Enough of the ‘it’s just like the flu’ junk! . . . Virtanen latest Canucks player on protocol list . . . QMJHL has 15 more positives on two teams

Please don’t bother wasting your breath trying to tell me that “this is just like the flu.”

Because it isn’t.

I lost another friend to COVID-19 on the weekend, so I’m well aware that this isn’t just like the flu. It just isn’t.

Bob Watson was a photographer at the Regina Leader-Post during my time there. He was one of those people who was quick to smile and really would give you the shirt — or in his case, the photographer’s vest — off his back.

After we moved to Kamloops, Bob and I reconnected on social media. No, we didn’t communicate on a regular basis, but we did often enough to stay in touch. And he always — always — asked how Dorothy was doing.

Anyway . . . knowing Bob the way I did, I know that he and his wife, Karen, did all they could to stay safe. Still, she tested positive, and so did he. Karen has since recovered, but Bob didn’t make it. . . . Rob Vanstone of The Leader-Post has more on Bob right here.

You may also want to take a few minutes and read this column right here from Daphne Bramham of the Vancouver Sun.

She, too, worked at The Leader-Post and was friends with Bob.

She writes, in part: “It’s why I can’t separate the sadness over his death from my raw anger at the stupidity of anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers including the two Regina women fined $2,800 for organizing a Saturday protest that attracted 30 people, the owners and customers at the Corduroy and Gusto restaurants in Vancouver who ignored the ban on indoor dining, and the loudmouth Instagramer building an audience by provoking people as he drives up and down Robson Street with his megaphone.”


Mars


Another day, another player off the Vancouver Canucks’ roster added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. The latest addition is F Jake Virtanen, who went on the list on Tuesday. His presence means that 18 of the Canucks22 players on the roster are on that list.

There were reports over the long weekend that some of the Canucks had tested positive for the P.1 variant, which first surfaced in Brazil and now is causing problems in Canada, especially in B.C., Alberta and Ontario.

However, Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, threw cold water on those reports.

“I’m not aware that any of the cases in the Canucks organization are related to P.1,” she told reporters on Tuesday.”I don’t know where that started, but not that I’m aware of.”

Neither the NHL nor the Canucks have made an official statement of any kind since the original positive test on Gaudette was confirmed. Reports of the P.1 variant being involved appeared to come from sources within the Vancouver organization, player agents and family members.

Dr. Henry also said that what the Canucks are going through shows that COVID-19 spreads “very, very easily.”

She added: “It just tells us that once this virus gets hold, it can spread very quickly, despite having routine testing protocols, having protocols to try and protect people as much as possible.”

F Adam Gaudette was the first of the Vancouver players to go on the protocol list on Tuesday, followed the next day by D Travis Hamonic.

Over the next few days, they were joined by forwards Travis Boyd, Jalen Chatfield, Jayce Hawryluk, Nils Hoglander, Bo Horvat, Zack MacEwen, Marc Michaelis, Tyler Motte, Antoine Roussel and Brandon Sutter, defencemen Alex Edler, Quinn Hughes and Tyler Myers, and goaltenders Thatcher Demko and Braden Holtby.

And now Virtanen.

There also have been reports that three members of the coaching staff have tested positive, and two players off the taxi squad have been deemed as close contacts.

So far, the NHL has postponed six Vancouver games, with the Canucks not likely to play again before mid-April.

——

Meanwhile, the Canucks AHL affiliate, the Utica Comets, has issues of its own and hasn’t played since March 10. They have had players and staff in isolation since March 22. The Comets were back on the practice ice on Monday. . . .  Ben Birnell of the Utica Observer-Dispatch reported: “It is not clear how many Comets players had positive COVID-19 tests. The AHL does not disclose which players are unavailable because of positive tests or close contacts.” . . . The Comets hope to return to game action on Friday against the visiting Rochester Americans.


Walmart


The NCAA’s Frozen Four is scheduled for this weekend in Pittsburgh. On Tuesday, the UMass Minutemen, one of the four competing teams, revealed that they will be missing at least four players because of COVID-19 contact tracing protocols. That includes starting G Filip Lindberg and F Carson Gicewicz, their leading sniper. Also out are G Henry Graham and F Jerry Harding. . . . Graham was the No. 3 goaltender. . . . This means that senior Matt Murray will be the starting goaltender on Thursday when UMass opens against the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, the defending champs. . . . It also means that Zac Steigmeyer, a senior equipment manager, will be the backup goaltender. Steigmeyer played goal in high school. . . . The other semifinal on Thursday has the St. Cloud State Huskies meeting the Minnesota State Mavericks. . . . The final is scheduled for Saturday.


The QMJHL announced Tuesday that the Gatineau Olympiques have experienced 11 positive tests within qmjhlnewtheir organization, while the Quebec Remparts have had four players come up positive. . . . The Baie-Comeau Drakkar, Blainville-Boisbriand and Rimouski Oceanic, teams that played the Olympiques and Remparts last week, didn’t have any positives, nor did any of the officials who worked those games. Still, the QMJHL has had those three teams go into isolation for 14 days. . . . “Therefore,” the league said in a news release, “the 2021 President Cup playoffs will not begin until at least the end of the mandatory quarantine period. With player safety being the league’s top priority, the league will ensure that infected players have sufficiently recovered and are back to full health before even considering return to play scenarios.”


If you’re wondering when the U.S.-Canada border might open again to what now is termed non-essential travel, you should know that the bookmakers at Bodog have after June 1 as the most likely date, at -300 — you would need to bet $300 to make $100. The least likely outcome of before June 1 is +200 — you would need to bet $100 to make $200.


There were five games in the WHL on Tuesday night . . .

F Owen Pederson’s PP goal at 5:04 of OT gave the Winnipeg Ice a 3-2 victory over the Saskatoon Blades in WinnipegRegina. . . . Pederson has seven goals for the Ice (9-4-0). . . . The Blades (9-2-2) have lost three in a row (0-2-1) after opening with a 9-0-1 record. . . . Ice F Peyton Krebs (7) had a goal and an assist, and also took some turns on defence. . . . Krebs has 23 points, including 16 assists, in 13 games. After being blanked in his first game, he has at least a point in 12 straight. . . . The Ice is down to four regular defencemen, with Mike Ladyman, Carson Lambos, Nolan Orzeck and Karter Prosofsky all sidelined. Owen Boucher, Anson McMaster, Brandt Young and Ben Zloty are left to shoulder most of the load, with some of the forwards dropping back on occasion. . . . Saskatoon F Evan Patrician tied the game, 2-2, at 1:53 of the third period. . . .

The host Everett Silvertips erased a two-goal deficit with the game’s last four goals and beat the Portland EverettWinterhawks, 6-4. . . . Portland led 2-0 before the game was two minutes old as F Jaydon Dureau (2) and F Reece Newkirk (4) scored on its first two shots. . . . F Seth Jarvis gave Portland a 4-2 lead with the club’s sixth shorthanded goal of the season at 9:29 of the second period. . . . Everett tied it on PP goals from F Jacob Wright (4) and F Hunter Campbell (4), the latter at 14:49 of the third period. . . . F Ben Hemmerling (2) broke the tie at 16:52, and F Jackson Berezowski (2) added the empty-netter. . . . F Gage Goncalves (6) had a goal and two assists for the winners. . . . Everett was 2-for-3 on the PP. . . . Everett (8-1-0) is 3-0-0 against Portland (4-3-2) this season. . . . Everett G Dustin Wolf now is 7-1-0, 1.12, .961. . . .

The Tri-City Americans erased a 1-0 deficit with four straight goals en route to a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Jordan Gustafson (3) gave the Thunderbirds (5-4-0) a 1-0 lead at 1:45 of the first period. . . . D Ian Ferguson (1) pulled the Americans (4-4-0) even at 2:18 and F Samuel Huo (6), playing in his 200th career game, gave them the lead at 2:36. . . . F Connor Bouchard (2) and F Booker Daniel (1) added second-period goals. . . .

F Connor Bedard scored twice and added two assists as the Regina Pats dumped the Swift Current Broncos, 6-1, in Regina. . . . Bedard has 10 goals and 16 assists in 14 games. His WHL season is expected to end after a game with the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday. He and eight other WHLers will begin preparations to join Canada’s U18 team for the IIHF World championship in Texas. . . . F Carson Denomie scored his 12th goal of the season for the Pats (5-6-3). . . . D Mathew Ward (3) scored for the Broncos (3-9-1). Ward, who turned 17 on Jan. 24, has three goals and 13 assists in 13 games. . . .

F Brayden Tracey scored the winner as the Victoria Royals beat the Prince George Cougars, 3-2 in OT, in Kamloops. . . . Tracey, who won it at 4:36 of extra time, finished with two goals — he’s got three — and an assist as the Royals (1-3-1) picked up their first victory of the season. . . . G Connor Martin got the victory with 43 saves. . . . Tracey and D Gannon Laroque (1) gave the Royals a 2-0 lead in the second period. . . . The Cougars (1-2-2) tied it on two goals from Jonny Hooker (2), the second one at 1:14 of the third.


——

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.


Carpet

Are the messages mixed, or what? . . . SJHL cancels its season as BCHL unveils schedule . . . Canadiens on pause; Bruins hope to skate today

Yellow


If the past year has proven anything, it has been the inability of the politicians and health officials from the various provinces to work together. Forget about them being on the same page; they aren’t even reading from different chapters in the same book.

I would go so far as to say that this is one of the most disappointing things to come out of the pandemic.

Lockdown? Stop complaining. We have yet to see a complete lockdown, certainly not in western Canada. And it’s too late now because COVID-19 is so entrenched that a true lockdown isn’t going to keep it and its variants from multiplying. It’s just too bad that we couldn’t have been locked down months ago, just for six or eight weeks, because I really would like to know what normal would look like today had that happened.

But, of course, the embarrassingly selfish society that we have created and in which we now live couldn’t live with that kind of inconvenience for any length of time.

So we are where we are today, entirely dependent on vaccines, and we are going to need to get perhaps 70 per cent of the population inoculated before we are able to find out what the new normal will be.

In the meantime, consider the following and then try to figure out how the politicians and health officials are making their decisions . . .

Other than the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets and their AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose, there aren’t any hockey games being played in Manitoba. That has been the case since late October or early November.

The province’s two WHL teams — the Brandon Wheat Kings and Winnipeg Ice — are secluded in school dorms in Regina where they are playing in that league’s developmental season with five teams from Saskatchewan.

The 12-team MJHL cancelled the remainder of its season on Feb. 12, explaining that “in the end, our advocacy efforts were not enough for Public Health to allow for a return to on-ice team training activity, even in a non-contact, professionally managed, closed to public, distanced, 100 per cent masked and extremely protected environment.”

——

Cameron MacLean, CBC News — Manitoba won’t move down to orange-level COVID-19 pandemic restrictions after spending more than four months in the red zone, the province said on Tuesday. The decision to keep the province at the highest level of restrictions during the pandemic stemmed from feedback from Manitobans, concern over rising numbers of more transmissible coronavirus variants, and the need to maintain stability in the health-care system, the province said.

680 CJOB — Another Manitoban with COVID-19 has died and the province says an additional 98 people have been infected with the virus. The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 5.3 per cent provincially and 3.9 per cent in Winnipeg.

——

Next door in Saskatchewan, the 12-team SJHL announced Tuesday that its sjhlseason is over. In a news release, the league said: “A decision by Saskatchewan Government and Health has been made on the submissions that have been before them; unfortunately the SJHL will not be allowed to return to play.”

Taylor Shire of Global Regina reported that the SJHL proposed putting seven teams into a Weyburn hub, with the other five teams having decided to opt out of continuing the season.

The WHL has seven teams playing in a Regina hub, with players staying in dorms at the U of Regina and Luther College. According to Shire, the SJHL plan called for teams to stay in two Weyburn hotels, one of which would still have been open to the public. According to Shire, SJHL president Bill Chow told him that the league “had a process in place it felt would be able to overcome the public/hockey players interaction in the partial hotel but he said SK Gov/health authority were not ok with this and the submission was not approved.”

Shire also reported that the SJHL could have “altered the proposal and submitted it again . . . which would have taken two to three more weeks.”

Instead, the SJHL held a governors’ meeting on Monday night and decided to end the uncertainty.

The SJHL, which received $1 million from the Saskatchewan government in January, last played on Nov. 23.

With COVID-19 numbers in Regina seemingly out of control, the province has announced that effective immediately “travel is not recommended in or out of the Regina area unless absolutely necessary” and that effective Sunday “event venues such as conference facilities, museums, libraries, live theatre, cinemas, bowling or any non-essential indoor locations that had limits of 30 individuals are not permitted to operate.”

——

CBC News — Saskatchewan is reporting 150 new COVID-19 cases, just below the province’s 7-day average of 158. However, the daily number has fluctuated dramatically during that time, from a low of 87 to a high of 205. . . . From CBC’s Adam Hunter: Due to increased COVID-19 transmission risk in Regina area all indoor gatherings must be household only effective immediately. As of Sunday, restaurants, bars must close to in-person dining. Non-essential indoor venues like movie houses, museums must close. . . . Restaurants to close Sunday, private gatherings banned under new Regina public health orders.

——

That brings us to Alberta, where the WHL’s five teams have been playing since Feb. 26, with the schedule now calling for six games involving four teams each weekend. One of the teams has a bye each weekend, while the other four play tripleheaders — one here, one there, one here — with no overnight trips.

The 15-team AJHL, which had two teams opt out, began play on March 12 with games on weekends. It postponed a March 20 game that was to have had the Okotoks Oilers meet the Bandits in Brooks “due to precautionary measures within the AJHL Return-to-Play Plan.” The Bandits played the Canucks in Calgary the next night.

Who knows what happened with the Oilers or Bandits, and the AJHL has things locked down when it comes to anyone mentioning COVID-19. The last AJHL insider to discuss the subject with the media now is believed to be roommates with Alexei Navalny.

——

CBC News — Alberta reports 465 new cases of COVID-19 and 3 more deaths. 197 new variants of concern cases recorded Tuesday, making it the highest daily variant case count to date. Variant cases now account for 18 per cent of all active cases in the province. . . . The province reported Tuesday that 290 people are being treated in hospital for COVID-19, 53 in intensive care beds. . . . The Alberta government will not move into the next phase of reopening, Step 3. Health Minister Tyler Shandro said on Monday that no restrictions will be eased at this time because hospitalizations are on the rise. . . . Hospitals in Alberta are preparing for a third wave of the pandemic, driven by more aggressive variants of the coronavirus. Doctor says teams are planning how to isolate those with variants.

——

In B.C., where COVID-19 numbers continue to climb, the five WHL teams are to start playing games in Kamloops and Kelowna on Friday. The Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals are set up in Kelowna, with the Kamloops Blazers, Prince George Cougars and Vancouver Giants holed up in Kamloops. The Blazers and Rockets are with billets; the other three teams are in hotels.

The WHL announced a positive test “within the Rockets team cohort” on March 18, but nary a word has been said since then, and Kelowna’s scheduled wasn’t impacted.

Meanwhile, as the SJHL was announcing that it was done until September, the bchlBCHL was revealing a 20-game schedule that will open on April 2 and conclude May 9. The Wenatchee, Wash., Wild is out due to the U.S.-Canada border being closed to non-essential travel, while the Langley Rivermen opted out of a return to play. That leaves 16 teams left, with each assigned to one of five pods— in Chilliwack, Coquitlam (games will be played in Burnaby), Penticton, Port Alberni and Vernon.

All three of B.C.’s junior B leagues had already announced they were done for this season.

——

CBC News — B.C. records 682 new cases of COVID-19 and 1 more death. There are 314 people in hospital with the disease — the highest total since Jan. 25 — including 83 in intensive care. . . . The latest numbers mean that the seven-day rolling average of new cases has hit 617, the highest since Dec. 20. . . . There are currently 5,409 active cases of coronavirus in the province, the highest total since Jan. 9. Public health is now monitoring 9,488 people across B.C. who are in self-isolation because of COVID-19 exposure.

Rod Mickleburgh, former Globe and Mail correspondent — BC reported more new COVID-19 cases Tuesday than the state of Washington (682 compared with 566) . . . that may be a first.

——

And as of Monday evening there had been 22,735 deaths in Canada, including 19 on Tuesday. There have been 942,325 confirmed cases, with 3,607 of those reported on Tuesday. There have been 883,280 recoveries.



The virus found the NHL’s Canadian division this week, with the Montreal nhl2Canadiens having been shut down through Sunday. They put F Joel Armia and F Jesperi Kotkaniemi on the COVID-19 list and by Sunday will have had four games postponed. They were to have played Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday against the visiting Edmonton Oilers and Sunday at home against the Ottawa Senators. . . . These are the first postponements involving Canadian teams this season. . . . The Canadiens hope to return to practice on Monday. . . . The Oilers are scheduled to play the host Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. . . .

Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins, with five players on the protocol list, hope to skate today (Wednesday). The Bruins are scheduled to meet the visiting New York Islanders on Thursday, and there should be some fans in attendance for the first time since March 7, 2020. . . . Boston hasn’t played since beating the Sabres 4-1 in Buffalo on Thursday. Forwards Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci, Sean Kuraly, David Pastrnak and Craig Smith went on the protocol list the next day. . . . The Bruins were to have played the Sabres again on Saturday and the Islanders on Tuesday.


The AHL’s Utica Comets were to have played at home against the Rochester Americans tonight (Wednesday). But the game was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols, the fifth straight Utica game to meet that fate.



Vaccine


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.


Account

Rockets dinged by positive test . . . Brandon to get hockey academy, rink . . . P.A. moves closer to three new arenas

Someone within the Kelowna Rockets organization has tested positive for RocketsCOVID-19, with one other individual identified as a close contact. The WHL announced Thursday that “the positive test result was discovered during the initial return-to-play testing phase.” . . . That means that person will self-isolate, as will the person who was found to be a close contact. . . . The Rockets hadn’t yet moved into team activities, so at this point their schedule won’t feel any impact from these positive tests. . . . The Rockets and Victoria Royals are headquartered in Kelowna as the five B.C. Division teams prepare for a return to play. The Rockets’ players are with billets, while the Royals are staying in a hotel owned by the GSL Group, which also owns the WHL team. . . . The Royals and Rockets are scheduled to meet in Kelowna on March 26 in the division’s first game of the developmental season. At this point, the Rockets’ schedule hasn’t needed to be changed. . . .

The three other B.C. teams — the Kamloops Blazers, Prince George Cougars and Vancouver Giants — are centred in Kamloops. The Blazers are with billets; the Cougars and Giants are in a hotel owned by Tom Gaglardi, the Blazers’ majority owner who also owns the NHL’s Dallas Stars. . . . The Blazers, Cougars and Giants have been cleared to begin skating and, in fact, were on the ice for the first time in Kamloops last night. . . .

Steve Ewen of Postmedia tweeted Thursday that Giants F Cole Shepard has an undisclosed injury and that GM Barclay Parneta has said Shepard, 19, isn’t likely to play in this 24-game set. Shepard has 11 goals and 18 assists in 2019-20 after having hip surgery in May 2019. That was his first season with Vancouver after playing with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees.


Ladder


F Seth Jarvis of the Portland Winterhawks was tied for the AHL scoring lead with 11 points in nine games when he had to leave the Chicago Wolves, who are affiliated with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.

F Connor Zary of the Kamloops Blazers had seven points in nine games with the AHL’s Stockton Heat, an affiliate of the NHL’s Calgary Flames, when he had to leave, too.

Obviously, both were doing just fine in their first tastes of pro hockey. But under the terms of the NHL-CHL agreement (aka the pro-junior agreement) Jarvis and Zary had to return to their WHL clubs. Drafted players under the age of 20 have two options — play in the NHL or return to major junior.

However, there could be interesting times ahead for that agreement, which expired after the 2019-20 season, but was extended for a year because of the pandemic.

There long has been a feeling among NHL executives and scouts that exceptional 18- and 19-year-old players should be allowed to play in the AHL once they are seen as having nothing left to prove in major junior. At the same time, major junior operators don’t want anything to do with such exceptions because they don’t want to prematurely lose their best players.

This is going to be worth watching over the next while.

Frank Seravalli has a whole lot more on this situation right here.


Drivers


Jared Jacobson isn’t about to let the ice melt under his feet. The new owner of the Brandon Wheat Kings — he purchased the WHL team from Kelly McCrimmon in September — is building a new ice surface in Brandon and also will open a hockey academy in the city. . . . Jacobson is CEO and president of the Jacobson and Greiner Group of Companies. . . . Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun reports that the new facility that will be home to the Western Canadian Hockey Academy “will include a National Hockey League-sized ice surface, three shooting bays on ice, a performance centre, middle-years classroom, six-lane 100-metre track and on-ice video training.” . . . Jacobson is hopeful that this will do something to keep younger hockey players at home longer. As he told Bergson: “For me it’s about developing players and keeping people in the centres they grew up in. Time flies by for families, and I just look at when kids are 12, 13, 14, it’s tough to leave home . . . I just wanted to look at a hybrid model to help the mid-market centres keep kids if they want to have another choice in their years of hockey to stay local and develop. I think it’s just a great fit, and it’s been well received by Hockey Brandon. I’m so happy for that because we wanted to create an opportunity, not a conflict.” . . . Players who attend WCHA will play for their minor hockey teams. The academy will ice teams — the Wolves — in the spring. . . . Bergson’s complete story is right here.


Hey, who knew that Saskatchewan was a province of such riches?

No sooner had I wondered here yesterday whether Regina or Saskatoon would be the first city with a new arena than I received a note informing me that “you forgot the third entry in the race: PA. They might even be in the lead.”

Yes, it’s true. And, yes, Prince Albert is in the lead. And it isn’t close!

Prince Albert is working towards a facility that will include three arenas — one with 4,500 seats and two others, each with an NHL-sized ice surface and perhaps 800 seats. Also included will be an aquatic centre with wave pool, water slides and a whole lot more.

That is Phase 1 of the project, and it might be ready late in 2023.

Phase 2 will include a new home for the WHL’s Raiders, with 20 corporate boxes and a banquet room. Opening date? Sometime in 2024.

The total cost is likely to run around $140 million.

Work already has started on getting the site ready for construction, which is to begin late this fall.

Now back to Saskatchewan and all that money . . .

You will recall that Regina now is home to Mosaic Stadium, a football facility that opened in 2017 and cost in the neighbourhood of $278 million. . . . And let’s not forget Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw that opened in 2011 — yes, it already has been almost 10 years — and cost $61.2 million to build.

Hey, Swift Current, are you getting in on this, too?


Toby Boulet sees the contradiction and, seriously, it’s hard not to. While the Alberta government studies a private member’s bill that would raise some speed limits to 120 km/h from 110 km/h, another private member’s bill that would promote organ and tissue donation didnn’t make the cut so won’t get to the floor this spring. . . . In fact, as Boulet said, “It’s not going to happen for a long, long time.” . . . Unfortunately. . . . Yes, one bill is certain to lead to more accidents and deaths, while the other would save lives, providing people with the opportunity to enjoy extended lives. . . . Boulet has been a leading proponent for organ donation in Western Canada since his son, Logan, died as a result of the bus crash involving the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos on April 6, 2018. Logan had registered as an organ donor and his organs went to six people. . . . Colette Derworiz of The Canadian Press has more on this story right here.


The AJHL announced Thursday night that it has “completed a fourth round of testing in its return-to-play plan with no positive COVID-19 results across 391 players and staff.” . . . There have been 1,532 tests conducted to day and the weekly tests will continue through the end of the season.


The QMJHL’s Baie-Comeau Drakkar had two players come up positive on Thursday, so the team has had to pull out of a protected environment event — that’s what the league calls its scheduled events where three or four teams play in one city — that was to run in Sherbrooke from March 19-24. The Chicoutimi Sagueneens and Sherbrooke Phoenix now will play each other four times over that stretch. . . . Meanwhile, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies will be without general manager/head coach Mario Pouliot indefinitely after he suffered a heart attack. Brad Yetman has taken over as the interim head coach.


Justin McElroy, CBC Vancouver — 622 cases of #COVID19 announced in B.C. today, as the province is now at its highest rolling average of new cases since January 12. . . . Hospitalizations up to 286, a 32% increase in one month. . . . Eight new deaths.

——

CBC News — Alberta reports 505 new cases of COVID-19 and 1 more death. The province has identified 91 new variant of concern cases which account for 12% of all active cases.


March Madness got rolling in Indianapolis with play-in games on Thursday, but it is without six game officials who were to have worked the tournament. One of them tested positive and contact tracing impacted the other five. . . . The NCAA had four other officials on standby, so those four now are in the regular rotation.



The AHL’s Utica Comets were to have met the visiting Rochester Americans tonight (Friday), however the game has been postponed. According to the league, the move was made due to COVID-19 protocols involving the Comets, who are affiliated with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. In this pandemic season, the Canucks also are sharing the Comets with the St. Louis Blues.




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 Northern Alberta Xtreme announced Thursday that Adam Stuart has taken over as the head coach of the academy’s U15 team for 2021-22. He had been on the staff of the BCHL’s Cranbrook Bucks after working for two seasons as an assistant coach with Edge Academy’s U18 prep team. . . . Kevin Undershute, who played four WHL seasons (2004-08) with the Medicine Hat Tigers and Portland Winterhawks, has signed on as an assistant coach alongside Stuart.


Wings