Americans ready to introduce coaching staff . . . NBA’s Raptors have how many assistants? . . . Winterhawks lose Knak to HC Davos


The WHL’s Tri-City Americans are poised to introduce their coaching staff on AmericansSaturday at 1 p.m. PT at the Toyota Center in Kennewick, Wash. . . . The Americans are in need of a new head coach after not re-signing Kelly Buchberger, who had been in the position for the previous three seasons. He has since signed a three-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens as an assistant coach for their AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket. . . . On Monday, the Americans’ website still listed Buchberger as head coach. It also shows Don Nachbaur as associate coach and Eli Wilson as goaltending coach. . . . Nachbaur joined the Americans on Feb. 18, but contract terms weren’t announced. Earlier, Nachbar spent six seasons (2003-09) as the Americans’ head coach. He also has worked as a WHL head coach with the Seattle Thunderbirds and Spokane Chiefs. . . . With 692 regular-season WHL coaching victories, Nachbaur is the winningest active coach in the league. That total also leaves him third on the all-time list, behind Don Hay (750), now an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, and the retired Ken Hodge (742). . . . Hay spent two seasons (1998-2000) as the Americans’ head coach.

Here is part of what Bob Tory, the Tri-City Americans’ co-owner, governor and general manager, posted on Facebook:

“Mom enjoyed a long and prestigious career at the University of Alberta in the Registrars Office. She was a second mom to so many of my friends and my parents’ home was always open to all, even when I wasn’t there. An avid supporter of hockey, especially the Edmonton and Kootenay Ice and, of course, the Tri-City Americans. Mom will be laid to rest at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Edmonton, next to dad and my gramma Carrie Rose Tory. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The University of Alberta, Faculty of Education, Teachers of Tomorrow Fund.

I’m thinking that B.C. politicians past — well, of the past 30 years — and present should be embarrassed — really, really embarrassed — that Manitoba celebrates Terry Fox Day on the first Monday of August and ‘Beautiful BC’ doesn’t. I mean, c’mon, what’s that all about? It’s been more than 40 years since he died at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, so there has been more than enough time for something to get done. . . . And well you’re at it, how about naming Vancouver International Airport after him?


ICYMI, the NBA’s Toronto Raptors named their 2021-22 coaching staff on Monday. It seems that head coach Nick Nurse now has seven assistant coaches and a player development consultant on staff with him. . . . With each NBA team allowed to carry 15 players and to dress 13 per game, sheesh, that’s a whole lot of coaches, isn’t it?

F Simon Knak, who played the past two seasons with the Portland PortlandWinterhawks, has signed a two-year contract with HC Davos of Switzerland’s National League. Knak, 19, is from Zurich. He was selected by the Nashville Predators in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. He is expected to attend Nashville’s development camp Aug. 15-20 and then return to Davos. . . . Knak had three goals and five assists in 25 games with Davos in 2020-21, then rejoined the Winterhawks and put up 16 goals and 13 assists in 24 games in the WHL’s development season. In 2019-20, he had nine goals and 25 assists in 49 games with Portland. . . . Knak also is the captain of Switzerland’s national junior team. . . . When it comes to other import players, the Winterhawks hold the CHL rights to Swedish G Jesper Wallstedt, whom they acquired from the Moose Jaw Warriors, and Czech D Marek Alscher, who was selected in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. Neither Wallstedt nor Alscher has signed a WHL contract. . . . Danish D Jonas Brondberg was on Portland’s roster when the 2021 development season ended — he had six assists in 20 games — but he’s 20 so would be a two-spotter if he was to return.

Here’s the great Charles P. Pierce in Esquire:

“This pandemic turns what has been the historical reaction of the country to epidemic disease squarely on its head. Previously, through the years, the panic has been driven by a fear of getting the disease. In 1873, during a massive yellow fever outbreak in Memphis, roadblocks were set up around the city to keep the residents in. Five years later, during another outbreak, the disease got loose from New Orleans and cut a huge swath through Memphis and the Mississippi Delta. In the town of Grenada, Mississippi, the mayor refused to engage a quarantine and the disease completely decapitated the city’s government, killing the sheriff, all the aldermen, and, yes, the mayor himself.

“Now, though, we have a national panic over the cure, not the disease. And, yes, a lot of it has been energized for political reasons, especially in the U.S. House of Representatives, where the Republican caucus seems to be acting out a summer-stock production of The Masque of the Red Death. But it runs deeper than that. In those previous epidemics, there were quack cures and a distrust of conventional medicine, but it was nothing like this, if only because it’s not 18-goddamn-78 any more. We have more than a century of experience to draw on regarding the efficacy of vaccines. We have been a resolutely vaccinated population for decades. It has been part of our lives almost from birth. But there is in the country some sort of strange concept of individuality that has come to the surface to cripple not only our response to this pandemic, but also our collective common sense.”

Read his complete piece right here.


Baseball’s Winnipeg Goldeyes are scheduled to entertain the Sioux City SiouxCitybblExplorers for three American Association games this week — today, Wednesday and Thursday. The Goldeyes didn’t play at all in 2020; until now, they have been playing their 2021 ‘home’ games in Jackson, Tenn. . . . Now they have permission from health officials to return home. . . . However, it seems the Explorers have some, uhh, issues. . . . Tim Hynds of the Sioux City Journal reports that “the majority of Explorers players have decided not to get the COVID-19 vaccine. . . . Due to vaccine and testing requirements for entry into Canada, and a low team vaccination rate, the majority of the Sioux City roster will not be making the trip.” . . . That includes manager Steve Montgomery. . . . “We’re not all going,” Montgomery told Hynds. “There are not many of us going, I can tell you that. It’s definitely going to be a home field advantage. I can’t really comment too much further on it, but I can say that myself and my pitching coach won’t be going, and a lot of the players in that locker room are not going to be going as well.” . . . Wait! There’s more!! . . . Hynds also wrote: “Due to fears of a possible positive test, which would require a 10-day quarantine, most of the current Sioux City roster has decided to not go, including many of the players who are vaccinated.” . . . Bruce Fischback, the team’s trainer who is fully vaccinated, told Hynds: “There are so many misconceptions about the vaccine that are floating around, that that scared a lot of people. You try to present them with the evidence, but there is nothing more powerful than Facebook University. It’s hard to fight that public perception.” . . . Hynds’ complete story on this gong show is right here.

Mike Mayock, the general manager of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, has tested positive. On Monday, he was working from home. According to a tweet from Adam Schefter of ESPN, Mayock, 62, “said that, at his age, he is grateful he was vaccinated, knowing this could have been worse, Fortunately, he said he now feels ‘very good.’ ”


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



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


Or, for more information, visit right here.


Ferris’s journey continues with transition to hemodialysis forced by infection . . . Mom: “Ferris did pretty great . . .”

FerrisLindsey 2
Ferris and her mother, Lindsey, are back at B.C. Children’s Hospital, along with good friends Elmo and Grover. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

It was June 19 and things were looking clear for Ferris Backmeyer. Really clear.

Ferris, 3, was wearing her new glasses and it was obvious that she was seeing some

Ferris showed off her new glasses just a few short days ago. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

things in great detail for the first time. Oh, the concentration as she looked at a book, turning pages and pointing out various things with either index finger.

But, oh my, life can take some quick turns.

Five days later, Ferris, who has been doing peritoneal dialysis since she was 14 months old, was battling fungal peritonitis.

As her mother, Lindsey, posted on Facebook: “The treatment 100% of the time is catheter removal. She is scheduled for a hemo line insertion Monday . . . Looks like we will be spending our summer at BCCH.”

Someone doing peritoneal dialysis has a catheter inserted in their midsection into the peritoneal cavity. The nightly fluid exchange, via a dialysis machine called a cycler, is conducted via the catheter.

Ferris was back at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver on Saturday and, as Lindsey mentioned, she was to have had a hemodialysis line put in today (Monday).

But those plans changed on Sunday . . .

Ferris was back on the ward, along with two of her friends, on Sunday night. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

“My sweet girl is in the OR right now,” Lindsey wrote on Sunday afternoon. “We had a really rough night. She is definitely getting worse in regards to pain and her breathing wasn’t awesome either. She was having central apneas and needed O2. She essentially slept through 2 lab draws this morning and endless assessments. They decided to pull the catheter and insert the hemo line today.”

And the little girl came through with flying colours. Yes, she is a real trouper in every sense of the word.

On Sunday night, Lindsey wrote that “Ferris did pretty great I think!”

There were a couple of hiccups, but the medical staff was able to get Ferris through all of that and she had her first “little test run on hemodialysis.”

That was “pretty uneventful . . . so uneventful that we got to come back up to the ward!”

Ferris woke up at 9 p.m., and was asking for food.

“Cheese and ranch dip are happening,” Lindsey wrote. “I’m trying to gently get food into her without making her vomit because her tummy still really hurts.”

And that pretty much took care of Sunday for the Backmeyers.

On Saturday, Lindsey wrote that she expects this stay at BCCH to last at least six weeks. They got settled in where, as Lindsey wrote, “It’s familiar so settling in was pretty easy.”

Ferris, if you’re new here, needs a kidney transplant, and the family was given the OK to look for a live donor a few months ago. A transplant won’t happen now, at least not while Ferris works to overcome this setback.

According to Lindsey, “Ferris handled things like a champ” on Saturday. “No tears aside from the IV . . . and it took a few attempts. She was over it before they were done drawing the blood. She’s not responding to any of the treatment we’ve provided at home really. Still spiking fevers, her drain fluid is awful and she just doesn’t feel good. They started her on IV antifungals . . .”

When you find a moment of quiet time in your schedule, have a thought for Ferris and her family. They really will appreciate it.

“I’m continually amazed and sometimes wonder why people seem to love us so much and just come together and help us,” Lindsey wrote. “We are soooo greatful for everybody!”

Had all of this not happened, the Backmeyers would have been starting a two-week camping trip. So much for that. But such is life when you live with someone who has kidney disease.

Late Sunday night, Lindsey wrote: “Huge thanks for all the support, prayers and good vibes . . . they are getting us through!”


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


If you were one of those who donated to Dorothy for the 2020 Kidney Walk, you will be interested in the tweet that follows. By donating, you became a member of Dorothy’s Team and you will find her name on the list. Check it out . . . and thank you for your support. . . . She has raised $3,190 for the 2020 Kidney Walk and her page remains open for donations right here.

Dave McKeague, 72, and his daughter Caileen, both of Saskatoon, have taken part in the Kidney Walk for the past four years. . . . Dave is in kidney failure and on dialysis. . . . Caileen found out more than a year ago that she is a match, and now all that’s needed is a date for transplant surgery at St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon. . . . They had hoped to have it done in April or May, but the pandemic got in the way. That means they still are waiting for a date. . . . Brady Ratzlaff of Global News has their story right here.

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if major junior hockey should “burn it down and start all over” . . .


When the Portland Winterhawks are sold — and presumably that will happen at some point in the next month or two — they will become the seventh WHL franchise to change whlhands since 2011.

That means almost one-third of the league’s 22 teams have been sold during the past 10 years.

During the past while, I have sometimes wondered what these ‘new’ owners or ownership groups wonder about what they have bought into? Did they think they were buying into a hockey team with a focus on putting a winning team on the ice and fans in the stands? Did they expect to have to foot part of the bill for whatever legal fees are having to be paid for the off-ice battles that have arisen?

In his latest 31 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet touched on the latest lawsuit facing the CHL and its teams:

“My reaction to the lawsuit against the CHL and its teams for hazing is this: no one should fear the truth. The OHL, QMJHL and WHL maintain they have improved things on this very serious issue. They should welcome the opportunity to publicly show it

“The secondary aspect to this story is the financial fallout. The CHL just settled the minimum-wage suit for $30M, half of which will be covered by insurance. Remaining is a concussion suit and now this one. How many industries/companies could handle three expensive settlements in the time of COVID? I counted 26 of the 60 teams as being sold to new ownership since 2010. One such investor said last weekend that he’s frustrated by liability for events prior to his arrival. He thinks they should burn it down and start all over. I don’t know how widespread his feelings are, but I can’t imagine he’s alone.”

Burn it down and start over? I hadn’t heard that idea previously to reading Friedman’s column, but the way things are going that might not be a bad idea.

A note from Patti Dawn Swansson, The River City Renegade:

“In March, one basketball player tested positive for COVID-19, putting the brakes on the entire sports world and, at the same time, launching a stampede to the toilet paper aisles that resembled the California gold rush of the mid-1800s. Yet now, with many dozens of athletes in many sports testing positive, it’s go-time for the NHL, the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball? What part of ‘deadly virus’ do they not understand?”

Her complete column is right here.


Major League Soccer’s return-to-play tournament is scheduled to open on July 6 near Orlando, Fla. The league announced Sunday that there have been 26 positives out of the 668 players and staff members who were tested. According to the league, 24 of the positives came before teams arrived at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando. Two of the positives came after the arrival. . . .

DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, has suggested players stop working out together in groups. With the U.S. continuing to struggle to get a handle on COVID-19, and that’s putting it nicely, he has told players that they aren’t safe. . . . Smith told USA TODAY’s SportsPulse: “Those practices are not in the best interest of player safety. They’re not in the best interest of protecting our players heading into training camp and I don’t think they are in the best interest of us getting through an entire season.” . . . High-end quarterbacks Tom Brady and Russell Wilson are among the players who have been working out with teammates. . . .

F Wilson Chandler of the Brooklyn Nets has confirmed that he won’t be reporting to Orlando, Fla., for the re-start of the NBA season in July. . . . He told ESPN: ”As difficult as it will be to not be with my teammates, the health and well-being of my family has to come first.” . . . Other players believed to have said they are opting out are Trevor Ariza (Portland Trail Blazers), Davis Bertans (Washington Wizards), Avery Bradley (Los Angeles Lakers) and Willie Cauley-Stein (Dallas Mavericks).

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, with a report from Canton, Ohio: “This score just in from the canceled Cowboys-Steelers Hall of Fame Game and postponed induction ceremony in early August: COVID 19, NFL 0.”


If you’re wondering what all is involved with trying to get a non-professional team back onto the field of play, take the case of the U of Toledo Rockets football team. . . . David Briggs of the Toledo Blade did just that in a recent column in which he covered every aspect of the athletic department’s plan. . . . Give this a read — it’s right here — and it will help you understand what organizations that don’t have the resources of the pro leagues are up against.

The highest-paid public employee in 40 American states is the head coach of either a football or men’s basketball team. As Bob Molinaro in the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot pointed out: “Clearly then, the priorities of the other 10 states need adjustment.”