Konowalchuk returns to coaching game . . . President Piper leaving Winterhawks . . . QMJHL rocked by sexual assault investigation

The WHL’s only head-coaching vacancy was filled on Tuesday when the Red RedDeerDeer Rebels announced they had hired Steve Konowalchuk to replace Brent Sutter, who remains the franchise’s owner, president and general manager. . . . Sutter stepped aside on April 11. At the time, assistant coaches Alex Colville and Brad Flynn, along with assistant GM Shaun Sutter, took over the coaching duties. After the season, the Rebels chose not to renew the contracts of Flynn and goaltender coach Kraymer Barnstable. . . . Konowalchuk, 48, spent six seasons as the head coach the Seattle Thunderbirds and guided them to the WHL championship in 2016-17. He followed that with one season as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. He has spent the past three seasons scouting for the New York Rangers. . . .

“I enjoyed that, but there was always a part of me that wondered which path to follow — to stay on the management side or the coaching side,” Konowalchuk told Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com. “I guess there are pros and cons to both.”

Konowalchuk added: “I saw a while back that Red Deer was looking for a coach and that got me thinking. With the reputation the organization has and with all Brent’s done in the game, it was intriguing for me because I want to be in a place where I can grow as a coach.

“You always want to go to a place where you can learn, just like when I was with the Rangers I was learning about scouting and management. I know when I was coaching in Seattle that Red Deer was always considered to be one of the teams that had a chance to win all the time.”

Meachem’s complete story is right here.


Doug Piper, the president of the Portland Winterhawks, has left PortlandAlternatethe organization after being an integral part of it since 2008. The Winterhawks, who have been under new ownership since Jan. 1, announced his resignation on Tuesday morning. . . . Bill Gallacher purchased the Winterhawks early in the 2008-09 season, with the team coming off 17- and 11-victory seasons. Piper provided a steady hand atop the organization as it rebuilt. From a news release: “During Doug’s tenure, the team consistently sat atop the WHL in wins, attendance, sponsorship sales and overall revenues. In the decade from 2010 to 2020 the Winterhawks had more wins than any other team in the Canadian Hockey League. In addition, during the past 13 years, the team won the WHL Championship in 2013, two Scotty Munro Memorial Trophies, and four Western Conference titles.” . . . Of late, Piper has been leading the Winterhawks’ side of the conversation that is likely to lead to the official dumping of the franchise’s longtime Indian head logo. . . . Joshua Critzer (@jjcritzer) of pnwhockeytalk.com added via Twitter that “Kelly Robinett is no longer with the organization full time.” Robinett, who has been with the Winterhawks for more than 20 years, has been the senior vice-president of operations and marketing. . . . The Winterhawks now are owned by Winterhawks Sports Group, which is controlled by investment banker Michael Kramer and Kerry Preete, a retired Monsanto executive.


Two players from the Victoriaville Tigres were arrested on Tuesday as part of a qmjhlnewsexual assault investigation involving a party on Saturday following the team’s victory in the final game of the QMJHL’s championship final. . . . Felix Seguin of Le Journal de Montreal reported that the party was held “at the Entourage sur-le-Lac hotel located in Lac-Beauport. This is where the team that had just won its first QMJHL title in 19 years was housed.” . . . As of Tuesday evening, formal charges hadn’t been filed. . . . Gilles Courteau, the QMJHL’s longtime commissioner, said the league will hold its own internal investigation into the situation.


The 12-team SJHL announced on Tuesday that it plans on opening its 2021-22 regular season on Sept. 24. . . . The SJHL’s 2020-21 season was limited to 29 games because of the pandemic. Five teams played six games each, with one getting in only two. . . . Its 2021-22 regular season is scheduled to conclude on March 4, with the playoffs getting started on March 11. . . . There is a complete news release right here.

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Facebook


As much as we would like to think the worst of the pandemic is behind us, there always are little reminders that it’s still hanging around. . . . On Tuesday, the Falkland, B.C., Stampede announced that it was cancelling the 2021 rodeo. It had already lost the 2020 Stampede to the pandemic, and had postponed the 2021 rodeo to Aug. 27-29. But the Falkland Community Association, which runs the popular event, has decided to cancel it. . . . The Stampede, which was first held in 1919, usually is held on the Victoria Day long weekend. . . .

Also on Tuesday, Lacrosse Canada announced the cancellation of the 2021 Minto Cup, the junior A national championship. “This decision,” reads a news release, “follows Lacrosse Canada’s announcement last month of the cancellation of 10 national championships.” . . . Lacrosse Canada pointed out that “this is not a cancellation of the lacrosse season in Canada.” The B.C. junior A league, the Rocky Mountain league and the Ontario junior A league all are “planning modified seasons in accordance with their provincial health and safety regulations.”


Books


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: Castan Sommer, who left his job as an assistant coach with the Seattle Thunderbirds last week, has joined the College of the Holy Cross Crusaders in Worcester, Mass., as an assistant coach. He had been with Seattle through four seasons. Sommer attended Holy Cross and played there while his father, Roy Sommer, was the head coach of the AHL’s Worcester Sharks. . . . The 2021 U-18 Hlinka Gretzky Cup is scheduled for Breclav, Czech Republic, and Piestany, Slovakia, Aug. 2-7, but it’ll be played without a Canadian entry. Instead, Bernd Freimueller (@bfreimueller) reports that Germany will get into the tournament. The 2020 tournament was to have been played in Edmonton and Red Deer, but was cancelled by the pandemic. . . . Randy Hansch, a former WHL player, executive and scout, has joined the amateur scouting staff of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. He scouted for the Buffalo Sabres from 2018-20. Hansch was a WHL goaltender (Victoria Cougars, Kamloops Blazers, 1982-86). He later spent 10 seasons as the Blazers’ director of player personnel. He also spent 11 seasons (2007-18) with the Edmonton Oil Kings, the last five as general manager.


Bears

Scattershooting on a Saturday night while pondering what just happened on the PGA Tour . . .

Scattershooting2


Covid


It has been a while since the sporting media has had access to locker rooms/dressing rooms, and it would appear that this situation will go on for a while longer. For starters, it seems the NFL is going to keep the warriors of the keyboards and the talking heads away at least during training camps and exhibition games. . . . The NFL, of course, is citing health concerns due to COVID-19, but this kind of access has come to be a real bone of contention in recent years. . . . During the pandemic, media has had to make do, for the most part, with Zoom calls. . . . Jay Rigdon of Awful Announcing writes: “The longer ‘no reporters in the locker room’ is the practice, the tougher it might be for reporters to ever get that privilege back again. If that happens, the job is going to look much, much different for sports journalists.” . . . Rigdon’s report is right here.

Meanwhile, in MLB, members of the media who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to have one-on-one conversations with team personnel on the field during pre-game warmups and batting practice. . . . Andrew Bucholtz of Awful Announcing has more on all of this right here.




Headline at The Onion (@TheOnion): Ron Artest Lands Consulting Role Teaching NBA Players How To Defend Selves From Rowdy Fans.



I haven’t watched a whole lot of these NHL playoffs, and I was reminded why after tuning in for the last half of the Wednesday night game between the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche. The inconsistent standard of officiating just never seems to change. The Golden Knights got away with a cross-check off a faceoff that should have been a double minor, then lost the game on a PP goal after a slashing call that was embarrassingly soft. . . . It’s too bad because that weak slashing call overshadowed what had seemed to be an awfully good playoff game.


Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle, reflecting on the number of injuries to key players in the NBA playoffs and whether a compressed regular season may be having an impact: “It would be such a sensible idea to shorten the schedule and lengthen the spells between games. Back-to-backs: never again. Long stretches of playing every other day: nope. Cut it to 58 games, each of the 30 teams playing the others twice each. Couldn’t be simpler, except for one thing: the greedy nature of billionaire owners. As Draymond Green put it so well on TNT the other night: ‘If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.’ ”


MountainDew


The Victoriaville Tigres won the QMJHL championship on Saturday afternoon, beating the Val-d’Or Foreurs, 3-2 in double OT, on a goal by F Alex Beaucage. . . . Victoriaville won the best-of-seven championship, 4-2, with all games played in Quebec City. The first game was played without fans; a maximum of about 2,000 fans was allowed for each of the last five games. Saturday’s announced attendance was 2,176. . . . The Tigres led 2-1 after the first period. . . . The Foreurs forced OT on F Jeremy Michel’s goal at 14:40 of the third period. . . . Beaucage won it at 1:01 of the second extra period.


Here’s Ken Dryden in Saturday’s Toronto Sun:

Head hits. Whether intentional, careless or completely accidental, that distinction matters only to the hitter, not to the player hit. Nor even much to the rest of us now. The back stories — it’s the sort of thing he would do, or wouldn’t do — who cares? It’s about Tavares not Corey Perry, Evans not Mark Scheifele.

“And we know now. Everybody knows. Not just the scientists. The media know. Ron MacLean knows. So do Elliotte Friedman and Cassie Campbell, so do Darren Dreger, Craig Simpson, Pierre LeBrun and all the others. They know. George Parros knows, Bill Daly knows, so do all the owners. Jeremy Jacobs, Geoff Molson, Larry Tanenbaum, they all know. Mark Chipman, David Thomson, Murray Edwards, Daryl Katz, Francesco Aquilini, Eugene Melnyk. They all know. Don Fehr, the head of the NHL Players’ Association, he knows. Gary Bettman knows.”

That complete piece is right here.


Jon Rahm, the second-ranked golfer in the world, finished his third round with a six-stroke lead at the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, on Saturday when he was told that he had tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, he had to withdraw from the tournament. . . . It’s interesting that Rahm didn’t get vaccinated until earlier this week when contact tracing found him to have been in close proximity to someone who had tested positive. . . . He was in line to win more than US$1.5 million. . . . Bob Harig of ESPN has more right here.


As another reminder of the times in which we are living, the Singapore Grand Prix that was scheduled for Oct. 3 has been cancelled due to the pandemic. The Canadian Grand Prix that was to have run on June 13 and the Chinese Grand Prix both were cancelled earlier in the year. . . . The Turkish Grand Prix was going to take over the June 13 race date, but that also was cancelled. . . . The Australian Grand Prix was to have been run in March but now is on the schedule for November.


Resume


Soccer’s Canadian Premier League will gather its eight teams in Winnipeg and play 32 games from June 26 through July 24. Games will be played without fans at IG Field, the home of the CPL’s Valour FC and the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers. . . . Following the completion of the Winnipeg schedule, teams will return to their homes and hopefully complete their seasons with fans in the stands.


Gaelan Patterson has joined the junior B Port Alberni Bombers as the Vancouver portalbernibombersIsland Junior Hockey League expansion team’s first general manager and head coach. . . . Patterson, 30, spent three seasons on the coaching staff of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves, leaving in mid-April to take over as director of hockey operations for the Nanaimo Minor Hockey Association. His stint with NMHA didn’t last two months. . . . The VIJHL recently awarded an expansion team to the same Port Alberni group that owns the BCHL’s Bulldogs. . . . Patterson played four seasons (2006-10) with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades. . . . Most recently, he was the Ice Wolves’ associate GM and associate head coach.


The Sarnia Sting selected G Taya Currie in the 14th round of the OHL’s Priority Selection draft on Saturday. The 16-year-old from Parkhill, Ont., thus became the first female player to be picked in the draft’s history. She is 5-foot-7, 143 pounds and catches left. She played in 2019-20 with the U-16 AAA Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs, but her 2020-21 season was cancelled because of the pandemic.


Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, today. 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.


Hawaii

Who will be Blazers’ next GM? . . . Sheffield fan remembers a ‘Frankie wonderland’ . . . Tigres one victory from title

Matt Bardsley surprised a whole lot of people on May 25 when he announced that he was leaving his post as general manager of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. After all, the signs seem to point to the Blazers finally having returned to prominence in the B.C. Division. However, Bardsley cited family reasons in wanting to return to the U.S., so he will depart following month’s end. . . . But who will move into the GM’s office when Bardsley is gone? Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week checks in with a handful of candidates right here.


Frank Kovacs, one of hockey’s good guys, turned 50 on Thursday. Kovacs, who played five seasons (1987-92) with the Regina Pats, also spent three seasons (1996-99) with the Sheffield Steelers of what was then the British Ice Hockey Super League. After playing with the Steelers, he finished up with four seasons in Hungary. . . . But it’s interesting the relationships that live on with some of these players and fans. . . . On Thursday, Bryan Crabtree (@BryanCrabtree) tweeted to Kovacs: “Thanks for the wonderful memories when you played for the Steelers.” . . . Crabtree closed with: “There’s only one Frankie Kovacs, skating along, singing a song, skating in a Frankie wonderland.” . . . Wonderful! . . . Kovacs, by the way, now is a member of the Regina Police Service.


The Victoriaville Tigres scored a 3-1 victory over the Val-d’Or Foreurs on Thursday night and now hold a 3-2 edge in the QMJHL’s best-of-seven championship final. . . . The entire series is being played in Quebec City. . . . Game 6 is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, with a seventh game, if necessary, to be played Sunday afternoon. . . . In Game 5, as in Game 4, the Foreurs scored a first-period goal and then didn’t score again. . . . F Olivier Coulombe pulled Victoriaville even at 18:21 of the first period and the Tigres added a pair of third-period goals, with F Nicolas Daigle counting at 0:45 and F Benjamin Tardif adding insurance at 9:07. . . . G Nikolas Hurtubise stopped 33 shots to earn the victory. . . . If you’re wondering about attendance, the series opener was played without fans, but the league received the OK to allow 2,000 fans in for each of ensuing games. The next four games drew, in order, crowds of 1,958, 2,146, 1,948 and 1,808.



Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on Sunday. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity. She just had a big day and now is having her best fund-raising Walk yet.


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

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: Castan Sommer, an assistant coach with the Seattle Thunderbirds since Aug. 4, 2017, has resigned. According to Bill La Forge, the Thunderbirds’ general manager, Sommer “has accepted an assistant coach position with a soon-to-be-announced team.” The Thunderbirds now are on the hunt for a replacement. Head coach Matt O’Dette’s staff includes assistant coach Kyle Hagel and goaltender coach Ian Gordon.


Jeep

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while daring to watch Where Eagles Dare . . .

Scattershooting2


Betty


You may have heard that LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers may or may not have been in violation of NBA protocol when he recently attended a promotional event for a tequila brand that he has backed as an investment. No, the NBA didn’t suspend him, so he was able to play in that play-in game against the Golden State Warriors. . . . The best explanation I have seen as to why he wasn’t disciplined came from Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon: “The NBA is not going to suspend LeBron James from the playoffs or require him to be in quarantine for a week or so unless he tests positive for the coronavirus three or four times in succession as do a half-dozen of his teammates along with his family with whom he has had close contact for the past 10 days.”


If you’ve been wondering just how things went down in Everett as the Silvertips made the decision no to renew GM Garry Davidson’s contract, Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald has the dope right here . . .


I saw this note from TSN on Tuesday night, after the Toronto Maple Leafs blanked the Montreal Canadiens, 4-0, in a playoff game: “The last time the Toronto Maple Leafs shutout the Montreal Canadiens in playoffs was April 22, 1967. It was Johnny Bower’s last playoff shutout.” . . . Gotta love historical notes like that one. And if you haven’t read Dan Robson’s book on Bower — Bower: A Legendary Life — give it a look. Bower, a terrific person, was a great story and this is a truly enjoyable read.


Phone



If you’re a regular here, you know that Dwight Perry’s name shows up in Scattershooting on a regular basis. He writes and puts together Sideline Chatter for the Seattle Times, something he has done since 1999. However, he is on the IL as he deals with a health-related issue, but if you click right here you will find what a tribute to him that was put together by his friend and workmate, Scott Hanson . . . Enjoy!


The next time you’re on your deck or patio putting the chops on the barbecue — or grill — think about this for a moment: The Food Network just signed Guy Fieri to a new three-year contract said to be worth US$80 million, or more than Cdn$96 million. . . . You are correct. We picked the wrong line of work but, hey, enjoy the chops!


Taster


Remember the Vancouver riot of 2011? If so, you’ll remember the iconic photo of the couple — Alex Thomas and Scott Jones — laying in an empty street and embracing, with a riot cop in the forefront. ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski checked in with them in Australia and with the Vancouver-based photographer, Richard Lam, this week and came up with a great read that is right here. Enjoy!


So I was puttering around in our yard earlier this week and got to wondering if anyone else has noticed that we really are living on one giant anthill (aka earth)?


Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “They’ve taken down the ‘Loretta’s Lounge’ sign at the White Sox’ ballpark, honoring the late Loretta Micele, whose service in club concessions dated to the original Comiskey Park in 1945. The eating/seating area is now called ‘La Russa’s Lounge’ after manager Tony La Russa, 76, certain to retire within the next few years (if not sooner) and who has a history of DUI issues. Man, that’s tacky.”


If you haven’t already seen this, turn up the volume . . .


And so it begins . . . maybe . . .

The NBA’s New York Knicks announced Friday that if they advance to the second round of the playoffs, tickets will be sold only to people who have been fully vaccinated. . . . “With the Knicks’ sizeable and boisterous crowds becoming a national conversation,” wrote Marc Berman of the New York Post, “the Knicks announced they will sell second-round tickets to only vaccinated fans. No socially distanced sections will be available.” . . . Of course, the Knicks are trailing the Atlanta Hawks, 3-1, in a best-of-seven first-round series so the announcement may have been for naught. They’ll play Game 5 in New York on Wednesday.


Mike Lupica in the New York Daily News: “It is worth pointing out, as the second tennis major of the season begins at Roland Garros, that Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic have combined to win 58 major tennis championships. Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe combined to win 26.”


CrimeRate


In the QMJHL, the host Victoriaville Tigres scored three times in the last 6:36 of the third period and went on to beat the Val-d’Or Foreurs, 4-3 in OT, in the championship final. Victoriaville leads the best-of-seven series, 2-1. . . . F Conor Frenette got the winner at 7:03 of OT. . . . They’ll play Game 4 in Victoriaville on Tuesday. . . . On Sunday, the Tigres tied it on goals from F Nicolas Daigle, at 13:25 of the third period; F Shawn Element, at 18:54; and F Alex Beaucage, at 19:55.


Some Friday numbers for you to chew on . . .


A note from Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe: “RIP Gavin MacLeod, aka Captain Stubing. Must admit I loved ‘The Love Boat.’ Except for when I got into the travel industry and clients expected cruise ship cabins to look like they did on TV.” . . . In real life, she’s a travel agent in Palo Alto, Calif.

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One more note from The Left Coast Sports Babe: “In St. Petersburg, Fla., a concert promoter is offering tickets for $18 if you’re vaccinated . . . $1,000 if you aren’t. Sometimes I love the free market!”


Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6; yes, that’s coming up on Sunday. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity.

——

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: Zach Hodder revealed via Twitter on Friday that “my time as manager of player development with the WHL has come to an end.” He joined the WHL office staff on Sept. 13, 2018. Hodder, 27, is a former WHL player who split 128 regular-season games between the Vancouver Giants, Saskatoon Blades, Prince Albert Raiders, Medicine Hat Tigers and Moose Jaw Warriors (2010-14). . . . Vukie Mpofu, who once played for the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels, has been named manager of hockey operations and legal affairs with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. He played four games with the Rebels in 2012-13 and 65 more in 2013-14. . . . The junior B Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have signed Carter Duffin, their general manager and head coach, to a “multi-year extension.” He is preparing for his fourth season with the Rebels. . . . The BCHL’s Langley Rivermen have signed Thomas Koshman as assistant GM and associate coach. He had been with the junior B Langley Trappers as GM and associate coach for the previous three-plus seasons.


Selfie

Paying tribute to ex-Wheat Kings d-man Dietrich . . . WHL planning B.C. bubbles . . . QMJHL has positive test in “protected environment”


NoGuaranteesDon Dietrich, who played three seasons (1978-81) with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He and his wife, Nadine, have three sons, and the family has set up a Facebook page that is titled Don Dietrich — Tribute Page. The page includes this note:

“For those that don’t know, Don has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. We have had so many people reach out to us to share stories of Don and the impact that he has had on their lives. He has thoroughly enjoyed hearing from everyone, so we wanted to give people the opportunity to share some of their own stories and experiences that they have shared with him. Please feel free to share your stories, photos, videos, memories and kind words with us on this page so he can see them all!”

The tributes that are pouring in include this one, from Norm Harris:

“Back in the ’80s the hockey fans in southern Maine had an AHL team, the Maine Mariners. We considered the players royalty.

“Our local high school team wasn’t very good. In 10 years they never had a winning season. It was just a bunch of country kids who grew up on the ponds who could now play in an arena. The winter of 1992-93, Don started to show up to our hockey board meetings as he had decided to settle in the area after his career was winding down. He convinced us to start a learn-to-skate program for the elementary kids so we would have a feeder system.

“The following year we needed a head coach for our high school team. Don stepped up to the plate. The players were so used to coaches who did more yelling and boasting about their own achievements than actually coaching. Don came in and started to teach not only the players but us other coaches from the learn-to-skate program, middle school and the high school assistant. Don would break down why you do certain things that past coaches never brought up.

“Each year that he coached the team’s record improved. Then he got sick and moved back home. The year after he left, the team made the playoffs for the first time and had won three-quarters of its games. It was all a because of Don’s vision.

“He showed us why we treated those pro players as royalty. He knew what it took to get the best not only out of a single player but an organization as well.

“We hold a school alumni game every year. Don graciously came to one a few years back which was a long trip for him. He came down and spent time in the locker room with his old players and worked a few games back on the bench. Before he left he gave back once again to the Bonny Eagle hockey program by donating a few of his books (No Guarantees)

“That year we not only had the most alumni come out to play but we packed the stands with fans as well. Many just to see Don.

“Thank you, sir, for all you have done.”

If you’re on Facebook, take a few minutes and check out this page. You will be blown away by the number of lives that have been touched by Don. If you have a memory or two or even a photo please feel free to post before leaving.


Drumsticks


The GoFundMe page that was set up to benefit the Sopotyk family remains open and has gone past $190,000. Tyrell Sopotyk, who played the past two seasons with the Kamloops Blazers, was injured in a snowboarding accident in January and remains in a Saskatoon hospital. . . . The page was set up by Kathleen Zary, the mother of Blazers F Connor Zary, who has been friends with Sopotyk since childhood. . . . If you haven’t yet contributed to the fund and would like to, the page is right here.


The WHL hasn’t yet released a schedule for games to be played by its five Alberta-based teams starting later this month or early in March. And it appears that it is gearing up to approach health officials in B.C. and Washington state in the hopes of getting the OK to get more teams back on the ice. . . . The B.C. plan is to include bubble-type situations in Kamloops and Kelowna. It will be interesting to see how a plan for games in Kamloops might be welcomed by provincial health officials because the virus has found us in a big way in 2021. . . . There have been 81 cases reported in Royal Inland Hospital, with 51 of those being staff. On top of that, one of the high schools — Sa-Hali secondary — has experienced exposures with at least 12 positives — nine staff and three staff. The school has at least 200 students and 18 staff now in self-isolation. . . . Kamloops This Week has more right here. . . . Marty Hastings of KTW has more on the WHL’s B.C. Division plan right here.

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Meanwhile, in the QMJHL, the Victoriaville Tigers, who have been playing in what the league calls a “protected environment” in Chicoutimi, have had a player test positive. All players and staff will isolate for 14 days and the team has left the protected environment. . . . The league is awaiting more results before releasing an updated schedule.


A report on harassment and bullying in major junior hockey is now in the hands of the president of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL),” report Nicolas Steinbach and Francois Le Blanc of Radio-Canada. “Dan MacKenzie confirmed to Radio-Canada that he had received the document, which has not yet been made public. The independent committee led by former Premier of New Brunswick, Camille Thériault, submitted its report at the end of December.” . . . McKenzie, in an email, told Radio-Canada: “We are in the process of reviewing and determining the next steps. This is an important issue, but we also need to manage the impacts of the pandemic and we are focused on getting our players, CHL staff and community back to safe play. It’s hard to put an exact date, but we’re hopeful that we can answer questions this spring.” . . . Three independent commissioners, including former WHLer Sheldon Kennedy, were appointed to looking into the situation after a class-action lawsuit was filed on June 19. Daniel Carcillo, who played in the OHL, and Taylor Garrett, who played in the WHL, filed the suit. . . . The Radio-Canada story is right here.


Curve

THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: As of 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had reported 786,419 cases of COVID-19 — with 49,562 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 20,215.

CNN, Tuesday, 2 p.m. PT — 26.4 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.

CNN, Tuesday, 1:59 p.m. PT — 446,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

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The New Jersey Devils had 14 players on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list on Tuesday — F Jesper Bratt, D Connor Carrick, G Aaron Dell, F Jack Hughes, F Andreas Johnsson, F Janne Kuokkanen, F Michael McLeod, F Kyle Palmieri, D Damon Severson, D Ty Smith, D Matt Tennyson, D Sami Vatanen, G Pavel Zacha and F Travis Zajac. . . . G Mackenzie Blackwood came off the list earlier in the day. . . . The NHL has said that the Devils won’t play again until at least Saturday. . . . The Buffalo Sabres, who played the Devils on Saturday and Sunday, put F Taylor Hall and D Rasmus Ristolainen in the protocol list on Tuesday. The Sabres, who won’t play again until Monday at the earliest, are reported to be unhappy with the NHL, which allowed Sunday’s game to go ahead despite Palmieri having gone on the list after playing in Saturday’s contest.

The Detroit Pistons were back in action on Tuesday, after having a Monday game against the host Denver Nuggets postponed. Last night, the Pistons went into Salt Lake City and played the Utah Jazz. . . . The Monday game was scratched because of contact tracing in the Detroit organization. . . .

Hockey Alberta announced on Tuesday that it has ended its 2020-21 season, meaning its all over for tiered, AAA and AA hockey in that province. However, the association hasn’t given up on having some kind of spring development season should government clearance come at some point. . . .

The Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association has cancelled all provincial basketball championships for this school year.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Disk

Dale Hawerchuk rings Bell of Hope . . . Will some junior teams not make it? . . . Doughty can’t see NHL season resuming


One of the things I’ve been wondering about over the last month is whether there will be some junior teams who won’t answer the bell when it’s time to start another season, whenever that might be.

On Monday, Tyler Yaremchuk, who among other things is the host of Inside The AJHL on TSN 1260 in Edmonton, tweeted (@tyleryaremchuk) a couple of things that he has “heard about the AJHL” . . .

“As many as three teams are considering a sabbatical. They would take a season off and then reassess.

“The league will vote on whether or not to make players pay a fee to play next season. somewhere around $2,500 per player for the 20/21 season. Other CJHL leagues considering this as well.

“Finally, don’t expect this to impact the arrival of the new Blackfalds franchise. (It) should be okay to begin play in 2021/22.”

I fully expect that before we are out of this mess we will be hearing more about junior hockey franchises pondering their future, especially if the start of the 2020-21 season is delayed in any fashion.

None of these leagues were able to get anywhere close to a conclusion with their playoffs, which means a number of teams lost out on a great deal of revenue. In other words, the gravy train never did reach the station.

As well, junior A and junior B teams have had to cancel the spring camps they hold on an annual basis, all of which are revenue generators.

After Yaremchuk’s tweets landed, Trent Wilhauk, governor and vice-president with the AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys, tweeted: “Because my phone is blowing up I will comment only that the Olds Grizzlys ARE NOT in this situation. Yes COVID19 has been financially hard on us losing possible camps but the Grizzlys are business as usual.”



I am sure that you have heard rumblings about the NHL, NBA and MLB all having discussed playing games in facilities without fans in attendance.

Here’s Chip Kelly, the head coach of college football’s UCLA Bruins on the possibility of the NCAA playing without fans:

“If it’s not safe for fans to attend the games, then I don’t know why it would be safe for players to participate in the games.”


And here’s Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginia-Pilot:

“Baseball’s Arizona plan is an example of a league thinking it can outsmart a pandemic. Science? Who needs that when you can send 30 teams to the desert for a mid-May start, sequestering players in hotels before letting them out to play in any of 11 stadiums? It also would prevent players from seeing their families and significant others. Whatever idea the NBA may come up with to restart its season, it cannot top this for stupidity.”


Taco


Here is Jack Finarelli’s Thought for the Day, this one from H.L. Mencken: “For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.”


Drew Doughty, the Los Angeles Kings’ all-star defenceman, spent some of his Monday on a conference call with reporters. Here is part of what he had to say:

“I don’t see how this season is going to return. I really don’t. We have no idea when this virus is going to be over. We’re all kind of just sitting at home, just hoping to return to the season or hoping to watch the playoffs return. But we’re just sitting here, waiting, working out, being ready to return at any point.

“I think the NHL would have to make some kind of decision on that soon, and it seems like it’s pretty tough to resume the season or the playoffs.”

Greg Wyshynski of ESPN has more right here.


Steve Ewen of Postmedia wonders “what will our new normal be?” . . . Or will there even be a normal? . . . He has a whole lot of questions but, like all of us, he doesn’t have any answers. . . . “Could we be waiting until there’s a coronavirus vaccine before the NHL and other pro sports have fans in the stands?” he wonders. “Could we be a year from big-time hockey, football, soccer, basketball and baseball with cheering crowds?” . . . Ewen’s complete column is right here.


Carl Mallette is the new head coach of the QMJHL’s Victoriaville Tigres. He had been an assistant coach with the Tigres for three seasons. . . . He also played in Victoriaville for five seasons and has had his number (97) retired. . . . Mallette, 38, takes over from Louis Robitaille, who left earlier this month to sign on as general manager and head coach of the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques, who had dismissed Eric Landry.


The family of the late Colby Cave returned to North Battleford, Sask., on Monday and folks lined up for miles along the highway as a show of love and support. The Saskatoon StarPhoenix had photographer Matt Smith on hand, and the photos are right here.


If you’ve been wondering, the Toronto Blue Jays are 6-11 and six games back in the AL East as the gang at Strat-O-Matic plays out a simulated version of the 2020 MLB season. . . . On Monday, the Blue Jays were blanked 2-0 by the visiting Minnesota Twins, who won despite being out-hit, 5-3. . . . Former Toronto 3B Josh Donaldson gave the Twins a 2-0 lead with a solo shot, his second homer of the season, in the fourth inning. . . . The Tampa Bay Rays (12-5) lead the AL East by two games over the New York Yankees (10-7). The other division leaders: Kansas City Royals (12-4), Oakland A’s (12-5), Washington Nationals (11-5), Chicago Cubs (11-5) and San Diego Padres (12-4). . . . Wondering about the Seattle Mariners? They’re 5-13 and 7.5 games off the pace in the AL West. It doesn’t look to be their year. Again.


Mona