Robison: WHLers completely vaccinated as its regular season begins . . . OHL hires female linesperson, too . . . SJHL lowers boom on Millionaires


The WHL opens is 2021-22 regular season tonight (Friday) with seven games — WHL2in Brandon, Lethbridge, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Swift Current, Edmonton and Kennewick, Wash. . . . If you are planning to attend a game, make sure you check to see what restrictions are in place in terms of requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test, etc. And please be patient when entering the arena, keeping in mind that the folks doing the checking aren’t the ones who put the restrictions in place.

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As the WHL opens its 2021-22 regular season, Ron Robison, its commissioner, said all is well with its vaccination mandate. . . . “We received excellent co-operation on that level,” Robison said in a video posted to the WHL’s website. “Prior to mandating, we had over 95 per cent and now we have 100 per cent of the players and staff fully vaccinated.”


The Jacksonville Jaguars are 0-4 after losing, 24-21, to the Bengals in Cincinnati on a last-play field goal on Thursday night.


Kirsten Welsh worked a game between the host Mississauga Steelheads and the OHLGuelph Storm on Thursday night, become the first female linesperson in OHL history. Welsh, from Blackstock, Ont., will be a part of the OHL’s officiating team for the 2021-22 season. . . . Welsh’s OHL debut came six nights after Alex Clarke, from Weyburn, Sask., became the first female linesperson in WHL history when she worked an exhibition game between the Regina Pats and host Moose Jaw Warriors. She will be working WHL games all of this season.


Gators


The SJHL’s Melville Millionaires haven’t had a good start to their season. . . . MelvilleThe league announced on Sept. 23 that the team was being shut down indefinitely due to a positive COVID-19 test within the organization. . . . Now the league has suspended general manager/head coach Mike Rooney and five players for a total of 35 games for their involvement in “an incident on Friday, Sept. 24.” . . . Rooney drew a 10-game suspension and also was fined $1,500. . . . The SJHL hit each of the five players with a five-game suspension — G Alexis Giroux, 19; F Braden Larochelle, 20; D Aiden Robson, 19; F Nicolas Samson, 19; and F Charles Thomas-Larochelle, 18. . . . Steven Wilson of discoverweyburn.com reported that the discipline was handed down “after an off-ice incident,” but added “the exact nature of the incident was not disclosed by the league.” . . . The Millionaires were to have opened the regular season on Sept. 24 against the host Weyburn Red Wings. That game was postponed as were games scheduled for Sept. 25 and 29, and Oct. 1. The next Melville game on the schedule is Sunday against the host Kindersley Klippers. . . . With Rooney ineligible, one would suppose that first-year assistant coach Daven Smith will run the bench.


Yes, Thanksgiving almost is upon us; at least, it is in Canada . . . but it’s never too early for this . . .


Vaccine


The New York Times has a daily email — The Daily — that subscribers can choose to receive. I found this interesting on Thursday morning:

“The United States owes its existence as a nation partly to an immunization mandate.

“In 1777, smallpox was a big enough problem for the bedraggled American army that George Washington thought it could jeopardize the Revolution. An outbreak had already led to one American defeat, at the Battle of Quebec. To prevent more, Washington ordered immunizations — done quietly, so the British would not hear how many Americans were sick — for all troops who had not yet had the virus.

“It worked. The number of smallpox cases plummeted, and Washington’s army survived a war of attrition against the world’s most powerful country. The immunization mandate, as Ron Chernow wrote in his 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Washington, ‘was as important as any military measure Washington adopted during the war.’

“In the decades that followed, immunization treatments became safer (the Revolutionary War method killed 2 percent or 3 percent of recipients), and mandates became more common, in the military and beyond. They also tended to generate hostility from a small minority of Americans.”


Brain


Were you even aware that there was a Ukrainian Hockey League before one player showed his racist side and then got less than a slap on the wrist for his disgusting action? . . . And now it isn’t about to go way. Let’s be honest here; the offender should have gotten a life sentence from hockey. Period. . . . Eugene Kolychev, who had been the league’s general manager, spoke out in favour of harsher discipline and was fired the next day. . . . And we wonder why this stuff just won’t go away. . . . It seems to me that the puck now is in the IIHF’s end of the ice.


Ankle


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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Former NHLer Andrei Nazarov (San Jose, Tampa Bay, Calgary, Anaheim, Boston, Phoenix, Minnesota, 1993-06) is back in the coaching game in the KHL. HK Sochi has fired head coach Evgeny Stavrovsky and replaced him with Nazarov, an ex-NHL enforcer who hasn’t had a coaching job since Neftekhimik fired him almost three years ago.


Cigar

Blue Jackets’ prexy: We want our people vaccinated . . . Report: Kraken players all vaccinated . . . U.S. keeping border closed for at least another month

When the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets revealed their training camp roster on JacketsTuesday, F Zac Rinaldo’s name was nowhere to be found even though they had signed him as a free agent to a two-way contract last month — US$750,000 in the NHL, $275,000 in the AHL. . . . John Davidson, the Blue Jackets’ president of hockey operations, explained that Rinaldo “is not vaccinated and because of that — and that’s his decision — the plan is to start him in the American Hockey League and he will not be coming to our training camp.” . . . And wouldn’t you love to know what the other players in the Cleveland Monsters’ camp think about that? . . . Rinaldo, 31, was pointless in five games with the Calgary Flames last season. . . . Davidson also said: “When you read the amount of players, the percentage that have been vaccinated, it’s a big, big number. There’s very few who aren’t, and that’s their own personal choice. I’m not going to sit here and tell them what to do, even though I’d like to see the whole world get vaccinated. My daughter’s a doctor. She believes in this, and I believe in her because she’s a whole lot smarter than I am. I’d like to see the whole world get vaccinated. We have a responsibility as the leaders of the organization. We want our people vaccinated. We want them wearing masks as much as possible.” . . . Earlier this month, the Blue Jackets dumped assistant coach Sylvain Lefebvre after he chose not to get vaccinated. . . . It’s interesting, too, that the Blue Jackets’ training camp is presented by Ohio Health, which bills itself as “a family of not-for-profit, faith-based hospitals & healthcare organizations.” . . .

Aaron Portzline of The Athletic later tweeted: “Told the NHL Players’ Association is reviewing the #CBJ decision to ban forward Zac Rinaldo from attending #NHL training camp because he’s not vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.”

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CBC News — “COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have climbed to an average of more than 1,900 a day for the first time since early March, with experts saying the virus is preying largely on a distinct group: 71 million unvaccinated Americans.”

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Meanwhile, Lou Lamoriello, the president of hockey operations and general manager of the New York Islanders, told reporters on Tuesday that everyone in that organization is vaccinated, with the exception of one player. “That is his voluntary decision not to be vaccinated,” said Lamoriello, who didn’t identify the player. Stephen Whyno of The Associated Press tweeted that the Islanders are “looking to assign him to Europe. (He) won’t be invited to camp.”



Taco


Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times wrote Tuesday that he has been told that 100 Krakenper cent of the Seattle Kraken’s players are fully vaccinated “even though general manager Ron Francis said he wasn’t authorized to comment.” . . . In an interesting piece, Baker writes: “Given our city’s dark history with pandemics and hockey, it’s a relief to see Kraken players aren’t testing the resolve of both the team and most of the local community. With the 1919 Stanley Cup final in Seattle still the lone major sports championship ever canceled by a pandemic that also killed some players and maybe coaches as well, it’s good to see the league and Players’ Association getting tough about vaccine compliance.” . . . Baker’s piece, which is well worth a read, is right here.


Weight


Officials with a pair of American junior hockey teams said late last month that they had players who chose not to get vaccinated. In a Spokane Spokesman-Review story written by Dan Thompson and published on Aug. 26, Bob Tobiason, the owner of the junior B Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, and Bliss Littler, the general manager of the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild, both say they experienced that situation. . . . “Some of the kids, they were willing to get vaccinated,” Tobiason said, “but there were quite a few who weren’t gonna do it.” The Braves announced last month that they will sit out their second straight KIJHL season. . . . “Did we lose a player or two? Yeah, we did, a few kids who didn’t wanna get a shot,” Littler said. “But there’s a lot of kids who wanna play in the BCHL.” . . . The Wild sat out last season, but it’s full steam ahead right now, although it is scheduled to play its first eight regular-season games in B.C., as the league hopes for the U.S. to open its border in the near future. The Wild’s home-opener is scheduled for Nov. 12. . . . Thompson’s story is right here.



The U.S. government said Monday that it will keep its land border with Canada closed at least until Oct. 21. It has been closed since March 2020. . . . Interestingly, fully vaccinated Americans have been allowed entry to Canada since Aug. 9. . . . The WHL, of course, is watching this with great interest because the closure already has resulted in major schedule revisions. The league’s original plan for 2021-22 was to have teams playing within their conferences. But because the border is closed to southbound traffic, the WHL has adjusted its schedule for October and now has the 10 Western Conference teams playing only within their divisions.



Organizers of the Brian Steele Early Bird Tournament that is sanctioned by the Greater Toronto Hockey League and scheduled for Toronto, Oct. 25-31, have dropped three age groups — U-10, U-11 and U-12 — because players on those teams are too young to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Sean Fitz-Gerald of The Athletic reported Tuesday that organizers cited “rising infections, safety concerns and risks to the event itself by having unvaccinated children take part.” . . . Apparently, two teams had pulled out of the tournament because of what they felt was the risk presented by COVID-19. . . . Fitz-Gerald’s story is right here.



Remember when Colin Kaepernick was kneeling and other NFL players were following suit and a whole lot of people were whining about longer watching games on TV because of those actions? . . . Here are a few observations on the NFL’s Week 2 ratings from Sports Media Watch: “Mannings double their Week 1 audience. . . . CBS scores most-watched Sept. doubleheader since 2014. . . . FOX has most-watched Week 2 singleheader since 2016. . . . NBC has most-watched Week 2 SNF game since 2018.” . . . Whatever happened to those people who were done with watching the NFL?


Possum


The Central Plains Capitals have been granted a leave of absence for 2021-22 by the Manitoba U18 AAA Hockey League. . . . “You can blame the pandemic and a declining number of eligible hockey players in the region for that,” wrote Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press. . . . Nancy Funk, the general manager of the team that plays out of Portage la Prairie, told Sawatzky: “It was an extremely difficult decision, obviously. “We’ve been talking about it for a few days pretty intensely but we were hoping that there would be some kind of heroes come in at the 11th hour and hopefully it would be able to round out the roster. But it just didn’t happen this year.”


Vivaldi


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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Citation

Scattershooting on Sunday night while wondering if summer has left us for another year . . .

Scattershooting2


A tip of the Taking Note fedora to the Swift Current Broncos. They opened their ScurrentWHL exhibition schedule on Friday night and admittance was $5 “or free with food donation.” The Broncos also had a vaccine clinic on site. Anyone getting a vaccination was given free entry to the game. Well done!


It would seem that the Boston Bruins have all but decided to send Swedish F Fabian Lysell, 18, their first selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft, to the WHL’s VancouverVancouver Giants. Don Sweeney, the Bruins’ general manager, told reporters at a prospects tournament in Buffalo on Sunday that “in all likelihood” Lysell will play in Vancouver.

What kind of player is Lysell?

“He’s got some areas, in traffic, and some things that he’s going to have to be aware of, and defensively,” Sweeney added. “All are things we believe we can teach those young players as long as they are willing and receptive to learn. But he’s got the skill set that’s pretty unique for us to be adding to our group and to be excited about.

“It will be important for him to play against kids in his peer group. We’re excited that he’s going to play over here. We do believe the transition to the smaller ice surface, especially with young guys, they have to play in the hard areas of the ice in order to be successful. He’s more than willing to do that but he’s got to find his space.’’

For more, check out Rinkside Rhode Island with Mark Divver, who pays particular attention to the AHL’s Providence Bruins. His latest file is right here.

Via Twitter, Steve Ewen of Postmedia explained the Giants’ import situation:

“Assuming Swedish goalie Jesper Vikman is re-assigned to the Giants,  Vancouver would have three Euros (Vikman, Lysell and Slovak D Marko Stacha). They can only keep two. They’d have two weeks from the start of the WHL regular season to pick.

“Stacha and Lysell are both trade eligible, since Stacha played with the  Giants last season and Lysell was on their roster all season. Vikman, who was Vancouver’s import pick this off-season, is not trade eligible.”

Vikman, 19, was a fifth-round pick by Vegas in 2020, but has yet to sign with the Golden Knights.



SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE, PART I:

After the NFL’s Buffalo Bills announced that you will need to be fully vaccinated in order to attend home games, some fans said they’ll start going on the road. After all, at this point in time the Bills, Las Vegas Raiders, New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks are the only NFL teams that are implementing such a restriction. . . . So now the likes of receiver Cole Beasley, the Bills’ vocal anti-vaxxer, and centre Reid Ferguson are offering to buy tickets for those fans to some road games. . . . One of those fans, who won’t get vaccinated, told Jason Wolf of the Buffalo News: “I’ve had Covid, so in my opinion, I’ve already got the antibodies. I think they’re just as good as the vaccine. The vaccine came out pretty rushed. I don’t really know all the information. In my opinion, there’s so little information out there and it all seems to be one-sided. And then, personally, my religious beliefs. I think God created me for a purpose. He has a plan for my life. And whether I have the vaccine or not, I’m taken care of.” . . . That particular fan is 39 years of age and has five children.

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SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE, PART II:

The Blackfalds Bulldogs made their AJHL debut on the road on Friday night. The Brooks Bandits welcomed them to the league by dropping them, 17-0. Yes, 17-0. . . . (On Saturday, the Bulldogs went into Olds and beat the Grizzlys, 5-4.)

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SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE, PART III:

Sask


So . . . the Minnesota Vikings had the opportunity to beat the host Arizona Cardinals with a last-play field goal on Sunday. The kick was wide right, but Paul Allen, the radio voice of the Vikings, thought, well, give it a listen . . .



OF Eddie Rosario of the Atlanta Braves hit for the cycle Sunday afternoon in a 3-0 victory over the host San Francisco Giants. Yes, hitting for the cycle is a big deal in baseball. But think about this for a moment — in those four at-bats, Rosario saw a total of five pitches.


Dodgeball


A note from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun: “Jim Hughson, one of Canada’s premier sports broadcasters, is telling people that he has retired. Most recently, Hughson was the No. 1 play-by-play voice at Hockey Night In Canada, and long before that was the voice of the Blue Jays on TSN. He won’t be easily replaced. Rogers Sportsnet, as is their custom, has made no official announcement on his future of the Hall of Fame broadcaster.” . . .  Retirement? Already? Sheesh, it’s only been 43 years since we both were on the Brandon Wheat Kings’ beat, Jim with CKLQ radio and me with the Brandon Sun!



The OHL’s board of governors has approved the sale of the Guelph Storm. The franchise now is owned by Joel Feldberg and Jeffrey Bly, a pair of Toronto businessmen, who purchased it from Rick Gaetz, John Heeley, Rick Hoyle and Scott Walker. . . . Feldberg is the president/CEO of The Global Furniture Group of companies; Bly is the senior vice-president.


JunkDrawer


The best part of waking up today (Monday) will be knowing that it’s election day in Canada, which means all those attack ads on TV will be a thing of the past, at least until next time. And all those signs that are such a horrible blight around our intersections and on our hillsides will be gone.


Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe: “SF Giants starter Alex Wood, out nearly 3 weeks with COVID-19,“politely declined again to disclose his vaccination status.” Translation: He hasn’t been vaccinated. Sigh.”


Velcros


JUST NOTES: I spent part of Saturday night watching the CFL game in which the visiting Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat Edmonton, 37-22, and when it was over I was left thinking that the Elks just may be on to something with quarterback Taylor Cornelius, who made his first appearance. He’s a 6-foot-5 product of Oklahoma State and he can fling it. . . . Trevor Harris (neck), the Elks’ starting QB, is on the six-game injured list. . . . The Saskatchewan Roughriders beat the visiting Toronto Argos, 30-16, on Friday night before an announced crowd of 25,883. Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post pointed out that it was the Roughriders’ “lowest crowd since July 8, 2007 (25,862); ’Riders beat Calgary 49-8. . . . When we last heard from Andrew Milne, the general manager and head coach of the Canmore Eagles, the AJHL had fined him $1,000 and hit him with a 15-game suspension for the dastardly sin of discussing with the media a COVID-19 outbreak that had hit his team and community. He has served two games of that sentence and the Eagles won both games. With Milne in AJHL jail, the Eagles’ bench will be run by a three-headed monster featuring assistant coach Bryan Arneson; Mike Glawson, an Eagles’ scout who is the head coach of the U-18 AAA Calgary Flames; and Kyle McLaughlin, who was on the Eagles’ staff last season.


PineCone


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.


Voodoo

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after a day full of football and glorious weather . . .

Scattershooting2


Research


So . . . some members of Canada’s goof troop say they again will be protesting whatever it is they don’t like in front of various hospitals today (Monday). . . . There aren’t words anywhere in the English language to describe how despicable these protesters are. We have friends who are doing a stint in Vancouver while John recovers from a kidney transplant. His wife is 61 years of age and as kind and gentle a soul as you would ever hope to meet. The last time the loonies protested in front of Vancouver General Hospital, she had to manoeuvre through the clown show in order to visit her husband and that just shouldn’t be allowed to happen. . . . Come on, people, be better than that. Take your protests somewhere else, like to the nearest landfill.


Another sign that the apocalypse is upon us . . .

Yes, Darren Steinke was in attendance. He’s got a blog entry and photos right here.


One more sign that the apocalypse is upon us . . .

If you watched the visiting Oregon Ducks upset the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday afternoon, you may have noticed that there didn’t appear to be many masks in the crowd of 100,482 fans. That’s because Ohio State doesn’t require fans to provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative test, and masks are only required in indoor spaces — like restrooms, suites and the press box. . . . “We’re leaving it up to our fans to be safe and responsible,” explained athletic director Gene Smith. . . . Yeah, because expecting people to be “safe and responsible” really is working well in this pandemic, isn’t it?


Robber


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, on the NFL’s first Sunday of another season — “Pregame observation: Jimmy Johnson’s hair is in midseason form. And, is that the same Randy Moss who cave-manned the media throughout his career? Some see it as charm, I call it smarm.”

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Ostler, again: “How many pages are there on that flip chart the 49ers’ quarterbacks wear on their left wrists? It looks like they’re getting ready to order off the TGI Fridays menu.”


The junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League informed fans on KrakenThursday that “starting Sept. 13, you must have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine” in order to attend games. “By Oct. 24, you must be fully vaccinated.” This is, of course, by order of B.C.’s provincial health officer. . . . As the VIJHL pointed out, “These orders apply to everyone in this league: players, team staff, volunteers, executives, etc., and will apply to all spectators at VIJHL games as well.” . . . At the same time, the league has had to postponed the expansion Lake Cowichan Kraken’s first three games. Kevin Rothbauer of the Lake Cowichan Gazette reported that according to the league the decisions were made out of “an abundance of caution” following a decision by its COVID committee. . . . The Kraken was to have played three games by now — at the Westshore Wolves on Wednesday, versus the Comox Valley Glacier Kings on Friday, and at the Kerry Park Islanders on Saturday. All three games were postponed.


Lego


By now you will be aware that Montreal’s Leylah Fernandez won over the world after losing the U.S. Open final in New York on Saturday, the 20th anniversary of 9/11. At the ripe old age of 19 — she hit that milestone on Sept. 6 — she took the microphone after the match and told the crowd: “I know on this special day it’s especially hard for New York and everyone around the United States. I just want to say that I hope I can be as strong and resilient as New York has been the last 20 years.” . . . Did you know, though, that she also did post-match news conferences in English, French and Spanish?


Once a person learns to relax and take Twitter for what it is, it becomes a tremendous source of humour. . . . Example? . . . On Thursday, Larry Brooks of the New York Post tweeted that the NHL’s Rangers, among other things, were going to need proof of vaccine from fans 12 years of age and over wanting to attend games. . . . “What if my religion prevents me and my children from getting vax?” responded one fan. To which another answered: “Then it prevents you from going to Rangers games, too.” . . . Still another fan tweeted: “Ok and what about those who don’t want the vaccine? We can enjoy going to games?” That drew this response: “Enjoy the couch, get used to it.”


Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe: “About the idea of banning air travel for the unvaccinated. Strikes me if you don’t believe science could develop a safe vaccine, you wouldn’t believe that science could make 100-plus tons of metal to fly passengers through the air safely either.”


Internet



The WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings have two home exhibition games on their Edmontonschedule, and announced on Thursday that fan’s won’t be allowed in Rogers Place for either contest. . . . The Oilers Entertainment Group will use the games, along with the Edmonton Oilers’ rookie game on Sept. 18, “to deliver staff and building operations training related to the updated venue protocols.” . . . The Oil Kings entertained the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday night and will meet the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Sept. 24.


The OHL postponed a Sunday afternoon exhibition game between the Guelph Storm and the host Mississauga Steelheads, but didn’t provide a reason for the decision. The postponement apparently wasn’t COVID-19 related.



The New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation has withdrawn two of its teams from IIHF world championships due to concerns about the pandemic. The U-18 women’s team was to have competed in the Division II Group B event in Turkey in January, while the U-20 men’s team was in the Division III tournament in Mexico, also in January. . . . As well, Iran has pulled out of the IIHF women’s world championship Division III Group B.



Ear


The Boston Red Sox simply can’t shake COVID-19. Now it’s starter Chris Sale who has tested positive. He missed his start on Sunday against the host Chicago White Sox. The Red Sox did get back SS Xander Bogaerts late in the week; he had been quarantining for 10 days in St. Petersburg, Fla. Over the past two weeks, the Red Sox have put 12 players on MLB’s COVID-19 list with 10 of them having tested positive. . . . RHP Nick Pivetta, a native of Victoria, came off the COVID list to make the start on Sunday for Boston. He allowed one unearned run on three hits in 5.1 innings as the Red Sox dropped a 2-1 decision.


JUST NOTES: Isn’t it about time that the Baltimore Orioles were relegated somewhere, like to High A or the Mexican League? . . . The best team in the CFL? Well, here’s Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Craig Dickenson after his club was beaten 33-9 by the Blue Bombers in Winnipeg on Saturday: “Winnipeg is the class of the league right now. They are better than the rest of us and it’s by quite a bit.” The Bombers had won, 23-8, in Regina on Sept. 5. . . . Did fans of the Cleveland Browns really believe that they were going to beat the Chiefs in Kansas City even with that late lead? How many Pittsburgh Steelers’ fans jumped from the bandwagon when they were trailing the Bills 10-0 in Buffalo? . . . Famed documentarian Ken Burns has been putting together a four-parter on the life of Muhammad Ali for the past seven years. It debuts on PBS on Sept. 19 and continues each night through Sept. 22.. Enjoy!


Mime


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.

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JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Calgary Hitmen have signed former NHL F Matt Stajan as an assistant coach. He replaces Joel Otto, an assistant for 15 years. According to a news release, Otto “is relinquishing his role on the coaching staff due to a hip injury that will not allow him to continue providing on-ice instruction.” . . . Stajan played in 1,003 career NHL games before concluding his playing career with Munich EHC in Germany’s DEL in 2018-19. He spent more than eight seasons with the Calgary Flames, whose parent company owns the Hitmen. . . . Stajan will work alongside head coach Steve Hamilton, assistant Trent Cassan and goaltending coach Brad Kirkwood. . . .

Steve Young, a former WHL player and coach, will spend this season as an assistant coach with the Prince Albert Northern Bears, a female U-18 AAA team. Young, 52, was on the Prince Albert Raiders’ coaching staff for five seasons (2008-13). As a player, he split 200 regular-season games over four seasons (1986-90) between the Calgary Wranglers, Lethbridge Hurricanes, New Westminster Bruins, Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince Albert and Portland Winterhawks.


Wedding

Terrific series on Wheat Kings wraps up . . . Robison says “95 per cent” of WHL players, staff fully vaccinated . . . Virus loose in Pil Country?

Vacation

After posting this, I’m outta here for a bit.

I’m taking some time off to prepare for the fourth or fifth or sixth wave, or whatever it is, that now has its tentacles all around us.

Health officials in B.C. revealed 717 new positives on Friday — up from 513 on Thursday — which tells me that we are headed back to mandatory masking and more restrictions. For what? The third time? Fourth time? I actually have lost count.

How many times do we have to go through this before the people who make these decisions reach the conclusion that we can’t just keep doing this? Open . . . close . . . open . . . close . . . on with the mask . . . off with the mask . . . on with the mask . . . off with the mask . . .

Oh, and by the way, one of these days it may dawn on the decision-makers that recommendations don’t carry a whole lot of water with a number of people. Yes, it’s far past time to ditch the carrot and go to the stick . . . make it a big stick.

I don’t know who said it first — “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result” — but that someone surely had today’s society in mind. Because that is exactly what we keep doing. Over and over and over and over and over again.

I mean, really, are we any further ahead today than we were a year ago?

Of course we are, if only because there are a whole lot of people who are fully vaccinated. But B.C. is running more than 700 positives a day and Alberta is above 500. Alberta announced 582 positives on Friday, its third straight day above 500. Earlier in the day, the Alberta government backtracked on plans to lift most of its restrictions on Monday, saying that it will revisit things in six weeks.

What has become obvious is that the Delta variant is running the show now, and six weeks from now might not be much better, if at all, than what we are living with today.

While I’m away, get vaccinated, if you haven’t already, wear your mask when indoors and wash your hands . . . and stay safe.


If you haven’t already, you really should check out the 17-day series that Perry BrandonBergson put together for the Brandon Sun. It’s an oral history of the Brandon Wheat Kings’ 1978-79 season, the one in which they lost only five regular-season games, then went on to win the WHL championship before losing 2-1 in OT to the Peterborough Petes in the Memorial Cup final. That final game was to have been played in the Montreal Forum, but ended up in the arena in Verdun, Que., all of which is a story in itself. . . . Anyway, the gang at The Sun ran a whole lot of stories that appeared in the paper during that season, and Bergson interviewed almost every player who was on the Wheat Kings’ roster. Those interviews provide great insight into exactly what a WHL team goes through as it rides a bus through the grind of a championship season. . . . The series concludes in Saturday’s Sun, after which Bergson should take a bow.


Clubbing


Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, says that 95 per cent of his league’s players and team staff are fully vaccinated. He made that statement in an WHL2interview with Guy Flaming on The Pipeline Show.

At the same time, Robison said the WHL isn’t following the OHL and QMJHL in mandating vaccinations, although he admitted that may change.

“We have strongly recommended to our players, staff and hockey operations side to be fully vaccinated in time for training camp and start of the regular season,” Robison said. “We have not taken the position of mandating it yet. . . . Through education and discussions with players and staff we’re over 95 per cent currently vaccinated. We’re not sure we’ll need to take the mandated position.

“But, quite frankly, it’s in everyone’s best interest to be vaccinated in order to play in our league because of the cross-border travel with the U.S., and currently some restrictions that are in place in Manitoba for quarantine if you’re not vaccinated. I think it really speaks to the fact that everyone needs to be vaccinated; we’re hopeful we’ll be able to get to 100 per cent and we’ll deal with those circumstances where there are some exceptions along the way.”

The WHL’s 22 teams will be opening training camps on Sept. 1.

When Flaming asked why the WHL hasn’t mandated vaccinations, Robison replied:

“That’s something we are continuing to consider. We started out in the process (hoping) that the restrictions would be relaxed further. That hasn’t occurred so as a result of that we may have to take some further measures and mandate it. But at this particular stage we haven’t taken that big step.”

You are able to hear the complete interview right here, and you should know it covers a lot more than COVID-19.


Some headlines from Friday in WHL territory . . .

CBC News — British Columbia announced 717 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday — the highest daily case count since May 7 when the number was 722.

KIRO7 Seattle — COVID-stricken Oregon deploys National Guard to hospitals.

Daniel E. Slotnik, The New York Times — Oregon will deploy at least 500 National Guard troops to help its hospitals deal with a flood of coronavirus patients, as the state faces the largest wave of infections it has seen during the pandemic, the state’s governor said on Friday. . . . The governor, Kate Brown, said that hospitals were at risk of becoming overwhelmed, with 733 Oregonians hospitalized with severe cases of Covid-19, including 185 in intensive care. . . . The surge comes despite Oregon’s relatively high rate of vaccination, a fact that Ms. Brown noted in a videotaped address. “I know this is not the summer many of us envisioned with over 2.5 million Oregonians vaccinated against Covid-19,” Ms. Brown said. “The harsh and frustrating reality is that the Delta variant has changed everything.”


Salmon



The junior A Buffalo Jr. Sabres, who play in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, announced Friday that they won’t play in 2021-22 “due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on cross-border travel.” They also sat out whatever there was of the 2020-21 season. . . . If you’re in B.C., this makes one wonder about the immediate future of the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild and the junior B Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Neither the Wild nor the Braves played in their respective leagues in 2020-21.


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, was making a case one day this week for these being the Dog Days of August because, as he put it, “while we are sweltering in the heat and humidity, there is a dearth of juicy sporting attractions to take our minds off our discomfort.” . . . I was trying to find a way to disagree with him, but I gave it up after he wrote this: “Finally, to demonstrate what I mean by having a dearth of things to write about in these Dog Days of August, consider this headline from (Tuesday) at CBSSports.com in the world of college football — LSU’s live tiger mascot, Mike VII, is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”



Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, prior to Thursday’s Field of Dreams MLB game between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox in Dyersville, Iowa: “Wouldn’t it add a comforting realism if the White Sox players actually conspire with real gamblers to throw this game?”


Stretcher

——

CTV News Regina — The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is warning of an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the Pil Country section at Mosaic Stadium at the Roughriders game on August 6. The SHA said a person or persons attended the game while infectious with COVID-19, between the hours of 5:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Contact tracing is underway, however, the SHA added that the location of the case or cases in the Pil Country end zone makes contact tracing efforts difficult.

——

CBC News — The University of Saskatchewan announced Friday it expects all students, faculty and staff returning to campus this fall to be vaccinated against COVID-19, a move the U of S faculty association and student union have been calling for. (Note: The U of Saskatchewan was the first Canada West school to mandate vaccinations.)

——

Global News — The University of Regina is following the steps of other Canadian universities by requiring all faculty, staff and students to have both doses of COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 1.

——

A Friday afternoon tweet from Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada: “NHL sent a memo updating vaccination requirements to its teams: ‘Any person whose job, role, position or access entails or entitles them to have personal interactions (within 12 feet) with Club Hockey Operations personnel (including Players) are required to be Fully Vaccinated.’ ”

He added: “There are some limited exceptions — such as valet parking attendants. NHL/NHLPA protocols for players are not yet completed.”


Cure


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.


Scissors

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after returning to the restaurant scene after a lengthy absence . . .

Scattershooting2


One of the really unfortunate thing about the past 18 months — or however long this damned pandemic has dominated our lives — is how so much of the fight against it has been politicized, seemingly right from the start, and how no two jurisdictions seem capable of working together on any part of this.

Well, other than the Maritime provinces and their travel bans, that is.

But take the parties that are planned for Regina and Winnipeg later in the week.

In Regina, the Roughriders are scheduled to play their CFL regular-season opener on Friday against the B.C. Lions. The game is to be played in front of a sold-out Mosaic Stadium, which means more than 33,000 fans. All are welcomed, including those who are unvaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated.

As Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post put it: “You can’t bring peanuts, blow horns, selfie sticks or sunflower seeds into Mosaic Stadium, but you can bring in COVID-19. Proof of vaccination is not required for entry.”

Then, on Saturday, the defending Grey Cup-champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers — they won it in 2019, the last time the CFL played a game — are to entertain the Hamilton Tigers-Cats at IG Field, likely in front of around 33,000 fans. You must be fully vaccinated if you want to attend that game.


Vaccine


Adam H. Beasley of profootballnetwork.com reported on Sunday that “the NFL currently has more than 50 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including nine Arizona Cardinals, the most of any team in the league.” . . . He also reported that “nearly 10 per cent of Washington Football Team’s roster” is on the list. . . . Ron Rivera, the WFT’s head coach, is a cancer survivor and, as a result, has a compromised immune system. He spoke out last week about being disappointed and frustrated with the reluctance of some players on the team to get vaccinated . . .

George Godsey, the Miami Dolphins’ co-offensive co-ordinator, also has tested positive. One of the Dolphins on the list is tight end Adam Shaheen, who is an anti-vaxxer. . . . Keep in mind that being on the COVID-19 list doesn’t mean a player tested positive. It might be a case of someone having been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive. . . .

On Saturday, the Minnesota Vikings had one QB test positive with two others identified as close contacts. As a result, starter Kirk Cousins, backup Nate Stanley and freshman Kellen Mood all missed practice, leaving Jake Browning as the only QB available for practice. Head coach Mike Zimmer said that Browning is fully vaccinated to didn’t have to isolate like the other three. . . . “I am disappointed that this happened,” Zimmer said. “I’m frustrated with, not just my football players that won’t get vaccinated, I’m frustrated with everybody . . . It’s disappointing.” . . . As for Browning, Zimmer added: “Jake’s really smart. He’s vaccinated.”


Voodoo


So . . . I ate in a restaurant for the first time in 16 months on Sunday evening. In the interim, I have seen lots of stories on social media relating to restaurant staff being mistreated by impatient customers. So I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when one of the young women working in this particular restaurant stopped by our table to catch her breath. She obviously just needed a shoulder for a few minutes. . . . Between dealing with those of us eating inside and lots of takeout orders, the staff was running, running, running. It seems that one customer spotted her order sitting under the warming lights, so just had to get up on her hind legs and bark, wondering if she was supposed to “come back there and get my order.” . . . In telling us what had happened, this employee was almost in tears. . . . Have people always been this miserable, or have they lost their humanity in this pandemic? Or maybe the smoke in these parts made this customer lose her marbles.

BTW, if you’re wondering about not eating in a restaurant for 16 months, let me just say that you really, really take this pandemic seriously when your significant other has a compromised immune system. Yes, we will be wearing our masks for a long, long time.



So . . . what does Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmugeon, think of the new Guardiansnickname for Cleveland’s MLB franchise? Well, after noting that team officials said they had considered 1,200 possibilities before narrowing it down to one, he wrote:

“How did you wind up with a team name as lame as the Cleveland Guardians?

“Seriously, if I woke you up from a dead sleep at 2 a.m., and asked you to give me all your free association thoughts that go with ‘Cleveland,’ would you have gotten to ‘Guardians’ any time before 6 a.m.? The explanation offered is that the team is named in alignment with four large statues on a bridge in Cleveland and the statues are known collectively as the ‘Guardians of Traffic.’  It took almost two years and 1,199 other possible names to come up with that. Well, OK then . . .”


The curmudgeonly one had a great week at the keyboard. On Thursday, while ranting about the “proposed movement of Texas and Oklahoma” football from the Big-12 to the SEC, he wrote: “Texas A&M officials have been less-than-happy about the Texas move since the Aggies have been the sole focus of SEC football in the state of Texas for the last decade. Of course, the reason that has been the case is that Texas A&M switched conferences from the Big 12 to the SEC back in 2012 — but let us not bring that up now.”

Then he added: “The Big-12 Commissioner’s lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to ESPN saying that ESPN had lured the two schools away from the Big-12 thereby doing harm to the conference and the other schools in the Conference. I assume the ESPN lawyers are drafting a response that is the legal and more genteel version of “WTF are you smoking?”



Don Mattingly, the manager of the Miami Marlins, tested positive on Saturday, so wasn’t around has his club lost to the visiting New York Yankees. He also missed Sunday’s loss to the Yankees, the club with which he played 14 seasons (1982-95). Mattingly, 60, who has mild symptoms, is fully vaccinated. . . . Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Brewers are without pitchers Jake Cousins, Jandel Gustave and Hunter Strickland. Cousins and Strickland have tested positive; Gustave was identified as a close contact. The Brewers also are without OF Christian Yelich, who tested positive earlier in the week, and INF Jace Peterson, who was a close contact.


Idiots


Seattle Times — At least 60 Seattle bars and restaurants now require proof of vaccination to eat on their premises.



Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Great stuff from the Olympic baseball and softball tournaments: A pitch clock (20 seconds with nobody on base) and a rule demanding that batters keep at least one foot in the box between pitches. Pay attention, MLB. There’s your key to shortening the games.”


PatenaudeEd (Rusty) Patenaude, who played in each of the WHL’s first four seasons, has died. He was 71 when he passed away from complications due to Guillain Barre Syndrome in Williams Lake, B.C. . . . Patenaude played two seasons (1966-68) with the Moose Jaw Canucks in what was then the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League. He spent the next two seasons with the Calgary Centennials in the Western Canada Hockey League, the CMJHL having changed its name. . . . In 218 regular-season games, he scored 115 goals and added 121 assists. . . . He went on to play six seasons in the WHA — one with the Alberta Oilers, four with the Edmonton Oilers and one with the Indianapolis Racers.


F Jayden Perron of Winnipeg has made a commitment to play for the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks, starting in 2023-24. . . . Perron, 16, is expected to play for the USHL’s Chicago Steel in 2021-22. . . . He was the Portland Winterhawks’ first selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft, going to them in the second round, 23rd overall. In 2019-20, Perron had 104 points, including 46 goals, in 36 games for the U15 AAA Winnipeg Warriors A team.


David


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.


Grandma

Scattershooting on a Saturday night after enjoying a mostly smoke-free evening . . .

Scattershooting2

It appears that the OHL is in the process of preparing a policy that will deal with mandatory vaccination prior the start of training camps for the 2021-22 season.

Mark Scheig, who among other things covers the OHL and specifically the Erie Otters for thehockeywriters.com tweeted on Saturday afternoon:

OHL“I am hearing that the OHL . . . will be implementing a policy that will require all players, staff, officials, volunteers and, I believe, billet families to be fully vaccinated within two weeks of the start of training camp.

“My understanding is that there will be accommodations to some degree. But the significance of this is non-vaxxed players/staff could be removed from the roster or placed on leave for the duration of the pandemic.”

Players in the OHL are scheduled to report to training camp on Sept. 4 with the regular season to open on Oct. 7.

Meanwhile, there isn’t any word on whether mandatory vaccination is something that might be implemented as a CHL-wide measure, meaning the QMJHL and WHL also would be involved.

As regards the WHL, you have to think it has at least been discussed by the board of governors.

The move towards mandatory vaccination in some areas is getting noisier and noisier, and it isn’t going to go away anytime soon. I also wonder how WHL teams will deal with seating in their home arenas when it comes to opening the doors to those who are fully vaccinated and those who aren’t vaccinated at all.

But when it comes to mandating that players must be vaccinated, can a sports league really tell a group of players ages 16 to 20 that they have to fall in line? Then again there isn’t a players’ union involved, so . . .


F Thanasis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t play in Game 5 of the NBA final on Saturday night after having to enter health and safety protocols. . . . The 28-year-old has averaged 0.7 points and 3.5 minutes per game in these playoffs. . . . The visiting Bucks, who were down 16 points in the early going, won Saturday’s game, 123-119, to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. They get their first chance to wrap it up at home on Tuesday. . . . Milwaukee last won an NBA title in 1971.


ICYMI, the New York Islanders traded F Andrew Ladd and three draft picks to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday afternoon. That’s it. That’s the trade. The Islanders didn’t get anything in return. Don’t you just love today’s NHL where teams are able to do that just to dump some salary? . . . BTW, those draft picks are a second-rounder in 2021, a conditional second-rounder in 2022 and a conditional third-rounder in 2023. . . . Ladd, 35, has played 950 regular-season NHL games, the last four of them in 2019-20. Last season, he played one game — with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, after Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game:

“It was a happenstance instead of a happening.  A quick summary here:

  1. The AL won the game.
  2. The teams wore uniforms made specifically for the All-Star Game.
  3. The uniforms were genuinely ugly.”

——

Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle didn’t like those uniforms, either: “After bombing horribly with those generic All-Star uniforms — yo, Rob Manfred, nobody loved them — we’ll get more of the same next year at Dodger Stadium. It’s all about sponsorship bucks, and Nike really blew it with this year’s designs, especially the all-blue disasters with unreadable names. We’re thinking they really get creative next year with special team pajamas. Maybe those really silly ones with the squirrels chasing hippos.”

——

While those All-Star Game uniforms were butt ugly, there was some good news as Rob Manfred, the MLB commissioner, said before the game that there likely will be a couple of changes prior to the 2022 season. That free runner on second base in extra innings? Gone. Seven-inning doubleheaders? Gone. . . . Manfred said those two situations “were adopted based on medical advice to deal with COVID” and that “they are less likely to become part of our permanent landscape than some of the other rules.” . . . Don’t forget that the CBA between MLB owners and the players runs out on Dec. 1, and these parties have a history that isn’t good when it comes to these kinds of negotiations.


Mars


A note to CBC Radio: So you really did dump Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap after 16 wonderful seasons. Well, then, I’m just going to have to give you your walking papers, too. I mean, I quite enjoy listening to Kathleen Edwards, but one of her 2012 shows in place of Vinyl Tap just doesn’t cut it. So you are free to count me as a former listener of all things CBC Radio. For whatever that might be worth. . . . Hey, Randy, please let me know where Vinyl Tap ends up after you’ve taken care of business. Oh, and thanks so much for 16 years of great listening.



Headline at The Onion: Conor McGregor Undergoes 3 Hours Of Surgery To Repair Fractured Ego


A midweek tweet from comedy writer Alex Kaseberg (@AlexKaseberg): “Just learned on ‘Jeopardy’ a coyote can run 40 MPH, twice as fast as a roadrunner. Next thing you know they’ll try to tell us a coyote can’t paint a train tunnel on a canyon wall and then get run over by the train that comes out of it.”


Delta

Three athletes, two of them residents of the Olympic Village, have tested positive for COVID-19 in Tokyo. . . . These are the first two athletes who are staying in the Village to have tested positive. Another athlete who is not staying there also has tested positive. There are a number of athletes staying in hotels. . . . The IOC has said that the Olympic Village will be the “safest place” in Tokyo when it comes to avoiding the coronavirus. . . . Organizers haven’t identified the athletes or their countries of residence. . . . Since July 1, there have been 55 positive tests involving people linked to these Games.

——

The Colorado Rockies are without manager Bud Black, first-base coach Ron Gideon and four players as they play a weekend series against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers. All are involved with MLB’s contact-tracing protocols. . . . Three RHP — Yency Almonte, Jhoulys Chacin and Antonio Senzatela — and OF Yonathan Daza were placed on the injured list. . . . The team wouldn’t say whether anyone was experiencing symptoms or had tested positive. . . . It is known that the Rockies were one of the first teams to reach the 85 per cent vaccination rate.

——

Virus

——

Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News, after six players with the New York Yankees went on the MLB COVID-19 list:

“They can say whatever they want to, but one of the reasons it happens this way, absolutely, is because there are members of this baseball team — and others for sure — who are too stupid or selfish or stubborn or all of the above to get vaccinated, one summer after one of the darkest our country has ever known.

“And that is on these ballplayers who don’t just endanger themselves, but endanger people around them. This isn’t about religious liberty or politics or anything else at this point with the anti-vaxxers. It is about living in a new kind of bubble, the one in Stupidville. You feel sorry for these guys. There’s a reason why doctors are now talking about a ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated.’ ”

That complete column is right here.


Lupica, again: “Tom Brady is telling us now that he played last season with a torn MCL . . . why? Was Brady this chatty in Foxboro, I can’t recall.”


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“If I was Joe Biden, I would send a heath expert to the WNBA with instructions to find out how that league became a sports-world leader in COVID vaccinations. While men’s leagues struggle to reach minimum levels of vax, the WNBA steps up and takes it like a woman. It’s almost as if WNBA players value team over personal politics and misinformation.”


Bigfoot


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 USHL’s Fargo Force needs a head coach following the departure of Pierre-Paul Lamoureux. He had been the head coach for two seasons after earlier working as associate head coach, director of scouting and assistant coach at various times. Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald tweeted: “Pierre-Paul Lamoureux stepping down after leading Fargo to the Clark Cup Finals. Lamoureux says he will invest more time in his family. Not sure if it played a role, but it was fairly widely known in USHL circles that he wasn’t exactly compensated like other league head coaches.”


CIA

Lightning strikes twice in two years for ex-WHLers . . . Raiders sign import goalie . . . Horrible day for Roughriders

Vaccine



A brief weather-related note: As we were driving into Kamloops early this afternoon, the temperature was 31C. . . . That is 16 degrees higher than what it was at 2 a.m. . . . It also is 16 degrees ‘cooler’ than what it was here on June 29. . . . Is this a great time to be alive, or what?


Grant Armstrong has added a couple of rings to his haberdashery since leaving the WHL. Armstrong and his wife, Lezlie, were in Tampa Bay on Wednesday night to celebrate with the Lightning as they won their second consecutive Stanley Cup. . . . “I’m a little weary because it was a late night,” he told Tom Zillich of the Surrey Now-Leader on Thursday, “but well worth it. It’s special.” . . . Zillich’s complete story is right here. . . . Armstrong was with the Portland Winterhawks for five seasons (2007-12) and the Victoria Royals for three (2013-16) before working for the Brandon Wheat Kings for three seasons (2016-19) as general manager. . . . He has been scouting for the Lightning for two seasons and, yes, he now has two Stanley Cup rings. . . .

Also on Tampa Bay’s scouting staff is Josh Dye, a former Portland scout who has been with the Lightning for two seasons, meaning that he, too, has a pair of rings. Dye scouted for Portland from 2006-13 before spending three years with Newport Sports Management Inc. He returned to Portland prior to the 2016-17 season as the team’s U.S. and European scout. . . .

And let’s not forget Jason Berger, the Lightning’’s assistant equipment manager. Berger spent four seasons (2007-11) with the Seattle Thunderbirds as their equipment manager. He just completed his fourth season with the Lightning.

——

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s front office also includes two former WHL players — Jamie Pushor and Stacy Roest. . . . Pushor is assistant general manager, director of player personnel. Pushor played 204 regular-season games over five seasons with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. He has been with the Lightning for 10 seasons now. . . . Roest, the Lightning’s assistant general manager, director of player development, played four full seasons (1991-95) with the Medicine Hat Tigers. He has been with the Lightning for eight seasons; he also is the general manager of Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch. Roest’s son, Austin, is a 17-year-old forward preparing for his second season with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips.


History


The Prince Albert Raiders have signed G Tikhon Chayka of Belarus, who was Raiderspicked in the CHL’s 2001 import draft. . . . Chayka, who turns 18 on Aug. 26, got into three games with Belarus at the IIHF U18 World championship in Texas, going 2-1-0, 2.67, .911. . . . In 29 appearances with Team Belarus in a junior league there, he was 3.60, .870. . . . The Raiders didn’t have any imports on their roster in the Regina hub earlier this year. They finished the 2019-20 season with three on their roster — F Daniil Stepanov, now 20, of Belarus; F Aliaksei Protas, now 20, also of Belarus; and F Ivan Kechkin, now 19, of Russia.


Martyr


The CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders haven’t opened training camp — that happens on Saturday — but they lost four players to torn Achilles injuries on Thursday as they worked out at Mosaic Stadium in preparation for things getting serious. DE Freddie Bishop, MLB Larry Dean, RB Jonathan Femi-Cole and DB Nelson Lokombo all went down in a matter of minutes. General manager Jeremy O’Day told reporters that he expects all four to be out long-term. . . . Bishop and Dean were projected as starters after signing in February. . . . “It wasn’t a competitive drill by any means,” O’Day told reporters. “It happened close enough that while one trainer was dealing with one, then another trainer was dealing with another.” . . . Murray McCormick of the Regina Leader-Post has more right here.



——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Barry Wolff has signed a two-year contract extension with the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders. According to a team news release, the contract contains “an option for a third year if he chooses.” Wolff is heading into his fourth season with the junior A team. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia tweeted on Wednesday that “longtime Vancouver Giants equipment manager Shingo Sasaki has left the club for a post with the Vancouver Canucks’ AHL team in Abbotsford.” . . .

Scott Burt, a former WHL player and assistant coach, has signed on as head coach and director of hockey operations with the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush. Burt spent 2019-20 as an assistant coach with the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads. Burt, 44, played three seasons (1995-98) in the WHL, suiting up with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Swift Current Broncos, Edmonton Ice and Red Deer Rebels. He later spent six seasons (2013-19) as an assistant coach with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Jackson Playfair has joined the UBC Thunderbirds men’s hockey team as a full-time assistant coach. Playfair, 27, played in the WHL for three seasons (2012-15) with the Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans before going on to spend four seasons at Dalhousie U. His father, Jim, also a former WHL player, is an associate coach with the Edmonton Oilers. . . .

USA Hockey has added F Cross Hanas of the Portland Winterhawks to the roster for the 2021 World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Mich., from July 24-31. Hanas, a draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings, is the only WHL player on the 44-man roster. . . . Matt Bardsley, who spent the previous three seasons as the Kamloops Blazers’ general manager, has joined the Philadelphia Flyers as an amateur scout. He left the Blazers with three years left on his contract, saying that he wanted to get his family back to the U.S. He will spend most of his scouting time working WHL games out of Portland. . . .

The Winnipeg Ice will have a new play-by-play voice following the resignation of Mitch Peacock, who had been its manager, broadcast and communications. He handled the play-by-play for each of the previous two seasons. . . . Hockey Canada has invited 45 players, 17 of them from the WHL, to it U-18 summer development that is scheduled for the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on the Tsuut’ina National near Calgary, from July 25 through Aug. 4. The six-man coaching staff includes three WHL head coaches — Brent Kisio (Lethbridge Hurricanes), Brad Lauer (Edmonton Oil Kings) and Dennis Williams (Everett Silvertips). There’s more right here.


Soccerplayer

Thunderbirds sign two imports . . . Broncos acquire defenceman . . . Wheat Kings lose assistant to OHL



If you were watching Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final on Monday night, you may have seen intermission host Ron MacLean’s interview with Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner. And you may be aware that MacLean didn’t ask Bettman about the sexual assault investigation in which the Chicago Blackhawks have found themselves. . . . MacLean took a fair amount of heat, albeit on social media, for not asking. On Tuesday, Ken Campbell got MacLean’s side of the story and wrote about it right here. This, folks, is why I am a subscriber to Hockey Unfiltered with Ken Campbell. Check it out.


Aliens


The WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds have signed F Alessandro Segafredo and D SeattleLeon Okonkwo Prada, their two selections in the CHL’s 2021 import draft on June 30. . . . From Italy, Segafredo, who won’t turn 17 until Sept. 15, played in Switzerland last season. He had a team-high 52 points, including 25 goals, in 26 games with the ZSC Lions U17 team in 2020-21. He also had a goal and an assist in one game with ZSC’s U20 team, and 10 goals and an assist with the GCK Lions U20 side. . . . Okonkwo Prada, who turns 18 today (Wednesday), was born in Colchester, Great Britain. He played in Sweden in 2020-21, putting up a goal and six assists in eight games with Rögle BK’s U18 team. . . . Each WHL team is allowed to use two import players. Seattle also holds the rights to F Vladimir Alistrov, a 20-year-old from Belarus, having acquired them from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Jan. 25 for D Simon Kubicek, who is from Czech Republic. . . . Alistrov, who had 19 goals and 16 assists in 57 games with the Oil Kings in 2019-20, spent this season in the KHL with Dinamo Minsk. He had a goal and three assists in 38 games, then signed a one-year contract extension on April 30. . . . The Oil Kings announced last week that Kubicek, who will turn 20 on Dec. 19, is committed to play for them in 2021-22.


The 2022 Memorial Cup championship will be decided in Quebec City or Saint CHLJohn, N.B. The QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts and Saint John Sea Dogs both are putting together bids in the hopes of earning hosting rights. Bids are to be in to the CHL by Aug. 23, with a winner to be announced the week of Sept. 6. . . . The Remparts have played host to the four-team tournament in 2003 and 2015; Saint John never has been the host city. . . . The 2022 tournament is scheduled for June 3-12. . . . Due to the pandemic, the Memorial Cup tournament hasn’t been held since 2019. The 2020 tournament was to have been held in Kelowna, with the 2021 tournament in Oshawa or Sault Ste. Marie. Both events were cancelled due to the pandemic.


Icecream


MLB and team owners must be wallowing in poverty, because now they’re altering some of the most glorious uniforms in all of sports in what is an obvious attempt to sell, sell, sell. . . . That includes the uniforms of the San Francisco Giants, which look the way the best ones are supposed to look — neat and clean. . . . Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a column that was sharply critical of MLB. He ended that column like this:

“I hope one of our sharp Chronicle editors kills this column before it goes into print, realizing that the unveiling of those new Giants’ uniforms was a fake news flash from the Onion, or a late April Fool’s joke.

“But if it is for real, the Giants will wear those uniforms all weekend, and every Tuesday home game the rest of the season. Willie Mays must be spinning in his hammock.”


This reminds me of a story involving Dunc McCallum, then the coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings, Jake Milford, who was then the general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, and centre Bill Derlago. . . . The Canucks had selected Derlago, who had piled up 437 points in 209 regular-season games with the Wheat Kings, with the fourth pick of the NHL’s 1978 draft. . . . When the Canucks arrived for training camp, players had to do some running, after which Milford, a one-time Wheat Kings’ GM/head coach, called McCallum to express his disappointment in Derlago, who, he said, had huge calves and couldn’t run at all well. . . . To which McCallum replied: “Jake, are you putting together a hockey team or a track team?”


Bike


The Swift Current Broncos acquired D Rylan Thiessen, 20, from the Brandon ScurrentWheat Kings on Monday, giving up a conditional ninth-round pick in the WHL draft. Thiessen, who is from Brandon, had three goals in 25 games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who had signed him as an undrafted free agent. He later was dealt to the Wheat Kings, for whom he had one goal and nine assists in 31 games over two seasons. . . . Other 2001-born players on the Broncos’ roster that finished the 2020-21 season: D Cayde Augustine, F Aiden Bulych, F Eric Houk, D Alex Moar, F Cole Nagy and G Isaac Poulter. . . . The Wheat Kings still have four 2001-born defencemen on the roster that completed the 2020-21 season: Braden Schneider, who has signed with the New York Rangers, Jonny Lambos, Chad Nychuk and Neithan Salame, as well as forwards Marcus Kallionkieli, who is from Finland, and Ben McCartney.



Another reminder that the pandemic continues to live with us. . . . The Australian Grand Prix, that had been scheduled for Nov. 18-21 near Melbourne, has been cancelled. According to a news release from the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, it was cancelled “due to restrictions and logistical challenges related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”


The NBA final began on Tuesday night with the host Phoenix Suns beating the Milwaukee Bucks, 118-105. . . . Perhaps the most interesting part of this final will involved the TV ratings. As Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon points out: “The big TV markets are on the sidelines. Phoenix is the 11th largest TV market per Nielsen and Milwaukee is the 35th largest. . . . The number of ‘TV homes’ in these two markets combined is about half the number in Los Angeles (No. 2 in market size) and about 40 per cent of the number in New York (No. 1 on the list).” . . . Game 2 is to be played on Thursday.


Carnival


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 QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada have signed head coach Bruce Richardson to a three-year extension. Richardson, 44, is preparing for his fourth season as the team’s head coach. . . . The QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan have signed head coach Mario Durocher, 58, to a one-year contract. He also is readying for his fourth season as that team’s head coach. . . .

The OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs have lost Paul McFarland, their general manager and head coach, to the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. McFarland, 35, had been in Kingston for one season. He has signed on with the Kraken as an assistant coach. The Kraken also signed Jay Leach, 41, as an assistant under head coach Dave Hakstol. Leach had been the head coach of the AHL’s Providence Bruins for four seasons. . . . If you were wondering, the NHL expansion draft is scheduled for July 21. . . . The OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs have signed Jay McKee, 43, as their head coach. McKee, a former NHL player, was the head coach of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers for two-plus seasons (2016-19). He was fired on Nov. 25, 2019. Hamilton also signed Andreas Karlsson, 45, and Andrew Campbell, 33, as assistant coaches. Karlsson, from Sweden, is a former NHL player, who spent three seasons (2017-18) as an assistant coach in Kitchener. Campbell, another former NHLer, played with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs in 2018-19. . . .

The OHL’s Oshawa Generals have signed Todd Miller as their head coach. Miller spent 2020-21 as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings. Miller, 43, was an assistant coach with the OHL’s Barrie Colts for 10 seasons before his one season with Brandon. The Generals had announced on June 17 that they were “parting ways” with head coach Greg Walters, who said the parties weren’t able to come to terms on a contract. He had been there for three years. The Generals also announced on Tuesday the signings of associate coaches Kurtis Foster and Dave Matsos, and assistant coach Mike Hedden. Foster, 39, was the Kingston Frontenacs’ head coach for two seasons (2018-20). Matsos, 47, has been an OHL coach since 2010, most recently having spent three seasons (2017-20) with the Hamilton Bulldogs. Hedden, 36, has ended his playing career after spending 2020-21 with the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush.


Mother

Scattershooting on a Saturday night while waiting for the really hot weather to arrive . . .

Scattershooting2

Deck
This was the temperature in the sun on our deck on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Yes, it was in the sun. But it was still 33 C at 9:45 p.m. Oh, and it’s only supposed to get hotter from here.

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, with a couple of thoughts about the tacky mess in which MLB finds itself:

“Two substances I’m not sure pitchers have tried: Tar from the LaBrea Tar Pits in Los Angeles (Mastadon Mud), and lemon meringue. Or a combo.

“Why are pitchers complaining? Because they are the biggest divas in sports, with the possible exception of bullfighters. Pitchers have been allowed to drag down the pace of play by treating every pitch like it’s a 20-foot putt for the Masters’ green jacket. Let the pitchers eat some humble pie. But not lemon meringue.”



The MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders held their annual general meeting on StampedersThursday night and announced a profit of $178,702. How did that happen in what was a pandemic-riddled season? Well, according to the team, it “had received close to $83,000 in government assistance programs, which include the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, CEBA loans and Manitoba Bridge Grants.” . . . As well, Cramer Coulthart, the team president, said that “year over year we generated approximately the same revenue, but expenses were down” $250,000. He added that “with the (season) cut short, the majority of season-ticket holders and sponsors have donated some or all of their packages back to the team. This puts us in a much better position moving forward into 2021-22 season.” . . . A year ago, at their AGM, the Stampeders announced they had lost $80,906 in the 2019-20 season, leaving them in the red to the tune of about $240,000. The profit from the 2020-21 season, then, will take a big chunk out of that debt.



Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “One of these days former hero mayor Rudy Giuliani might need to borrow one of those raincoats that Wall Street guys used to throw over their heads when Giuliani was perp-walking them back in the day.”


Carts


The B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League, which has scheduled its season-Lakersopeners for Oct. 15, announced on Friday that it has added the Okanagan Lakers to its roster of teams. The Lakers, according to a news release, “are an independent collegiate team based in Kelowna and consisting of student-athletes from both UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College.” . . . Earlier, the Lakers had announced that Kevin Bathurst would be their first head coach. . . . With the Selkirk College Saints having ceased operations in March, the addition of the Lakers brings the BCIHL back up to five teams. . . . Like so many other leagues, the BCIHL didn’t play in 2020-21. The plan for 2021-22 is to have each team play 12 regular-season games with a four-game provincial championship to follow. The BCIHL will return to a 24-game schedule for 2022-23. . . . Chris Munshaw, the BCIHL’s president, also said that the league continues to look to expand. . . . The news release is right here.


In perhaps the poorest decision in the sporting world in 2021, MLB has decided that players in the All-Star Game no longer will wear their team uniforms as they have for years and years. . . . Here’s Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Isn’t it cool to see players wearing their own uniforms at the All-Star Game? It was a perennial treasure for the baseball-card companies, able to line up superstar pairings rarely seen, and I immediately think back to the Topps card ‘Managers’ Dream,’ showing Mickey Mantle alongside Willie Mays in 1962. It’s a big part of the charm for fans as the stars maintain their team identity. Well, MLB is all done with that. Players will be wearing homogeneous, corporate-looking jerseys — that’s right, during this year’s game in Denver — and everyone will look the same. Is that Buster Posey or Max Muncy? From a certain angle, maybe you’re not quite sure. Can you imagine anyone actually thinking this is a good idea?”


Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe, notes: “Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso was arrested Wednesday in Texas for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Silly man. Pot is legal in Los Angeles. In Texas he’d have been better off carrying a couple unregistered guns.”



Noah Doherty, who played briefly in the junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, is one of two men charged after Calgary police said they seized more than $1 million worth of drugs. . . . Doherty, 18, is from Airdrie, Alta. A defenceman, he was pointless in three games with the KIJHL’s Fernie Ghostriders in 2020-21. . . . According to a news release, Calgary police acted on two search warrants and “seized more than 11,000 grams of fentanyl, nearly 500 grams of methamphetamine, 200 grams of cocaine, 87 Oxycodone pills, along with smaller amounts of heroin, crack cocaine, and other unknown substances. The total street value of the drugs seized is estimated to be $1.187 million.” . . . Also charged was Justin Fedoruk, 21, who is from Airdrie. . . . Fedoruk was to have appeared in court on Friday (June 25), with Doherty scheduled to appear on Friday (July 2).


Spiders


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: Jimmy McKnight has signed on as the Edmonton Oil Kings’ head athletic therapist. McKnight had been with the OHL’s Barrie Colts, as head athletic therapist and strength coach since the 2017-18 season. He takes over from Brian Cheeseman, who left the Oil Kings for the CFL’s Edmonton Elks. . . . Brandon Switzer is joining the junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League as assistant general manager and associate coach. He spent last season scouting for the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines, a role with which he will continue. Prior to that he coached with the bantam AAA Brandon Wheat Kings and the Brandon AAA U17 program.


Marriage