Armada back in action in QMJHL bubble . . . McArthur, former WHLer, dies at 57 . . . Virus impacting NCAA hockey

The QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada is in Quebec City as one of the seven teams who are in a bubble for the next few days. Prior to Tuesday night, qmjhlnewthe Armada hadn’t played in more than a month after having had 18 people in the organization test positive following two games against the Sherbrooke Phoenix. . . . The Phoenix had eight players test positive after those games, as did two on-ice officials. . . . The Armada returned to the ice last night with a 5-1 victory over the Victoriaville Tigres in the Quebec City bubble. . . . Douglas Gelevan of CBC News has more on the Armada and how it dealt with COVID-19 in a piece that is right here. . . .

Meanwhile, the Drummondville Voltigeurs received the all-clear on Tuesday so headed to Quebec City to take part in the games there. One of their players had received an inconclusive test result on Monday. The Voltigeurs are scheduled to meet the Gatineau Olympiques on Wednesday afternoon. . . . In Tuesday’s other game, the Quebec Remparts beat the Shawinigan Cataractes, 4-2.


Former WHLer Dean McArthur died on Thursday. McArthur was 57 when he died at White Bear First Nation Sask. McArthur played parts of three seasons (1981-84) with the Medicine Hat Tigers. A native of Taber, Alta., he played one game with the Lethbridge Broncos in each of the 1979-80 and 1980-81 seasons, before going on to play 136 games with the Tigers. A right winger, he totalled 31 goals, 34 assists and 195 penalty minutes. . . . A funeral service is scheduled for Thursday, 10 a.m., at the White Bear Community Hall. COVID-19 restrictions will apply and masks are mandatory.


After being away since early April, columnist Jack Todd is back in Monday pages of the Montreal Gazette. Here’s a taste from this week’s column, part of which dealt with Jack Nicklaus, Brett Favre and a retired hockey player who went public with their support for someone in the U.S. election:

“The one that stung Canadians was a slapshot to the head from Bobby Orr. After Orr placed an ad in the New Hampshire Union-Leader in support of Donald Trump, Canadians were furious.

“Somewhere deep inside, we don’t simply admire Bobby Orr — we are Bobby, even those who have never watched a hockey game. He is part of our national myth — the humble boy next door, hockey on a frozen pond, our national game played at an almost unimaginable level of excellence.

“I suspect that by now, Orr realizes he made a terrible mistake. Canadians will forgive him, because that’s what we do — but the relationship might never be quite the same. It has been that kind of year.

Todd’s complete column is right here.


Gym


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: Manitoba announces 7 more COVID-19 deaths and 270 new cases. The number is the 2nd-lowest in more than a week, and is well below the average of the previous 7-days, which is 403.  However, Manitoba’s test positivity rate has risen to a new high of 13.6%.

680 CJOB Winnipeg: Manitoba has hired a private security company to help enforce restrictions in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 240 new COVID-19 cases, the province’s 2nd-highest daily total since the pandemic began. The record (307 cases) was set 3 days ago. With today’s figure, Saskatchewan’s 7-day average rises to 173 from 155.

CTV Regina: Masks mandatory across province, indoor gatherings reduced to 5.

Adam Hunter, CBC: 240 new cases in Sask. . . . Four more health care workers have tested positive since yesterday. . . . 58 new cases in the 0-19 age group. . . . All 13 regions have at least 25 active cases. . . . 97 new cases in Saskatoon. . . . Far North West 109 active cases and Far North East 80.

Calgary Sun: Alberta logs 773 new COVID-19 cases as cops called on for enforcement.

Mo Cranker, Medicine Hat News: Medicine Hat is now at 51 active cases of COVID-19. That is an increase of two cases and one new recovery. . . . There are 40 active cases in Cypress County and 30 active in Forty Mile. . . . Lethbridge has 174 active cases. There are 32 active cases in Brooks.

Janet Brown, CKNW Vancouver: Another bad day in BC for covid numbers:  717 new cases, 11 deaths (310), 198 hospital (+17), 63 ICU (+6), 6589 active cases, 10960 self isolation.

CBC News: Cases in Nunavut more than double as 34 additional people test positive. That brings the territory’s total to 60, all in the last 12 days. Of the new cases, 26 are in Arviat, a community of about 2,400 on the west coast of Hudson’s Bay and 8 others are 150 km north in Whale Cove.

CBC News: Quebec is attributing 24 more deaths to the coronavirus. The province is also reporting 982 new cases. That’s the 1st time the number has been below 1,000 since November 3, and is far below the average of the previous 7 days, which is 1,298.

CBC News: Ontario reports 1,249 new COVID-19 cases and 12 more deaths.

CBC News: As of midnight on Thursday and continuing until Feb. 15, 2021, non-medical masks will be required in all indoor public places on P.E.I.

Gov. Jay Inslee, Washington state: We set another record for new COVID cases in a single day today – over 2600. We need everyone doing their part to stop this virus.

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Simon Fraser University, which is based in Burnaby, B.C., has opted out of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s winter season. Steve Ewen of Postmedia reports that the decision impacts the school’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as indoor track and field, swimming and diving, and wrestling teams. According to Ewen, “SFU is among six schools in the conference that have decided against” playing basketball this season. . . . Ewen’s story is right here.

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It is safe to say that things are getting messy in NCAA hockey circles. . . .

Colorado College has shut down hockey-related activities for 14 days after a player tested positive. The Tigers play in the NCHC, which is open its season with a bubble setup in Omaha. Colorado College is scheduled to open against Omaha on Dec. 1, but you have to think there now will be changes to the schedule. . . .

Sacred Heart, with some positives tests, has postponed its opening weekend games. It was to have played at American International on Nov. 21 and at Quinnipiac on Nov. 24. Sacred Heart also has postponed two games against Army on Nov. 27 and 28. . . .

Union College has cancelled its men’s and women’s hockey seasons. . . . That means eight of the ECAC’s 12 men’s teams have opted out of the 2020-21 season. Chris Dilks at sbncollegehockey.com points out that “the ECAC is down to just four active teams at both the men’s and women’s level: Clarkson, Colgate, Quinnipiac and St. Lawrence.” . . .

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) cancelled the 2020-21 season for its men’s and women’s hockey seasons last week. On Tuesday, it announced that it has reconsidered those decisions. The men play in the Atlantic Hockey Association; the women are in College Hockey America. Both conferences have submitted return-to-play protocols to New York state for approval. If that approval comes, RIT’s hockey teams will play. . . . All team personnel will be tested three times per week, which is called for by the NCAA. . . .

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Kermit Davis, the men’s basketball coach at Ole Miss, has tested positive and is likely to miss the season’s first two games. . . .

The UMass men’s basketball team has paused team activities after someone within the program tested positive. . . .

The ACC has moved three football games involving the Miami Hurricanes because of positive tests within the program and three others that were impacted by the Miami changes. . . . As Ben Kercheval of CBS Sports wrote: “With little indication that college football decision-makers will push the 2020 season back any further, the sport is clearly limping towards the finish line as every program tries to squeeze in as many games as possible.” . . . There’s more on that right here.


Knee


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.


JUST NOTES: Former WHL F Torrin White has joined the South Alberta Hockey Academy as a member of the U18 prep team’s coaching staff. White, 25, played four seasons (2011-15) with the Moose Jaw Warriors, then spent the past four seasons with the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns. . . . ICYMI, the WHL and its teams have launched T’s for Toys, which is aimed at making sure “as many children as possible receive toys during the Christmas season.” Details are right here. . . . McGill University of Montreal announced Tuesday that its men’s varsity teams now will be known as Redbirds. The school had announced in April 2019 that it was doing away with Redmen. The women’s teams are nicknamed the Martlets.


Buns

All the excitement, joy disappear in a Sunday morning crash . . . Snowbirds’ Operation Inspiration ends, at least for now, in Kamloops

Snow2
A six-pack of Snowbirds flies over the Drinnan residence in Campbell Creek, about 20 kilometres east of Kamloops, on Saturday afternoon.

There was so much excitement from the Shuswap through Kamloops on Saturday as the Snowbirds on their Operation Inspiration tour headed this way from Rocky Mountain House, Alta.

The first thing I said when I climbed out of bed was: “Don’t forget. Snowbirds. 1:30.”

Yes, Dorothy and I were on our deck. We live on the north side of the South Thompson snowbirdsRiver, which flows alongside the north side of the Trans-Canada Highway. Flights heading west from the lower half of Alberta often follow the river/highway and end up going right over our place.

Such was the case on Saturday at about 1:45 p.m.

It began with two of the Snowbirds zipping by . . . followed shortly after by six in formation . . . and finally by a single plane.

It was over in about nine blinks of an eye, but, yes, it was exciting, especially when you stopped and thought about why the Snowbirds were on this tour.

Then came Sunday morning. Lousy weather in the Okanagan meant the plans for a flight over that area, including Kelowna and Penticton, were cancelled. Instead, they would leave Kamloops and head for Comox on Vancouver Island. They would set up shop there and make plans for flyovers on the island, weather permitting, of course.

Those plans came to a halt when one of the CT-114 Tutors went down in a neighbourhood near the Kamloops airport at about 11:45 a.m. Capt. Jenn Casey, the Snowbirds’ public affairs officer who was from Halifax, was killed. Capt. Richard MacDougall of Dieppe, N.B., is in hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

The Snowbirds are grounded in Kamloops while an investigation takes place.

And just like that all of the excitement from the previous day was all but forgotten.

So much anticipation and joy and excitement one day, and so much sorrow the next.

Hey, 2020, when does it all end? You can take your foot off our throat any day now.


Dexter Manley, who was a top-notch defensive end during a run with the NFL’s Washington Redskins back in the day, is in a Washington-area hospital being treated for coronavirus-related issues. Manley, 61, was on a pair of Super Bowl champions with the Redskins. . . . He later played in the CFL with the Ottawa Rough Riders and Shreveport Pirates. . . .

Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Best wishes to Art Howe, a good guy who was turned into a bad guy in ‘Moneyball.’ Howe was hospitalized Tuesday with COVID-19. In the movie version of this chapter of his life, Howe, played by Danny DeVito, will invent the coronavirus in a tiny lab in his clubhouse office. . . . (Note: Howe, a former MLB player and manager, was released from a Houston hospital on Sunday). . . .

The LPGA has scrapped its Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Midland, Mich., that had been scheduled for July 15-18. The next event on the LPGA schedule is the Marathon Classic in Sylvania Ohio, July 23-26. . . .

The Spa-Francorchamps race track in Belgium will open for practice today (Monday), but when the Belgian Grand Prix is held there Aug. 28-30 there won’t be any fans in attendance. . . . The government has banned large gatherings through Aug. 31.


With our annual Kidney Walk having been cancelled, my wife, Dorothy, is raising funds in support of a ‘virtual’ walk that is scheduled for June 7. All money raised goes to help folks who are dealing with kidney disease. . . . You are able to join Dorothy’s team by making a donation right here. . . . Thank you.


Here’s a note from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “May 13 marked the 35-year anniversary of O.J. Simpson and Bill Cosby serving as the groomsmen in ex-football star Ahmad Rashad’s wedding. Just for the record, O.J. was the best man.”

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One more from Perry: From the Life Ain’t Fair File comes word that a 110-year-old Shoeless Joe Jackson baseball card just sold at auction for $492,000. In other words, nearly 100 times the $5,000 Joe was bribed to throw the 1919 World Series.”


Well, I tried to watch a couple of Bundesliga games on the weekend. Sorry, but I couldn’t do it, not without fans in attendance. With all the quiet, it might have been a high school scrimmage. Well, a high-level high school scrimmage. . . . Having invested some time in that, I can’t imagine watching NHL games in a world of quiet. . . . No, I didn’t give NASCAR a look later Sunday.


The Banff Hockey Academy has announced that it is on the move — to Dunmore, Alta., where its operation will be overseen by Willie Desjardins, the general manager and head coach of the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers. Desjardins already owns and operates the South Alberta Hockey Academy and runs it in partnership with the Prairie Rose School Division. . . . The Banff academy has been operating for 26 years.



There is a $20 bill in my money clip that has been there since March 4. Yes, it has grown lonely. However, there is little chance that it will get company or move on to someone’s cash register in the near future.


The OHL’s Erie Otters have extended the contracts of head coach Chris Hartsburg, associate coach BJ Adams and assistant coach Wes Wolfe through the 2021-22 season. . . . The Otters are 75-99-25 in Hartsburg’s three seasons as head coach. The Otters won the OHL title for 2016-17 and have been in a rebuilding process. . . . Hartsburg spent four seasons (2009-13) as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips. . . . Adams is going into his sixth season with Erie, with Wolfe to start his fifth season there.


Needle


If/when Major League Baseball is able to open an 82-game regular season, it apparently plans on banning spitting and sunflower seeds. Is it really baseball without spitting and seeds? . . . Along that same vein, is it really an NHL game if they ban fighting, scrums and spitting?


Checking in with the gang at Strat-O-Matic and their simulated MLB season, we find that the Toronto Blue Jays dropped a 5-0 decision to the host Chicago White Sox on Sunday. . . . The Blue Jays (21-26) are seven games behind the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays (29-20), who are two games up on the New York Yankees (26-21). . . . The White Sox (20-27) are 11 games behind the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians (32-17). . . . Other division leaders: Houston Astros (31-16), Washington Nationals (30-16), St. Louis Cardinals (25-22) and Los Angeles Dodgers (30-15). . . . If you’re a baseball fan, you will love this site right here. It’s got all the stats and then some.