Another big day for COVID-19 . . . WHL doing the virus shuffle as more teams hit . . . Bedard leaves Regina with game to remember


The virus had one of its best days yet. Holy smokes! . . . Positive tests on three teams in the WHL, which was forced to shut down two of the teams. . . . The World men’s curling championship shut down after positive tests in the Calgary bubble. Yes, in the bubble! . . . Warnings from the Vancouver Canucks’ team physician. . . . The virus bit the Colorado Avalanche, one NHL broadcasting team, the Toronto Blue Jays . . . On top of all that, Canada had its worst day since the start of the pandemic — yes, since the start! — with 9,255 new positives. Hey, we’re a mess up here but we’ll be fine because our government and health officials are monitoring things.


The WHL has shut down two more teams, with the Calgary Hitmen and Medicine Hat Tigers having joined the Kelowna Rockets with all team activities suspended.

Calgary’s team activities have been suspended because a player has tested WHL2positive. The Hitmen have been hanging their hats on the Tsuut’ina Nation just southwest of the city, practising and playing games at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex and living at the Grey Eagle Resort.

The Tigers, who are living with billets, played the Hitmen on Monday and “have been deemed a close contact,” the league said, so their team activities also have been suspended.

The league has suspended six regular-season games that were scheduled for Friday through Monday — Medicine Hat at Lethbridge and Calgary at Red Deer, from Friday; Lethbridge at Medicine Hat, on Saturday; Red Deer at Calgary, on Sunday; and Medicine Hat at Lethbridge and Calgary at Red Deer on Monday.

With Lethbridge and Red Deer having had those games scrubbed, the Hurricanes and Rebels instead will play each other three times this weekend. They played last night in Red Deer and are to meet tonight in Lethbridge and again Monday in Lethbridge.

Meanwhile, there also have been positive tests with the Rockets and Vancouver Giants but they won’t impact either team’s schedule.

The Rockets have been shut down since seven positives — four players, three staff members — were revealed on March 31. The new positive test is a player who was deemed a close contact from those seven positives and he is in isolation.

According to the WHL, all other Kelowna players and staff tested negative this week. They all have been in isolation so the latest positive doesn’t impact their scheduled return to team activities. If all goes well, that should happen on April 15.

The Vancouver player who tested positive was soon to be added to the roster. He was in quarantine before joining the team in Kamloops and, according to the WHL, “has not had contact with any members of the team cohort.”

Everyone else with the Giants tested negative this week, so team activities won’t be impacted.


The Vancouver Canucks still had 19 players on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list Canuckswhen it was released on Friday afternoon. Three players off their taxi squad, three coaches and one other staff member also tested positive.

Before the list came out on Friday, Vancouver general manager Jim Benning and Dr. Jim Bovard, the team’s physician, met virtually with media members.

Here’s some of what was said . . . 

Jim Benning:

“I think we’ll have the majority of our (injured) guys back when we start playing, outside of two or three guys.

“My conversations with the league are that we’re going to continue with our schedule at some point, and that we’re going to play all 56 games.

Dr. Bovard:

“We know the individual had gone to a place within the guidelines. That place was subsequently found to have cases of COVID . . . we’ve made it clear within our group there’s no culprit here aside form the (virus) itself.”

“We’ve had a whole range of what I’ve seen in COVID throughout my practice in the last year. Nothing unusual. Nothing different. There’s been nobody who’s needed to be hospitalized.”

“What we do know is that it is a variant. The process for determining what kind of variant is much more complex.”

“We’re moving out of the infection phase and into the dealing with symptoms and recovery phase. . . . For the most part, players are on the other side of this COVID-19. None were hospitalized, but family members are getting sick now.”

“The virus is tricky. It’s changing, and we need to change with it. If we could anticipate what it’s going to do next, our jobs would be much easier.”

“I can speak absolutely, emphatically to everybody out there . . . you do not want to get this virus, so do everything you can to not get this virus, not just for your sake, so that you’re not potentially passing it on to others.”

“If you’re sick, stay home. Isolate. It doesn’t matter what you’re sick with. Stay home and isolate.”


The NHL’s COVID-19 problems aren’t only in Vancouver. . . . The Colorado nhl2Avalanche cancelled its morning skate on Friday after learning Thursday that one of its players had tested positive. . . . D Bowen Byram was on the NHL’s protocol list when it was released on Friday. . . . The Avalanche went ahead with Friday’s game and beat the host Anaheim Ducks, 2-0. . . .

Meanwhile, F William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs will sit for at least a week after going on the protocol list on Wednesday after being yanked from a game against the Montreal Canadiens. That occurred after he was identified as a close contact with a potential positive case who isn’t involved with the team. . . .

The Pittsburgh Penguins visited the New Jersey Devils on Friday night in a game televised by the MSG Network. However, the network had to cancel its pregame show after hosts Erika Wachter and Bryce Salvador went into COVID-19 protocol.


The Toronto Blue Jays placed OF Teoscar Hernandez on the injured list Friday after he was deemed to be a close contact to someone who tested positive outside of the team. . . . They also put LHP Ryan Borucki on the injured list due to side-effects to his COVID-19 vaccination. Then, during a 7-1 loss to the Anaheim Angels in Dunedin, Fla., Toronto pulled LF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. after two innings because he also was experiencing side-effects from his vaccination.


The biggest story in the WHL this season to date is being written by F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats. The 15-year-old Bedard, the first overall selection in the 2020 bantam draft, scored twice in a 2-1 OT victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday, just three days after his grandfather, Garth, died in a two-vehicle crash on the Trans-Canada Highway near Sicamous, B.C. . . . “It’s not easy for me, obviously, and my family,” Bedard told reporters via Zoom, while fighting to hold back tears. “He is definitely who I play for now and will for the rest of my life. It’s a really special game and I know he’s watching me.” . . . Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post was at the game and his story is right here.

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The game signalled the end of Bedard’s first WHL season, as he now will return Patshome to North Vancouver and spend some time with his family before joining Canada’s U18 team for the IIHF World championship in Frisco and Plano, Texas, April 26 through May 6. . . . Last night, he gave the Pats (6-6-3) a 1-0 lead 22 seconds into the second period and won it 49 seconds into OT on a PP. . . . Bedard finished with 12 goals and 16 assists in 15 games. . . . He leads the seven-team Regina hub in points and is tied for the lead in goals. . . . F Jake Chiasson (8) had tied it for Brandon (11-2-2) at 1:20 of the third period. . . . The Wheat Kings had an eight-game winning streak snapped. . . . Brandon has points in nine straight now and has outscored its opponents 42-16 over that stretch. . . . G Roddy Ross stopped 33 shots for Regina.

F Gage Goncalves broke a 3-3 tie at 18:24 of the third period as the Everett Silvertips beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-3, in Kent, Wash. . . . He’s got seven goals. . . . F Cole Fonstad (6) gave Everett a 3-1 lead at 7:16 of the second period. . . . Seattle tied it on third-period goals by F Conner Roulette (6), at 11:46, and F Keltie Jeri-Leon (8), with his second of the game, at 14:42. . . . Everett (9-1-0) has won four straight. . . . Seattle is 5-5-0. . . .

G Mason Beaupit turned aside 35 shots to lead the host Spokane Chiefs to a 3-1 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Beaupit, 17, picked up his first victory of this season and the second of his career. . . . This season, he is 1-2-1, 2.48, .919. . . . F Mason Mannek (5) gave Portland a 1-0 lead at 6:31 of the first period. . . . D Bobby Russell (2) pulled Spokane into a tie 39 seconds into the second period and F Adam Beckman (5) gave the Chiefs the lead at 3:14 on a PP. . . . F Cordel Larson (2), who had two assists, got the empty-netter. . . . The Chiefs (2-4-3) have points in four straight (2-0-2). . . . The Winterhawks (4-4-2) have lost three in a row. . . .

F Ryder Korczak scored twice and added an assist to help the Moose Jaw MooseJawWarriors to a 6-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos in Regina. . . . Korczak has three goals this season. . . . The Warriors (7-7-1) got a goal and two assists from each of D Daemon Hunt (6) and F Riley Krane (2). . . . Krane broke a 1-1 tie at 8:37 of the second period with the first of five straight Moose Jaw goals. . . . The Broncos (3-11-1) have lost four in a row. . . . This game marked Jason Ripplinger’s first as Moose Jaw’s general manager. He was promoted from AGM on Thursday, replacing Alan Millar, who now is with Hockey Canada. . . .

In Kamloops, the Blazers scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Victoria KamloopsRoyals, 6-3. . . . Kamloops led 2-0 after one period but couldn’t hold it. F Brayden Tracey (5) gave the Royals (1-5-1) a 3-2 lead 48 seconds into the third period. . . . D Quinn Schmiemann (2) pulled Kamloops (5-1-0) even at 2:00 and F Reese Belton (1) broke the tie at 3:44. . . . F Orin Centazzo (3) had two goals and an assist for the Blazers, with F Connor Zary adding his third goal and two assists. . . . G Dylan Ernst stopped 15 shots to earn his first WHL victory in his first start. Ernst, who turned 17 on Feb. 6, is from Weyburn, Sask. He was a second-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . Victoria G Connor Martin blocked 47 shots. . . .

F Dino Kambeitz had four points to lead the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 6-3 victory over the Rebels in Red Deer. . . . Kambeitz scored his third goal and added three assists in enjoying his first career four-point game. It was his 201st regular-season game. . . . The Hurricanes (4-6-2) had lost their previous five games (0-3-2). . . . The Rebels, who have lost seven in a row, are 2-10-2. . . . Lethbridge was 3-for-6 on the PP. . . . D Alex Cotton scored twice — he’s got four goals — and added an assist for the Hurricanes, who led 6-1 in the third period.


Aunts


The World Curling Federation and Curling Canada announced late Friday that they “are aware of positive COVID-19 tests within the Calgary bubble” at the World men’s championship. . . . While the positives tests didn’t involve teams that qualified for the playoffs, the schedule has been placed on hold “until there is more clarity.” . . . That includes a playoff game between the U.S. and Switzerland that was to have been played Saturday morning at 9 MT. . . . The playoff qualifiers are to undergo testing Saturday morning and “until the results are clear and it’s known that the players and event staff are safe, no further games will be played.” . . . Those who tested positive and close contacts are in quarantine, while contact tracing continues. . . . Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun tweeted that the “positives came from ‘exit’ testing, conducted so that players could fly home to their countries.”


Dennis (Red) Gendron, the head coach of the U of Maine Black Bears hockey team, died on Friday afternoon while playing golf. Gendron, the head coach there since 2013, was 63. . . . He was an assistant coach with the NHL’s New Jersey Devils when the won the 1995 Stanley Cup and also coach in their organization. . . . Gendron also coached the U.S. national junior team on three occasions.


Society


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.


Blood

Canucks getting hammered by virus; Brazilian variant discovered . . . Oil Kings d-man sets franchise record . . . AJHL shuts down a fourth team

By Friday afternoon, the Vancouver Canucks had seven players on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list and a taxi squad player identified as a close contact. There also was one unidentified coach who was confirmed nhl2as having tested positive.

A few hours later, it became apparent that things are going to get worse for a team that is headquartered in B.C., a province that is having serious issues with COVID-19. How bad is it? Well, we won’t really know until Tuesday because government and health officials don’t provide briefings or news releases on weekends, and this is the Easter weekend. The virus, however, doesn’t take weekends off and this is turning out to be a rough one for the Canucks.

Late Friday night, Darren Dreger of TSN tweeted that “as expected, additional positive cases have been determined with the Vancouver Canucks. It’s also believed a variant has been identified in some of the cases.”

TSN’s Farhan Lalji tweeted that “Brazilian P.1 variant likely in play here,” something that later was confirmed by Patrick Johnston of Postmedia.

Lalji also tweeted he was told “that in some cases team medical staff may have gone to the homes of players to administer IV treatments.”

As Johnston wrote: “That variant has been growing in number in B.C. over the past month and was recently identified as a major driver of an outbreak that originated in Whistler. Some research has shown the P.1 variant is as much as 2.5 times more transmissible than earlier strains of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.”

There have been various reports that more positive tests among the Canucks are expected to be revealed on Saturday.

F Adam Gaudette went on the COVID-19 protocol list on Tuesday, with D Travis Hamonic joining him on Wednesday. Since then, D Alex Edler, G Braden Holtby, D Quinn Hughes, F Zack MacEwen and F Antoine Roussel all have gone on the list.

The NHL has postponed four Vancouver games, and it’s likely that there will be more. The Canucks are scheduled to next play on Thursday and April 10 in Calgary against the Flames.


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The WHL said Friday that it had eight positives from 897 tests that were administered from March 27 through Friday. . . . The Kelowna Rockets experienced seven of those positives — four players and three staff members — so all team activities have been shut down for 14 days.

The WHL also said that one of its on-ice officials, who hasn’t worked a game since March 20, tested positive on one test, but was negative on a second test.

The league added that it is “awaiting test results for the Brandon Wheat Kings, Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince Albert Raiders and Regina Pats” and will provide an update when they become available.

Through Friday, the WHL has had nine positives from 4,991 tests.

Also on Friday, the WHL announced some schedule changes. You are able to find those changes on the WHL’s website.

Meanwhile, there were six games on Friday . . .

G Gage Alexander turned aside 31 shots to lead the Winnipeg Ice to a 3-0 victory over the Prince Albert WinnipegRaiders in Regina. . . . Alexander, 18, from Okotoks, Alta., earned his first career shutout in his 12th career appearance, five of them this season. . . . He is 3-2-0, 2.01, .926 this season. . . . The Ice (7-4-0) scored the game’s first two goals after Raiders F Dallyn Peekeekoot was tossed with a charging major. . . . F Cole Muir (4) scored at 2:51 of the second period and F Owen Pederson made it 2-0 just 35 seconds later. . . .  The Raiders are 3-6-2. . . . G Max Paddock stopped 15 shots for the Raiders in his first appearance since March 22. While Paddock was sidelined, the Raiders were down to one goaltender. That changed on Friday when they signed Max Hildebrand and had him on the bench in support of Paddock. That mean that Carter Serhyneko was given the night off. . . . Hildebrand, 16, is from Martensville, Sask. He was a 13th-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. His father, Steve, is the Saskatoon Blades’ associate general manager. . . .

G Boston Bilous stopped 29 shots as the Moose Jaw Warriors beat Saskatoon, 4-0, in Regina, handing the Blades (9-1-1) their first regulation loss of this season. . . . The Warriors (5-6-1) went into the game having lost six in a row; the Blades had won seven straight. . . . Bilous, who turned 20 on Feb. 2, has four career shutouts, one of them this season. He had been yanked from each of his previous two starts, stopping four of 10 shots in a total of 10 minutes of play. . . . D Cole Jordan (2) scored the game’s first goal at 16:31 of the first period. . . . The Warriors put it away with three third-period goals, with D Denton Mateychuk and D Lucas Brenton both scoring his first WHL goal. . . . The game was played in 2 hours 7 minutes, the quickest game this season. . . . After the game, Les Lazaruk, the Blades’ radio voice, wrote at cjwwradio.com: “To say that (Blades’) head coach Mitch Love wasn’t happy is severely understating the fact. His post-game media availability lasted for just three questions and 42 seconds in total.” . . .

F Simon Knak scored twice, including his third shorthanded goal of the season, to lead the host Portland PortlandAlternateWinterhawks to a 6-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . The Winterhawks lead the WHL with five shorthanded goals. . . . Portland (4-1-2) scored the game’s last five goals. . . . Knak has seven goals this seaosn. . . . F Seth Jarvis (3) had a goal and two assists for Portland. . . . F Sasha Mutala (3) scored twice for the Americans (2-4-0). His second goal, 19 seconds into the second period, gave Tri-City a 2-1 lead. . . . F Jaydon Dureau (1) tied it on a PP at 15:22 of the second and Knak gave Portland the lead at 16:28, also on a PP. . . . D Nick Cicek also had a goal and two assists for Portland. . . .

The Everett Silvertips scored two third-period goals to skate away with a 3-1 victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . F Payton Mount (2) gave the Thunderbirds (4-3-0) a 1-0 lead on a PP at 6:27 of the first period. . . . Everett D Gianni Fairbrother (1) tied it on a PP at 8:11 of the second period and F Jacob Wright (3) broke the tie 49 seconds into the third. . . . F Cole Fonstad (4), who also had two assists, got the empty-netter. . . . Everett improved to 6-1-0. . . .

F Lucas Svejkovsky scored the game’s last two goals to help the host Medicine Hat Tigers to a 4-1 victory Tigersover the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Goals from F Ryan Chyzowski (6) and F Corson Hopwo (8) gave the Tigers (8-3-0) a 2-0 lead after one period. . . . F Josh Prokop (5) got Calgary to within one at 14:23 of the second. . . . Svejkovsky, who has eight goals, put it away with a pair of third-period PP scores. . . . The Hitmen are 5-6-1. . . . D Carlin Dezainde made his WHL debut with the Tigers. He is a grandson of Brian Carlin, who played one season (1970-71) with the Tigers. Carlin also played three seasons (1967-70) with the Calgary Centennials. . . . According to Bob Ridley, the veteran play-by-play voice of the Tigers, Medicine Hat has added a familiar name to its coaching staff. Ridley tweeted on Friday that “alumni Derek Dorsett has joined the Tigers’ coaching staff.” Dorsett, 34, played three seasons (2004-07) with the Tigers before going on to a pro career that included 515 NHL games. A neck injury forced him into retirement. He last played in 2017-18 with the Vancouver Canucks. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s last nine goals and beat the host Red Deer Rebels, 9-2. . . . The EdmontonOil Kings’ night included four goals in 82 seconds in the third period and a power-play that was 4-for-5. . . . The Oil Kings (10-1-0) have beaten the Rebels four times in this shortened season. Go back to last season and Edmonton has beaten Red Deer 15 straight times. . . . The Rebels now are 2-7-2. . . . Edmonton got a single-game franchise-record six points, including four assists, from D Logan Dowhaniuk, and a goal and three helpers from D Matthew Robertson. . . . Dowhaniuk now holds the franchise record for most points by a defenceman in one game. . . . F Josh Williams, F Jalen Luypen, F Carter Souch and F Jake Neighbours each had a goal and two assists. . . . The online game sheet shows Dowhaniuk with five points. However, Andrew Peard, the Oil Kings’ play-by-play voice, said an assist will be added to Dowhaniuk on Neighbours’ goal. . . . Dowhaniuk, an 18-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta., has a goal and nine assists in 11 games. He had six points, including five assists, in 33 games his freshman season (2018-19), then put up two goals and 10 assists in 62 games in 2019-20. . . . Edmonton was without F Scott Atkinson, its captain, with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Rebels played a lot of the game with five defenceman after Blake Gustafson left with an undisclosed injury. Red Deer already was without D Chase Leslie and D Kyle Masters, both of whom are listed as week-to-week with undisclosed injuries.


The AJHL now has four teams locked down, with the Okotoks Oilers the latest to experience a positive test. ajhlThe AJHL revealed on Friday that “as the result of a positive COVID-19 test by a member” of the Oilers, team activities had been suspended for at least 14 days. . . . That resulted in the Oilers’ games of April 2, 4 and 6 being cancelled. . . . The Oilers, who last played on Sunday when they edged the visiting Brooks Bandits, 2-1, joined the Drayton Valley Thunder, Grande Prairie Storm and Whitecourt Wolverines, who also have been shutdown because of positive tests. . . . The AJHL has yet to release a schedule of games after April 6.


The BCHL, which hadn’t played any games since Nov. 19, was back in action on Friday, with five games in bchlfive different communities. It was playing only exhibition games when things came to a halt in November. . . . Now it’s playing what it is calling a “pod season” with Friday’s games in Alberni Valley, Burnaby, Chilliwack, Penticton and Vernon. . . . On Thursday, the BCHL announced that there weren’t any positives from the first round of testing. All told, 439 players and staff were tested.


MLB announced on Friday that it had scrubbed the entire opening series between the New York Mets and Washington due to testing and contact tracing involving the Nationals. As of Friday afternoon, the Nationals had four players with positive tests, and five others and one staffer in quarantine after contact tracing. . . . The Mets and Nats were to have played in Washington on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. . . . The Mets will spend the weekend there, working out at Nationals Park, before leaving for Philadelphia on Sunday where they are scheduled to open against the Phillies on Monday. . . . The Nationals are scheduled to play host to the Atlanta Braves on Monday.


——

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.


Zoom

Kelowna positives no surprise to IHA top doc: We knew this was most likely going to happen . . . AJHL has positives on three teams


If you’re keeping track, you will be aware that the virus had a pretty good day on Thursday.

One MLB Opening Day game was postponed due to positive tests, while the NHL, WHL and AJHL were forced into shutting down teams and/or shuffling schedules, or both.

You could even make a case for the virus having caused some national consternation in Canada where the QMJHL has chosen not to free up any of its players to play for the U18 team at the IIHF world tournament in Texas later this month.

But no to worry because, according to a tweet from Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate, Jason Kenney, Alberta’s premier, at a news conference Thursday was “continually saying we will be out of this in ‘a few weeks.’ ”

So there’s that ray of sunshine amid all the gloom. Right?

Oh, did I mention that the numbers in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan are indicative of huge victories for the virus? Yes, the three western provinces could best be described as disaster zones at the moment.


Hockey Canada named its 25-player roster and the coaching staff for the U18 team that will play in the 2021 IIHF World Championship in Frisco and Plano, Texas, from April 26 through May 6.

The Canadian roster includes nine players from WHL teams — G Thomas Milic (Seattle Thunderbirds), G CanadaTyler Brennan (Prince George Cougars), D Nolan Allan of the Prince Albert Raiders, D Olen Zellwegger (Everett Silvertips), F Logan Stankoven (Kamloops Blazers), F Conner Roulette (Seattle Thunderbirds), F Connor Bedard (Regina Pats), F Dylan Guenther (Edmonton Oil Kings) and D Carson Lambos (Winnipeg Ice). Lambos is out with a leg issue and there were reports that he won’t play again this season. So chances are that he won’t be available.

F Cole Sillinger, who played last season with the Medicine Hat Tigers and now is on loan to the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede, also is on the Canadian roster.

With those players having to self-isolate beginning on April 12, they aren’t long for the WHL teams that will have to continue without them in this developmental season. Bedard, for example, will play his final game with Regina on April 9, meaning he will miss the Pats’ last nine games.

While in self-isolation, players and staff will be subjected to three COVID-19 tests before the team heads for Texas on April 17. The team then will go into a four-day quarantine before starting a pre-tournament camp on April 21.

Canada will play Finland in an exhibition game on April 26, before opening the 10-team tournament against Sweden on April 26. Canada will be in Group A with Belarus, Latvia, Sweden and Switzerland. Group B comprises Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Russia and the U.S.

Dave Barr is Canada’s head coach, with Gordie Dwyer and Mike Stothers, a former Moose Jaw Warriors head coach, as the assistants. Barr has extensive coaching experience, most recently as an assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks (2017-19). Dwyer was head coach of the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes last season. Stothers spent five seasons (2015-20) as head coach of the AHL’s Ontario Reign.

The Hockey Canada news release is right here.


The WHL and its teams are playing games without any fans in the arenas and without any playoffs on the horizon, so obviously don’t have an issue with having players leave for the IIHF U18 tournament in Texas. The OHL hasn’t been able to get started, so it wasn’t an issue there either, and it has 13 players on the roster. There are two from the USHL, including Sillinger, and one from the AJHL.

No, there aren’t any players on the Canadian roster from the QMJHL. It is trying to finish a regular season that is nearing its completion and has a plan to hold playoffs, so apparently didn’t want to give up any of its players for an international competition just now.


If you stop off here regularly, or even on occasion, and if you like what you see here, or even if you don’t, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and help out the Taking Note coffee fund. Thank you in advance. . . . If you are one of the followers who gets my work via email, you are able to donate by going to greggdrinnan.com.


The Kamloops Blazers were to have travelled to Kelowna to play the Victoria Royals on Thursday night. However, with the Kelowna Rockets having experienced seven positive tests, four of them to players, the WHL2WHL chose to postpone the game “out of an abundance of caution.”

Instead, the Blazers stayed home and met the Prince George Cougars in a game that originally was scheduled to be played on Sunday.

Despite the positives in Kelowna, Dr. Albert de Villiers, the Interior Health Authority’s chief medical officer, said there aren’t any plans to shut down the WHL’s B.C. Division, which is playing games in Kamloops and Kelowna.

Regan Bartel, the Rockets’ long-time play-by-play voice, tweeted Thursday that de Villiers said: “We were anticipating there might be a few cases because it’s young people and they live in the community and they isolated as best they can.

“We knew this was most likely going to happen and (the WHL) do have things in place to make it safe.”

The Rockets are staying with billets, while the Royals are in a Kelowna hotel. In Kamloops, the Blazers are staying with billets, with the Cougars and Vancouver Giants in a hotel.


Walmart


The Swift Current Broncos scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 8-5, in ScurrentRegina on Thursday. . . . F Brad Ginnell (1) gave the Warriors a 5-4 lead on a PP at 18:40 of the second period. . . . The Broncos tied it on D Owen Pickering’s first WHL goal at 19:40, then took the lead at 3:14 of the third on D Mathew Ward’s second goal of the season. . . . F Aiden Bulych (4) and F Michael Farren (7) added insurance. . . . Farren and Bulych also had two assists each. . . . Broncos D Kaleb Bulych, Aiden’s older brother, scored his first goal — Aiden drew the lone assist — and was plus-5. . . . The Broncos (3-7-1) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Warriors (4-6-1) have lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings scored four times in the first period, two of them by F Lynden McCallum (9), en Brandonroute to a 7-2 victory over the Pats in Regina. . . . The Wheat Kings (8-2-1) have won five in a row. . . . The Pats (4-5-2) had won their previous two games. . . . Brandon D Braden Schneider (3) gave his guys a 2-0 lead with a shorthanded goal in the first period. Brandon, in 11 games, and the Portland Winterhawks, in six games, lead the WHL with four SH goals apiece. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard ran his point streak to 11 games — his WHL career is 11 games old — with an assist on F Carson Denomie’s 10th goal. . . .

In Kamloops, the Blazers struck four times in the second period and went on to dump the Prince George KamloopsCougars, 6-1. . . . The game had been scheduled for Sunday, but was moved up because of the virus-related difficulties in Kelowna. The Blazers had been scheduled to play the Victoria Royals in Kelowna last night. . . . Kamloops now is 3-0-0; the Cougars are 1-2-0. . . . D Mats Lindgren (1) gave Kamloops a 1-0 lead at 7:38 of the first period, with D Jack Sander (1) equalizing at 17:14. . . . F Matthew Seminoff broke the tie 45 seconds into the second period and it was all Kamloops after that. . . . Seminoff added a second goal, his fourth, and F Caedan Bankier added a goal and two helpers for the winners. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 25 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Blazers were without F Logan Stankoven with an undisclosed injury, while F Dylan Sydor, 17, made his WHL debut and picked up an assist. He is the son of Darryl Sydor, a former Blazers and NHL defenceman who owns a piece of the Blazers.


F Adam Gaudette of the Vancouver Canucks tested positive on Tuesday and a Wednesday night game against the visiting Calgary Flames was postponed 90 minutes before the puck was to be dropped because of another positive and a coach going into COVID-19 protocol. . . . On Thursday, Vancouver D Travis Hamonic, who opted out of the last NHL season for family reasons, was added to the protocol list and the NHL postponed the team’s next three games — on Saturday in Edmonton against the Oilers and in Winnipeg against the Jets on Sunday and Tuesday. . . . The Canucks next are scheduled to play on April 8 in Calgary. . . . Patrick Johnston of Postmedia spoke with Gaudette’s wife, Micaela, and has a rather interesting story right here.


The AJHL has three teams from the same cohort each with at least one positive test. . . . The Drayton Valley ajhlThunder, Grande Prairie Storm and Whitecourt Wolverines were playing on one cohort. Earlier Thursday, the league announced that the Thunder had a positive test. Later in the day, the league revealed that “positive COVID19 results” also have been identified with the Storm and Wolverines. . . . All three organizations have been shut down for at least 14 days. That includes the cancellation of games involving those teams through Sunday, which is when the schedule involving the three-team cohort is to end. . . .

At the same time, the AJHL has cancelled two weekend games involving the Okotoks Oilers “to allow for the analysis of a COVID-19 test” as per its return-to-play protocol. The Oilers were to have played the visiting Calgary Canucks tonight (Friday) and the host Brooks Bandits on Sunday.


Chips


The Washington Nationals were to have played host to the New York Mets in one of Opening Day’s most-anticipated games — the starters were Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom — but it didn’t happen “because of contact tracing within the Nationals organization.” . . . MLB decided that out of an abundance of caution the teams won’t play a makeup game on Friday. . . . At the time of the announcement, the Nationals had one player having tested positive and four others quarantined as close contacts. Later, GM Mike Rizzo said that two other players had were positive and another was “likely positive.” . . . Rizzo also said that he has no idea when the Nationals might play their first game.

——

The San Francisco Giants will be allowed to have about 8,900 fans for games in Oracle Park, at least to start the MLB season. In order to attend, a fan is going to have to have had a negative test or proof of vaccination. Their home opener is scheduled for April 9. . . . Larry Baer, the Giants’ CEO, told the San Francisco Chronicle: “This is all about April right now. We understand the inconveniences here, but we’ve also heard from our fans that they want to the safest experience possible.” . . . In the meantime, the Oakland A’s, who like the Giants play in California, had 10,436 fans at their home opener last night. The A’s don’t have any requirements attached to attendance. . . .

And this brings us to the Texas Rangers, who could have as many as 43,000 fans in the stands on Monday when they play their home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays. That, U.S. President Joe Biden told ESPN, is “not responsible.” . . . He added: “I think it’s a mistake. They should listen to Dr. Fauci and the scientists and the experts. But I think it’s not responsible.”


——

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.


Computers

Rockets at seven positives, season suspended for two weeks . . . WHL postpones 10 games . . . QMJHL puts Sherbrooke into isolation

It was a record day in B.C. on Wednesday with the announcement of 1,013 new positive tests, the highest one-day number since the pandemic began over a Rocketsyear ago.

Unfortunately for the WHL and the Kelowna Rockets, they were part of the day’s tally.

The WHL announced late in the day that the Rockets have been shut down for at least 14 days because of a total of seven positive tests within the organization. That includes one staff member from Tuesday and six more people — two staff members and four players — from Wednesday.

As a result, all Rockets team activities have been suspended at least through April 14.

According to the WHL, all test results from the four other B.C. Division teams came back negative.

While the Rockets have been staying with their billets in Kelowna, the Victoria Royals are in a hotel there. In Kamloops, the Blazers with billets, while the Prince George Cougars and Vancouver Giants are in a hotel.

The WHL also announced the postponement of 10 games, including Kamloops at Kelowna on Tuesday and a Wednesday game that was to have had Vancouver and Prince George meet in Kamloops. It was scrubbed out of an abundance of caution.

All told, nine games involving Kelowna have been postponed.

The Rockets last played on Sunday when they lost, 6-0, to the Giants in Kamloops. Kelowna next is scheduled to play on April 17 against the Cougars in Kamloops.

The Rockets also had someone in their organization test positive earlier in March, just prior to the start of this developmental season. That individual and someone deemed a close contact had to self-isolate but the Rockets’ schedule wasn’t impacted because it was deemed not to be in-season.

The WHL’s Wednesday news release is right here.


The NHL postponed a game between the visiting Calgary Flames and Vancouver nhl2Canucks just 90 minutes before it was to have started on Wednesday. . . . Vancouver F Adam Gaudette tested positive on Tuesday and was taken off the ice during practice. Another player whose identity wasn’t known last night has joined Gaudette on the COVID-19 protocol list, while a member of the Canucks’ coaching staff also has gone into protocol. . . . Both teams had skated and held media availabilities earlier in the day. . . . This was the 42nd game postponed by the NHL because of COVID-19. . . . Calgary’s next game is scheduled for Friday against the Oilers in Edmonton. . . . The Canucks, who just had six days off, are to play Saturday in Edmonton.


Cats


The QMJHL has put the Sherbrooke Phoenix into what it calls “preventative qmjhlnewisolation” following a positive test to a staff member on Wednesday. The Phoenix had been playing in one of the QMJHL’s “protected environment” events, this one in Sherbrooke. Because of the positive test, the Phoenix isn’t able to compete, leaving the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and the Olympiques to play each other on Thursday and again on Friday. . . . The Phoenix was to have played the Armada on Wednesday night, but that game was cancelled.


It was earlier in March when Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s minister of heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries, suggested that there was room for optimism concerning a return to play for the OHL by month’s end. . . . Well, the final day of March came and went without any kind of announcement. And with Ontario apparently heading into some kind of a lockdown that likely will last at least 28 days it would seem that the OHL’s chances of having any kind of season may be in jeopardy.


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IN THE WHL ON WEDNESDAY . . .

The Saskatoon Blades ran their point streak to 10 games with a 3-2 victory over Bladesthe Winnipeg Ice in Regina. . . . The Blades (9-0-1) are off to the best start in franchise history, and now have won seven in a row. . . . Winnipeg slipped to 6-4-0. . . . G Nolan Maier earned the victory with 29 saves. He now has 86 career regular-season victories and that’s a franchise record. Maier, who is from Yorkton, now has one more victory than Tim Cheveldae (1985-88), who is from Melville. Cheveldae also was the Blades goaltending coach for seven seasons (2013-20). He tutored Maier for three of those seasons. . . . “I knew it was going to be broken and the fact that Nolan should break it, I couldn’t be more happy,” Cheveldae told Saskatoon radio station CKOM. . . . The Blades erased a 1-0 deficit on goals from F Brandon Lisowsky (4), F Kyle Crnkovic (4) and F Colton Dash (7). . . . F Connor McClennon (5) pulled the Ice to within one at 7:14 of the third period. . . . Saskatoon was without F Chase Wouters, who is serving a three-game suspension, and D Rhett Rhinehart, who is sitting out a two-game sentence. . . .

D Jeremy Hanzel broke a 1-1 tie in the third period to give the Seattle SeattleThunderbirds a 2-1 victory over the Everett Silvertips in Kent, Wash. . . . Hanzel, a freshman from Coquitlam, B.C., has two goals and an assist in six games. . . . When Hanzel scored at 10:18, it was the first time Everett (5-1-0) had trailed to this point in the season. . . . F Ethan Regnier (3) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 18:10 of the second period. . . . F Conner Roulette (4) got Seattle (4-2-0) even at 3:27 of the third via the PP. . . . G Thomas Milic stopped 32 shots to earn the victory. . . . Everett G Dustin Wolf turned aside 36 shots.


Asphalt



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.


Woodpecker

Rockets hit with another positive test; will this one cost them 14 days? . . . Virus may have found Canucks, too

The Kamloops Blazers were to have visited the Kelowna Rockets on Tuesday night. However, that game didn’t happen after the Rockets were forced to put WHL2all team activities on hold after the organization experienced a positive test. . . . According to the WHL, “The positive COVID-19 test results belong to a hockey staff member . . . within the team cohort. No players within the team cohort have tested positive at this time.” . . . The WHL also said that it would provide further information “pending determination of close contacts and further test results.” . . . Upon its return to play, the WHL stated: “If a WHL club has one or more players or staff test positive for COVID-19 at any point in the season, the club will be required to suspend its club activities for a minimum of 14 days.” . . . It would seem, then, that the Rockets are done until at least April 13 unless this turns out to be a false positive. The Rockets are scheduled to play eight games from March 30 through April 13. . . . This is the second positive in the Kelowna organization. The WHL said on March 19 that a positive test had been found during the return-to-play testing phase. That individual and someone who was identified as a close contact had to self-isolate for 14 days, but it was business as usual for the rest of the team because it was determined not to have occurred during the season. . . .

The Rockets have played two games to this point — they beat the Victoria Royals 5-0 in Kelowna on Friday and lost 6-0 to the Vancouver Giants in Kamloops on Sunday. They next are scheduled to play on Friday against the Prince George Cougars in Kamloops. . . . The Rockets also announced on Tuesday that F Ethan Ernst is out indefinitely after having surgery to repair a scaphoid fracture. The scaphoid is a small bone in an area of the wrist that has poor blood supply, so the healing time may be longer than normal. Ernst, who turned 19 on Jan. 26, was pointless in two games this season. He was injured in Sunday’s loss to Vancouver.


Prison


Meanwhile, the QMJHL has scrubbed a Wednesday game that was to have had qmjhlnewthe Cape Breton Eagles play host to the Charlottetown Islanders. According to the Eagles, “Even though all Eagles players and staff have tested negative to COVID-19, the league is postponing the game as a precaution due to a few players experiencing flu-like symptoms.” . . . This move follows the cancellation of a game between the Eagles and Islanders that was to have been played on Sunday. That morning, the league said that “a few players from the Eagles experienced flu-liked symptoms and as a precaution, the QMJHL has cancelled the game. In the current context and as per QMJHL protocols, all Eagles’ players and staff will be tested for COVID-19 and put in preventive isolation prior to returning to regular team activities.”


These pandemic times can call for interesting manoeuvring to get players on the ice. Such was the case on Tuesday when the Spokane Chiefs announced that PGthey have acquired F Mitchell Kohner from the Prince George Cougars “on a one-year loan agreement.” . . . The Chiefs have lost veteran F Jack Finley, who will be out at least six months once he has surgery to repair a should injury, so had room to add Kohner. “This is a unique situation where an American player wasn’t able to rejoin his team due to COVID restrictions . . .,” Scott Carter, the Chiefs’ general manager, explained in a news release. . . . Kohner, from Rosemount, Minn., turned 19 on Feb. 11. A 10th-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, he had two assists in 49 games with the Cougars in 2018-19, then put up eight goals and six assists in 59 games in 2019-20. . . . Kohner is expected to being practising with the Chiefs in about a week, after clearing WHL protocols. . . . His playing rights will revert to the Cougars after this season. . . .

The Cougars also announced that F Ilijah Colina, who turned 21 on Feb. 18, “is no longer with the team due to personal reasons.” . . . He has played 200 regular-season games — 117 with the Cougars, 83 with the Portland Winterhawks — over five seasons with 27 goals and 52 assists. . . . Prince George has added D Hudson Thornton, 17, to its roster. He will complete his quarantine period and then join the team. From Winnipeg, Thornton had two goals and two assists in 23 games with the USHL’s Fargo Force this season. He was a second-round pick by the Cougars in the 2018 bantam draft.


Valet


The Brandon Wheat Kings got goals from seven different players en route to a Brandon7-1 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders in Regina on Tuesday night. . . . F Ridly Greig (3), F Ben McCartney (6) and F Reid Perepeluk (2) each had a goal and an assist. . . . Greig scored 22 seconds into the game and the Wheat Kings (7-2-1) built a 4-0 lead in the second period. . . .  Brandon, which was 4-for-7 on the PP, has won four in a row. . . .  Even with F Dallyn Peekeekoot making his WHL debut, the Raiders (3-5-2) were able to dress only 17 skaters, including 10 forwards. Peekeekoot, from Ahtahkakoop First Nation, Sask., was a 10th-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. The Raiders announced his signing earlier Tuesday. . . . The Raiders had G Max Paddock back on the bench in support of Carter Serhyenko, who went the distance. . . . Raiders D Kaiden Guhle remains out with an undisclosed injury, while F Ozzy Wiesblatt, who has 11 points in nine games, also sat out this one. . . . F Kyle Crosbie, who turned 21 on Feb. 18, no longer is shown on the Raiders’ roster and apparently has left the team for personal reasons. He was pointless in six games. . . .

D Layton Feist scored at 4:33 of OT to give the Regina Pats a 3-2 victory over the PatsMoose Jaw Warriors. The game was played in Regina with the Warriors designated as the home team. . . . Feist, who has three goals, had tied the game 2-2 at 12:34 of the third period. . . . The game’s first two goals came from 15-year-old skaters. F Connor Bedard (8), the first overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, got Regina on the board at 10:29 of the second period. F Brayden Yager (3), the third-overall selection, tied the score at 1:59 of the third. . . . Bedard, who drew the lone assist on the winner, now has 19 points in 10 games; Yager, who turned 16 on Jan. 3, has seven points in 10 games. . . . F Eric Alarie (7) had Moose Jaw’s other goal. He scored seven goals in 61 games as a freshman in 2019-20. . . . The Pats improved to 4-4-2; the Warriors, who have lost five straight, are 4-5-1. . . . So just to go over that again — the Pats won on the road, while the Warriors won a home game that was played in Regina. Try explaining that to someone 10 years from now. . . .

F Eric Florchuk, who had a goal and two helpers, broke a 4-4 tie at 18:03 of the Vancouverthird period as the Vancouver Giants beat the Victoria Royals, 5-4, in Kamloops. . . . Flochuk, who has two goals, had drawn an assist on F Tristen Nielsen’s fifth goal in three games, this one on a PP, at 16:51 of the third. . . . The Royals (0-3-0) erased a 2-0 first-period deficit to hold leads of 3-2 and 4-3. . . . Nielsen also had an assist, giving him nine points in three games. . . . F Adam Hall (3) had two goals for the Giants (2-1-0), with F Justin Sourdif earning three assists. . . . F Brayden Tracey and F Taran Fizun each had a goal and an assist for the Royals (0-3-0). . . .D Alex Kannok Leipert, the Giants’ captain, played his 200th regular-season game.


Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post had a birthday on Tuesday. How did he celebrate? The same way he did a year ago. Well, not quite. This time, he wrote about what has changed over the past year, which, as he discovered, wasn’t much. . . . In fact, as he laments in this column right here, there isn’t much evidence to show that we the people are prepared to rid ourselves of this virus and that means that he may well be writing the same column a year from now, too. Unfortunately, he is correct.


F Adam Gaudette of the Vancouver Canucks left Tuesday’s practice after being informed that he had tested positive for COVID-19. The Canucks are scheduled to play the visiting Calgary Flames tonight (Wednesday). The Flames flew into Vancouver on Tuesday evening. . . . There will be more testing and contact tracing before a decision is made on tonight’s game. . . . F Jake Virtanen didn’t practise on Tuesday; the Canucks said he was ill, but didn’t indicate that it was virus-related. . . .

Meanwhile, the Montreal Canadiens played their first game since March 20 on Tuesday night, beating the visiting Edmonton Oilers, 4-0. F Jesper Kotkaniemi, who had been on the COVID-19 protocol list, scored one of the goals. F Joel Armia didn’t play as he remains on the protocol list.


Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., announced on Tuesday that Kevin Dickie has retired as its executive director of athletics. He spent 13 years at Acadia. That included three years as head coach of the Axemen hockey team for three seasons. . . . Before moving into administration, Dickie was a coach in the SJHL and WHL. He was the head coach of the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs for five seasons, then spent three seasons with the Axemen before joining the Saskatoon Blades as an assistant coach for 1999-2000. He took over as head coach the next season, a position he held for three seasons. . . . According to a news release, Dickie will leave his position after the USports annual general meeting in June. . . . That news release is right here.


If you missed it, the Texas Rangers opened up their home park — Globe Life Park  — to fans on Monday night for an exhibition game with the Milwaukee Brewers. The park has a capacity of 40,300 and a big crowd was anticipated; attendance was announced at 12,911. . . . “Plenty of fans sat shoulder-to-shoulder, but large portions of the stadium were empty as the Rangers lost to the Brewers, 4-0,” reported Jonathan Zizzo in The New York Times. . . . Texas announced 3,484 new cases and 41 more deaths on Tuesday, increasing the seven-day totals to 28,667 and 688. . . . On Tuesday night, with the Brewers beating the Rangers, 6-3, attendance was announced as 10,859.


Masks


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.


Arrow

Robison: WHL committee reviewing diversity, inclusion policies . . . Oil Kings run streak to nine . . . Royals’ pick ends marathon NCAA game


Ron Robison, the commissioner of the WHL, says the league has established a diversity and inclusion committee that has been tasked with reviewing policies. WHL2Robison told Sammy Hudes of Postmedia that the committee was struck recently, presumably before the hockey world was rocked on Thursday by the news that the Seattle Thunderbirds had dropped two players — one 17, the other 18 — from their roster because of racist incidents involving a teammate. Hudes wrote that Robison “said the WHL is working to build ‘additional programming in this area,’ but didn’t specify what that might look like.” Robison also didn’t indicate who is on the committee. . . . Robison told Hudes: “We’re dealing with players who are of young age. They need further education, more training. They need to understand the sensitivities to all this and how it resonates with not only their teammates, but their opponents.” . . . One of the key issues involving incidents like these is that a victim often doesn’t have anywhere to turn outside of his team or the league. Hudes spoke with Courtney Szto, who is assistant professor at Queen’s University’s School of Kinesiology and Health Studies. She co-authored a 2020 policy paper, Hudes wrote, “advocating for anti-racism policies in hockey. Among its calls to action, the paper identified ways for governing bodies like Hockey Canada to proactively work to eliminate racism in the sport. . . . The policy paper also called on the federal government to create an external oversight body to receive and investigate incidents of discrimination. Szto said victims have nowhere to report such incidents, other than through their own teams and leagues.” . . . Hudes’ complete story is right here.


Marc Habscheid, the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, moved into a tie for sixth spot on the WHL’s list of all-time winningest regular-season coaches with a 5-2 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors in Regina on Saturday. . . . Habscheid now has 548 victories, tying him with Ernie (Punch) McLean. . . . The Raiders (3-3-2) broke a 2-2 tie with the game’s last three goals, starting with one from F Eric Pearce, who is from Regina, at 1:53 of the third period. . . . F Justin Nachbaur, playing his 200th regular-season game with the Raiders, gave his guys a 2-1 lead with a shorthanded goal at 12:46 of the first period. . . . D Logan Linklater picked up his first two points, both assists, for the Raiders in his seventh game. . . .  Prince Albert scored its last two goals, from F Ozzy Wiesblatt and F Reece Vitelli, into empty nets. . . . The Warriors now are 4-4-0. . . . The game took 2 hours 8 minutes to play, the quickest game in the WHL this season. . . . Moose Jaw lost D Daemon Hunt to an elbowing major at 13:20 of the third period for a hit on Vitelli, who later scored an empty-netter. . . . The Raiders were without F Spencer Moe with an undisclosed injury, while D Kaiden Guhle missed his sixth straight game. . . . The Raiders dressed just one goaltender — Carter Serhyenko — with starter Max Paddock sidelined with an undisclosed injury. Serhyenko stopped 16 shots. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings won again on Saturday afternoon, running their record Edmontonto 9-0-0 with a 5-2 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . Edmonton got two goals and an assist from F Jake Neighbours and a goal and two assists from F Dylan Guenther. He’s got nine goals and nine assists in eight games. . . . Neighbours has 16 points, 12 of them assists, in a nine-game point streak. . . . G Sebastian Cossa, who is eligible for the NHL’s 2021 draft, stopped 29 shots. He’s 8-0-0, 1.50, .945 this season. . . . The Hitmen slipped to 4-5-1. . . . Edmonton D Matthew Robertson didn’t play in Friday’s 4-3 victory over visiting Calgary, but was back on the ice Saturday. . . . The Hitmen were without D Tyson Galloway, who suffered an undisclosed injury on Friday, then lost D Luke Prokop in the second period on Saturday. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds erased a 2-1 deficit with two goals in the last two minutes of the second period as they defeated the visiting Portland Winterhawks, 3-2. . . . F Simon Knak gave Portland (2-1-2) a 2-1 lead with his third goal in as many games at 11:34 of the second. . . . F Payton Mount pulled Seattle (3-1-) even at 18:18 and F Jordan Gustafson snapped the tie at 19:07 with his first WHL goal. . . . The first period featured one goal, by Portland F Seth Jarvis, and 31 shots on goal, 16 by Seattle. . . . G Jackson Berry stopped 28 shots to record his first WHL victory in his first appearance with Seattle. He got into five games with the Moose Jaw Warriors last season, going 0-2-0 before being released. . . .

G Talyn Boyko put up his first WHL shutout as the host Tri-City Americans beat the Spokane Chiefs, 3-0. . . . The 6-foot-8 Boyko stopped 26 shots as the Americans improved to 2-2-0. . . . The Chiefs fell to 0-4-1; they have been blanked three times including twice in two nights. They lost 5-0 to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday night. . . . Boyko’s first career clean sheet came in his 38th appearance over three seasons. . . . F Samuel Huo scored twice, but it was F Connor Bouchard’s goal, at 6:47 of the second period, that stood up as the winner. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers broke open a 2-2 game with three second-period goals Tigersen route to a 6-3 victory over the host Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . F Corson Hopwo snapped the tie with his sixth goal at 4:40, with F Lukas Svejkovsky scoring his sixth at 14:16, and F Brett Kemp getting No. 4 at 19:17. . . . Kemp’s drew an assist on Hopwo’s goal, giving him 200 career regular-season points. He now has 201 points, 88 of them goals, in 241 career games. . . . While the Tigers improved to 6-3-0, the Hurricanes now are 3-6-1. . . . Lethbridge scored all three of its goals on the PP. . . . G Beckett Langkow stopped 38 shots for the Tigers to record his second WHL victory in his second start. . . . Langkow’s father, Scott, played three seasons (1992-95) with the Portland Winterhawks before going on to a pro career that included 20 NHL games and 11 seasons in Europe. . . .

F Logan Stankoven’s second goal of the game, at 10:09 of the third period, Kamloopsbroke a 4-4 tie and gave the Kamloops Blazers a 5-4 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Blazers were designated as the visitors even with the game being played in Kamloops. . . . The Cougars, the last of the WHL’s 22 teams to get into game action in this truncated developmental season, struck for three first-period goals to take a 3-1 lead into the second. . . . The Blazers (2-0-0) tied it on second-period goals by F Caedan Banker and F Josh PIllar. . . . F Koehn Ziemmer put the Cougars back out front at 15:03. . . . Kamloops F Connor Zary tied it shorthanded at 5:25 of the third. . . . F Peyton McKenzie had two assists in his second game with Kamloops. He went into the game with two assists in 24 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . One of the referees was Matthew Hicketts of Kamloops, whose brother, Joe, spent five seasons playing defence for the Victoria Royals. . . . Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV tweeted that there were “over 20 scouts” in attendance. . . .



F Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins was added to the COVID-19 protocol list on Saturday and sat out the team’s 3-2 victory over the visiting Buffalo Sabres. Marchand, 32, has 34 points, including 12 goals, in 29 games this season. . . . The Bruins, who had two games postponed last week due to protocols, are scheduled to play host to the New Jersey Devils today (Sunday) and Tuesday night. . . . The Sabres now have lost 17 straight games.

——

In the Swiss National League, EHC Biel-Bienne is in quarantine after two positive tests so a Saturday game with Lausanne HC was cancelled. With the playoffs approaching, the final standing are to be decided by points percentage, a decision that had been made at a Jan. 4 meeting.


F Luke Mylymok’s goal at 2:33 of the fifth OT period gave the Minnesota-BulldogsDuluth Bulldogs a 3-2 victory over the North Dakota Fighting Hawks in the NCAA men’s hockey Midwest Region final in Fargo, N.D., on Saturday night. . . . Mylymok, 19, is from Wilcox, Sask. This is his first season with the Bulldogs; he split last season between the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers and the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The Victoria Royals selected him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . The goal sent the Bulldogs, the two-time defending national champions, back to the Frozen Four. There wasn’t a champion in 2020 due to the pandemic. . . . At 142:33, it was the longest game in the history of the NCAA men’s or women’s hockey tournaments, surpassing a women’s game between Wisconsin and Harvard in 2007. . . . The men’s tournament is in its 74th year. . . . Zach Stejskal, the Bulldogs’ starting goaltender, left at 4:37 of the fourth OT when he began cramping up. He had stopped 57 shots when he was relieved by Ryan Fanti. . . . Leah Hextall — yes, of the hockey Hextalls — handled the play-by-play for ESPN.


Quiz


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.


Dust

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

Yellow


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——

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

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

——

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——

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

——

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

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

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

——

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

——

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

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

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

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

——

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

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

——

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



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

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


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



Vaccine


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Account

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

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

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

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


Ladder


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Drivers


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now back to Saskatchewan and all that money . . .

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

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


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


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


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


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

——

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


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



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




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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


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


Wings

Two B.C. junior B leagues cancel seasons . . . WHL continues to get good news from tests . . . Can you take time for this GoFundMe page?


Two of B.C.’s junior B leagues pulled the plug on their 2020-21 seasons on Tuesday. . . . The 12-team Pacific Junior Hockey League, which is based on the Lower Mainland, had been shut down since November, with teams only allowed to practice. Ronnie Patterson, the owner of the White Rock Whalers, told the Peace Arch News: “We battled through some issues . . . but we just felt in fairness to the athletes and all the programs, we would show some leadership in the hockey community and shut it down, and then hopefully we can start our spring and summer programs at some point, and just focus on having a successful 2021-22 season.” . . . The nine-team Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League also cancelled its season. “The current Public Health Authority discussions show it is unlikely there will be any changes in their current direction . . . and with the added pressures from facilities comparing the teams’ need for ice usage against the need for the removal of the ice for other sport- or health-related events, it seems that this is the time to make this decision,” Simon Morgan, the league president, said in statement from the league. . . . The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, another B.C.-based junior B league, cancelled its season on Feb. 6.


The WHL announced on Tuesday that there weren’t any positive tests among 455 tests administered to the five U.S. Division teams from Feb. 27 through WHL2March 5. From a WHL news release: “The WHL’s U.S. Division clubs are utilizing a private antigen testing strategy and will be conducting testing three times per week. Testing will be administered to all members of the team delegations of players and staff.” . . . All five teams were cleared to begin practices on March 5. . . . From Feb. 12 through March 5, the WHL has gone through 1,554 tests without even one positive. . . .

Interestingly, the Alberta-based teams, who began play on Feb. 26, move into playing three-in-three this weekend. This weekend, the Lethbridge Hurricanes will visit the Red Deer Rebels on Friday night, then they’ll play in Lethbridge on Saturday, and then it’s back to Red Deer for a Sunday game. The Medicine Hat Tigers and Calgary Hitmen will go Calgary-Medicine Hat-Calgary. The Edmonton Oil Kings will sit out this weekend, and then will play a triple header the following weekend. . . .

Games are scheduled to begin in the Regina hub on Friday. The five Saskatchewan-based teams and the two from Manitoba are playing in the Brandt Centre. A Friday doubleheader will have the Brandon Wheat Kings meet the Moose Jaw Warriors and the Prince Albert Raiders playing the Regina Pats. . . . There will be at least one game played in Regina on every day from Friday through April 28. . . .

The U.S. Division teams are scheduled to begin playing games on March 19. They’ll play in Kent, Everett, Spokane and Kennewick, Wash. . . . The five B.C. Division teams, whose schedule was released on Tuesday, are to start up on March 26 with games only in Kamloops and Kelowna.


Lindsey
Ferris Backmeyer remains in a Vancouver hospital with her mother, Lindsey, by her side.

Please allow me to remind you of an active GoFundMe page that will benefit the Backmeyer family of Kamloops. That page is right here. . . . Ferris, who recently turned four, underwent a kidney transplant in Vancouver on Saturday night. Unfortunately, there were complications shortly afterwards and the kidney had to be removed. . . . Ferris remains in hospital, and this means that her mother, Lindsey, and two older sisters are going to have to stay in Vancouver for the foreseeable future. Father Pat will be there, too, although he also is attending school in Kamloops as he works to become a registered nurse. . . . All money raised from this GoFundMe page will be used to help the Backmeyers meet expenses pertaining to their stay in Vancouver and to keep their home in Kamloops.


The 2021 RBC Canadian Open, a PGA Tour stop that was scheduled for St. George’s Golf & Country Club in Toronto, June 7-13, has been cancelled for a second straight season. . . . The CP Women’s Open, an LPGA Tour event, is still on the schedule for Aug. 26-29 at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club in Vancouver.



Dang! I just love it when Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, does things up right. Here he is from Monday, writing about the NIT, which was held at Madison Square Garden in its glory days but this year has been shuffled off to, uhh, Texas:

“Your junior varsity post-season men’s basketball tournament now has the potential to be a highly visible pandemic super-spreader event. If you think that it is a good thing to have attached to ‘the NCAA Brand,’ may I suggest that linking ‘the NCAA Brand’ to Typhoid Mary is not a good thing?”

His complete rant is right here.

——

Here’s Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot on the same subject: “Now that the college basketball anachronism called the NIT has been moved from New York to wide-open Texas, expect some teams to take a pass. Not to mention that the three-week-long NCAA women’s tournament must deal with mask-less Texans. Good luck, ladies.”


Pig


CP24 — Ontario reports nearly 1,200 new cases of COVID-19 as ICU doctor warns third wave is ‘upon us.’


The AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights were to have played the Colorado Eagles in Loveland, Colo., on Monday night. That didn’t happen, though, as the game was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols involving the Silver Knights.


We can only hope that G Taran Kozun has some kind of clause in his contract that calls for him to be paid some mileage this season. In a Monday ECHL trade, Kozun moved from the Allen Americans to the Wheeling Nailers for cash considerations. (BTW, what does cash considerations mean? Is it the same as cash?) . . . Kozun, 26, was the WHL’s top goaltender in 2014-15 (Seattle Thunderbirds), and the top goaltender in Canadian university hockey for 2018-19 and 2019-20 while with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies. . . . The Nailers will be his seventh team this season, following the Kansas Mavericks, Pensacola Ice Flyers, Indy Fuel, Rapid City Rush, Orlando Solar Bears and the Americans. Those all are ECHL teams with the exception of the Ice Flyers, who play in the SPHL. Through all of this, Kozun, according to eliteprospects.com, has played in only five games this season — one each with the Mavericks, Ice Flyers, Fuel, Rush and Solar Bears.


——

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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express has named Adam Nugent-Hopkins as its interim head coach, at least for whatever might be left of this season. He takes over from Dan Cioffi, the assistant general manager and head coach who left the club to, according to a news release, “focus on his family and pursue a new opportunity.” Cioffi took over during the pandemic and went 8-3 in the BCHL’s exhibition season. Nugent-Hopkins, 32, was the head coach of the U15 AAA Greater Vancouver Canadians in 2019-20. Yes, he is the older brother of Edmonton Oilers F Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.


Portal

Scattershooting on a Saturday night while wondering if Golden Knights will have to pay that hotel bill . . .

Scattershooting2


Kelly McCrimmon has eaten hundreds of pre-game meals since 1977. That’s when he first played junior hockey, with the Prince Albert Raiders, who then were in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.

VegasBut even with that kind of history, McCrimmon, 60, experienced a first involving a pregame meal on Friday in San Jose.

The former owner, general manager and head coach of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, McCrimmon now is the general manager of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, who were in San Jose on Friday to begin a weekend doubleheader with the Sharks.

The Golden Knights were staying at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose, which is where they gathered for their pregame meal early on Friday afternoon. As things turned out, those were the last meals anyone will be having in that hotel, at least for a while.

That’s because the hotel declared bankruptcy — the San Jose Mercury News reported that its owners’ debts are between $100 million and $500 million — and it shut its doors as the Golden Knights were enjoying dessert.

“Crazy times,” McCrimmon told me on Saturday night. “Staff had no idea it was coming. They got ushered right out of the building.”

The Golden Knights, had to pack their bags, then head to the SAP Center for Friday’s game, knowing that at game’s end they would be going to a different hotel.

While the disruption no doubt gave them something to talk about, it didn’t seem to bother the players on the ice. The Golden Knights beat the Sharks, 5-4 in OT, on Friday, then 4-0 on Saturday.

Justin Emerson of the Las Vegas Sun pointed out: “This will affect more than just the Golden Knights. Because of NHL virus protocols, the league designates one hotel in a city to serve as every visiting team’s lodging to ensure the hotel abides by league rules. So when the St. Louis Blues come to town on Monday, they won’t be staying at the Fairmont Hotel.”


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Many spring training ballparks have opened up to a limited number of fans, so how do half of those fans show their gratitude to be at a live ballgame after a year of quarantine? By refusing to mask up and protect the other fans from that still-deadly virus. I salute you anti-maskers for your fearlessness and courage, your refusal to be bullied by nerdy scientists, but some of your fellow fans are allergic to death.”


I smiled when I heard from an old friend the other day. He and his wife had had to make a driving trip that took them along the Yellowhead Highway and through Hinton, Alta.

After arriving back home, he messaged me: “I smile when I see ‘Old Drinnan Town’ sign.”

That would be the same sign that welcomes all comers to this website. Yes, it’s a real sign, located just off the highway a few slapshots east of Hinton.

(BTW, a chunk of the Trans-Canada Highway that runs through Hinton actually is Gregg Avenue. Oh, and Gregg Lake is about 30 km north of Hinton. And let’s not forget Mount Drinnan, which is located near Drinnan Creek about 30 km south of Hinton.)


Headline at The Onion: COVID Announces Plan To Move Operations To Texas Full-Time To Escape Burdensome Regulations.


“A Tom Brady rookie trading card — an autographed 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket version — sold for a record $1.32 million last week,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Or more than 1½ times what his latest Super Bowl counterpart, the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, got paid in base salary last season.”

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Here’s Perry, again: “March 4, in case you missed it, was supposed to be National Grammar Day. So we checked a bunch of breathless-fanboy message boards, and no, it didn’t appear to be.”


Triangle


The Sports Curmudgeon (aka Jack Finarelli) was at his best earlier this week after the Washington Football Team announced that it is replacing its cheerleading squad with a co-ed dance team. . . . Remember that the curmudgeonly one lives in the Washinton, D.C., area, and that he has referred to the team as the WTFs since the moment the organization dropped its previous nickname. . . .

“I know,” he wrote about the co-ed dance team announcement. “It is enough to take your breath away.”

He continued: “That announcement is about as important as nose hairs on a statue; cheerleaders for NFL teams are worthless and co-ed dance teams for NFL teams are no better.  At its absolute best, consider this announcement by the team — and obliquely by the NFL — as a means to divert attention to the fact that after 8 months of ‘investigating,’ there are no findings regarding sexual harassment and a ‘toxic work environment’ for female cheerleaders there.”

You are able to find his entire thoughts on all of this right here.



The WHL and the AJHL announced their latest virus-testing results on Friday. . . . The WHL was clean through 602 tests for the period from Feb. 27 through March 5. That involved 428 tests on the seven teams in the Regina hub and another 159 for the five Alberta teams. . . . The five Saskatchewan and two Manitoba teams in Regina had each player and staff member tested twice — once upon arrival and again after quarantine. As a result of all tests being negatives, teams were cleared to start on-ice work on Friday. . . . Meanwhile, the AJHL ran 385 tests through 13 teams without a positive test among players and staff. Everyone will be tested once more before games begin on March 12.



The Manitoba U18 AAA Hockey League announced Saturday that it has suspended play for the remainder of the 2020-21 season. “Our decision reflects the uncertain timeline and lack of direction from Public Health with respect to game play,” the league said in a news release that carries the signature of Levi A. Taylor, its commissioner. . . . On the heels of that announcement, the Manitoba Female Hockey League (U18 AAA) cancelled its regular season and playoffs.


Goat


Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune with something worth thinking about: “Players hate going to the NBA All-Star Game — as they should — and get upset when they’re not invited.”


Curlers got through the Scotties Tournament of Hearts for the Canadian women’s championship without any issues in a bubble in Calgary. The Tim Hortons Brier for the Canadian men’s championship started on Friday. . . . Earlier in the day, it was announced that the LGT world women’s championship will be played in the same bubble with 14 teams competing from April 30 through May 9. This is a big event because the top six finishers qualify for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. . . . That same Calgary bubble will be home to the Home Hardware Canadian mixed doubles championship, and the BKT Tires/OK Tire world men’s championship, and two Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling events.


There is smoke coming out of Seattle and it has to do with whether QB Russell Wilson wants to leave the Seahawks. LaToya Cantrell, the mayor of New Orleans, went so far as to make a pitch on behalf of her Saints. . . . That elicited this response form Jenny Durkan, Seattle’s mayor, who tweeted: ““I love you Mayor, but keep your eyes off @DangeRussWilson. His home is Seattle. #GoHawks. And so you know, Seattle is in the market for a @NBA team. Don’t make me go there.”


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Kyle Chipchura, who played in the WHL with the Prince Albert Raiders (2003-06), is getting into the coaching game. He has joined the Northern Alberta Xtreme U15 prep team as an assistant coach for 2021-22. Chipchura, 35, was the first overall pick in the WHL’s 2001 bantam draft. He went on to play 481 regular-season NHL games and was in the KHL for the past four seasons (2016-20). . . . Brayden Toma is the new head coach of the U15 prep team. He has been at the academy since the 2017-18 season.


Sheep