A new post appeared at cougarshockeyproject.ca on Thursday, this one a recap of the Victoria Cougars’ 1972-73 season. . . . A few paragraphs into the post, I came across a piece of WHL history — it was the WCHL in those days — about which I don’t ever recall hearing:
“One of the seasons’ strangest events occurred on Dec. 14. Victoria came away with the victory in a game it actually lost. New Westminster defeated Victoria, 5-4, but the Bruins refused to wear their helmets. After the game, the WCHL awarded Victoria the points, ruling that New Westminster must forfeit the victory because they blatantly violated the league’s helmet mandate.”
So . . . I scurried to newspapers.com and took a look at the Victoria Times Colonist of Dec. 15, 1972. Here’s what I found on the Dec. 14 game that was played in New Westminster:
“Victoria Cougars lost the battle but won the war here Thursday night.
“New Westminster Bruins, erupting for four goals in the second period, edged the Cougars 5-4 but lost two Western Canada Hockey League points because they refused to wear helmets.
“Executive-secretary Tom Fisher of New Westminster announced the forfeiture after officially receiving the game report from referee Al Paradise.
“In addition to losing the points that would have provided the Bruins with undisputed possession of first place in the Western Division, the New Westminster club was fined $320.
“ ‘Our league is bound by Canadian Amateur Hockey Association rules,’ said Fisher, ‘and these rules make it mandatory for players to wear helmets.’
“Fisher fined 16 New Westminster players $20 each. The only ones to avoid fines were New Westminster’s two goaltenders and Denis Anderson, the only Bruin who wore a helmet.
“The Cougars did not lodge a protest. Fisher, who attended the game, took the default action on his own initiative.”
One day later, I found more on this story, with Ernie McLean, the Bruins’ owner-coach, saying that he would appeal Fisher’s ruling.
According to McLean, Fisher “doesn’t have the authority” to take away the points and the Bruins would be taking their case before the league’s governors.
On Dec. 17, the Bruins all wore their helmets as they beat the visiting Centennials, 3-2.
The Bruins also wore their helmets on Dec. 19 as they beat the host Cougars, 6-1.
On Dec. 21, Del Wilson of Regina, the league’s president, said there was “little chance” of the Bruins getting back the two points.
“I’ve talked it over with Fisher,” Wilson said, “and there can be no appeal. New Westminster broke the rules, and the points will remain with Victoria.”
And that was the end of that story, although there doesn’t seem to be any record of whether those Bruins players paid their fines.
In the end, the two points didn’t figure in the final standings as the Bruins (31-22-15) finished fourth in the Western Division, four points behind the Centennials (35-22-11).
Kelly McClintock, the Saskatchewan Hockey Association’s general manager, told CBC News on Thursday that “it’s pretty safe to say that we’re not going to be having any hockey games.” . . . That was in reaction to the province extending public health restrictions until at least March 19. Under those restrictions, hockey games aren’t permitted, while players 18 and younger are allowed to practise in groups of eight while physically distancing and wearing masks. . . . According to CBC News, “McClintock said the association is now focusing on becoming as prepared as possible to start in September, if all goes well.” . . . McClintock said: “I’m hoping by September . . . there’s a lot more people vaccinated, there’s a lot less fear. I think and hope that we’re at levels where we can start our September season.” . . . The CBC story is right here.
The NHL’s Dallas Stars, who had their first four games of this season postponed after having a number of players test positive, now have had four more games scrubbed, all because of the weather conditions and power outages in Texas. . . . The Stars were to have played the Nashville Predators on Monday and Tuesday, and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday and Saturday. The latter two games would have been a rematch of last season’s bubbled Stanley Cup final, which the Lightning won in six games. . . . Two of the four early-season games that were postponed also were to have featured the Lightning and Stars. . . . Dallas is scheduled to play five games in eight days starting on Monday, with two of those games in Tampa.
The ECHL’s Brampton, Ont., Beast announced on Thursday that the franchise has folded. In an open letter, Cary Kaplan, the Beast’s president and general manager, said the franchise had “become the latest of many victims of COVID-19.” . . . The Beast played seven seasons in the ECHL. . . . Spiros Anastas, a former U of Lethbridge Pronghorns head coach, was the Beast’s head coach.
THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .
Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Wednesday, 10:01 p.m. PT — Canada: 21,439 have died from coronavirus; 839,155 have tested positive.
Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Thursday, 9:48 p.m. PT — Canada: 21,509 have died from coronavirus; 842,590 have tested positive.
Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Wednesday, 10:01 p.m. PT — United States: 490,447 have died from coronavirus . . . 27,825,043 have tested positive.
Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Thursday, 9:48 p.m. PT — United States: 493,082 people have died. . . . 27,896,042 have tested positive.
CBC News — COVID-19 vaccine deliveries back on track following weeks of delay, says Public Health Agency.
CBC News — In the past week in Canada, there were 20,334 cases, a decrease of 13 per cent. . . . The number of active cases declined 14 per cent. . . . There were 410 deaths, or 1.1 per 100,000 people, a decrease of 29 per cent. . . . Hospitalizations declined five per cent and ICU beds filled declined seven per cent.
CBC News — B.C. records 617 new cases of COVID-19 and 4 more deaths, the highest number of new cases since Jan. 7. There are 224 people in hospital with the disease, 60 of whom are in intensive care.
CBC News — Number of new COVID-19 cases in Ontario rises to 1,038, the 1st time in 5 days the number has exceeded 1,000. Of those, 376 are in Toronto, 142 are in Peel Region and 122 are in York Region. There have also been 44 additional deaths. . . . York Region’s top doctor calls for return to red level as Toronto, Peel seek lockdown extension. A decision on these 3 Ontario areas and North Bay, which also remain under a stay-home order, is expected Friday.
CTV News — Two passengers fined a combined $17,000 for allegedly faking negative COVID-19 tests.
The New York Times — Arkansas has lifted its curfew for bars and restaurants and loosened restrictions on large outdoor venues.
CBC News — Alberta reports 415 new COVID-19 cases, 7 more deaths. There are now more than 2,300 contact tracers in the province and 239 variants of concern have been identified to date.
CBC News — Saskatchewan reports 146 new COVID-19 cases. That’s the most in 5 days but still below the province’s 7-day average of 163.
CBC News — Manitoba announces 139 new cases of COVID-19, the 1st time the number has been over 100 since February 5 and well above the 7-day average of 91. There have also been 2 additional deaths.
I have a feeling that Ken Campbell of The Hockey News was watching the waning moments of the Minnesota Wild’s 3-1 victory over the host Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night when he posted this tweet . . .
The NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list was down to 13 players on Thursday, the lowest its been since Jan. 17 when it contained 12 players. . . . There were 59 players on the list on Feb. 12. . . . Unfortunately for Philadelphia, the Flyers have six players on the list, none of whom are expected to play in Sunday’s outdoor game at Lake Tahoe against the Boston Bruins. . . . The Flyers played Thursday night, their first game in 11 days, and lost, 3-2 in a shootout, to the visiting New York Rangers. . . . D Justin Braun, F Claude Giroux, F Travis Konecny, F Scott Laughton, F Oskar Lindblom and F Jake Voracek are the Philly players who didn’t play last night and aren’t likely to play Sunday.
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