— Canadian Blood Services Saskatchewan. (@LifelineSask) April 26, 2022
You know what’s mind-boggling? Well, let me tell you . . . the work that Bernie and Toby Boulet are doing to promote organ donation is mind-boggling. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where their efforts defy description. They are two great citizens of this world and there can be no debate about it. . . . This week they were in — wait for it! — Pittsburgh at the Center for Organ Recovery.
As you travel around in your world, you likely are encountering a goodly number of folks who are carrying on as though the pandemic is over. After all, that seems to be what provincial governments and their health officials want us to believe.
But . . . you know what? It’s not over. Of course, that’s the take of the medical and scientific communities, which the pooh-bahs choose to pretty much ignore.
Look, we hear a lot about how hospitals are struggling to keep up, healthcare workers are out of gas and people who need surgeries have had them postponed and postponed and postponed, again and again and again.
So let’s take a moment or two and put a name and a face to one of those people who has been waiting for badly needed surgery.
Terry Rebalkin of Saskatoon has been fighting kidney disease since 2008. She needs a transplant, but first has to have parathyroid surgery, a procedure that will result in a hospital stay of up to five days.
But there aren’t any hospital recovery beds available in Saskatoon.
“Rebalkin said she was able to keep the kidney disease at bay until 2019 through dialysis and healthier living,” reported Cory Coleman of CBC News. “However, things took a turn for the worst that year when her kidneys started filling up with fluid.
“She said she has been in and out of hospitals ever since, but hasn’t been able to get adequate help, especially in emergency rooms.”
Rebalkin told Coleman: “I’ve been treated horribly when I’ve gone to the emergency room, not getting the care that I need, not getting a bed, being septic and being sent home when you’re supposed to be in the hospital.
“It seems like nobody cares because they’re so overworked and they’re tired. The staff and the health region are exhausted.”
Rebalkin now needs a walker to get around, and she and her husband have had to change residences in order to accommodate her needs.
Coleman wrote: “Rebalkin said she believes the province’s handling of COVID-19 — especially the decision to drop all mandates — is one of the reasons for ongoing surgery delays.”
As she explained to Coleman: “They’ve made COVID the most important thing, and I understand, but then they act like it’s not here. So there’s more and more beds being taken up by people that have had COVID, and I understand they’re sick, but what about the rest of us? I’ve done everything you’ve asked me to do and what have I gotten out of it? Not a thing.”
Today, she has a tentative date for surgery — May 25 — but she’s been down this road before so is quite prepared for another delay.
“I’m just hoping that my surgery will be done on the day that I need, otherwise, I mean, it doesn’t give you a good outlook on life,” she said.
“I’m not gonna lie, I’m scared . . . I just want my life back.”
So next time you hesitate to put on a mask or take any other precautionary measure stop and think about Terry Rebalkin and so many others who are in the same kind of predicament.
Susan Jacks, the lead singer for the Poppy Family, has died in a Vancouver hospital while awaiting a second kidney transplant. Jacks, who died in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, was 73. . . . She underwent a kidney transplant in 2010 with her brother, Bill, serving as the living donor. In recent days, she was suffering with infections that had her on the waiting list for a second transplant. “She was overwhelmed by infection, and her heart stopped,” Rick Pesklevits, another brother, told The Canadian Press. . . . Jacks was once married to Ted Dushinski, an all-star defensive back with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. He died of cancer in 2005. . . . Camille Bains of CP has more right here.
IN THE NEWS! 📰📣 Abbotsford woman in search of kidney donor after two double-lung transplants. Miranda Frigon has support of hotdog king Skully White, who donated kidney in 2020.https://t.co/qYtjfGKPIg
A recent study, published in Nature Scientific Reports, has shown that a drug that is already in use for other conditions may be an effective therapy to prevent antibody-mediated rejection of transplanted kidneys.
Dorothy, my wife of more than a few years, is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. She has participated in every one since she underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation you are able to do so right here.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Want an easy win to feel great? Register to be an organ donor today. It will only #TakeTwoMinutes and you could save a life. Great deed and fuzzy feels without any hassle. #Register2Give taketwominutes.ca
The boys played a hockey game last night. Yes, they shook off the rust and away they went.
They did pretty well, too, getting 37 saves from goaltender Parker Tobin in posting an 8-0 victory before a world-wide audience.
Tobin was making his first appearance with his new team, having been acquired from the junior A Humboldt Broncos in exchange for defenceman Xavier Labelle earlier in the day.
“We were fortunate we got a great performance from Tobin and our top scorers scored,” said general manager/head coach Darcy Haugan.
The boys were led by the line of Jaxon Joseph, Logan Schatz and Evan Thomas, who combined for 12 points, including six goals.
There was a scary moment early in the second period when Schatz appeared to catch an edge as he cut behind Tobin’s net. Schatz crumpled to the ice and for a moment it looked as though he had suffered a knee injury. Athletic therapist Dayna Brons, the only girl on the boys team, was quick to the scene. She helped Schatz to the dressing room and was able to get him back to the bench before too much time had elapsed.
“She’s got magic fingers and she’s great with tape,” said Schatz, who also is the team captain. “If there’s an MVP on this team, she’s it. I don’t know where we’d be without her.”
Haugan was thrilled when Schatz returned to the bench and Brons signalled that the captain was OK to go.
“That allowed us to keep our lines intact and to execute our game plan to a T,” Haugan said. “We wanted our power play to obviously be big. We didn’t expect it to be that big so we’re very fortunate. You need your top guys to be your best guys and they were.”
The boys counted five times on eight power-play opportunities and that really was huge.
Joseph finished with three goals and an assist, with Schatz chipping in two of each, and Thomas putting up a goal and three helpers.
Defenceman Adam Herold, the youngest player on the team, and forward Conner Lukan also scored. Lukan was skating alongside Jacob Leicht and Logan Hunter, and that threesome easily could have had four or five more goals. Hunter recorded two assists, with Leicht getting one. Defenceman Stephen Wack also had one assist.
As for the opposition, Haugan said, they “stepped up all night, they were relentless. Obviously our guys did a good job of keeping everything to the outside and didn’t allow them to penetrate to the middle of the ice. We did get a couple of breaks so we did get lucky but all-in-all to escape with a 1-0 lead after one, we’ll gladly take it.”
Defenceman Logan Boulet showed a lot of heart and leadership in earning six assists for the boys.
“I felt great out there,” Boulet said. “I was using a Brad McCrimmon model stick and, man, I really was able to throw some great saucer passes out there. And I don’t know that the stick had anything to do with it, but I never wanted to leave the ice.”
Haugan said one of the toughest tasks he and assistant coach Mark Cross faced was getting the players to pick out the sticks they wanted to use.
“I have never seen or heard of a team having such a wide selection to choose from,” Haugan said. “There were sticks everywhere. We may have to build some kind of stick warehouse to house them all.”
After the game, the boys admitted to being quite excited about having been able to replace one of their travelling staples.
“One of the boys picked up a copy of Slap Shot,” Haugan said. “He got it from somewhere in Portland, I think. You can’t be on the road without Reggie Dunlop and Slap Shot, but our original DVD got broken somehow and, let me tell you, there were some broken hearts when that happened.
It’s worth pointing out that the boys led 1-0 after the first period, which was played in Chicago Stadium. They were up 4-0 after the second, which was played in Maple Leaf Gardens. The teams played the final period in the Montreal Forum. The travel arrangements were all under the control of Glen Doerksen, the team’s travelling secretary.
So . . . what’s next for the boys?
Well, Haugan said, the coaches are well aware that focusing on one sport isn’t the way to go.
“The guys are talking about wanting to play some baseball,” Haugan said. “Apparently, some guy in Iowa built a ball diamond in a cornfield. So I think we’re wanting to give that a try.
“But we’ll have to scrounge some bats, balls and gloves first.”
JUST NOTES: There was a third man behind the bench with Haugan and Cross, and Haugan later revealed that he has added Brock Hirsche to his coaching staff. Hirsche played in the WHL with the Prince George Cougars, then returned to his hometown to play with the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns. . . .
Tyler Bieber, an up-and-coming play-by-play voice, called last night’s game on 107.5 FM (aka The Prayer), with sports fanatic Brody Hinz handling the analysis and statistics, including zone entries and Corsi. . . .
(Christopher Lee of the Humboldt Journal may recognize some of the quotes here. Thanks for loaning them to me.)
The OHL dropped the hammer on the Niagara IceDogs on Wednesday, a month after some members of the organization were alleged to have used improper language in a group chat on WhatsApp, a transcript of which was given to the league. Joey Burke, one of the team’s minority owner and the governor, and Billy Burke, the head coach and a minority owner, have been suspended indefinitely. The IceDogs also have been fined $150,000. . . . From an OHL news release: “Based on the results of the league investigation, it is the position of the league that their conduct is prejudicial to the welfare of the OHL as it violates the league’s Harassment & Abuse/Diversity Policy and also runs counter to the OHL’s Onside program, which emphasizes the importance of demonstrating respect for women through actions and words.” . . . According to terms of the disciplinary action, both are able to apply for reinstatement on June 1, 2024. “At that time,” reads the news release, “the Commissioner will assess whether they have successfully completed counselling and education to ensure that there will be no additional violations of League rules, policies, or expected conduct.” . . . Rick Westhead of TSN later tweeted: “IceDogs co-owner Bill Burke, Joey and Billy’s father, told The Welland Tribune that ‘today a very sad day for the Burke family. We will have more to say in the coming days. We would . . . like to thank everyone that has reached out today with their overwhelming love and support.”
Meanwhile, the AHL has suspended F Ben Holmstrom of the Rochester Americans for eight games for using “homophobic language” during a game against the visiting Utica Comets on March 30. He was ejected at the end of the first period. . . . “As part of the suspension,” the AHL said in a statement, “Holmstrom will be participating in diversity and inclusion education.”
Now let’s hop on over to Quebec for this from Guy Quenneville of CBC News . . .
“More Black minor hockey players in western Quebec are coming forward with allegations of racial slurs less than a week after another Black player spoke out.
“On Monday, Hockey Outaouais and the team L’Intrépide de Gatineau confirmed in a statement they have launched an investigation after two of the team’s players said they were subjected to racist remarks.
“One of those players, Anthony Allain-Samaké, told Radio-Canada the bullying led him to quit the team.”
His mother, Julie Allain, speaking French, told Quenneville: “Being called the N-word was still quite common for several players. I told him it is totally unacceptable.”
In Spokane, F Nick McCarry struck 10 seconds into OT was the Chiefs beat the Everett Silvertips, 3-2. . . . McCarry, who has 22 goals, has seven points, five of them goals, over his past four games. . . . Olen Zellweger, theWHL’s highest-scoring defenceman, scored his 14th goal and added an assist. He has 76 points in 53 games. . . . G Mason Beaupit stopped 32 shots, 18 of them in the second period, for Spokane. . . . Announced attendance was 7,252, an awfully impressive number for a midweek game. . . . The Chiefs’ victory eliminated the idle Tri-City Americans from the chase for a playoff spot. . . . Spokane (23-37-5), with three games remaining, is sixth, one point ahead of the Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals, and two up on the Prince George Cougars. . . . Everett (44-10-10) leads the conference by four points over the Kamloops Blazers. Each team has four games remaining. . . .
The Kelowna Rockets scored the game’s last three goals as they beat the Cougars, 4-1, in Prince George. . . . The Rockets, who won 1-0 in OT there on Tuesday, have won six straight in Prince George. . . . F Colton Dach scored once, his 26th, and added two assists. . . . F Pavel Novak (28) broke a 1-1 tie at 18:52 of the first period and the visitors put it away with two third-period goals. . . . Kelowna (39-19-6) now is two points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds with each team having four games to play. . . . The Cougars are ninth, one point from a playoff spot.
Justin Hall and Alex Thacker both collect 3 assists in third. Hall hits at least 3 assists for 3rd time this year, extending point streak to 5 while Thacker thrusts a multipoint game streak to three with 5th (and first not against MH or REG). Passes 100 career points. https://t.co/hvhiIOiVbx
The host Lethbridge Hurricanes struck for six goals in the third period as they dropped the Saskatoon Blades, 6-1. . . . The game’s seven goals all came in the third period. . . . D Joe Arntsen scored twice, giving him seven, and added an assist, with F Justin Hall and F Alex Thacker each adding three assists. . . . F Jordan Keller scored his first WHL goal in his eighth game for the Blades. Keller, who turned 17 on March 8, is the son of Aaron Keller, who played four seasons (1992-96) with the Kamloops Blazers before going on to play 17 seasons in Japan. Aaron now helps out the Blazers as a development coach. . . . Saskatoon G Nolan Maier stopped 31 shots in his first opportunity to break the WHL career record for victories. . . . Lethbridge (30-30-4) is seventh, seven points behind the Brandon Wheat Kings and five ahead of the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Saskatoon (36-26-4) remains fifth, one point behind the Moose Jaw Warriors and five ahead of Brandon.
JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs and Rick Swan, their general manager and head coach, “have mutually agreed to part ways effective immediately,” the team announced Wednesday. Swan had been with the organization for 10 years, the last nine as GM and head coach. This season, the Pontiacs went 36-16-8, good for third in the North Division, then lost a six-game first-round series to the Whitecourt Wolverines.
IN THE NEWS! 📰📣 Green Shirt Day: McLeod Lake family honours their son Taylor who was an organ donor. https://t.co/TP1DDL8rZ1
Logie wasn’t always happy that his sister could skate😡! Come out on April 7th to the Green Shirt Day FREE Family Skate at the ATB Centre in Lethy from 4:30pm to 6pm. Bring your skates and helmet! Maybe SMILE better than Logan!! 😀😂🤣 #LoganBouletEffect#GreenShirtDaypic.twitter.com/6cEyNwCxUu
A Facebook post from Aron Gratias, an avid hockey fan . . .
Family and friends, I need your help!!
Anyone who knows me has probably seen my passion for The Great One.
It pains me to have to write this, and very emotional to think about, a 40+ year passion, my Gretzky Collection, stolen and what’s even worse, is the majority of items were personally signed to me, for me, along with autographed pictures of my face and my families faces in them.
We had recently moved and were storing some of our household and garage items in storage containers near Shellbrook. Someone entered the yard and proceeded to cut the locks off ONE of TWO containers and selectively removed the Gretzky collection from the storage container, leaving some expensive household and garage items. Not to mention a whole other container was untouched. Very interesting!! Small group who knew!!!
19 Gretzky jerseys, autographed, every team since he was 12, large pictures, like 4’x4’, large painting, like 5’x5’, all autographed and serial numbered, autographed sticks, autographed pucks all in display cases, boxes of cards, close to 10,000, 2,200 of Gretzky alone, some autographed, and one framed Gretzky Rookie Card PSA 8, 1979 Mattel dolls still in boxes, figurines, signed family photos, plates, helmets, masks, skates, just to name a few.
Some autographed Crosby stuff, rookie card, jersey, Sakic and Thornton signed jerseys, pile of Team Canada autographed pictures, men’s and women’s, jerseys and cards. I am in some of the autographed frames pictures as well as my family so those will be hard to sell.
I have reported to the RCMP and they were out today to start the investigation. Someone will be trying to push a massive Gretzky collection so please notify the RCMP if you hear anything. If you notify me, I’m coming equipped with a lot of passion!!!
This collection was worth way more then just money to me, it was priceless and a true passion, it was never meant to be sold, it was meant to be passed down to generations and future generations and I feel bad for my children, it was theirs.
Please, please keep an eye out and pass pass this on!!
By now, I’m sure you’re tired of reading and/or hearing about the Will Smith-Chris Rock confrontation during the Academy Awards show. But even if you’ve had your fill, if you haven’t read the piece written by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, you might want to take a few minutes out of your day and give it a glance. It’s the best piece I’ve seen on the subject and it’s right here.
Headline at The Beaverton: NHL refs an inspiration to millions who would love to get paid for not doing their job.
It’s true. The Detroit Red Wings have fired Al Sobotka, their longtime Zamboni driver.
Sobotka, 68, had been part of the organization for 51 years, most recently as operations manager at Little Caesars Arena.
There long has been a tradition of fans tossing octopi onto the ice during playoff games — when the Red Wings are good enough to qualify, of course. Sobotka would venture onto the ice to clean them up and invariably would twirl one over his head and incite the crowd.
While a reason for the dismissal hasn’t been made public, Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times writes: “We’re guessing thin ice.”
Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, at his curmudgeonly best as he looks at March Madness:
“I have another observation about the TV coverage of the tournament this year. We are now ‘treated’ to two in-game interviews with the head coaches during scheduled timeouts. These seemingly have replaced the ceremoniously stupid in-game interviews in the stands with players’ parents and/or coaches’ wives and/or the next-door neighbor of the assistant coach’s tax accountant. For that reason, I guess I should be appreciative and thankful, but I have a serious reservation here. . . .
“There is one – and only one – appropriate question for the sideline reporter to ask the coach in these circumstances: ‘Coach, what is it you would be telling your team in the huddle if you were not contractually obligated to be here talking to me?’ . . . That is all viewers would want to know — and it would let people know the forced nature of the oral exchange they were about to watch.”
Don’t every change, Jack. Don’t ever change!
If you haven’t already made The Sports Curmudgeon part of your day, you are able to so right here.
THINKING OUT LOUD: I’m sorry, but I giggle whenever I see that Chevrolet Silverado commercial starring a cat named Walter. Those commercials were shot on a 100,000-acre ranch in Utah using nine look-a-like cats. And it’s reported that the cats were so easy to work with that little in the way of CGI was needed. . . . It’s Canada vs. Belgium on Nov. 23 in Qatar. Game time will be 11 a.m. PT. Plan accordingly. . . . And how huge will the TV audience be in the Excited States when their men meet England at 11 a.m. PT, on Black Friday? It’ll be a holiday down there so there could a whole lot of TV viewers. Of course, it’ll be football competing with football on the telly that day, won’t it? . . . I really need someone to explain how this NHL-on-TV thing works. Watching the Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks on Sunday. Second intermission arrives. Check the on-screen guide. The Edmonton Oilers are visiting the Anaheim Ducks. Go to check the score. Whoops! Blacked out. But the Philadelphia Flyers are up against the Rangers in New York and I can watch them. All three games were on Sportsnet channels. What I don’t understand is why I can’t watch the Canadian team in my part of Canada.
SUNDAY IN THE WHL:
The Kamloops Blazers erased a 3-1 first-period deficit and beat the Cougars, 4-3 in OT, in Prince George. . . . D Daylan Kuefler scored the winner, his 38th goal of the season, on a PP at 0:56. . . . F Jonny Hooker (15) gave the Cougars a 3-1 lead on a PP at 17:08 of the first period. . . . Kamloops tied it on second-period goals from D Ethan Brandwood (6), at 2:39, and F Reese Belton (12), at 6:46. . . . F Logan Stankoven scored his 42nd goal and added an assist for Kamloops. With 96 points in 55 games, he continues to lead the WHL in points-per-game, at 1.75. . . . The Blazers have completed their road schedule, finishing 24-10-0. . . . Kamloops (46-16-2) is second, three points behind Everett and three in front of Portland. . . . Prince George (22-37-4) is ninth, one point behind Spokane and two in arrears of Vancouver and Victoria. . . .
F Nick McCarry scored twice to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Chiefs had won 5-2 in Langley on Saturday night. . . . McCarry has 21 goals this season, including four in a three-game scoring streak as the Chiefs won once in Kamloops and twice in Langley. . . . G Mason Beaupit stopped 30 shots for Spokane. . . . Spokane (22-37-5) is in possession of the conference’s last playoff spot and is just one point behind Vancouver (23-35-4) and Victoria.
In Edmonton, the Red Deer Rebels scored the game’s last two goals as they beat the Oil Kings, 5-4, in OT. . . . Edmonton F Jaxsen Wiebe’s PP goal at 18:04 of the third period put his guys ahead, 4-3. . . . F Arshdeep Bains pulled the Rebels even with 9.2 seconds left in the third period. It was his 38th goal and WHL-leading 101st point of the season. He finished with a goal and two assists. . . . F Jhett Larson’s 11th goal of the season won it at 2:10 of extra time. . . . Red Deer F Ben King picked up his WHL-leading 48th goal of the season. . . . It was a weekend sweep for the Rebels, who had beaten the visiting Oil Kings, 4-3, on Saturday night. . . . Edmonton has lost three straight game for the firs time since Nov. 11-17, 2019. . . . Red Deer (43-17-4) is third, six points behind Edmonton (46-14-4), which has four games remaining and is seven points behind Winnipeg. . . .
The Calgary Hitmen held a 48-31 edge in shots as they beat the visiting Swift Current Broncos, 5-2. . . . Calgary jumped into a 2-0 lead on first-period goals by F Steel Quiring (12) and D Tyson Galloway (5), but F Josh Filmon (23) got the Broncos close at 14:49. . . . The Hitmen put it away on goals from F Zac Funk (19) at 8:58 of the second period and D Grayden Siepmann (9) at 5:30 of the third. . . . G Brayden Peters earned the victory with 29 saves, 14 fewer than Isaac Poulter of the Broncos. . . . Calgary (25-31-8) is ninth, one point behind Swift Current (26-33-7), which is three points behind Lethbridge. Prince Albert is one points behind Calgary.
Say a prayer, if you’ve got a moment, for the great Mike Bossy, maybe the most gifted goal scorer in hockey history, who is battling lung cancer. #bossystrong
The Prince Albert Raiders have had to shut down F Ozzy Wiesblatt for the remainder of this season due to an undisclosed injury. The Raiders revealed on Saturday that the decision was reached during “consultation” between their medical staff and doctors with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. . . . Wiesblatt was selected by the Sharks in the first round of the 2020 NHL draft. He finishes this season with 41 points, including 10 goals, in 43 games. . . . According to the Raiders, “Wiesblatt will head to San Jose for further evaluation to determine the appropriate next steps in his recovery.”
Philip Varney, the Seattle Thunderbirds’ athletic trainer, returned to the WHL team on Friday after being sidelined thanks to a positive COVID-19 test. “Was great being back in the rink for game day,” Varney tweeted. “Covid finally got me. Wasn’t pleasant but wasn’t awful. Very grateful for vaccines, N95s, at home rapid testing and HEPA air purifiers.” . . . At one point in mid-January, Varney had been involved with more than 20 members of the Thunderbirds’ organization, including players and staff, who had tested positive.
A tip of the fedora to the Saskatoon Blades, who were back to ‘normal’ on Saturday after a stint as the Saskatoon Bananas. If you missed it, the Blades did up an April Fool’s Day gimmick the way it’s supposed to be done. The franchise rebranded in the morning as the Bananas and went the distance with the promotion, with signage, new uniforms with the new logo, and a whole lot more. Well done! . . . Darren Steinke, the travelling’ blogger, was in attendance and has more on the Bananas right here.
SATURDAY IN THE WHL:
The Red Deer Rebels erased a 3-2 third-period deficit and beat the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, 4-3. . . . F Justin Sourdif (22) scored shorthanded at 16:26 of the second period to give Edmonton that 3-2 lead. . . . F Kai Uchacz (13) pulled Red Deer event with a shorthanded score at 2:58 of the third and F Arshdeep Bains (37) got the winner at 12:24. . . . Edmonton was 1-for-7 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-for-5. . . . Red Deer got 32 saves from G Chase Coward as he won his 20th game. . . . The Rebels have two 20-game winners for the first time in franchise history. Coward is 20-9-2, 2.41, .909; Connor Ungar is 20-8-1, 2.28, .912. . . . The Rebels (42-17-4) are headed for a third-place finish. . . . The Oil Kings (46-14-3) have five games remaining and are eight points behind the conference-leading Winnipeg Ice. . . .
The Brandon Wheat Kings scored the game’s last two goals and hung on for a 2-1 victory over the Blades in Saskatoon. . . . F Josh Pillar (13) gave the Blades the lead at 4:25 of the first period, only to have F Landon Roberts tie it at 10:29. . . . Brandon got the eventual winner from F Nate Danielson (21), on a PP, at 2:46 of the second period. . . . The Blades were 0-for-4 on the PP with all four opportunities coming in the game’s final 3:51. . . . The Wheat Kings (32-25-5) are sixth. With six games remaining, they are five points behind the Blades (35-25-4), who have four left to play. Saskatoon is three points behind Moose Jaw. . . .
The Moose Jaw Warriors scored twice in the last 30 seconds of the third period to beat the visiting Winnipeg Ice, 3-1. . . . D Cole Jordan (2) gave Moose Jaw a lead at 14:30 of the first period. . . . Winnipeg D Tanner Brown (6) tied it at 13:43 of the second. . . . D Denton Mateychuk (11) snapped the tie at 19:38 of the third, with F Cordel Larson (10) adding insurance at 19:53. . . . G Jackson Unger stopped 37 shots to earn the victory. . . . The Warriors (36-23-5) are fourth, three points ahead of Saskatoon. . . . The Ice (49-10-5), which had won 13 straight, is headed for a first-place finish in the conference. . . .
F Justin Hall had a goal and two assists to help the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 6-1 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Hall has 34 goals this season. . . . Lethbridge was 3-for-3 on the PP. . . . The Hurricanes swept the season series, going 8-0-0. . . . G Bryan Thomson stopped 28 shots for Lethbridge, losing his shutout bid at 19:58 of the third period when F Ashton Ferster scored his ninth goal of the season. . . . The Tigers honoured Bob Ridley, their long-time play-by-play man, in a pre-game ceremony that included the raising of a banner with his name on it being raised into the rafters. His name joins former players Lanny McDonald and Tom Lysiak up there. Health issues have kept Ridley out of the broadcast booth this season. He is expected to return to the booth for theTigers’ final home game, on April 15. . . . Lethbridge (29-30-4) is seventh, seven points behind Brandon and three ahead of Swift Current. . . . The Tigers (11-48-4) have lost seven in a row. . . .
D Nolan Allan scored once and added three assists to lead the host Prince Albert Raiders to a 6-1 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Allan has seven goals this season. . . . The Raiders also got a goal and two assists from each of F Reece Vitelli (25) and F Evan Herman (23). . . . F Connor Bedard scored his first WHL shorthanded goal. It also was his 45th score of the season, tying the franchise record for most goals by a 16-year-old. He shares the mark with F Jeff Friesen (1992-93). . . . The announced attendance was 3,040, the Raiders’ largest crowd this season. That topped the 2,962 figure for a visit by the Pats on Feb. 18. . . . Prince Albert (26-33-5) is two points out of a playoff spot. The Raiders have four games remaining, one more than eight-place Swift Current (26-32-7). . . . Regina (24-33-5) is six points from a playoff spot with six games remaining.
F Jackson Berezowski broke a 1-1 tie at 17:30 of the second period and the Everett Silvertips went on to a 2-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Berezowski’s 45th goal came via the PP. . . . The Silvertips got 25 saves from G Braden Holt. . . . Everett (44-10-9) leads the conference by five points over Kamloops. . . . Tri-City (18-41-5) has four games remaining and is six points out of a playoff spot. . . .
The host Portland Winterhawks blew a 4-0 lead and then came back to defeat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-4. . . . F Jaydon Dureau, who has 21 goals, scored once in each period for the winners. His third goal, on a PP, broke a 4-4 tie at 12:51 of the third period. . . . Dureau’s last goal came just 1:19 after F Henrik Rybinski (20) had pulled Seattle even on a PP. . . . Portland was handed 15 of the game’s 27 minor penalties. . . . Seattle was 2-for-7 on the PP; Portland was 1-for-4. . . . Portland (43-16-5) is third, one point behind Kamloops and six behind Everett. . . . Seattle (40-18-6) now is five behind Portland. . . .
G Jari Kykkanen recorded his first WHL shutout as the host Kelowna Rockets beat the Victoria Royals, 5-0. . . . Kykkanen stopped 15 shots. . . . The Rockets held a 38-15 edge in shots. . . . A 17-year-old freshman fromLloydminster, Alta., Kykkanen is 6-2-0, 3.12, .889 this season. . . . F Colton Dach’s 25th goal, on a PP, at 4:08 of the first period stood up as the winner. . . . Kelowna (37-19-6) is fifth, six points behind Seattle with six games left to play and two in hand on the Thunderbirds. . . . Victoria (22-36-6) is tied for sixth with Vancouver. . . .
In Langley, B.C., the Spokane Chiefs scored the game’s last five goals and beat the Vancouver Giants, 5-2. . . . F Jaden Lipinski, who has eight goals, scored twice in the first period to put Vancouver out front. . . . F Chase Bertholet (22) and F Ty Cheveldayoff (9), with the first of two, got the Chiefs even in the second period. . . . F Nick McCarry (19) broke the 2-2 tie at 4:03 of the third period. . . .Spokane (21-37-5) now is tied with Prince George for eighth, which is the conference’s last playoff spot. . . . Vancouver (23-34-4) is tied for sixth with Victoria, three points ahead of Prince George and Spokane.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
It is almost four years since the lives of Bernadine and Toby Boulet were changed forever.
Their son, Logan, was one of the 16 victims of the bus accident that involved the Humboldt Broncos, a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team that was on its way to Nipawin on April 6, 2018, for a playoff engagement with the Hawks.
Following Logan’s death, his organs were donated to six recipients. Since then, Bernadine and Toby have become tireless advocates for organ donation.
They were in Winnipeg last week where Mayor Brian Bowman presented them with a key to the city.
“It is profoundly moving and compassionate for a person to let the end of their life be a catalyst for the continuation of other lives,” Bowman said at a news conference as he described Bernadine and Toby as “incredible and selfless.”
They are that and then some.
In fact, if there were such a thing as a key to Canada, I would suggest that it be awarded to them. Yes, these are special people.
The work they have done, and continue to do, on behalf of organ donation and the Logan Boulet Effect is mind-boggling.
Their focus these days is on April 7, which will be the fourth annual Green Shirt Day. An untold number of Canadian structures will be lit up in green in honour of the occasion. As well, a number of Canadian jurisdictions have issued proclamations declaring April 7 as Green Shirt Day.
So consider yourself warned . . . get your green shirt ready. It’s just over a week away.
If you’re interested, there is more on Green Shirt Day right here.
Kayla Rosen of CTV News in Winnipeg has more right here on the Boulets receiving a key to the Manitoba capital.
Watch (or re-watch) this inspiring conversation with Toby and Bernie Boulet in 2021.💚 #GreenShirtDay
It has now been four weeks since Amanda donated her kidney to son Phillip, and here she offers a really positive update on her recovery – and tells us all about her latest challenge! 🏃 pic.twitter.com/o6jtZwanMP
“I was not able to be awake for like eight hours at a time. I was so exhausted all the time so I would be on set filming and I would be dead asleep, my head on the table." shared actress @Sarah_Hyland. https://t.co/YE7VlwZI23
It was two years ago when we started down this road. At the time, we didn’t have any idea how bumpy the road ahead was going to be. It was early on in this mess when a friend who had donated a kidney suggested that whatever was to come we were best to remember that some folks were pretty much in this alone.
She was meaning that people who are immunocompromised were going to have to put themselves first and foremost because no one else was going to do it.
And, well, here we are.
On Wednesday, B.C. reported 14 more deaths related to COVID-19, and there were four more revealed on Thursday.
Also on Thursday, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, the province’s minister of health, announced an end to the mask mandate in most indoor public places, while leaving the vaccination passport system in place until April 8.
It didn’t matter that Thursday was World Kidney Day, something that didn’t even get a mention during the Dr. Henry/Dix news conference. It was just time to loosen the reins.
So, well, here we are.
On Friday, the first day when masks no longer were mandated in many B.C. locations, John Horgan, B.C.’s NDP premier, held a news conference in Victoria. The announcement of that gathering included this: “Media attending must wear a mask and practice physical distancing.”
Hey, good for Horgan to be looking after himself — he completed a series of cancer treatments in January so is immunocompromised.
However, there are a whole lot of such people who aren’t in a position to get on a transit bus and announce that everyone there must wear a mask. Or to walk into a grocery store and make the same statement.
There are a whole lot of immunocompromised people, including parents of immunocompromised children, out there who are feeling confused and disappointed and frustrated.
Look, I know that the indicators, including hospitalizations and deaths, are looking more positive. But, gee, check out what’s going on in Changchun, a city of nine million in China that has been locked down. Do some reading on what happened in Denmark after restrictions were lifted. It’s quite apparent that this pandemic isn’t anywhere close to being over.
How did we get to this place where part of society sees so many people’s lives as being as disposable as a bunch of Bic lighters? How did we get to this place where wearing a mask in certain situations is just too much of a sacrifice for some people to make, even if it means protecting others with whom they may come in contact?
In B.C., John Horgan, the premier, says he will continue to wear a mask. So, too, does Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer. If that’s the case, why did those two choose to dump the mask mandate at this particular point in time?
One other thing . . .
Numerous experts have recommended a fourth vaccination for those who are immunocompromised. In fact, Alberta has been providing a fourth shot for well over a month now. In B.C., there hasn’t been even a mention of it.
From the lab: Scientists have turned to human kidney organoids, miniature models derived from human stem cells, to determine what marks the point of no return separating reversible and permanent damage leading to #kidneydisease. (Via: @statnews) https://t.co/zC5r3SwPVY
March is Kidney Health Month. Kidney disease can progress without much indication that anything is wrong, leaving many people unaware they have they have diminished kidney function. Find out why kidney disease should matter to you https://t.co/6gU78gaJfzpic.twitter.com/Q6ZkMR5oVX
Amanda Selvaratnam, the head of corporate training at the U of York in the UK, has given a kidney to her son, Phillip. She also has worked with Kidney Research UK to provide a video diary of their experience. . . . Here are Parts 1 and 2:
This is Amanda Selvaratnam, and this week she donated her kidney to son Phillip.
Amanda has agreed to document her journey for us as they both recover, and we'll be following her recovery via a series of video diaries. Here she gives us her first update post-transplant 👇 pic.twitter.com/DyqSGHwKDR
In the second instalment of her post-transplant video diaries, @ASelvaratnam updates on how she’s feeling almost a week after the operation, and reveals what food she’s most craving! 🍊🍇🍓 pic.twitter.com/XS8vQbOs3P
The Children’s Organ Transplant Society of BC has named Zach Tremblay of Robson, B.C., as its 2022 Ambassador.
Zach, a graduate of Stanley Humphries Secondary in Castlegar, will turn 19 in March and is a candidate for a kidney transplant. Born with renal hypoplasia-dysplasia, he has had one transplant, on June 1, 2017, but there was a problem and the ‘new’ kidney had to be removed.
Two years ago, his mother, Jana, told Gord McIntyre of Postmedia what had happened:
“What should have been a fairly routine four-hour surgery lasted about eight hours. They finally came and found my husband and me to tell us that a technical error had been made during the surgery and it cut off the blood flow to the kidney.”
McIntyre added: “Two more surgeries were performed overnight trying to save the kidney. When a test the next morning showed the kidney was not functioning, Zach required a fourth operation within 24 hours to remove the failed organ.”
He has made the transition from peritoneal dialysis to hemodialysis, but that has meant travelling to Trail three times a week because there isn’t a facility in Castlegar. At one point, early in 2020, he and Jana were forced to live at Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver for a period of time so that Zach could do hemodialysis there, while he waited to turn 17. He had to be 17 in order for the hospital in Trail to take over his treatments.
What all of this means, of course, is that Zach is well-positioned for this new position as the 2022 Ambassador for COTS. Not only that, but he already has had an impact in the world of organ donation.
Here’s a note that Joan Alexander, a friend of Jana’s, posted on Facebook on Jan. 18:
“Several years ago, on this day, I became an NDD (non-directed kidney donor). Zach got me started on my journey and, although I was not a match for him, I was able to donate to someone else. I am well, healthy and would donate again if I could.
“As an active volunteer for The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Atlantic Branch PEI, I advocate and raise funds for donors and recipients.
“Look at Zach now! He is the 2022 Ambassador of the Children’s Organ Transplant Society! He continues to wait for a miracle and struggles with all of the health implications that long-term dialysis brings.
“Please consider being tested for Zach.”
Watch this video to learn how organ donation works in British Columbia.
BREAKING; In a medical first, doctors transplanted a pig heart into a human in a last-ditch effort to save his life. A Maryland hospital says the patient is doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery. https://t.co/hAQcYbwaYl
Celebrating amazing #transplant news! 2020 marked the 10th consecutive record-breaking year for organ donations from deceased donors and one month ago the U.S. officially surpassed 40,000 transplants in one year, a historic first for the nation. https://t.co/ev0JbvyJO6@UNOSNews
Toby Boulet, perhaps Canada’s best-known advocate for organ donation, is asking people who aren’t yet vaccinated to take one for the team.
Boulet’s son, Logan, was one of 16 people killed in the crash involving the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos on April 6, 2018. Logan, who was 20, had registered as an organ donor a short time before the accident and his organs ended up helping six different people.
Now, with transplantation surgery having been halted in Saskatchewan —only living-donor kidney transplants are performed there — Boulet told Global News that he really wants people to pull together to help us get through this.
“If you can think of what happened with the Humboldt Broncos tragedy and what you did and how you responded,” he said in an interview with Global News, “how your love went out to the families of the Broncos and the families and the community of Humboldt . . . we need you now to help other families, other people.”
Boulet, who lives in Lethbridge, also pointed out that “organ transplants are a critical service and the fact that they’re being shut down is devastating and there will be loss of life because of the decisions of some,”
At the same time, he didn’t pull any punches when looking at the overall situation.
“I firmly believe it’s the selfishness of people that don’t see the community as being first,” he said. “It’s not about me, it’s not about you, it’s about the team. And the team needs you right now.”
The Kidney Foundation, SK Branch feels the deep disappointment of patients on the transplant waitlist, those who have a living donor ready to donate, & the families of deceased donors who will now be unable to fulfill the last wishes of their loved one.https://t.co/bmDFu6Htcq
Dr. Hassan Masri of the U of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine was mentioned here yesterday because of his tweet about that province having to halt organ transplantation.
Later, he posted this on Facebook and his words say everything:
“Most patients that come to the ICU come in a very critical condition and without any immediate and aggressive intervention most would die in a few short minutes to hours.
“Luckily most patients do make it out of the ICU and go on to their homes eventually and it brings all of us in the ICU a lot of joy to see that recovery.
“A small number of patients unfortunately don’t survive their disease and illness and they pass away. Many of those who pass away go on to become organ donors and in turn they save the lives of other people.
“Organ donation is a critical part of my job and it’s a role that brings me a lot of joy and satisfaction. More importantly, organ donors saves people’s lives because of the generosity of those who have died and their families. Being a small part of this process and facilitating this process is mind-blowing and it’s a feeling that I can’t describe to you in words.
“Effective (Thursday), Saskatchewan’s organ donation programs are shut down until further notice because of the pressure that COVID-19 has put on our ICUs. This means that no one can donate their organs and that is a shame, but it also means that no one will receive any organs and that is an equally big shame.
“Reading the email (Thursday) morning about the donation program being shut down was extremely painful and sad to me as I am sure it is sad and devastating to so many other colleagues who fought hard to have this program and to the families of those who have been waiting for an organ.
“The medical community and the SHA will continue to do their best to care for our citizens but the delay in taking any actions for weeks has a very tragic price.
“The impact of the COVID-19 fourth wave will be painful and this is just the beginning.
“I have said this and I will say this again. Fighting COVID-19 effectively cannot happen by adding more beds. It can happen by having our Saskatchewan government mandating vaccines for all who are eligible to receive it and by enforcing masks on everyone.”
Meanwhile . . .
The SJHL’s regular season was to have opened on Friday night with six games. But, said COVID-19, “not so fast, my friends.” . . . Even before the league got to opening night it had to shut down the Melville Millionaires until further notice due to a positive test somewhere within the organization. . . . “The decision for postponement did not come easy, but we all feel that this is the best decision to make at this time to mitigate the potential risks,” read an SJHL news release signed by Bill Chow, the commissioner. “The SJHL will work with the Melville Millionaires and teams affected by the postponement in rescheduling and will announce when that information is available. Any health matter is private in nature, the SJHL and the Melville Millionaires will have no further comments at this time.” . . . The Millionaires had played eight exhibition games in 14 days through Sept. 19. They were to have opened the regular season in Weyburn against the Red Wings on Friday night and then played in Weyburn on Saturday. . . . The SJHL’s original schedule had Melville playing three games through Sept. 29 and six more from Oct. 1 through Oct. 9. That included four games in five days from Oct. 1 through Oct. 5.
The WHL is pleased to congratulate Alex Clarke, who is set to become the first female linesperson in WHL history.
When the Regina Pats met the Warriors in Moose Jaw in an exhibition game on Friday night, Alex Clarke of Weyburn was to be one of the on-ice officials, becoming the first female to work the lines in a WHL game. This comes after Clarke, 28, worked the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Calgary in August. . . . From a WHL news release: “Clarke boasts extensive international experience, having been assigned to the 2020 IIHF Women’s World Championship, 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship (Division 1, Group B), 2018 4 Nations Cup, and 2018 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship (Division II, Group B).” She also has worked various leagues on the Prairies, including the SJHL and U Sports women’s games. . . . BTW, the WHL news release announcing that Clarke has joined the league’s officiating team referred to her as a linesperson. Does that move linesman/linesmen out of the vernacular? . . . The Pats won the game, 4-1. Unfortunately, the online scoresheet doesn’t list Clarke as one of the on-ice officials — there isn’t a Linesman 1 shown. Hopefully the league is able to get her name in there so that this moment in WHL history is right there on the website.
JUST NOTES: The Vancouver Giants will wear a patch on their sweaters this season in memory of Elizabeth Toigo, the mother of majority owner Ron Toigo, after she died on Friday morning. . . . The Ontario government and health officials announced some adjustments to restrictions on Friday, so OHL games played in Ontario arenas now can be opened up to 50 per cent capacity. . . . The CHL has cancelled the Canada-Russia series because of the pandemic. The six-game series last was held in 2019. . . . F Connor Zary, who played 203 regular-season games over four seasons with the Kamloops Blazers, will be out for a while — the NHL’s Calgary Flames show him as week-to-week — with a fractured ankle. Fortunately, the injury won’t require surgery. Zary, who turns 20 today (Saturday), was injured when he blocked a shot in a rookie game against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. He has signed with the Flames and likely is ticketed for their AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat.
Organizers of the 2022 Manitoba Games announced Friday that they won’t be held. The Games were scheduled for Niverville, from Feb. 27 through March 5, and would have involved around 1,500 participants and about 1,000 volunteers. . . . From a Sport Manitoba news release: “Over the last 18 months, inconsistencies in competition and training opportunities had an effect on athlete development. Without regular training, conditioning, and recovery routines in this crucial stage, the risk of injury, mental fatigue, and overtraining were also factors in making this decision. Along with continued uncertainty about the pandemic, and public health restrictions, it became clear it would not be possible to host an event of this magnitude and execute a safe and successful multi-sport Games experience.”
Andrew Wiggins, who is from Thornhill, Ont., was the first overall selection in the NBA’s 2014 draft. However, he really hadn’t had much of a career until last season when he joined the Golden State Warriors. But now it turns out he’s an anti-vaxxer and, well, here’s Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle . . .
“If Wiggins carries through with his rejection of the COVID-19 vaccine, leaving the Warriors with a part-time player who had been counted upon to start, his career is essentially over. Remember Draymond Green’s unbridled fury at Kevin Durant because he might not be fully committed to the franchise? Imagine how Green, and the rest of the Warriors, will react if Wiggins joins the list of selfish, isolated professional athletes who choose principle — even if it’s something they can’t adequately explain — over the team dynamic and the health of others.”
Jenkins also reported that Wiggins, if he isn’t vaccinated, won’t “be able to play in any home games at Chase Center, due to San Francisco’s updated policy for large indoor gatherings.”
On Friday, the NBA announced that it had denied Wiggins’ request for a religious exemption from the San Francisco Department of Health’s order requiring vaccination for anyone 12 and older at large indoor events.
Wiggins is scheduled to make something like US$29.54 million for 2021-22.
The Chicago Blackhawks were missing two players from Friday’s on-ice sessions because of COVID-19 protocols. G Kevin Lankinen and F Mike Hardman. That doesn’t mean either player tested positive; perhaps they were in contact with someone who did. No further details were released. . . . The Blackhawks are 100 per cent vaccinated, according to GM Stan Bowman.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
It really was awe-inspiring to cruise social media on Wednesday — Green Shirt Day — and bathe in the impact that the Logan Boulet Effect has had in so many different places and in so many different corners.
Employees from a million business have bought in, as have so many cities and towns and villages, and schools and leagues and teams.
As I sit here in my recliner, my laptop in front of me — that’s why it’s called a laptop — I can only marvel at how much has transpired involving organ donor registration since Logan Boulet’s death three years ago.
Logan was killed in the accident that involved the bus that was carrying the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos to a playoff game in Nipawin, Sask. As it turned out, Logan had signed an organ donor card on his 21st birthday just five weeks prior to the accident, and he had informed his family. As a result, his organs — including heart and kidneys — and his corneas were taken for transplant.
As Logan’s father, Toby, told Karen Pauls of CBC News: “Logan was able to make six people’s lives better. He basically saved six lives.”
Since then, Logan has helped save an untold number of lives and make so many lives a whole lot better. Since the Logan Boulet Effect began to take off, it is estimated that 300,000 Canadians have registered as organ donors.
Figures compiled by the Canadian Transplant Association show that 90 per cent of Canadians support organ donation. However, only 23 per cent of that group actually have registered as donors.
Furthermore, CTA figures reveal that about 4,500 Canadians are waiting for organs.
As someone who has benefitted firsthand from organ donation — if you’re not aware, my wife, Dorothy, is a kidney transplant recipient, having gotten one through the Living Kidney Donor Program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver — I can tell you that there aren’t words to express exactly what the Logan Boulet Effect means to us.
And a mere “Thank you” to Logan’s parents, Bernadine and Toby, really doesn’t seem enough considering all that they do, especially the countless interviews, to keep this movement in the spotlight.
So while April 7 has come to be recognized as Green Shirt Day, let’s not limit organ donor registration to one day a year. What’s wrong with reminding folks of the Logan Boulet Effect on the seventh day of every month?
Did you wear green for Green Shirt Day on Wednesday? Why not wear green on May 7 and June 7 and July 7 and . . .?
If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, in the 2021 Kamloops Kidney Walk, you may do so right here. She launched her eighth straight fund-raising campaign on Wednesday — Green Shirt Day!
F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats has started his WHL career like a house on fire, despite being only 15 years of age. But, unfortunately, the hurt that sometimes accompanies life touched him and his family on Tuesday when his grandfather, Garth Bedard, 73, was killed in a car accident near his home in Sicamous, B.C.
According to RCMP, a westbound pickup truck and an eastbound sedan, driven by a 46-year-old woman from Salmon Arm, collided head-on on the Trans-Canada Highway, seven kilometres east of Sicamous after 1 p.m.
Garth Bedard was the owner of Bedard logging in Sicamous.
Kevin Gallant, a former radio voice of the Pats, posted on social media:
“This is absolutely devastating. I watched so many games with Garth and his wife Lynn. My deepest sympathies to the entire Bedard family, and this is an extremely close family. Thoughts and prayers for Lynn. Also to Tom, Melanie, Maddie and Connor. I can’t imagine what the Bedard family is going through, but my heart aches.”
“We know how close Connor was with his grandfather, who was one of Connor’s biggest fans,” the Pats said in a statement. “Garth was incredibly proud of Connor and took great joy in his grandson’s passion for hockey and even more so in the person he has become.”
According to the Pats, Bedard will play against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday and then return to the family home in North Vancouver on Saturday. Soon after that, he is scheduled to join Canada’s U18 team to play in the IIHF World championship in Frisco and Plano, Texas, from April 26 through May 6.
Bedard, the first overall selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft, has 10 goals and 16 assists in 14 games. He had two goals and two assists on Tuesday night as the Pats beat the Swift Current Broncos, 6-1.
Just a reminder that if the COVID pandemic was the Second World War, Pearl Harbour would be a year away. If it was the Great Depression, it would be Christmas 1930.
Let’s get it together, stop losing our minds, and get through this.
The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks issued a statement on Wednesday, revealing that they have had 25 people, including 21 players, test positive for COVID-19. That includes four staff members, three of them believed to be coaches, and three players off the taxi squad.
The Canucks hadn’t spoken publicly about the situation in more than a week, since F Adam Gaudette was removed from a March 30 practice due to having tested positive.
The statement that was issued on Wednesday came from Dr. Jim Bovard, the team’s physician, and Dr. Josh Douglas, an infectious disease physician.
The 18 players off the Canucks’ roster who are on the COVID-19 protocol list all tested positive; none of them are on the list because of being deemed a close contact.
What isn’t know is how many family members have tested positive.
The Canucks statement also confirmed that a variant of COVID-19 is involved in the outbreak, although it didn’t state which one. There have been reports that the P.1 variant that originated in Brazil is part of the outbreak.
According to the statement, “Full genome sequencing by BCCDC will be required to determine which specific type.”
The statement also cleared up the origin of the outbreak:
“An ongoing investigation by Vancouver Coastal Health and club contact tracing staff attributes the source infection to a single individual obtained in a community setting, which has since been identified by public health as a public exposure location. Rapid spread of infection throughout the team indicates a link between contacts and the primary case.”
So the virus was picked up by one person in the community and it spread like wildfire through the organization. Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet reported that “the community setting is believed to have been a Vancouver restaurant.”
MacIntyre’s thorough Wednesday report is right here.
After the press release was issued, D Nate Schmidt was added to the protocol list, showing that this situation is far from being over. If you’re wondering, D Jordie Benn, F Brock Boeser, F J.T. Miller and F Jimmy Vesey are the only players on the Canucks’ roster who haven’t been on the list.
Officially, the NHL has postponed four Vancouver games. However, the Canucks won’t be playing the Oilers in Edmonton on Monday and Wednesday. After that, the Canucks aren’t scheduled to play until April 17 and 19 when they are to play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Darren Dreger of TSN tweeted on Wednesday that “the NHL is targeting the end of next week for the Vancouver Canucks to return to game action. Still a fluid situation.”
The Canucks, who have 19 games remaining on their 56-game regular-season schedule, last played on March 24.
The AJHL announced Wednesday night that the Drumheller Dragons have experienced a positive COVID-19 test. The team had been shut down sinceMonday because of a positive test on the Camrose Kodiaks, who had been playing in the same cohort. So the league said Wednesday that Drumheller “will continue its isolation period.” . . . Besides Camrose and Drumheller, the Drayton Valley Thunder, Grande Prairie Storm, Okotoks Oilers and Whitecourt Wolverines have all paused their activities.
There were four games in the WHL on Wednesday night. Some highlights and tidbits . . .
F Peyton Krebs had a goal and three assists as the Winnipeg Ice doubled the Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-3, in Regina. . . . Krebs (8) scored the game’s first goal, at 9:01 of the first period, and the Ice (10-4-0) added three more over the next 4:10. . . . Krebs, who has points in 13 straight games, now has eight goals and 19 assists after being blanked in his first outing. His 27 points now leads the Regina hub. F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats has 26. . . . The Ice has won four in a row. . . . The Warriors (6-7-1) got to within a goal, at 4-3, when F Atley Calvert (2) scored at 18:18 of the second period. . . . But Winnipeg F Jakin Smallwood (10) scored on a PP at 15:59 of the third, and F Connor McClennon (8) added the empty-netter. . . . McClennon finished with two goals and an assist. . . . The Ice was 3-for-3 on the PP. . . .
The Brandon Wheat Kings ran their winning streak to eight games with a 4-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos in Regina. . . . While the Wheat Kings improved to 11-2-1, the Broncos’ third straight loss dropped them to 3-10-1. . . . Brandon enjoyed a 37-21 edge in shots, including 15-4 in the third period. . . . F Nate Danielson (3) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 14:55 of the first period with his third PP goal of the season, and F Jake Chiasson (7) upped it to 2-0 at 9:40 of the second. . . . The Broncos got close at 16:39 when F Aiden Bulych (5) scored. . . . F Tyson Zimmer (2) restored Brandon’s two-goal lead at 16:39, and D Chad Nychuk (2) got the empty-netter. . . . The game was played in 2:04, the quickest one in the WHL this season. . . .
The Spokane Chiefs rode three second-period goals to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans. . . . Spokane head coach Adam Maglio recorded his first victory as a WHL head coach. . . . The Chiefs (1-4-3) had been the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams without a victory. . . . D Luke Zazula (3) scored twice for the Americans (4-5-0), the first one giving them the lead in the first period. . . . D Bobby Russell (1) tied it at 3:40 of the second and F Reed Jacobson gave the Chiefs the lead at 3:40. Jacobson, who has four goals in eight games, scored twice and added an assist. It was his first career four-point game. Last season, Jacobson finished with four goals in 50 games. . . . Zazula’s second goal, at 16:15 of the second, got Tri-City to within a goal, but Jacobson restored the two-goal margin at 15:18 of the third. . . . D Lukas Dragicevic, the fourth-overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, made his WHL debut with the Americans. His father, Milan, is a former WHL player (Regina, New Westminster, Tri-City, Spokane, Victoria Cougars, 1986-90) and coach with Tri-City and the Vancouver Giants. He was the Giants’ first head coach (2000-02). He now is the U18 prep coach at Delta Academy. . . .
The Vancouver Giants scored the last four goals and beat the Victoria Royals, 6-4, in Kelowna. . . . The Royals (1-4-1) erased a 2-1 deficit on three early second-period goals in 3:25 — from F Brandon Cutler (3), F Brayden Schuurman (3) and F Alex Bolshakov (1). . . . After Bolshakov’s goal at 4:30, the Giants made a goaltending change — Drew Sim out, Trent Miner in. . . . F Tristen Nielsen (6) scored for Vancouver 37 seconds later and F Justin Sourdif tied it at 7:47. . . . F Bryce Bader (3) broke the tie at 18:45 of the second and Sourdif (3) added insurance at 10:42 of the third. . . . The Giants (5-1-0) have won five in a row. . . . Miner was perfect over 35:30, stopping all nine shots he faced. Miner went into the game having put up three straight shutouts; he came out with the franchise record for consecutive shutout minutes (225:48) going back to last season, breaking the record of 207 minutes that had belonged to Ryan Kubic from the 2015-16 season. Chris Worthy of the Flin Flon Bombers holds the WHL record (265:13) from the 1967-68 season. . . . Miner also has the longest shutout streak in the WHL this season (215:30), having surpassed the run of 213:16 put up by Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips. . . . This season, Miner has a 0.00 GAA, having stopped all 73 shots he has faced.
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It was a record day in B.C. on Wednesday with the announcement of 1,013 new positive tests, the highest one-day number since the pandemic began over a year ago.
Unfortunately for the WHL and the Kelowna Rockets, they were part of the day’s tally.
The WHL announced late in the day that the Rockets have been shut down for at least 14 days because of a total of seven positive tests within the organization. That includes one staff member from Tuesday and six more people — two staff members and four players — from Wednesday.
As a result, all Rockets team activities have been suspended at least through April 14.
According to the WHL, all test results from the four other B.C. Division teams came back negative.
While the Rockets have been staying with their billets in Kelowna, the Victoria Royals are in a hotel there. In Kamloops, the Blazers with billets, while the Prince George Cougars and Vancouver Giants are in a hotel.
The WHL also announced the postponement of 10 games, including Kamloops at Kelowna on Tuesday and a Wednesday game that was to have had Vancouver and Prince George meet in Kamloops. It was scrubbed out of an abundance of caution.
All told, nine games involving Kelowna have been postponed.
The Rockets last played on Sunday when they lost, 6-0, to the Giants in Kamloops. Kelowna next is scheduled to play on April 17 against the Cougars in Kamloops.
The Rockets also had someone in their organization test positive earlier in March, just prior to the start of this developmental season. That individual and someone deemed a close contact had to self-isolate but the Rockets’ schedule wasn’t impacted because it was deemed not to be in-season.
The NHL postponed a game between the visiting Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks just 90 minutes before it was to have started on Wednesday. . . . Vancouver F Adam Gaudette tested positive on Tuesday and was taken off the ice during practice. Another player whose identity wasn’t known last night has joined Gaudette on the COVID-19 protocol list, while a member of the Canucks’ coaching staff also has gone into protocol. . . . Both teams had skated and held media availabilities earlier in the day. . . . This was the 42nd game postponed by the NHL because of COVID-19. . . . Calgary’s next game is scheduled for Friday against the Oilers in Edmonton. . . . The Canucks, who just had six days off, are to play Saturday in Edmonton.
The QMJHL has put the Sherbrooke Phoenix into what it calls “preventative isolation” following a positive test to a staff member on Wednesday. The Phoenix had been playing in one of the QMJHL’s “protected environment” events, this one in Sherbrooke. Because of the positive test, the Phoenix isn’t able to compete, leaving the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and the Olympiques to play each other on Thursday and again on Friday. . . . The Phoenix was to have played the Armada on Wednesday night, but that game was cancelled.
It was earlier in March when Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s minister of heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries, suggested that there was room for optimism concerning a return to play for the OHL by month’s end. . . . Well, the final day of March came and went without any kind of announcement. And with Ontario apparently heading into some kind of a lockdown that likely will last at least 28 days it would seem that the OHL’s chances of having any kind of season may be in jeopardy.
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IN THE WHL ON WEDNESDAY . . .
The Saskatoon Blades ran their point streak to 10 games with a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Ice in Regina. . . . The Blades (9-0-1) are off to the best start in franchise history, and now have won seven in a row. . . . Winnipeg slipped to 6-4-0. . . . G Nolan Maier earned the victory with 29 saves. He now has 86 career regular-season victories and that’s a franchise record. Maier, who is from Yorkton, now has one more victory than Tim Cheveldae (1985-88), who is from Melville. Cheveldae also was the Blades goaltending coach for seven seasons (2013-20). He tutored Maier for three of those seasons. . . . “I knew it was going to be broken and the fact that Nolan should break it, I couldn’t be more happy,” Cheveldae told Saskatoon radio station CKOM. . . . The Blades erased a 1-0 deficit on goals from F Brandon Lisowsky (4), F Kyle Crnkovic (4) and F Colton Dash (7). . . . F Connor McClennon (5) pulled the Ice to within one at 7:14 of the third period. . . . Saskatoon was without F Chase Wouters, who is serving a three-game suspension, and D Rhett Rhinehart, who is sitting out a two-game sentence. . . .
D Jeremy Hanzel broke a 1-1 tie in the third period to give the Seattle Thunderbirds a 2-1 victory over the Everett Silvertips in Kent, Wash. . . . Hanzel, a freshman from Coquitlam, B.C., has two goals and an assist in six games. . . . When Hanzel scored at 10:18, it was the first time Everett (5-1-0) had trailed to this point in the season. . . . F Ethan Regnier (3) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 18:10 of the second period. . . . F Conner Roulette (4) got Seattle (4-2-0) even at 3:27 of the third via the PP. . . . G Thomas Milic stopped 32 shots to earn the victory. . . . Everett G Dustin Wolf turned aside 36 shots.