The Edmonton Oil Kings get their second opportunity at winning the WHL championship for the Ed Chynoweth Cup when they entertain the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight.
It’s Game 6 of the best-of-seven series and the Oil Kings lead, 3-2. The Thunderbirds, who will be facing elimination for the seventh time in these playoffs, won Game 5, 3-2, on Saturday night. Because the Thunderbirds’ home arena in Kent, Wash., has been unavailable due to graduation ceremonies, this series is following a 2-2-3 format. As a result, the Thunderbirds will be designated as the home team tonight and, as such, will have the last change.
While the Thunderbirds welcomed back F Henrik Rybinski in Game 5, they will be without D Tyrel Bauer, their captain, as he completes a two-game suspension.
In Game 5, the Oil Kings remained without F Dylan Guenther, who didn’t finish Game 3. He put up 91 points, including 45 goals, in 59 regular-season games; he had 25 PP points, 13 of them goals. In their last two games against Seattle, the Oil Kings were 0-for-8 on the PP, including 0-for-6 in the Game 5 loss.
A Seattle victory in Game 6 would force a seventh game in Edmonton on Tuesday night.
Earlier in these playoffs, Seattle beat the Portland Winterhawks three times and the Kamloops Blazers twice while staring elimination squarely in the face.
As they face a seventh such game, one thing is certain — Seattle won’t be afraid of the situation into which they will skate tonight.
In the OHL, F Mason McTavish’s two goals helped the host Hamilton Bulldogs to a 3-2 victory over the Windsor Spitfires on Sunday. . . . Hamilton holds a 3-2 lead in the championship series, with Game 6 scheduled for tonight in Windsor. . . . McTavish tied the score, 2-2, at 12:58 of the second period, then notched the winner at 1:59 of the third. He has 14 goals in these playoffs. . . . Hamilton scored two PP goals. . . . F Logan Morrison had two assists for the Bulldogs. . . .
The two other Memorial Cup teams have been decided, with the Shawinigan Cataractes having won their first QMJHL championship and the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL as the host team. The four-team tournament is to run June 20-29 in Saint John.
ICYMI, Rob Walton, whose first names seem to be Walmart heir, is the lead in a group that is buying the NFL’s Denver Broncos for US$4.65 billion. The Carolina Panthers changed hands for $2.275 billion just four years ago, and that was an NFL record at the time. . . . Walton isn’t about to go broke, even after spending that kind of money. According to Forbes, Walton is worth at least $60 billion. Well, about $55 billion now.
A couple of weeks ago, there were two MLB managers named Joe. Then the Philadelphia Phillies fired Joe Girardi. Shortly thereafter, the Los Angeles Angels dumped Joe Maddon. It’s amazing how quickly Maddon became a poor manager, though. The Angels were being touted as a playoff team — maybe even a World Series contender — and then came a 12-game losing streak, followed by Joe saying: “Say it ain’t so.” . . . It’s worth noting that the Phillies, under interim manager Rob Thomson, won their first eight games after the change. I wonder if that success had anything to do with Thomson being Canadian, meaning the most-popular words in the Phils’ locker room now are “please,” “thank you” and “I’m sorry.”
“The Angels, trying to snap a 13-game losing streak, used Nickelback tunes for their walk-up music during Wednesday’s game against the Red Sox, a 1-0 loss,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Whatever happened to simply rounding up the bats and burning them?”
“Managers Joe Girardi and Joe Maddon got fired one day apart last week,” Perry writes. “Say it ain’t so, Joes.”
THINKING OUT LOUD — I don’t care what the NBA says, it’s the NBA final. Singular. And it’s the NHL final. Singular. Etc., etc., etc. . . . People aren’t really surprised about all these pro golfers, who are independent contractors, taking the money and running, are they? . . . At present, there are seven NHL teams without a head coach — the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets. Throw in openings for assistant coaches and the NHL has more vacancies than the Bates Motel. . . . You are free to wonder how many days Tony La Russa has left as the manager of the Chicago White Sox.
Here’s Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“Golf likes to hold itself up as a game of high integrity and morals, somehow above the fray. Players call penalties on themselves, the argument goes, and compete with dignity and respect for their opponent.
“That line of thinking seems haughty and presumptuous even in normal times. And now, as several top PGA Tour pros defect for the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational series, it’s downright comical. . . .
“But peer beneath all these layers, the stream of news flashes over the past few days, and it’s really quite simple. The game’s top players had a choice between money and morals.
“Money won. Shocking.”
The great Charles P. Pierce of Esquire, writing on the golf situation: “Watching professional golfers leap for the blood money of the new Saudi golf tour should shock approximately nobody. These guys generally have the social conscience of a flesh-eating amoeba. And that Phil Mickelson was their drum major is even less of a surprise. Good on the PGA for suspending the players who signed up for the Bone Saw Tour.”
Jared Jacobson, the owner and governor of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, won the 60th edition of the Grey Owl golf tournament on the Clear Lake Golf Course in Riding Mountain National Park on Sunday. It was the second time he has won what is one of Manitoba’s most-popular golf tournaments, the first time being in 2014. As the winner, Jacobson was presented with the “Cactus” Jack Wells Memorial Trophy. Yes, it turned out nice again . . . for Jacobson, who won by birdieing each of the last three holes for a 2-under 70 and a two-round total of 141. He had been four shots off the lead while standing on the 16th tee. He ended up with a one-shot victory over Noel Ngo of Winnipeg and Ross Sheard of Brandon.
JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Former Kamloops Blazers F Kyrell Sopotyk was named to the tournament all-star team at the 2022 Canadian junior national wheelchair basketball championship that wrapped up Sunday in Charlottetown, P.E.I. B.C. won the tournament; Sopotyk and his Saskatchewan teammates placed sixth. Sopotyk, now 20, was left paralyzed from the waist down in a snowboarding accident on Jan. 22, 2021. . . . F Luke Toporowski, who was acquired by Kamloops from the Spokane Chiefs during this season, has signed a two-year deal with the AHL’s Providence Bruins. Toporowski, who completed his junior eligibility this season, is expected to attend training camp with the NHL’s Boston Bruins. Toporowski totalled 63 points, 35 of them goals, in 49 games this season. He had 20 goals and 14 assists in 22 games with Kamloops, then put up 23 points, nine of them goals, in 16 playoff games. . . .
Congrats to former Brandon Sun sports editor Bill Davidson on his being added to the Brandon University Sports Wall of Fame. As the sports editor, he had more than a little to do with hiring me in June 1971. I couldn’t have started in the sports journalism field under a better editor, too, because he, more than anyone else, taught me the basics and fundamentals and the importance of getting the little things right. Oh, and he always kicked my butt at Hearts, too.
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