Boulet Effect changed her life . . . Will QMJHL ban fighting for $20 million? . . . Will WHL be impacted by B.C. election?


As you may have read, the QMJHL has asked the Quebec government for a $20-qmjhlnewmillion subsidy to help the 12 teams that are based in the province through the pandemic. Ken Campbell of The Hockey News wonders whether the government may be able to convince the league to further reduce fighting in exchange for the dough. . . .  Campbell writes: “Like all its other provincial counterparts, the Government of Quebec is more than willing to help junior hockey operators line their pockets. Early in 2020, it was persuaded by the QMJHL to change its own employment standards laws to classify players as ‘student athletes’ rather than employees. That alone represents savings in the millions of dollars. You’d think in the middle of a global pandemic, a government would have better things to do with $20 million than help prop up for-profit enterprises — granted, some teams are community owned — that exploit teenagers, but hey, it ain’t my money.” . . . Campbell’s complete column is right here.


Yahtzee


The Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, a nine-team junior B circuit, is planning to open its regular season on Oct. 1. According to a release from the league it will happen “subject to gaining final approvals.” . . . Earlier in the summer, the league had said it planned to begin on Sept. 21 or 28. . . . The teams, all of them based in Vancouver Island communities, will be split into three cohorts. They will play in those cohorts “to reduce the need for travel and to mitigate the extra risk of infection.” . . . According to the league, “Players leaving or entering a cohort are mandate to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days as per Public Health guidelines.” . . . As for fans, the league said there will be “a limited number, and possibly NO spectators, allowed in some of the VIJHL’s arenas . . .” . . . A complete news release is right here.


F Connor Bedard, who is expected to play for the WHL’s Regina Pats in 2020-21 as a 15-year-old, will spend the next while practising in Sweden with HV71’s U-18 side. . . . But what if Bedard didn’t belong to the Pats? What if he was part of the HV71 program? Szymon Szemberg of eurohockeyclubs.com takes a look right here at the development process in that country.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, one of the world’s most recognizable soccer players, has tested positive. Ibrahimovic, who plays for AC Milan, said via Twitter that he had tested negative one day and positive the next. . . . Ibrahimovic, 38, is in quarantine at home, so he didn’t play in host Milan’s 3-2 Europa League qualifier victory over Norway’s Bodo/Glimt on Thursday. . . .

The issues continue in the KHL where championat.com, a Russian sports site, reported that more than half the players and the entire coaching staff of SKA St. Petersburg tested positive. . . . In Wednesday’s game against visiting Sibir Novosibirsk, the bench was run by Roman Rotenberg, the team’s part-owner, vice-president and general manager, along with Daniel Bochner of Canada, the player development coach who last worked a bench in 2016 with the U-16 Don Mills, Ont., Flyers. . . . BTW, SKA dropped that game, 4-1. Of the 22 players it dressed, six were from its farm club and 10 from its junior team. . . .

Football’s Pac-12 Conference has reversed an earlier decision and its football teams will play this fall. Last month, the conference had announced that there wouldn’t be football in 2021. On Thursday, it said that it hopes to start up on Nov. 6, with teams playing seven-game schedules culminating with a championship game on Dec. 18. . . . This means that all five Power 5 conferences will be playing football this fall. . . As Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle writes right here: “The Power 5 conferences like to use the phrase ‘student-athlete.’ Maybe ‘lab rat’ is more appropriate.” . . .

The Mountain West Conference also has decided that it will have a football season this fall. Its board of directors voted to start an eight-game schedule on Oct. 24, “subject to approval from state, county and local officials,” according to the Fresno Bee. . . .

The Welland Jr. Canadians of the junior A Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League have taken a leave of absence for 2020-21. “Public health officials continue to advise that social distancing is the most effective strategy to prevent the spread of the virus,” the team said in a news release. “Ensuring the health and safety of our community, players, employees and volunteers is always our first priority. As a result, to do our part and help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the Jr. Canadians have made the difficult decision” not to play in 2020-21. . . .

There won’t be any high school football games between opposing schools in Regina this fall. There also won’t be any cross-country, soccer or volleyball. . . . In making the announcement, the Regina High Schools Athletic Association said that “schools will have the option within their school only to co-ordinate and organize extra-curricular athletics, practices or intramurals.” . . .

The Twin City Thunder of the U.S. Premier Hockey League’s National Collegiate Development Conference have had to put their season on hold after some players tested positive. The Thunder, which plays out of Auburn, Maine, was to have played Thursday and Friday nights. . . . Mark Divver, a New England-based hockey writer, tweeted on Wednesday that he had heard “of players on a couple of NCDC teams testing positive.” . . . Nathan Fournier of the Lewiston Sun Journal has more right here.


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Wifi


The province of B.C. is embroiled in an election campaign that will end with voting on Oct. 24. Bruce Hamilton, the president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets and the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors, wonders if it will have an impact on his league. He told Travis Lowe of Global News that “we’ve got a return-to-play protocol that has been worked on all summer. That’s in the hands of all the governments in the west now.” But he wonders how much attention it will get in B.C. because of the election campaign. “This election . . . we are certainly not an item that would be on one of the burners right now.” . . . That story is right here.


Chris Clark has been named head coach of the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild. He stepped in as interim head coach in December, taking over from Bliss Littler, who stepped aside citing health concerns. Littler remains the team’s general manager. . . . Clark, also the assistant GM, has been on the Wild’s coaching staff since the franchise’s inceptions in 2008. . . . The full news release is right here.


Friends

Scattershooting on a Tuesday evening after spending time on Monday with Sabrina . . .

Scattershooting

If you’re wondering, Dave Ayres and his wife, Sarah, are expected back in the Toronto area today (Wednesday) after being feted in Raleigh, N.C., on Tuesday. You will recall that Ayres, who had a kidney transplant in 2004, is the EBUG (emergency backup goaltender) who helped the Carolina Hurricanes beat the host Toronto Maple Leafs, 6-3, on Saturday night. . . . They are expected to be back in Scotiabank Arena on Saturday night where he again will be the EBUG, this time with the Vancouver Canucks in to play the Maple Leafs. . . . You don’t suppose that he might . . . nah, never happen.


BoardingPass


Congrats to Trevor Weisgerber, the head coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. Weisgerber, 40, who underwent a kidney transplant in St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon on Jan. 26, has been named winner of the Joe Bloski Award as the league’s coach of the year. . . . The Warriors went 30-13-1 and tied for fourth place in the 12-team league, one point out of third and seven short of first. They will open a first-round playoff series against the visiting Notre Dame Hounds on Thursday. . . . Weisgerber told me on Tuesday that “I am feeling pretty good . . . the fun begins on Thursday!” . . . If you aren’t familiar with Weisgerber’s story, you will find it all right here.



Grant Rezansoff, who played two seasons (1979-81) with the WHL’s Victoria Cougars, died on Saturday at his home in Red Wing, Minn. A native of Surrey, B.C., he was 58. . . . In his second season with the Cougars, he scored 40 goals and added 57 assists. . . . After moving on from the WHL, Rezansoff played in the International and Central leagues before spending two seasons in Europe. . . . There is a complete obituary right here.


Disneyland


The New York Mets are paying Bobby Bonilla, who last played in 2001, a total of $1,193, 248.20 a year until 2035. Now we are free to wonder if the NHL is headed into the same territory. . . . At the NHL trade deadline, it was pointed out that the Buffalo Sabres are paying D Christian Ehrhoff the nice sum of $857,143 per year until 2028. He last played with the Sabres in 2013-14 and was last in the NHL in 2015-16 with the Chicago Blackhawks. . . . Meanwhile, F Ilya Kovalchuk, who has gone from the Los Angeles Kings to the Montreal Canadiens to the Washington Capitals in the past few weeks, is taking up cap space on four different NHL teams, with the New Jersey Devils also in the Payin’ Ilya Club.


GiftCard


Until reading a book titled Major Misconduct: The Human Cost of Fighting in Hockey, by Jeremy Allingham, I wasn’t aware that former Seattle Thunderbirds/Kelowna Rockets enforcer James McEwan had filed a concussion-related lawsuit against the CHL, WHL and Hockey Canada.

It turns out that the lawsuit now is more encompassing that that, as Ken Campbell of The Hockey News points out here:

“Already facing a class-action lawsuit over not paying its players a minimum wage, the three major junior leagues that make up the Canadian Hockey League could soon find themselves facing a concussion lawsuit that could include hundreds, if not thousands, of former frequent fighters in junior hockey.

“What started as a lawsuit launched against the CHL, the WHL and Hockey Canada by former WHL player James McEwan in January 2019 was recently re-filed with the Supreme Court of British Columbia to include both the OHL and QMJHL. Six days after the lawsuit was re-filed, the QMJHL postponed a vote on whether or not to ban fighting, a vote that was scheduled for that day, but was moved to August.”

Campbell’s complete piece is right here.



JUST NOTES: Having heard about Sabrina Ionescu in recent days, I got a chance to watch her on a TSN channel on Monday night as her Oregon Ducks beat the host Stanford Cardinal. Earlier in the day, Ionescu had spoken at the memorial for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gigi — Ionescu was close with both of them. She also was fighting a flu bug and apparently was sick to her stomach before the game. The 5-foot-11 point guard then went out and led the Ducks to victory, in the process becoming the first player, male or female, in NCAA Division 1 history to have career totals of at least 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. Yes, she is quite a player. Try to tune in if the Ducks are on TV again. . . . How goofy has the NHL’s trade deadline day become? Here’s Pete Blackburn of CBS Sports, singling out one incident from Monday: “The best moment of the day came when Johnny Gaudreau inexplicably left the ice at the Calgary Flames practice, leading everyone to freak out and speculate. It turns out he just had to pee. Trade deadline day is the best.”