Matt Bardsley surprised a whole lot of people on May 25 when he announced that he was leaving his post as general manager of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. After all, the signs seem to point to the Blazers finally having returned to prominence in the B.C. Division. However, Bardsley cited family reasons in wanting to return to the U.S., so he will depart following month’s end. . . . But who will move into the GM’s office when Bardsley is gone? Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week checks in with a handful of candidates right here.
Frank Kovacs, one of hockey’s good guys, turned 50 on Thursday. Kovacs, who played five seasons (1987-92) with the Regina Pats, also spent three seasons (1996-99) with the Sheffield Steelers of what was then the British Ice Hockey Super League. After playing with the Steelers, he finished up with four seasons in Hungary. . . . But it’s interesting the relationships that live on with some of these players and fans. . . . On Thursday, Bryan Crabtree (@BryanCrabtree) tweeted to Kovacs: “Thanks for the wonderful memories when you played for the Steelers.” . . . Crabtree closed with: “There’s only one Frankie Kovacs, skating along, singing a song, skating in a Frankie wonderland.” . . . Wonderful! . . . Kovacs, by the way, now is a member of the Regina Police Service.
#QPlayoffs#SeriesLHJMQ#VdOvsVIC: Another strong third period is the difference as @TigresVicto take Game 5. In the three wins, they've tallied eight times in final frame. Nicolas Daigle breaks the deadlock less than a minute into 3rd; 2nd goal in 3 games (0 in previous 8)
The Victoriaville Tigres scored a 3-1 victory over the Val-d’Or Foreurs on Thursday night and now hold a 3-2 edge in the QMJHL’s best-of-seven championship final. . . . The entire series is being played in Quebec City. . . . Game 6 is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, with a seventh game, if necessary, to be played Sunday afternoon. . . . In Game 5, as in Game 4, the Foreurs scored a first-period goal and then didn’t score again. . . . F Olivier Coulombe pulled Victoriaville even at 18:21 of the first period and the Tigres added a pair of third-period goals, with F Nicolas Daigle counting at 0:45 and F Benjamin Tardif adding insurance at 9:07. . . . G Nikolas Hurtubise stopped 33 shots to earn the victory. . . . If you’re wondering about attendance, the series opener was played without fans, but the league received the OK to allow 2,000 fans in for each of ensuing games. The next four games drew, in order, crowds of 1,958, 2,146, 1,948 and 1,808.
Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on Sunday. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity. She just had a big day and now is having her best fund-raising Walk yet.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
JUST NOTES:Castan Sommer, an assistant coach with the Seattle Thunderbirds since Aug. 4, 2017, has resigned. According to Bill La Forge, the Thunderbirds’ general manager, Sommer “has accepted an assistant coach position with a soon-to-be-announced team.” The Thunderbirds now are on the hunt for a replacement. Head coach Matt O’Dette’s staff includes assistant coach Kyle Hagel and goaltender coach Ian Gordon.
For a second straight year, COVID-19’s presence has kiboshed the WHL playoffs.
The league announced Monday afternoon that its season will end when its 22 teams conclude the developmental schedule that they now are playing.
From a news release: “Due to current public health conditions and the ongoing challenges with COVID-19, including restrictions on travel across both provincial and international borders, the WHL is not in a position to conduct the 2021 WHL playoffs.”
If the WHL chooses not to extend its schedule in order to get all teams to 24 games, the season will end after games of May 12.
The Kelowna Rockets, who returned to play Saturday after having been shut down due to positive tests, have a schedule right now that has them finishing with 15 games.
According to the online schedule, the Calgary Hitmen, who last played on April 5 and are on hold because of a positive test, have four games remaining, with the first of those to be played on April 30 and the last on May 5. That would leave them with 18 games.
The Tri-City Americans managed to play 12 games before a positive test sidelined them late last week. So far, they have had three games postponed through Wednesday. The schedule has them with nine games remaining, but their team activities are on hold pending further test results.
You have to wonder just how much hunger there has been within the WHL to extend its season with any form of playoff setup. With Kelowna, Calgary and Tri-City having been impacted by positive tests, and with the Medicine Hat Tigers having missed games after being deemed close contacts of the Hitmen, it might be that the WHL has decided it’s simply time for everyone to go home. After all, some of the players and others closely associated with teams have been hunkered down for well over a month.
The CHL, the umbrella organization that oversees the WHL, OHL and QMJHL, announced last week that the Memorial Cup tournament won’t be played for a second straight year. The QMJHL is going ahead with a playoff schedule that is to begin tonight (Tuesday), whole the OHL hasn’t been able to play so much as one game in 2020-21 and, in fact, is likely to announce one of these days that it has cancelled its season.
Congratulations to Medicine Hat Tigers Head Coach and General Manager Willie Desjardins as he earned career win 376 tonight.
The Medicine Hat Tigers beat visiting Red Deer, 3-2, to sweep a three-game weekend series. . . . The Tigers (12-3-1) had won 4-2 at home on Friday and 5-2 in Red Deer on Saturday. . . . The Rebels (2-15-2) have lost 12 in a row. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (8) gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 12:58 of the first period, only to have F Dallon Melin (2) tie it at 15:02. . . . The Tigers took control on goals from D Rhett Parsons, his first in the WHL, at 12:36 of the second period and F Oren Shtrom (4), at 9:28 of the third. . . . Parson was a fifth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . F Chris Douglas (5) got the Rebels to within a goal at 19:37. . . . F Corson Hopwo of the Tigers had one assist, but had his eight-game goal streak snapped. . . . The Tigers were 1-for-1 on the PP. In 16 games, they are 28-for-61 (45.9), by far the best in the WHL. The Winnipeg Ice is second at 33 per cent (30-for-91). . . . The victory was No. 376 for GM/head coach Willie Desjardins behind the Tigers’ bench. That is one more than Shaun Clouston put up during his run with the Tigers. Clouston and the Tigers parted company in May 2019 — he now is the head coach of the Kamloops Blazers — and Desjardins replaced him. Desjardins had left the Tigers after the 2009-10 season and Clouston, who had been on the coaching staff for seven seasons, took over from him. . . . All told, Desjardins has 386 regular-season WHL coaching victories. He took over as head coach of the Saskatoon Blades during the 1997-98 season and picked up 10 victories there. . . .
F Peyton Krebs ran his point streak to 19 games as the Winnipeg Ice dumped the Swift Current Broncos, 5-2, in Regina. . . . Krebs had a goal, his 11th, and an assist for the Ice, which erased a 1-0 first-period deficit with three second-period goals. . . . Krebs, the first pick in the 2016 bantam draft, leads the Regina hub in assists (26) and points (37). He was shut out in his first game of this season and has at least a point in every game since then. . . . F Zach Benson added two goals for the Ice. The 14th overall selection in the 2020 bantam draft has eight goals and nine assists in 20 games. . . . Winnipeg also got a goal and two assists from F Michael Milne (4). . . . Broncos G Isaac Poulter stopped 40 shots, 34 more than the Ice’s Gage Alexander. . . . Winnipeg (14-5-1) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Broncos are 4-15-1. . . .
The Moose Jaw Warriors erased a 1-0 deficit with five straight goals en route to a 5-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders in Regina. . . . The Warriors (8-11-1) snapped a four-game losing skid. . . . The Raiders are 7-10-3. . . . F Evan Herman (7) put the Raiders out front at 1:20 of the first period. . . . The Warriors tied it on goals from F Riley Krane (3), at 12:55 of the first, and F Jagger Firkus (5), on a PP, at 6:52 of the second. . . . F Josh Hoekstra (2), F Eric Alarie (10) and F Brayden Yager (7) stretched the lead to 5-2 before F Reece Fitelli (5) scored for Prince Albert, on a PP, at 19:17 of the third. . . . Yager, the third overall selection in the 2020 bantam draft, has 14 points in 20 games. . . . Moose Jaw got 29 saves from G Brett Mirwald. . . .
F Adam Hall’s third-period goal and 33 saves from G Trent Miner gave the Vancouver Giants a 2-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars in Kamloops. . . . Vancouver (8-3-0) has won three straight and now leads the B.C. Division by two points ahead of the idle Kamloops Blazers (7-2-0). . . . The Cougars (4-5-2) have lost two in a row. . . . F Eric Florchuk (3) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 17:44 of the first period. . . . F Riley Heidt (2) tied the game at 1:56 of the third. . . . The Cougars got 27 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Miner, the game’s first star, is 8-2-0, 1.18, .952 this season. . . .
In Kelowna, the Rockets dumped the Victoria Royals, 7-2. . . . The Rockets (3-1-0) were the visiting team for this one. . . . The Royals (1-9-1) have lost six in a row. . . . Kelowna has played two games since being off for 18 days due to positive tests and has scored seven goals in each one. The Rockets are scheduled to play their third game in four nights tonight against the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Last night, the Rockets took control by snapping a 1-1 first-period tie with four straight goals. . . . F Trevor Wong (5), who had four goals in a 7-5 victory over the Prince George Cougars on Saturday in Kamloops, gave Kelowna a 2-1 lead at 12:25 of the first period. . . . F Mark Liwiski (2), F Dylan Wightman and F Andrew Cristall (2) stretched the lead to 4-1 before the second period was 12 minutes old. . . . Liwiski and Wightman, who also had an assist, each scored twice. F David Kope, 20, an eighth-round pick by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the 2015 bantam draft, had a goal and two assists in his fourth game with Kelowna.
The Minnesota Twins, who had three games postponed due to COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, are scheduled to play the host Oakland A’s in a doubleheader today (Tuesday). . . . The Twins haven’t played since losing 10-3 to the host Los Angeles Angels on Friday night. They were to have played in Oakland on Monday, but that game was postponed, thus today’s doubleheader. . . . SS Andrelton Simmons tested positive last week and didn’t accompany the Twins when they headed west. OF Kyle Garlick also has tested positive, as has one other unidentified player and a staff member.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
It’s hard to restrain the enthusiasm for the Vancouver Canucks after watching their 3-2 OT victory over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday night. . . . But based on that one game Travis Green should be the favourite for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year. . . . Oh, and maybe the Canucks’ ownership might see fit to sign him to a contact before he chooses free agency after this season. . . . If you aren’t aware, Green was one of the 20-plus folks in the Canucks organization who tested positive for COVID-19 — and that doesn’t include numerous family members. Green also was quite ill. . . . If you are wondering what he went through, Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet has that story right here.
Full marks to Canucks G Braden Holtby for his performance on Sunday. He was solid all night, but it was his early play that allowed the Canucks to get their legs underneath them and gave them time to come to the realization that, yes, they could still play this game at a high level. . . . Kudos, too, to D Tyler Myers. His season to date has been so-so, but he was a minute-eater in this one, especially after D Alex Edler was tossed with a kneeing major. Myers also made a terrific play to get F Bo Horvat started towards the play that resulted in the game-winner. . . . It’s the Canucks and Maple Leafs from Vancouver again on Tuesday night. It should be just as interesting as was Sunday’s game. . . . Vancouver assistant coach Newell Brown was missing on Sunday because of COVID-19.
Bless you, Canucks. You should get a playoff spot for that one. The Canadiens should give you theirs. They don't act like they want it anyway.
Old friend Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times dug up this nugget — “Stumpycricket blogger Jack Mendel, to News.com.au, on cricket officials wanting to change the term ‘wickets’ to ‘outs’ to attract new fans: ‘Utterly, utterly nonsensical semantic bollocks . . . It almost feels like they are trying to de-cricket cricket.’ ”
It could be said that’s what MLB is trying to do by allowing each team to start extra innings with a runner on second base — trying to de-baseball baseball.
A statue of the late Fred Sasakamoose, the first hockey player with treaty status to play in the NHL, is being commissioned and is likely to be placed near the entrance to Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre. . . . COVID-19 claimed Sasakamoose in hospital on Nov. 24. . . . His story — Call Me Indian: From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL’s First Treaty Indigenous Player — is to be released to book stores on May 18.
Fraser Downs, a harness racing track in Cloverdale, B.C., closed its door after Friday night’s races. According to Harness Racing BC, it simply couldn’t make ends meet without receiving money from the casino that it isn’t allowed to operate in these pandemic times. The closure put 135 people out of work.
Handy tip: The microchip they secretly implanted in your arm during your "vaccination" can be de-activated by a quick blast from a Jewish space ray.
Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle attended an Oakland A’s home game the other night. Afterwards, he wrote: At the A’s ballpark, I interviewed one of those cardboard fans, the only one that was not smiling. Said the fan, “I wasn’t cut out for this.”
The Minnesota Twins had Saturday and Sunday games against the host Los Angeles Angels postponed because of positive tests, and now their Monday series-opener in Oakland against the A’s also has been postponed. The reason? MLB says it’s “to allow for continued testing and contact tracing involving members of the Twins organization.” The Twins have had at least three players and one staffer test positive.
A quick note from Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe: “Minnesota Twins’ shortstop Andrelton Simmons declined a COVID-19 vaccine last week, and Wednesday tested positive. Another reminder there is no correlation between athletic ability and intelligence.”
My promise every spring: One day the Montreal Expos will rise from the ashes and I pledge that I’ll be there for the home opener. pic.twitter.com/ThqmPFxVZq
Seattle University informed students this week that it now has a requirement that “all SU students —undergraduate, graduate and professional — be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and report it to the university prior to arriving on campus in the fall. Additional details will be provided in the coming weeks, but students will be required to register their vaccination status once completed.”
The pitching mound in the six-team independent Atlantic League will be moved back one foot, to 61 feet, six inches, for the second half of the season. It’s an experiment being conducted at the behest of MLB, which badly wants to see fewer strikeouts and more balls in play.
Here’s former starting pitcher Mike Krukow, now a broadcaster with the San Francisco Giants in conversation with Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“I’m really not sure what to think about it. Nobody does — you can’t know until you try it. This could have a big effect on breaking pitches, which are the hardest to command. Just in general, though, the players’ union could prevent all this with a widespread emphasis on situational hitting — using the whole field, a style that worked so well for years and really keeps the fans interested. Now we have to change the rules because players can’t make the adjustment? To me, that’s insulting.”
If MLB really wanted fewer strikeouts and more balls in play, it could start by putting the New York Yankees’ season on hold. If you haven’t noticed, the Yankees can’t hit and can’t catch the ball. Manager Aaron Boone is lucky that George Steinbrenner no longer is with us, because he would have brought back Billy Martin by now. Yes, I know that Martin no longer is with us. The Boss still would have made the change.
D Bill Mikkelson of the 1974-75 Washington Capitals finished at minus-82, the worst plus-minus in NHL history, on a team that wound up 8-67-5. As he told TSN: “We had a good team. We were just in the wrong league.”
The QMJHL’s regular season is over, with playoffs of some sort set to begin on Tuesday. . . . The 18 teams in the league played between 27 and 43 games. . . . The Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Moncton Wildcats and Saint John Sea Dogs, the league’s three New Brunswick-based teams, open a nine-game round-robin tournament on Tuesday. There aren’t any playoffs for the other Maritimes teams because of travel restrictions. . . . The round-robin is scheduled to end on May 2, with the winner meeting the Charlottetown Islanders in the Maritimes Division final. The Islanders finished with the QMJHL’s best record (35-5-0). . . . The Maritimes winner and three Quebec-based teams that emerge from their series will meet in a bubble event to decide the championship.
In the WHL on Sunday . . .
D Braden Schneider came out of the penalty box to score the winner in OT as the Brandon Wheat Kings got past the Winnipeg Ice, 5-4, in Regina. . . . F Peyton Krebs (10) had given the Ice a 4-3 lead, on a PP, at 15:23 of the third period. . . . F Ridly Greig, who was in the penalty box when Krebs scored, tied it at 18:34. . . . Schneider took a headshot minor at 19:49 of the third period, then scored the winner, his fourth goal this season, at 1:56 of OT. . . . F Nolan Ritchie (8) and F Marcus Sekundiak (2) scored first-period goals for Brandon, with F Jakin Smallwood (11) counting for Winnipeg at 19:35. . . . F Owen Pederson (11) got the Ice into a tie at 4:08 of the second. . . . D Neithan Salame (3) put the Wheat Kings back out front at 13:31. . . . Ice F Connor McClennon tied it at 8:16 of third period with his 13th goal. He also had two assists as he ran his point streak to 12 games. He has nine goals and 11 assists over that stretch. . . . Brandon (15-3-2) has won four in a row; it went 4-0-0 against Winnipeg in this shortened season. . . . The Ice now is 13-5-1. . . . Winnipeg was 3-for-8 on the PP; Brandon was 1-for-4. . . . F Ben McCartney drew four assists for the Wheaties. . . . Krebs added three assists to his goal and now is on an 18-game point streak. He was blanked in the season’s first game and now leads the Regina hub with 35 points, 25 of them assists. . . .
F Drew Englot’s first goal of the season broke a 3-3 tie as the Regina Pats beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 4-3. The game was played in the Regina hub, but the Pats were the visiting team. . . . Englot scored his first goal, on the PP, in 19 games at 17:59 of the second period. . . . The Pats (7-9-3) had lost three in a row. . . . The Raiders (7-9-3) had been 3-0-1 in their past four outings. . . . F Cole Dubinsky and F Carter Chorney (3) gave Regina a 2-0 lead before F Tyson Laventure got the Raiders on the board at 9:03 of the second period. . . . Dubinsky (4) upped Regina’s lead to 3-1 just 48 seconds later. . . . Laventure scored his fourth goal of the season at 14:28 and D Tre Fouquette (1) tied it at 15:50. . . . Laventure has four goals and three assists this season, all against the Pats. . . . Fouquette, a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, also added an assist in just his second WHL game. . . . The Raiders lost F Justin Nachbaur in the first period with a headshot major and game misconduct for a hit on F Braxton Whitehead. . . .
The host Everett Silvertips scored three third-period goals as they skated to a 6-2 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . F Ethan Regnier completed his first WHL three-goal game at 15:33 of the third period. He’s got six goals. . . . Regnier and F Jalen Price (1) gave Everett a 2-0 lead with second-period goals. . . . Everett F Brendan Hunchak, who turned 18 on April 10, earned the primary assist on Price’s goal for his first career point in his eighth game. He is the son of former WHL coach Dave Hunchak. . . . F Seth Jarvis (7) got Portland on the board at 11:42 of the second, but Regnier got that one back at 16:23. . . . D Ryan McCleary (2) pulled the Winterhawks to within one at 19:36. . . . The Silvertips put it away with third-period scores from F Hunter Campbell (5), F Ryan Hofer (3) and Regnier. . . . G Dustin Wolf earned the victory with 37 stops. . . . Everett is 11-3-0 after its second straight win. . . . Portland (6-5-3) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). . . .
G Trent Miner stopped 27 shots and F Tristen Nielsen scored three times as the Vancouver Giants beat the host Kamloops Blazers, 4-0. . . . Miner leads the WHL with four shutouts. He blocked 30 shots in a 4-0 victory over the Blazers on April 5. . . . The Giants (7-3-0) have put up five shutouts in their 10 games. . . . Nielsen enjoyed his second natural hat-trick of the season as he gave the Giants a 4-0 lead with the game’s last three goals. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk (3) got the game’s first goal at 3:34 of the first period. . . . Nielsen, who has 11 goals in 10 games, scored at 11:01 of the first period and 9:20 and 18:07 of the second. . . . The Blazers (7-2-0) had won their previous three games. . . .
F Carter Souch scored twice and added an assist to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 5-3 victory over the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Souch, who has four goals, opened the scoring at 9:23 of the first period. . . . F Josh Williams (9) made it 2-0 at 17:24. . . . F Dino Kambeitz, who had sat out the Hurricanes’ last two games, scored his fourth goal 40 seconds into the second period. . . . The Oil Kings came back with goals from F Caleb Reimer (2) and Souch at 1:44 and 2:15 for a 4-1 lead. . . . F Carson Latimer (5), who also had two assists, had Edmonton’s other goal, while F Logan Barlage (5) and F Noah Boyko (9) finished Lethbridge’s scoring. . . . Edmonton F Jake Neighbours ran his point streak to 15 games with one assist. He’s got 26 points, 20 of them assists, during his tear. . . . The Oil Kings now are 14-1-1. . . . The Hurricanes are 7-8-2. . . . On Saturday, Lethbridge went into Edmonton and won 6-5 in a shootout after losing 4-0 to the visiting Oil Kings on Thursday.
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 one week ago today (Tuesday) when F Adam Gaudette was removed from the ice during a Vancouver Canucks’ practice because of a positive test.
On Monday, Vancouver F Nils Hoglander was added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, the 17th player off the roster to land there. Keep in mind that being on the list doesn’t mean a player has tested positive; he might have been deemed a close contact of someone who is positive.
There also are three coaches who have tested positive, while two players off the taxi squad are believed to have tested positive or been deemed as close contacts.
So far, D Jordie Benn, F Brock Boeser, F Tyler Graovac, F J.T. Miller, D Nate Schmidt, F Jimmy Vesey and F Jake Virtanen haven’t gone into protocol, although all are self-isolating.
The Canucks, who haven’t said a word about any of this since the original confirmation of Gaudette’s status, are believed to have been hit by the P.1 variant from Brazil.
The Canucks have had four games postponed by the NHL. Two others, scheduled for Thursday and Saturday, haven’t officially been scrubbed but are showing on the NHL schedule as having been postponed.
Still, Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, told The Canadian Press via email on Monday that he expects the Canucks to complete their 56-game schedule.
While admitting that the numbers are “concerning from a health and safety standpoint,” Daly wrote that they aren’t necessarily concerning “from a scheduling standpoint.”
Brent Sutter, the owner, general manager and head coach of the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels, has spoken with his son Brandon, a veteran forward with the Canucks.
“We FaceTimed (Sunday) night,” Brent told Sportsnet’s Eric Francis, “and he was pretty down and out, feeling pretty sick. Brandon has tested positive and he’s got symptoms — body aches, headaches, chills — just like you have the flu. I guess each guy is different in terms of how it affects you, especially with this Brazilian variant. For younger people to get this sick, it’s scary.”
Brandon has moved to the basement of the family’s home, away from his pregnant wife and two young children, ages two and three.
“They were just told to get into quarantine and have the wife and kids go down to the rink to get tested every day,” Brent said. “There’s a lot to this, what the families have to do now. We’re keeping fingers crossed.”
As for a return to play, well, that’s got Brent wondering. As he told Francis: “”It’s not like you’re talking two or three guys. If all these guys have been sick and they have to be cap compliant, could the Canucks come back and play? I don’t know how they can do it.”
The AJHL has suspended the team activities of two more teams on Monday. That means the AJHL now has six of its 13 teams unable to partake in hockey activities. . . . The Camrose Kodiaks and Drumheller Dragons were in one cohort and the league says that “as the result of a positive COVID-19 test in the Camrose Kodiaks cohort . . .” both teams are suspended for 14 days, as per the league’s return-to-play protocol. . . . Earlier, the league did the same with the Drayton Valley Thunder, Grande Prairie Storm, Okotoks Oilers and Whitecourt Wolverines. . . . In normal times, the AJHL features 15 teams; however, the Canmore Eagles and Lloydminster Bobcats opted out of the return to play.
Tuesday, April 6, 2021 marks the 3rd Anniversary of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy. Please join us on the COH Facebook page on April 6th at 4:30 pm for a virtual tribute service as we honor and pay tribute to the 2017-18 Humboldt Broncos.
Meanwhile, there were five games in the WHL on Monday. Some highlights . . .
F Dylan Guenther scored twice and added an assist as the Edmonton Oil Kings dumped the host Red Deer Rebels, 6-1. . . . He’s got 12 goals and 11 assists in 12 games. . . . The Oil Kings (12-1-0) swept the three-game weekend series, outscoring the Rebels (2-9-2), 20-4, in the process. . . . F Kaid Oliver (8) and F Jaden Luypen, Guenther’s linemates, each added a pair of goals. . . . Luypen has 10 goals in 13 games. He finished last season with nine in 64 games. . . . This was that line’s last game together as Guenther is preparing to go into isolation before joining Canada’s U18 team for the IIHF World championship in Texas. . . . Edmonton has won each of its last 17 regular-season meetings with Red Deer. . . . The Oil Kings scored three first-period goals while enjoying a 20-1 edge in shots. . . . G Sebastian Cossa stopped 15 shots in recording his 11th straight victory. Andrew Peard, the play-by-play voice of the Oil Kings, says that ties the franchise record set by Tristan Jarry (Nov. 14-Dec. 15, 2013). . . . F Dawson Seitz, the 20th overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, made his WHL debut with Edmonton. . . . F Jake Neighbours of the Oil Kings is on a 12-game point streak, with five goals and 17 assists over that stretch. . . .
The Calgary Hitmen scored twice in the shootout to earn a 5-4 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Each team scored once in each of the first two periods and twice in the third. . . . F Josh Prokop and F Riley Stotts scored in the circus for the Hitmen (6-6-2), with F Brett Kemp counting for the Tigers (9-3-1). . . . F Sean Tschigerl (6) had two goals for Calgary, which got three assists from F Riley Fiddler-Schultz, who enjoyed his first career three-point outing in his 111th game. . . . Tschigerl went into this season with five goals in 64 games over two seasons. He has six goals in 14 games this season. . . . F Oren Shtrom (3) scored twice for Medicine Hat. . . .
F Jagger Firkus scored in the fourth round of a shootout to give the Moose Jaw Warriors a 4-3 victory over the Pats in Regina. . . . F Ryker Evans (2) had given Regina (4-6-3) a 3-0 lead at 5:01 of the third period. . . . The Warriors (6-6-1) tied it on goals from F Kade Runke (1), F Josh Hoekstra (1) and F Eric Alarie (8), the latter scoring at 19:43. . . . Regina F Connor Berard had his career-opening point streak stopped at 12 games. He was credited with nine shots on goal. . . . Bedard scored in the second round of the shootout, only to have F Brayden Yager tie it. . . . Bedard will play two more games with the Pats before going into isolation prior to joining Canada’s U18 team. . . . All three games between these teams have needed extra time. The Warriors won the first one, 5-4 in OT, with the Pats taking the second, 3-2 in OT. . . .
The Brandon Wheat Kings ran their winning streak to seven games with a 3-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders in Regina. . . . F Ridly Greig (5)broke a 2-2 tie with a shorthanded goal at 9:27 of the third period. . . . Greig scored after blocking a pair of shots on the same kill. . . . F Nolan Ritchie (6) had pulled the Wheat Kings (10-2-1) into a tie, on a PP, at 14:12 of the second. . . . F Justin Nachbaur (4) scored both goals for Prince Albert (4-7-2). . . . D Braden Schneider had the primary assist on each of Brandon’s first two goals. . . .
G Trent Miner recorded his third straight shutout as the Vancouver Giants beat the Blazers, 4-0, in Kamloops. . . . Miner finished with 30 saves, meaning he has stopped all 64 shots he has faced while in the Kamloops hub. . . . Miner is the second WHL goaltender to put up three straight shutouts this season, after Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips. . . . Vancouver and Kamloops each is 4-1-0. . . . The WHL record for consecutive shutouts is four and is held by Chris Worthy of the Flin Flon Bombers (Dec. 29, 1967 through Jan. 13, 1968). . . . F Zack Ostapchuk (2) scored the game’s first goal at 10:14 of the first period. F Justin Sourdif (1) and F Justin Lies (1) added second-period goals, with F Adam Hall (4) counting in the third. . . . Lies was ejected with a checking-from-behind major at 2:18 of the third.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
The Vancouver Canucks have 22 players on their active roster. As of Sunday afternoon, 16 of them were on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. . . . When we went to bed on Saturday, that number was 14. On Sunday, D Jalen Chatfield and F Marc Michaelis were added to the list. . . .
To date, four Vancouver games have been postponed. The Canucks are scheduled to play the Flames in Calgary on Thursday and Saturday nights, but you have to think it’s a reach to expect that game to take place. . . .
Later Sunday night, Darren Dreger of TSN tweeted: “One more Canucks player tested positive today.” . . . That would take the number on the protocol list to 17.
Source close to the Canucks situation – “This is the first wave of it where I’ve heard guys really question whether it’s worth playing or not.”
“One Canucks player told ESPN he hadn’t heard from a team representative about any players going to the hospital, but he had heard of teammates receiving IV treatments for severe dehydration, presumably at their homes. A source told ESPN that at least three Canucks coaches have tested positive for the virus as well. In addition, many family members of players have tested positive and are experiencing symptoms, according to sources.”
She quoted an agent of a Canucks player as saying: “Fatigue, dehydration, the symptoms are intense. It’s knocked a lot of guys out. Some can’t even get out of bed.”
Hockey leagues and teams hate transparency the way a snowman despises warm weather. Throw in privacy issues related to healthcare and you can bet that information on what is going on with the Canucks’ coaches, players and families will be hard to come by.
That’s how we came to have Darren Dreger of TSN and Postmedia’s Ben Kuzma entertaining the Twitterverse with a brief exchange on Sunday.
Dreger had tweeted this at 9:19 a.m. PT: “Number of positive cases climbing within the Vancouver Canucks. More than 20 players/coaches combined have tested positive. Variant symptoms include vomiting, cramping and dehydration. Family members are getting it. Scary situation. Next 5-7 days will determine scheduling.”
Kuzma came back with this at 10:16 a.m.: “Been told reported number of positive COVID-19 cases with Canucks isn’t entirely accurate. The number is under 20. There haven’t been severe symptoms. Most experiencing mild headaches, fever, fatigue and lethargy. No reports of vomiting, few with worse symptoms better.”
Dreger responded at 10:50 a.m.: “18 players and 3 coaches is what a source said this morning.As for the symptoms . . . provided by the same source and confirmed by an NHL source.”
Rick Bowness, the head coach of the Dallas Stars, left their Sunday night game after the second period and didn’t return. You guessed it . . . COVID-19 protocols. Bowness has been fully vaccinated, however, and the team is convinced that it’s a false positive. . . . The Stars, you may recall, had a nightmarish run-in with the virus just before this season got started. Here’s hoping they aren’t in for a repeat.
“So who ratted them out? An opposing line coach? Some largemouth?” wondered Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Auburn University’s bass-fishing team — originally suspended for the rest of the year for repeatedly violating school COVID-19 travel policies — has been reinstated upon appeal and can resume angling on April 22. Great — just in time for preseason two-a-days.”
The AJHL, with four teams already shut down for 14 days due to positive tests, announced Sunday that it had postponed that night’s game between the Camrose Kodiak and Olds Grizzlys “to allow for the analysis of a COVID-19 test as per the AJHL return-to-play protocols.” . . . The Drayton Valley Thunder, Grande Prairie Storm, Okotoks Oilers and Whitecourt Wolverines were put on hold during the week.
This is what loser points have done to statistics. . . . The Dallas Stars have played 36 games; they have 36 points. So the Stars are playing .500 hockey, or so some people claim. Not so fast, grasshopper. The Stars have won only 13 of those games. Yes, they actually have 23 losses, 10 of them in OT. . . . So please allow me ask: If you win 13 of 36 games are you really at .500?
The Washington Nationals, who are having issues with the virus, had their opening home series with the New York Mets scrubbed. And now their Monday game against the visiting Atlanta Braves has been dumped. . . . Later Sunday, MLB announced that the Nationals have been cleared to open in Atlanta on Tuesday. . . . As of Sunday, the Nationals had had four players test positive, and seven other players and two coaches who were deemed close contacts. All told, 13 people were in quarantine.
In the WHL on Sunday . . .
The Brandon Wheat Kings scored the last three goals to run their winning streak to six games with a 3-1 victory over the Saskatoon Blades in Regina. . . . F Caiden Daley (5) gave the Blades (9-2-1) a 1-0 lead at 8:20 of the first period. . . . F Lynden McCallum (10) tied it for the Wheat Kings (9-2-1) at 9:08 of the second. . . . F Ben McCartney (7) broke the tie at 3:20 of the third and F Reid Perepeluk (3) got the empty-netter. . . . Saskatoon has lost two straight after going 10 games without a regulation loss. . . .
F Conner Roulette’s fifth goal, at 4:47 of OT, gave the Seattle Thunderbirds a 5-4 victory over the host Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Chiefs (0-4-3) took a 3-2 lead into the third period. . . . Seattle (5-3-0) moved out front on goals by D Tyrel Bauer (1) and F Jared Davidson (2). . . . F Adam Beckman (3) pulled the Chiefs even, on a PP, at 10:40. . . . F Henri Rybinski had three assists and was plus-4 for the winners. . . . F Erik Atchison (2) had a goal and two assists for Spokane, which was 3-for-5 on the PP. . . . The Chiefs and Victoria Royals (0-3-1) are the only WHL teams without at least one regulation victory. . . . The Chiefs are without D Mac Gross and D Graham Sward, both week-to-week with undisclosed injuries. . . . Seattle F Matt Rempe left in the first period with an undisclosed injury. He didn’t return. . . .
F Tristen Nielsen scored the game’s only goal, in the shootout, as the Vancouver Giants beat the Prince George Cougars, 1-0, in Kamloops. . . . G Trent Miner of the Giants (3-1-0) stopped 14 shots to record his second straight shutout. Miner, who has six career shutouts, had beaten the Kelowna Rockets, 6-0, a week earlier. . . . The Cougars (1-2-1), who were outshot 43-14, got 43 saves from Tyler Brennan, who recorded his first career shutout.
Tonight's game between the @WHLGiants & @PGCougars represents the ninth time a WHL game has ended 1-0 in a shootout.
The shootout was introduced for the 2005-06 season.
When I played for @BladesHockey 30 yrs ago, I billeted with the Anderson's, a family with 4 boys, in Saskatoon. Today, on Easter Sunday, I was Baptized by Pastor Lindsay Anderson, the oldest of the family. "Be Strong and courageous for I am with you." Joshua 1:9 pic.twitter.com/HWHtZpA6Hz
In the top of the first inning of a Sunday night game, Shohei Ohtani, the Los Angeles Angels’ starting pitcher, threw one pitch at 101 mph. In the bottom half of the inning, hitting second, he hammered a fastball 451 feet into the right-field bleachers. . . . He is the first starting pitcher to homer in an American League game since the DH came into play in 1973. He also became the first pitcher since 1903 to hit in the No. 2 spot. . . . Before the game, Greg Beacham of The Associated Press reported: “Ohtani is just the third pitcher over the last 45 seasons to hit for himself in a game with the designated hitter available. He’s also the first pitcher to bat second for a team since Jack Dunleavy did it for the St. Louis Cardinals on Sept. 7, 1903.” . . . One more for you: The last AL pitcher to homer from one of the top seven spots in the batting order was Babe Ruth in a 1933 game from the three hole.
Yermin Mercedes of the Chicago White Sox had five hits in the first start of his MLB career on Friday. No big deal, right? Until I heard Tim Kurkjian of ESPN say that neither Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott nor Edgar Martinez — each of them a pretty good hitter — ever had a five-hit game. . . . Ahh, you have to love baseball.
A fave Gretzky tale: He’s leaving the Kings hotel in TO before Game 7 v TML in ‘93. Asks security guard how his night’s going. Guy says “quiet now, but it’ll get wild around here by 11 pm” (when Leafs win)” Gretz deadpans: “I wouldn’t worry about that … my job starts at 7:30”.
“They didn’t sugarcoat anything and told him he would never walk again,” Lori Sopotyk told Mart Hastings of Kamloops This Week on Tuesday. “He’s paralyzed from the belly button down and it’s a long, long journey ahead for all of us. That was the first thing out of his mouth, his hockey, that he would never skate again. And he felt like he had let everyone down.” . . . Lori was referring to Kyrell, her 19-year-old son, who was injured in a snowboarding accident near North Battleford, Sask., on Friday and is in a Saskatoon hospital. He played the last two seasons (2018-20) with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. . . . Hastings’ complete story is right here. . . .
A GoFundMe page, launched by Kathleen Zary, the mother of Blazers F Connor Zary, has surpassed $160,000. It is right here should you wish to donate.
Chris Joseph, a former WHL/NHL defenceman, and his wife, Andrea, lost their son, Jaxon, in the accident that occurred almost three years ago when a semi-trailer pulled out onto a Saskatchewan highway in front of the Humboldt Broncos’ bus. But unlike Scott Thomas, who also lost a son in the accident, Joseph doesn’t want Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to be allowed to remain in Canada whenever he is freed from jail. Thomas, whose son, Evan, died in the crash, has written a letter in support of Sidhu’s plea to avoid deportation. . . . “As much as I can admire someone who finds that forgiveness,” Joseph told Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, “I personally don’t have it yet, don’t know if I’ll ever get it to be quite honest. Everyone’s forgiveness journey is their own journey. I just can’t understand why you cannot forgive while he’s on a plane back to India.” . . . One thing that Joseph and Thomas can agree on, meanwhile, is the need for a serious upgrade to some of the rules and regulations around Canada’s trucking industry. . . . Campbell’s complete piece is right here.
Just wondering, but what have you accomplished during this pandemic? Trent Miner, a goaltender with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, has been studying and working towards a private pilot’s licence. “I always wanted to do this,” Miner, 19, told Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun, “but obviously didn’t have any time to get into it until this summer.” . . . Miner started the process by taking lessons at the Brandon Flight Centre in May. Now the only thing standing between him and his licence is a written exam. . . . These days, Miner is in camp with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles. . . . Bergson’s story is right here.
Here’s a snippet of the Tuesday morning post from Jack Finarelli (aka The Sports Curmudgeon):
“If 2021 were destined to be a ‘normal sports year’ teams would be setting up facilities in Florida and Arizona for the onset of spring training about now. Instead, there are reports this morning that Arizona officials have sent a letter to MLB asking for a delay in the start of spring training there because of the high rate of COVID infections in Maricopa County. The report I read in the Washington Post said that the officials there do not have the authority to order such a delay, meaning this could evolve into a negotiation with MLB. Unfortunately, any negotiation with MLB will have to involve the MLBPA as well; history tells us that those two entities have difficulty agreeing on even basic things like Tuesdays always following Mondays.”
The latest 31 Thoughts from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman includes lots on the weekend deal between the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets, and also some interesting stuff with former Everett Silvertips D Shaun Heshka. It’s all right here.
With one member of the Vegas Golden Knights’ coaching staff having reportedly tested positive, the NHL team had to sideline all of its coaches, at least for Tuesday night’s game against the visiting St. Louis Blues. As a result, Kelly McCrimmon, the former owner/general manager/head coach of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, made his NHL coaching debut. He is the Golden Knights’ general manager. . . . On the bench with McCrimmon were Manny Viveiros, a former WHL coach and player who is the head coach of the team’s AHL franchise, the Henderson Silver Knights; Jamie Heward, a former WHL player and coach who is an assistant coach with Henderson; and former NHL player Joel Ward, also an assistant in Henderson. . . . The Blues won the game, 5-4 in a shootout. The Golden Knights hit four posts in regulation, one in OT and another in the shootout. . . . F Brayden Schenn, who spent three seasons (2007-10) with McCrimmon’s Wheat Kings, scored the shootout winner. . . . The Golden Knights’ coaching staff comprises head coach Peter DeBoer; assistants Ryan Craig, Ryan McGill and Steve Spott; goaltending coach Mike Rosati; and video coach Tommy Cruz.
THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .
Unfortunately I’ve tested positive for COVID-19 and will have to sit out of this years @XGames . Heartbroken beyond belief but feeling healthy which is most important. Sending good vibes to everyone out in Aspen! pic.twitter.com/5oIG7I61X6
CBC News — Anyone entering Manitoba, including people coming from Western Canada, will have to self-isolate for 14 days starting Friday. . . . The travel restriction is designed to stop non-essential travel, by land or by air, and applies to people visiting the province and returning Manitobans.
CBC News — Sask. extends public health orders as daily death toll reaches new high. The measures will remain in effect until Feb. 19. They were set to expire on Jan. 29.
CBC News — Saskatchewan saw its deadliest day of the pandemic, with a record-high 14 fatalities reported on Tuesday. The previous record came on Dec. 21, when 13 people died after being diagnosed with the virus. The province has now reported 268 COVID-related deaths since the pandemic came to the province. Of those, 115 deaths have happened in 2021.
If you’re wondering how the NCAA men’s basketball season is going, check out this piece right here by Ryan Young of yahoo!sports.
The New York Times — The coronavirus death toll in Britain surpassed 100,000 on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying he accepted responsibility as fatality rates continue to soar. “I am deeply sorry for every life that has been lost,” he said.
AFP News Agency, Tuesday, 1:39 p.m. PT — Global coronavirus cases pass 100 million mark, AFP tally shows.
Ron Johnson, who got into five games with the Montreal Expos in 1984, has died in Tennessee from complications related to COVID-19. He was 64. Johnson spent 25 seasons as a minor league manager, most recently with the Triple-A Norfolk Admirals, who are affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles.
Sekou Smith, who worked as an analyst for NBA TV, died Tuesday after contracting COVID-19. He was 48.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
JUST NOTES: The ECHL is expected to announce today (Wednesday) that it will have a franchise in Savannah, Ga., in time for the 2022-23 season. The team will play out of the Savannah Arena, a facility that is under construction.
F Andrej Kudrna (Vancouver, Red Deer, 2008-11) has signed a one-year contract extension with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he had 11 goals and 14 assists in 52 games.
Tickets for the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship are scheduled to go on sale on April 24. The tournament is to be held in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic, opening on Dec. 26 and concluding on Jan. 5. . . . Ticket prices for the gold-medal game will start at €17.50 — on Friday, Cdn$1 equalled 0.66 Euro; it also equalled 17.07 Czech Koruna. . . . Games will be played in the Ostravar Arena, which has a capacity of 7,800, and the Week Arena in Trinec, with a capacity of 4,200. . . . Ticket prices are the same in both facilities. . . .
From a news release:
“Thanks to the unobstructed sightlines from all seats at both arenas, all tickets are available at a single price level for each game. Tickets for group-stage games are in three price categories — 290 CZK (€11.30), 240 CZK (€9.30) and 140 CZK (€5.40).
“For the same price of 290 CZK (€11.30), tickets to all four quarter-final games will be available in both cities: two in Ostrava and two in Trinec. The last two days of the tournament will take place in Ostrava — the semi-finals and medal games will be played in Ostravar Arena.
“Tickets for both semi-finals will be available for 290 CZK (€11.30), and then fans can watch the bronze-medal game for 350 CZK (€13.60) and the championship final for 450 CZK (€17.50). Tickets for games of the best-of-three relegation series that will also take place at Ostravar Arena will be sold for 90 CZK (€3.50).” . . . About 25 per cent of tickets have been blocked off for the IIHF, teams and media, and for technical purposes. . . .
Tickets will be available online at 2020.worldjuniors.hockey.
In Canadian dollars, a ticket to the gold-medal game will set you back about $26.
The 2019 tournament was held in Victoria and Vancouver. A ticket package for games in Victoria (14 games) started at $399 ($28.50 a game), with a Vancouver package (19 games) starting at $650 ($34.21 a game).
Ticket prices for the 2019 tournament were markedly lower than the 2018 tournament, which was held in Buffalo, and the 2017 event (Montreal/Toronto). Swaths of empty seats at those tournaments resulted in organizers rethinking ticket prices before the 2019 WJC.
(A tip of the Taking Note fedora to Matt Smith — “a long-time reader from Portland who has been living in Prague, Czech Republic, for the past five years” — for steering me to this information. Yes, he will be in attendance at the 2019 WJC “for its entirety.”)
There are nine WHLers among the 23 players invited by Hockey Canada to attend a selection camp next week prior to the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship. . . . That tournament will be held in Örnsköldsvik and Umeå, Sweden, from April 18 through April 28. . . . The 23 Canadian players will gather in Kisakallio, Finland, next week for a training camp prior to two pre-tournament games. The camp will run from Monday through Friday, with exhibition games set for April 14 (Belarus, in Umeå) and April 15 (Russia, in Örnsköldsvik). . . .
The camp roster features three goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards. . . . The WHLers invited to camp are G Taylor Gauthier, Prince George Cougars; G Dylan Garand, Kamloops Blazers; D Braden Schneider, Brandon Wheat Kings; D Kaedan Korczak, Kelowna Rockets; D Daemon Hunt, Moose Jaw Warriors; F Brayden Tracey, Moose Jaw; F Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge Hurricanes; F Connor Zary, Kamloops; and F Peyton Krebs, Winnipeg Ice. . . . Dave Struch, the head coach of the Regina Pats, is an assistant coach with the U18 team. . . . Canada hasn’t won this tournament since 2013.
The Spokane Chiefs have extended the contracts of three members of their hockey staff through the 2020-21 season. . . . Joseph Hurley, the team’s athletic trainer and conditioning coach, is finishing up his second season with the Chiefs. He also has worked with the NAHL’s Amarillo Bulls, the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and USA Ball Hockey. . . .Chris Baird, the assistant director of hockey operations, began with the Chiefs as a video co-ordinator in 2006-07. He has been in his present full-time position since August 2017. . . . Sports psychologist Jon Hammermeister has been an Eastern Washington U professor since 1999.
D Jared Freadrich of the Portland Winterhawks has signed on with the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears. Freadrich, who doesn’t have any junior eligibility remaining, had 15 goals and 33 assists 67 games with Portland this season. . . . He also played with the Regina Pats, Red Deer Rebels and Victoria Royals during a WHL career in which he totalled 38 goals and 93 assists in 263 regular-season games.
D Calen Addison of the Lethbridge Hurricanes will spend the remainder of this season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Addison, who will turn 19 on Thursday, was a second-round pick by Pittsburgh in the NHL’s 2018 draft but has yet to sign with them. . . . This season, his third with Lethbridge, he had 11 goals and 54 assists in 67 games. He added two goals and seven assists in seven playoff games.
D Aaron Hyman, who completed his junior eligibility with the Tri-City Americans this season, has signed with the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings. Hyman, who also played with the Calgary Hitmen, Seattle Thunderbirds and Regina Pats, had 16 goals and 66 assists in 232 career regular-season games. . . . This season, he had 10 goals and 40 assists in 68 games as he started with the Pats and finished with the Americans. . . . Hyman played in back-to-back Memorial Cup tournaments — with Seattle and then Regina.
G Joel Hofer of the Portland Winterhawks will finish his season with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage. Hofer, 18, was a fourth-round pick by the Blues in the NHL’s 2018 draft. He started this season with the Swift Current Broncos, before being dealt to Portland. All told, he was 15-29-3, 3.72, .906.
Very proud to have been apart of the turn around over the past few years with the @Blazers_MML, disappointed to see it end like this after a successful season both team wise and individually with so many players moving onto to Jr. A and the WHL.
Chris Murray, a former NHL/WHL player, is the new head coach of the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. Murray, 44, played three seasons with the Kamloops Blazers, helping the team to Memorial Cup titles in 1991 and 1994. He went on to a pro career that included stints with the Montreal Canadiens, Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes, Ottawa Senators, Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars. . . . A city firefighter in Kamloops these days, Murray just completed his fifth season as a part-time assistant coach with the WHL Blazers. He also was the head coach of the minor midget Blazers. That position will be filled by Crosby Dorais of Kamloops.
USA Hockey named 23 players — two goaltenders, eight defencemen and 13 forwards — to its U-17 team on Friday. These players, all born in 2003, are expected to join USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program and compete as the national U-17 team. The NTDP is a two-year residency program based in Plymouth, Mich. . . . The roster includes two players whose WHL rights belong to the Portland Winterhawks, and one who was drafted by the Prince George Cougars. . . . D Ty Murchison of Corona, Calif., played for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings U-16 team. The Winterhawks selected him in the third round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He hasn’t signed with them, nor has he made an NCAA commitment. F Chaz Lucius of Grant, Minn., has committed to the U of Minnesota for 2021-22. The Winterhawks selected him in the fourth round of the 2018 bantam draft. This season, Lucius had 39 goals and 23 assists in 13 games with the U-15 team at Gentry Academy in St. Paul, Minn. . . . Prince George selected D Aidan Hreschuk of Long Beach, Calif., in the fifth round of the 2018 bantam draft. He also played for the U16 Los Angeles Jr. Kings. Hreschuk has committed to Boston College for 2021-22. . . .
There are a couple of other players on USA Hockey’s U-17 team with WHL connections. . . .F Tyler Boucher of Scottsdale, Ariz., is the son of former Tri-City Americans G Brian Boucher (1994-97). . . . F Colby Saganiuk of Valencia, Pa., is the grandson of Rocky Saganiuk, who played with the Kamloops Chiefs and Lethbridge Broncos (1975-77) and was the head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in 1995-96.
I haven't seen this mentioned. Saskatoon Blades HC Mitch Love was a defenceman when the Everett Silvertips beat Marc Habscheid's Kelowna Rockets in a 7th and deciding game in the Western Conference final in 2004. Habscheid now coaches the Prince Albert Raiders. #tidbit
NOTES: Two second-round series began on Friday night. . . . In Prince Albert, the Raiders got three goals from F Sean Montgomery and a goal and three helpers from F Brett Leason in beating the Saskatoon Blades, 6-1. They’ll play Game 2 in Prince Albert on Sunday. The first three games of this series are being televised by Sportsnet. . . . In Langley, B.C., G Trent Miner recorded the shutout as the Vancouver Giants beat the Victoria Royals, 3-0. They’ll play again tonight in Langley. . . .
The other two series get going tonight, with the Edmonton Oil Kings — the Edmonton Oilers’ logo at centre ice in Rogers Place is gone — playing host to the Calgary Hitmen, and the Spokane Chiefs meeting the Silvertips in Everett.
The Prince Albert duo of F Brett Leason and F Sean Montgomery proved too much in the early going as the Raiders beat the visiting Saskatoon Blades in Game 1 of their second-round series. . . . They’ll play Game 2 in Prince Albert on Sunday, then head to Saskatoon for games on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Montgomery and Leason were in on the Raiders’ first three goals. Montgomery scoring twice, with Leason getting a goal and two helpers. Montgomery later completed his first career WHL hat trick. . . . Montgomery (2) gave the home boys a 1-0 lead at 3:47 of the first period. . . . Saskatoon F Chase Wouters (2) tied it at 5:24. . . . Leason (3) broke the tie at 12:07, and Montgomery (3) upped the lead to 3-1 at 11:39 of the second period. . . . The Raiders went ahead 4-1 when F Parker Kelly (2) scored at 17:42. . . . Montgomery (4) completed his hat trick at 5:51 of the third period, on a PP. . . . Montgomery’s first hat trick came in his 362nd career game — 345 in the regular season and 17 playoff games. . . . It also was Prince Albert’s first three-goal playoff game since F Milan Kraft did it on March 30, 2000. On that night, Kraft scored the game’s last three goals, two of them via the PP, as the Raiders won, 3-2, in Swift Current. F Layne Ulmer had both Swift Current goals. That was Game 1 in a first-round series that the Broncos won, 4-2. . . . Kelly (3) gave the Raiders a 6-1 lead on a PP at 13:40, with Leason earning his third assist, and fourth point, of the night. . . . The Raiders were 2-6 on the PP; the Blades were 0-2. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 23 shots for Prince Albert. He is 5-0, 1.60, .925 in these playoffs. . . . Saskatoon G Nolan Maier was beaten five times on 36 shots in 47:04. Koen MacInnes came on in relief to make his WHL debut with the Blades trailing, 5-1. He gave up one goal on three shots. . . . G Dorrin Luding (undisclosed) was among Saskatoon’s scratches. MacInnes, 17, was dressed as Maier’s backup. MacInnes, from Burnaby, B.C., was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He played this season for the Burnaby Winter Club’s prep team.
G Trent Miner turned aside 15 shots to help the Vancouver Giants to a 3-0 victory over the Victoria Royals in Langley, B.C. . . . They’ll play Game 2 tonight in Langley. . . . Games 3 and 4 are scheduled for Victoria on Tuesday and Thursday. . . . F Davis Koch (2) gave the Giants a 1-0 lead at 13:44 of the first period, on a PP. . . . Koch, who had a goal and nine assists in the first round, now leads the WHL’s playoff points race, with 11. . . . The Giants went ahead 2-0 at 5:50 of the third period as F Jared Dmytriw (2) scored. . . . F Dawson Holt (2) made it 3-0 with an empty-netter at 18:12. . . . Dmytriw also had an assist, while D Bowen Byram had two. . . . Vancouver was 1-3 on the PP; Victoria was 0-3. . . . Miner, who turned 18 on Feb. 5, was 24-5-2, 1.98, .924, with three shutouts, in the regular season. In the playoffs, he is 3-1, 1.51, .938 as he shares time with David Tendeck. . . . The Royals got 25 saves from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Vancouver F Justin Sourdif played for the first time since he was injured late in Game 1 of a first-round series with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . As expected, the Giants scratched F Aidan Barfoot. He was injured in Game 4 against Seattle. . . . F Kody McDonald (suspended) and F Kade Oliver (shoulder) were among Victoria’s scratches. Oliver’s season is over.
A year ago tonight, 29 families crawled into their beds not knowing that it would be their last night with their family member.
Hug yours while you can. Hold them close for an extra moment. We’d give anything for just one more moment with them.
The QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies beat the host Shawinigan Cataractes 8-3 on Wednesday night, running their winning streak to 25 games. That ties the CHL record that was set by the QMJHL’s 1973-74 Sorel Éperviers and equalled by the 1983-84 Kitchener Rangers. The 1995-96 Hull Olympiques and the 2012-13 London Knights won 24 in a row. . . . The WHL record (22) is held by the 1967-68 Estevan Bruins.
F Reese Johnson, the captain of the Red Deer Rebels, has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. . . . This season, the 20-year-old Saskatoon native has 22 goals and 23 assists in 62 games. He has single-season career highs in assists and points. . . . In 182 career regular-season games, he has 50 goals and 42 assists. . . . Johnson wasn’t selected in either the WHL bantam draft or the NHL draft.
The MJHL’s Neepawa Natives are in need of a general manager and head coach following the decision by Dustin Howden not to ask for a new contract. . . . Howden, 33, is from Deloraine, a community south of Brandon. He told Chris Jaster of the Brandon Sun: “I just feel it’s time for someone else to take the program to the next step.” . . . Howden has been with the Natives since 2014-15 when he was an assistant coach. He took over as head coach prior to 2016-17, and added the GM’s duties in time for this season. . . . This season, the Natives finished 9-43-8, which left them last in the 11-team league.
F Jake Elmer ran his goal-scoring streak to 13 games as he helped the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 4-1 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Lethbridge (36-18-10) has won four in a row, and now has clinched a playoff spot. It also has moved into a tie with the Edmonton Oil Kings atop the Central Division. Edmonton holds a game in hand. . . . Brandon (30-25-8) is 1-2-1 on a six-game trek through the Central Division. The Wheat Kings are tied with the Red Deer Rebels for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Lethbridge won the season series, 3-1-0. . . . Elmer opened the scoring at 5:36 of the second period, while shorthanded. He’s got 37 goals this season, and leads the WHL with six shorthanded snipes. . . . The longest goal-scoring streak in WHL history occurred from Nov. 6 through Dec. 15, 1984, as F Cliff Ronning of the New Westminster Bruins struck 27 times over 18 games. . . . The Hurricanes’ record (16 games) belongs to F Jason Ruff (Jan. 16 through Feb. 27, 1991). Ruff had 20 goals over that stretch. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn, who has 37 goals, gave his guys a 3-0 lead when he scored at 7:35 and 19:44, the latter on a PP. . . . F Zack Stringer’s first WHL goal, at 10:16 of the third period, made it 4-0. Stringer’s first goal came in his fourth game. He also had an assist, and now has three points. A 15-year-old from Lethbridge, Stringer, the eighth-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft, had 14 goals and 27 assists in 30 games with the midget AAA Hurricanes this season. . . . F Luka Burzan (38) scored Brandon’s goal, at 11:09 of the third period. . . . G Carl Tetachuk stopped 27 shots to earn the victory. . . . F Scott Mahovlich was back in Lethbridge’s lineup after having left the club on Feb. 13 to deal with a “family emergency.” He missed 10 games.
The Calgary Hitmen struck for four goals in the first period — three of them by F Carson Focht — and then needed OT to beat the host Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-5. . . . Calgary (36-22-6) has points in seven straight games (6-0-1). It is third in the Central Division, four points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and Lethbridge Hurricanes. Three of Calgary’s last four games are against the Oil Kings. . . . Medicine Hat (32-25-6) holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, two points ahead of the Red Deer Rebels and Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Calgary won the season series, 5-1-0. . . . Focht gave his guys a 2-0 lead with goals at 2:52, on the PP, and 3:53 of the first period. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (23) got the Tigers on the scoreboard at 11:44. . . . F James Malm, on a PP, increased Calgary’s lead to 3-1 at 15:46 and Focht completed his third career hat trick — all three in the past five games — at 19:59. He’s got 26 goals, 10 of them in those past five games. . . . The Tigers followed with the next four goals to take a 5-4 lead. . . . F Ryan Jevne, who last played on Feb. 16, scored at 1:37 of the second period, and FCorson Hopwo made it 4-3 at 10:01. . . . The Tigers pulled even on D Trevor Longo’s fifth goal, at 7:58 of the third period, and went ahead at 11:07 when Jevne got his 28th goal, on a PP. . . . Malm forced OT with his 33rd goal at 16:18. . . . Calgary won it at 3:41 of OT when D Vladislav Yeryomenko notched his sixth goal of the season. . . . The Hitmen were 3-4 on the PP; the Tigers were 1-4. . . . Focht also had an assist for the fourth four-point game of his career. . . . Malm added an assist to his two goals. . . . Jevne added an assist to his two goals, while Longo had two helpers. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 37 shots for the Hitmen. . . . The Tigers also had F Brett Kemp back in their lineup. He had been out since Feb. 22.
G Trent Miner stopped 16 shots and D Bowen Byram set a single-season franchise record as the Vancouver Giants dumped the Blazers, 5-0, in Kamloops. . . . Vancouver (45-14-4) has points in seven straight games (6-0-1). It is tied with the Everett Silvertips atop the Western Conference, each with five games remaining. . . . Kamloops (23-32-7) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). With six games to play, it is fourth in the B.C. Division, seven points behind the Kelowna Rockets. Kamloops and Kelowna will go home-and-home on Friday and Saturday. . . . The Blazers also are seven points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . This was the third game in a row between these teams — the Giants won all three, one of them in OT. . . . Vancouver won the season series, 8-0-0; Kamloops was 0-5-3. . . . Miner posted his third shutout of the season. He is 23-4-2, 1.94, .926. . . . F Jadon Joseph scored twice for the Giants, opening the scoring 34 seconds into the second period and closing it with his 20th goal, on a PP, at 16:47 of the third. . . . In between, the Giants got goals from F Davis Koch (27), F Justin Sourdif (20) and Byram. . . . Byram’s goal was his 25th of the season and set a single-season franchise record for goals by a defenceman. The previous record was set by Kevin Connauton in 2009-10. . . . F Milos Roman had three assists. The Giants are about to lose Roman for a handful of games. Like Kootenay Ice D Martin Bodak, he will be returning to his native Slovakia to write a mandatory exam. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson left at 1:37 of the second period. He was slow getting up after some goal-mouth action at 1:20, and actually needed to lean onhis stick in order to get to his feet. Seventeen seconds later, he left the game, unable to put any weight on one leg. . . . Ferguson stopped 10 of 11 shots in 21:37. Dylan Garand came on in relief and turned aside 17 of 21. . . . The Giants enjoyed a 32-16 edge in shots, including 14-2 in the second period when they began to take control. . . .Vancouver was 3-5 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-5. . . . Vancouver had F Krz Plummer in their lineup. Plummer, who turns 17 on Feb. 13, was a third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. This was his fifth WHL game, four of them this season.
GOOOOOOOOALLLLL!!@SourdifJustin pots his 20th! He becomes the third Giant to ever reach 20 goals in his 16-year-old season! The others were Gilbert Brule and Evander Kane! 3-0 the Giants lead mid-way through the third period!
The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Victoria Royals, 6-3, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (34-25-4) had lost five in a row (0-4-1). The Americans, who are in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, have clinched a playoff spot. . . . Victoria (33-26-4) had points in each of its past four games (3-0-1). It is headed to a second-place finish in the B.C. Division. . . . F Phillip Schultz (19) put Victoria ahead 55 seconds into the game. . . . F Paycen Bjorklund (5) tied it at 4:12. . . . Victoria went ahead again just 27 seconds later as F Carson Miller (14) scored. . . . The Americans tied it at 17:10 when D Dom Schmiemann (3) scored. . . . F Riley Sawchuk, who finished with two goals and an assist, put the Americans out front at 4:00 of the second period. . . . Victoria pulled even at 16:51 on F D-Jay Jerome’s 22nd goal. . . . Tri-City F Sasha Mutala (19) broke the tie at 18:08, and Sawchuk added insurance with his 20th goal, on a PP, at 13:54 of the third period. . . . Tri-City D Mitchell Brown (4) added the empty-netter at 18:58. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 20 shots for Tri-City, six fewer than Victoria’s Brock Gould. . . . D Ralph Jarratt, D Scott Walford and F Kody McDonald were among Victoria’s scratches.
Donn Clark, who was inducted into the Prince Albert Raiders’ Wall of Honour on Friday night, died in Saskatoon on Saturday. He was two days shy of his 57th birthday.
From Kelvington, Sask., he was one of three brothers to play in the WHL — he, Wendel and Kerry all played for the Saskatoon Blades. Wendel represented his older brother in Prince Albert on Friday.
Donn got into one game with the Great Falls Americans in 1979-80, then played nine games with the Blades in 1980-81. He played all of 1981-82 with Saskatoon. In 1982-83 he played in three games with the Blades, one with the Nanaimo Islanders and 31 with the Raiders.
He began his WHL coaching career as an assistant with the Tacoma Rockets (1991-93). He was the head coach of the Raiders on two occasions (1993-95, 2000-02), and also ran the Blades’ bench (1995-98).
Clark, who had been battling cancer, worked as the Raiders’ general manager and director of hockey operations (2001-08).
We are saddened to learn one of our beloved alumni Donn Clark has passed away. Our condolences are with the Clark family today and always. We’ll miss you, Donny.
The WHL is crediting the Prince Albert Raiders with the record for most victories (50) in a 68-game schedule.
That would break the record of 49 that had been held by the 1971-72 Calgary Centennials.
Allow me to suggest, however, that this is comparing apples to oranges, and that the Raiders haven’t broken the Centennials’ record . . . at least, not yet.
This isn’t meant to taking anything away from the accomplishments of this season’s Raiders, not in the least.
But the Centennials didn’t have the opportunity to play overtime or go to a shootout in order to decide games back in their day. They finished that season at 49-16-3, with the ‘3’ being ties.
This season, the Raiders are 50-9-4, with the ‘4’ representing overtime and shootout losses. The victory total includes three OT victories and one in a shootout. That means they have won 46 games in regulation.
I would suggest, then, that if you are going to compare the victory totals of these two teams, the Centennials record of 49 victories still stands.
Perhaps it’s time to start a new section of the record book. Better yet, split it into BLP and ALP — Before Loser Points and After Loser Points — because this is what happens when you start deciding regular-season games in OT and skill competitions, and making some games worth more than others by awarding loser points.
So . . . it says here that if you played for the 1971-72 Calgary Centennials, you still hold the record for most victories in a 68-game WHL regular season.
Unless, that is, the Raiders win four of their remaining five games in regulation time. Their next three games are against the Swift Current Broncos (10-45-6), who have the WHL’s poorest record. To date, the Raiders are 4-0-1 against the Broncos and have a 24-15 edge in goals.
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F Jake Elmer ran his goal-scoring streak to 12 games as the Lethbridge Hurricanes skated to a 4-1 victory over the Pats in Regina. . . . Lethbridge (35-18-10) has won three in a row. It went 4-1-0 on a five-game road trip that ended with this one. The Hurricanes are second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Regina (18-42-3) has lost four straight. . . . Lethbridge went 3-0-1 in the season series; Regina was 1-3-0. . . . The Hurricanes jumped into a 3-0 lead on second-period goals from F Nick Henry (26), at 3:30; F Jordy Bellerive (29), at 4:23; and F Dylan Cozens (32), at 12:51. . . . F Austin Pratt (24) scored Regina’s goal, on a PP, at 14:23. . . . Elmer kept his streak alive with his 36th goal of the season at 14:55. . . . Elmer, who began his career with the Pats before being moved to the Kootenay Ice and then Lethbridge, has 73 points in 63 games. He went into this season with 25 goals and 28 assists in 136 games. . . . Elmer has 16 goals in his scoring streak. The WHL record is 18 games. F Cliff Ronning of the New Westminster Bruins scored 27 goals in those 18 games, from Nov. 6 through Dec. 15, 1984. . . . Henry next is scheduled to play on Wednesday when the Brandon Wheat Kings visit Lethbridge. . . . G Carl Tetachuk stopped 38 shots for the Hurricanes, four more than Regina’s Max Paddock. . . . F Sebastian Streu was back in Regina’s lineup after missing three games.
Tristin Langan (@tlangan6) had 2-1-3pts in a 4-2 win over Prince Albert and was the Warrior of the Game.
F Tristin Langan scored twice and added an assist to reach the 100-point plateau as the host Moose Jaw Warriors beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 4-2. . . . Moose Jaw (35-18-8) has lost its previous two games. It is likely to finish third in the East Division and meet the Saskatoon Blades in the first round. . . . Prince Albert (50-9-4) had points in each of its previous five games (4-0-1). It leads the overall standings by 12 points over the Everett Silvertips and needs one point to wrap up first place. . . . F Justin Almeida (26) gave Moose Jaw the lead at 18:23 of the first period. . . . The Raiders tied it 44 seconds later when F Dante Hannoun (28) scored. . . . After a scoreless second period, Langan opened the third with two goals, giving him 47. He scored at 5:41 and 11:58, the second goal giving him 100 points. He is the second WHLer to get there this season, behind Portland Winterhawks F Joachim Blichfeld. . . . Langan’s second goal was his 10th game-winner of the season. . . . F Brayden Tracey (32) stretched Moose Jaw’s lead to 4-1, at 13:36, before F Justin Nachbaur (17) scored for the visitors, at 19:50. . . . Almeida also had two assists, and now has 93 points. . . . Langan is tied for the WHL lead in GWG, with Tracey and F Bryce Kindopp of the Everett Silvertips. . . . G Brodan Salmond stopped 27 shots for the Warriors. . . . The Raiders won the season series, 4-2-0; the Warriors were 2-3-1. . . . The Raiders continue to play without D Max Martin, while F Parker Kelly sat out as he completed a three-game suspension.
The Edmonton Oil Kings scored seven straight goals en route to a 7-1 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Edmonton (37-18-8) has won six in a row and leads the Central Division by two points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. With the victory, the Oil Kings clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2015-16. . . . Brandon (29-24-8) has lost three straight (0-2-1). It is two points behind the Red Deer Rebels, who hold down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Wheat Kings are 0-2-1 on a six-game road swing into the Central Division. They are out of their home arena because the Tim Hortons Brier — the Canadian men’s curling championship — is being played there. . . . Edmonton was 3-1-0 in the season series; Brandon was 1-2-1. . . . The Oil Kings took a 2-0 first-period lead — on goals from F Andrew Fyten (39), at 6:09, and F Andrei Pavlenko (9), at 19:32 — and never looked back. . . . F Carter Souch (10), F David Kope (14) and D Wyatt McLeod (4) added second-period goals for Edmonton, with F Vince Loschiavo (31) and F Quinn Benjafield (13) making it 7-0 in the third period. . . . F Caiden Daley (8) scored for Brandon at 7:56 of the third. . . . D Parker Gavlas had three assists, while Souch added two assists to his goal. . . . Edmonton F Trey Fix-Wolansky had two assists, giving him 63 this season. That ties the franchise record that was set by F Dylan Wruck in 2012-13. . . . Edmonton outshot Brandon, 45-29. . . . G Dylan Myskiw earned the victory with 28 saves.
F Ryan Chyzowski scored in OT to give the Medicine Hat Tigers a 3-2 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . Medicine Hat (32-25-5) has lost its previous seven games. It holds the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Red Deer Rebels. The Tigers are fourth in the Central Division, five points behind the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Swift Current (10-45-6) has lost 14 straight (0-11-3). . . . The Tigers won the season series, 4-0-0; the Broncos were 0-3-1. . . . F Ethan Regnier (10) gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead at 13:24 of the first period. . . . The Tigers got even at 14:20 as F Nick McCarry (3) scored. . . . The Broncos went back in front at 3:41 of the second period on F Tanner Nagel’s 13th goal. . . . Swift Current nursed that lead until 19:01 of the third period when Medicine Hat D Linus Nassen (6) scored to force OT. . . . Chyzowski won it with his 22nd goal at 1:07 of the extra period. . . . Medicine Hat had a 49-23 edge in shots. . . . The Broncos got 46 saves from G Riley Lamb. . . . G Mads Søgaard blocked 21 shots to earn the victory. . . . Medicine Hat again was without F Ryan Jevne, F Elijah Brown and F Brett Kemp.
F James Malm scored three times to lead the Calgary Hitmen to a 5-2 victory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Calgary (34-22-6) has points in five straight (4-0-1) and is third in the Central Division, six points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . . Kootenay (12-40-10) has lost at least 40 times in regulation for the third time in four seasons, after not having done it even once in its first 17 seasons in Cranbrook. . . . These teams will play again today, this time in Calgary. . . . The Hitmen are 4-1-0 in the season series. . . . Malm opened the scoring at 8:33 of the first period. . . . Ice D Marco Creta (3) tied it at 9:54. . . . Malm put Calgary back out front at 10:33, only to have Ice F Brad Ginnell (16) equalize at 12:59. . . . Malm completed his second career hat trick, on a PP, at 3:14 of the second period. He’s got 31 goals this season. . . . F Josh Prokop (7) added insurance at 14:28 of the third period, and F Mark Kastelic (45) closed the scoring at 19:25. . . . Prior to the game, the Ice, which will leave Cranbrook for Winnipeg at season’s end, honoured former captain Jarret Stoll as the first inductee into its Hall of Fame. . . . The announced attendance was 2,738, the second-largest crowd of the team’s last season in Cranbrook. Only opening night (2,862) was larger. . . . The Ice has three home games remaining in its stay in Cranbrook. . . . Before the game, the Hitmen announced that they have returned F Orca Wiesblatt to the MJHL’s Portage Terriers. He has three assists in 12 games with the Hitmen this season.
The Vancouver Giants snapped a 2-2 tie with three goals in a span of 2:30 early in the second period en route to a 5-4 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers. . . . Vancouver (43-14-4) has points in five straight. It is two points behind the Everett Silvertips in the race to finish atop the Western Conference. . . . Kamloops (23-31-6) has lost two in a row and now is six points behind the third-place Kelowna Rockets in the B.C. Division and six points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. This was a bad night for the Blazers, as Seattle and Kelowna both lost in OT so increased their breathing room with the loser points. . . . The Blazers and Giants will play today in Langley, B.C., then meet again Wednesday back in Kamloops. . . . The Giants are 6-0-0 in the season series; the Blazers are 0-4-2. . . . Kamloops lost D Jackson Caller on a play that led to the game’s first goal. A shot by Vancouver F Justin Sourdif struck Caller in the lower face area. As he crumpled to the ice, the puck went to F Jared Dmytriw. He slipped it to F Aidan Barfoot, who tucked it in for his fourth goal of the season. Caller skated off, leaving a trail of blood from the slot to the Kamloops bench. He didn’t return. . . . Caller lost one tooth. Two others were displaced, but a dentist pushed them back into their proper position. . . . F Brodi Stuart (17) tied it for Kamloops at 4:22, but D Bowen Byram (23) put the Giants back out front, on a PP, at 15:50. . . . The Blazers pulled even at 4:41 of the second period as F Jermaine Loewen scored when a shot by F Connor Zary hit him in the chin and bounced into the net. . . . The Giants then scored the three quick goals — by F Davis Koch (26), at 5:54; F Tristen Nielsen (12), at 7:23; and F Milos Roman (25), at 8:24. . . . Loewen (23) cut the Blazers’ deficit to two at 19:35 of the second period, and the home side got to within a goal at 5:08 of the third when F Ryley Appelt (2) scored. . . . But the Blazers weren’t able to beat Vancouver G Trent Miner again. He stopped 26 shots, including 14 in the third period. . . . Sourdif finished with three assists. . . . G Dylan Ferguson was beaten four times on 16 shots in 27:23 before giving way to Dylan Garand, who last played on Jan. 27. Garand gave up a goal on the second shot he faced, as he finished with 11 saves on 12 shots.
F Jaydon Dureau’s OT goal gave the Portland Winterhawks a 2-1 victory over the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . Portland (38-18-6) is headed to a second-place finish in the U.S. Division and a first-round series with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Kelowna (26-30-6) is third in the B.C. Division, six points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who have two games in hand. . . . The Winterhawks and Rockets will play again this afternoon in Kelowna. . . . Portland leads the season series 3-0-0; Kelowna is 0-2-1. . . . F Jake Gricius (23) opened the scoring for Portland, on a PP, at 1:06 of the first period. . . . Kelowna didn’t tie it until 14:55 of the third period when F Alex Swetlikoff (5) scored. . . . Dureau won it with his 12th goal, at 1:22 of OT. . . . G Shane Farkas blocked 28 shots for Portland, four more than Kelowna’s Roman Basran.
F Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored in OT to give the Spokane Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Spokane (35-19-7) has points in six straight (5-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Portland Winterhawks and seven ahead of the Americans. . . . Tri-City (33-24-4) has lost four in a row, but has clinched a playoff spot. . . . With two games left in the season series, Tri-City is 6-3-1; Spokane is 4-5-1. . . . The Chiefs grabbed a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from D Noah King (5), at 3:34, and F Adam Beckman (27), on a PP, at 6:00. . . . The Americans pulled even in the second period as F Nolan Yaremko (25) scored, on a PP, at 5:50, and F Krystof Hrabik (7) got one at 7:07. . . . Spokane went out front 4-2 in the third period on goals from D Nolan Reid (15), at 13:23, and F Michael King (3), just 10 seconds later. . . . Tri-City tied it was F Riley Sawchuk (18) scored, on a PP, at 18:43, and F Kyle Olson (21) counted with 1.1 seconds left on the clock. . . . Anderson-Dolan won it with his 14th goal of the season at 3:16 of OT. . . . The Chiefs got 30 saves from G Reece Klassen, while workhorse Beck Warm, who has started 56 of the Americans’ 61 games, stopped 31 shots.
F Phillip Schultz broke a 2-2 tie with two early third-period goals as the Victoria Royals beat the visiting Prince George Cougars, 5-2. . . . Victoria (33-25-4) has points in four in a row (3-0-1) and has clinched second place in the B.C. Division. This is the eighth straight season in which the Royals have qualified for the playoffs. . . . Prince George (17-39-8) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . Victoria won the season series, 8-1-0; Prince George was 1-6-2. . . . The Royals had beaten the Cougars, 4-3, on Friday. . . . Last night, a pair of first-period PP goals — from D Ralph Jarratt (6), at 7:42, and F Carson Miller (13), at 10:55 — staked the home boys to a 2-0 lead. . . . The Cougars tied it in the second period on goals from F Josh Maser (28), at 4:54, and D Jack Sander (2), at 9:03. . . . Schultz, who has 18 goals, broke the tie 14 seconds into the third period, then added some insurance at 5:49. . . . Victoria F Igor Martynov (10) got the empty-netter at 16:41. . . . Martynov and Miller had two assists each, with Schultz adding one. . . . G Brock Gould stopped 32 shots for the Royals, five more than the Cougars’ Taylor Gauthier.
F Bryce Kindopp scored with 0.4 showing on the clock in OT to give the host Everett Silvertips a 1-0 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Everett (44-14-4) has points in six straight (5-0-1). It leads the U.S. Division by 10 points over the Portland Winterhawks, and is atop the Western Conference by two points over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Seattle (25-28-8) has points in four in a row (2-0-2). It is in possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, six points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . With one game remaining, Everett is 7-1-1 in the season series; Seattle is 2-5-2. . . . Kindopp, who has 38 goals,now is tied for the WHL lead in game-winners. Kindopp and F Tristin Langan and F Brayden Tracey, both of the Moose Jaw Warriors, have 10 each. . . . Everett G Dustin Wolf stopped 32 shots in recording his seventh shutout of this season and the 11th of his career. . . . This season, Wolf is 39-13-3, 1.72, .935.His career numbers are 52-19-3, 1.85, .933. . . . Seattle got 40 saves from G Roddy Ross, who is 12-4-3, 2.71, .921. . . . Each team was 0-4 on the PP. . . . Seattle D Cade McNelly sat out Game 3 of a four-game suspension.
In case you were wondering, the last TBIrds goaltender to have a shutout in Everett was Calvin Pickard. He made 29 saves on 11/14/09 in a 4-0 Seattle win.