PT, which was 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday in Beijing.

The women’s hockey begins with Pool A games today. It’s Switzerland and Canada in the NIS and China against Czechia in the Wukesong. Both games start at 8:10 p.m. PT.

BeijingWukesong
Only some final touches are left before Wukesong Arena is ready for the Olympic hockey competitions in Beijing. (Photo: Dan Courneyea)

Bill Chow announced on Monday that he will be leaving his post as commissioner of the SJHL on May 31. Chow, who has been commissioner for sjhl10-plus years, said that he won’t complete his contract that is set to expire on May 31, 2023. . . . Chow didn’t give a specific reason for his decision, saying in a news release that “there have been many factors that have gone into my final decision.” . . . Chow was named commissioner in the spring of 2011 after having retired at the age of 52 after almost 30 years with the Prince Albert Police Service and leaving as a staff sergeant. . . . In his last few years with the SJHL, he dealt with, among other things, the bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos that took 16 lives and then the first two years of the pandemic. . . . He also spent 25 years as a WHL scout, 10 of them with the Spokane Chiefs.


Chad Leslie was named general manager of the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos on ScurrentMonday, more than two months after he stepped in as the interim GM. Leslie, from Elkhorn, Man., had been the club’s assistant GM since the start of the 2020-21 season. He was named interim GM on Oct. 14 when Dean Brockman, who had been GM and head coach, resigned. . . . Before becoming the assistant GM, Leslie spent two seasons as the Broncos’ director of scouting. . . . The complete news release is right here.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Les Lazaruk, the play-by-play voice of the Saskatoon Blades, will call his 2,000th WHL game tonight (Wednesday) from Regina.“To put 2,000 games under your belt is just an astonishing achievement at any level, in any capacity, in any industry,” Tyler Wawryk, the Blades’ director of business operations, told Pat McKay of CTV News. “When you think of Blades hockey, especially when you think of the sound of Blades hockey, it’s Les Lazaruk.” . . . Of course, 2,000 games means a whole lot of bus miles. Here’s Wawryk, again: “He has a knack for sleeping on the bus. It doesn’t matter what the weather’s like and how loud it is and what position he’s in, he can always find a way to grab a couple of Zs on the bus. I have a few videos of him sleeping upright, and he snores like a chainsaw.” . . . The Blades will salute Lazaruk on Friday as they play host to the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . McKay’s complete story is right here. . . .

The Thief River Falls, Minn., Norskies of the Superior International Junior Hockey League have shut down for the remainder of this season. A news release from the league stated that “an issue that the Norskies struggled with since the outset of the campaign — a shortage of players — is ultimately what led to the decision.” . . . The departure of the Norskies, who are expected back next season, leaves the SIJHL with six teams as it prepares to resume play on Feb. 4. The league has been shut down since Jan. 5 because of Ontario government restrictions due to COVID-19. . . . A complete news release is right here.


It would seem that you don’t have to be a hockey fighter in order to end up with CTE. Ralph Backstrom, who died on Feb. 7 at the age of 83, played 15 seasons in the NHL and four more in the WHA, totalling 490 penalty minutes in 1,336 games. He was hardly a fighter, but he still was found to have CTE.




The Canadian men’s Olympic hockey team was to have met Switzerland in an exhibition game on Tuesday. However, that game, which was to have been played in Zug, was postponed after Swiss D Christian Marti tested positive. Canada is to open preliminary play in Beijing against Germany on Feb. 10 at 5:10 a.m. PT.


One of the more bizarre happenings of this pandemic occurred in San Francisco on Saturday night as the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets visited the Golden State Warriors. . . . Kyrie Irving of the Nets is unvaccinated and not allowed to play home games because of a New York City regulation that allows only those who are vaccinated in city facilites. The San Francisco Department of Public Health also has such a mandate, however it made an exception for visiting NBAers. That meant that on Saturday night every person in the Chase Center was vaccinated . . . except for one.

Here’s Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle: “If anyone can find a plausible explanation for this exemption, please come forward. It’s reckless and irresponsible, although not terribly surprising in light of so many people, companies, counties and government agencies mistakenly letting their guard down as the pandemic rages on. The local health order states that visiting players ‘are, by definition, present in the venue only occasionally,’ but how does that make sense? You might ‘only occasionally’ stray from your personal safe zone in these difficult times, but that’s when you put yourself most at risk.”



Facebook


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.


Dads

Visiting the time capsule and discovering the time Jim Harrison was in goal for the Estevan Bruins and a whole lot more . . .


It is time to let your imagination run wild for a few minutes. OK?

Just imagine that NHL teams only carried one goaltender. And let’s imagine that one team’s goaltender was injured during a pre-game warmup, played the first two periods, but then couldn’t continue.

If that team was the Pittsburgh Penguins, would Sidney Crosby go in goal for the third period? If it was the Edmonton Oilers, would it be Connor McDavid?

Because that’s exactly what happened with the Estevan Bruins during a game in 1967-68, the second season of what is now the WHL.

I had never heard this story from the annals of WHL history until stumbling on it while doing some research on Saturday.

I was looking for a goaltender, any goaltender, who might have started his WHL career by going 20-plus games without a regulation-time loss.

The Bruins — Scotty Munro was the general manager and Ernie (Punch) McLean the coach — had opened the 1967-68 season with a 22-game winning streak, so I started there.

Gord Kopp was Estevan’s goaltender — teams only carried one goaltender — so he had opened the season with 22 straight victories.

GordKopp
Gord Kopp, during a brief stint with the EHL’s Charlotte Checkers.

Unfortunately, WHL statistics from the early seasons are embarrassingly scarce. So I was relying on newspapers.com where a subscriber is able to access a whole lot of newspapers, including the Brandon Sun, Edmonton Journal and Regina Leader-Post.

Through these newspapers, I was able to ascertain that the Bruins won their 22nd straight game on Dec. 10, 1967, beating the host Swift Current Broncos, 9-6.

However, Kopp was injured in the warmup, suffering a broken nose and a bad facial cut. I think it’s safe to assume that Kopp took a puck to the face. I don’t know whether he wore a mask with the Bruins, although I did find a photo of him wearing one of those form-fitting Fibreglas masks from a time in his brief minor pro career.

Anyway, he played the first two periods in Swift Current before apparently deciding that he couldn’t continue.

This is where things get interesting because it was F Jim Harrison, perhaps the Bruins’ best player, who donned the pads and played the third period. Not only that, but Harrison had scored three goals through 40 minutes. While I wasn’t able to find out how many saves he made in the third, the Bruins did hold period leads of 5-3 and 7-3. So the Broncos outscored the visitors 3-2 with Harrison in goal.

(Harrison finished that season with 75 points, including 32 goals, in 46 games. F Gregg Sheppard led the team with 81 points, 35 of them goals, in 58 games.)

But when is the last time a WHL player — or any junior player for that matter — had a hat trick and played goal in the same game?

Still, the Bruins came out of that game boasting a 22-0-0 record.

And then came Dec. 12, 1967, and a game in Saskatoon against the Blades.

“You have to concede the Bruins win No. 23 tonight when they take on the Blades in Saskatoon,” wrote Ron Campbell in that day’s Regina Leader-Post.

With Kopp unavailable, the Bruins brought in Ed Dyck, who had turned 17 on Oct. 29, from the junior B North Battleford Beaver-Bruins. With Dyck in goal, the Bruins dropped a 4-3 decision to the Blades before 1,410 fans.

Estevan took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from Harrison and D Dale Hoganson, but F Orest Kindrachuk got the Blades to within one before the period ended. F Ron Fairbrother pulled Saskatoon into a 2-2 tie with the only goal of the second period, then gave his guys a 3-2 lead at 5:46 of the third.

F Greg Polis scored for Estevan at 6:18, only to have F Jim Nicholls score what proved to be the winner, at 10:59, as the Blades improved to 7-12-3.

“Those Blades played a whale of game,” Munro told Jack Cook of the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. “We were bound to lose one eventually, and I’m glad we didn’t give it away. Blades were good enough to take it tonight.”

BTW, Cook reported that “there was no shortage of professional scouts at the game with five NHL clubs represented by nine men . . . including Dennis Ball, Danny Summers, Lorne Davis, Metro Prystai, Johnny Walker, Bud Quinn and Rudy Migay.”)

Cook also wrote: “Young Dyck, playing in his first junior A game, was remarkably calm and had little chance on the four shots that beat him.”

Dyck played four straight games with the Bruins. He beat the Oil Kings, 5-3, in Edmonton on Dec. 13, then dropped a 2-1 decision to the Buffaloes in Calgary the next night. (The Buffaloes had been 0-17-2 in their previous 19 outings.) On Dec. 16, Dyck beat the visiting Buffaloes, 7-4.

Dyck would go on to a couple of stellar seasons with the Calgary Centennials, and would spend three seasons in the NHL and one in the WHA.

Kopp returned for a Dec. 17 game against the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings, and stopped 23 shots in a 5-0 victory for his 23rd straight triumph.

However, Kopp’s run ended four nights later with a 4-1 loss in Brandon. The Wheat Kings outshot the Bruins, 28-20 in that one, as Brandon head coach Elliott Chorley chose to use only six forwards and four defencemen for most of the game. Yes, it was a different game in those days.

Chorley had Larry Romanchych between Jack Wells and Bob Young, although Young was injured early on and Gerald Canart slid into that spot. The other forward unit featured Jack Borotsik between Ray Brownlee and Bob Clyne, who scored twice. The defence pairings had Bill Mikkelson with Mark Kennedy, and Jack Criel with Jim Wilton.

At that point, the Bruins were 25-3, with Kopp at 23-1 and Dyck at 2-2.

In the end, however, it turned out that Kopp didn’t start his WHL career in 1967-68. As I learned with more digging, Kopp played some in 1966-67 when Prince George native Pete Neukomm was the Bruins’ starter. (Kopp actually lost his final appearance of 1966-67, 3-2, to the visiting Regina Pats.)

All told, Kopp got into 103 games with Estevan over the 1967-68 (55) and 1968-69 (48) seasons. In 1967-68, he played in 55 of the team’s 60 regular-season games, with a 2.76 GAA, .902 save percentage and six shutouts. He was 3.33 and .900 without a shutout in 1968-69. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any statistics from 1966-67.

——

All of this was necessary because the WHL wasn’t able to confirm whether G WinnipegIceDaniel Hauser of the Winnipeg Ice had set a record or was near a record when he went into Saturday’s game in Saskatoon with a career mark of 22-0-2.

Hauser, who turned 18 on Jan. 29, was 7-0-1 with Winnipeg in the development season of 2021. This season, he was 13-0-1 before the Blades beat the Ice, 7-2, on Saturday night.

It would seem that Hauser does indeed hold the record for longest unbeaten streak by a goaltender to begin his WHL career, at 22-0-2. Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun pointed out that Scott Olson, a native of Bloomington, Minn., who spent parts of three seasons (1977-80) with the Wheat Kings, started his career on a 15-0-3 run. We will assume, unless we hear differently, that Olson held the record before Hauser’s arrival.

The 5-foot-11, 160-pound Hauser, from Chestermere, Alta., was a sixth-round selection by Winnipeg in the WHL’s 2019 draft.

——

When you go down a rabbit hole like I did in chasing Gord Kopp and the Estevan Bruins, you stumble on things like this . . .

The Bruins beat the visiting Weyburn Red Wings, 5-1, for their 20th straight victory on Dec. 5. The next day, The Leader-Post reported: “The Bruins moved one step closer to the all-time junior hockey win streak mark set at 25 by the now-defunct Portage Terriers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in 1942.”

Of course, the Bruins didn’t quite get there.


glass


Tweet of the week — Sunaya Sapurji (@sunayas), after Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers repeated the nonsense about the validity of U.S. President Joe Biden’s election victory in a Friday interview with ESPN: “Has anyone gone from ‘He could host Jeopardy!’ to ‘Legit horse paste conspiracy loon’ faster than Aaron Rodgers!?!”


John Stockton, the NBA Hall of Fame guard who starred at Gonzaga, has had his season tickets suspended by the school because he refuses to wear a mask at men’s basketball games. In an interview, Stockton, a devout anti-vaxxer, told Theo Lawson of the Spokane Spokesman-Review: “I think it’s highly recorded now, there’s 150 I believe now, it’s over 100 professional athletes dead — professional athletes — the prime of their life, dropping dead that are vaccinated, right on the pitch, right on the field, right on the court.” . . . Lawson also wrote: “During the interview, Stockton asserted that more than 100 professional athletes have died of vaccination. He also said tens of thousands of people – perhaps millions – have died from vaccines.” . . . Yes, we are in this for a long time yet.


Ducks


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Robot umpires — or ABS, the Automated Ball and Strike System — will be used in Triple-A games this season, Major League Baseball announced. So now players will be subjected to a whole different kind of annoying robocalls.”

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A reminder from Perry: “Only 22 days till pitchers and catchers don’t report.”


The Fredonia State Blue Devils are an NCAA Division III team that plays out of the State University of New York in Fredonia. . . . And here’s a goalie goal from the Blue Devils’ Logan Dyck, a 22-year-old from Calgary . . .


Headline at fark.com: Seahawks uninstall Norton.



Fishing


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

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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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Abducted

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