OHL aiming for Dec. 1 start . . . 2021 Memorial Cup gets June 17 start . . . WHL update expected today

The OHL announced Wednesday that it is hoping to begin a 64-game regular schedule on ohlDec. 1. It would end on April 29, with 16 of its 20 teams moving into playoffs. . . . The OHL also revealed that the plan is for the 2021 Memorial Cup to be played from June 17-27 with either the Oshawa Generals or Soo Greyhounds the host team. . . . Here’s David Branch, the OHL commissioner, in a news release: “Players will remain at home until the season resumes and teams will work closely with them on both their academic studies and overseeing their on- and off-ice development. In addition, the league will liaise with our facilities to ensure that our venues are safe for our return to play.”

The WHL, which earlier said that it hoped to begin play on Oct. 2, is expected to announce today — governors chatted on Wednesday — that it has moved that date to early December. I am told that date could be Dec. 4 and that the WHL schedule is expected to include 68 games for each of the 22 teams. Teams will spend the first two months playing inside their own divisions. . . . Of course, among a whole lot of other things, like testing and tracing, the WHL still will have to solve the U.S.-Canada border conundrum and the fact that, at least in B.C., large gatherings aren’t likely to be allowed by health officials until at least the new year.

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What follows are 2020-21 starting dates as proposed by various hockey leagues:

AHL: Dec. 4

AJHL: Sept. 18

BCHL: Dec. 1

ECHL: Dec. 4

KHL: Sept. 2

KIJHL: Oct. 2

MJHL: ??

NAHL: Oct. 9

NHL: Dec. 1

OHL: Dec. 1

Pacific Junior Hockey League: Sept. 29

QMJHL: Oct. 1

SJHL: Sept. 25

USHL: ??

Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League: Sept. 7 (48 games), Oct. 12 (40), Nov. 16 (40), Dec. 14 (32)

WHL: Oct. 2

(NOTE: These were compiled off the Internet and from news releases. Feel free to email greggdrinnan@gmail.com with additions or corrections.)


Pandemic


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

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The ECHL was to have started its 2020-21 regular season on Oct. 16. It announced Wednesday that it now hopes to get started on Dec. 4, with teams playing a full 72-game schedule. . . .

The NBA announced Wednesday that it conducted 343 tests over the previous week with no positives. In the two weeks before that it conducted 344 and 346 tests without any positive tests. . . . The NBA has its teams in a bubble in Orlando, Fla., as it works toward finishing its season. . . .

The U of Connecticut has cancelled its 2020 football season, citing the coronavirus pandemic. UConn, which left the American Athletic Conference after last season (when it finished 2-10), was to play this season as an independent. . . . It is the first FBS school to cancel its season. . . . The Huskies’ roster includes two Canadian quarterbacks — Jack Zergiotis of Montreal and Jonathan Senecal of Quebec City. . . . Here’s David Benedict, the school’s athletic director, in a news release: ”After receiving guidance from state and public health officials and consulting with football student-athletes, we’ve decided that we will not compete on the gridiron this season. The safety challenges created by COVID-19 place our football student-athletes at an unacceptable level of risk.” . . .

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The U of Louisville has suspended all activities involving its men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey and volleyball teams after 29 players on the four teams tested positive. A number of other teammates and student-athletes from other sports are in quarantine after contact tracing. The primary source of the outbreak apparently was an off-campus party. . . .

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Fiji


Enio Sacilotto has taken over as the head coach of the Vancouver Northwest Hawks U15 AAA team. . . . Sacilotto, 62, spent the past three seasons at the West Van Academy. . . . He has extensive coaching experience in Europe, including with the Croatian national team program. . . .  He also spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Chilliwack Bruins/Victoria Royals.


The Regina Pats announced on June 29 that Phil Andrews, their director of media and communications, was leaving the club effective July 31. On Wednesday, Andrews, who also has been the club’s play-by-play voice, tweeted that he will be hanging around for a while longer. . . . It seems that he will be with the Pats until the whole pandemic thing gets sorted out and there is more definition surrounding the start of a new season.


Old

Nicknames: To change, or not to change, that is the question . . . Top NASCAR driver tests positive . . . Hockey Canada cancels U-17 WHC

In a recent editorial, the Washington Post called for Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins, to change the NFL team’s nickname.

Asked by USA Today in 2013 if he would change the name, Snyder replied: “NEVER — you can use caps.”

But now, with Black Lives Matter front and centre, the pressure is on again.

From The Post’s View:

“Already, institutions across the board have been forced to take stock of how their practices and policies and — yes — even the names and symbols of their products have contributed to racial misunderstanding and prejudice. Quaker Oats announced it was getting rid of Aunt Jemima from its syrup and pancake mixes, and Uncle Ben and Mrs. Butterworth seem sure to follow. . . . Events DC, which manages RFK Stadium in Washington, removed a statue of George Preston Marshall, who as owner of the local football team refused to allow black players for as long as he possibly could. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently admitted to — and apologized for — not listening to players about systemic racism and police brutality against African Americans. He also must know it is wrong for a team to have a name that the dictionary defines as a racial slur and that no one would ever use to address a person who is a Native American.

“This should be an easy call. Mr. Snyder — or, if Mr. Snyder refuses to back down from his declaration of ‘NEVER,’ the NFL — should take advantage of this singular moment in history to get on the right side of history. Change the name. NOW.”

It seems that a name change is imminent, what with various sponsors and other businesses with ties to the NFL team now applying pressure.

FedEx, which agreed to a naming rights deal for the stadium in which the team plays, has asked Snyder to change the name. Frederick W. Smith, FedEx’s CEO and chairman, is a minority owner of the team.

Nike has taken the team’s merchandise from its online store, but has yet to offer an explanation.

Officials with Pepsi and Bank of America also have indicated that they want to see a name change.

“It’s not hard to change the name,” Tony Dungy, who is well-respected in NFL circles, told William C. Rhoden of The Undefeated.

Meanwhile, you can add Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream to the list of name-changers, too, because management told Reuters the other day that it will change the brand name of its Eskimo Pie ice cream stick.

Yes, the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos are facing pressure — again — to come up with a new nickname.

Simon Fraser University, which is located in Burnaby, almost surely will be changing its nickname — Clan — at some point in the coming months after 97 per cent of student-athletes voted to get rid of it. The athletes, it seems, are tired of being asked about the nickname, especially when they journey south to play against U.S. schools.

And the Cleveland Indians say they are ready to discuss a change. They issued a release on Friday that read, in part: “We are committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name.”

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Here’s Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot, on the nickname situation involving the Washington NFLers: “It’s been theorized that a fan boycott might convince Snyder to change the team’s name. But judging from attendance at FedEx Field the last few years, how could anybody tell if there was a boycott?”

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With all of that, allow me to place this on the table . . .

There are four WHL teams with nicknames and logos that refer in one way or another to Native American or Canadian First Nations peoples — the Moose Jaw Warriors, Portland Winterhawks, Seattle Thunderbirds and Spokane Chiefs.

In November 2014, the Prince Albert Raiders received some heat when they unveiled a new mascot — Boston Raider — that was sponsored by a pizza joint. But, as Adam Proteau wrote in The Hockey News, “The new mascot’s appearance does not sit well with a number of people who believe it stereotypes those of Middle Eastern heritage.”

The mascot, which also paid tribute to the Raiders’ original logo, quickly and quietly disappeared, with the club apologizing to anyone who may have been been offended.

The Raiders really didn’t mean anything with what they felt was a simple marketing move.

The WHL franchises in Moose Jaw, Portland, Seattle and Spokane aren’t trying to be offensive with their nicknames, either.

But with all that’s going on right now, should they be changing their nicknames to, as the Washington Post editorial read, “get on the right side of history,” or is it OK to maintain the status quo?

Maybe the WHL and one, two three or all of those franchises should take action now and, in doing so, get in front of things . . . instead of having to react at a later date.

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Prescrip


Jimmie Johnson, with seven NASCAR titles under his belt, has tested positive and will miss this weekend’s races at Indy. He will have to have two negative tests within a 24-hour period before being allowed to return to racing. . . . Going into this weekend, Johnson had made 663 consecutive starts. In fact, he has never missed a start in his career. . . . According to Jeff Gluck, who covers NASCAR like a blanket for The Athletic, Johnson “got tested (Friday) after learning wife Chani tested positive.” . . . Justin Allgaier will drive the No. 48 in Sunday’s Brickyard 400. . . .

Jeremy Rutherford and Scott Burnside of The Athletic reported Friday evening that, according to sources, the NHL’s St. Louis Blues have cancelled practices at their facility because of “multiple” positive tests. . . . The Blues skated on Thursday at the facility, but not on Friday. . . .

Hockey Canada has cancelled the 2020 World U-17 Hockey Challenge that was to have been played in Charlottetown and Summerside, P.E.I., from Oct. 31 through Nov. 7. . . . The 2021 event will be held in those communities. . . . Hockey Canada also said that its remaining 2020 schedule remains unchanged, including the National Women’s U-18 Championship, Nov. 2-8, in Dawson Creek, B.C.; the Para Hockey Cup, Dec. 6-12, in Bridgewater, N.S.; the World Junior A Challenge, Dec. 13-20, in Cornwall, Ont.; and the 2021 World Junior Championship, Dec. 26 through Jan. 5 in Edmonton and Red Deer. . . .


MLB and the MLBPA announced Friday that positive tests total 31 players and seven staff members with teams having opened workouts to prepare for a July 23 opening day. . . . Identities of those testing positive aren’t being released, although OF Delino DeShields Jr. of the Cleveland Indians gave the team permission to reveal that he tested positive. . . . The Minnesota Twins said they have had four players test positive, including C Willians Astudillo, P Edwar Colina and INF Nick Gordon. The identity of the fourth player wasn’t released. . . .

The 2020 All-Star Game that was to have been played at Dodgers Stadium has been cancelled. The game had been scheduled for July 14. . . . This will be the first year since 1945 that an all-star game hasn’t been played. . . . The 2021 game is scheduled for Atlanta, and the 2022 game now is to be played in Los Angeles.


Psychic


“As organized sports attempt to return during the COVID-19 pandemic, athletes, coaches, spectators and bystanders will all be expected to sign liability waivers,” writes Michael McCann of Sportico. “Everyone associated with the games will have to accept, in so many words, that he or she (1) assumes the risk of contracting COVID-19 through their participation and (2) agrees that the organizer—be it a league, team, venue, college or even high school—would not be liable for any COVID-19 related harms.

“This is not just true of players, coaches and referees. According to The Athletic, the NFL is weighing the possibility of mandating that ticket-holders sign COVID-19 waivers as a condition of stadium entry.”

McCann is an attorney and law professor who writes on sports and law. In this piece right here, he writes on the potential legality of these waivers in the U.S.



Had to go to a small grocery store on Friday afternoon. Might have been two dozen people in it. I saw one mask. I was wearing it. . . . Come on people. Be better. . . .

If you’re wondering what we’re dealing with here, go to Twitter and check out the thread accompanying the tweet below . . .


Cat

Scattershooting after CFL’s big day . . . Carcillo tweets a bullying story . . . Silvertips take care of Winterhawks

Scattershooting

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, with the details on one of 2018’s greatest sporting controversies: “Wesley Harms blamed his 10-2 semifinal loss to two-time world champion Gary Anderson at the Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton, England, on Anderson fouling the air with flatulence, telling Dutch TV station RTL7L: ‘It’ll take me two nights to lose this smell from my nose.’ Anderson, however, vehemently denied his triumph was wind-aided.”



Mick McGeough, who suffered a stroke on Sunday and was taken off life support by his family later in the week, was one of a kind as a WHL/NHL referee. Had referees worn microphones when he was working, he may never have had his in the ‘off’ position. Yes, he was Wes McCauley before Wes McCauley. . . . Condolences to Mick’s family, friends and associates.


You may have heard the buzz recently about John Dorsey, the general manager of the Cleveland Browns, saying that he might think about Condoleezza Rice, the former U.S. secretary of state, as the NFL team’s next head coach. Here’s what old friend Jack Finarelli of SportsCurmudgeon.com thought of that: “If he said that as part of a stand-up comedy routine, maybe it would work in that context; in just about any other context, it is about as dumb as an inflatable dart board.”


Just wondering, but do stores in the U.S. have Black (whatever-day-of-the-week-it-is) sales on the day after Canadian Thanksgiving?



Yes, I ventured into a few stores on Friday afternoon. I was quickly reminded that we are into the time of year when many shoppers are in surly moods. It’s also the time of year when the number of phone-gazing shoppers clogging aisles seems to quadruple. So be careful out there.



Headline at The Onion (@TheOnion): 42 Million Dead in Bloodiest Black Friday Weekend on Record


Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors wasn’t injured in a car accident on Friday morning. “I think he has another car that can drive,” offered a joking Steve Kerr, the NBA team’s head coach. . . . That brought this tweet from Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle: “Bob (Butterbean) Love, former NBA great, once called to say he’d miss practice due to car trouble. A teammate said, ‘Must be an epidemic. Bean’s got six cars.’ ”



Is it just me or is Brian Burke working hard at becoming another Don Cherry, only without the wardrobe?


Blogger Tony Chong of Richmond, B.C., is back with us after a brief absence, and he is wondering “why doesn’t E. coli or listeria ever affect brussel sprouts?”


Beaters


Headline at SportsPickle.com: Steelers are clearly distracted by not having Le’Veon Bell as a distraction


When the gap in a football game is seven or eight points, why do announcers insist on calling it a one-score game? Excuse me, but the trailing team still needs a touchdown and a one- or two-point conversion to pull even. By my math that’s two scores.


Cartoon


ThisThat

Daniel Carcillo’s NHL career included 429 games and 1,233 penalty minutes, so you know what his role was with the teams for which he played — the Phoenix Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers.

Before reaching the NHL, he played 161 regular-season games in the OHL (2002-05) — 141 with the Sarnia Sting and 20 with the Mississauga IceDogs.

These days, Carcillo, as he puts it on his Twitter page, is a “Mental Health/Concussion/TBI Advocate.”

On Saturday, in a series of 15 tweets that started with a hashtag — #BullyingAwarenessWeek — Carcillo detailed the treatment he received as a rookie with the Sting. As you read this, don’t think for a minute that players on other teams throughout junior hockey weren’t subjected to similar hazings back in the day.

I have taken Carcillo’s 15 tweets and strung them together. Here is Carcillo’s story . . .

The year is 2002-2003 I am 17 turning 18 yrs old & it’s my @NHL draft year

I moved away from home, family & friends, to play hockey in the @OHLHockey for the @StingHockey

I endured daily bullying/abuse at the hands of veteran players.

Below is my story . . .

Moving away from everyone you’ve ever known is hard

Living with strangers is, well, strange

Going to a new high school isn’t easy

Daily practices, workouts, long travel times for games are gruelling

Playing against 21 yr olds when you are 17 is intimidating

Having your teammates beat you on a daily basis with the sawed off paddle of a goaltender’s hockey stick, takes both a physical & mental toll on a teenager

I remember being so confused at the beginning of the yr

I remember thinking to myself, “If this is part of the process, just shut your mouth & bide your time”

Another thought that often came to mind is why

Why are my teammates demeaning the youngest players on the team?

Do they think this will create team unity?

What did we do?

You can only whip a horse so much before it quits on you, & that’s exactly what happened my rookie year in the #OHL

There were 12 of us who were rookies

Most of us held strong until the latter part of the year, when we had a game against the @GoLondonKnights in London

It’s a fairly short bus ride from London to Sarnia, about 45 min when you are sitting in a bus seat

If you are stuffed inside the bus washroom with 6-7 other rookies, while veterans hurl their spit from chewing tobacco through a vent in the door at you, 45 mins can feel like an eternity.

2 of us had had enough

We came out of the washroom swinging

Needless to say we never got the “hot box” treatment again

I can go on & speak about the other abuses many of us had to endure that year, but that will be in the book, along with names of those responsible

Since our coaches almost seemed to condone and encourage this kind of behaviour, & our GM hired the coaches, I didn’t know who I could trust.

So I sent a letter to the Commissioner of the league, David Branch, explaining exactly what 12 of us had to endure on a daily basis

I am speaking honestly about this story bc I want ppl to know that you do not have to accept what bullies tell u

The guys beating me on a daily basis & degrading me, were also the ones I hung out with at night at the movies

The abuse didn’t stop

It was constant

My abusers would say things like “don’t worry man, you’re going to be able to do this to the rookies next year!”
I can remember thinking at that exact moment…

‘Why would I ever want to make someone feel this way, let alone my teammate?’

How did I get through that year?

It was my draft year, & I was singularly focused on my goal of making something of myself

Nothing was going to get in my way

No opponent or bully

Everything happens for a reason

We finished in 1st place in the #OHL but we made a 1st round exit out of the playoffs, losing to the Guelph Storm

Remember what I said about the horse?

You guessed it

All the rookies had quit on the veterans

A conscious decision

I can remember the talk the over-ager gave, a desperate plea after the 1st. period of game 4

He was crying

It didn’t matter

Many of us were broken now

Damaged not only from the game, but from the constant bullying & physical & mental abuse

Emotional lacerations that aren’t easy to stitch up

Bc of our first round exit & the yr I had, I was invited to play for @TeamCanada at the U-18s in Yaroslavl, Russia

The tournament was packed with scouts

We won the Gold Medal

I ended up being drafted 73rd overall to the @penguins in the 2003 #NHL entry draft

Everything happens for a reason!

Don’t discredit times of suffering

Through pain, both emotional & physical, I have discovered who I am

If u r experiencing bullying/abuse of any kind & u don’t know what to do, confide in someone you trust for advice.


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Everett Silvertips snapped a 1-1 tie with three straight goals en route to a 5-3 victory Everettover the Winterhawks in Portland. . . . Everett (19-7-1) has points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Silvertips lead the Western Conference by five points over the Vancouver Giants (16-6-2) and the U.S. Division by nine points over the Winterhawks (14-9-2). . . . F Martin Fasko-Rudas gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 1:53 of the first period, only to have D Jared Freadrich (3) pull Portland even at 5:05. . . . Fasko-Rudas, who has six goals, broke the tie at 8:20, and F Reece Vitelli made it 3-1 at 16:11. . . . Everett went ahead 4-1 when F Luke Ormsby (2) counted at 17:34. . . . The Winterhawks made things interesting on goals from F Michal Kvasnica (2), at 18:01 of the second, and F Joachim Blichfeld (21), on a PP, at 9:27 of the third. . . . F Connor Dewar (21) wrapped it up for Everett with an empty-netter at 19:31. . . . Fasko-Rudas, a Slovakian sophomore, enjoyed the first two-goal game of his career. He has six goals and seven assists in 27 games this season, after putting up six goals and nine assists in 70 games last season. . . . Everett was awarded only two assists on its five goals and one of those went to G Dustin Wolf. . . . Glass ran his point streak to 12 games with one assist. In those 12 games, he has five goals and 18 helpers. . . . These teams will meet again Wednesday, this time in Everett.


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