Things are messy in Portland . . . BCHL aiming for Dec. 1 start after long training camps . . . Stampede Corral soon to fall


We are halfway through July and the Portland Winterhawks haven’t yet changed hands.

Paul Danzer of the Portland Tribune reported on June 18 that the WHL “is optimistic that the Winterhawks will have a new owner by the end of July.”

In that story, Danzer quoted Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, as having told whlreporters: “We’re hopeful that we will be in a position later this month and into July to select a candidate to become the new owner of the Portland Winterhawks. It’s important to have that resolved as quickly as possible. Our target is to have that resolved by sometime in July.”

If you aren’t aware, the Portland franchise has been in receivership since May 7 after owner Bill Gallacher ran into some financial difficulties. The Winterhawks had been used as part of the collateral for a Cdn $20-million loan for which a repayment deadline was missed.

However, things have changed in Portland.

Of course, there is the pandemic. Also, the city has been through seven weeks of protests and demonstrations against the treatment of Black Americans by police. There’s a lot more right here on what transpired in Portland on Thursday night.

On Friday, Oregon Public Broadcasting, in a piece that is right here, reported:

“Federal law enforcement officers have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters since at least July 14. Personal accounts and multiple videos posted online show the officers driving up to people, detaining individuals with no explanation of why they are being arrested, and driving off.”

A WHL fan who lives in Portland emailed me . . .

“The Oregon Health Authority reported a record-high 437 new coronavirus cases and two deaths on Thursday. It’s the third consecutive week that state officials reported a record-breaking daily total, according to Oregon Live. . . .

“A headline from oregonlive.com: Federal officers respond to Portland protests with gas, munitions Thursday amid growing attention from Trump administration . . .”

Then he added: “Gregg, it is an absolute mess and disaster in Portland . . . and in Oregon. . . . Oregon — record number of COVID cases . . . hospitalizations are on their way up — it’s very sad.

“I have just gotten numb to the protests . . . downtown businesses are being crippled. No sane person wants to go down to the city after about 5 p.m.

“NOBODY would want to go near the Rose Quarter for a game these days.”

The Winterhawks play out of Veterans Memorial Coliseum and the Moda Center, both of which are in the Rose Quarter.

Perhaps there might be better times to try to sell a WHL franchise in the Rose City.


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The BCHL began its 2019-20 season on Sept. 6. On Friday, it announced that it “is BCHLplanning to start the 2020-21 regular season on Dec. 1, pending approval from the Provincial Health Office (PHO).” . . . Here’s Chris Hebb, the BCHL commissioner, from a news release: “We’ve been having discussions with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture since March around a safe return to play. The PHO has indicated to us that waiting until December gives us the best chance at ensuring we have an uninterrupted season, while also maximizing the amount of regular-season games we’ll be able to play.” . . . Teams will be allowed to open on-ice sessions on Sept. 8 — yes, almost three months before they hope to open the season. . . . The BCHL news release is right here. . . . The Nanaimo Clippers announced that “all players will be reporting” as of Sept. 8 and that teams in the Island Division will hold a tournament in October. . . .

Brian Wiebe, who covers the BCHL like fog atop the Coquihalla, posted a Q&A with Hebb.

Asked if he is “convinced that B.C. and Canada will be healthy enough for the BCHL to return to play in December,” Hebb told Wiebe: “We’re going to give the health authorities a chance to ascertain that. The problem that all of us have is that we’re not medical doctors. One of the things we’ve done a good job with at the BCHL is listening. Starting December 1 gives you a much better chance of not getting shut down because if the health authorities allow you to play in December, it’s probably a pretty good sign that they think things are under control.”

Hebb also explains how the BCHL arrived at the Dec. 1 date, how many games each team may play in the regular season, if the season could start earlier than Dec. 1, how many fans might be allowed in arenas, what teams might do with training camps that could run to three months, the possibility of the Wenatchee Wild operating out of Canada, and a whole lot more.

It’s all-encompassing and it’s right here.


The MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders reported a loss of $80,906 at their annual general meeting on Thursday night. “The Stampeders reported a substantial loss this year, mainly due to a decrease in ticket sales, the inability to hold a spring camp, loss of playoff revenue, and fundraising falling short thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a news release on the team’s website. . . . There is more right here. . . . Earlier this month, Danielle Gordon-Broome of the Swan Valley Star and Times reported that the Stampeders “went into last season carrying nearly $200,000 in debt.”



Coupon


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The NFL Players Association revealed on Thursday that 72 players had tested positive as of July 10. . . . Some teams will be having rookies report to training camp this weekend. . . . Nate Davis wrote in Thursday’s USA TODAY: “The league and players union still have widespread issues to resolve, including opt-out scenarios for players and numerous workplace protocols as well as COVID-19 testing procedures and even the actual number of preseason games, before football resumes in any form or fashion.” . . .

Dan Graziano of ESPN tweeted a number of the NFL’s travel rules that will be in place for this season, including no use of public or private transportation to or in other cities; no leaving hotel to go to restaurants open to public; no room visits by anyone outside the traveling party; no use of shared hotel facilities (pool, gym, etc.); masks required while traveling; buses at no more than 50 percent capacity; and at least one open seat between passengers on the plane. . . .

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NCAA president Mark Emmert had this to say on Thursday: “Today, sadly, the data point in the wrong direction. If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic.” . . .

Here’s Pat Forde of si.com:

“There will be no college football crowds of the usual size. There might not be college football, period. Pessimism percolates as the time for solutions dwindles. We are speeding in the wrong direction as a nation in terms of combating the coronavirus pandemic, and one of the cultural casualties of American casualness is an endeavor millions of us want and every college athletic department needs.

“If the season dies, we know who had the biggest hand in killing any chance of it happening: Donald Trump.” . . . The complete column is right here. . . .

The Great Northwest Athletic Conference has suspended all intercollegiate athletics through Nov. 30, a move that affects 17 sports. A decision on the status of competition after Nov. 30 is expected to be made by Oct. 15. Simon Fraser U of Burnaby, B.C., is a member of the GNAC. . . .

The U of New Hampshire has cancelled all fall sports for its athletics teams in football, men’s and women’s cross-country, men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey and women’s volleyball. . . . A decision on winter sports, including hockey and basketball, is to be made at some point “in early fall,” according to the school. . . .

The West Coast Conference has shut down most of its sports until at least Sept. 24. Sports impacted are men’s and women’s cross-country, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball. Not impacted, at least not yet, are men’s and women’s basketball and football. . . .

The Oregon-based four-team Wild West League, a wood-bat college-level baseball circuit in its infancy, is on hiatus for at least seven days after two players tested positive. The WWL made the announcement on Wednesday, just four days after beginning its first season. The Gresham Grey Wolves, Portland Gherkins, Portland Pickles ad West Linn Knights are the four teams in the league. . . .

The Canada West conference announced on Wednesday that it will hold championships in golf and swimming, but the cross-country championship won’t go ahead. . . . The golf championship tournament is scheduled for the Okanagan Golf Club in Kelowna, Oct. 2-4, with the swimming championship to be held at the U of Calgary sometime early in 2021 rather than in November. . . .

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MLB announced nine players and one staff member tested positive in the week that ended on Thursday. MLB now has had 93 positive tests — 80 players and 13 staff members since late last month. . . . OF Austin Meadows, an all-star with the Tampa Bay Rays, is one of the players to have tested positive. . . . OF Yasiel Puig, a free agent, revealed on Friday that he has tested positive. He reportedly was on the verge of signing with the Atlanta Braves, but the positive test short-circuited that deal. . . . Twenty-eight of MLB’s 30 teams have had at least one positive test in their organization. . . .

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D Caleb Jones of the Edmonton Oilers skated with the team’s first group on Friday, then told reporters that he had tested positive, which is why had missed the first few days of training camp. He doesn’t know how or where he contracted the virus, but tested positive after arriving in Edmonton from Dallas and being tested two weeks ago. . . . Jones is one of only three NHLers whose positive tests have been made public, the others being F Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs and F Jayce Hawryluk of the Ottawa Senators. . . .

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The KHL team Kunlun Red Star will play its entire 2020-21 season out of Russia. It is moving its operation to Mytishchi, about 20 km northeast of Moscow. . . . Mattias Forsblom of svenski.yle.fi reported that Kunlun and Dinamo Riga, from Latvia, were told by the KHL that they had to move to Russia because borders are closed and there aren’t any plans to open them. . . . Dinamo Minsk (Belarus), Jokerit (Finland) and Barys Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan) also operate from outside of Russia, but there haven’t yet been announcements concerning their relocation. . . . The KHL plans on starting its regular season on Sept. 2. . . .

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The Central Okanagan Minor Baseball Association suspended play on Friday because “a player within the organization has come in close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual.” There aren’t any confirmed cases with players or coaches, but the association has suspended activities as a precaution. . . . The association, which is based in Kelowna, covers girls’ and boys’ teams from ages five to 18.


Headline at The Onion: Jerry Jones Changes Team’s Name To Redskins Now That It’s Available.


Billy Keane is the new general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. . . . He spent three seasons as the head coach of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues before being replaced by Gord Burnett prior to last season. Burnett signed on as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors earlier this month. . . . Keane is a brother to former WHL/NHL F Mike Keane.


Water

Rockets add d-man from Tigers . . . Philp fills up in Kelowna . . . Glass, Blichfeld spark Winterhawks


MacBeth

D Brenden Kichton (Spokane, 2008-13) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with SaiPa Lappeenranta (Finland, Liiga). Last season, he had four goals and 20 assists in 63 games with the Charlotte Checkers (AHL).


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The WHL’s 20-year-old deadline came and went on Wednesday and featured one trade.

The Medicine Hat Tigers got down to the maximum of three 20s by sending D Dalton Tigers Logo OfficialGally to the Kelowna Rockets for a 10th-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft.

Gally had been scratched from four straight games after D Dylan MacPherson and D Linus Nassen were returned by the NHL’s Florida Panthers. Both skaters had been in camp with the Panthers’ AHL affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds.

F Ryan Jevne is the Tigers’ third 20-year-old player.

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Gally, from Eagle River, Alaska, played 135 regular-season games with the Tigers, totalling three goals and 18 assists. This season, he was pointless in five games. Last season, he put up two goals and 10 assists in 72 games.

Gally was a sixth-round pick by the Calgary Hitmen in the 2013 bantam draft.

The Tigers actually didn’t have to get down to three 20s on Wednesday; in fact, they had . MacPherson and Nassen returned on Oct. 2, and WHL teams are given 14 days in which to get down to the maximum in a situation where a player or players come back from a pro team.

With Gally in town, the Rockets will have four 20-year-olds on their roster, the others KelownaRocketsbeing F Ryan Bowen, D Braydyn Chizen and F Lane Zablocki.

Zablocki, who was acquired earlier from the Victoria Royals, has yet to play for the Rockets and is expected to be out at least another 10 days with an undisclosed injury.

The Rockets, who are off the to the poorest start in franchise history, are hoping Gally can bring some physical play to their game.

“We had an opportunity to add another defenceman and, with Zablocki out for at least 10 more days, it was an opportunity to get a player in here and have a look at him,” Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, said in a news release. “We currently have five right-handed defenceman and we needed to get a left-handed guy in here to help out with some of the young players that are playing on their off-side. That’s the main reason why we’ve looked at this.

“He’s going to come in and we’re going to give him a chance to show us what he can do. He is a big, heavy guy that isn’t afraid to get involved physically, which is something I think we need also.”

Meanwhile, the Swift Current Broncos and Tri-City Americans continue to carry four 20-year-olds, but injuries mean they don’t yet have to cut down to three.

Broncos D Artyom Minulin (shoulder) is injured and has yet to play this season. With him on the injury list, the Broncos don’t yet have to trim one 20-year-old. Minulin underwent off-season shoulder surgery and only recently rejoined the Broncos. However, he has yet to be cleared for a return to action.

The WHL’s reigning champions also are carrying F Andrew Fyten, F Tanner Nagel and D Matthew Stanley.

The Americans have F Parker AuCoin, D Anthony Bishop, F Brett Clayton and F Nolan Yaremko on their roster. However, Bishop is out with an undisclosed injury and may not return until December.


The Vancouver Giants may be without G Trent Miner for games this weekend.

Miner, the CHL’s reigning goaltender of the week, has returned to his family home in VancouverBrandon following the deaths of two grandfathers.

Last week, Miner, a freshman, made his first two appearances of the season, and went 2-0-0, 1.00, .964, with a shutout.

Miner was the 20th overall selection in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.

With Miner gone, the Giants will look to veteran David Tendeck to carry the load. He is 4-1-0, 1.59, .940.

The Giants (6-1-0) are scheduled to play host to the Kamloops Blazers on Friday night, then head to Victoria for a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader against the Royals (6-0-0).


It will be Bronco Strong night on Nov. 2 when the Swift Current Broncos play host to the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

From a news release:

“The Humboldt and Swift Current Broncos share a name and, unfortunately, also share the heartache of tragic accidents in their respective histories. The 1986 Swift Current Broncos were involved in a bus crash on Dec. 30, 1986, which claimed the lives of four young hockey players. Tragedy struck again on April 6, 2018 when the Humboldt Broncos’ bus collided with a semi-trailer. This time, 16 lives were lost and many others were left with life-altering injuries. The members of each of these teams will be invited to attend the Nov. 2 game, along with family members.

Both Broncos teams have partnered to create a sweater that will represent the communities of Swift Current and Humboldt. These sweaters will be worn by the Swift Current Broncos on Nov. 2 and will be auctioned off with 100 per cent of the revenue going toward STARS Air Ambulance. The Humboldt Broncos will wear the uniforms as a third sweater for the remainder of the season. A generous donation by Scotia Wealth Management will cover the cost of both sets of uniforms.

“The Bronco Strong jersey design will be released at a later date.”

The complete news release is right here.


The Calgary Hitmen are going to play three February home games in the 6,450-seat Stampede Corral, which cost $1.25 million to build and opened on Dec. 15, 1950.

Games against the Brandon Wheat Kings (Feb. 1), Regina Pats (Feb. 6) and Prince Albert Raiders (Feb. 8) will be played in the Corral, which happens to be the building in which the Pats won the 1974 Memorial Cup.

From a news release:

“As a tribute to the city’s hockey history, the Hitmen will dedicate each game to a former elite team that once called the Stampede Corral home by wearing commemorative jerseys of the Calgary Centennials, Calgary Wranglers and Calgary Cowboys.”

The complete news release is right here.


WEDNESDAY NIGHT NOTES:

F Tristyn DeRoose, who was released by the Moose Jaw Warriors, has joined the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. DeRoose, 19, is from Ceylon, Sask. He had five goals and eight assists in 108 regular-season WHL games, split between the Vancouver Giants and the Warriors. . . . DeRoose’s brother, Darcy, played 136 games with the Bruins over five seasons. Darcy also played 38 WHL games — three with the Warriors and 35 with the Everett Silvertips (2012-14).


F Ty Kolle scored twice to help the host Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 4-2 victory over the LethbridgeRegina Pats. . . . Kolle, who was acquired last week from the Portland Winterhawks, has two goals this season. . . . Lethbridge is 1-2-1 at home. . . . The Pats (1-6-0) are 0-4-0 on the road. . . . Regina was without F Sergei Alkhimov and and F Jake Leschyshyn, both of whom served one-game suspensions. . . . Regina also was without D Liam Schioler (leg) for a second game in a row. . . . The Pats did get back G Max Paddock after he sat out two games with an undisclosed injury.


F Noah Philip, who had never scored more than once in a WHL game, counted four times Seattleto lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 9-6 victory over the host Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Thunderbirds, who scored four PP goals in five opportunities, took control with five first-period goals, three of them from Philp, who got his first four goals of the season. His fourth goal came in the second period. . . . Philp went into Kelowna with 28 goals in 208 career regular-season games. . . . Seattle F Dillon Hamaliuk had his five-game goal-scoring streak end, but he drew three assists, as did D Jake Lee. . . . Seattle got a goal and two assists from each of F Zack Andrusiak and F Andrej Kukuca. . . . F Leif Mattson scored two goals  and added two assists for Kelowna, with F Kyle Topping earning four assists. . . . The Rockets continued the poorest start in franchise history. They now are 1-8-0 and have lost four in a row.


F Cody Glass, who was named Portland’s captain earlier in the day, scored two goals and Portlandadded two assists to lead the Winterhawks to an 8-2 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld, the WHL’s leading scorer, had five assists. He has 22 points in eight games. . . . Glass has 17 points in six games. . . . F Reece Newkirk, the third member of that line, helped out with a goal and two assists. . . . Portland scored four times on the PP. . . . The Winterhawks have won five in a row. . . . Edmonton is 0-3-1 on a road trip that stops in Everett and Kent, Wash., on Friday and Saturday nights.


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