WHL dumps inter-conference play, changes playoff format . . . Sasakamoose book well worth your time . . . Raiders’ radio voice steps aside

The WHL’s 2021-22 season won’t include any interlocking play between WHL2Eastern and Western conferences, which means, unfortunately, that fans in U.S. and B.C. division centres won’t get to see F Connor Bedard, the most-publicized prospect to enter the league in some time, live and in person. . . . Bedard is the first player to receive exceptional status in order to allow him to claim a full-time WHL roster spot as a 15-year-old. Bedard, who will turn 16 on July 17, has 12 goals and 16 assists in 15 games for the Pats in the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season. He left the Pats mid-season in order to play for Canada at the IIHF U18 World championship in Texas, where he had seven goals and seven assists in 14 games. . . . Bedard is eligible for the NHL’s 2023 draft. . . . It also means that those same U.S. and B.C. division fans won’t get to see F Matthew Savoie of the Winnipeg Ice. He was denied exceptional status prior to the 2018-19 season, but still got into 22 games and earned seven assists. He spent 2020-21 with the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints, putting up 21 goals and 17 assists in 34 games. . . . Savoie is eligible for the NHL’s 2022 draft. . . .

The WHL didn’t offer a reason for dumping inter-conference play in the news release it issued on Tuesday following the conclusion of its annual general meeting. However, I think we can assume that it’s all about trying to save money after not seeing any playoff revenue for two seasons now. . . . The WHL also announced that it plans to open its regular season on Oct. 1, with each team playing a 68-game schedule within its own conference. . . . The WHL added that “with the anticipated lifting of health restrictions in all jurisdictions” it expects to play its games without attendance restrictions. . . . If all goes according to plan, the regular season will end on April 3. . . . That would mean the WHL playoffs would start on April 8. Keep in mind that because of the pandemic the WHL hasn’t featured a playoff game since May 13, 2019, when the host Prince Albert Raiders won the championship with a 3-2 OT victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . The WHL has changed its playoff format, going back to a conference format that last was used in the spring of 2014. The two division winners will be seeded first and second, with the next six teams slotted three through eight. The first round will have one vs. eight, two vs. seven, etc., with teams reseeded by points after each round. . . . The WHL’s complete news release is right here.


With the Vegas Golden Knights having opened one Stanley Cup semifinal on VegasMonday night with a 4-1 victory over the visiting Montreal Canadiens, it seems the rest of the hockey world is learning what WHL fans have known for a long, long time. Yes, Kelly McCrimmon, the Golden Knights’ general manager, knows what he is doing.

Here’s columnist Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, writing about the Golden Knights prior to the start of the series:

“Just four years into their history, the stunning story of their rookie season is kind of yesterday’s news. Today, they are merely one of the best teams in the NHL. Owned by Bill Foley. The fans are of another level. The presidential work and so much other work done by George McPhee. The GM, McCrimmon, is the most effective in the NHL. Unafraid of making enormous trades. Unafraid of giant-sized signings. Unafraid of drafting players and then sending them packing in exchange for tangible assets. Unafraid of doing what others may think about, but rarely act upon.”

Doesn’t that pretty much describe the way McCrimmon operated when he owned the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings?

Simmons’ complete piece is right here.


SasakamooseIf you are in the market for something to read, may I suggest you take a gander at Call Me Indian, a book that was published last month and tells the story of Fred Sasakamoose. What’s it all about? Well, the subtitle pretty much tells it all — From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL’s First Treat Indigenous Player. . . . To think that Sasakamoose went from playing hockey and trying just to survive at a residential school in northern Saskatchewan to the lineup of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks in a few short years almost beggars belief. But he did just that, and a whole lot more. . . . Considering all that is happening these days involving residential schools and their history, both here and in the U.S., this really is a timely read. . . . Sasakamoose, who died of COVID-19 on Nov. 20 so didn’t live to see his book published, doesn’t go easy on himself either. He bares his heart and soul, including his issues with alcohol and parenting. In fact, if there is a hero in this book it isn’t Sasakamoose, rather it’s his long-suffering wife Loretta with whom he had nine children. . . . Give this book a try; I guarantee it’ll stay with you for a long time after you’re finished with it.



ICYMI, the CFL’s board of governors voted Monday to have the league’s nine CFLteams begin a 14-game regular season on Aug. 5. The season is to begin with a rematch of the last Grey Cup game — the Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 33-12, in Calgary on Nov. 24, 2019. . . . The CFL hasn’t played a game since then because of the pandemic. . . . The 2021 season is to open with that rematch being played in Winnipeg. . . . The 2021 Grey Cup game is to be played in Hamilton on Dec. 12. . . . Training camps are to open on July 10, with players needing to report and go through a quarantine process that will be decided in conjunction with local health officials. . . . There won’t be any exhibition games. . . . Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun takes a look at the CFL situation right here. . . . BTW, the Labour Day Classic in Regina is scheduled for Sept. 5, with the Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg on Sept. 11. In other words, all is almost right with the world.


Bobcats


Abbotsford Aces? Fraser Valley Falcons? The Vancouver Canucks are asking hockey fans in the Fraser Valley what they should name the AHL franchise that is to begin play in Abbotsford in the fall. The Canucks are moving their AHL affiliate, formerly the Utica Comets, to Abbotsford. . . . Daniel Wagner of vancouverisawesome.com has more right here.


Eric Bélanger has signed on as the first head coach in the history of the Trois-TRLionsRivières Lions, an expansion ECHL franchise that will be affiliated with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. . . . Bélanger, 43, spent the previous two seasons as the head coach of the midget AAA Chevaliers de Lévis. . . . His playing career included 820 NHL regular-season games split between the Los Angeles Kings, Carolina Hurricanes, Atlanta Thrashers, Minnesota Wild, Washington Capitals, Phoenix Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers. . . . In 2008-09, he was teammates with Marc-André Bergeron with the Minnesota Wild. Bergeron now is the Lions’ general manager.


Milkyway


The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, a 20-team junior B league, kijhlsaid Monday that it will open its 2021-22 season on Oct. 1 and wrap things up on Feb. 20. . . . “All 20 of the KIJHL’s member clubs will complete a 42-game regular season schedule that includes eight games against divisional opponents and two games each against teams in the opposing division within the same conference,” the league said in a news release. . . . That means that the Spokane Braves will be back after not operating in 2020-21 due to the U.S.-Canada border being closed to non-essential traffic. . . . The KIJHL news release is 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.


JUST NOTES: Trevor Redden, the play-by-play voice of the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders for the past four seasons, is leaving the position, citing wanting to prioritize “a different work-life balance, and being able to spend more time with family and friends.” He made the announcement via social media on Tuesday. Redden said that he will be remaining in Prince Albert where he works with Pattison Media Ltd. . . . Former Moose Jaw Warriors head coach Mike Stothers has joined the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks as an assistant coach. He spent the previous five seasons as head coach of the AHL’s Ontario Reign. Stothers, 59, was the Warriors’ head coach for three seasons (2011-14). . . .

The junior B Creston Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have signed Bill Rotheisler, their general manager and head coach, to a one-year deal through 2021-22. Rotheisler is preparing for his second season in Creston, although his first season amounted to only three games because of the pandemic. If you aren’t familiar with Rotheisler’s story, including his battle with lymphatic cancer, Google is your friend. . . . Serge Lajoie, who spent one season (2018-19) as head coach of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, has been named head coach of Alberta’s male U16 team. Lajoie also is the head coach of OHA Edmonton’s U18 prep team.


Backseat

Scattershooting on Sunday while mourning the death of a dear friend . . .

Cory

For most of our 17 years in Regina, Dorothy and I lived across Grosvenor Street from Marilyn and Bill Morrison and their three children — Tracy, Cindy and Cory. . . . All of us quickly became friends and then best friends. . . . To say that Cory was a sports fan would be something of an understatement. As a youngster, Cory never met a sports question he didn’t want to know the answer to, and having a guy living across the street who worked in The Leader-Post’s sports department and just might have some of the inside info, well, our conversations started with 20 questions and quickly grew from there. . . . He never did lose his love for sports as he journeyed through a life that would include diabetes and kidney disease. We spent an evening with him late in the summer of 2019, trying to answer any questions he might have about a potential kidney transplant and to offer him comfort. . . . Yes, there also were sports-related questions and lots of conversation. . . . We were heart-broken to wake up Saturday to learn that Cory won’t ever get to have that transplant because he died on Friday. He was 47. . . .

His sister, Tracy Morrison Johnson, who is responsible for the collage above, wrote this:

“Dad. Son. Brother. Uncle. Coach. Friend. Dog Lover. Comedian. Como. This is my brother. And it is with a most heavy heart that I write to say he lost his battle with Diabetes and Kidney Disease. He was 47. He was also passionate, stubborn, goofy, feisty, wicked smart and loving. He never forgot a sports stat in his life. And he made a unique and lasting impression on anyone he met. We will miss him and his loving heart and bad jokes terribly.”

Cory was all of that and more. I only hope that wherever he is he is able to find someone who will answer the questions and chuckle at his giggle.


Santa


The QMJHL has had to do some juggling of its playoff schedule after what it qmjhlnewsays is a “possible positive COVID-19 test within the Rimouski Océanic organization.” . . . The Océanic and Val-d’Or Foreurs and officials who worked the first two games of their series on Friday and Saturday are in “precautionary isolation.” . . . The Océanic and Foreurs were to have played tonight (Monday), but that game has been postponed. They also are scheduled to play on Wednesday. . . . A game between the Victoriaville Tigres and Blainville-Boisbriand Armada that was to have been played Sunday now will be played this afternoon. . . . All four teams are playing in Quebec City.


Meanwhile, there were three games in the WHL on Sunday night, with two of the teams completing their seasons. . . . There now are only three nights — and five games — remaining in this developmental season. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., the Portland Winterhawks struck for five second-period PortlandAlternategoals and then coasted to a 9-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . The Winterhawks, who have won two in a row, are 11-8-3. . . . The Americans, who have lost three straight, slipped to 7-11-0. . . . These two teams will wrap things up in Portland on Tuesday. . . . F Robbie Fromm-Delorme (2) and F Cross Hanas gave the Winterhawks a 2-0 first-period lead. . . . They followed that with five more goals before the second period was 14 minutes old — from F Seth Jarvis (15), F Simon Knak, Hanas (2), F Jaydon Dureau (9) and D Nick Cicek (4). . . . D Luke Zazula (4) scored for the Americans before the period ended. . . . Knak (16) and F Marcus Nguyen (1) finished Portland’s scoring in the third period. Nguyen, an 11th-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, scored his first WHL goal in his 16th game. . . . Dureau and Jarvis each had two assists, with Knak adding one, giving them three-point outings, and D Clay Hanus drew three assists. . . . Portland got 31 stops from G Brock Gould. . . . The Americans had only one goaltender dressed, so Mason Dunsford went the distance, stopping 28 shots. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds unleashed a 58-shot attack as they skated to a 3-0 Seattlevictory over the Spokane Chiefs in Kent, Wash. . . . It was the final game of the season for both teams. Seattle finished 10-12-1; Spokane wound up at 6-9-5 after losing its last four games (0-2-2). . . . Interestingly, Seattle G Jackson Berry stopped 21 shots and would have recorded his first WHL shutout had he not become embroiled in a fight with Spokane G Mason Beaupit at 19:29 of the third period. Scott Ratzlaff took over for the last 31 seconds but didn’t face any shots. Geoffrey Brandow (@Geoffrey Brandow) reports that it’s the “club’s first two goalie shutout in Internet Era.” . . . Beaupit had made 55 saves by the time he left, with Campbell Arnold finishing up. . . . F Keltie Jeri-Leon, playing his final WHL game and the 250th regular-season game of his career, had a goal and an assist. His 17th goal of the season, on a PP just 33 seconds into the second period, stood up as the winner. He finished the season with 27 points in 23 games. . . . F Mekai Sanders (1) and F Sam Oremba (2) also scored second-period goals. . . .

In Kamloops, the Kelowna Rockets scored a pair of first-period goals and went Rocketson to a 2-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Kelowna (9-4-1) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). . . . Prince George (9-9-3) has lost two straight. . . . F Alex Swetlikoff (4) opened the scoring, on a PP, at 9:24 of the first period, with F David Kope (6) making it 2-0 at 13:15. . . . F Trevor Wong drew an assist on each Kelowna goal. . . . D Majid Kaddoura (2) scored for the Cougars, on a PP, at 6:37 of the third period. . . . The Rockets got 30 saves from G Cole Schwebius, with Taylor Gauthier stopping 23 for the Cougars.


Fat


When you’re looking for the top sports columnist these days, Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post is in the discussion. Here she is starting a column earlier this week:

“Somewhere along the line Baron Von Ripper-off and the other gold-plated pretenders at the International Olympic Committee decided to treat Japan as their footstool. But Japan didn’t surrender its sovereignty when it agreed to host the Olympics. If the Tokyo Summer Games have become a threat to the national interest, Japan’s leaders should tell the IOC to go find another duchy to plunder. A cancellation would be hard — but it would also be a cure.”


Still with the Washington Post, I subscribed because of one writer — Thomas Boswell, a hall-of-fame baseball writer and a wonderful wordsmith on any other subject he chooses to tackle. . . . I once attended a gathering of sports editors in Reston, Va., and Boswell led a session on column writing. Later, around a lunch table, I asked him how he reacted when a copy editor would want to change his copy. He replied: “I want a phone call.” . . . “No matter the time of day or night?” I asked. . . . “Definitely,” he replied. . . . From that point on, I never objected to being called at home about anything. . . . Boswell is retiring as of June 30. Oh boy, will I miss his words, especially on baseball. If you don’t know of Boswell, find a copy of Why Time Begins on Opening Day or How Life Imitates the World Series. You’ll be glad you did.


Hey, you . . . yeah, you. The guy who struggles to get off the couch on a lot of days . . . this one’s for you.


“The Atlanta Falcons signed undrafted Jack Batho IV, a 6-foot-7, 315-pound tackle from South Dakota School of the Mines,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Hey, if a guy from there can’t open a hole, who can?”

——

One more report from Perry: “Ian Nepomniachtchchi can’t play under the Russian flag in his upcoming world-championship match because of his country’s ban from international sporting competitions by the World Anti-Doping Agency. For the record, Nepomniachtchchi plays chess.”


An interesting note from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun: “How often has this been true? There are three Canadian men in the top 20 of the ATP Tour — Denis Shapovalov, Milos Raonic and Felix Auger-Aliassime — and no Americans in the Top 30.”

—— 

One more note from Simmons: “Marc-Andre Fleury has moved into third place all-time in wins for a goaltender. That’s an amazing accomplishment. It’s also skewed somewhat over time. There are no ties anymore in the NHL. Terry Sawchuk played in 171 tie games. Glenn Hall had 163. To place Fleury and Roberto Luongo ahead of Sawchuk and Hall in wins is true just not necessarily accurate.”


Rod Carew — now there’s a man who could hit! — remembers facing the great Bob Gibson one time: “When I was 20, I faced Gibby at an exhibition (game) in Florida. I tried to fill in a hole in the batter’s box and he told me, ‘Get in the box. I’m double parked!’ He knocked me down four times and walked me. As I walked to first base, he said, ‘Don’t even try to steal.’ I didn’t.”


YardSale


Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity.

——

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.


SocialMedia

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if this is the week when summer arrives . . .

Scattershooting2

The Vancouver Canucks had hoped to re-open team facilities on Sunday, but the Canucksvirus apparently wasn’t consulted before those plans were made.

Now, if all goes well, those facilities may re-open today.

On Sunday, the Canucks removed F Adam Gaudette from the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, but F Jay Beagle was added to it. Beagle had been on injured reserve. Adding Beagle to the list left 19 Vancouver players on it.

The NHL announced Sunday afternoon that “although the Player has not been around the team during the relevant time period (since March 31), the League’s, NHLPA’s and Club’s medical groups determined that the prudent decision was to keep the facilities closed for an additional day.”

Gaudette was the first of the Canucks to test positive. He was removed from a practice session on March 30 after the Canucks received his test result. D Travis Hamonic went on the list on March 31. The Canucks also have had three coaches, one member of the support staff and three players from the taxi squad test positive. There also are an undisclosed number of family members who have tested positive.

The Canucks, who last played a game on March 24, still are scheduled to return to game action on Friday against the visiting Edmonton Oilers with the Toronto Maple Leafs to visit on Saturday.

The NHL is expecting the Canucks to begin with six games in nine nights. Their first nine games are to be played in 14 nights. Yikes!


Vaccine


There aren’t words in any language to describe how much I despise the MLB extra-inning rule under which a team starts with a runner on second base. It’s a gimmick, nothing more and nothing less, and MLB should be embarrassed by stooping so low as to use it.


Old friend Neate Sager, who doesn’t mind the MLB gimmickry, is writing at neatefreatsports these days, and it’s worth it for you to pay a visit, especially if you like your current events mixed with humour and just a dash of snark.

Here he is leading into a bit on the Vancouver Canucks’ recent travails:

“You might end up on injured reserve with strained credulity if you believe the Vancouver Canucks, who have only four players who are ‘not on the National Hockey League’s COVID-19 protocol list,’ are going to complete their schedule.

“Deadspin, which can say it since it has no client relationship with the NHL like those of the telcos in Canada, pointed out the timeline makes it impossible. The league’s best-case scenario is for Vancouver to return to play around April 16, but that seems too optimistic by half, and half again.”

I highly recommend that you check him out right here.


Hey, ESPN, I tried to watch your telecast — the Philadelphia Phillies were playing the Braves in Atlanta on Sunday night. I really did. In the end, I did watch it, but with no sound. You’re drowning a game that needs to breathe in order to be enjoyed. And the numbers . . . so many numbers as to give a baseball fan vertigo.


So . . . I mentioned this Expos-Padres discrepancy to Dorothy on Friday night. “Yeah,” she replied, “but the Padres lasted longer than the Expos, so there you go!”



Information that you need to know. . . . According to Forbes magazine, Terry Pegula, who owns among other things the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, has improved his net worth from US$5 billion to $5.4 billion over the past year. The rich people, of course, keep score by dollar bills. On Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires, $5.4 billion puts you in 520th place. . . . Who’s No. 1? Jeff Bezos, Mr. Amazon, tops the list for the fourth straight year, this time at $177 billion. . . . Forbes’ numbers show the world contains 2,775 billionaires, up 660 from a year ago.


On the subject of dollars, here’s a note from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “A baseball bat — a 34-inch, 36-ounce Bill Dickey model Louisville Slugger used by Lou Gehrig in 1938, his final full MLB season — drew 26 bids at SCP Auctions and sold this month for $715,120. Or 23 times the $31,000 the Yankees paid Gehrig to play that year.”

——

“A fan in Anaheim threw an inflatable trash can onto the field during an Astros-Angels game,” reports Perry. “Three players on the Houston bench immediately yelled, ‘Pitch-out!’ ”



With MLB having yanked its All-Star Game out of Atlanta because of Georgia’s new restrictive voting legislation, there were mutterings that the Masters should follow suit and move. To which Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune wrote: “If you’re waiting in line for golfers to boycott, bring some bottled water.”



Ferguson Jenkins is 78 now, but it’s never too late for a statue. Yes, the Chicago Cubs are going to honour Jenkins with a statue outside Wrigley Field. . . . Here’s Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “Of course, times have changed and the way in which starting pitchers are utilized has changed but in his day, and for 19 seasons, Jenkins stood alone among Canadian ballplayers and Canadian athletes — and sometimes we seem to forget all that.” . . . As Simmons points out, Jenkins once had six straight seasons with at least 20 victories. He once started 42 games in a season. He threw more than 300 innings in four different seasons. He threw 30 complete games in 1971 when he won the Cy Young Award. In one seven-season stretch, Jenkins threw 272 complete games. . . . And, no, his arm never fell off.


Here’s a memo from Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe: “Dear Media. It’s called ‘The Masters.’ Not ‘The Masters Without Tiger Woods.’ Thank you.”


Castle


There were four games in the WHL on Sunday. Some highlights and tidbits . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s last two goals to beat the host Tri-SeattleCity Americans, 3-2. . . . The Americans (5-6-0) held a 2-1 lead after getting two late first-period goals from F Sasha Mutala (4), at 18:04, and D Mitchell Brown (2), at 18:54. . . . F Henri Rybinski’s second goal of the season, on a PP, tied it at 4:21 of the second period. . . . F Jordan Gustafson (4) scored the game’s final goal, on another PP, at 5:33. . . . Seattle (6-5-0) was 3-for-9 on the PP; Tri-City was 1-for-4. . . . The Thunderbirds won’t have F Conner Roulette again this WHL season. He now joins Canada’s U18 team for the IIHF World championship that opens in Texas on April 26. . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders scored three times in the third period to beat the RaidersSwift Current Broncos, 4-2, in Regina. . . . F Cole Nagy (3) scored on a PP at 6:58 of the third period to get the Broncos into a 1-1 tie. . . . D Landon Kosior (2), on a PP, put the Raiders back out front and F Evan Herman (5) stretched the lead at 12:03. . . . F Mathew Ward (4) got the Broncos back to within a goal at 14:11, but F Eric Pearce (6) put it away with the empty-netter. . . . G Max Paddock stopped 35 shots for the Raiders, including a second-period penalty shot attempt by F Michael Farren. . . . The Broncos got 33 saves from G Reid Dyck, including a second-period penalty shot attempt by Herman. . . . The Raiders (5-8-3) had lost their previous three games (0-2-1). . . . The Broncos (3-12-1) have lost five straight. . . . Raiders D Nolan Allan played his final WHL game of this season. He is going into isolation and then will join Canada’s U18 team for the IIHF World championship in Frisco and Plano, Texas. It opens on April 26. . . .

G Nolan Maier turned aside 42 shots to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 3-2 Bladesvictory over the Brandon Wheat Kings in Regina. . . . The victory lifted the Blades (12-2-2) into first place in the Regina hub, two points ahead of the Wheat Kings (12-3-2). The Wheat Kings had points in each of their previous nine games (8-0-1). . . . Saskatoon now has points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . The Blades took a 2-0 lead on PP goals from F Chase Wouters (6) at 18:56 of the first period and F Kyle Crnkovic (7) at 4:50 of the second. . . . F Ben McCartney (8) pulled Brandon to within a goal on a PP at 10:16. . . . Saskatoon F Brandon Lisowsky (6) stretched the lead to two at 16:44 of the third. . . . Brandon got back to within a goal when F Ridly Greig (6) counted at 19:54. . . . Saskatoon was 2-for-5 on the PP; Brandon was 1-for-6. . . . G Ethan Kruger stopped 19 shots for Brandon. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers unleashed a 60-shot attack and got four assists from F KamloopsConnor Zary in beating the Victoria Royals, 4-3, in Kelowna. . . . At one point in the third period, the Royals led 3-2 as they were being outshot, 51-12. . . . The Royals erased a 2-1 deficit on goals from F Alex Bolshakov (3), his second of the game, at 6:33 of the third period and F Ty Yoder (2), at 9:16. . . . F Josh Pillar (3) pulled Kamloops into a tie at 13:16 and D Inaki Baragano (1) got the winner at 16:04. . . . Zary has 14 points, including 11 assists, in seven games. . . . Victoria G Adam Evanoff finished with 56 saves, 40 more than Dylan Garand of the Blazers. . . . The Blazers now are 6-1-0. . . . The Royals are 1-6-1 and have lost three in a row. . . . Victoria was without F Keanu Derungs, F Tarun Fizer, F Riley Gannon, F Matthew Hodson and D Noah Lamb, and was able to dress only 10 forwards. . . . The Royals are adding F Ryan Spizawka, a seventh-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, to their roster. His twin brother, Jason, the 19th overall pick in 2019, already is on the roster. They are from Victoria. . . . The WHL season is over for Kamloops F Logan Stankoven, who will play for Canada at the IIHF U18 World championship in Texas later this month. He put up 10 points, including seven goals, in six games this season.


Please don’t forget that Dorothy, who had a kidney transplant more than seven years ago, is preparing to take part in her eighth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. Unfortunately, it will be a virtual walk for a second straight year, but that won’t keep her from fund-raising on behalf of the Kidney Foundation. If you would like to help her out, you are able to make a donation 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.


Random

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while remembering Frank Orr and a cold, cold night . . .

Scattershooting2

Back in his day, Frank Orr was as large in his field as Bobby Orr was in his. No, they weren’t related.

Frank Orr, who died Saturday at 84, was a hockey writer with the Toronto Star when I met him. It was at the 1991 IIHF World Junior Championship that was held in Saskatchewan. I was the Regina Leader-Post’s sports editor, and spent most of the tournament in Saskatoon.

By that time, Orr was a legendary hockey writer; I was a scribbler from Lynn Lake, Man., who was 20 years into his career. Within an hour of meeting Orr, it was like we were best buddies and had been for a long time.

That is how personable he was. He was a master of the one-liner and had travelled extensively — so what if most of it was on expense account — so had tasted the food in many tremendous eateries. Now here he was in Saskatoon, where the weather was miserably cold, and he was loving every minute of it. Well, almost every minute of it . . .

On Dec. 30, Orr and three others drove to Regina to watch Canada play Sweden, choosing to return to Saskatoon after the game. About 30 minutes outside Saskatoon, a red light lit up the dash of their rental car. They limped into the city, finding out later that the PCV valve had frozen open and the car’s oil had blown out all over the engine compartment.

Later, Orr admitted that he had broken out in a cold sweat at the thought of meeting his maker on the frozen prairie.

“I always thought it would end with someone’s husband chasing me down a street,” he said with a laugh.

Sleep well, old friend.

Mark Zwolinski of The Star has more on Frank Orr right here.


ICYMI, the Edmonton Football Team has a shortlist of seven possibles for its new nickname — Elk, Evergreens, Evergolds, Eclipse, Elkhounds, Eagles and Elements all are in the chase. . . . We are left to wonder what happened to Editors, Elaters, Elephants, Ernies, Eroughriders, Eskers. . . . Having lived in the north where there are eskers, I would be inclined to lean that way. . . . Edmonton Eskers. Yes!


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “If the Lord’s Prayer can be inscribed on the head of a pin, engravers can certainly fit the full name of Tampa Bay Bucs run-stuffer Vita Vea — Tevita Tuli’aki’ono Tuipulotu Mosese Va’hae Fehoko Faletau Vea — onto a Super Bowl ring, right?”

——

Perry, again: “Players for the Western Hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels will live at the team’s rink in Alberta this season to reduce the COVID-19 risk. ‘Fine with us,’ said every stay-at-home defenceman.”


Congrats to Gilles Courteau, the commissioner of the QMJHL, who celebrated his 35th anniversary in office on Saturday. Stephane Leroux of RDS points out that Courteau spent 15 years as president and now has been commissioner for 20 years. Leroux also points out that Courteau was hired on an interim basis in 1986.



Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“The NFL patted itself on the back with a spot bragging that the league is donating $250 million ‘to combat systemic racism.’ And that doesn’t even count the millions it paid to Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid for keeping them unemployed.

“If you don’t think it’s racism that’s keeping Kaepernick out of The League, tell me what you think would have happened to (Tom) Brady had he taken a knee in protest.

“Kaepernick and Reid sat out this season, but Tyreek Hill and Antonio Brown suited up and were covered in glory in the National Football League of Second Chances.

“And the 49ers announced they have re-signed Josh Rosen, whose resume now includes this: 1,000th washed-up quarterback to sign an NFL contract since Kaepernick ‘retired’.”



Here’s Ostler, again: “It’s sad to see Pebble Beach get squeezed out of golf relevance by Saudi Arabia and Los Angeles. Pebble’s famed annual AT&T National Pro-Am got snubbed by the world’s top golfers, partly because they want a rest between last week’s big-payoff Saudi International and next week’s Genesis Invitational in L.A. The AT&T has become the great little family diner you speed past on your way from IHOP to McDonald’s.”

——

A digital subscription to the San Francisco Chronicle is well worth it to read the likes of Ostler, Ann Killion, Eric Branch, Bruce Jenkins et al. . . . And with pitchers and catchers about to report, you may want to subscribe to the Washington Post just for the musings of Thomas Boswell.


When Major League Baseball revealed the details of the shakeup heard ’round the minor leagues, the Pacific Coast League was nowhere to be found. The league that sent so many players to the big leagues — like Joe DiMaggio and Willie McCovey — now is Triple-A West. . . . The California League is gone, too. It’s Low-A West. . . . Here’s hoping saner heads will prevail and that when it does there aren’t corporate names involved. . . . With MLB’s reorganization now complete, there are 120 minor-league teams left. Forty others are nowhere to be seen.



With all that we’ve been through over the past year, who had ‘Earthquake strikes near Banff’ on their 2020-21 Bingo card?

——


Someone figured out that starter Trevor Bauer’s deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers will pay him somewhere around $10,000 per pitch. Keep in mind, too, that he only performs every fifth day. Can you imagine being a carpenter and getting paid $10,000 for every nail you hammered or every screw you turned? No, neither can I.


It could be that the best feud in hockey features Brian Burke, the new president of hockey operations with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and columnist Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun. . . . This goes back a few years and is far from being over. . . . In his book that came out last fall, Burke sniped at Simmons a time or three. . . . On Sunday, in his weekly notes column, Simmons wondered about Burke’s recent hockey accomplishments, or lack of same:

“Which makes the hiring of Burke in Pittsburgh as president of hockey operations more than a little surprising, although you won’t hear anything like that from all his media pals who laugh along with every word he speaks. It is the hiring of yesterday’s man, who won in Anaheim more than a decade ago, who made the Sedin deals (his signature NHL moves) 22 years ago. What has Burke done lately in hockey, except write a best-selling book and become valued entertainment in between periods? Truth is, it’s a lot of sound and fury, in reality, signifying nothing.”

The puck now is in Burke’s end of the ice.


JUST NOTES: You watch the Daytona 500 and you just know the last lap is going to turn into a demolition derby. . . . Had to chuckle at the WHL fan on social media last week who was debating with a guy named Brent Parker about the role of tutors with teams. Don’t think the fan realized that Parker is a former general manager of the Regina Pats. . . . If you’re wondering how we’re doing over here, well, there aren’t any bodies buried in the back yard so I guess that means we’re still getting along. . . . The St. Louis Blues and Arizona Coyotes will meet today for a seventh straight time. Tell me again how this NHL season won’t warrant an asterisk when it’s all over. . . . On the subject of this NHL season, if you watch enough games it really becomes apparent just how much emotion and passion fans bring to the games. Yes, the players are trying hard, but it just isn’t the same, is it?

WJC exhibition games start today . . . WHL moves draft to December . . . Former Pats owner has died



After having eight German players and two Swedish team managers test 2021WJCpositive last week at the World Junior Championship in Edmonton, the IIHF announced Monday that it has had only one positive test since then. One German staff member has tested positive and will remain in quarantine until Dec. 30. . . . The two Swedes who tested positive will remain quarantined until Sunday, with all players now having been cleared to return to the ice. . . . The WJC’s exhibition schedule begins today (Tuesday) with two games — Switzerland-Austria, 3 p.m. PT, and Finland-U.S., 6:30 p.m. PT . . . The exhibition schedule wraps up Wednesday with two more games — Canada-Russia, 3 p.m. PT, and Slovakia-Czech Republic, 6:30 p.m. PT. . . .  The tournament opens with three games on Friday — Slovakia-Switzerland, 11 a.m. PT; Finland-Germany, 3 p.m. PT; and U.S.-Russia, 6:30 p.m. PT. Canada plays its first game on Saturday when it meets Germany at 3 p.m. PT.


Fir


There had been a school of thought that the WHL might change the age of players eligible for its annual bantam draft, taking it from a player’s 15-year-old season to 16. But that isn’t going to happen. . . . While the WHL has changed the event’s name — the WHL bantam draft now is the WHL draft — it has only moved it from its normal date in May to an undisclosed date in December 2021. . . . “Moving the 2021 WHL draft from May to December allows additional time for players in the 2006 age group to be evaluated following a challenging season due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, said in a news release. “We anticipate minor hockey leagues and tournaments will be fully operational in the fall, which will allow players to compete at a high level once again.”



The QMJHL’s 12 Quebec-based team are planning to resume play on Jan. 22 in Chicoutimi, Drummondville, Rimouski and Shawinigan. They won’t be in bubbles; rather, the QMJHL is referring to them as protected environment events. Each host team will be joined by two other teams Jan. 22-24. . . . Chicoutimi, Drummondville and Rimouski also will play host to similar events, from Jan. 29-Feb. 6, with four teams in each venue.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Headline from The Onion — Arizona: Tumbleweeds must quarantine for 14 days after rolling in from out of state.

CBC News: As of 6:30 p.m. ET on Monday, there were 515,314 cases of COVID-19 recorded in Canada, with 423,621 of those considered recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 14,332.

Brittany Greenslade, Global News: It’s been weeks but Manitoba’s numbers are way down Monday. 167 new COVID cases today and 4 deaths. 5,736 active cases. 16,717 recovered. 572 total deaths. 310 hospitalized, 42 in ICU. Test positivity rate 11.5%. Test positivity rate 10.5% in Winnipeg.

Bob Holliday, Winnipeg: “WOW!!! For those who refuse to believe that social distancing and masks don’t prevent the spread of COVID-19, check out the latests stats from Manitoba Health. On Dec. 6, 380 new cases were reported n the province, with 272 in Winnipeg. Well, folks, on Dec. 21 the provincial new cases dropped to 166, while Winnipeg’s dropped to 83. Both are the lowest since Nov. 25 when there were 349 new cases provincially and 213 in the city. Keep wearing the masks and stay two metres apart in crowds, and we’ll all have a Happy New Year.

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 206 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the province’s 7-day average down to 217. The province is also reporting 4 additional deaths.

CBC News: Alberta is reporting 1,240 new COVID-19 cases, 9 more deaths. The province has a test positivity rate of 6.8%.

Mo Cranker, Medicine Hat News: Medicine Hat sits at 78 active COVID-19 cases. There are six new cases and seven new recoveries. . . . Other numbers: Cypress County, 10 active; Forty Mile, one; Lethbridge, 155; Taber, 19; Brooks, 42; Calgary, 5,836; Edmonton, 7,367.

rednewsNOW: Red Deer with 415 active COVID-19 cases as of Monday.

Richard Zussman, Global BC: There are 1667 new cases of COVID-19 in BC. There were 652 cases from Fri to Sat, 486 cases from Sat to Sun and 529 cases from Sun to Mon. There have been 47,067 total cases. . . . There are 341 people in hospital, this is down 15. There are 80 in ICU, down 12. So far 35,455 people have recovered. There are 9,718 active cases of the virus. . . . There have been 41 COVID deaths over the last  3 days in BC.

CBC News: 2,123 new COVID-19 cases in Ontario, 7th straight day above 2,000. There are 17 additional deaths. 915 people are in hospital, with 265 in ICU and 152 on ventilators. 54,505 people tested; positivity rate 4.7%. Comes ahead of lockdown announcement.

CBC News: All of Ontario will move into a lockdown on Boxing Day in a bid to curb climbing COVID-19 case numbers and spare hospitals and their intensive care units from being inundated in January, Premier Doug Ford announced on Monday. The lockdown will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 26 and remain in place until at least Jan. 23, 2021, in the 27 public health units that comprise southern Ontario. In the seven public health units in Ontario’s north, where daily case numbers have been significantly lower, the lockdown is set to expire on Jan. 9.

CBC News: Quebec reports 2,108 new COVID-19 cases. The province’s 7-day average now tops 1,935 cases. There are 30 additional deaths attributed to the virus. Quebec has 1,852 new recoveries and 1,048 COVID-19 patients in hospital.

——

The 2021 Saskatchewan Summer Games that were to have been held in Lloydminster have been cancelled. Originally, the 2020 Games were to have been held July 26 through Aug. 1, but they were postponed to 2021. A decision also was made to return the Summer Games to a quadrennial cycle, meaning the next ones will be held in 2024. Lloydminster has been given the first right of refusal to act as host city. . . .

If you’re into football bowl games, you should know that the Independence Bowl was cancelled on Sunday. It was to have featured Army (9-2) but an opponent couldn’t be found. Seriously. . . . Later Monday, Army accepted an invitation to the Liberty Bowl where it will face West Virginia (5-4). That game is set for Dec. 31 in Philadelphia. . . . Army got in only because Tennessee (3-6) pulled out because of COVID-19 issues. ESPN reports that head coach Jeremy Pruitt, some assistants and a bunch of players all tested positive. . . . So far, 16 bowl games have been cancelled and at least 22 teams have opted out. . . . The Independence Bowl was to have been played Saturday at Shreveport, La. . . . Also cancelled on the weekend: The Guaranteed Rate Bowl that was to have been played Saturday in Phoenix and the Birmingham Bowl that would have gone on New Year’s Day. . . . Also on Sunday, Boise State joined the list of teams opting out of playing in bowl games.

The Baltimore Ravens once had 23 — yes, 23! — players on their reserve/COVID-19 list. On Monday, they activated DB Geno Stone on the list, leaving that list empty. Finally. . . .

Manitoba and Ontario curling officials announced Monday that they have cancelled their women’s, men’s and mixed doubles curling championships for 2021. . . . The Northern Ontario Curling Association made the same decision earlier this month. . . . B.C. officials have said they will announce a decision on Jan. 8.


Dogs


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 Sunday night while wondering if we’ll get to watch the WJC . . .

Scattershooting


An early Christmas present . . . Here is for KING & COUNTRY with their version of Little Drummer Boy . . .


Sweden has lost a second player off its national junior team to a positive test. F SwedenKarl Henriksson, who was selected by the New York Rangers in the second round of the NHL’s 2019 draft, won’t play in the World Junior Championship that opens Dec. 25 in an Edmonton bubble. Henriksson likely would have been the Swede’s first- or second-line centre. . . . On Saturday, it was revealed that Swedish F William Eklund, one of the top prospects for the NHL’s 2021 draft, had tested positive.


Three players from Boston U — G Drew Commesso, F Robert Mastrosimone and D Alex Vlasic — won’t be attending USA Hockey’s national junior team USAhockeyselection camp. Jeff Cox of the New England Hockey Journal broke the news on Sunday, saying that the decision involves COVID-19 protocols. BU had a positive test last week so shut down activities involving the men’s hockey team and postponed its season-opener that was to have been played on Saturday against UConn. . . . Cox also reported that Boston U won’t be playing another game until Jan. 8. . . . Team USA replaced those three on the camp roster with G Logan Stein of Ferris State, D Tyler Kleven of the U of North Dakota and D Hunter Skinner of the OHL’s London Knights. . . . Commesso was a second-round pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL’s 2020 draft; Chicago took Vlasic in the second round in 2019. . . . The Detroit Red Wings picked Mastrosimone in the second round in 2019. . . . Neither Stein nor Skinner has played this season because there teams haven’t been able to get started. Kleven, a second-round pick by the Ottawa Senators in 2020, was playing for UND at a bubble in Omaha. . . . Skinner was a fourth-round pick by the New York Rangers in 2019. . . . Team USA’s camp opened Sunday in Ann Arbor, Mich. The roster includes 29 players and the plan is to trim two defencemen and two forwards on Dec. 13.


Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “If I was a parent of a junior hockey player or even an agent, I’m not sure I’d want my kid locked in an Alberta hotel room for two weeks, all in the name of quarantine and the apparent upcoming world junior tournament.”



Headline at fark.com: Washington is finally giving Texas a Wall.


Jeff Marek of Sportsnet tweeted early Sunday that the ECHL is expected to echlannounce the loss of three more teams for the upcoming season — the Cincinnati Cyclones, Idaho Steelheads and Kalamazoo Wings. That means 11 of the league’s 26 teams have opted out, the others being Adirondack Thunder, Atlanta Gladiators, Brampton Beast, Maine Mariners, Newfoundland Growlers, Norfolk Admirals, Reading Royals and Worcester Railers. . . . Marek also wrote that he has been “told the Toledo Walleye and Fort Wayne Komets are still undecided.” . . . The ECHL is planning on having some teams being play on Friday.


Insurance


“Heisman Trophy QB Johnny Manziel said on rapper Mike Stud’s YNK Podcast that he received impermissible benefits — i.e., cash — during his playing days at Texas A&M,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, the shock dripping from his keyboard. “Or as Manziel is now known in booster circles, Johnny Windfall.”

——

Perry, again: “Star guard James Harden, who reportedly wants out of Houston, didn’t appear for the Rockets’ individual workouts Thursday as the opening of training camp looms. Harden apologists, fittingly enough, believe he was traveling.”


Bill Littlejohn, who writes from South Lake Tahoe, Calif., suggests that fans of the Cleveland Browns — hello there, Jeff DeDekker — are getting a bit ahead of themselves with their glee over their favourite team going into this weekend with a gaudy 8-3 record. Here’s Littlejohn: “Fans of the Cleveland Browns getting giddy over their team’s being 8-3, of which seven wins came against foes with losing records, should recall the case of Heavyweight contender Duane Bobick. Duane built up a record of 38-0 against a succession of stiffs and tomato cans before being demolished in 57 seconds by Ken Norton, Sr.” . . . The Browns now are 9-3 after beating the host Tennessee Titans, 41-35, on Sunday. Yes, that’s even gaudier than 8-3. Next up? The visiting Baltimore Ravens on MNF on Dec. 14.


“The Houston Texans had two players test positive,” notes Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, “and it was just for PEDs. Seems so quaint.”


Mom


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times has taken a long look at sports in these pandemic days and that piece is right here. It carries the headline: Sports rolls on in the U.S. while the pandemic rages: Is it worth the risk? . . . It’s a good read.

——

CBC News: Manitoba is reporting 383 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 additional deaths related to the virus. 1 of the deaths is a man in his 20s. The province’s 5-day test positivity rate is 13.6%. 2,231 tests were completed Saturday.

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 415 new cases of COVID-19 and 4 new deaths. Today’s case count reflects a backlog from Saturday for the Saskatoon region. There are 4,550 known active cases province-wide. 135 people are in hospital, including 26 in intensive care.

Mo Cranker, Medicine Hat News: 1,836 new cases of COVID-19 were identified in the last 24 hours by the province. . . . There are also 19 new deaths being reported. . . . Medicine Hat stayed at 94 active cases. The province reported six new cases in the Hat, as well as six new recoveries.

CBC News: Alberta now has 19,484 known active cases, including more than 7,200 in Calgary and over 8,900 in Edmonton. 601 people are in hospital, including 100 in ICU. Alberta’s test positivity rate is 7.8%.

B.C. on weekends: Crickets! . . . Watch for big, big numbers on Monday afternoon.

CBC News: Ontario reports new record high of 1,924 COVID-19 cases. There are 568 new cases in Toronto, 477 in Peel and 249 in York Region.

CBC News: Quebec is reporting 1,691 new cases of COVID-19. The province added 24 deaths to its total, 10 of which occurred in the last 24 hours. 778 people are in hospital, including 102 in intensive care.

CBC News: Nova Scotia is reporting 4 new cases of COVID-19, all in the Central Zone. 3 cases are under investigation; the remaining case is travel-related. There are 88 known active cases in the province. No one is currently in hospital. . . . Nova Scotia is amending today’s COVID-19 case count to add 1 more. Health officials say the latest patient is a student at an elementary school in Dartmouth. That school will now be closed until Dec. 10. The new diagnosis brings the number of new cases in the province today to 5.

CBC News: New Brunswick is reporting 4 new cases of COVID-19. 2 are in the Saint John region, 1 is in the Moncton region and 1 is in the Edmundston region. There are 82 known active cases in the province. 2 people are in hospital, including 1 in intensive care.

CBC News: P.E.I. is reporting 4 new cases of COVID-19. All are contacts of cases in the cluster reported Saturday. Dr. Heather Morrison says the source of the current outbreak is unknown, and more positive cases are expected. There are now 11 known active cases in the province. . . . P.E.I. is bringing in ‘circuit breaker’ measures for the next 2 weeks. Some of the regulations: In-restaurant dining, gyms and casinos must close. Retail stores can operate at 50% capacity. Organized gatherings like weddings and church services can have a maximum of 10 people.

CBC News: 4 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Newfoundland and Labrador. 3 of the cases are travel-related, and the other is a close contact of a previous known case. There are 30 known active cases in the province. No one is in hospital.

CBC News: Nunavut is reporting 2 new cases of COVID-19 in Arviat, after 8 new cases were reported there Saturday. There are 51 known active cases in the territory, all in the communities of Arviat and Whale Cove.

CNN: More than 30,000 new Covid-19 cases were reported in California Sunday, the highest number of new daily cases ever recorded in the state. Hospitalizations there are also at an all time high.

——

The Gonzaga Bulldogs, the No. 1 men’s basketball team in the NCAA, has postponed all games through Dec. 14. It was to have played the No. 2 Baylor Bears on Saturday but the game was postponed 90 minutes prior to tipoff after the Bulldogs had a pair of positive tests. . . . Gonzaga U is based in Spokane, Wash. . . .

The U of Texas has shut down all football activities after three players and two staff members tested positive on Sunday. All five are said to have tested negative on Friday, before visiting Texas whupped Kansas State, 69-31, on Saturday and then tested positive on Sunday. . . . Texas is scheduled to play at Kansas, at Lawrence, on Saturday.


——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The Heritage Junior Hockey League, a 14-team junior B league in Alberta, has shut down at least until January. A release from the league states that it “will meet in January to discuss the best way to move forward.” . . . The Vancouver Canucks didn’t have any choice but to rid the organization of that dunderheaded anthem singer. . . . “The Vancouver Canucks have kicked anthem singer Mark Donnelly to the curb because he’s an anti-masker,” writes Patti Dawn Swansson, The River City Renegade. “Guess that rules out an appearance on The Masked Singer.” . . . If you sat down in front of a TV set on a Saturday morning and watched football through Sunday night, how much wine would you drink if you took a sip every time you saw a coach improperly wearing a facemask?


Phone

QMJHL looking at December restart? . . . Winterhawks asked to change logo . . . Ice’s Lambos goes to Finland


With the numbers showing no signs of slowing down, François Legault, qmjhlnewQuebec’s premier, has extended the red zone restrictions until Nov. 23. They had been schedule to be lifted on Thursday. . . . The QMJHL has six teams located in these zones — the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, Drummondville Voltigeurs, Gatineau Olympiques, Quebec Remparts, Shawinigan Cataractes and Victoriaville Tigres. . . . The Armada and Voltigeurs have had players test positive, as have the Sherbrooke Phoenix. . . . Earlier, the QMJHL suspended play for its Quebec-based teams until Oct. 28. There is speculation that those teams won’t return to play until early December. . . .

Meanwhile, the Olympiques won’t be returning to their home arena, the Robert-Guertin Centre, anytime soon, and maybe not at all this season. The arena will continue to be used as an emergency accommodation centre for the homeless during the pandemic. The Olympiques had hoped to have their arena back on Dec. 1. . . . If/when the Olympiques return to action, they will continue at the Baribeau Arena. They are scheduled to move into a new arena next season.


The WHL’s Portland Winterhawks have been asked to dump their primary logo. Shannon Gormley of the Willamette Week reported Monday that “a local nonprofit is petitioning the Winterhawks to change their logo.” Earlier this year, the team unveiled a third jersey with a different logo but, as Gormley wrote, “the team still wears its original jersey, featuring a caricature of an Indigenous person, at most games, and continues to manufacture and sell merchandise with the figure.” . . . Gormley continued: “The Native American Youth and Family Center started the petition two weeks ago, urging the team to permanently switch to a hawk. It’s now nearly reached its goal of 1,500 signatures.” . . . There wasn’t an immediate response from the Winterhawks. . . . Gormley’s story is right here. . . . The Winterhawks are in receivership at the moment and the WHL is searching for a buyer.


Mask


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, writing in his Sunday column about the NHL’s plans for next season: “There is talk of hub cities. There is talk of an All-Canadian division being played, which is all but a certainty. But just as each market and both Canada and the United States are dealing with increased COVID-19 numbers, consider this: On the day the NHL shut down in March, following the NBA, there were 42 positive tests in Ontario. On Saturday, the number was 978.” . . .

——

Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with a suggestion to the NFL “mavens” in his Monday posting: “You have put in place COVID-19 protocols that are purposefully and intelligently designed to reduce the probability of viral transmission. One element of those protocols is that coaches and team staff must wear masks on the sidelines during games.  Obviously, there will be moments when a coach needs to lower his mask to enable others to hear or understand what he is saying; those sorts of brief ‘exposures’ are imperfect but understandable.

“Here is what should not be tolerated:

(1) Coaches, assistant coaches and staff members on the sidelines with masks that cover only their mouth and not their nose.

(2) In the past, the NFL has levied fines for not wearing a mask; coaches with ‘noses out’ should be fined half that amount and the league office only need to watch the television feeds for the games to identify which coaches to collect from.” . . .

——

Quarterback Graham Mertz of the Wisconsin Badgers tested positive after the freshman led his team to a 45-7 season-opening win over Illinois on Friday night. . . . The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on Monday that backup QB Chase Wolf, a sophomore, also has tested positive. . . . Paul Chryst, the Badgers’ head coach, won’t comment on the status of either player. . . .

RB Ryquell Armstead of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars is expected to miss the rest of this season as he works to recover from COVID-19. ESPN has reported that he has twice been hospitalized and has had numerous complications, including “significant respiratory distress.” Armstead is 23. . . .

At least 39 members of the Delta, B.C., fire department were exposed to COVID-19, and a recreational hockey game is getting at least some of the blame. . . . “The game took place early last week,” Vancouver radio station NEWS 1130 reported. “A member of Delta Fire and Emergency Services attended, not knowing they and a family member had the virus. Those who played in the game and others who were later on shift with this person at the department were all exposed to COVID-19. At least 39 members of the department were in isolation at one point.” . . . Firefighters who tested negative have started returning to work, while others await results.


Ghosts


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press reports that D Carson Lambos of the Winnipeg Ice has left the Manitoba capital for Jyväskylä, Finland, where he is skating with JYP of the country’s U-20 league. If his transfer gets done, he could play in games on the weekend. Lambos, 17, is expected to be an early selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft. Sawatzky’s story is right here. . . . The BCHL’s Langley Rivermen have decided they won’t have any American players in their roster this season because of COVID-19. “We just thought it was the right thing to do,” Bobby Henderson, the team’s GM/head coach, told Dan Ferguson of the Langley Advance Times. “Normally, we would be allowed to have six” Americans on the roster. Ferguson’s story is right here.


Jupiter

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if the Canucks can find that much game . . .

Scattershooting


On the evening of Aug. 10, I ordered two Pik Pockets — they are for a WaterPik — from walmart.ca. No, I wasn’t shopping local, but we hadn’t been able to find any . . . until we checked walmart.ca.

Early on the morning of Aug. 13, I got an email informing me that “items in your order are on the move.” The first hint that this was going to be a difficult delivery came when I noticed that the carrier was shown as “USPS.” Yes, that USPS; you know, the one with which Trump and Co. are tinkering.

No matter. The package was on the move. Right?

There is one of those Track Your Shipment buttons in that same email. So . . .

On Aug. 13, at 3:53 p.m., the package arrived in a “shipping partner facility” in Hauppauge, N.Y.

On Aug. 14, at 10 a.m., “shipping label created, usps awaiting item.”

On Aug. 18, at 3:34 p.m., the item “departed shipping partner facility, usps awaiting item.”

On Aug. 18, at 7:19 p.m., “Item arrived at regional facility.” Uhh, it seems that “regional facility” is in Jamaica, N.Y. Apparently, it is an international distribution center.

As of early Monday ET, the item still was in Jamaica. I’m thinking it might turn into a Christmas gift. If the USPS survives Trumpism, that is.



In her latest musings, this one on the CFL’s inability to get a 2020 season off the ground, Patti Dawn Swansson points out that “Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez just forked out $40 million for new digs. Maybe Commish Randy (Ambrosie) should have hit up JLo and ARod instead of Trudeau the Younger for the $30 million.”

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One more note from Swansson, who blogs right here as The River City Renegade: “Interesting how sports sheets across the land played the big CFL story. It was front page news in every rag on the Prairies. It was inside filler in the Toronto Sun (pages 8-9), the Montreal Gazette (page 2) and the Vancouver Sun (pages 6-7). The National Post, meanwhile, ran Scott Stinson’s column on a news page, beside a piece on Peter Nygard and rape. Little wonder that those are Rouge Football’s three worst markets.”


Burger


Headline at TheOnion.com: Manchester United calls up top-rated hooligan from development league.


Headline at fark.com: After sweeping the Marlins and Cardinals, COVID moves on to face the Reds.


Barry Beck, one of the greatest players in WHL history, never will be able to come to grips with the murder of his son Brock, 20, who died on July 26 in Binbrook, Ont., near Hamilton. . . . The Beck family now has started a GoFundMe in the hopes of raising $100,000 as reward money as the search for a killer or killers continues. . . . Postmedia’s Brad Hunter has more right here.


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with a Thought for the Day, this one from Will Rogers: “I’m not really a movie star. I’m still married to the same woman for 28 years.”


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The football team at Vanderbilt U has had to dial it down after the school announced an unknown number of positive tests. The announcement was made Friday, after SEC teams began practising on Monday. The school revealed what it said were a “small number” of positives within the football program. . . . The Commodores had at least five players opt out of the season.  . . .

Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Twenty big-league teams — two-thirds of them, that is — have amassed more strikeouts than hits at the plate this season. Belated 2020 MLB motto: ‘Get a whiff of this!’ ” . . .

Perry, again: “Taking no chances with flying or bussing after the pandemic sidelined them for 17 days, the St. Louis Cardinals took 41 rental cars to get to a doubleheader in Chicago. In baseball parlance, that’s what you call a long line drive.” . . .

Bob Molinaro, in the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, on the folly of trying to play college sports amid a pandemic: “Schools that initially invited students back to campus are quickly discovering what they should have known. When dealing with easily transmissible viruses, dorms are cruise ships without the water.” . . .

Mark Divver later added that “the Alaska teams — Fairbanks and Kenai River — are likely to play in Minnesota until at least Jan. 1. . . . The NAHL plans on opening its regular season on Oct. 9.


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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.


Forget about WHL players skating for junior A teams prior to the WHL’s regular season starting. The WHL is aiming for a Dec. 4 start, with the MJHL hoping to get going on Oct. 9. . . . Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press reports right here that according to sources, “the WHL has decided it will not be releasing roster players to play in the MJHL, Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, Alberta Junior Hockey League or B.C. Hockey League to start 2020-21.”


Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “The NBA informed teams this week they are no longer allowed to report injuries in any kind of general terms. They must use specific reasons and body parts. In other words, none of that ‘unfit to play’ NHL nonsense for the NBA, which has at least one gambling website as an advertiser on its playoff broadcasts.”

That, of course, won’t ever fly with the NHL or a lot of other hockey leagues, what with transparency being Public Enemy No. 1 with shinny people. Watching the Covid Cup playoffs unfold on TV, I wonder if the independent media and the fans are starting to realize just how unimportant, perhaps even meaningless, they are in the NHL’s scheme of things? Does ticket revenue mean much so long as the fans watch on TV and dig deep for the merch?


JUST NOTES: I’m dying here. I stumbled on a Facebook group — Shit Parkers of Kamloops!!! — that would have made me spit out my coffee had I been having breakfast. A quick scan of the pics showed that I’m in the clear, at least for now. . . . Kelly Olynyk, who is from Kamloops, and the Miami Heat get their first chance to eliminate the Indiana Pacers from the NBA playoffs today, 3:30 p.m. PT (TSN), in the NBA bubble in Orlando. On Saturday, Olynyk had nine rebounds, all at the defensive end, in a 124-115 victory that gave the Heat a 3-0 edge in the best-of-seven series. Whenever I watch Olynyk, I have to remind myself that, yes, he’s from Kamloops. . . . Obviously, the Vancouver Canucks are going to have to raise their game if they are to compete with the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL bubble in Edmonton. But can the Canucks get to a level that high? . . . After Sunday night’s 5-0 Vegas victory, the only question left to be answered might be this: Will we ever see G Marc-Andre Fleury get another start for the Golden Knights?


Glitter

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if QMJHL really is going to play without fans . . .

Scattershooting

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The St. Louis Cardinals left for Chicago on Friday, but they weren’t in an airplane or even two or three chartered buses. Instead, the team used 41 rental cars to get them to the site of Saturday’s doubleheader with the White Sox. . . . St. Louis, which had played only five games this season and hadn’t played since July 29, went on to sweep the White Sox, 5-1 and 6-3, to improve its record to 4-3. . . . Remember that in these pandemic times doubleheaders feature two seven-inning games. . . . The Cardinals, who slipped to 4-4 with a 7-2 loss on Sunday, don’t have C Yadier Molina or SS Paul DeJong, who were among the 10 players on the roster who tested positive. . . . They also don’t have assistant coach Willie McGee with them. McGee, 61, who has high blood pressure, has opted out of the remainder of the season. . . .

Meanwhile, an unidentified player with the Cincinnati Reds has tested positive, resulting in the postponement of two weekend games against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates. The teams had split the first two games of the series before Saturday and Sunday games were called off. . . . The Reds are awaiting news on their latest test results, which are due sometime today, before figuring out where to go now. They had been scheduled to open a series with the Royals in Kansas City on Tuesday. . . .

The 18 players off the Miami Marlins’ roster who tested positive during their outbreak have reported to Jupiter, Fla., the site of the NL team’s spring-training site. . . .


Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “A number of NHL general managers are expecting to play next season without fans in the stands and that will create some kind of chaos at the ownership level.” . . . The NHL has plans to open its 2020-21 season on Dec. 1.


Turkeys


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Michael Jordan, after becoming president of the Wizards, traded Laron Profit in retaliation for Profit trash-talking Jordan in practice during their days as Washington teammates. In a related story, rumor has it that Jordan’s TV set still has rabbit ears.”


Another report from Perry: “Seattle cut Kemah Siverand after the rookie cornerback was caught on video trying to sneak a woman — dressed in Seahawks players’ gear — into the NFL team’s hotel. That’s what you call disguising your coverage.”


The 18-team QMJHL says it will return to play on Oct. 1 but that there won’t be any fans qmjhlnewin attendance, at least at games in Quebec. . . . “Following our conversations with both the Provincial Governments and Public Health Agencies, it has been determined that the 2020-21 season will be played behind closed doors in Quebec, while details are currently still being discussed for the Maritimes,” the league said in a news release. . . . Training camps are to open on Aug. 30 with teams allowed to bring in 34 players. . . . With the league split into three divisions, each team will play 60 games without leaving its own division. . . . The league said it will release its playoff format in December. . . . Interestingly, the QMJHL operates under the CHL umbrella with the OHL and WHL. The OHL is aiming to start its regular season on Dec. 1, while the WHL is hoping to open on Dec. 4. . . . The WHL, however, is adamant that it won’t be playing without fans in the pews. . . . Keep in mind that the QMJHL season, including the dates of its open trading sessions, has close ties to the province’s education system. . . . The QMJHL’s news release is right here.


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one from Will Rogers: “Always drink upstream from the herd.”


The AJHL, which had hoped to begin its regular season on Sept. 18, announced Friday ajhlthat it is postponing things. But it didn’t announce another proposed opening date. . . . Instead, it says it will “commence the 2020-21 campaign with a development season beginning Aug. 31.” . . . From the AJHL’s news release: “Within the current boundaries of Hockey Alberta’s Return to Hockey Plan and Stage 2 of Alberta’s Relaunch, the AJHL is unable to enter regular season competition at this time.” . . . More from the news release: “The Development Season will meet the needs of both the League and its athletes by allowing teams to actively prepare for the upcoming season while providing players an opportunity for high-calibre training and development.  Training Camps will be permitted to begin as early as August 31st in all 15 AJHL communities and will run until the AJHL embarks on regular season play.” . . . The complete release is right here.


Aliens


With the Big 12 continuing to plan to play football this fall, nine players at the U of Oklahoma were revealed to have tested positive. Lincoln Riley, the Sooners’ head coach, made the revelation on Saturday. Riley said a couple of others players are in quarantine “due to contract tracing.” . . . The players had been tested after returning following a one-week break. . . . “We’ve done such a tremendous job this entire time,” Riley told reporters during a video conference call. “You know when (you) give players time, there is risk in that. This isn’t the NBA, we don’t have a bubble. We all have to continue to work to do a better job by all accounts. We’re still confident in the plan that we have.” . . . The Sooners are scheduled to open against visiting Missouri State on Sept. 12. . . .

Eli Johnson, Ole Miss’s starting centre, has opted out of the 2020 college football season. His father, David, contracted the virus in March and ended up on a ventilator before recovering. . . . The Rebels are to begin practising today as they aim for a Sept. 26 opener.


From Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle: “Hey, Lou Holtz: I’m no historian, but I’m pretty sure that when our brave soldiers stormed the beach at Normandy, they didn’t do it so you could have a job on TV spouting nonsense.”


The Buffalo News reported on Friday that Seth Appert will be the next head coach of the AHL’s Rochester Americans. Appert, 46, was the head coach of the RPI Engineers for 11 seasons before being fired in 2017. Since then, he has been USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program head coach. . . . In Rochester, Appert replaces Chris Taylor, who was 116-65-33 in three seasons with Rochester. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported that Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill was negotiating a new contract with Taylor earlier this summer. However, Botterill was fired in June and Taylor was among 22 employees who were swept out of the organization shortly thereafter.


Zach16

 

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, click right here.


If you’re a CFL fan, you will want to check out the work being turned in by Ed Tait, a veteran football writer, at bluebombers.com. . . . Tait, a longtime keyboard warrior with the Winnipeg Free Press, works for the Blue Bombers now and provides their website with a lot of great reads. Don’t believe me? Check out First & 10: The CFL’s U.S. Expansion right here.


With the Cleveland Indians thinking about changing their nickname, Greg Cote of the Miami Herald offered this tip: “I hear ‘Cleveland Baseball Team’ is still available.”


Avocado

Edmonton and Toronto, here’s pulling for you . . . What happened to the Matthews story? . . . Soetaert at top of KCYHA

Mask


One of these days, the NHL will get around to naming the two hub cities in which it hopes to finish its season.

Here’s Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province with his take on things and, yes, as someone who lives in B.C., I agree with him:

“Admittedly, this comes down to a question of optics. For over three months, British Columbians have followed the guidelines of the public health authority with a single-minded purpose, sacrificing to keep themselves and their neighbours safe and healthy.

“We can be proud of those efforts and they’ve created some of the best COVID-related numbers in North America. But they weren’t made so we could throw our doors open to the NHL and an ersatz Stanley Cup tournament which will benefit a couple of hotels and the food-delivery industry.

“These games will take place, the virus willing, and we’ll be watching. But if Edmonton or Toronto wants them that badly, they can have them.”

Willes’s complete column is right here.

The NHL is reportedly down to six cities — Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Chicago — and is expected to announce the two choices this week.

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If you haven’t seen it, Willes also had an excellent column that carried this headline: The story behind the story about Auston Matthews’ positive test is bewildering. . . . Postmedia’s Steve Simmons broke the Matthews story, and there were other outlets, some of them of the bigly variety, who ignored it. . . . This is all about how some media types have a vested interest in some of what they cover, so perhaps the consumer isn’t getting the whole story. . . . The complete column is right here.



With MLB poised to open training camps on July 1, Kyle Newman of the Denver Post reports that all-star OF Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies and two team-mates, LHR Phillip Diehl and RHP Ryan Castellani, have tested positive for the coronavirus at Coors Field in Denver. . . .

According to ESPN, Nikola Jokic, an all-star centre with the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, tested positive for the coronavirus in Serbia before he could leave to join his teammates in the U.S. . . . Michael Malone, the Nuggest’s head coach, has disclosed that he had the virus in late March. . . .

Jokic was at a recent tennis tournament hosted by fellow-Serb Novak Djokovic in Belgrade. Djokovic, the world’s No. 1 men’s player, also has tested positive, as has his wife Jelena. . . . Three other players — Borna Coric, Grigor Dimitrov and Viktor Troicki — also tested positive after playing in the exhibition tournament. . . .

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday night that G Avery Bradley of the Los Angeles Lakers has chosen to opt out of the re-start of the NBA season in Orlando, Fla. . . . Trevor Ariza of the Portland Trail Blazers and Davis Bertans of the Washington Wizards also are reported to have opted out. . . .

The Philadelphia Phillies announced Tuesday that two more players and two more staff members have tested positive. One player and the two staffers were in Clearwater, Fla., the site of the Phillies’ training facility. The other player was somewhere else. . . . The Phillies now have had seven players and five staffers come up positive. . . .

The Pittsburgh Steelers had two players test positive earlier this year. Head coach Mike Tomlin said both have recovered and are back at work. . . .

Karate’s 2020 world championships have been postponed. They were to have been held in Dubai, Nov. 17-22. The next worlds are scheduled for Dubai, Nov. 16-21, 2021. . . .

Seven soccer players in France, four from Toulouse and three from Paris Saint-Germain, have tested positive. PSG also had a staff member test positive. . . . The PSG players have resumed training. . . . The Toulouse players were tested on Monday as the team prepared to resume training. . . .

The Orlando Pride withdrew from the National Women’s Soccer League tournament that is scheduled to start Saturday near Salt Lake City. . . . The move, which left the tournament with eight teams, came after six players and four staffers tested positive. . . . On Tuesday, three players, all members of the U.S. national team, said they won’t play, either. Tobin Heath of the Portland Thorns and Christen Press of the Utah Royals cited health concerns. It’s not known why Megan Rapinoe of the OL Reign opted out.




A note from Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, from his Monday posting:

“Back in March, the NBA shut down its operations entirely when one player — ONE player — tested positive for COVID-19. In March, the number of known/active cases for COVID-19 in the U.S. was less than 75,000 and there had been about 1,500 deaths ascribed to COVID-19. The latest data I can find says that COVID-19 cases in the U.S. now total more than 2.2 million and that there have been approximately 115,000 deaths. So, what is the NBA considering today? Reopening their season-interruptus in a bubble environment in Florida — one of those states where case numbers are on the rise. Do those two actions make any sense to you once you juxtapose them? They do if dollars and cents take precedence over health and safety concerns.”

His complete post is right here.


“A Pawtucket, R.I., brewery — taking a swipe at Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski for bolting the Patriots for the Buccaneers — has come out with a new beer named ‘Traitorade,’” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “It’s an imperial fruit sour with sea salt, reviewers say, with maybe just a hint of sour grapes.”

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Here’s Perry, with a coffee-spitter: “Disease czar Dr. Anthony Fauci has advised against playing baseball deep into October. No problem, said the Seattle Mariners.”


Office


Garrett Taylor, who is the co-signee with Daniel Carcillo on a class-action lawsuit against the CHL that was filed last week, is 29 and claims to have health issues left over from abuse he faced in the WHL. . . . Ken Campbell of The Hockey News writes:

“The statement of claim refers to the incident as ‘the garbage bag treatment,’ a term that is well known in junior hockey circles that refers to when a player is dropped by his team. Kim Taylor said when her son was reassigned, there were no calls made to any of her, Taylor’s agent or his billet family. Nor was he given any money or further direction. The lawsuit alleges that he was told the news in front of the team and had to retrieve his belongings from the bus and his equipment from the storage area.”

Campbell has more on the Taylors right here.

Two years ago, the WHL acknowledged wrongdoing in how Taylor was treated when he was cut by the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Kim Taylor and two former WHL players were questioned by an Oregon Senate committee that was considering a request by the WHL to have Portland Winterhawks players exempted from Oregon’s minimum wage legislation. . . . The committee didn’t grant the WHL’s request. . . . After the hearing, the WHL hired a former RCMP deputy commissioner, Craig Callens, to conduct an investigation into 14 allegations of mistreatment that emerged from the hearing. In July 2018, Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, announced that Taylor’s allegation was the only one of the 14 to be “supported by the evidence collected.” . . . In his statement, Robison said: “With respect to the one allegation that was supported in the investigation, the WHL will take the necessary steps to introduce a new policy in this area as it relates to the release or trading of players.” . . . The WHL hasn’t revealed what “necessary steps” it has taken; nor has it released Callens’ report.



Doug Soetaert, a former WHL goaltender and later general manager of the Everett Silvertips, has taken over as the president and executive director of the Kansas City Youth Hockey Association. . . . Soetaert was the head coach, and later the general manager, of the Kansas City Blades as they entered the International Hockey League for the 1990-91 season. From 1991-2001, he was the GM. . . . The Blades won the Turner Cup and Soetaert was the executive of the year for 1991-92. . . . He has since settled in Kansas City. . . . Soetaert, now 64, played four seasons (1971-75) for the Edmonton Oil Kings. He was Everett’s first GM and spent nine seasons (2002-05, 2006-12) with the Silvertips.



Once upon a time there was a hockey player named Rick Herbert. In the days before 15-Patsyear-olds having to apply for exceptional status in order to play regularly in the WHL, he made the Regina Pats’ roster for the 1982-83 season. Of course, the Pats gave up seven players in order to be able to select him in the 1982 WHL draft. . . . How did it work out for him? “It turned me off for life,” Herbert, now 52, told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post. ““I haven’t put on my skates to play in a hockey game in 30 years. I don’t pay attention to it.” . . . Not since Herbert, who lives in Kelowna, has anyone played regularly for the Pats at the age of 15. . . . F Connor Bedard will be the next one, and Herbert said: “I’ll be watching from Kelowna.” . . . Harder’s excellent story is right here.


Headline at fark.com: NBA players get fancy rings that can detect COVID symptoms early. You get a dirty mask to wear while getting yelled at by people in the grocery store.


AllWrong


Greg Gilbert is the new head coach of the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs. Gilbert, a 58-year-old veteran coach, is a former head coach of the NHL’s Calgary Flames. . . . He also spent eight seasons as an OHL head coach, three (2003-06) with the Mississauga IceDogs and five (2011-16) with the Saginaw Spirit. . . . He has worked the last four seasons as an analyst with TSN. . . . In Saint John, he takes over from interim head coach Jeff Cowan, who replaced the fired Josh Dixon on Dec. 2. Cowan will stay on as an assistant coach. . . . Last season, the Sea Dogs were  30-33-1 and tied for 10th in the 18-team league when the pandemic halted proceedings.


Daniel Lacroix is returning for his first full season as head coach of the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats. Lacroix took over as the Wildcats’ head coach in December, and the team went 26-6 with him in charge, including a 16-game winning streak. . . . Earlier in his career, he spent four seasons (2002-07) on Moncton’s coaching staff, taking over as head coach during his third season there. . . . Before returning to Moncton last season, he was the head coach of the Lithuanian national team. . . . He also has ample experience as an NHL assistant, having worked with the New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens. . . . As well, Ritchie Thibeau, who had been the Wildcats’ interim director of hockey operations, has moved into the role in a permanent capacity. . . . The Wildcats had dismissed John Torchetti, the director of hockey operations and head coach, in December.


After ESPN’s 30-for-30 documentary Long Gone Summer, about the Mark McGwire vs. Sammy Sosa bulked up home run derby of 1998, Phil Mushnick of the New York Post summed it up: “ESPN doc tests negative for ’roids.”


Delivery