Smoke too much for Lions . . . Twins hit seven homers and lose . . . KHL’s 2021-22 season has started

Having lived just east of Kamloops — in Campbell Creek — since the spring of 2000, we have lived through smoky skies in past years. But we haven’t lived through anything like we are seeing these days, and there isn’t an end in sight.

How bad is it?

Where we live, visibility has been down to about one km for two or three days now. We have air-conditioning, thankfully, but it brings some smoke into the house, and our air-purifier has been working overtime. It signals air quality with a light that is blue (for clean), purple or red. We are seeing red rather frequently these days.

One map I saw on Tuesday showed eight fires burning within 20 or 30 km of Kamloops. The one that is sending so much of this smoke in the direction of Campbell Creek is the White Rock Lake fire, which is burning to the south of here. As of Wednesday evening, it was believed to be somewhere around 20,000 hectares in size (that’s 49,422 acres). It has shown extreme behaviour, preventing firefighters from really getting at it, and heavy smoke has prevented accurate mapping and a sustained air attack. As well, the plus-30 C temperatures and winds aren’t helping.

Meanwhile, the CFL’s B.C. Lions have been training in Kamloops, but they cut their stay short and headed for Surrey on Wednesday.

Here’s J.J. Adams in the Vancouver Province:

“The CFL team has cut short its training camp in Kamloops after cancelling practice for the second straight day because of air quality concerns. There are four separate large fires burning near the Interior city, blanketing the area with a layer of smoke that’s made it impossible to practise.”

The Lions open the season against the host Saskatchewan Roughriders on Aug. 6. The Roughriders are welcoming all fans, including the unvaccinated, to that game.


A couple of headlines, both from Wednesday:

CBC News — COVID-19 spreading faster in Alberta than during peak of 3rd wave.

CBC News — Alberta to remove most COVID-19 isolation, testing requirements by mid-August.



QB Lamar Jackson of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday before the team’s first practice session of training camp. . . . From Jason La Confora of CBS Sports: “Jackson . . . has declined to offer his vaccination status in the past, but (head coach John) Harbaugh indicated he has taken multiple tests in the past week — many of them negative — which, given the NFL’s testing protocols, is indicative of a player who has not been vaccinated. Those players, when testing positive, are precluded from practicing for 10 days, which takes Baltimore up to the week of its first preseason game, Aug. 14 against New Orleans.” . . . Jackson also missed time last season after a positive test. At that time, he struggled with some of the symptoms.


Taco


ICYMI, Geoff Molson, the Montreal Canadiens’ owner, president and CEO, threw some gasoline on the blaze that was started when his team made F Logan Mailloux its first-round selection in the NHL draft on Friday.

Molson released an open letter that was posted on the team’s website, then held Canadiensa Zoom call for invited media members. Interestingly, the English-speaking Montreal Gazette was among those outlets not invited to participate.

“I understand that you expect more from us and we let you down,” Molson wrote. “The Montreal Canadiens are more than a hockey team. Logan’s actions do not reflect the values of our organization and I apologize for the pain this selection has caused.”

Except that the Canadiens made this kid their first-round selection after he tried to withdraw his name from the draft after being charged with invasion of privacy and defamation in a sex-related case in Sweden and paying a fine of about $1,700.

Molson chose to make his statement and hold the Zoom call as NHL teams were handing out bushels of cash to free-agent players. You don’t suppose that the Canadiens picked Wednesday afternoon knowing (hoping?) that their effort would got lost in all the transactions, do you? You know, like governments so often dump the bad news on us late on Friday afternoons?

Anyway . . . Molson needs to realize that despite what he says publicly this is what the Canadiens now stand for, and this does reflect the values of his organization.

Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered says that it’s time for the Canadiens to stop with the lip service and for them to renounce the pick. That piece is right here.


Fishing


The Minnesota Twins are having an abysmal season. How abysmal, you ask? . . . On Wednesday, the Twins entertained the Detroit Tigers. The Twins hit seven home runs; the Tigers didn’t hit any. . . . The Twins lost, 17-14. . . . That is the first time in MLB history that one team has outhomered the other team by seven and lost. . . . LHP J.A. Happ started for the Twins. He didn’t give up any homers — he has allowed 21 in 98 innings — but was touched for nine earned runs on 10 hits and four walks in three innings. The Twins are paying him $8 million on a one-year contract. . . . Each of the Detroit players who went to the plate in Wednesday’s game had at least one hit, one run and one RBI. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that’s the first time that has happened since the then-California Angels did it on Sept. 14, 1978.


No one brightened up a scouts/media room at a WHL game more than Charlie Hodge. . . . And, oh boy, did he love Nanaimo bars. . . . Oh, he also could tell a story or two. . . . Yes, we miss him.


You will recall that the Washington Senators pulled SS Trea Turner during the first inning of a Tuesday night game with the Phillies in Philadelphia because of a positive test. Well, Wednesday’s game didn’t even get to the first inning. It was postponed with the Nationals now having at least 12 positive tests, four of them players. . . . The majority reportedly were fully vaccinated, with a number of them having been given the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. . . . They will try to get in a doubleheader today (Thursday). Presumably, the Nationals will be bringing in a few players.


Don’t look now but the 2021-22 hockey season hit the ice on Wednesday; at KHLleast it did in the KHL where Admiral Vladivostok scored a 4-3 shootout victory over Dinamo Minsk in an exhibition game. . . . It was return to the KHL for the winners, who sat out last season after, as Andy Potts wrote at en.khl,ru, “local authorities diverted funds away from the sport to help fight the pandemic.” . . . D Sergei Sapego, who played two seasons in the WHL, made his debut with Dinamo Minsk. Sapego started his WHL stint with three games with the Tri-City Americans to start the 2017-18 season. He finished that season by playing 41 games with the Prince Albert Raiders, whom he helped to a WHL title in the spring of 2019.


The Guardian — ‘Disinfo kills’: protesters demand Facebook act to stop vaccine falsehoods.

The Washington Post — Analysis: People are more anti-vaccine if they get their covid news from Facebook than from Fox News, data shows.


The NCAA has granted eligibility to F Austen Swankler, who had 18 goals and 27 assists in 59 games with the OHL’s Erie Otters in 2019-20, and has committed to the Bowling Green U Falcons. With the OHL not playing in 2020-21 because of the pandemic, Swankler sat out. . . . Swankler, from North Huntington, Penn., will turn 20 on Aug. 21. . . . USCHO.com reported that “according to a CCHA news release, Swankler and his family applied directly to the NCAA for eligibility prior to expressing interest to the Falcons.”


Lawsuit


The Victoria Royals have signed Austria G Sebastian Wraneschitz to a WHL Royalscontract. The Royals selected his rights in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. . . . Wraneschitz, 19, played for the Vienna Capitals in the ICE Hockey League in 2020-21. In the pro league, he was 5-7-0, 3.18, .886 in 12 games. He also played for Austria at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton, going 0-3-0, 7.45, .892 in three appearances. . . . The Royals had one import — Swiss F Keanu Derungs — on the roster that finished the 2021 development season. . . . They also have one goaltender who is eligible to return remaining on that roster — Connor Martin, who will turn 19 on Dec. 17.



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: Ashley Chase is the new director of operations and play-by-play voice of the NAHL’s St. Cloud Norsemen. From the team’s news release: “Chase becomes the first female team play-by-play broadcaster across junior hockey in the United States, including the North American Hockey League (NAHL).”


Call

QMJHL follows OHL in going to mandatory vaccinations; still quiet on WHL front . . . Swedish goalie headed to Portland? . . . Pats, Royals swing deal

Sheep
It was 31C in the smoke on Monday afternoon just a few kilometres east of Kamloops where about 20 California bighorns — females and yearlings — stopped off for lunch. Or was it an early dinner? The gal on the right was eyeballing me to make sure I didn’t move any closer.

The QMJHL is moving to mandatory vaccinations for all of its “players and staff qmjhlnewwho are in contact with players,” according to Karissa Donkin of CBC News. . . . The policy also will include members of billet families who are eligible to be vaccinated. . . . Karl Jahnke, the QMJHL’s chief marketing officer, told Donkin that players had been notified of the policy a few weeks ago, adding that should a player choose not to be vaccinated “obviously, it’s a personal decision but they won’t be able to play.” . . . Trevor Georgie, the president and general manager of the Saint John Sea Dogs, said his organization has had “one player (who) won’t be able to meet those guidelines. We have one billet family that won’t be able to meet the guidelines, and we have one staff member (who) may not be able to meet those guidelines.” . . . Donkin’s story is right here.

The OHL also has moved to mandatory vaccinations and has posted its protocol on its website, something the QMJHL hasn’t yet done.

The WHL, which has teams in four provinces and two states, has yet to say anything, one way or the other, about mandatory vaccinations.


Fauci


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The New York Times: “California and New York City both announced that they would require their workers to get a coronavirus vaccine or get tested weekly amid the spread of the more contagious Delta variant.”

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The New York Times: “President Biden is considering requiring all civilian federal employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or be forced to submit to regular testing, social distancing, mask requirements and restrictions on most travel, officials said on Tuesday.”

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The New York Times: “LL Cool J, Elvis Costello, Andrea Bocelli, Carlos Santana and the New York Philharmonic will join Bruce Springsteen and others at the Central Park concert New York City is planning, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. Proof of vaccination will be required.”

——


Deer1
A couple of young bucks were among five deer who came down out of the smoke for dinner behind the Drinnan residence on Tuesday evening. That is a hay field and, yes, the owner irrigates.


Might Swedish G Jesper Wallstedt play for the Portland Winterhawks in 2021-Portland22? Or will he go back home to play? Or does he end up in the AHL? . . . Jim Matheson, the veteran hockey writer with Postmedia in Edmonton, tweeted Monday afternoon that he is “hearing” that Wallstedt “might be playing for Portland . . . rather than back with Lulea.” . . . Wallstedt and Sebastian Cossa of the Edmonton Oil Kings were the two best goaltenders available in last weekend’s NHL draft. Cossa was taken by the Detroit Red Wings in the first round; the Minnesota Wild took Wallstedt five picks later. . . . Of course, because Wallstedt, who is to turn 19 on Nov. 14, was drafted from a European team, the Wild could sign him and place him with its AHL affiliate, the Iowa Wild. . . . The Winterhawks acquired Wallstedt’s WHL rights from the Moose Jaw Warriors on July 6 for a sixth-round pick in the WHL’s 2023 draft. The Warriors had selected him in the 2019 CHL import draft.


Rob Vanstone, in the Regina Leader-Post, looking forward to the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ home-opener on Aug. 6: “You can’t bring peanuts, blow horns, selfie sticks or sunflower seeds into Mosaic Stadium, but you can bring in COVID-19. Proof of vaccination is not required for entry.”

Meanwhile, you will have to be fully vaccinated if you hope to attend the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ home-opener against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Aug. 5.


Texas


MLB’s trade deadline arrives on Friday afternoon, so when the Washington Nationals yanked SS Trea Turner in the first inning of a Tuesday night game with the Phillies in Philadelphia, well, a lot of people were wondering where he would be going. . . . It turns out that he had tested positive, so will be out at least 10 days, which will take him past the trade deadline. . . . It wasn’t immediately known if he is vaccinated, but OF Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers is fully vaccinated and he, too, has tested positive. He reportedly has mild symptoms.


The Regina Pats have acquired G Keegan Maddocks, 18, from the Victoria Royals for F Carter Massier, 20. . . . Maddocks, an eighth-round pick by the Royals in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, is from Langley, B.C. He was 0-1-0, 3.31, .900 in two games with the Royals in the 2021 development season. . . . When the 2021 season ended, the Pats also had G Matthew Kieper, 17, and G Spencer Welke, 19, on their roster. As for 2001-born players, the roster included F Carter Chorney, D Ryker Evans, F Logan Nijhoff and F Zack Smith. . . . Massier had five goals and seven assists in 24 games in the Regina hub in the 2021 development season. In 91 regular-season games with the Pats, he has 13 goals and 14 assists. He is from Peace River, Alta. . . . The Royals’ season-ending roster included three 2001-born players — D Graeme Bryks, F Tarun Fizer, F Brayden Tracey.



The Calgary Hitmen have signed four members of their hockey operations Calgarydepartment to contract extensions — general manager Jeff Chynoweth, head coach Steve Hamilton and assistant coaches Trent Cassan and Joel Otto. The length of the extensions wasn’t revealed. Chynoweth is preparing for his fifth season with the Hitmen, while Hamilton has been head coach through three seasons. Otto is going into his 15th season, with Cassan entering his sixth.


Swing


The Swift Current Broncos have signed German D Rayan Bettahar to a WHL Scurrentcontract. He was the fifth overall selection in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. . . . Bettahar, 17, played just three games in 2020-21, putting up one assist for the Jungadler Mannheim U-20 side. In 2019-20, he had two goals and 25 assists in 35 games for the program’s U-17. . . . He is the first German player to have been selected by the Broncos in the import draft. . . . Swift Current also selected Russian F Alexei Shanaurin in the June 30 draft. He signed a WHL contract on July 21. . . . The Broncos didn’t have any imports on the roster with which they finished the 2021 development season.



The schedule has been released for the IIHF Women’s World Championship that is scheduled to open in Calgary Aug. 20. The opening day features a tripleheader — Czech Republic vs. Denmark, noon MST; Finland vs. Canada, 4 p.m.; and Switzerland vs. U.S., 7:30 p.m. . . . The complete schedule is right here. . . . Team Canada opened training camp in Calgary on Tuesday.


——

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: Rob Mahon is the new radio voice of the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders. Mahon spent the past four seasons doing play-by-play for the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. In Prince Albert, he takes over from Trevor Redden, who left the position after four seasons. . . . Former NHLer Matt Smaby is the new head coach of the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks. He takes over from P.K. O’Handley, the head coach since 2002 who stepped aside and now serves as the organization’s president. Smaby has coaching experience as an assistant at the U of North Dakota and with Salzburg Red Bull in Austria. In the pandemic-riddled 2020-21 season, he ran the Grand Forks, N.D., Youth Hockey Program.


Dogs

WHL teams start trimming 2001-born players . . . Oil Kings add d-man . . . ‘Quick lube guy’ doesn’t make Blazers’ short list

Milkyway2


The Tri-City Americans have released three 2001-born players, turning F AmericansBooker Daniel, F Edge Lambert and D Bryan McAndrews into free agents. . . . Daniel, from Vanderhoof, B.C., had four goals and five assists in 19 games this season. In 69 games over three seasons, he has 11 goals and 11 assists. . . . Lambert, from Grande Prairie, Alta., was a seventh-round selection by the Prince George Cougars in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. He had two goals and five assists in 18 games with the Americans this season. In 77 games over two seasons with Tri-City, he put up 19 goals and 14 assists. . . . The 6-foot-5 McAndrews, from Edmonton, was picked by Tri-City in the fifth round of the 2016 bantam draft. In 117 games over three seasons with the Americans, he had two goals and four assists. This season, he had one assist in 11 games. . . . The Americans still have five 2001-born players on the roster with which they finished this season — D Mitchell Brown, F Connor Bouchard, F Samuel Huo, F Sasha Mutala and Slovakian D Andrej Golian. . . .

Meanwhile, the Prince George Cougars have released F Brendan Boyle, another PG2001-born skater. . . . From Lake Country, B.C., Boyle had one assist in 12 games with the Cougars this season. In 132 games over four seasons, he totalled three goals and four assists. . . . Boyle’s departure leaves the Cougars with six 2001-born players on their roster — F Connor Bowie, F Ethan Browne, G Taylor Gauthier, F Jonny Hooker, D Majid Kaddoura and F Tyson Upper. . . .

And the Saskatoon Blades have released 2001-born F Alex Morozoff. . . . From BladesSaskatoon, he started his WHL career with the Red Deer Rebels. After 94 games with the Rebels, he played 22 with the Seattle Thunderbirds before finishing up with his hometown Blades. . . . In 172 regular-season games, he put up 27 goals and 18 assists. . . . Saskatoon still has five 2001-born players on its roster — G Nolan Maier, F Evan Patrician, D Rhett Rhinehart, F Tristen Robins and F Blake Stevenson.


The Edmonton Oil Kings have acquired D Carson Golder (2002) from the EdmontonVictoria Royals for a ninth-round pick in the WHL’s 2022 prospects draft. . . . The pick originally belonged to the Saskatoon Blades, who surrendered it when they acquired D Wyatt McLeod from Edmonton on Jan. 25. . . . Golder, from Smithers, B.C., had two assists in 50 games with the Royals in 2019-20. This season, he was with the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters, putting up two goals and one assist in 15 games.


After Matt Bardsley announced that he was leaving his job as general manager Kamloopsof the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, did you think about applying for the position? . . . No. . . . Why not? . . . Don Moores, the team’s president, told Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV that he has received “some really good resumes from the outside. We’ve had lots of great resumes.” Moores also allowed that “we’ve had some unusual resumes.” . . . He added: “I did have a guy from Brampton, Ont., who works for quick lube who felt he would be perfect for the position.” . . . As Seitz reported: “The Blazers have short-listed five, according to Moores, and the quick lube guy isn’t one of them.”

Meanwhile, Moores told Jon Keen, the Blazers’ play-by-play voice, that Swedish F Viktor Persson is “committed to the organization.” Persson was a seventh-round pick by the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL’s 2020 draft. If not for the pandemic, it’s believed he would have been in Kamloops for the 2020-21 season. Persson, who turns 20 on Nov. 7, will be a two-spotter — a 20-year-old import — with the Blazers. . . . Swiss D Inako Baragano, the Blazers’ lone import this season, won’t be returning. Baragano, another 2001-born skater, has signed with the Rapperswil-Jona Lakers of Switzerland’s National League.


Children


Kevin Draper, writing in The New York Times:

“N.F.L. players who aren’t vaccinated will face severe restrictions next football season. The league has made vaccinations mandatory for coaches and other essential team personnel, but cannot do so for players. Still, teams can make the trade-off quite clear.”

Draper quoted Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesman, as saying: “If you get vaccinated, you can go back to 2019 rules. If you don’t, you’ll have to follow 2020 protocols,” a strict regimen of testing, masking and social distancing guidance.


If you have been following the NBA playoffs, you will be aware that injuries to star players are turning into a huge story. . . . On top of that guard Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns now has tested positive. He was a key performer as the Suns ousted the defending-champion Los Angeles Lakers and then the Denver Nuggets, but now will miss the start of the Western Conference final against the Los Angeles Clippers or Utah Jazz. . . . Apparently, Paul has received at least one vaccination. . . . The Suns aren’t expected to update his situation before Saturday.

——

Meanwhile, the number of positive tests involving people who are connect with the Copa America soccer tournament in Brazil has reached at least 65, up from 53 on Wednesday. . . . Of those 65, 19 are players and 46 are staff members or officials. . . . Teams from Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia — that’s half the field — have confirmed positive tests. . . . Brazil, one of the world’s COVID-19 hotspots, stepped is as the tournament host only a short time before the games were to begin.


Germany has replaced Canada in the schedule for the Hlinka Gretzky Cup that is scheduled for Aug. 2-7 in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Piestany, Slovakia. . . . Canada cancelled its U18 selection camp for pandemic-released reasons so has bowed out of this year’s tournament. The 2020 event, you will recall, was to have been held in Edmonton and Red Deer but was cancelled due to the pandemic. . . . There is a news release that includes a schedule 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: Ron Robison, the WHL’s commissioner for 21 seasons, has been given a three-year contract running through 2023-24 by the board of governors. Robison, 66, took over the position prior to the 2000-01 season. In a news release, Bruce Hamilton, the chairman of the board, said the governors “voted unanimously to extend” Robison’s contract. . . . The WHL also announced Yvonne Bergmann’s retirement. The vice-president, business, Bergmann has been in the WHL office for 20 years. The league has hired Marco De Iaco as vice-president, business development. He had been president and CEO of JMI Sport & Entertainment Projects in Calgary. . . .

The Red Deer Rebels have signed Mike Egener as an assistant coach to work alongside recently signed head coach Steve Konowalchuk. Egener played four seasons (2000-04) as a defenceman with the Calgary Hitmen. He retired from playing in 2015 after spending three seasons with the Coventry Blaze of the Elite Ice Hockey League. He has been coaching at the OHA Academy since 2017. With the Rebels, he fills the spot left when the Rebels chose not to renew Brad Flynn’s contract. . . .

Former WHLer James Henry has signed on as the first head coach in the history of the Federal Prospects Hockey League’s Binghamton Black Bears. Most recently, he was an assistant coach with the Southern Professional Hockey League’s Fayetteville Marksmen. Henry, 30, is from Winnipeg. He played five seasons (2007-12) in the WHL, getting into 281 games with the Vancouver Giants and 28 with the Moose Jaw Warriors. He finished with 72 goals and 142 assists, adding 15 goals and 22 assists in 59 playoff games. . . .

According to Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff), there won’t be a Young Stars exhibition tournament in Penticton in 2021. Paterson tweeted that the Vancouver Canucks “have confirmed no Young Stars in Penticton this season due to scheduling uncertainty. Team is working with city and South Okanagan Events Centre on long-term plan to ensure prospect tournament returns.”


Eyes

Scattershooting on a Saturday night while wondering about Prime Mooner Socks . . .

Scattershooting2

Hey, if you’re going to be in New York City on June 26, you may be interested in knowing that Springsteen on Broadway will be playing at the St. James Theater. It is scheduled to run through Sept. 4. Yes, you will need a ticket. You also will be required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination. Enjoy!



So many people criticize athletes for providing stock answers in any kind of news conference situations. . . . Then, earlier this week, Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets offered comment on the four-game suspension he had received after a nasty hit in a playoff game against the Montreal Canadiens. . . . “I thought I was going to be tried to be shut down by Phillip Danault,” Scheifele said, referring to a Montreal forward. ”Instead, it was department of player safety that shut me down.” . . . For that, the social media mavens were all over him. Yes, it’s a hard world out there.


Jackson


By now you will be aware that the MLB spotlight has shifted from inept hitters who are incapable to going the other way against the shift to pitchers who are gooping up in order to increase their spin rates, which makes the ball to previously unseen things. Apparently, one of the products at least some of the pitchers are using is Spider Tack, which is what serious weightlifters use in order to make sure they have a solid grip on the bar.

Anyway, it turns out that there is another theory out there. Here’s slugger Pete Alonso of the New York Mets in conversation with media during the week: “The biggest concern is MLB manipulates the baseballs year in and year out depending on the free agency class. . . . Oh, no, that’s a fact. Yes, guys have talked about it. It’s not a coincidence. It definitely is something that they did.”

That brought this response from R.J. Anderson, who covers MLB for CBS Sports: “Whether or not one finds merit in Alonso’s conspiracy theory — and it’s reasonable to doubt that MLB is a competent enough organization from top to bottom to pull off such maneuvers — his willingness to publicize it, and to suggest other players hold the same belief, points to the distrust that exists within clubhouses toward commissioner Rob Manfred and the owners.”

And therein is the rub . . . the distrust between players and owners in MLB is off the charts.


Brazil, which has been something of a hotbed for COVID-19, is preparing to play host to Copa America, but first, well, a couple of teams have this problem. . . . Venezuela had eight players and three coaches test positive after arriving in Brazil, while three of Bolivia’s players and one coach also came up positive. . . . Venezuela, which also had two players test positive before departing for Brazil, responded by bring in 15 new players for its opening game today (Sunday) against Brazil. . . . The Bolivians are to play Monday against Paraguay. . . . The tournament will be played without spectators.


Autopsy


After 10 seasons in the KHL, former Kootenay Ice star Nigel Dawes has chosen to move to the DEL, having signed a two-year deal with Adler Mannheim. . . . Dawes, 36, played this season with Ak Bars Kazan, scoring 23 goals and adding 20 assists in 47 games. . . . Dawes, a Winnipeg native, left North America to play in the KHL with Barys Astana for the 2011-12 season. He spent seven seasons with the team in Kazakhstan and has a Kazakh passport. In fact, he has played internationally for Kazakhstan. . . . Dawes then played two seasons with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg before moving to Ak Bars Kazan. . . . According to Addler Mannheim’s news release, Dawes played in 608 KHL regular-season and playoff games, putting up 293 goals and 257 assists. He is No. 1 among non-Russian goal scorers and No. 2 overall. Dawes also is the fifth-leading point-getter in KHL history. . . . He played four seasons with the Ice in Cranbrook. . . . The New York Rangers selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2003 draft. In 212 NHL games, split among the Rangers, Phoenix Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Atlanta Thrashers and Montreal Canadiens, he had 39 goals and 45 assists.


The legend lives on . . .


If/when the Okanagan Lakers get final approval, they will begin play in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League in time for the start of the 2021-22 season. . . . The Lakers, who will play out of UBC-Okanagan in Kelowna, announced Friday that Kevin Bathurst will be their first head coach. He has been with the Pursuit of Excellence midget varsity team since 2018. . . . The Lakers also announced that Gage Colpron has signed on to the “coaching and operations staff.” He played four seasons at this level, splitting time between the BCIHL’s VIU Mariners and ACAC’s Augustana Vikings.


——

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 Victoria Royals and Medicine Hat Tigers cut a deal on Friday. The Victoria Royals added D Damon Agyeman (2002) and a ninth-round selection in the 2023 WHL prospects draft with the Tigers getting a conditional sixth-round pick in that same draft. . . . Agyeman, from Cochrane, Alta., has one goal and one assist in 21 games over three seasons with the Tigers.


Wok

Ousted in Everett, Davidson lands in Calgary . . . Hurricanes swing pair of deals . . . Rebels, Wheat Kings add to front offices

Garry Davidson has joined the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen as their director of player Calgarypersonnel. . . . Davidson has been a free agent since May 21 when the Everett Silvertips announced that his contract wouldn’t be renewed after nine mostly successful seasons. . . . In Calgary, Davidson replaces long-time WHL player, scout and executive Dallas Thompson, who had been Calgary’s director of player personnel since July 11, 2017. The Hitmen announced on May 26 that “Thompson will not be returning next season.” . . . Prior to signing with Everett, Davidson spent four seasons with the Portland Winterhawks, serving as director of player personnel and head scout. . . . “With the number of drafts in the WHL this year,” Hitmen general manager Jeff Chynoweth said in a news release, “scouting is more important than ever and we are thrilled to add Garry Davidson to our organization. He has a tremendous amount of experience, a winning pedigree and a diverse background with a proven track record of not only identifying but also recruiting players.” . . . The Hitmen also announced that Gary Michalick will be back for a five season. He is the organization’s travelling scout. . . . Thompson, 47, played three seasons (1992-95) with the WHL’s Tacoma Rockets. He later spent 16 seasons with the Prince George Cougars, 10 as general manager. He spent two seasons (2015-17) as Calgary’s director of scouting before being named director of player personnel.


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The Victoria Royals and Lethbridge Hurricanes got together on a trade on LethThursday, one in which the rights to F Chase LaPinta, an unsigned prospect from Frisco, Texas, moved to Vancouver Island. . . . The Royals got LaPinta and a seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2022 prospects draft, an eighth-round pick in 2022 and a second-rounder in 2024. The eighth-rounder originated with Victoria, so the Royals actually got back a pick that they had traded away. . . . In exchange, the Hurricanes acquired D Nolan Bentham (2003). . . . Bentham, from Victoria, was the 13th overall pick in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. As a freshman, he had one goal and two assists in 52 games with the Royals in 2019-20. He didn’t play with them in 2020-21. . . . LaPinta, a 2004-born skater, had six goals and six assists in 12 games with the 16U AAA Dallas Stars elite team this season. Lethbridge had selected him in the eighth round of the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. . . . However, on Oct. 5, LaPinta announced his commitment to play NCAA Division 1 hockey at Arizona State for 2022-23. He also is an affiliate with the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints. . . .

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes also dealt G Carl Tetachuk, 20, to the Moose Jaw Warriors for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2024 prospects draft. Tetachuk, who is from Lethbridge, went 50-28-11, 3.06, .901 in 95 regular-season appearances over the past three seasons with the Hurricanes. . . . He tweeted on Thursday evening that he is “excited to be a part of the Moose Jaw Warriors and look forward to playing for such a great organization.” . . . The Warriors finished 2020-21 with Boston Bilous and Brett Mirwald as their goaltenders. Bilous is heading into his 20-year-old season, while Mirwald will turn 18 on Sept. 13. . . . Lethbridge has two goaltenders on its roster — Jared Picklyk, 18, and Bryan Thomson, 19. . . . Randy Palmer of moosejawtoday.com reported that that Warriors also regained the WHL rights to G Brock Gould, 20, whom they had dealt to the Portland Winterhawks for the 2020-21 season. Palmer wrote that the Warriors “have since chosen to waive him.” . . . Palmer’s story is right here.


Brad Larsen has signed a three-year contract as head coach of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. He replaces John Tortorella, who had been in the position for six seasons. . . . Larsen, who will be 44 on June 28, was an assistant coach in Columbus for seven seasons. . . . He also spent two seasons (2012-14) as the head coach of the Springfield Thunderbirds, the Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate. . . . A native of Nakusp, B.C., Larsen played four seasons (1993-97) with the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos. His 12 season pro career included 294 NHL regular-season games, split among the Colorado Avalanche and Atlanta Thrashers.


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The Red Deer Rebels announced Thursday that Troy Gillard has joined the RedDeerorganization as the director of broadcasts and media. He had been filling the role on an interim basis following the departure of Cam Moon, who now is with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . Gillard was the play-by-play voice for the Rebels’ 23 games in the 2020-21 season. . . . He has been the news and sports director for Jim Pattison Media in Red Deer since 2012, during which time he also served as the host of the Rebels’ broadcasts. . . . Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com has more on Gillard’s move right here.


The Brandon Wheat Kings beefed up their front office on Thursday by making Brandonfour additions. . . . Branden Crowe steps in as director of social sales and strategic marketing. He also is the team’s play-by-play voice and will remain in that role. . . . Grady Manson, a former WHL player, now is the Wheat Kings’ director of corporate sales. He spent four seasons in the WHL (Moose Jaw Warriors, Tri-City Americans, 1992-96). He has spent the past 24 years in the golf and hospitality industry, most recently with the Wheat City Golf Course. He also has worked with the Clear Lake Golf Course in Onanole, Man., Bel Acres Golf Course in Winnipeg and the Elkhorn Resort, which also is in Onanole. . . . Wyatt Garden and Jordan Kaspick, both with ties to the Wheat Kings, have signed on with the Wheat Kings as account executives. Garden is the son of former Wheat Kings F Graham Garden. Of late, Wyatt has been in real estate and also owns The Media Garden, a video marketing frm. . . . Kaspick’s older brother, Tanner, is a former Wheat Kings captain and has been working in sales and marketing with the Wheat City Golf Course. . . . The complete news release is 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.


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Klassen hat trick lifts Portland . . . Owner’s son scores for Blazers . . . Royals get regulation victory


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The WHL had another good week with the COVID-19 testing process, this time WHL2having zero positives out of 729 tests for the period May 1 through May 7. . . . From the WHL’s news release: “To date, the WHL has administered a total of 9,735 tests for COVID-19 from Feb. 12 through May 7, with 14 positive test results.” . . . Meanwhile, there were four games on Saturday night, with the Everett Silvertips concluding their season with another victory . . . There now are only eight games remaining in this season — remember, there won’t be any playoffs. . . .

F Gabe Klassen scored three times and added an assist to lead the host Portland PortlandAlternateWinterhawks to a 5-1 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Portland (11-8-3) has won two in a row. . . . Spokane (6-9-5) has lost four straight (0-2-2). . . . F Seth Jarvis (14) and Klassen gave the Winterhawks a 2-0 first-period lead, with Klassen upping it to 3-0 at 8:7 of the second. . . . F Adam Beckman (17) got Spokane’s goal, on a PP, at 3:35 of the third period. . . . F Jaydon Dureau (8), on a PP, and Klassen added third-period goals for Portland. . . . Klassen’s first WHL hat trick gives him seven scores in 17 games this season. He finished last season with seven goals in 30 games. . . . Portland F Reece Newkirk drew three assists. . . . While Portland was 1-for-1 on the PP, Spokane was 1-for-7. . . . The Winterhawks held a 37-18 edge in shots, including 11-4 and 13-5 in the first two periods. . . .

F Gage Goncalves drew three assists to help the Everett Silvertips to a 4-1 Everettvictory over the host Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Everett ran its record to 19-4-0 in its final game of this season. . . . Seattle (9-12-1) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). . . . F Ben Hemmerling (3), F Ethan Regier (9), on a PP, and F Jacob Wright (9) had Everett out front 3-0 going into the third period. . . . F Keltie Jeri-Leon (16) got Seattle’s goal at 18:18 of the third period, but Everett F Ryan Hofer (6) got that one back at 19:24. . . . Everett got 29 saves from G Dustin Wolf, who finished the season 18-3-0, 1.80, .940, with four shutouts. . . .

In Kamloops, the Blazers scored the game’s first three goals and went on to a 3-Kamloops1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Kamloops (16-4-0), the visitor in this one, has won four in a row and will finish with the best record among the five B.C. Division teams. . . . The Giants now are 11-10-0. . . . The Blazers got first-period goals from F Fraser Minten (2) and F Dylan Sydor (1). . . . Yes, Sydor is the son of former WHL/NHL D Darryl Sydor, who now owns a chunk of the Blazers. . . . Dylan, who was playing in his 13th game, also has two assists. . . . Kamloops went ahead 3-0 when F Caedan Bankier got his 10th goal at 2:43 of the third period. . . . F Justin Sourdif (10) scored for the Giants at 11:39. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 20 shots for the Blazers, 10 fewer than Vancouver’s Trent Miner. . . .

In Kelowna, the Victoria Royals scored two second-period goals and held on for Royalsa 2-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Victoria (3-15-2) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). This was its first regulation-time victory of the season. . . . Prince George (9-8-3) had points in each of its previous six games (5-0-1). . . . The Cougars went 3-1-2 against the Royals this season, which means the Royals were 3-3-0. . . . F Brandon Cutler (9) put Victoria ahead 1-0, shorthanded, at 5:24 of the second, and F Keanu Derungs (4) added a PP goal at 16:23. . . . F Connor Bowie (8) pulled the Cougars to within a goal, on a PP, at 19:21. . . . G Adam Evanoff stopped 33 shots for the Royals, while the Cougars’ Ty Young turned aside 19. . . . F Jonny Hooker was back in Prince George’s lineup after serving a four-game suspension for a high hit on F Connor Zary of the Kamloops Blazers, who missed his fifth game last night.


Dorothy will be taking 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. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity.

——

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: It definitely is worth noting that former WHL referee Steve Kozari worked his 1,000th NHL game on Friday night when the Vegas Golden Knights were at home to the St. Louis Blues. That’s a lot of miles for a guy who was a terrific WHL official. Kozari, 47, is from Penticton.


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IIHF women’s tournament rescheduled for August; site TBA . . . Portland finally solves Everett . . . Oil Kings just keep on rolling


The IIHF announced on Friday that the 2021 Women’s World Championship will be held from Aug. 20-31 in Canada, although it apparently has yet to decide on a venue. . . . The 10-team tournament had been scheduled to begin next week in Nova Scotia — in Halifax and Truro — but was cancelled on April 21 by the provincial government. . . . The 2020 event also was to have been held in Halifax and Truro, but it, too, was cancelled because of the pandemic. . . . This time, Iain Rankin, Nova Scotia’s premier, was concerned about rising COVID-19 numbers. Earlier this week, Nova Scotia, which now is in a two-week lockdown, announced a pandemic-high 96 new positives. On Friday, it said there were 67 new cases, so the numbers may be starting to come down. . . . With Red Deer having played host to the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp last year and with Edmonton having played host to the 2021 World Junior Championship, you have to think those cities are favoured for the women’s event. But there may be other options. For starters, Tim Reid, the president and CEO of the Regina Exhibition Association Limited, told Claire Hanna of CTV News that his organization has spoken with the IIHF about playing host to the women’s tournament.


The Detroit Tigers visited the New York Yankees on Friday night in what was the first MLB game this season in which masks weren’t required in dugouts. Protocols agreed upon by MLB and the MLBPA before the season began called for a loosening of health and safety protocols if 85 per cent of what are referred to as Tier 1 staff were vaccinated. . . . Two other undisclosed teams have surpassed 85 per cent and five more are at 85 per cent and need only get two weeks past the vaccination date to have protocols loosened. . . . All told, according to an MLB news release, more than 81 per cent of all Tier 1 individuals across baseball, including players, are considered partially or fully vaccinated.” . . .

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies have placed SS Didi Gregorius on the COVID-19 list. Todd Zolecki of mlb.com wrote: “It does not mean Gregorius tested positive for COVID. Players can be held out because of contact tracing or other reasons. Gregorius until recently wore a mask at all times on the field. Earlier this week, he stopped wearing a mask when playing defense.” . . . The Phillies already are without INF Ronald Torreyes, who tested positive and is 10 days into quarantining in his hotel room.


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The WHL announced Friday that it didn’t receive any positives from the tests that were administered from April 25 through April 30. . . . According to the WHL, the five Alberta teams experienced a total of 159 tests, with the five U.S. Division teams seeing 467 and the five in B.C. getting 141. . . . The five Saskatchewan and two Manitoba teams completed their seasons in the Regina hub on Wednesday and apparently weren’t tested before heading home. . . . From the WHL’s news release: “To date, the WHL has administered a total of 9,006 tests for COVID-19 from Feb. 12 through April 30, with 14 positive test results.”

Meanwhile, there were four games played on Friday as the WHL closed out April . . .

In Portland, the Winterhawks scored the game’s last five goals and beat the PortlandAlternateEverett Silvertips, 5-2. . . . Everett had won the first five meetings between these teams this season. . . . Portland improved to 9-6-3, while Everett (15-4-0) had a six-game winning streak snapped. . . . F Hunter Campbell (9) and F Jackson Berezowski (4), on a PP, gave Everett a 2-0 first-period lead. . . . F Simon Knak got Portland’s comeback started at 11:24 of the second period. . . . Knak (12) tied it at 13:10 of the third and F Mason Mannek (8) broke the tie at 15:04. . . . The Winterhawks got insurance from D Kade Nolan (3), at 18:22, and F Tyson Kozak (3), at 18:52. . . . Sophomore F Jack O’Brien, who played most of this season with the USHL’s Lincoln Stars, made his Portland debut. He earned the lone assist on Knak’s first goal. . . . The Winterhawks had a 39-20 shot advantage, including 13-4 in the second and 17-4 in the third. . . .

F Josh Williams, playing in his 200th regular-season game scored three times Edmontonand added an assist to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to an 8-3 victory over the host Calgary Hitmen. . . . Edmonton, with points in 10 straight (9-0-1), is 18-1-1. . . . Calgary (8-8-2) has lost two in a row. . . . The Hitmen handed the Oil Kings their only regulation-time loss this season — 2-1 on March 28. . . . Williams picked up his second hat trick of this season and the third of his career. He played the first 92 games of his WHL career with the Medicine Hat Tigers, before being dealt to the Oil Kings. This season, he has 15 goals and 13 assists in 19 games. . . . The Hitmen were in this game until early in the third period. . . . F Adam Kydd (7) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead just 49 seconds into the game. . . . Williams put his guys out front 2-1 with goals at 4:28 and 8:44. . . . F Riley Stotts (5) pulled the Hitmen even at 10:03, but Edmonton D Matthew Robertson (4) broke the tie, on a PP, at 16:52. . . . After that five-goal first period, Edmonton D Ethan Cap (3) got the only goal of the second, at 16:12. . . . F Sean Tschigerl (11) pulled Calgary back to within a goal, on a PP, at 3:27 of the third period. . . . F Jalen Luypen (15) got that one back for Edmonton 21 seconds later. . . . F Caleb Reimer (3), F Carter Souch (6) and Williams completed Edmonton’s scoring, the latter two striking on the PP. . . . Souch also had three assists, giving him his first career four-point outing. . . . Luypen added two assists to his goal. . . . Edmonton was 3-for-7 on the PP; Calgary was 1-for-3. . . . F Scott Atkinson, the Oil Kings’ captain, was back in the lineup for the first time since March 28. . . . F Jake Neighbours of the Oil Kings had two assists to run his point streak to 19 games. He’s got nine goals and 24 assists. . . .

The Victoria Royals stopped a 10-game losing skid with a 2-1 OT victory over Royalsthe Prince George Cougars in Kamloops. . . . F Brayden Schuurman (5) won it at 3:00 of the extra period. . . . The Royals now are 2-13-1. . . . The Cougars (6-7-3) had won their previous two games. . . . F Brandon Cutler (6) gave Victoria a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 17:48 of the first period. . . . Prince George tied it on a goal by F Tyson Upper (3) at 8:06 of the third period. . . . Victoria G Adam Evanoff was the game’s first star, with 40 saves. . . . The Cougars got 21 stops from G Ty Young, an eighth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft who was making his second WHL start. . . . The Royals, with 12 freshmen on their roster, came within one loss of tying the franchise record of 11 straight losses that is shared by the 2006-07 Chilliwack Bruins and the 2012-13 Royals. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets scored five times in a 6:38 stretch of the first period en Rocketsroute to a 6-1 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Rockets (8-2-0) have won five in a row. . . . The Blazers (12-4-0) have lost two straight. . . . If there aren’t any more schedule disruptions, the Blazers will play 22 games this season, with the Rockets getting into 16. Because they won’t play equal games, the B.C. Division title will go to the team with the best points percentage. After this game, Kelowna, with 16 points, is at .800, with the Blazers, who have 24 points, at ,750. . . . These two teams will play again tonight, this time in Kamloops. . . . D Elias Carmichael (2), F Dylan Wightman (4), F Dillon Hamaliuk (5), Turner McMillen (2) and F Jake Poole (2) scored Kelowna’s first-period goals. The last four came in a stretch of 2:41. . . . F Daylan Kuefler (3) got a shorthanded goal for Kamloops at 11:02 of the third period. . . . F Nolan Flamand (1), on a PP, had Kelowna’s last goal. Flamand, a second-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, scoring his first WHL goal in his 13th game, 10 of them this season. He also has six assists this season. . . . G Cole Schwebius stopped 31 shots for the Rockets. . . . McMillen’s father, Dave, scored 13 goals in 188 WHL games split between the Moose Jaw Warriors, Victoria Cougars and Tacoma Rockets (1988-93). In two seasons (1991-93) with Tacoma, he had seven goals and 12 assists in 118 games. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers were without F Connor Zary, their captain, when they played in Kelowna on Friday night. He took a high hit from F Jonny Hooker of the Prince George Cougars in Kamloops on Wednesday night and didn’t return. . . . Hooker was given a minor penalty for charging on the play. . . . On Friday, according to the WHL website, Hooker was handed one of those TBD suspensions under supplemental discipline. . . . The Blazers also are without F Logan Stankoven, who is with Canada’s U18 team at the IIHF World Championship in Texas.


In the QMJHL, G Thomas Sigouin of the Quebec Remparts scored an empty-net goal as his guys beat the host Drummondville Voltigeurs, 5-2, to sweep a best-of-five first-round playoff series. When he wasn’t scoring, Sigouin was stopping 36 shots. Sigouin, 20, is the first goaltender in QMJHL history to score a goal in a playoff game. According to Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow), the goal was Sigouin’s first point in 63 QMJHL appeearances.


F Olen Zellweger of the Everett Silvertips had four assists and Team Canada U18scored five PP goals on Friday as they dumped Switzerland 7-0 at the IIHF U18 World Championship in Texas. . . . G Thomas Milic of the Seattle Thunderbirds earned the shutout for Canada, but he wasn’t at all busy as he was tested only 11 times. . . . Canada (3-0-0) will conclude its Group A round-robin schedule today (Saturday) against Belarus. . . . In Friday’s only other game, Finland skated to a 10-0 victory over Germany in Group B. . . . In today’s other Group A game, Latvia plays Sweden. . . . In Group B, it’s Russia against Czech Republic, and Team USA against Finland.


Electrician


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: After seven seasons at Burnaby Winter Club, Leland Mack is off to the Northern Alberta Xtreme as head coach of the U16 prep team. While with BWC, Mack had stints with the U16 prep and U15 prep teams. He also has spent 10 years as a scout with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Former WHLer David Schlemko (Medicine Hat, 2004-07) will join NAX as Mack’s assistant coach. Schlemko, whose professional career included 415 games over 11 seasons, retired as a player after the 2018-19 season.


Moon

Remembering 1945-46 USAHA-champion Vancouver Canucks . . . Russians stun Americans in Texas . . . Some twin history for Royals

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Some baseball numbers to chew on. . . . I watch a fair amount of baseball, so obviously am aware that there are a whole lot of strikeouts in today’s game. In fact, I would suggest that the numbers have become mind-numbing. . . .

John Shea is the national baseball writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. A couple of days ago, I read a story he had written about what the headline referred to as “baseball’s rising tide of strikeouts” and the numbers were out of this world. . . . The gist of the story was how the Giants and Oakland A’s were adding flame-throwers to their pitching staffs because of the preponderance of strikeouts in MLB. . . . The numbers are stunning. . . .

Going into last weekend, MLB teams had played 576 games. There had been 5,263 strikeouts and 4,414 hits, a difference of 849. As Shea reported, “From 1900 through 2017, hits always outnumbered strikeouts. . . . In 1998, the year the sport expanded to 30 teams, there were 12,596 more hits than strikeouts.” . . . In 2018, there were 189 more strikeouts than hits, the first time that had occurred. That number was 784 in 2019 and last season, in only 60 games, it was 1,147.

As I said . . . mind-numbing numbers.


The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to begin on July 23. But, yes, there are questions, lots of questions. . . . If you’re a Canadian, you know that tennis star Bianca Andreescu won’t play in the Madrid Open after testing positive, and Canada won’t compete in the World track relays in Poland in May. And now there have been two positive tests on one of the teams that was entering the Calgary bubble to play in the women’s World Curling Championship. . . . As Myles Dichter of CBC writes: “It remains unclear how positive tests and cases like Andreescu’s would be handled, and it also remains to be seen if Japanese citizens will come around to hosting, as the latest polling reveals that at least 70 per cent are opposed. Meanwhile, just one per cent of the Japanese population is vaccinated and the torch relay has been rerouted to avoid hot spots on multiple occasions as the country lives under its third state of emergency.”


Are you aware that the Vancouver Canucks once won the Walter A. Brown Cup as United States Amateur Hockey Association champions? Yes, they did. . . . The Canucks played in the Pacific Coast Hockey League in 1945-46, winning the league championship by beating the Hollywood Wolves, 4-1, in a best-of-seven final. . . . The Canucks then challenged the Boston Olympics, who had won the Eastern Hockey League title, for the U.S. crown. Boston’s lineup included future Hockey Hall of Famers Fern Flaman and Allan Stanley. . . . The series was played in Vancouver with the Canucks losing three of the first four games before storming back to win the title. . . . There’s more on this story, from Jason Beck of the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, right here.

The late Andy Clovechok was the scoring leader on that Vancouver team, winning the PCHL scoring title with 103 points, 56 of them goals, in 54 games. In September 2012, I wrote a bit about him and the 1945-46 Canucks as they were about to be inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. . . . “The next season,” Clovechok said of the Olympics, “eight of Boston’s 14 players were in the National Hockey League. That’s how good they were.” . . . That story is right here.


Farmer


The 2021 IIHF U18 World Hockey Championship opened Monday in Frisco and Plano, Texas, and there was a shocker in the opening draw. . . . F Nikita Chibrikov, Russia’s captain, went end-to-end in OT and scored at 1:25 to give Russia a 7-6 victory over the U.S. Russia had trailed 5-1 in the second period. . . . Lucas Aykroyd has the game story right here. . . .

In the other Group B game on opening day, Czech Republic beat Germany, 3-1. . . . In Group A, Sweden bounced Belarus, 5-1, and Switzerland doubled Latvia, 4-2. . . . Canada plays its first game today when it meets Sweden (TSN, 6 p.m. PT). The other Group A game has Switzerland against Belarus. . . . In Group B, it’s Finland versus Russia and Germany against the U.S.


While the U18 teams began battling it out in Texas, there were three WHL games on Monday night . . .

The Winnipeg Ice scored three third-period goals to beat the Prince Albert WinnipegRaiders, 4-3, in the Regina hub. . . . Winnipeg (17-5-1) has points in six straight (5-0-1). . . . The Raiders are 8-11-4. . . . Prince Albert scored three PP goals to take a 3-1 lead into the third period. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (6) got it started at 11:16 of the first period. . . . F Jackson Leppard (2) pulled the Ice into a tie at 6:36 of the second. . . . The Raiders went up 3-1 on goals from F Spencer Moe (2), at 10:29, and F Justin Nachbaur (6), at 17:07. . . . F Conor Geekie (8) started the Winnipeg comeback at 9:28 of the third and F Zachary Benson (9) tied it, on a PP, at 10:48. . . . D Karter Prosofsky got the winner, his first WHL goal, at 15:20. . . . A second-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft, Prosofsky was playing in his 57th game. . . . Ice F Peyton Krebs drew an assist on the game’s final goal to run his point streak to 22 games. That is a Kootenay/WInnipeg Ice franchise record, breaking the previous record that was set by F Mike Comrie with Kootenay in 2000-01. . . . Winnipeg got 24 saves from G Daniel Hauser, who is 7-0-1, 3.10, .898. He was a sixth-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . .

D Rhett Rhinehart’s OT goal gave the Saskatoon Blades a 5-4 victory over the BladesMoose Jaw Warriors in the Regina hub. . . . The Blades (15-5-3) had lost their previous four games (0-3-1). . . . The Warriors (8-13-3) finished their 24-game schedule by dropping four straight (0-2-2). . . . F Kyle Crnkovic had two goals and two assists for the Blades, with F Colton Dach, who assisted on the winner, scoring once and adding three helpers. . . . Crnkovic, who has 10 goals, gave Saskatoon a 1-0 lead at 3:49 of the first period, with Moose Jaw F Logan Doust (2) equalizing at 7:27. . . . Crnkovic scored a shorthanded goal at 11:24 of the second period for a 2-1 lead, only to have the Warriors tie it on a goal by F Jagger Firkus (6) at 12:02. . . . The Blades broke the tie on goals from Dach (9) and D Chase Wouters (9) at 0:08 and 5:29 of the third. . . . D Daemon Hunt (8), on a PP, and F Calder Anderson (3) scored for the Warriors at 7:02 and 15:43 to get proceedings into OT. . . . Rhinehart won it at 1:27. . . . Despite nine goals, 12 minor penalties and OT, the game took only two hours 12 minutes to complete. . . .

In Kamloops, the Prince George Cougars opened a 3-0 lead en route to a 4-1 PGvictory over the Victoria Royals. . . . The Cougars (5-7-2) had lost its previous four games. . . . The Royals (1-12-1) have dropped nine in a row. . . . F Kyren Gronick (5) and F Ethan Browne (4), on a PP, scored first-period goals for the Cougars, with F Jonny Hooker (6) making it 3-0 at 11:11 of the second. . . . F Trentyn Crane (2) got the Royals on the board at 5:44 of the third period but F Craig Armstrong (6) got that one back for Prince George at 7:30. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 25 shots for the Cougars. . . . Ryan Spizawka made his WHL debut with the Royals, joining his twin brother, Jason, in the lineup. The brothers, from Victoria, are defencemen. Jason, the 19th overall pick in the 2019 bantam draft, has three assists in 12 games. Ryan was a seventh-round selection in that draft. . . . According to Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist, they are the “fourth set of identical twins” to play on the same WHL team. Dheensaw writes: “Jeremy and Josh Schappert skated with the Seattle Thunderbirds from 2005 to 2007, future NHLers Ron and Rich Sutter with the Lethbridge Broncos from 1980 to 1983, and Ted and Brent McAneeley with the Edmonton Oil Kings from 1968 to 1970.”


Dorothy, my wife of almost 49 years, had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, and now is preparing to take part in her eighth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. It happens virtually on June 6. You are able to join her team with 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: Colin Campbell, who has been with the Seattle Thunderbirds since 1994, has been promoted to president. He had been the team’s vice-president for business operations for 19 seasons. According to a news release, he will “oversee all hockey and business operations” for the organization. That news release is right here. . . . Brandin Cote, an assistant coach with the Swift Current Broncos, will leave after this season to become the associate coach with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies. The Broncos and Huskies confirmed the move on Monday. Cote is in his third season with the Broncos. Cote will work alongside Mike Babcock, the Huskies’ new head coach. Cote spent three seasons (1997-2000) as a player under Babcock with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs.


Daylighttime

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if this is the week when summer arrives . . .

Scattershooting2

The Vancouver Canucks had hoped to re-open team facilities on Sunday, but the Canucksvirus apparently wasn’t consulted before those plans were made.

Now, if all goes well, those facilities may re-open today.

On Sunday, the Canucks removed F Adam Gaudette from the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, but F Jay Beagle was added to it. Beagle had been on injured reserve. Adding Beagle to the list left 19 Vancouver players on it.

The NHL announced Sunday afternoon that “although the Player has not been around the team during the relevant time period (since March 31), the League’s, NHLPA’s and Club’s medical groups determined that the prudent decision was to keep the facilities closed for an additional day.”

Gaudette was the first of the Canucks to test positive. He was removed from a practice session on March 30 after the Canucks received his test result. D Travis Hamonic went on the list on March 31. The Canucks also have had three coaches, one member of the support staff and three players from the taxi squad test positive. There also are an undisclosed number of family members who have tested positive.

The Canucks, who last played a game on March 24, still are scheduled to return to game action on Friday against the visiting Edmonton Oilers with the Toronto Maple Leafs to visit on Saturday.

The NHL is expecting the Canucks to begin with six games in nine nights. Their first nine games are to be played in 14 nights. Yikes!


Vaccine


There aren’t words in any language to describe how much I despise the MLB extra-inning rule under which a team starts with a runner on second base. It’s a gimmick, nothing more and nothing less, and MLB should be embarrassed by stooping so low as to use it.


Old friend Neate Sager, who doesn’t mind the MLB gimmickry, is writing at neatefreatsports these days, and it’s worth it for you to pay a visit, especially if you like your current events mixed with humour and just a dash of snark.

Here he is leading into a bit on the Vancouver Canucks’ recent travails:

“You might end up on injured reserve with strained credulity if you believe the Vancouver Canucks, who have only four players who are ‘not on the National Hockey League’s COVID-19 protocol list,’ are going to complete their schedule.

“Deadspin, which can say it since it has no client relationship with the NHL like those of the telcos in Canada, pointed out the timeline makes it impossible. The league’s best-case scenario is for Vancouver to return to play around April 16, but that seems too optimistic by half, and half again.”

I highly recommend that you check him out right here.


Hey, ESPN, I tried to watch your telecast — the Philadelphia Phillies were playing the Braves in Atlanta on Sunday night. I really did. In the end, I did watch it, but with no sound. You’re drowning a game that needs to breathe in order to be enjoyed. And the numbers . . . so many numbers as to give a baseball fan vertigo.


So . . . I mentioned this Expos-Padres discrepancy to Dorothy on Friday night. “Yeah,” she replied, “but the Padres lasted longer than the Expos, so there you go!”



Information that you need to know. . . . According to Forbes magazine, Terry Pegula, who owns among other things the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, has improved his net worth from US$5 billion to $5.4 billion over the past year. The rich people, of course, keep score by dollar bills. On Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires, $5.4 billion puts you in 520th place. . . . Who’s No. 1? Jeff Bezos, Mr. Amazon, tops the list for the fourth straight year, this time at $177 billion. . . . Forbes’ numbers show the world contains 2,775 billionaires, up 660 from a year ago.


On the subject of dollars, here’s a note from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “A baseball bat — a 34-inch, 36-ounce Bill Dickey model Louisville Slugger used by Lou Gehrig in 1938, his final full MLB season — drew 26 bids at SCP Auctions and sold this month for $715,120. Or 23 times the $31,000 the Yankees paid Gehrig to play that year.”

——

“A fan in Anaheim threw an inflatable trash can onto the field during an Astros-Angels game,” reports Perry. “Three players on the Houston bench immediately yelled, ‘Pitch-out!’ ”



With MLB having yanked its All-Star Game out of Atlanta because of Georgia’s new restrictive voting legislation, there were mutterings that the Masters should follow suit and move. To which Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune wrote: “If you’re waiting in line for golfers to boycott, bring some bottled water.”



Ferguson Jenkins is 78 now, but it’s never too late for a statue. Yes, the Chicago Cubs are going to honour Jenkins with a statue outside Wrigley Field. . . . Here’s Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “Of course, times have changed and the way in which starting pitchers are utilized has changed but in his day, and for 19 seasons, Jenkins stood alone among Canadian ballplayers and Canadian athletes — and sometimes we seem to forget all that.” . . . As Simmons points out, Jenkins once had six straight seasons with at least 20 victories. He once started 42 games in a season. He threw more than 300 innings in four different seasons. He threw 30 complete games in 1971 when he won the Cy Young Award. In one seven-season stretch, Jenkins threw 272 complete games. . . . And, no, his arm never fell off.


Here’s a memo from Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe: “Dear Media. It’s called ‘The Masters.’ Not ‘The Masters Without Tiger Woods.’ Thank you.”


Castle


There were four games in the WHL on Sunday. Some highlights and tidbits . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s last two goals to beat the host Tri-SeattleCity Americans, 3-2. . . . The Americans (5-6-0) held a 2-1 lead after getting two late first-period goals from F Sasha Mutala (4), at 18:04, and D Mitchell Brown (2), at 18:54. . . . F Henri Rybinski’s second goal of the season, on a PP, tied it at 4:21 of the second period. . . . F Jordan Gustafson (4) scored the game’s final goal, on another PP, at 5:33. . . . Seattle (6-5-0) was 3-for-9 on the PP; Tri-City was 1-for-4. . . . The Thunderbirds won’t have F Conner Roulette again this WHL season. He now joins Canada’s U18 team for the IIHF World championship that opens in Texas on April 26. . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders scored three times in the third period to beat the RaidersSwift Current Broncos, 4-2, in Regina. . . . F Cole Nagy (3) scored on a PP at 6:58 of the third period to get the Broncos into a 1-1 tie. . . . D Landon Kosior (2), on a PP, put the Raiders back out front and F Evan Herman (5) stretched the lead at 12:03. . . . F Mathew Ward (4) got the Broncos back to within a goal at 14:11, but F Eric Pearce (6) put it away with the empty-netter. . . . G Max Paddock stopped 35 shots for the Raiders, including a second-period penalty shot attempt by F Michael Farren. . . . The Broncos got 33 saves from G Reid Dyck, including a second-period penalty shot attempt by Herman. . . . The Raiders (5-8-3) had lost their previous three games (0-2-1). . . . The Broncos (3-12-1) have lost five straight. . . . Raiders D Nolan Allan played his final WHL game of this season. He is going into isolation and then will join Canada’s U18 team for the IIHF World championship in Frisco and Plano, Texas. It opens on April 26. . . .

G Nolan Maier turned aside 42 shots to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 3-2 Bladesvictory over the Brandon Wheat Kings in Regina. . . . The victory lifted the Blades (12-2-2) into first place in the Regina hub, two points ahead of the Wheat Kings (12-3-2). The Wheat Kings had points in each of their previous nine games (8-0-1). . . . Saskatoon now has points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . The Blades took a 2-0 lead on PP goals from F Chase Wouters (6) at 18:56 of the first period and F Kyle Crnkovic (7) at 4:50 of the second. . . . F Ben McCartney (8) pulled Brandon to within a goal on a PP at 10:16. . . . Saskatoon F Brandon Lisowsky (6) stretched the lead to two at 16:44 of the third. . . . Brandon got back to within a goal when F Ridly Greig (6) counted at 19:54. . . . Saskatoon was 2-for-5 on the PP; Brandon was 1-for-6. . . . G Ethan Kruger stopped 19 shots for Brandon. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers unleashed a 60-shot attack and got four assists from F KamloopsConnor Zary in beating the Victoria Royals, 4-3, in Kelowna. . . . At one point in the third period, the Royals led 3-2 as they were being outshot, 51-12. . . . The Royals erased a 2-1 deficit on goals from F Alex Bolshakov (3), his second of the game, at 6:33 of the third period and F Ty Yoder (2), at 9:16. . . . F Josh Pillar (3) pulled Kamloops into a tie at 13:16 and D Inaki Baragano (1) got the winner at 16:04. . . . Zary has 14 points, including 11 assists, in seven games. . . . Victoria G Adam Evanoff finished with 56 saves, 40 more than Dylan Garand of the Blazers. . . . The Blazers now are 6-1-0. . . . The Royals are 1-6-1 and have lost three in a row. . . . Victoria was without F Keanu Derungs, F Tarun Fizer, F Riley Gannon, F Matthew Hodson and D Noah Lamb, and was able to dress only 10 forwards. . . . The Royals are adding F Ryan Spizawka, a seventh-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, to their roster. His twin brother, Jason, the 19th overall pick in 2019, already is on the roster. They are from Victoria. . . . The WHL season is over for Kamloops F Logan Stankoven, who will play for Canada at the IIHF U18 World championship in Texas later this month. He put up 10 points, including seven goals, in six games this season.


Please don’t forget that Dorothy, who had a kidney transplant more than seven years ago, is preparing to take part in her eighth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. Unfortunately, it will be a virtual walk for a second straight year, but that won’t keep her from fund-raising on behalf of the Kidney Foundation. If you would like to help her out, 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.


Random

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

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

Because it isn’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Mars


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now Virtanen.

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

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

——

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


Walmart


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Carpet