Gustafson free to return to WHL . . . Memorial Cup host replaces head coach . . . Remembering Bill Hunter, the coach


The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks announced on Sunday that two of their assistant coaches — Scott Walker and Kyle Gustafson — won’t be returning to head coach Bruce Boudreau’s staff.

The move clears the way for the anticipated move of Gustafson to the WHL’s SpokaneSpokane Chiefs as head coach.

Gustafson had spent 18 seasons on the Portland Winterhawks’ coaching staff before joining the Canucks. Travis Green was Vancouver’s head coach at the time; he and Gustafson had worked together in Portland for five seasons (2008-13).

However, Green was fired on Dec. 6 and replaced by Boudreau, who has one year left on his contract and is shaping his own coaching staff.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, hired Matt Bardsley as their general manager on May 3. Bardsley is quite familiar with Gustafson, having spent 18 seasons with the Winterhawks himself, before joining the Kamloops Blazers as general manager prior to the 2017-18 season. He left after the 2020-21 season, citing a desire to be closer to family during the pandemic, and had been scouting for the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers when the Chiefs came calling following Scott Carter’s decision to leave.

While Bardsey was in Kamloops, he attempted to hire Gustafson as head coach prior to the 2018-19 season. Taking Note has reported that Bardsley offered Gustafson a four-year contract. However, the job ended up going to Serge Lajoie, who was gone after one season.

The Chiefs have been in the market for a head coach since firing Adam Maglio on Feb. 10. Associate coach Ryan Smith finished the season as interim head coach. The Chiefs tied for sixth in the Western Conference, ended up seventh after tiebreakers, and were swept from the first round by Kamloops.


The QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs, who will be the host team for next month’s SJSeaDogsMemorial Cup tournament, fired head coach Gordie Dwyer on Sunday.

Yes, they did. Seriously.

Why?

Well, as Sunaya Sapurji, now with The Athletic, loves to say: “Because it’s the Q.”

And because it’s the Q, Gardiner MacDougall, who last coached a junior hockey team in 1998-99, will guide the Sea Dogs through the Memorial Cup. The plan is for him to then return to his full-time post as head coach of the U of New Brunswick Reds men’s team that plays out of Fredericton, which is about an hour northwest of Saint John. MacDougall has been the Reds’ head coach for 22 seasons, winning seven national championships.

The Sea Dogs also are bringing in Rocky Thompson as an advisor. A former WHL player and coach, Thompson spent two seasons (2015-17) as head coach of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires. They won the 2017 Memorial Cup as the host team after being bounced in the first round of the OHL playoffs.

The Sea Dogs were 47-14-4 in the regular season, good for third place in the Eastern Conference, scoring a QMJHL-leading 311 goals along the way. They lost a best-of-five first-round series to the Rimouski Oceanic.

The Sea Dogs held a 2-1 lead in that series before losing 1-0 in Game 4 — they outshot the Oceanic, 40-14 — and 4-3 in OT in Game 5.

Dwyer had been the Sea Dogs’ head coach since Aug. 4. Before signing with the Sea Dogs he had spent five seasons in Europe, coaching in the Swiss A League and the KHL.

The Sea Dogs are owned by Scott McCain, the chairman of McCain Foods.


This isn’t the first time that a major junior hockey team has fired its head coach before it was to play in the Memorial Cup tournament as the host club. In 2000, the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads dumped Bob Mongrain, replacing him with assistant coach Shawn MacKenzie.

Halifax had gone 41-20-6-5 (wins-losses-ties-OTL) in the regular season to place second, three points behind the Moncton Wildcats in the Maritimes Division. Halifax then was swept by the Rimouski Oceanic in the second round.

The Mooseheads went on to lose, 6-3, to the OHL’s Barrie Colts in the Memorial Cup semifinal. Rimouski beat Barrie, 6-2, in the final.

The WHL’s Kootenay Ice went 0-3 in the Halifax event, the first time the Memorial Cup was held in the Maritimes.


Fishing


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.


While ‘Wild’ Bill Hunter never replaced an Edmonton Oil Kings’ head coach that close to a Memorial Cup, the team’s owner and general manager was known to Edmontonstep behind the bench late in a season.

Like in 1970-71, after the Oil Kings, under head coach Harvey Roy, had gone 45-20-1 to finish atop what was then a 10-team Western Canada Hockey League.

In the first round of playoffs, the Oil Kings took out the Saskatoon Blades in five games. But when Edmonton fell behind 2-0 to the Calgary Centennials, Roy apparently asked out and Hunter took over.

Wayne Overland of the Edmonton Journal wrote in the April 10, 1971 edition: “Just as the swallows come back to Capistrano every spring, so Bill Hunter must return to the Oil Kings players’ box.

“It took a little longer this spring. But it finally happened and, as a result, Oil Kings are back in contention in their junior hockey playoff series with Calgary Centennials.”

With Hunter on the bench and Roy in the press box, the Oil Kings won 3-2 to cut Calgary’s lead in the series to 2-1.

“I felt we had about five players who weren’t performing and the best way to get it out of them was to have Bill motivate them,” Roy told Overland. “After all, he is the big boss.”

Hunter insisted the move was temporary — yeah, right! — as he said: “We’ve had some players who were taking advantage of Harvey and myself. Some of them don’t know what it is to work hart yet. I’m 50 years old and doing more yelling out there than some of those 18-year-olds. You’ve got to play this game with enthusiasm.”

The enthusiastic Oil Kings ended up winning four in a row to eliminate the Centennials, 4-2. Hunter rolled the dice in Game 6, starting Larry Hendrick, then 15, in goal, and he responded with 25 saves in a 2-1 victory in Calgary.

(BTW, tickets to the games in Edmonton could be had for $2.25 and $2.50, with student ducats $1.50 each and children’s $1.)

In the league final, the Oil Kings took out the Flin Flon Bombers in six games — Edmonton won four, lost one and there was one tie.

The Oil Kings went on to lose the Memorial Cup to the host Quebec Remparts, whose lineup included Guy Lafleur. It was a best-of-three final, with the Remparts winning, 5-1 — Lafleur had four points — and 5-2.

That was the end of Hunter’s junior hockey coaching days.

Earlier, he had taken over late in seasons for Bill Gadsby and Gerry Melnyk.

In 1967-68, after a 38-16-6 regular season, Hunter waited until two games into the playoffs before replacing Gadsby. Hunter steered the Oil Kings past Saskatoon (3-2-2) before losing to Flin Flon (4-1-1).

Two seasons later, Hunter replaced Melnyk with eight games remaining in a 35-25-0 regular season. The Oil Kings went 5-3-0 under Hunter to end that regular season, before going 8-8-2 in the playoffs. They took out the Swift Current Broncos, 4-1-0, and eliminated Calgary, 4-3-2, before being swept by Flin Flon in the championship final.


“I can’t be the only person out there who couldn’t really care less whether Don Cherry and Ron MacLean patch up their fractured relationship, can I?” writes Ken Campbell at Hockey Unfiltered. . . . No, Ken, you aren’t.



Fridge


Steve Kerr, the head coach of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, missed the last three games of his club’s playoff victory over the Memphis Grizzlies after COVIDtesting positive for COVID-19.

“It was a huge wakeup call,” he told columnist Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle. “There’s clearly a surge.”

Killion added: “The world wants to act like the pandemic has ended, but you know it hasn’t. Like clockwork, mask mandates are lifted, protocols are eased and another surge is upon us. You probably know a handful of people right now who are infected and — hopefully — isolating. If they’re vaccinated and boosted, they’re not likely to get very ill.”

The Warriors also had Rick Celebrini, their director of sports medicine, and head performance coach Carl Bergstrom test positive. Now the focus is on making sure it doesn’t spread to players.

“We’ve reinstituted all our COVID policies,” Kerr told Killion. “Internally, coaches are wearing masks. No visitors to practice. The front office is staying upstairs and not coming downstairs unless necessary. And we’ve asked everybody, don’t go out to dinner. Order in. We’re trying to do everything possible.”



Headline at fark.com — Nike to Kyrie Irving: Just do it . . . with another shoe company.


Zoom


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.


Sleeping

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if the magic of a no-hitter has been permanently lost . . .

scattershooting

Mothers


There was one playoff game in the WHL on Sunday night, and there will be WHLplayoffs2022another one tonight (Monday). . . . Last night, the host Portland Winterhawks used a shorthanded goal to get past the Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-1, to take a 2-0 lead in their second-round series. . . . Tonight, in the Eastern Conference, the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings take a 2-0 series lead into Red Deer for a game with the No. 3 Rebels. . . . The Rebels have yet to score in the series, having been blanked 4-0 and 5-0 by the Oil Kings and G Sebastian Cossa.

——

SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

Western Conference

In Portland, the No. 3 Winterhawks got the winner late in the third period as they defeated the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-1. . . . Portland, which won, 4-2, Portlandin Kent, Wash., on Saturday night, holds a 2-0 lead in the conference semifinal. They’ll play the third game in Portland on Wednesday. . . . Last night, F Lucas Ciona (4) put Seattle in front at 9:05 of the first period. . . . F Tyson Kozak pulled Portland even at 11:02 of the second period. . . . Then, with D Josh Mori serving a tripping minor, F Gabe Klassen (4) snapped the 1-1 tie at 16:22 of the third period. . . . F Jaydon Dureau, in his return to Portland’s lineup after a two-game absence, drew the lone assist on Klassen’s goal. . . . Portland was 0-for-3 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-4 with two of those opportunities coming in the last half of the third period. . . . Portland got 28 saves from G Taylor Gauthier, who is 6-0, 1.17, .959 in these playoffs. Gauthier, 20, was acquired from the Prince George Cougars during the season and it would seem he is enjoying his first WHL playoff run. . . . G Thomas Milic blocked 29 shots for Seattle, including a second-period penalty-shot attempt by F Cross Hanas.


Here’s Larry Brooks, in the New York Post: “So the (New Jersey) Devils conducted a soul-searching and thorough review of the organization and appear to have to come to the conclusion that assistant coaches Alain Nasreddine and Mark Recchi were the problem and thus had to go.

“That kind of reminds me of when the Devils missed the 1996 playoffs as defending Stanley Cup champions and decided to dismiss PA announcer Bob Arsena after the season ended.”

Recchi, a Hockey Hall of Famer, had one year left on his contract. He owns a chunk of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. Recchi, 54, was an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins for three seasons before spending the past two seasons with head coach Lindy Ruff and the Devils.


Joe Posnanski just couldn’t get fired up recently when five New York Mets pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies, and here’s why . . .

“The magic of a no-hitter is not that one team gets no hits,” Posnanski wrote. “That’s just a bad hitting performance. The magic is that one pitcher accomplishes the feat. The magic is that the pitcher finds a way to keep the no-hitter going even after he’s shown all his pitches, even as his stuff diminishes.

“Sending five hard-throwing pitchers out there to throw a no-hitter — ending with a closer who throws 100 mph — feels sort of the opposite of magic. It feels like playing a video game on cheat mode.”

He’s not wrong.



Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): Delta and Omicron variants jealous that younger XE strain gets away with anything it wants.



THINKING OUT LOUD — Hello, baseball gods. Would you please, please, please free Joey Votto from the hell that is the Cincinnati Reds. Thank you. . . . Surely you have been stuck at a railroad crossing with a train crawling along, perhaps even getting almost past you and then backing up and doing it all over again. While you’re sitting there have you ever wondered if whoever is running that train has ever had to sit at a crossing? Yes, I sat at one for 14 minutes on Thursday afternoon. No, the ice cream in the grocery bag didn’t melt. . . . If the Vancouver Canucks were going to bring Bruce Boudreau back as their head coach, wouldn’t the deal have been done before now? . . . I’ve been told that Rylan Ferster, a veteran junior hockey coach, is soon to be back in the BCHL, if he isn’t already. Are you hearing that, too?



Here’s a thought from Sportsnet’s Luke Fox: “Based on Jim Rutherford’s half-hearted endorsement, the cleared bench in Philadelphia, and the relationship with GM Chuck Fletcher, it’s nearly impossible to find someone in hockey who doesn’t believe Bruce Boudreau will end up behind the Flyers’ bench.”


Beer


The pandemic will claim its one millionth American victim this week and we won’t even blink . . . 1,000,000 dead . . . ho hum!

Here’s Charles P. Pierce of Esquire:

“There was a point in the pandemic at which one million dead was as inconceivable to us as a million cattle would have been to an Englishman of the 12th century. There was a point in the pandemic at which 674,000 deaths, more deaths than in the 1918 pandemic, was inconceivable. But every grisly mile marker went by until we got to the past week, and one million dead, and this happened because a great deal of the country’s reaction to the pandemic was just as inconceivable at its beginning as the ultimate body count once was.

“For example, I figured that there would be a general ‘war’ on the disease, because we can’t confront any big problem without declaring ‘war’ against it. What I did not see coming was an actual political and social ‘war’ against the cure, one that included everyone from radio hosts to certain cardinals of Holy Mother Church. What I did not see coming was a ‘war’ against the public health measures that the pandemic made necessary. Pissing and moaning, yes. Bristling over the little inconveniences, absolutely. But not an all-out assault on the idea that we must adopt measures against epidemic disease that might disrupt our daily lives, however slightly.”

On Sunday night, the counter at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine showed the U.S. at 997,503 deaths, along with 81,858,744 confirmed cases.

Johns Hopkins had Canada with 39,817 deaths, along with 3,805,916 confirmed cases.


The Boston Bruins were without D Charlie McAvoy when they beat the visiting COVIDCarolina Hurricanes, 5-2, on Sunday afternoon to even their first-round NHL playoff series at 2-2. Where was McAvoy? He was in COVID-19 protocol after having tested positive. . . . A good guess would be that McAvoy was showing symptoms, which is why he was tested. . . . And now you know why professional teams playing in Canada have taken to avoiding testing by riding a bus over the U.S. border before catching a flight to an American destination. The last thing those teams want is to have an asymptomatic player test positive and have to miss playoff action.


Err


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Sign of hard times, at Wednesday’s Oakland Athletics game at the Coliseum: One food truck on the plaza. Used to be there were eight or 10 to choose from. Pretty soon it will be just a guy selling day-old churros and two kids with a lemonade stand.”



“Hey, badder batter!” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “MLB hitters had a bad April, scoring the fewest runs per game (4.0) in the month since 1981 and posting the worst   batting average (.231) in history.”


The MJHL’s championship final is going to a seventh game. The Dauphin Kings took it to Game 7 with a 2-0 victory over the visiting Steinbach Pistons on Sunday night. G Carson Cherepak earned the shutout with 24 stops. . . . They’ll decide things in Steinbach on Wednesday night with the winner moving on to the Centennial Cup tournament in Estevan, Sask.


Tuna


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.

——

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.


Open

Hurricanes delete one from staff . . . Blades’ Maier closing in on career mark . . . Oil Kings’ streak now at 13

Earlier this week, I posted a piece here that led with some comments on announced attendance totals at WHL games this season.

Yes, some teams really are struggling at the gate, but there are a number of possible reasons, some of them pandemic related.

Anyway . . . that piece created a lot of interest and a few comments.

So now I’m asking readers to drop me a line and explain why they no longer go to games or why they don’t go to as many games as they once did. Also feel free to comment on what you think the WHL and its teams might do to increase attendance at their games.

You are able to contact me by DM at Twitter (@gdrinnan) or via email at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.

Responses will be used for a posting here at some point in the not-too-distant future.


The OHL announced on Thursday that it has “expelled” Terry Christensen, the OHLFlint Firebirds’ president of hockey operations, for conduct that is “prejudicial to the welfare” of the league. An investigation, sparked by an allegation that was made via the OHL’s player communications system, revealed that Christensen had make remarks that violated the league’s Harassment and Abuse/Diversity Policy. . . . “His conduct violated the league’s expectation of the appropriate conduct of a representative of an OHL Team and he has lost the privilege to participate in the League,” the league said in a statement. . . . Christensen had been with the Firebirds since May.

Meanwhile, Jeff Marek of Sportsnet tweeted Thursday morning that “the OHL is launching an independent investigation into the Niagara IceDogs over alleged offensive comments made by people in senior positions on a team group chat.”

Greg Cowan is a sports reporter with the Owen Sound Sun Times:

https://twitter.com/GregCowanST/status/1501969145952407553?s=20&t=mGTe9yMl1lERdkg59YQaXw


The Lethbridge Hurricanes fired assistant coach Jeff Hansen on Friday. Hansen, Lethbridgefrom Calgary, was in his fifth season after spending four seasons as the video coach with the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Lethbridge general manager Peter Anholt, in a news release: “Jeff is a good man and a hard worker, and this wasn’t an easy decision, but we felt it was time to make a change. We weren’t happy with the development of our defence and the accountability of our blueline.” . . . The Hurricanes’ coaching staff now comprises head coach Brent Kisio, Matt Anholt, the assistant GM/assistant coach, and video coach Ryan Aasman. According to the news release, those three will run things “for the remainder of the season.”


FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

In Brandon, the Winnipeg Ice scored three third-period goals and beat the WinnipegIceWheat Kings, 6-3. F Mikey Milne’s 28th goal of the season, at 2:37 of the third period, broke a 3-3 tie. . . . Through a promotion involving Heritage Co-op, fans 18 and older who purchased an adult ticket received a $10 gas card. Announced attendance was 2,880. . . . The same teams meet again tonight in Winnipeg. . . . The Ice (38-9-5) leads the East Division by 12 points over the Moose Jaw Warriors. Winnipeg, with five games in hand, trails the Eastern Conference-leading Edmonton Oil Kings by eight points. . . . The Wheat Kings (28-19-5) are a comfortable sixth in the Eastern Conference. . . .

F Braxton Whitehead broke a 3-3 tie at 15:30 of the third period as the host ReginaRegina Pats beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-3. . . . Whitehead has seven goals. . . . Regina F Connor Berard had a goal, his 35th, and an assist as he ran his point streak to 16 games. He has 33 points, including 16 goals, in what is the WHL’s longest active such streak. . . . Lethbridge is 2-3-1 on a seven-game road trip while the Canadian men’s curling championship is in their home arena. The Brier ends on Sunday. . . . Regina (21-27-4) is 11th in the Eastern Conference, but just two points shy of eighth. . . . Lethbridge (23-27-4) is seventh, two points ahead of the Prince Albert Raiders and Calgary Hitmen, who are tied for eighth. . . . From Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post: “Factoring in last season, when Bedard debuted as a 15-year-old, he has 99 points (including 47 goals) in 61 games as a WHLer. Bedard is on the verge of tying the Pats’ record for most WHL goals by a player who has yet to turn 17. Jeff Friesen had 48 goals over his first 74 games. He scored three goals in four games as a 15-year-old call-up with the 1991-92 Pats. The following season, he had 45 goals in 70 games en route to being named the CHL’s rookie of the year.” . . .

F Egor Sidorov’s 16th goal, at 2:40 of OT, give the visiting Saskatoon Blades a 3-Blades2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders before a sellout crowd of 2,600. . . . G Nolan Maier turned aside 49 shots for the Blades, but wasn’t selected as one of the three stars. Gee, do you think the Blades are that unpopular in P.A.? Maier now has 117 regular-season victories, three shy of the WHL career record that, according to quanthockey.com, is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops, 1988-92). . . . Maier now is tied for fourth with Mac Carruth (Portland, 2009-13), two behind Jordan Papirny (Brandon, Swift Current, 2012-17). . . . F Hayden Pakkala scored twice for the Raiders, giving him nine this season. . . . The same teams will meet again tonight, this time in Saskatoon, on Nolan Maier Bobblehead Night. . . . The Blades (32-18-4) are fifth in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Raiders (22-28-4) are tied for eighth. . . .

In Swift Current, F Jalen Luypen scored twice, the second into an empty net, as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Broncos, 3-1. He’s got 25 goals. . . . The Oil Kings have won 13 in a row. They’ll go for 14 tonight back in Swift Current. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa stopped 25 shots in posting his WHL-leading 29th victory. . . . The Oil Kings (43-11-3) lead the Eastern Conference by eight points over Winnipeg, which has five games in hand. . . . Swift Current (20-29-7) is 10th, one point out of eighth. . . .

F Jagger Firkus broke a 2-2 tie with his 31st goal, at 5:12 of the third period, and the host Moose Jaw Warriors went on to a 5-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Warriors (32-19-5) are fourth in the Eastern Conference, eight points behind the Red Deer Rebels and one ahead of Saskatoon. . . . The Hitmen (20-27-8) are tied for eighth with Prince Albert, two points behind Lethbridge and one ahead of Swift Current. . . .

F Ben King had a goal, his 44th, and four assists as the Red Deer Rebels clinched a playoff spot with a 6-3 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . King leads the WHL in goals and points (85). He has one more point than linemate Arshdeep Bains, who signed with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks earlier in the day. Bains had a goal and two assists in this one. He leads the WHL with 53 assists. . . . The Rebels were 4-for-5 on the PP; King leads the WHL with 21 PP goals. . . . Red Deer (37-16-3) is third in the Eastern Conference, four points behind Winnipeg, which has four games in hand. . . . Medicine Hat (10-40-4) is in next-season country. . . .

F Tarun Fizer scored his 13th goal and added an assist to help the Victoria VictoriaRoyalsRoyals to a 5-3 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. Fizer, who has three goals and five assists in his past three games, iced this one with an empty-netter. . . . The Cougars, who have lost seven in a row, had been 7-0-0 against the Royals this season. . . . Prince George led 2-0 before the game was seven minutes old, but surrendered the next four goals. . . . Victoria (17-33-6) closed to within one point of Prince George (19-32-3) and the Spokane Chiefs, who are tied for seventh in the Western Conference. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers got two goals from F Logan Stankoven — he’s got 33 — Kamloopsas they beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 4-2. . . . Stankoven broke a 1-1 tie at 14:27 of the first period and then added insurance at 1:53 of the third. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Garand stopped 24 shots in his first appearance since suffering a leg injury on Feb. 16. . . . F Luke Toporowski of the Blazers, a 35-goal man, didn’t return after a collision with Kelowna D Tyson Feist in the first period. . . . The same teams are to meet tonight in Kelowna. In fact, they also will play home-and-home each of the next two weekends. . . . The Blazers (40-14-2) lead the B.C. Division by 10 points over the Rockets (34-15-4). . . .

In Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds scored two late third-period goals, Portlandboth with their goaltender on the bench in favour of the extra attacker, but ended up dropping a 3-2 shootout decision to the Portland Winterhawks. . . . D Luca Cagnoni, the 14th shooter, won it with the only goal of the circus. . . . Portland nursed a 2-0 lead from the 11:18-mark of the second period. . . . Seattle F Reid Schaefer (27) scored at 17:58 of the third period and F Jared Davidson (28) tied it at 19:28. . . . Portland got 51 saves through OT from G Taylor Gauthier . . . The Thunderbirds saluted head athletic trainer Phil Varney, one of hockey’s good guys, as he worked his 1,000th game. He is in his 15th season with Seattle. . . . Seattle F Henrik Rybinski missed his fifth straight game with an undisclosed injury. . . . Seattle F Lucas Ciona, who has 32 points, including 17 goals, didn’t finish with apparent arm injury. . . . Portland (38-14-5) is third in the Western Conference, one point out of first. . . . Seattle (34-14-6) trails Portland by seven points. . . .

F Fabian Lysell’s 19th goal of the season broke a 2-2 tie at 18:08 of the third period as the Vancouver Giants beat the Tri-City Americans, 3-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Jaden Lipinski, who has five goals, scored twice for the Giants, his second forging a 2-2 tie at 17:04 of the second period. . . . F Samuel Huo, who has 24 goals, scored twice for the Americans. . . . Vancouver (21-29-3) is sixth in the Western Conference, 27 points behind Kelowna and four ahead of Spokane and Prince George. . . . Tri-City (15-34-5) is last in the conference, six points out of a playoff spot. . . .

F Niko Huuhtanen scored twice, giving him 30, and added an assist as the host Everett Silvertips dumped the Spokane Chiefs, 6-3. . . . Everett erased a 2-1 deficit with four straight goals. . . . Everett (37-9-8) is tied with Kamloops atop the Western Conference, but the Silvertips hold two games in hand. . . . Spokane (18-32-5) is tied for seventh with Prince George, four points behind Vancouver and one ahead of Victoria.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Vancouver Canucks signed F Arshdeep Bains, 21, to a three-year free-agent deal on Friday. CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) reported that the entry-level contract calls for an NHL salary of US$750,000 for 2022-23 and $775,000 each of the next two seasons. There also is a $50,000 signing bonus payable each season. His minor-league salary would be $70,000. Bains is from Surrey, B.C.; the Canucks’ AHL affiliate is just down the road in Abbotsford. . . .

The QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques added G Ève Gascon to their roster on Thursday. She had been 9-5-0 with the CÉGEP St-Laurent Patriotes in the Quebec Collegiate Hockey League (Division 1). . . . Gascon is to join the Olympiques this morning (Saturday) and could get the start against the visiting Val D’Or Foreurs later in the day. . . . The last woman to play in the QMJHL? G Charline Labonté got into 26 games (4-9-2, 5.22, .841) with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in 1999-2000 and two in 2000-01.


Shawn Mezei, a former WHL player, died in Lethbridge on Wednesday. He was 36. Funeral arrangements hadn’t yet been arranged as of Friday night. Mezei was a native of Taber, Alta. A defenceman, he played 116 games over five seasons with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, totalling two goals, 12 assists and 165 penalty minutes.


My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.


Colonel


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.


Pearls Before Swine
Pearls Before Swine

Restricted capacity coming to Ontario facilities; B.C. pondering it, too . . . OHL shuts down Erie Otters . . . Zimmer’s six-pack sparks Cougars

Merry Christmas . . .


The provincial government of Ontario announced on Wednesday that indoor arenas and venues with a capacity of more than 1,000 will be limited to 50 per cent capacity effective Saturday at 12:01 a.m. ET.

Those same Ontario facilities had moved to 100 per cent capacity on Oct. 8.

After the announcement, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns Covidthe NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, issued a news release that included this:

“MLSE’s venue operations team will implement an enhanced mask protocol within the venue beginning with Saturday’s Raptors game called ‘Operation Mask Up (or out)’ that requires all attendees to strictly adhere to all mask-wearing protocols or risk ejection from the building. MLSE also strongly encourages all fans to get vaccinated and closely follow all public health protocols to protect each other and our community at large.”

Unfortunately for Toronto basketball fans, the first game to feel the pinch of 50 per cent capacity will feature the visiting Golden State Warriors and all-world Steph Curry on Saturday.

——

Meanwhile, in B.C., we are bracing for more public health orders that are likely to be announced early next week.

During a late Wednesday afternoon news conference, Adrian Dix, B.C.’s minister of health, admitted that the government is considering reducing capacity for arenas and other venues.

A move back to 50 per cent capacity would impact four of the WHL’s B.C. Division teams — the Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals. Their arenas have been at 100 per cent capacity only since Oct. 19.

The Prince George Cougars, located in the Northern Health region, haven’t been permitted more than 50 per cent capacity in the CN Centre all season.

——

The OHL’s Erie Otters suspended all operations after 13 players tested positive. OHLAccording to the OHL, all players are asymptomatic or experiencing mild symptoms. The Otters were to have met visiting the Guelph Storm on Friday and entertained the Kitchener Rangers on Saturday; both games have been postponed. . . . This comes after the Sudbury Wolves had shut things down late last month after 12 positive tests. They were scheduled to return to game action tonight (Thursday) in Barrie against the Colts. However, that game has been postponed as the Wolves continue to deal with virus-related issues. The Wolves now have had six games postponed. . . .

The OHL also postponed a game scheduled for last night (Wednesday) that would have had the Rangers in Owen Sound to meet the Attack. The OHL said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution. . . .

In the OHL, all staff, players and those eligible in billet families are fully vaccinated.

——

And then there is the NHL where there were at least 53 players in protocol at the end of the day. That doesn’t include coaches and other staff members. Oh, and more positive tests are expected . . .

As of late Wednesday, the Calgary Flames had six players who WERE NOT in COVID-19 protocol — F Mikael Backlund, F Blake Coleman, F Dillon Dube, D Oliver Kylington, F Matthew Tkachuk and G Dan Vladar. The Flames added 17 people to their protocol list on Wednesday, including head coach Darryl Sutter and assistants Ryan Huska and Kirk Muller. There also are seven support staff members in protocol. . . . At that point, the Flames had 16 players, three coaches and seven staff members on the list. . . .

The Nashville Predators had six players and six other members of their travelling team in protocol. F Mikael Granlund, F Ryan Johansen, F Matt Luff, F Michael McCarron, F Philip Tomasino were on the list, along with head coach John Hynes, assistants Dan Lambert and Todd Richards, and goaltending coach Ben Vanderklok. . . . The Predators are scheduled to visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday; it could be that their AHL coaching staff — head coach Karl Taylor and assistants Scott Ford and Greg Rallo — running the Nashville bench. . . . Taylor spent one season (2013-14) as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. . . .

The Detroit Red Wings moved F Robby Fabbri and F Michael Rasmussen into protocol. The Red Wings are scheduled to meet host Carolina tonight (Thursday), but the Hurricanes have six players and a trainer in protocol. Carolina was to have played the host Minnesota Wild on Tuesday but the game was postponed. . . .

The Vancouver Canucks, who put four players on the list on Tuesday, flew to San Jose on Wednesday evening where they are scheduled to play the Sharks tonight (Thursday). Assistant coach Jason King didn’t make the trip, as he went into protocol before the flight departed. . . .

The NHL and NHLPA will try to slow the virus’s spread by going back to protocols that were used last season. . . . From Bruce Garrioch, who covers the Ottawa Senators for Postmedia: “Essentially, the league is going back to last year’s rules, which means management, staff and players will be tested daily until at least Jan. 7. With the (Ottawa) Senators on a three-game road trip that will continue Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team will essentially go into its own bubble. That means all meals will have to be eaten at the hotel and there will be no dining out or shopping during breaks in the schedule.”


Closed


The NFL said that 88 players had tested positive on Monday and Tuesday, but with players being moved on and off the COVID-19 list, there are reports that it’s likely that at least 100 players have come up positive. . . . The Washington Football Team had 18 players on its protocol list after adding eight more on Wednesday. . . . The Cleveland Browns had 18 players, half of them starters, and two coaches on the COVID-19 list by the end of the day. That included head coach Kevin Stefanski, WR Jarvis Landry and QB Baker Mayfield. . . . Still, Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, said the league isn’t considering postponing or cancelling Cleveland’s scheduled game against the visiting Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. . . .

Alvin Gentry, the interim head coach with the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, tested positive so wasn’t with his team for Wednesday’s 119-105 victory over the visiting Washington Wizards. He will need two negative tests 24 hours apart before being allowed to return. . . . The NBA had more than two dozen players in health and safety protocols on Wednesday, including 10 players from the Chicago Bulls. They were to play the Raptors in Toronto tonight (Thursday), but the game has been postponed. . . . According to the NBA, about 97 per cent of its players are vaccinated, with about 60 per cent having received a booster shot. . . .

The AHL-Toronto Marlies have one player who tested positive and four others isolating for precautionary reasons. . . . According to the team, “All players are double-vaccinated and are being closely monitored for symptoms while being tested daily.” . . . The Marlies dropped a 4-2 decision to the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday night. . . .

The AHL-Belleville Senators were to have played against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Allentown, Pa., on Wednesday night but it didn’t happen. The game was postponed, the AHL said, because of “protocols affecting Belleville.” . . . The Senators are scheduled to conclude a nine-day road trip against the Syracuse Crunch on Friday. . . .

Soccer’s Premier League postponed a game between visiting Watford and Burnley less than three hours before it was to start. The league postponed a third game in four days due to an outbreak on the Watford roster that left it without enough first-team players for a game.


It isn’t just the sporting world that is feeling the impact of this latest wave. The New York Time reported Wednesday: “Broadway has seen a raft of cancellations as positive Covid tests among cast and crew members have upended productions. The pandemic continues to pose a challenge to an industry struggling to get back on its feet after a lengthy and damaging shutdown.”




The New York Times, Wednesday, 2:30 p.m. PT: “Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. surpassed 800,000 on Wednesday, as the pandemic neared the end of a second year and as known virus cases in this country rose above 50 million. The death toll is the highest known of any nation.”

Carolyn Dunn, CBC Calgary, Wednesday, 5:53 p.m. PT: “By tomorrow, 30,000 Canadians (and possibly many more) will have died from COVID-19. So many families/friends robbed of a day, a month, or many years.”



Election


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: F Koehn Zimmer of the Prince George Cougars put up six points Wednesday night in a 7-3 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . The Cougars, who erased a 2-0 deficit, have won four in a row. . . . Zimmer, who WHLturned 17 on Dec. 8, finished with two goals and four assists. He now has seven goals and 12 assists in 26 games this season. He started it with nine goals and three assists in 24 games. . . .

F Ollie Josephson, the fifth-overall selection in last week’s WHL draft, was in the Red Deer Rebels’ lineup for the first time on Wednesday as they met the visiting Swift Current Broncos. Josephson was pointless and plus-1 in a 6-1 Red Deer victory. . . .

The Victoria Royals went into Kamloops having earned at least a point in 10 straight games (7-0-3), but the Blazers dropped them, 3-0, as G Dylan Ernst recorded his first WHL shutout. At one point late in the second period, Kamloops held a 29-4 edge in shots and a 2-0 lead. The Blazers ended up with a 51-9 advantage. . . . Kamloops D Viktor Persson wasn’t on the bench for the third period after taking a hit from Victoria D Wyatt Wilson at 8:49 of the second period. Wilson was given a charging major and game misconduct. . . .

In Calgary, F Jakub Demek, a Slovakian freshman, had two goals and an assist as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Hitmen, 5-2. . . . Demek, a fourth-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL’s 2021 draft, has 13 goals and 22 assists in 28 games. . . . Oh, yes, he’s also on a 17-game point streak. . . .

F Jack Finley and D Jonas Woo made their Winnipeg debuts on Wednesday as the Ice dumped the host Saskatoon Blades, 6-0. . . . Finley, who was acquired earlier in the month from the Spokane Chiefs, had been in camp with Canada’s national junior team before being released. He had a goal, his ninth, and an assist in his first game with the Ice. . . . Woo, whose father, Larry, is an assistant coach with the Ice, was the 18th overall selection in last week’s WHL draft. He was pointless and plus-1 in his debut. . . . Darren Steinke, the travelling blogger, was at the game and his story is right here. . . .

Earlier in the day, the Ice acquired F Alessandro Segafredo, 17, from the Seattle Thunderbirds for Czech D Martin Bohm, 18, and a sixth-round pick in the WHL’s 2024 draft. . . . Both players were selected in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. . . . Mike Sawatzky (@sawa14) of the Winnipeg Free Press notes that “the Italian-born Segafredo was a teammate of current Ice D Max Streule with GCK Lions U20 in Zurich, Switzerland, last season.” . . . Segafredo is listed on Winnipeg’s injury list as being out day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, while Bohm, who last played on Nov. 14, is out month-to-month with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Seattle roster includes three imports, including British D Leon Okonkwo Prada and Slovakian D Samuel Knazko. . . . The Thunderbirds will have to trim one, via release or trade, once Bohm is healthy. . . . The Red Deer Rebels are the only WHL team carrying one import.


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.


GPS

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while watching Dean and Frank do the Christmas thing . . .

Scattershooting2

I spent some time running errands on Sunday afternoon, which means I stayed in the Tucson while Dorothy went in and out of a few stores. Why did I stay in the Tucson? So that I could listen to the CFL’s West final. It was the last game of Hall of Famer Bob Irving’s superb play-by-play career and he went out — as one might expect — by having an excellent game. . . . While he now may be official retired, he does have to be on the air at some point during the Grey Cup game’s national broadcast, doesn’t he?


Elf


It was Sunday at 5:05 p.m. PT when Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman tweeted: Canucks“Hearing tonight that Bruce Boudreau will be the next coach of the Vancouver Canucks.” . . . And the social media feeding frenzy was on. It continued for the better part of five hours until the Vancouver Canucks issued a news release at 10:30, confirming what had already been leaked, that general manager Jim Benning, assistant GM John Weisbrod, head coach Travis Green and assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner had been fired. . . . Stan Smyl now is the interim GM, with Ryan Johnson the interim assistant GM. Bruce Boudreau is the head coach, apparently signing on for the remainder of this season and 2022-23, with Scott Walker coming in as assistant coach. . . . If you think coaching is responsible for the Canucks’ woes, you really haven’t been paying attention. . . . BTW, Green is signed through next season. . . . Surely it is only a coincidence that the Canucks have been mostly dysfunctional since then-president Trevor Linden disappeared into the ether. . . . And here’s hoping the Canucks’ fans are prepared for another four- or five-year plan to be put into place because that’s where this is headed.


Denial


HEY, KID, SEAL THAT EDGE: Mike Vrabel, now the head coach of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, played for the New England Patriots and, according to former QB Matt Cassell, was on the phone while on the way home after a game in Kansas City. Cassell wrote at NBC.com that Vrabel was saying: “We’ve got to be better at the end of the line of scrimmage on the defensive side! . . . We’ve got to set the edge in the run game! The interior guys, look, we can set up some stunts!” . . . Cassell then pointed out that Vrabel “was talking to a fellow dad — about the Pee Wee team of 7- and 8-year-olds he was coaching.”


NYET, NYET: Bill Peters, once the head coach of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, was fired on Tuesday by Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. He was in his second season with the KHL team. . . . Avtomobilist signed Peters in April 2020. He had been head coach of the NHL’s Calgary Flames until resigning on Nov. 29, 2019 after he was alleged to have used racial slurs and been physically abusive with players while in the Chicago Blackhawks’ organization. . . . Avtomobilist was 14-15-5 and holding down the Western Conference’s last playoff spot when Peters was replaced by Nikolai Zavarukhin. . . . Peters, now 56, spent three seasons (2005-08) as the Chiefs’ head coach.




VIEW FROM BEANTOWN: I was watching the Detroit Red Wings and the Bruins from Boston on Tuesday night and Jack Edwards, the TV voice of the Beantowners, kept referring to F Brad Marchand as having been suspended for an “alleged” slewfoot when he took down D Oliver Ekman-Larsson of the Vancouver Canucks. And that’s when it dawned on me that Edwards really is “alleged” to be an NHL play-by-play guy. . . . Edwards wouldn’t even admit that there was a slew-foot after watching a replay, or maybe his Bruins toque had slid over his eyes.


Peanuts


HEADLINES: At AwfulAnnouncing.com — MLB insider Marcus Stroman breaks the news that he signed with the Cubs. . . . At fark.com: Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy tests positive for COVID-19, blames the officials.


PERRY TIME: “Oklahoma Sooners coach Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma to seek his fortune in California,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, who also supplied the above Headlines, “finding about $100 million when he got there. In other words, he fared a little better than Tom Joad.”

——

One more from Perry: “Topps, Donruss and Score are scrambling to produce the first fake Antonio Brown trading card. Or is it Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson?”


HEY, UNCLE, HOW’S THAT? D Graydon Gotaas, who scored the Edmonton Oil Kings’ Teddy Bear goal on Saturday night, is the nephew of Steve Gotaas, who put up 314 points in 266 regular-season games with the Prince Albert Raiders (1983-87). Graydon, 17, scored his first Edmonton goal in his first game with the Oil Kings, who acquired him from the Raiders in October. He had been playing for his hometown Camrose Kodiaks of the AJHL.


Empty


NOTHING WRONG HERE: Here’s Ken Campbell of Hockey unfiltered after Hockey Canada issued invitations to its national junior team’s selection camp:

“Connor Bedard is not a lock to make Canada’s World Junior team, but it would be a shock if he were not on the final roster. All Canada’s coaching staff has to do is go back and look at the tapes of both Bedard and Shane Wright in last summer’s World Under-18 championship and see what those two young men did with the maple leaf on their chests. Granted, there is a big difference between being 15 and playing against 17-year-olds and being 16 and playing against 19-year-olds, but still. People keep looking at the scoring totals put up by Bedard and Wright this season and continue to ask what is wrong. Nothing is wrong. These two young men are going to be just fine.”

——

In the same piece, Campbell also dropped this gem: “Patrick Roy claims the Montreal Canadiens have nothing to lose by making him the GM. That’s some sound reasoning right there.”


WHEELING AND DEALING: If you ever wondered what the best junior hockey Raidersplayer in the world might bring in a trade, well, we found out on Wednesday. That’s when the Prince Albert Raiders dealt D Kaiden Guhle, 19, to the Edmonton Oil Kings for F Carson Latimer, 18, D Eric Johnston, 17, and as many as four draft picks — a 2021 first that originated with the Kelowna Rockets, a 2023 first, a 2022 sixth and a conditional 2025 third. . . . The deal came just four days after Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid told Jason Kerr of the Prince Albert Daily Herald that Guhle “might be, for his age, the best player in the world. He’s a special player.” . . . Do you think Habscheid really meant it, or was he just trying to drive up the price?


Waldo


NOT A POSITIVE TIME: The OHL postponed a Saturday night game that was to have had the Mississauga Steelheads visit Peterborough after a Petes player came up positive. “Our actions were to hopefully alleviate concerns,” David Branch, the OHL commissioner, told the Peterborough Examiner. “There was a positive test, the numbers we’re not disclosing and the names we’re  not disclosing, and we took the action. The player are being tested once again and we’ll see how it evolves.” . . . Earlier in the week, the OHL had to shutdown the Sudbury Wolves after 12 positive tests.


ICYMI: G Nolan Maier made his 177th regular-season appearance for the Saskatoon Blades on Saturday night in a 6-2 victory over the Ice in Winnipeg. That equalled the franchise record that he now shares with Braden Holtby (2005-09). . . .

Some shutouts are more special than others. Right, Jackson Unger? Unger, a 16-year-old from Calgary, posted his first WHL victory and shutout — he stopped 30 shots — on Friday night when the Moose Jaw Warriors beat the Rebels, 4-0, in Red Deer. This one was extra special, though, because Unger blanked the Rebels in their Teddy Bear Toss game. . . . As for the Teddy Bears, the fans tossed them late in the game after the Warriors had scored their final goal into an empty net.


NO LOVE HERE: Olen Zellweger put up six points — a goal and five assists — Everettas the Everett Silvertips beat the visiting Tri-City Americans, 8-2, on Friday night. That set a club record for most points by a defenceman in one game, breaking the mark that had been held by fan-favourite Mitch Love, who had a goal and four assists in a 5-2 victory over the Blades in Saskatoon on Nov. 6, 2004. Interestingly, Love scored his goal on the PP and added three PP assists and one on a shorthanded EN goal. That was Love’s first WHL season — he finished with nine goals and 20 assists in 59 games. . . . Zellweger, 18, came out of his six-pointer with seven goals and 19 assists in 19 games. He went into this season with 25 points, including 21 assists, in 70 career games over three seasons. . . . No, he isn’t related to Renée.


THE COACHING GAME: The SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks fired Doug Johnson, their general manager and head coach, on Saturday. Johnson, 45, who played three seasons (1993-96) with the Hawks, had been with Nipawin since March 2010. He is a three-time SJHL coach of the year and the franchise’s winningest head coach. Assistant coach Tad Kozun, a 28-year-old Nipawin native, has been named interim head coach. At the time of the firing, the Hawks were 10-12-5, and tied for third in the four-team Sherwood Division, six points out of second.


Donuts


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.

Peeters has a real fish story to tell now . . . Speltz signs on as GM in AHL . . . Blazers, Blades in mourning

TWEET OF THE DAY:


Former NHL/WHL G Pete Peeters now lives in Sturgeon County, just north of Edmonton. So it was only fitting that Peeters was involved in the catching of a fish on the Fraser River that Patrick Johnston of Postmedia writes was “a sturgeon bigger than anything that’s been measured in modern history.” . . . Johnston writes: “The fish’s fork-length was a B.C. record: 352 cm (or 11 feet, six inches). Its girth was 141 cm (55 inches) and was estimated to weigh 890 pounds.” . . . Johnston’s story, along with a couple of photos, is right here.


Speltz

The NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights have hired former Spokane Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz as the general manager of their AHL affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights. . . . Speltz, who is a long-time friend of Vegas GM Kelly McCrimmon, has spent the past five seasons on the scouting staff of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, the last three as their head amateur scout. He joined the Leafs after being the Chiefs’ general manager for 26 seasons (1990-2016). He also was the Medicine Hat Tigers’ GM for two seasons (1988-90). . . . Prior to signing Speltz, McCrimmon also was responsible for the Silver Knights, who are preparing for their second AHL season.



And wouldn’t you know it . . . I just pre-ordered another book, after discovering that Bearcat Murray: From Ol’ Potlicker to Calgary Flames Legend is scheduled to be released on Nov. 2. . . . You should know that this one is written by George Johnson, who once upon a time was part of the gang at the late, great Winnipeg Tribune. Say what you want about George, just don’t question his love for Ol’ Blue Eyes and classic movies, or his ability to write. He’s one of our best, so Bearcat’s story will be a winner. . . . And, yes, he did wind up plus-1 during an NHL game. You know that story will be included.


Finally . . . we have a cancellation that hasn’t anything to do with the pandemic. The Portland Winterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds were to have played an exhibition game in Kennewick, Wash., on Sept. 19. However, the teams have decided to stroke that game off the schedule, apparently because of the number of players they expect to have in NHL camps at that time. . . . The game would have been part of the Tri-City Americans’ tournament.



ICYMI, the CFL’s Edmonton Elks released Canadian OL Jacob Ruby after he Covidbreached COVID-19 protocols. This had to have been serious because CFL teams value offensive linemen the way politicians love votes. Dave Naylor of TSN later reported that Ruby “did repeatedly misrepresent to (the) team (that) he was vaccinated.” . . . Ruby had been in the CFL since 2015 when he was with the Montreal Alouettes. . . . The Elks, of course, have had 13 players test positive over the last while, and that led to the postponement of a game in Toronto against the Argonauts that was to have been played on Aug. 26. . . . As of Tuesday, the Elks had gone five days without a positive test; they are expected to return to team activities today. . . .

Meanwhile, the NFL’s New England Patriots surprised the football world on Tuesday by releasing veteran QB Cam Newton, who had started all three of their exhibition games. We may never find out if his apparently being unvaccinated had anything to do with the move by head coach Bill Belichick, who will open the season with Alabama product Mac Jones, a rookie, as the starter. . . .

In Indianapolis, the Colts placed QB Carson Wentz, C Ryan Kelly, who is a Pro Bowler, and WR Zach Pascal on the COVID-19 list as close contacts of a staff member who tested positive. . . . If the three test negative and are asymptomatic they will be able to return in five days. . . . “The fact that the three players were placed on the list as close contacts is an indication they are not vaccinated for the coronavirus as, per NFL protocols, vaccinated players would only be placed on the list for a positive test result,” writes Mike Wells of ESPN. . . . The Colts now have had at least nine players on the COVID-19 list since training camp started. They also have had two coaches test positive, including head coach Frank Reich. . . . 

And from the world of baseball and television . . . the New York Post reported Tuesday that former MLB pitchers Al Leiter and John Smoltz have refused to be vaccinated so “will no long appear in-studio for MLB Network.” . . . MLB has a mandatory vaccination policy for all employees and it goes into effect today (Wednesday). . . .

On Tuesday night, the Boston Red Sox took SS Xavier Bogaerts out of their game in the second inning after a positive test came back. The Red Sox lost the game, 8-5, to the host Tampa Bay Rays. . . . Boston has had six players test positive since Friday, the others being OF Kiké Hernández, INF Christian Arroyo, P Matt Barnes and P Martín Pérez. P Josh Taylor went on the list as a close contact.


Chapter 9,876 in the book How Did We Get Here From There — In chatting the other night with the husband and wife who own a couple of Dairy Queen franchises, I was told about a male and female who recently were refused service because she wasn’t wearing a mask. Yes, masks are mandatory indoors in B.C. . . . Anyway, the couple started beefing and the owners realized it was a waste of time and energy debating the issue so they walked away and the two disgruntled folks departed the premises. . . . That brings us to Port Alberni, B.C., where an idiot who was refused service because he wasn’t wearing a mask chose to leave the store, before returning to urinate on the counter. . . . Sheesh! What is happening to us? Just wear a mask. It’s not like you’re being asked to fight a grizzly bear with a plastic knife.


Plague


KING-TV in Seattle reports that if you’re planning on attending the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, you will have to wear a mask at all times — indoors or out — regardless of your vaccination status. . . . Why? Because Pierce County is experiencing unprecedented levels of COVID-19. . . . The State Fair runs from Sept. 3-26. . . . According to yaktrinew.com, “The masking requirement came one day after two hospital leaders said during a Washington State Hospital Association briefing that the Washington State Fair should be canceled due to the stress it would inevitably put on hospitals.”



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: Matt Calvert, who recently retired after an 11-year NHL career, has joined the Brandon Wheat Kings as their development coach. From a news release: “Along with assisting the coaching staff with day-to-day operations, Calvert will focus primarily on the career development of current players and prospects, emphasizing skill development, fitness, nutrition, mental health, and education.” Calvert, who is from Brandon, played three seasons (2007-10) with the Wheat Kings. . . . The ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones have promoted Jason Payne from assistant to head coach, replacing Matt Thomas, who now is with the AHL’s Providence Bruins. Payne, who is from Toronto, is the lone Black head coach in pro hockey at the moment. ESPN’s Emily Kaplan has more on Payne right here. . . .

Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) reported Tuesday morning that former WHL F Yogi Svejkovsky is going to work with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks as a skills coach, who also will work with the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks. He had been coaching at the Delta Hockey Academy. He spent 12 seasons (2006-18) as the Vancouver Giants’ skills coach. Svejkovsky, 44, had 101 points, including 58 goals, in his one WHL season (1995-96) with the Tri-City Americans. His son, Lukas, who turns 20 on Nov. 23, has split the past three seasons between the Giants and the Medicine Hat Tigers.


DrSues

Winterhawks unveil their new look . . . Everett gets d-man from Brandon . . . Spokane, Lethbridge sign imports

Portland

The Portland Winterhawks, preparing for their first WHL season under new ownership, unveiled their new look on Wednesday, as they dumped the Indian chief logo they had worn since debuting in Portland in 1976.

Originally, the Winterhawks had been the Edmonton Oil Kings. The franchise made the move south in time for the 1976-77 season. Ownership at that time had ties to the Chicago Blackhawks and accepted the NHL team’s offer of a set of used jerseys, which is how that logo made its way to Portland.

“We are so proud to finally have our own identity,” Michael Kramer of Winterhawks Sports Group, a co-owner and managing partner, said in a news release after the unveiling. “We feel our new look is fresh and unique, one that we are excited about and believe our community will be as well.”

More from the news release:

“The club’s new primary logo, a right-facing hawk featured with a predominantly white head, also carries the tradition of former colors black and red. The new scheme adds ‘celly gold’ and also squall gray, a color distinct to the new Winterhawks brand. . . .

“Also featured on the bird head are two feathers, carrying the legacy of the franchise’s roots and serving as a subtle nod to the feathers in the previous logo. The bottom of the hawk’s head includes Mount Hood in the aforementioned new squall gray, an iconic mountain from the Cascade Range synonymous with the Portland area. Located within the Mount Hood figure are also the letters ‘W’ and ‘H,’ for further characterization of Winterhawks.”

The Winterhawks also unveiled a new secondary logo.

Again, from the news release:

“The refreshed color scheme can also be seen in the club’s new secondary logo, which features a revitalized edition of the ‘Portland P’ that the team has utilized in the past. The logo will be worn on the team’s jerseys as a shoulder patch, with the P being in gold font at the forefront of two hockey sticks in squall gray. ‘Est. 1976’ — a nod to the 45-year success of the franchise in The Rose City, one of the longest tenured in the WHL — is also included on the patch. ‘Winterhawks’ can be seen hung in a banner atop the logo.”

The complete news release is right here.




The Everett Silvertips have acquired D Jonny Lambos, 20, from the Brandon EverettWheat Kings for a seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2023 draft. . . . Lambos, from Winnipeg, has five goals and 14 assists in 126 regular-season games, all with Brandon. He had two assists in 21 games in the Regina hub earlier this year. . . . He was selected by the Victoria Royals in the third round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. Brandon picked him up in a January 2018 trade. . . . His 18-year-old brother, Carson, is a defenceman with the Winnipeg Ice and is likely to be a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft on July 23. . . . The Silvertips ended the 2021 developmental season with five 2001-born players on their roster — D Zach Ashton, F Hunter Campbell, F Gage Concalves, F Jalen Price and G Dustin Wolf. . . . Brandon still has six such players on the roster with which it finished the season — Finnish F Marcus Kallionkieli, G Ethan Kruger, F Ben McCartney, D Chad Nychuk, D Neithan Salame and D Braden Schneider. Last week, the Wheat Kings dealt D Rylan Thiessen, 20, to the Swift Current Broncos for a conditional ninth-round pick in the 2021 draft.


The Spokane Chiefs have signed D Tsimafei Kauharenia, 18, of Belarus to a WHL Spokanecontract. . . . An interesting note from the Chiefs’ news  release: “Kauharenia (previously listed as ‘Tomofei Kovgorenya’) was the Chiefs’ first-round pick in the 2021 CHL import draft.” . . . In 2020-21, Kauharenia had seven goals and nine assists in 26 games with the Minsk Bison of Vysshaya Liga. He also got into 17 games — he was pointless — with Dinoma Molodechno of Belarus’s top pro league. . . . The Chiefs now hold the rights to four import players, the other three being Czech G Lukas Parik, Czech D David Jiricek, who turns 18 on Nov. 28, and German F Yannick Proske, 18. . . . Parik has signed with the Ontario Reign, the Los Angeles Kings’ AHL affiliated. . . . Jiricek and Proske haven’t signed with the Chiefs.

——

The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed F Yegor Klavdiev of Belarus to a WHL Lethcontract. They selected him in the first round of the 2021 CHL import draft. . . . From Minsk, the 18-year-old had six goals and five assists in 24 regular-season games with his country’s U-18 team. He also played in the IIHF U-18 World Championship in Texas, putting up a goal and two assists in five games. . . . He also had two goals and two assists in 13 games with Dinamo Molodechno of the country’s top pro league, and one goal in two games with Minskie Zubry of Vysshaya. . . . The Hurricanes didn’t have any imports on the roster with which they concluded the 2021 developmental season. They did have one on their 2019-20 roster — D Danila Palivko of Belarus. He turns 20 on Nov. 30 and signed with Admiral Vladivostok of the KHL earlier this month.


Ram


So . . . when the Olympic Summer Games open on July 23 is the story going to be the competitions involving the athletes or the competition between the human race and COVID-19?

“Tokyo reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in almost six months on Wednesday, with the Olympics due to open in the capital in just nine days,” reads a report from Thomson Reuters.

“The city government said there were 1,149 new cases, the highest daily tally since Jan. 22, adding to evidence that a new fifth wave of infections is under way, driven by more infectious virus variants and a low vaccination rate. . . .

“Just 31 per cent of people in Japan have received at least one COVID-19 inoculation dose, among the lowest rate among wealthy countries, according to a Reuters tracker. The vaccination push finally gained steam last month, but has recently ebbed among supply and logistical snags.

“The Delta variant now accounts for more than 30 per cent of cases in Tokyo, and the rate is climbing.”

One of these days, if it hasn’t already been done, an editorial cartoonist is going to redesign the Olympic logo using colourized versions of the graphic that represents the virus.

——

An Olympics-related note from Jesse Campigotto of CBC:

“In a pandemic-induced change to the traditional practice of an official placing the hardware around athletes’ necks on the medal stand, medals ‘will be presented to the athlete on a tray and then the athlete will take the medal him or herself,’ IOC president Thomas Bach said. Medallists and officials will also be required to wear masks, and no fans are allowed at any Olympic venues, so these ceremonies will look a lot different in Tokyo.”


The CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers have gotten the all-clear from government and health officials to open up every CFLseat in the house for their home-opener at IG Field on Aug. 5. But you will have to be fully vaccinated — meaning you will have to have had your second shot by July 21 — and have a Manitoba immunization card in order to attend. Also, children under 12 will be allowed in, but only if accompanied by at least one fully vaccinated parent. . . . The wearing of facemasks will be optional for fans. . . . The Blue Bombers, who haven’t played since winning the 2019 Grey Cup with a 33-12 victory over Hamilton on Nov. 24 in Calgary, are to entertain the Tiger-Cats in their opener. The stadium in Winnipeg has a capacity of 33,500. . . . Interestingly, provincial governments and health officials in Saskatchewan and Alberta have said the Roughriders, Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Elks are free to open to full capacity and that fans don’t have to be fully vaccinated.


Wile


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 WHL’s Everett Silvertips have lost veteran equipment manager James Stucky to the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. Stucky had been with the Silvertips since the franchise entered the WHL in 2003. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings have signed Josh Mallory as their video coach and hockey operations co-ordinator. Mallory, 24, spent the previous three seasons working with the Brock U Badgers women’s team. . . .

The OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs have promoted Luca Caputi to head coach. As the club’s associate coach, he was on the bench for two seasons (2018-20) before the OHL lost its 2020-21 season to the pandemic. He replaces Paul McFarland, who was hired on May 8, 2020, and left to join the NHL’s Seattle Kraken as an assistant coach earlier this month. . . . Ryan Hawes, who played 20 games over two seasons (1993-95) with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, has joined the expansion Okanagan Lakers of the BCIHL as an assistant coach. A veteran coach, he has been coaching at various levels in the Okanagan since 2016. . . .

Ty Valin has signed on as general manager and head coach of the junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He had been an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines. In Fernie, Valin replaces Jeff Wagner, who now is associate coach and director of scouting with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express. . . . Brodie St. Jacques has left the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks to join the WHL’s Vancouver Giants as their equipment manager. He had been the Silverbacks’ trainer and equipment manager for two seasons. In Vancouver, he takes over from Shingo Sasaki, who has joined the Vancouver Canucks’ AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks. . . .

The QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats announced Wednesday that head coach Daniel Lacroix will be back for a second full season, while assistant coach Josh Hepditch is returning for a fifth season. Moncton also has signed Antoine Samuel as its goaltending coach. Darryl Boyce and Ryan Salvis won’t be returning as assistant coaches, while Marc Theriault won’t be back as the goaltending coach.


Pacemaker

Fraser promoted by Silvertips . . . Gustafson leaves Winterhawks for Canucks . . . Hay returning for fourth season in Portland

So . . . Dorothy got her second shot of Pfizer on Wednesday afternoon. We had soup later in the day. Whenever she tried to lift her spoon towards her mouth, it would hit her in the forehead and stick there. . . . Now I know why. . . . Lucky for her that we had some plastic spoons in our kitchen.


The Everett Silvertips promoted Mike Fraser, a longtime WHL scout, to director Everettof player personnel, effective immediately, on Wednesday. The Edmonton-based Fraser, 42, had been the team’s head scout for three seasons. . . . From a news release: “Fraser will support Silvertips hockey operations with roster management, co-ordinate scouting and recruiting efforts across North America and Europe, and prospect evaluation in conjunction with the WHL draft.” . . . Before joining the Silvertips, Fraser spent six seasons as a scout with the Brandon Wheat Kings. Prior to that, he worked with the Swift Current  Broncos for seven years. . . . The Silvertips’ complete news release is right here. . . .

When the Silvertips hired Fraser as head scout on July 3, 2018, they also named Alvin Backus as their director of player personnel. At the time, Backus, who had spent seven seasons as an amateur scout with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens, was to assist general manager Garry Davidson “and the Silvertips coaching staff with roster improvements and co-ordinate the Silvertips scouting and recruiting efforts of talent across North America and Europe.” . . . Neither Backus, who has retired, nor Davidson remains with the Silvertips. They announced on May 21 that they wouldn’t be renewing Davidson’s contract. He had been their GM through nine quite successful seasons, but was dropped as part of a restructuring that the organization was going through that it said was “necessitated” by the past two seasons. . . . Head coach Dennis Williams was named acting GM on June 1.


Claus


Kyle Gustafson is moving on from the WHL after 18 seasons with the Portland PortlandAlternateWinterhawks, most recently as assistant general manager and associate coach. Gustafson, a native of Portland, is joining the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks as assistant/special assignment coach. . . . Gustafson and Canucks head coach Travis Green were on Portland’s coaching staff together for five seasons (2008-13). . . . Gustafson started with the Winterhawks as an assistant coach in 2003-04. . . . There was a time two years ago when Gustafson came this () close to signing on as the Kamloops Blazers’ head coach. During the summer of 2019, Gustafson turned down a four-year contract offer from the Blazers, who were preparing for Matt Bardsley’s second season as general manager. They had hired Bardsley away from the Winterhawks on June 1, 2018. He had been working with Portland since 1999 so had some history with Gustafson. . . .

The Canucks also announced that assistant coach Newell Brown wouldn’t be back, while signing Brad Shaw as a new assistant coach, and re-signing assistant coaches Nolan Baumgartner and Jason King, goaltending coach Ian Clark and video coach Darryl Seward. . . . Former WHL G Adam Brown, the Kelowna Rockets’ goaltender coach, is Brown’s son.


Don Hay, the winningest head coach in WHL history, will be back with the Portland Winterhawks in 2021-22 for a fourth season as an assistant coach. Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ vice-president, general manager and head coach, confirmed that with Joshua Critzer of pnwhockeytalk.com earlier this week. You may recall that the Kamloops Blazers majority owner Tom Gaglardi announced Hay’s retirement following the 2017-18 season. . . .

Johnston also told Critzer that Matt Bardsley, who resigned as the Blazers’ general manager on May 25, “has another exciting opportunity which he will be announcing in the next couple of weeks.” . . . Johnston said that after Bardsley’s Kamloops announcement, he reached out “to Matt originally when it happened in Kamloops and just talked to him about if any openings came in our organization. At the present time, in the area Matt is and was, we already have staff in those positions.”

Critzer’s complete story is right here.



Bone


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: Brad Bakken, who played 53 games over three seasons (2005-08) with the Seattle Thunderbirds, has been named head coach of the junior B Langley Trappers of the Pacific Junior Hockey League. He was the Trappers’ GM and assistant coach in 2017-18, before moving up to the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen as assistant GM/associate head coach.


Fear

Canucks make their Abbotsford intentions official . . . OT the rage in WHL’s Tuesday games . . . Does CFL draft make Bob Lowes a Blue Bombers’ fan?


The Vancouver Canucks’ AHL affiliate won’t be setting up shop in Kamloops or CanucksKelowna. But it appears that it will be operating out of B.C. next season. . . . Although negotiations with the City of Abbotsford aren’t yet complete, the Canucks said Tuesday that they intend to move the Utica Comets to the Abbotsford Centre for the 2021-22 season. . . . Here’s Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini from a statement: “With momentum starting to build, we are pleased to confirm our goal to bring our AHL franchise and Canucks prospects home to the City of Abbotsford. The move would bring significant opportunities for both our team and the community and it would begin a new chapter, bringing Canucks hockey to even more fans throughout the Lower Mainland.” . . . The Canucks’ AHL team has been in Utica since the 2013-14 season. The New Jersey Devils are expected to move their AHL franchise, the Binghamton Devils, to Utica in time for next season. . . . The Calgary Flames had their AHL affiliate, the Heat, play out of Abbotsford for five seasons (2009-14), before relocating it to Stockton, Calif.

——

Only time will tell what kind of impact, if any, having the Vancouver Canucks’ Vancouvertop affiliate in Abbotsford might have on the WHL’s Vancouver Giants. . . . The Giants play out of the Langley Events Centre, which is located 34 km west of the Abbotsford Centre. Both facilities are just off the Trans-Canada Highway. . . . The Giants have played four seasons out of Langley after relocating from Pacific Coliseum after the 2015-16 season. . . . In their last season in the Coliseum, announced attendance averaged 5,169. . . . In their four seasons in Langley, starting in 2016-17, the announced average has been 3,848, 3,383, 3,826 and 3,920. That last figure was from the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season in which the Giants ended up playing 30 home games. . . . The Lower Mainland also is home to four BCHL franchises — the Chilliwack Chiefs, Coquitlam Express, Langley Rivermen and Surrey Eagles. . . . You would think that the presence of one more hockey team — this one featuring prospects who belong to the area’s NHL team — will have an impact of some kind somewhere along the line. . . . Also, having a new team on the block certainly won’t help the junior teams as they try to find their ways back into the hearts of their fans after having been away from live crowds for what will have been about 18 months . . . assuming, that is, that the 2021-22 season gets started in the fall and that teams will be allowed to have fans in attendance.



Three more WHL teams, all from Alberta, played their final games of this developmental season on Tuesday night. The other two will wrap up their seasons on Thursday night. . . . That will leave 10 WHL teams left with games on the schedule, all of them in B.C. or the U.S. . . . All told, there were four games played last night with three of them needing OT to decide a winner. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen tied the game late in the third period and then scored late Calgaryin OT to beat the host Red Deer Rebels, 4-3. . . . Calgary (10-8-3) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Red Deer (4-15-4) finished with points in each of its last four games (2-0-2). . . . Both teams were playing their final games of this season. . . . D Mason Ward (2) put the Rebels out front at 16:43 of the first period. . . . The Hitmen went ahead on second-period PP goals from F Sean Tschigerl (13), at 16:40, and F Riley Stotts (6), at 18:13. . . . Stotts also had two assists. . . . Red Deer took a 3-2 lead when F Ben King scored two third-period goals — at 9:14, on a PP, and 16:45. . . . Calgary got it to OT as F Josh Prokop (10) scored at 19:13. . . . F Adam Kydd (9) won it at 4:21 of extra time. . . . King also drew one assist. The 13th overall pick in the 2017 bantam draft finished with 28 points, including 12 goals, in 21 games. He totalled four goals and four assists over his final three games. . . . Tschigerl, the fourth overall selection in the 2018 draft, finished on a 12-game point streak, putting up 11 goals and seven assists over that stretch. . . . The Hitmen got 32 saves from G Brayden Peters. . . . Red Deer G Chase Coward turned aside 42 shots. Coward appears to suffer a cut to one wrist during a scramble in his crease at 13:55 of the third period. He was replaced by Byron Fancy, who stopped four of five shots in finishing the period. Coward was back for OT. . . .

In Edmonton, F Josh Williams scored 21 seconds into OT to give the Oil Kings a Edmonton3-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Oil Kings (19-2-1) will finish with the best record among the five Alberta teams. . . . The Hurricanes (9-12-3) lost their last two games (0-1-1). . . . Lethbridge played its final game of this season; Edmonton and the Tigers will conclude their seasons in Medicine Hat on Thursday. . . . Williams gave the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead at 10:12 of the first period. . . . Lethbridge took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Chase Wheatcroft (8), at 15:11 of the first, and F Ty Nash (4), at 14:52 of the second. . . . F Jalen Luypen (16) pulled Edmonton even at 17:32 of the second. . . . Williams won it with his 17th goal of the season. . . . Nash was unable to score on a penalty shot at 1:09 of the third period. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa stopped 27 shots, nine fewer than Lethbridge’s Carl Tetachuk. . . .

F Samuel Huo scored the game’s final two goals, the last one in OT, to give the Americansvisiting Tri-City Americans a 4-3 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Americans (7-8-0) have won two in a row. . . . The Chiefs (6-7-5) have points in four straight (2-0-2). . . . Tri-City took a 1-0 lead at 5:46 of the first period when F Tyson Greenway (3) scored. . . . The Chiefs got two goals before the period ended, from F Adam Beckman (16), on a PP, and D Graham Sward (1). . . . F Connor Bouchard (4) got Tri-City back into a tie, on a PP, at 14:18. . . . F Luke Toporowski (1) gave Spokane the lead at 9:41 of the third period in his second game since returning from the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede. . . . Huo, who also had an assist, tied the score at 12:47 and won it with his ninth goal, just 23 seconds into OT. . . .

The Prince George Cougars have points in five straight games after beating the PGhost Kelowna Rockets, 2-1. . . . The Cougars (8-7-3) are 4-0-1 in their five-game streak. . . . The Rockets (8-3-1) had at least a point in each of their previous six games (5-0-1). . . . F Koehn Ziemmer (7) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 7:08 of the first period. . . . F Connor Bowie (7) upped that to 2-0 with a shorthanded goal, the seventh the Rockets have surrendered this season, at 5:23 of the second. . . . Kelowna didn’t cut the deficit in half until F Mark Liwiski (9) scored at 15:38 of the third period. . . . The Rockets had a 30-18 edge in shots, including 12-4 in the third period. . . . G Taylor Gauthier earned the victory with 29 saves.


Artisans


The CFL held its annual draft on Thursday, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers used a fourth-round pick, 34th overall, to take LB Robbie Lowes of the Regina Rams. . . . He’s 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, and may well end up in the Bombers’ defensive backfield. He also is the son of Bob Lowes, the former WHL player and coach who now is the director of amateur scouting for the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. . . . Robbie lost the 2020 season, which would have been his fifth in USports, to the pandemic. But USports is allowing those players to return to play a fifth season so that option still will be open to him.


Don’t forget that my wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here.

——

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: F Tristen Robins of the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades is joining the San Jose Barracuda, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. Robins, 19, had 10 goals and 13 assists in 16 games in the WHL’s Regina hub. The Sharks selected him in the second round of the NHL’s 2020 draft.


Radio

$catter$hooting on a $unday night while wondering why the NHL didn’t $crub the re$t of the Canuck$’ $ea$on . . .

Scattershooting2

It’s hard to restrain the enthusiasm for the Vancouver Canucks after watching Canuckstheir 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.


Dorothy . . . Kamloops Kidney Walk . . . June 6, virtually . . . Join her team with a donation right here. You’ll be glad you did!



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.


——

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.”


Apple


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.”



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.”

He’s right.

The complete column is right here.


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 qmjhlnewTuesday. . . . 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.


Wolves


In the WHL on Sunday . . .

D Braden Schneider came out of the penalty box to score the winner in OT as the BrandonBrandon 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 Patsthe 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 Everett6-2 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 VancouverVancouver 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 Edmontonto 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.


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