Robison: WHLers completely vaccinated as its regular season begins . . . OHL hires female linesperson, too . . . SJHL lowers boom on Millionaires


The WHL opens is 2021-22 regular season tonight (Friday) with seven games — WHL2in Brandon, Lethbridge, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Swift Current, Edmonton and Kennewick, Wash. . . . If you are planning to attend a game, make sure you check to see what restrictions are in place in terms of requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test, etc. And please be patient when entering the arena, keeping in mind that the folks doing the checking aren’t the ones who put the restrictions in place.

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As the WHL opens its 2021-22 regular season, Ron Robison, its commissioner, said all is well with its vaccination mandate. . . . “We received excellent co-operation on that level,” Robison said in a video posted to the WHL’s website. “Prior to mandating, we had over 95 per cent and now we have 100 per cent of the players and staff fully vaccinated.”


The Jacksonville Jaguars are 0-4 after losing, 24-21, to the Bengals in Cincinnati on a last-play field goal on Thursday night.


Kirsten Welsh worked a game between the host Mississauga Steelheads and the OHLGuelph Storm on Thursday night, become the first female linesperson in OHL history. Welsh, from Blackstock, Ont., will be a part of the OHL’s officiating team for the 2021-22 season. . . . Welsh’s OHL debut came six nights after Alex Clarke, from Weyburn, Sask., became the first female linesperson in WHL history when she worked an exhibition game between the Regina Pats and host Moose Jaw Warriors. She will be working WHL games all of this season.


Gators


The SJHL’s Melville Millionaires haven’t had a good start to their season. . . . MelvilleThe league announced on Sept. 23 that the team was being shut down indefinitely due to a positive COVID-19 test within the organization. . . . Now the league has suspended general manager/head coach Mike Rooney and five players for a total of 35 games for their involvement in “an incident on Friday, Sept. 24.” . . . Rooney drew a 10-game suspension and also was fined $1,500. . . . The SJHL hit each of the five players with a five-game suspension — G Alexis Giroux, 19; F Braden Larochelle, 20; D Aiden Robson, 19; F Nicolas Samson, 19; and F Charles Thomas-Larochelle, 18. . . . Steven Wilson of discoverweyburn.com reported that the discipline was handed down “after an off-ice incident,” but added “the exact nature of the incident was not disclosed by the league.” . . . The Millionaires were to have opened the regular season on Sept. 24 against the host Weyburn Red Wings. That game was postponed as were games scheduled for Sept. 25 and 29, and Oct. 1. The next Melville game on the schedule is Sunday against the host Kindersley Klippers. . . . With Rooney ineligible, one would suppose that first-year assistant coach Daven Smith will run the bench.


Yes, Thanksgiving almost is upon us; at least, it is in Canada . . . but it’s never too early for this . . .


Vaccine


The New York Times has a daily email — The Daily — that subscribers can choose to receive. I found this interesting on Thursday morning:

“The United States owes its existence as a nation partly to an immunization mandate.

“In 1777, smallpox was a big enough problem for the bedraggled American army that George Washington thought it could jeopardize the Revolution. An outbreak had already led to one American defeat, at the Battle of Quebec. To prevent more, Washington ordered immunizations — done quietly, so the British would not hear how many Americans were sick — for all troops who had not yet had the virus.

“It worked. The number of smallpox cases plummeted, and Washington’s army survived a war of attrition against the world’s most powerful country. The immunization mandate, as Ron Chernow wrote in his 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Washington, ‘was as important as any military measure Washington adopted during the war.’

“In the decades that followed, immunization treatments became safer (the Revolutionary War method killed 2 percent or 3 percent of recipients), and mandates became more common, in the military and beyond. They also tended to generate hostility from a small minority of Americans.”


Brain


Were you even aware that there was a Ukrainian Hockey League before one player showed his racist side and then got less than a slap on the wrist for his disgusting action? . . . And now it isn’t about to go way. Let’s be honest here; the offender should have gotten a life sentence from hockey. Period. . . . Eugene Kolychev, who had been the league’s general manager, spoke out in favour of harsher discipline and was fired the next day. . . . And we wonder why this stuff just won’t go away. . . . It seems to me that the puck now is in the IIHF’s end of the ice.


Ankle


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Former NHLer Andrei Nazarov (San Jose, Tampa Bay, Calgary, Anaheim, Boston, Phoenix, Minnesota, 1993-06) is back in the coaching game in the KHL. HK Sochi has fired head coach Evgeny Stavrovsky and replaced him with Nazarov, an ex-NHL enforcer who hasn’t had a coaching job since Neftekhimik fired him almost three years ago.


Cigar

CHL lawsuit settlement rejected by two judges . . . Third QMJHL team has positive test . . . NHL postpones two events

It was May 17 when the CHL announced that it had agreed to a $30-million settlement in a class-action lawsuit that had been brought against it. The lawsuit asked that teams be forced to pay their plays minimum wage.

Under terms of the settlement, the CHL would pay out $30 million by Oct. 20, 2020, with no legal obligation to treat players as employees.CHL

Two WHL teams, the Moose Jaw Warriors and Prince Albert Raiders, told shareholders at their annual general meetings that they had paid $180,846 and $166,667, respectively, as their parts of the settlement.

Well . . . it turns out that the lawsuit is anything but settled; in fact, it is very much alive.

On Thursday, two judges rejected the settlement.

According to Rick Westhead of TSN, Madam Justice Chantal Corriveau, a Quebec judge, “wrote the settlement terms were overly broad and may give the CHL too much protection from liability for conduct that falls outside the claims alleged in this case.”

Westhead added, via Twitter, that the judge “suggested sides file new settlement with amended terms and noted in her decision the CHL faces at least 3 other legal cases — a proposed class action over concussions, and other cases involving alleged abuse and violation of anti-competition laws.”

Meanwhile, Westhead reported, Ontario Justice Paul Perell “also rejected the minimum-wage lawsuit settlement, saying if it was approved, it might prevent current/former players from suing the CHL in other class actions for compensation for significant injuries.”

Westhead added that “Justice Perell wants a renegotiation of the settlement agreement and seems to take issue with how much money lawyers working on the case were to collect.”

In his decision, Perell wrote: “In the immediate case, Class Counsel had far more to gain ($9M) than the $8,381 net recovery of a class member . . .”


The QMJHL has had a third team hit with a positive test for the coronavirus. qmjhlnewThis time the Drummondville Voltigeurs had a player test positive, so all in-person activities have been halted while other players and staff are tested. . . . The league’s Quebec-based teams have been in a holding pattern since Oct. 14 because of rising numbers in the province. Activities have been halted until at least Oct. 28. . . . Earlier this month, the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada had 18 positives, with the Sherbrooke Phoenix being hit with eight. The teams had met in a doubleheader on the regular season’s first weekend. Two on-ice officials who worked in those games also tested positive.


Cheese


With the WHL and its teams focussed on opening their regular season on Jan. 8, Saskatoonthe Saskatoon Blades are exploring a number of seating plans for their home games, all of them with the assumption that they will be allowed to have fans in attendance. The unknown, of course, is just how many fans will be at their home-opener, whenever that may come. . . . Ryan Flaherty of Global-TV Saskatoon checked in with Tyler Wawryk, the Blades’ director of business operations, and that piece is right here.


Former WHLer JC Lipon is spending this season with the KHL’s Dinamo Riga, meaning his home base is in Latvia. From Regina, Lipon spent four seasons (2010-13) with the Kamloops Blazers before ending up in the Winnipeg Jets’ organization. So how did he end up in Riga? . . . Read all about it, in his own words, right here.


Congrats


The Ukrainian Hockey League began its 2019-20 season on Sept. 14, 2019; it ended it on Tuesday when HK Kremenchuk won the championship, beating Bily Bars, 3-2 in OT, in Game 7 of the final series. When Kremenchuk captain Nikolai Kiselyov scored the winner on a PP, it was the first time his team held the lead in Game 7. . . . As for the 2020-21 season, well, it’s scheduled to get started next week. . . . Andy Potts has more right here.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The NHL has postponed its 2021 Winter Classic and All-Star Game. The Winter Classic had been scheduled for Jan. 1 at Target Field in Minneapolis, with the All-Star Game in Sunrise, Fla., on Jan. 30. . . . The NHL continues to have a target date of Jan. 1 for the start of its next regular season. . . .

In what we used to see as normal times, more than 250,000 people would file through Macy’s store in New York City every Christmas just to visit with Santa Claus. That won’t happen this time because, for the first time in 160 years, Mr. Claus won’t be there. Yes, this grinchy pandemic has claimed another tradition. . . . There is more on that story right here. . . .

Emily Potter, a pro basketball player from Winnipeg, has tested positive in the Czech Republic where she plays for KP Brno. Potter, 25, attend the U of Utah and is involved in the Canadian national women’s team program. She tested positive this week with the league already shut down following a nationwide lockdown. So far, the head coach, a manager and two of her teammates also have tested positive. . . . Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun has her story right here. . . .

Massachusetts’ Public Health Department has shut down indoor arenas and skating facilities for two weeks due to rising coronavirus cases. Kaitlin McKlnley Becker of NBC Boston reported that “health officials say the order is in response to multiple COVID-19 clusters occurring at rinks throughout the state following games, practices and tournaments. . . . In Massachusetts, there have been at least 30 clusters of COVID-19 associated with organized ice hockey activities involving residents from more than 60 municipalities. Each of these includes two or more confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases, totalling 108 confirmed cases.” . . . The shutdown doesn’t impact collegiate or professional hockey. . . .

In a cost-cutting measure brought on by the pandemic, Michigan State said Thursday that it will drop men’s and women’s swimming and men’s and women’s diving after the 2020-21 season. . . .

The NFL may be on the verge of moving another game. The Las Vegas Raiders have moved two OL to the COVID-19 list, so many not have enough eligible for Sunday’s scheduled game against the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Rules call for teams to dress eight OL per game. At the moment, the Raiders only have seven available. . . . The game already has been moved once. It was to have been played Sunday night, but the NFL moved it to the late afternoon slot the Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals to the night game. The NFL wants to guarantee that there is a game for Sunday Night Football.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers have signed D Gianni Fairbrother, 20, who played the past three seasons with the Everett Silvertips. From North Vancouver, B.C., he was a third-round pick by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2019 NHL draft. . . . Mark Readman has joined the junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League as assistant general manager and assistant coach. Readman, 25, spent last season as head coach of the Dawson Creek Junior Canucks of the junior B Northwest Junior Hockey League. In Creston, he will work alongside GM/head coach Bill Rotheisler.


Perfect