No WHL playoffs for second straight year . . . Desjardins No. 1 in Tigerland . . . Krebs runs point streak to 19 games

For a second straight year, COVID-19’s presence has kiboshed the WHL playoffs.

The league announced Monday afternoon that its season will end when its 22 WHL2teams conclude the developmental schedule that they now are playing.

From a news release: “Due to current public health conditions and the ongoing challenges with COVID-19, including restrictions on travel across both provincial and international borders, the WHL is not in a position to conduct the 2021 WHL playoffs.”

If the WHL chooses not to extend its schedule in order to get all teams to 24 games, the season will end after games of May 12.

The Kelowna Rockets, who returned to play Saturday after having been shut down due to positive tests, have a schedule right now that has them finishing with 15 games.

According to the online schedule, the Calgary Hitmen, who last played on April 5 and are on hold because of a positive test, have four games remaining, with the first of those to be played on April 30 and the last on May 5. That would leave them with 18 games.

The Tri-City Americans managed to play 12 games before a positive test sidelined them late last week. So far, they have had three games postponed through Wednesday. The schedule has them with nine games remaining, but their team activities are on hold pending further test results.

You have to wonder just how much hunger there has been within the WHL to extend its season with any form of playoff setup. With Kelowna, Calgary and Tri-City having been impacted by positive tests, and with the Medicine Hat Tigers having missed games after being deemed close contacts of the Hitmen, it might be that the WHL has decided it’s simply time for everyone to go home. After all, some of the players and others closely associated with teams have been hunkered down for well over a month.

The CHL, the umbrella organization that oversees the WHL, OHL and QMJHL, announced last week that the Memorial Cup tournament won’t be played for a second straight year. The QMJHL is going ahead with a playoff schedule that is to begin tonight (Tuesday), whole the OHL hasn’t been able to play so much as one game in 2020-21 and, in fact, is likely to announce one of these days that it has cancelled its season.

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The Medicine Hat Tigers beat visiting Red Deer, 3-2, to sweep a three-game Tigersweekend series. . . . The Tigers (12-3-1) had won 4-2 at home on Friday and 5-2 in Red Deer on Saturday. . . . The Rebels (2-15-2) have lost 12 in a row. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (8) gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 12:58 of the first period, only to have F Dallon Melin (2) tie it at 15:02. . . . The Tigers took control on goals from D Rhett Parsons, his first in the WHL, at 12:36 of the second period and F Oren Shtrom (4), at 9:28 of the third. . . . Parson was a fifth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . F Chris Douglas (5) got the Rebels to within a goal at 19:37. . . . F Corson Hopwo of the Tigers had one assist, but had his eight-game goal streak snapped. . . . The Tigers were 1-for-1 on the PP. In 16 games, they are 28-for-61 (45.9), by far the best in the WHL. The Winnipeg Ice is second at 33 per cent (30-for-91). . . . The victory was No. 376 for GM/head coach Willie Desjardins behind the Tigers’ bench. That is one more than Shaun Clouston put up during his run with the Tigers. Clouston and the Tigers parted company in May 2019 — he now is the head coach of the Kamloops Blazers — and Desjardins replaced him. Desjardins had left the Tigers after the 2009-10 season and Clouston, who had been on the coaching staff for seven seasons, took over from him. . . . All told, Desjardins has 386 regular-season WHL coaching victories. He took over as head coach of the Saskatoon Blades during the 1997-98 season and picked up 10 victories there. . . .

F Peyton Krebs ran his point streak to 19 games as the Winnipeg Ice dumped the WinnipegSwift Current Broncos, 5-2, in Regina. . . . Krebs had a goal, his 11th, and an assist for the Ice, which erased a 1-0 first-period deficit with three second-period goals. . . . Krebs, the first pick in the 2016 bantam draft, leads the Regina hub in assists (26) and points (37). He was shut out in his first game of this season and has at least a point in every game since then. . . . F Zach Benson added two goals for the Ice. The 14th overall selection in the 2020 bantam draft has eight goals and nine assists in 20 games. . . . Winnipeg also got a goal and two assists from F Michael Milne (4). . . . Broncos G Isaac Poulter stopped 40 shots, 34 more than the Ice’s Gage Alexander. . . . Winnipeg (14-5-1) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Broncos are 4-15-1. . . .

The Moose Jaw Warriors erased a 1-0 deficit with five straight goals en route to MooseJawa 5-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders in Regina. . . . The Warriors (8-11-1) snapped a four-game losing skid. . . . The Raiders are 7-10-3. . . . F Evan Herman (7) put the Raiders out front at 1:20 of the first period. . . . The Warriors tied it on goals from F Riley Krane (3), at 12:55 of the first, and F Jagger Firkus (5), on a PP, at 6:52 of the second. . . . F Josh Hoekstra (2), F Eric Alarie (10) and F Brayden Yager (7) stretched the lead to 5-2 before F Reece Fitelli (5) scored for Prince Albert, on a PP, at 19:17 of the third. . . . Yager, the third overall selection in the 2020 bantam draft, has 14 points in 20 games. . . . Moose Jaw got 29 saves from G Brett Mirwald. . . .

F Adam Hall’s third-period goal and 33 saves from G Trent Miner gave the VancouverVancouver Giants a 2-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars in Kamloops. . . . Vancouver (8-3-0) has won three straight and now leads the B.C. Division by two points ahead of the idle Kamloops Blazers (7-2-0). . . . The Cougars (4-5-2) have lost two in a row. . . . F Eric Florchuk (3) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 17:44 of the first period. . . . F Riley Heidt (2) tied the game at 1:56 of the third. . . . The Cougars got 27 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Miner, the game’s first star, is 8-2-0, 1.18, .952 this season. . . .

In Kelowna, the Rockets dumped the Victoria Royals, 7-2. . . . The Rockets (3-1-Rockets0) were the visiting team for this one. . . . The Royals (1-9-1) have lost six in a row. . . . Kelowna has played two games since being off for 18 days due to positive tests and has scored seven goals in each one. The Rockets are scheduled to play their third game in four nights tonight against the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Last night, the Rockets took control by snapping a 1-1 first-period tie with four straight goals. . . . F Trevor Wong (5), who had four goals in a 7-5 victory over the Prince George Cougars on Saturday in Kamloops, gave Kelowna a 2-1 lead at 12:25 of the first period. . . . F Mark Liwiski (2), F Dylan Wightman and F Andrew Cristall (2) stretched the lead to 4-1 before the second period was 12 minutes old. . . . Liwiski and Wightman, who also had an assist, each scored twice. F David Kope, 20, an eighth-round pick by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the 2015 bantam draft, had a goal and two assists in his fourth game with Kelowna.


Sharks


The Minnesota Twins, who had three games postponed due to COVID-19 testing Twinsand contact tracing, are scheduled to play the host Oakland A’s in a doubleheader today (Tuesday). . . . The Twins haven’t played since losing 10-3 to the host Los Angeles Angels on Friday night. They were to have played in Oakland on Monday, but that game was postponed, thus today’s doubleheader. . . . SS Andrelton Simmons tested positive last week and didn’t accompany the Twins when they headed west. OF Kyle Garlick also has tested positive, as has one other unidentified player and a staff member.


Eyelash


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.


Rubberband

WHL loses Americans to positive test . . . Broncos end losing skid . . . Rockets return with offensive bang


Dorothy . . . Kamloops Kidney Walk . . . June 6, virtually . . . Join her team with a donation right here. Thank you!


While the Kelowna Rockets returned to WHL game action on Saturday after Americansbeing sidelined by positive tests, the Tri-City Americans have been shut down.

The WHL announced Saturday that the Americans have had a positive test to a player in their cohort.

While the Rockets and Calgary Hitmen had team activities suspended for 14 days because of positive tests, they are Canadian teams. Perhaps things are different in  Washington state because the WHL news release doesn’t mention a two-week shutdown.

From that news release: “The WHL is working in consultation with the Washington State Department of Health regarding the matter concerning the Tri-City Americans. Pending determination of close contacts and further test results, the WHL will provide further information.”

In the meantime, the WHL postponed a Saturday night game in which the Spokane Chiefs were to have visited the Americans. Also postponed were two Tri-City road games — today at Spokane and Wednesday in Kent, Wash., against the Seattle Thunderbirds.

At this point, only the seven teams playing in the Regina hub haven’t been impacted by COVID-19 positive tests. The Brandon Wheat Kings, Winnipeg Ice, Regina Pats, Moose Jaw Warriors, Swift Current Broncos, Saskatoon Blades and Prince Albert Raiders have been staying in dormitories at the U of Regina and Luther College.

In the B.C. Division, the Rockets, who are with billets, and the Victoria Royals, who are sequestered in a hotel, are headquartered in Kelowna, with the Kamloops Blazers (billets) and Prince George Cougars and Victoria Giants (hotel) in Kamloops. The division schedule underwent some revisions because the Rockets were shut down on March 28 and ended up missing nine games.

In Alberta, the Hitmen got hit with a positive test on April 9 and have yet to get back on the ice. The Medicine Hat Tigers, who had played the Hitmen on April 5, were identified as close contacts so they, too, had team activities suspended. The Tigers returned to play on Friday night.

The Americans last played on Tuesday when they dropped a 4-2 decision to the host Thunderbirds. According to the WHL, “The Thunderbirds are not considered close contacts based on the time of the receipt of the positive test result for the Americans.”


The Vancouver Canucks, who haven’t played a game since March 24 because of a COVID-19 outbreak, will return to action against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight, and you have to think that this one will draw some big TV numbers. After all, it’s going to be just like one of those train wrecks that you can’t take your eyes off.


Notes


Minnesota’s scheduled Saturday and Sunday games in Anaheim against the Los TwinsAngeles Dodgers have been postponed by MLB because the Twins are having issues with COVID-19. . . . The Twins reportedly have had at least four positive tests in the past few days. . . . OF Kyle Garlick, who played in the Twins’ 10-3 loss to the Angels on Friday, is one of the players who tested positive. . . . One other unidentified player and a staff member also have tested positive, as did SS Andrelton Simmons. . . . The Twins remain in Anaheim and are undergoing more testing and contact tracing. . . . Minnesota next is scheduled to play Monday against the A’s in Oakland. . . .

Simmons, who signed with the Twins in January after five seasons with the Angels, didn’t make the trip west after testing positive early in the week. He has been away from the team since Tuesday. . . . He had turned to Twitter last month and posted this: “I’ve received some questions and some requests regarding the vaccine. And for personal reasons and experience, I will not be taking it or advocating for it. I hope I don’t have to explain myself. And hope you all make the best decision for you and your family’s health.”

——

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic also reported that sources have told him “one major-league umpire as tested positive for COVID-19.”


With the IIHF Women’s world championship to open in Halifax on May 6, the U.S. national women’s team has moved assistant coach Joel Johnston into the head coach’s spot following the sudden resignation of Bob Corkum. . . . In a text to The Associated Press, Corkum explained: “I was not comfortable with the protocols. It was a difficult decision to make, but one that I am at peace with.” . . . John Wawrow of AP wrote: “Corkum has questioned the value of wearing masks and Canada’s coronavirus pandemic support plans in posts made on his LinkedIn account. In response to a post by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcing a program to boost funding for vaccines, health care and for municipalities, Corkum wrote: ‘Propaganda . . . Think! What is there agenda? Your safety? I think not!’ ”


The NHL’s New Jersey Devils have told the owners of their AHL affiliate, the Binghamton, N.Y., Devils that the franchise is to be moved. . . . Interestingly, Robert Esche, the president of the AHL’s Utica Comets, who are hooked up with the Vancouver Canucks, has filed for a Utica Devils trademark. . . . There has been speculation for a few years that the Canucks are interested in moving their AHL affiliate closer to Vancouver. The Utica Observer-Dispatch has reported that the Comets’ contract with the Canucks has an opt-out after this seaosn. . . . There’s more right here. . . . Due to the pandemic, Binghamton actually is playing this AHL season in Newark.


Riot


The Kelowna Rockets didn’t show a whole lot of offensive rust on Saturday night as they opened their first game since March 28 with a goal just 23 seconds after the first puck was dropped. By game’s end, they had scored seven times. . . . All told, there were six games in the WHL last night. . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings scored four second-period goals en route to a 4-1 Brandonvictory over the Moose Jaw Warriors in Regina. . . . F Brad Ginnell (2) gave Moose Jaw a 1-0 lead at 19:15 of the first period. . . . Brandon took control in the second with goals from F Jake Chiasson (9), F Ben McCartney (12), who was playing in his 200th game, and F Lynden McCallum (12). . . . McCartney, who also had two assists, has 27 points, 15 of them helpers, in 19 games. . . . F Ridly Greig (8) added a shorthanded goal at 17:50 of the second. Greig has three shorthanded goals and the Wheat Kings have six, which is tied with the Portland Winterhawks for the league lead. . . . Brandon (14-3-2) has won three in a row. . . . Moose Jaw (7-11-1) has lost four straight. . . . The Wheat Kings are 3-0-1 against the Warriors this season, having won 8-2 and 8-3 after losing 4-3 in OT the first time the teams met. . . .

D Mat Ward missed on a second-period penalty shot but scored in the shootout Scurrentto give the Swift Current Broncos a 3-2 victory over the Saskatoon Blades in Regina. . . . The Broncos (4-14-1) snapped a seven-game losing streak. . . . The Blades (14-2-3) have points in seven straight (5-0-2). . . . Ward was the sixth and final shooter in the circus. . . . Blades D Charlie Wright, a fourth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft, scored his first WHL goal in his 59th game, 19 of them this season, just 43 seconds into the game. . . . D Owen Pickering (2) got the Broncos even at 4:59 of the second period. . . . Saskatoon D Chase Wouters (8) gave the Blades the lead again at 19:48. . . . F Braeden Lewis (2) forced OT with a goal at 2:03 of the third period. . . . Saskatoon G Nolan Maier stopped 35 shots, two more than the Broncos’ Reid Dyck. . . . Maier stopped Ward on a penalty shot at 11:48 of the second period. . . .

In Portland, the Winterhawks scored the game’s last three goals and beat the PortlandAlternateSeattle Thunderbirds, 3-1. . . . F Keltie Jeri-Leon (10) put Seattle out front at 13:23 of the second period. . . . F Reece Newkirk (7) tied it at 15:41 and D Nick Cicek (3) put the Winterhawks in front 12 seconds into the third period. . . . D Brody Tallman’s first WHL goal, at 5:59, provided the insurance. Tallman, an eighth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft, was playing in his sixth WHL game. . . . The Winterhawks (6-4-3) have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . Seattle now is 7-7-0. . . . Seattle F Payton Mount missed a second straight game. He was injured Tuesday night when a puck glanced off the wall behind the team bench and struck him on the head. He was taken to hospital and was released on Wednesday morning. . . .

F Logan Barlage scored the lone goal of a four-round shootout to give the LethLethbridge Hurricanes a 6-5 victory over the host Edmonton Oiler Kings. . . . Lethbridge now is 7-7-2. . . . Edmonton, which had won its previous four games, is 13-1-1. . . . The Hurricanes took a 5-4 lead into the third period. Edmonton D Ethan Cap, playing on his 21st birthday, tied it with his second goal of the season, on a PP, at 10:46. . . . Lethbridge had led 3-1 after one period, on two goals from F Noah Boyko and a singleton from F Justin Hall (12), but F Kaid Oliver and F Jake Neighbours (6), on a penalty shot, tied it early in the second. . . . Oliver, who has nine goals, scored while wearing No. 16 — he usually wears No. 34 — in honour of his late grandfather Garnet (Ace) Bailey. If you aren’t familiar with Ace, let Google be your friend. . . . Boyko put Lethbridge back out front with his third goal of the game and eighth of the season at 7:12 of the second. That was his first WHL hat trick. . . . F Caleb Reimer, the 18th overall selection in the 2019 bantam draft, got Edmonton back into a tie with his first WHL goal at 13:44, only to have F Zack Stringer (5) tie it at 17:34. . . . Lethbridge D Trevor Thurston left in the second period after sliding awkwardly into the boards. Edmonton F Tyler Horstmann received a major and game misconduct for slewfooting on the play. . . .

The visiting Medicine Hat Tigers erased a 2-0 deficit with five goals and beat Tigersthe Red Deer Rebels, 5-2. . . . The Tigers had posted a 5-2 victory over the Rebels in Medicine Hat on Friday. . . . The Tigers improved to 11-3-1 and have points in eight straight (7-0-1). . . . The Rebels (2-14-2) have lost 11 in a row. . . . The Rebels led 2-0 after one period, thanks to goals from F Arshdeep Bains (6) and F Ben King (8), who has scored in three straight. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (7), who also had two assists, got Medicine Hat started at 6:23 of the second period and D Reid Andresen (1) tied it at 18:20. Andresen, the 11th overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, got his first goal in his fifth game. . . . F Corson Hopwo (13) broke the tie at 4:28 of the third. He’s got goals in eight straight. . . . D Cole Clayton (7) and F Brett Kemp (10) added insurance, both scoring on the PP. . . . F Lukas Svejkovsky helped out with three assists. . . . Medicine Hat held a 34-17 edge in shots. . . . According to the Tigers, the victory was No. 375 behind their bench for Willie Desjardins, their general manager and head coach. That ties him with Shaun Clouston for No. 1 on the franchise’s all-time list. Clouston now is the head coach of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Desjardins gets his first opportunity to move atop the list on Monday when the Rebels are back in Medicine Hat. . . .

F Trevor Wong scored four times to lead the Kelowna Rockets to a 7-5 victory Rocketsover the Prince George Cougars in Kamloops. . . . The Rockets hadn’t played since March 28 because of positive tests. . . . They improved to 2-1-0, while the Cougars now are 4-4-2. . . . Wong’s fourth goal, shorthanded, came 23 seconds into the third period and gave the Rockets a 6-2 lead. . . . Wong had completed his first WHL hat trick at 14:06 of the second. . . . The Cougars got to within one on a goal from D Keaton Dowhaniuk (2) at 1:06 of the third and two from F Karen Gronick (4) at 14:09 and 17:32, the first on a PP and the second while shorthanded. . . . Kelowna F Mark Liwiski (1) got the empty-netter at 18:35. . . . F Andrew Cristall scored his first career goal for the Rockets. He was the eighth overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft.


VanGogh


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.


Nike

How close is OHL to playing? . . . NHL adjusts its COVID protocols . . . Eyes of Texas will be on U18 Worlds


On a day when COVID-19 found the Edmonton Oilers, the NHL announced nhl2adjustments to its protocols. . . . The Oilers were without F Jesse Puljujarvi in a 3-0 victory over the Canadiens in Montreal after he tested positive. Edmonton also scratched G Mikko Koskinen for precautionary reasons. There is speculation that Koskinen was held out as a close contact. . . . The Ottawa Senators held D Artem Zub out of a 5-1 loss to the host Winnipeg Jets for precautionary reasons; however a COVID-19 test came back negative so he will be OK to play on Saturday. . . . Meanwhile, with five teams having experienced outbreaks and a total of 35 games having been postponed, the NHL has added to its protocols. One of the changes involves more game-day testing. The NHL also has moved to limit the outside activities of team members and their families. Here’s ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski: “All players, coaches, training staff, equipment staff and other members of the traveling party ‘will be required to remain at home and not leave their place of residence except to attend practices and games, to exercise outdoors on an individual basis, to perform essential activities (e.g., go to the doctor), or to deal with family or other emergencies and other extraordinary circumstances.’ The NHL also is ‘strongly recommending’ that household members limit their activities outside the home as well, and is encouraging teams to provide ways for household members to be tested for COVID-19 regularly.” . . . Wyshynski’s complete story is right here.



The IIHF’s U18 World Championship will be held in Frisco and Plano, Texas, DallasStarsfrom April 26 through May 6. Frisco is home to the Dallas Stars’ practice arena — the Comerica Center — and offices. The Stars and USA Hockey are partnering on the production. . . . The host team, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany and Russia will play out of Frisco. . . . Canada will be in Plano, along with Belarus, Latvia, Sweden and Switzerland. . . . The U-18 world event hasn’t ever been held so late into a year. . . . It will be interesting to watch team construction prior to this event, because all 60 major junior teams could still be playing. . . . The 2020 event was to have been held in Ann Arbor and Plymouth, Mich., from April 16-26, but was cancelled by the pandemic. Originally, the 2021 event also was scheduled for Ann Arbor and Plymouth, but it obviously has been shifted to Texas.


As you can see from the above tweet, Bob Kaser is in hospital after having undergone heart surgery. Kaser is a veteran hockey play-by-play voice, who did a stint with the Seattle Thunderbirds (1984-89). . . . He’s a hockey guy, so somehow I expect him back before season’s end. . . . Best wishes, Bob.


Plumber


So you want to be a pro hockey player, do you? Well, let’s take a look at how G Taran Kozun’s career is going. . . . He played in the WHL (Kamloops, Seattle, 2011-15) and was named to the Western Conference’s first all-star team and also was saluted as the league’s top goaltender for 2014-15. . . . He spent the 2015-16 season playing pro, making stops with three ECHL teams — the Missouri Mavericks, Utah Grizzlies and Manchester Monarchs — and the AHL’s Ontario Reign. He only got into games (nine of them) with Utah, though. . . . Kozun then spent a season with the Chinook Hockey League’s Rosetown, Sask., Red Wings, before going on to three seasons with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies. He was 37-6-2 over the last two seasons with the Huskies and was USports’ top goaltender each season. He was the Canadian university game’s player of year for 2019-20. . . . This season, he’s back playing pro, having made stops with four ECHL teams — the Kansas City Mavericks, Indy Fuel, Rapid City Rush and Orlando Solar Bears — and the SPHL’s Pensacola Ice Flyers. . . . The Solar Bears picked him up in a deal with the Rush this week. . . . Kozun’s older brother, Tad, is a forward with Orlando.



THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

If you haven’t seen any of the short videos that the WHL has made available featuring some goaltenders, here’s one of them. . . . Well done

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CBC News — Ontario’s COVID-19 case numbers are steadily declining, but more infectious novel coronavirus variants of concern pose a threat significant enough that health experts are warning a third lockdown could be required to contain them.

CBC News — Alberta reports 351 new COVID-19 cases, 16 more deaths. Starting Monday, the province is changing rules requiring negative COVID-19 tests at border crossings.

CBC News — Newfoundland and Labrador reports 100 new COVID-19 cases, nearly double Wednesday’s all-time record of 53. Of them, 74 are in people under the age of 20. Health authorities also say there is 1 additional presumptive case.

——

Prince McJunkins, a quarterback during two seasons (1983-84) with the CFL’s Ottawa Rough Riders, died of complications from COVID-19 in a Tulsa, Okla., hospital on Tuesday. His home was in Muskogee, Okla. He was 59 and is survived by his wife and four children. . . . While playing at Wichita State (1979-82), McJunkins was the first player in NCAA history to rush for more than 2,000 yards and pass for more than 4,000 in a career. . . .

The Australian Open, which is underway in Melbourne, has banned fans for five days following a COVID outbreak at a local hotel. While the state of Victoria will go into a lockdown, the tournament will continue. . . .

The NBA’s Toronto Raptors announced on Thursday that they will spend the remainder of this season at Tampa’s Amalie Arena. After starting the season there, they had hoped things would improve and border restrictions would loosen so they could return to Toronto, but that hasn’t happened so they’ll stay put. . . .

Penn State’s men’s hockey team last played on Jan. 29. It was to have played on Feb. 20 and 21 against Arizona State. But that won’t happen after Penn State got hit by some positive tests this week. If all goes well, Penn State will get to play again on Feb. 27. . . .

Hockey Brandon, which governs minor hockey in the Wheat City, announced Thursday that it had cancelled the remainder of its 2020-21 season effective immediately. . . . Curtis Storey, the organization’s president, said that “the continued restrictions on indoor facilities unfortunately forced the decision.” . . .

The junior B Heritage Junior Hockey League has cancelled the remainder of its 2020-21 season. The decision was made after a announcement earlier in the week from Hockey Alberta. Here’s the HJHL’s Scott Fisher, from okotoksonline.com: “We were at that time where we had to come to a decision. Hockey Alberta has made the decision to cancel all regular season and playoff games for junior B, junior C, female and senior men’s leagues.” . . . Hockey Alberta’s announcement didn’t include the junior A Alberta Junior Hockey League.


Giraffe


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.


WHL: Unanswered questions; maybe no playoffs . . . Moon to shine bright in Edmonton as veteran radio voice moves from Rebels to Oilers

A number of WHL management types made themselves available to media on Monday to expound upon the brief news release issued by the league on Friday afternoon.

The league, at that time, said it was “committed” to playing a 24-game WHL2schedule, but that it didn’t have a starting date, something that won’t be established until health officials in various jurisdiction give the OK.

“It is anticipated the approvals will be received soon,” the WHL news release read, hinting that perhaps it had received some inside information.

Three things are readily apparent: 1. There won’t be any fans in attendance at games; 2. Teams will play geographical/divisional rivals in weekend double- or tripleheaders in one venue; 3. The league hasn’t completely moved away from using some kind of bubble format.

Oh, and there likely won’t be anything resembling a championship playoff.

“There could be a divisional playoff,” Collin Priestner, the Saskatoon Blades’ president and general manager, told Pat McKay of CTV Saskatoon, “but I don’t think we have the ability to have a league championship at this point, given that we’ve got teams in different countries and the travel is going to be severely restricted.”

If the WHL is able to get a season started, then, it all will be about giving its players a chance to strut their stuff for the scouts.

Don Moores, the president of the Kamloops Blazers, told Radio NL in Kamloops: “We are going to bring our players in at the appropriate time. They will be part of a program to develop, which really is our mandate. We’ll figure it out based on what health authorities allow us to do.

“We are a development hockey league. We are the elite hockey development program in the world. That’s what our responsibility is.”

But, as Priestner pointed out to McKay, there remain many unanswered questions.

“From protocols, safety, insurance, logistics,” Priestner said. “How big rosters can be, or how do we bring in players if there’s injuries? How do we get a season in? What do we do if things get shut down in the provinces?”

Meanwhile, the Prince George Cougars, the most remotely located of the WHL’s 22 teams, doesn’t even know where it will be playing.

“I think it’s wide open to see if we will be playing games here or on the road or in a bubble format,” Mark Lamb, the Cougars’ general manager and head coach, told local reporters in a Zoom call. “We don’t have an exact date yet as to when we are going to start playing so that is still up in the air, but we do have a commitment from the league that we do have a 24-game schedule.”

And if you’re wondering who will be footing the bill for a return to play, Andy Beesley, the Cougars’ vice-president of business, had the answer.

“(The owners) are shouldering the entire cost,” he said. “For sure, when the players come to Prince George they will be put up with billet families, which we pay for, there is a tremendous amount of PPE and testing that we are on the hook for and, assuming that we are going into a bubble-type concept, wherever that may be, there will likely be hotel rooms, meal costs, player equipment, and staffing.”

Multiply that by 22 teams and, well, red ink is going to flowing like the South Thompson River in spring time.

So . . . what’s next?

Willie Desjardins, the general manager and head coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers, told Scott Roblin of CHAT-TV that there will be an update coming from the WHL on Jan. 22.

McKay’s complete story is right here.

Brendan Pawliw of myprincegeorgenow.com took part in a Zoom call in that city and his story is right here.


CamMoon

Who says you can’t go home again?

Cam Moon, a native of Edmonton, is leaving Red Deer after 22 years as the radio voice of the WHL’s Rebels, to handle play-by-play duties on Edmonton Oilers’ regional broadcasts.

Moon had been with the Rebels since 1998, through 1,753 consecutive games — regular-season, playoff and Memorial Cup. He joined the Rebels after spending three seasons with the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers.

“Central Alberta hockey fans have had the pleasure of listening to his energetic spirit for 22 seasons,” Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ owner, general manager and head coach, said in a news release, “and we’re honoured we’ll continue to hear him on Alberta’s airwaves. This truly is a dream come true for Mooner.”

Moon, an immensely popular figure on the WHL media circuit, told Troy Gillard of rdnewsNOW: “It’s overwhelming, for sure. It’s a team I grew up watching in my hometown so I very much look forward to the opportunity, the challenge. I never thought this day would come, I really didn’t, nor was I really looking for it, but here it is . . .

“It’s exciting and I look forward to the next chapter, but it’s also a little sad in that one chapter’s closing. It’s definitely a dream job. If I had the ability to pick a radio play-by-play job with any of the National Hockey League teams, this would be my No. 1 choice.” 

With the Oilers, Moon moves into the seat vacated by Jack Michaels, who now will call the play of Edmonton regional TV games for Sportsnet, replacing Kevin Quinn. Michaels will return to radio for Oilers games that are national and for Edmonton playoff games.

Louie DeBrusk is the analyst on TV games, with Bob Stauffer doing the same on radio.

Quinn and Drew Remenda no longer are part of Oilers’ telecasts or broadcasts.

You are able to tune into 630 CHED in Edmonton to hear Moon call his first Oilers game on Wednesday night as they play host to the Vancouver Canucks.



Twins


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: Manitoba announces 133 new cases of COVID-19. That’s the lowest total in 6 days but still pushes the province’s 7-day average up slightly to 172. Health authorities are also reporting 3 more deaths.

CBC News: A big jump in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan with 412. The previous day’s total, which hadn’t been reported, was 307. The average for the 7 previous days was 290. The province is also reporting 8 additional deaths and hospitalizations are at an all-time high.

CTV Regina: Saskatchewan’s 7-day average for daily COVID-19 has doubled over the past 13 days. The weekly average dropped to 152 on Dec. 30, but it has increased each day since, hitting an all-time high of 307 Monday.

CBC News: Alberta reports 639 new COVID-19 cases and 23 more deaths. Across the province there were 13,917 active cases, with 811 people are being treated in hospitals for the illness, including 130 in ICU beds.

Richard Zussman, Global BC: There are 1,475 new cases of COVID-19, from Fri to Sat 538 new cases, Sat to Sun 507 new cases, Sun to Mon 430 new cases. There are now a total of 58,107 positive cases in BC. . . . There are 5,220 active cases of COVID in BC. There are 358 people in hospital with COVID, of whom 72 are in ICU. There are 7,313 people in active monitoring. . . . There have been 22 new COVID deaths over the weekend. There have been 1,010 COVID deaths in BC in total.

CBC News: Ontario is reporting 3,338 new cases of COVID-19, the 8th straight day above 3,000. The hot spots are Toronto (931), Peel Region (531) and York Region (241). The province is expected to announce new restrictions tomorrow to help curtail the spread.

CBC News: 21 new COVID-19 cases today in New Brunswick. The province has experienced a significant surge over the past week with 164 new cases, for a daily average of 23. For the previous 7 days, the total number of cases was 26, with a daily average of 3.7.

CNN, Monday, 2 p.m. PT: 375,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

CNN, Monday, 7 p.m. PT: 376,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

CNN, Monday, 1:30 p.m. PT: 22.5 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.

CNN, Monday, 7 p.m. PT: 22.6 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.

Anna Cabrera, CNN: At least two gorillas at San Diego Zoo test positive for COVID-19, first known cases among great apes. The zoo says three animals are currently showing symptoms and it is suspected that the primates were infected by an asymptomatic staff member.

——

The Vancouver Canucks, who cancelled all Sunday team activities because of COVID-19 protocols, were back on the ice on Monday morning. It seems that Sunday’s episode was the result of a false positive. . . . The Canucks are scheduled to open their regular season with games against the host Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday and Thursday. . . . The Dallas Stars, who shut things down last week after eight positive tests — six players and two staffers — are to return to the practice ice Tuesday. They also announced that practices will be closed to the media until further notice. . . . The Stars’ first three scheduled regular-season games have postponed, leaving them to open at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Jan. 19. . . .

The NBA’s coronavirus nightmare continues. Having postponed one game on Sunday, it had to do the same to a Monday night game and another scheduled for Tuesday. . . . There now have been a total of four games postponed. . . . The Miami Heat-Boston Celtics game scheduled for Sunday didn’t come off; neither did Monday’s game between the New Orleans Pelicans and host Dallas Mavericks. The visiting Celtics and Chicago Bulls won’t play tonight (Tuesday). . . . Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle writes: “The NBA started its season in the worst part of the pandemic, as post-Thanksgiving numbers surged, deaths spiked, and hospitals and frontline health care workers were absolutely overwhelmed. What we have seen in recent weeks makes last summer seem calm.” . . . We now wait to see if the same fate awaits the NHL. . . .

The Air Force Falcons have shut down their hockey program for at least two weeks after five players tested positive following a road trip during which the team played five games in seven days on the East Coast. Their home games for the next two weekends are off the schedule. . . .

Skate Canada has cancelled the 2021 National Skating Championships because of the “evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic across Canada.” . . . The Canadians were scheduled for Vancouver, Feb. 8-14. . . .


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.


Answers

Winterhawks sale should close Dec. 31; price tag is US$5,850,000 . . . Virus takes two off U.S. roster


Joshua Critzer, who has been following the saga of the Portland Winter Hawks on Twitter (@jjcritzer), has posted a series of 14 tweets involving the sale of the WHL franchise.

You will recall that the franchise went into receivership in May after owner Bill PortlandAlternateGallacher apparently wasn’t able to repay money that had been borrowed in 2018 with the Winterhawks’ franchise among the collateral.

Gallacher had purchased the Winterhawks in October 2008.

Here, then, are the Critzer tweets:

The purchase price is listed as US$5,850,000. The new ownership group will be known as Winterhawks Sports Group LLC. The sale is expected to be approved in the necessary Canadian and Oregon courts. As first reported by Jeff Marek of Sportsnet, Kerry Preete will be one of the primary owners. Michael Kramer is the second. There may be other members of the ownership group, but they are not listed on any of the court documents.

Included in the sales price are the majority of Portland’s assets such as: All cash, intellectual property (i.e., 78 domain names and use of the Winterhawks logos), tangible personal property, rights associated with membership in the WHL, sponsorship contracts, and more.

The closing date for the sale is 12/31.

After the Receiver approved the new owners, there were two conditions. Both “have been met or waived”: 1. WHL Approval (League did approve); 2. A new lease for the Winterhawks practice facility. . . . The Winterhawks will stay in Portland.

The new owners are also taking on many of the liabilities including: Anything owed to customers after cancelling last season, up to $200,000 as a result of a lawsuit against the WHL for allegedly misclassifying players as amateur athletes rather than employees, two leased vehicles, accounts payable owing to the WHL up to US$10,718 and US$38,347, and all liabilities arising after the closing date that were incurred in the ordinary course of business.

One main liability is excluded, “in respect to employees.” Regarding employees: The new owners may make a written offer of employment to any employee at least 5 days prior to closing. In the court documents obtained, “9 employees shall have accepted an offer” with the new ownership. Mike Johnston & Kyle Gustafson are among the 9.

After reading the court documents, the new owners may make a written offer to any of the Portland scouts including those in temporary layoff/furlough. They would become “Transferred Contractors” and keep the same “active or inactive status & compensation” prior to the sale.

At the start, 34 parties executed a confidentiality agreement and 6 offers were submitted by 6/30. Three were chosen to participate in a 2nd round, only one submitted a “competitive offer.” The Receiver couldn’t come to an agreement with that party. All 6 offers are sealed.

When the 2nd round failed to produce a competitive offer, a broker was retained by the Receiver to help with the sale. The broker had previous experience selling WHL teams. They would have received a 3% commission. It is believed the principal of that entity is Daryl Henry.

On 9/23 the Receiver was contacted by the new owners and on 10/23 the diligence was completed allowing the process to move forward with league approval, as well as solution for the practice facility lease. The new owners placed a deposit of US$312,500 as part of the sale.

An important aspect of the sale is the new owners “agree to co-operate and execute any written assignment and assumption pertaining to the Standard Player Agreement as recognized by the WHL.” A key aspect of the Standard Player Agreement is the education benefit for players.

The sale price of the Winterhawks was impacted by the current situation with COVID-19, lost revenue from last season, and uncertainty pertaining to when fans will return to games. The majority of revenue for WHL teams comes from ticket sales.

Lastly, after the Winterhawks’ previous owner defaulted on a loan, the Portland organization, and the Receiver, sought out a new owner by the start of the 2020-2021 WHL season. This sale accomplishes that goal.

——

Some notes related to the sale of the Winterhawks, who are expected to hold a news conference in the near future. . . .

The sale price of US$5,850,000 translates to Cdn$7,471,269. . . . Bill Gallacher purchased the franchise from Jim Goldsmith, Jack Donovan and John Bryant in October 2008 for what was believed to be about Cdn$7.5 million. . . . At that time, I wrote: “That would be a record price for a WHL franchise. The Kamloops Blazers were sold last summer for a price that ended up being around Cdn$6.1 million. The last expansion franchise, which was sold to the NHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings two years ago, carried a Cdn$4-million price tag.” . . . In the last two seasons under the Goldsmith, Donovan and Bryant ownership, the Winterhawks had the WHL’s poorest record. . . . Under Gallacher and with Mike Johnston as general manager and head coach, the Winterhawks became one of the WHL’s flagship franchises. . . .

BonnieKerryPreete
Bonnie and Kerry Preete. (Photo: U of Saskatchewan)

Kerry Preete, one of the new owners, joined Monsanto in 1985, but left the company after it was bought up by Bayer A.G. in 2018 for US$70 billion. At the end, he was the executive vice-president and chief strategy officer. . . . Preete, 60, is from Melfort, Sask. He has a bachelor of commerce degree from the U of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon and an MBA from Washington University (Olin Business School) in St. Louis. . . . He played in the SJHL in the late 1970s with the Prince Albert Raiders and Humboldt Broncos, before going to the U of Saskatchewan. While there, he played for the Huskies under head coach Dave King and won a national championship in 1983. Preete spent time on a line with Dave Adolph, who went on to coach the Huskies and is the winningest coach in Canadian university hockey history. Adolph announced earlier this month that he will be retiring in April. Also on that Huskies team: Willie Desjardins, now the head coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers, and Peter Anholt, the general manager of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . At the same time, Preete’s wife, Bonnie, was playing for the women’s hockey team, then nicknamed the Huskiettes. . . . The Preetes donated $150,000 to the campaign that resulted in a new arena — Merlis Belsher Place — for the U of S hockey teams. . . . Kerry and Bonnie have three sons; he coached them in minor hockey in St. Louis. He also was a director with the Amateur Hockey Association of Missouri. . . . If you believe in coincidences, Gallacher and the Preetes all lived in Scottsdale, Ariz., a short time ago.


Team USA decided on its roster for the World Junior Championship on Saturday 2021WJCin Plymouth, Mich., but not before having to drop two players because of one positive test. . . . F John Beecher, a Boston Bruins’ first-round pick in the NHL’s 2019 draft, tested positive. That took him and roommate F Thomas Bordeleau off the roster. The San Jose Sharks selected Bordeleau in the second round of the NHL’s 2020 draft. He is the son of former NHLer Sebastien Bordeleau. . . . Beecher’s father, Bill, told the Boston Globe that his son had a second test that came back negative. But according to the IIHF’s pre-tournament protocol a single positive calls for disqualification. . . . Beecher and Bordeleau both play at the U of Michigan and were back on campus later Saturday. . . . G Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips is on the U.S.’s roster for a second straight year. He made one appearance in the 2020 tournament. This time, he is expected to back up Spencer Knight, a first-round pick by the Florida Panthers who is also back for a second go-round. . . . The U.S. also won’t have D Nicholas Robertson, 19, on its roster after the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs chose not to make him available. Robertson, a California who played for the Peterborough Petes last season, has been quarantining in Toronto. He made his NHL debut on Aug. 2 in the Toronto bubble. . . . The 10-team 2021 WJC opens Dec. 25 in the Edmonton bubble. All teams will be into the bubble on Sunday.


Waffle


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The Associated Press: Charley Pride, country music’s first Black star — whose rich baritone on such hits as Kiss an Angel Good Morning helped sell millions of records and made him the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame — has died. He was 86. . . . Pride died Saturday in Dallas of complications from COVID-19, according to Jeremy Westby of the public relations firm 2911 Media.

Skylar Peters, CJOB Winnipeg: There are 18 more deaths and 360 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba today. . . . Cases: 20,750. . . . Active cases: 5,630. . . . Deaths: 483. . . . Hospitalizations: 289. . . . ICU: 42. . . . Provincial test positivity: 13.9. . . . Winnipeg test positivity: 13.2%.

CBC News: Saskatchewan reports 274 new cases of COVID-19 and a record 11 additional deaths.

CBC News: Alberta is reporting 1,590 new COVID-19 cases along with 13 deaths.

B.C.: Crickets.

CBC News: Ontario is reporting 1,873 new cases of COVID-19, including 522 cases in Toronto, 436 in Peel and 185 in York Region.

CBC News: Quebec is reporting 1,898 new cases of COVID-19. The province added 40 deaths to its total, 18 of which occurred in the last 24 hours.

CBC News: New Brunswick is reporting 1 new case of COVID-19 in the Saint John region. There are 72 known active cases in the province. 4 COVID-19 patients are in hospital, including 3 in intensive care.

CBC News: 3 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Newfoundland and Labrador. 2 of the cases are travel-related; the source of the remaining case is under investigation. There are 23 known active cases in the province. No one is in hospital due to the virus.

CBC News: Nunavut adds 2 new COVID-19 cases today.  Both in Arviat.   Also 8 cases in Arviat listed as recovered.  Current active cases in Arviat: 50.  No active cases in any other Nunavut communities.

——

Keyontae Johnson, a star basketball player with Florida, collapsed on the court as the Gators and Florida State Seminoles were coming out of a timeout on Saturday afternoon. Johnson, who along with most of his teammates tested positive over the summer, was taken to a Tallahassee hospital where he was listed in critical but stable condition. . . .

NFL teams had at least three players test positive on Saturday. RB Myles Gaskin of the Miami Dolphins, DE Everyone Griffen of the Detroit Lions and LB Jachai Polite of the Los Angeles Rams all went on the reserve/COVID-19 list and won’t be playing today (Sunday). . . .

Saturday’s scheduled NCAA football game that was to have California playing at the Washington State Cougars was cancelled less than two hours before kickoff because of a positive test and contact tracing with the Golden Bears. . . . The Cougars now have had three games cancelled or postponed because of the virus.


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.


FlinFlonCartoon

Questions about older managers, coaches . . . MiLB cancels season for 160 teams . . . Pats’ pxp post open as Andrews leaves

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on Monday that the Minnesota Twins have told coaches Bob McClure, 68, and Bill Evers, 66, that they won’t be taking part in the 2020 season whenever it gets started.

The Twins said last week that an undisclosed number of players and one staff member had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Numerous reports have indicated that people over the age of 65 have a much greater whlchance of dying from the coronavirus. The Twins are believed to be the first North American professional team to excuse older coaches from working with their team.

The NHL, NBA, NFL and especially MLB have numerous managers and coaches who are 60 years of age and older. Chances are that in the coming days we will hear about more MLB teams doing precisely what the Twins have done with McClure and Evers.

But what about the WHL? Might this be just one more thing its teams are going to have to deal with should they get to open training camps in mid-September and begin the season on Oct. 2?

The WHL has two head coaches past the age of 60 — Willie Desjardins of the Medicine Hat Tigers and Mike Johnston of the Portland Winterhawks, both of whom also are general managers, are 63.

Their are 11 other head coaches over the age of 50.

The WHL also has at least eight general managers 60 or older, beginning with Garry Davidson of the Everett Silvertips, at 69, and John Paddock of the Regina Pats, at 66.

There also are a couple of assistant coaches who have had at least 65 birthdays — Jerome Engele of the Saskatoon Blades is 69 and Portland’s Don Hay is 66.

Just more food for thought in these uncertain times.



The NHL announced on Monday that it knows of 26 players who have tested positive for NHLCOVID-19. Fifteen of those players were in training at team facilities. The other 11 were working out away from those facilities. . . . All 26 players have been self-isolated. . . . The NHL says there were 1,450 tests on more than 250 players administered to players who were working out in training facilities. . . . Still to announce its hub cities, the NHL has said it will release testing figures on a weekly basis. . . .

The Detroit Red Wings have cancelled the 2020 version of the eight-team prospect tournament that was to have been played in Traverse City, Mich., in early September. . . . The Red Wings also have moved the site of their 2020-21 training camp, whenever that might be held, to Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.


Hockey


OF Ian Desmond said Monday that he won’t be joining the Colorado Rockies for the 2020 MLB season. He made the announcement in a nine-panel posting on Instagram. . . . There’s more right here. . . .

Infielder Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross said Monday that they won’t be joining the Washington Nationals, the defending World Series champions, for the approaching season. Also opting out is pitcher Mike Leake of the Arizona Diamondbacks. . . . All three cited health and safety concerns related to the pandemic. . . .

The Arizona Diamondbacks revealed on Monday that three players on their 60-man roster have tested positive. Two of them were in Arizona, while wasn’t yet in Arizona. . . .

OF Hunter Bishop, the San Francisco Giants’ first-round draft pick in 2019, has tested positive in Arizona. He will miss at least the start of the Giants’ workouts that are to begin on Friday in San Francisco. . . .

They have been playing Minor League Baseball (MiLB) in the United States since 1901. Prior to Tuesday, a season never had been cancelled. That’s all changed now, as MiLB announced that there won’t be a 2020 season thanks to the pandemic. There are 160 minor league teams, including the Vancouver Canadians, under the MiLB umbrella.


The Denver Nuggets closed their training facility on Tuesday after the NBA team’s travelling party was found to include three positive tests. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that 35 people were preparing to head for Orlando, Fla., and the restart of the season when the trio tested positive. . . . It’s not known if the positives are players or staff. . . . C Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets tested positive in Serbia earlier in June, while head coach Michael Malone has said that he tested positive in March. . . .

The NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans have had three players test positive, but the team hasn’t identified them. All three were tested on June 23, along with all of their teammates. . . .

Two members of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets — G Spencer Dinwiddie and F DeAndre Jordan — have tested positive and won’t be joining the team in Orlando, Fla. . . . Dinwiddie told The Athletic that he has been experiencing symptoms — fever and chest tightness. . . . The Nets also will be without F Wilson Chandler, who has opted out.


Golf Canada has cancelled the CP Women’s Open that was to have been played at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver, Sept. 3-6. The 2021 LPGA event will be played at Shaughnessy. . . .

Chad Campbell is the sixth player from the PGA Tour to test positive. He was tested as part of the screening prior to the Rocket Mortgage Classic, which is to start Thursday in Detroit. . . . Meanwhile, three players — Jonathan Hodge, Taylor Montgomery and Brandon Wu — tested positive and had to withdraw from the Korn Ferry Tour event that starts today (Wednesday) in Colorado.


MLS announced that four players have tested positive on Monday and Tuesday. All told, 392 people were tested, all of whom are staying in the league’s bubble hotel in Orlando, Fla. . . . On the weekend, MLS announced that 18 players and six staff members had tested positive since early June. . . . The league’s MLS is Back tournament is scheduled to open on July 8. . . .

Officials cancelled the rest of the 2020 World Rugby Seven Series on Tuesday, meaning there won’t be stops in Langford, B.C., London, Paris, Singapore or Hong Kong. . . .

A statement on the University of Georgia website on Monday indicated that at least 143 members of the school’s community, including students and staff, have tested positive. . . .

Williams College, a NCAA Division 3 school in Williamstown, Mass., has cancelled all fall sports, but has yet to decide on winter and spring activities. . . . Two other New England-area schools, Bowdoin College and UMass-Boston, have said their teams won’t play in the fall, either. . . .

The Broadway League said Monday that theatres on Broadway in New York City are likely to remain closed at least through the end of 2020. Performances have been suspended since March 12. . . . Theatres are hoping to re-open early in January.



Phil Andrews, the radio voice of the Regina Pats for the past nine seasons, said on PatsMonday that he was leaving the post. He cited family reasons for his decision. . . . Andrews was the Pats’ director of media and communications, and handled the play-by-play duties. . . . His departure opens up one of the WHL’s plum play-by-play positions and you can bet that a lot of junior hockey radio types have been preparing resumes.


Teacher


And a happy Bobby Bonilla Day to you, too. It’s July 1, which means that the New York Mets paid Bobby Bonilla US$1,193,248.20 as they have been doing since 2001. It’s all part of deferred payments that were part of his last contract. The payments began in 2011 and will run through 2035. Oh, and he hasn’t played since 2001.


——


The junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League announced on Tuesday that Brad Knight “has stepped down” as general manager and head coach. . . . The Buccaneers had announced Knight’s signing early in May. He was returning to the team after being the head coach for its first two seasons (2012-14). . . . Last season, with then-owner Clayton Robinson as head coach, Nanaimo finished 14-23-11. . . . Robinson, who owned the franchise for about 18 months, sold the team to Carl Ollech, who owns some of Duncan Iron Works, in June. . . . Greg Sakaki of the Nanaimo Bulletin has more on the sale right here.


Puzzle

All the excitement, joy disappear in a Sunday morning crash . . . Snowbirds’ Operation Inspiration ends, at least for now, in Kamloops

Snow2
A six-pack of Snowbirds flies over the Drinnan residence in Campbell Creek, about 20 kilometres east of Kamloops, on Saturday afternoon.

There was so much excitement from the Shuswap through Kamloops on Saturday as the Snowbirds on their Operation Inspiration tour headed this way from Rocky Mountain House, Alta.

The first thing I said when I climbed out of bed was: “Don’t forget. Snowbirds. 1:30.”

Yes, Dorothy and I were on our deck. We live on the north side of the South Thompson snowbirdsRiver, which flows alongside the north side of the Trans-Canada Highway. Flights heading west from the lower half of Alberta often follow the river/highway and end up going right over our place.

Such was the case on Saturday at about 1:45 p.m.

It began with two of the Snowbirds zipping by . . . followed shortly after by six in formation . . . and finally by a single plane.

It was over in about nine blinks of an eye, but, yes, it was exciting, especially when you stopped and thought about why the Snowbirds were on this tour.

Then came Sunday morning. Lousy weather in the Okanagan meant the plans for a flight over that area, including Kelowna and Penticton, were cancelled. Instead, they would leave Kamloops and head for Comox on Vancouver Island. They would set up shop there and make plans for flyovers on the island, weather permitting, of course.

Those plans came to a halt when one of the CT-114 Tutors went down in a neighbourhood near the Kamloops airport at about 11:45 a.m. Capt. Jenn Casey, the Snowbirds’ public affairs officer who was from Halifax, was killed. Capt. Richard MacDougall of Dieppe, N.B., is in hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

The Snowbirds are grounded in Kamloops while an investigation takes place.

And just like that all of the excitement from the previous day was all but forgotten.

So much anticipation and joy and excitement one day, and so much sorrow the next.

Hey, 2020, when does it all end? You can take your foot off our throat any day now.


Dexter Manley, who was a top-notch defensive end during a run with the NFL’s Washington Redskins back in the day, is in a Washington-area hospital being treated for coronavirus-related issues. Manley, 61, was on a pair of Super Bowl champions with the Redskins. . . . He later played in the CFL with the Ottawa Rough Riders and Shreveport Pirates. . . .

Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Best wishes to Art Howe, a good guy who was turned into a bad guy in ‘Moneyball.’ Howe was hospitalized Tuesday with COVID-19. In the movie version of this chapter of his life, Howe, played by Danny DeVito, will invent the coronavirus in a tiny lab in his clubhouse office. . . . (Note: Howe, a former MLB player and manager, was released from a Houston hospital on Sunday). . . .

The LPGA has scrapped its Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Midland, Mich., that had been scheduled for July 15-18. The next event on the LPGA schedule is the Marathon Classic in Sylvania Ohio, July 23-26. . . .

The Spa-Francorchamps race track in Belgium will open for practice today (Monday), but when the Belgian Grand Prix is held there Aug. 28-30 there won’t be any fans in attendance. . . . The government has banned large gatherings through Aug. 31.


With our annual Kidney Walk having been cancelled, my wife, Dorothy, is raising funds in support of a ‘virtual’ walk that is scheduled for June 7. All money raised goes to help folks who are dealing with kidney disease. . . . You are able to join Dorothy’s team by making a donation right here. . . . Thank you.


Here’s a note from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “May 13 marked the 35-year anniversary of O.J. Simpson and Bill Cosby serving as the groomsmen in ex-football star Ahmad Rashad’s wedding. Just for the record, O.J. was the best man.”

——

One more from Perry: From the Life Ain’t Fair File comes word that a 110-year-old Shoeless Joe Jackson baseball card just sold at auction for $492,000. In other words, nearly 100 times the $5,000 Joe was bribed to throw the 1919 World Series.”


Well, I tried to watch a couple of Bundesliga games on the weekend. Sorry, but I couldn’t do it, not without fans in attendance. With all the quiet, it might have been a high school scrimmage. Well, a high-level high school scrimmage. . . . Having invested some time in that, I can’t imagine watching NHL games in a world of quiet. . . . No, I didn’t give NASCAR a look later Sunday.


The Banff Hockey Academy has announced that it is on the move — to Dunmore, Alta., where its operation will be overseen by Willie Desjardins, the general manager and head coach of the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers. Desjardins already owns and operates the South Alberta Hockey Academy and runs it in partnership with the Prairie Rose School Division. . . . The Banff academy has been operating for 26 years.



There is a $20 bill in my money clip that has been there since March 4. Yes, it has grown lonely. However, there is little chance that it will get company or move on to someone’s cash register in the near future.


The OHL’s Erie Otters have extended the contracts of head coach Chris Hartsburg, associate coach BJ Adams and assistant coach Wes Wolfe through the 2021-22 season. . . . The Otters are 75-99-25 in Hartsburg’s three seasons as head coach. The Otters won the OHL title for 2016-17 and have been in a rebuilding process. . . . Hartsburg spent four seasons (2009-13) as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips. . . . Adams is going into his sixth season with Erie, with Wolfe to start his fifth season there.


Needle


If/when Major League Baseball is able to open an 82-game regular season, it apparently plans on banning spitting and sunflower seeds. Is it really baseball without spitting and seeds? . . . Along that same vein, is it really an NHL game if they ban fighting, scrums and spitting?


Checking in with the gang at Strat-O-Matic and their simulated MLB season, we find that the Toronto Blue Jays dropped a 5-0 decision to the host Chicago White Sox on Sunday. . . . The Blue Jays (21-26) are seven games behind the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays (29-20), who are two games up on the New York Yankees (26-21). . . . The White Sox (20-27) are 11 games behind the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians (32-17). . . . Other division leaders: Houston Astros (31-16), Washington Nationals (30-16), St. Louis Cardinals (25-22) and Los Angeles Dodgers (30-15). . . . If you’re a baseball fan, you will love this site right here. It’s got all the stats and then some.


Scattershooting on a Saturday night while watching Clooney, Pitt and Co. stealing money . . .

Scattershooting


The XFL kicked off its first season on Saturday and you need to know that sportsbettingdime.com has the Dallas Renegades as 3-1 favourites to win the inaugural championship. The New York Guardians are next at 4-1, with the Los Angeles Wildcats and Tampa Bay Vipers at 5-1. . . . You’re wondering about the Seattle Dragons? They’re eighth in the eight-team league, at 10-1. . . . I’m betting on the St. Louis Battlehawks (also 10-1), if only because Missouri seems to be home to titles these days.

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Former WHL coach Rob Daum received a phone call on Tuesday, and he left Wednesday for Europe and his latest head-coaching assignment, this one with EC Panaceo VSV of the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga. His latest club plays out of Villach, Austria. . . . Daum, 62, agreed to a deal that runs through the end of this season. . . . He replaces Jyrki Aho of Finland, who was fired by the team’s board of directors on Monday. He had been hired in July. . . . VSV is sixth in the 11-team league, at 17-15-8. . . . Daum is quite familiar with the league, having spent six seasons (2011-17) as the head coach of the Black Wings Linz. In fact, he has 237 EBHL victories to his credit, and no one has more. . . . He also spent two seasons (2017-19) with the DEL’s Iserlohn Roosters. . . . In the WHL, Daum has coached with the Prince Albert Raiders, Swift Current Broncos and Lethbridge Hurricanes (1989-95).


Scarecrow


The WHL playoffs must be getting close. How do I know that? Because, judging from the clip in the tweet below, cross-checking has been removed from the rule book as often seems to happen as spring nears. . . .


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, after the Super Bowl: “The halftime show seems to be trying too hard. I remember the good old simple days when it was just Michael Jackson moonwalking and groping for his car keys.”

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Ostler, looking back at a few days in Miami: “Miami is not a foreign country, it’s a different planet. Back yards are fenced in to keep out mosquitoes the size of bald eagles. Here’s an actual billboard I saw: ‘Got iguanas?’ It was an ad for an iguana-control company. And I thought squirrels in the crawl space were annoying.”


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Twenty-four hours before the Super Bowl, comedy writer Alex Kaseberg had tweeted this gem:


BigBird



Golf


Joe Judge, the new head coach of the NFL’s New York Giants, has filled out his coaching staff. OK, are you ready for this? How many assistant coaches do you think are on the staff? . . . Would you believe 15? No. How about 19? . . . Yes, there are 19 assistants. . . . There are three co-ordinators (offence, defence, special teams). . . . There are nine offensive assistants — quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive line, assistant offensive line, senior offensive assistant, offensive assistant, offensive quality control. . . . There are seven defensive assistants — defensive line, inside linebackers, outside linebackers/senior assistant, defensive backs, assistant defensive backs, defensive assistant, defensive quality control. . . . Seriously!



Former WHL star F Emerson Etem is getting into the coaching game in a bigger way. He has signed on as the general manager and head coach of the Missoula, Mont., Jr. Bruins, who play in the NA3HL. . . . Etem, from Long Beach, Calif., will take over from Cliff Cook to begin next season. Cook is moving on to an as-yet-unnamed collegiate team. . . . The NHL’s Anaheim Ducks selected Etem with the 29th pick of the 2010 draft. He spent three seasons (2009-12) with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers. He spent eight seasons playing professionally before a knee injury took him into retirement. Of late, he has been coaching at the South Alberta Hockey Academy, where he helps out Tigers GM/head coach Willie Desjardins.



Bob Molinaro, in the Hampton Roads Virginia-Pilot: “I guess something’s wrong with me. Otherwise, I’d have a stronger reaction to the Super Bowl halftime show put on by two middle-aged women. But I don’t. For me, it was neither great nor controversial, perhaps because I was barely paying attention. But so many things media and people find spectacular or objectionable just aren’t. It’s tiresome.”


Bored

Cranbrook says ‘no’ to KIJHL team. . . . It’s official! Willie’s back in The Hat. . . . Scooter scoots into retirement. . . . Ice, Wheaties sign first-round picks


MacBeth

D Linden Springer (Prince George, Portland, 2010-13) has signed a one-year contract with the Glasgow Clan (Scotland, UK Elite). This season, with the Manchester Storm (England, UK Elite), he had four goals and nine assists in 51 games. . . .

D Jason Fram (Spokane, 2011-16) has signed a two-year contract with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). This season, in 28 games with the U of Alberta (USports, Canada West), he had nine goals and 21 assists. . . .

F Justin Maylan (Moose Jaw, Prince George, Prince Albert, 2007-12) has  signed a one-year contract with the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite). This season, with Villach (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), he had two goals and three assists in seven games. He didn’t sign with Villach until Feb. 9. . . .

F Carter Ashton (Lethbridge, Regina, Tri-City, 2006-11) has signed a one-year contract with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). This season, with Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL), he had nine goals and five assists in 36 games.


ThisThat

A hearty welcome to all the new readers who have found us here over the past day or two. . . . Hope you enjoy what you find here and that you will spread the word. . . . Enjoy!


It would seem that the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League won’t be setting up kijhlshop in Cranbrook, at least not in time for the 2019-20 season. . . . Taking Note was told on Thursday that a group of 10 investors had reached a deal in principle to purchase the junior B Kelowna Chiefs and move the franchise to Cranbrook. . . . The team would have played out of Western Financial Place, which had been home to the WHL’s Kootenay Ice until that franchise moved to Winnipeg after its 2018-19 season ended. . . . The Ice’s lease with the City of Cranbrook runs through the 2022-23 season and a settlement hasn’t yet been negotiated. So the group had cut a deal with the Ice to sublease and, according to a source, the deal “guaranteed the city WHL rent for the next four years.” . . . However, the city rejected the sublease proposal late Thursday night, meaning the arena is one step close to not having a primary tenant for the 2019-20 season. . . .

“Our deadline for any relocation is May 31,” KIJHL president Larry Martel told Jeff Johnson of The Drive FM in Cranbrook. “Because of the medical situation in Kelowna, we’re still looking at a possibility, but we need to get our scheduling done so the league is moving on as of (Friday).”

Grant Sheridan, the Chiefs’ president and general manager, was admitted to hospital late in March after being diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.

As for a KIJHL team moving into Cranbrook, Martel said that isn’t likely to happen in the near future.

“There’s an existing rink deal with the former team, the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice,” he said. “So until that’s been negotiated and cleared up, no other junior team will be moving into Cranbrook as far as I’ve been told. But I have not been involved with any talk with the City of Cranbrook or anybody involved with that.”

Johnson’s story, along with a statement from The Chiefs, is all right here.


As expected, the Medicine Hat Tigers introduced Willie Desjardins as their new general manager and head coach on Friday morning, less than 24 hours after announcing that Tigers Logo Officialthey had parted company with Shaun Clouston. . . . Clouston, 51, had been with the Tigers since 2003-04, working as an assistant coach and associate coach before succeeding Desjardins as head coach prior to the 2010-11 season. Clouston had been GM and head coach since 2012-13. . . . Desjardins’ contract terms weren’t revealed but you get the feeling that he has the job for as long as he wants. . . .

Desjardins, 62, spent three seasons (2002-05) as the Tigers’ head coach and five (2005-10) as GM/head coach. With Desjardins running things, the Tigers won WHL championships in 2004 and 2007. They also won four straight Central Division titles, two Eastern Conference championships and one Scotty Munro Trophy as the top regular-season team. . . . After leaving the Tigers, Desjardins spent two seasons (2010-12) as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Dallas Stars, two as head coach of the AHL’s Texas Stars, three as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, and one with Team Canada. This season, he took over as the interim head coach of the Los Angeles Kings in November, but was released at season’s end. . . .

One of Desjardins’ responsibilities may be to stop the bleeding at the gate. When the Tigers played in The Arena, regular-season games were sold out (4,006) for a number of seasons. The Tigers moved into the 7,100-seat Canalta Centre in time for the 2015-16 season. They average 4,248 fans for that season, but in subsequent seasons the attendance declined to 3,586, 3,295 and 3,121.

This season, the Tigers had announced attendances of fewer than 3,000 for 16 of their 34 homes games.

The Tigers finished 35-27-6 in what turned out to be Clouston’s final season as head coach. They made the playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card team and lost a first-round series, 4-2, to the Edmonton Oil Kings.

In the previous three seasons in the Canalta Centre, the Tigers went 30-37-5, 51-20-1 and 36-28-8. They missed the playoffs in 2015-16, lost in the second round in 2016-17, and were ousted in the first round in 2017-18.


Dean (Scooter) Vrooman ended his 32-year career with the Portland Winterhawks on Friday by strolling off into retirement. . . . Vrooman joined the team in 1982 as its play-Portlandby-play voice and primary sponsorship salesperson, roles he held for 25 years. He left the organization briefly in 2007 to work in the banking industry. He returned to the Winterhawks in 2012 as the director of corporate sponsorships. . . . As the voice of the Winterhawks, Vrooman handled more than 2,000 games, including the 1982-83 and 1997-98 Memorial Cup championship seasons. . . . Of course, retirement doesn’t mean Vrooman won’t be somewhere near the Winterhawks at times. As he put it in a news release: “Overall, I have been a part of the organization for 32 years and I am going to be 66 years old in December so I thought this was the right time to move out of the realm of working full time in corporate sponsorships. I absolutely love the team and the WHL and will still be coming to a lot of games, perhaps helping out with some broadcasting occasionally, and working with the Winterhawks alumni and other isolated projects as they arise. I am so fortunate to have worked with so many great people, players, sponsors and fans for so many years.  It has been a lot of work, but it has also been a lot of fun.”


The NHL’s Edmonton Oilers released two assistant coaches on Friday, both of them former WHL players and coaches. . . . Manny Viveiros spent one season with the Oilers Oilersafter working for two seasons as the Swift Current Broncos director of player personnel and head coach. He helped lead the Broncos the WHL championship a year ago. Viveiros played four seasons (1982-86) with the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Trent Yawney, a veteran coach, also spent just one season with the Oilers, after working as an assistant coach with the Anaheim Ducks for four seasons. There is speculation that he could be joining the Los Angeles Kings as an assistant coach. Todd McLellan, who was fired by the Oilers early this season, is the Kings’ new head coach. . . . Yawney played three seasons (1982-85) with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Glen Gulutzan will be staying with the Oilers as an assistant under new head coach Dave Tippett. Gulutzan has completed one season with the Oilers and working as the Calgary Flames’ head coach for two seasons. As a player, he skated for two seasons (1989-91) with the Brandon Wheat Kings and one (1991-92) with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . There is speculation that Jim Playfair will be joining the Oilers’ staff as an assistant coach. Playfair worked with Tippett for six seasons (2011-17) when the latter was the head coach of the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes.


The Regina Pats have signed Dale McMullin, their director of scouting, to an extension. The length of the contract wasn’t revealed, other than to report that it is a “multi-year extension.” . . . McMullin has been the Pats’ director of scouting for eight seasons. . . . Before joining the Pats, McMullin was part of the Red Deer Rebels’ scouting staff for nine seasons. . . . McMullin is a former WHL player, having put up 418 points, including 168 goals, in 309 games (1971-76) with the Brandon Wheat Kings.


The Winnipeg Ice has signed F Conor Geekie to a WHL contract. Geekie, from Strathclair, Man., was the second-overall selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . This season, he had 49 goals and 37 assists in 31 regular-season games with the bantam AAA Yellowhead Chiefs. . . . His older brother Morgan played three seasons (2015-18) with the Tri-City Americans and now is in the AHL’s Calder Cup final with the Charlotte Checkers. Their father, Craig, played two seasons (1991-93) with the Brandon Wheat Kings and one (1993-94) with the Spokane Chiefs.

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The Brandon Wheat Kings owned three first-round selections in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft that was held in Red Deer on May 2. On Friday, the Wheat Kings announced the signings of all three players — F Nate Danielson, who was the fifth-overall pick, F Tyson Zimmer, who went sixth, and F Rylen Roersma, who was No. 16. . . . Danielson, from Red Deer, had 26 goals and 33 assists in 29 games with the bantam AAA Red Deer Rebels and was named the Alberta league’s top forward and MVP. . . . Zimmer, from Russell, Man., played for the OHA bantam prep team in Penticton, putting up 22 goals and 30 assists in 26 games. . . . Roersma, from Raymond, Alta., had 23 goals and 21 assists in 29 games with the bantam AAA Lethbridge Golden Hawks.

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With the signings announced Friday by the Winnipeg Ice and Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL teams have signed 12 of the 22 first-round selections from the 2019 bantam draft. Here’s a look at who has signed and who hasn’t . . .

UNSIGNED:

1. Winnipeg — F Matthew Savoie

3. Prince George — D Keaton Dowhaniuk

4. Prince George — F Koehn Ziemmer

7. Kamloops — D Mats Lindgren

11. Moose Jaw — D Denton Mateychuk

14. Swift Current — F Matthew Ward

15. Spokane — F Ben Thornton

19. Victoria — D Jason Spizawka

20. Kamloops — F Connor Levis

21. Swift Current — D Tyson Jugnauth

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SIGNED:

2. Winnipeg — F Conor Geekie

5. Brandon — F Nate Danielson

6. Brandon — F Tyson Zimmer

8. Seattle — F Jordan Gustafson

9. Saskatoon — F Brandon Lisowsky

10. Seattle — D Kevin Korchinski

12. Medicine Hat — F Oasiz Wiesblatt

13. Calgary — D Grayden Siepmann

16. Brandon — F Rylen Roersma

17. Regina — D Layton Feist

18. Edmonton — F Caleb Reimer

22. Prince Albert — F Niall Crocker


The Kelowna Rockets have signed D Elias Carmichael to a WHL contract. From Langley, B.C., Carmichael was a second-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . This season, he had three goals and 11 assists in 27 regular-season games with the Burnaby Winter Club’s prep team.


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Tigers are moving on from Clouston after 16 seasons in organization. . . . Desjardins on way back to Medicine Hat bench

Shaun Clouston had been with the Medicine Hat Tigers for 16 seasons and was the winningest head coach in franchise history.

It all ended Thursday with a terse three-paragraph news release, saying only that the two Tigers Logo Officialparties had “parted ways.”

Shortly after the announcement was made, a source familiar with the situation confirmed to Taking Note that Willie Desjardins would be returning to the Tigers, who have a news conference scheduled for this (Friday) morning.

Desjardins, 62, spent eight seasons (2002-10) with the Tigers, the first three as head coach and the last five as general manager and head coach, before leaving to join the NHL’s Dallas Stars as an assistant coach.

He spent two seasons with Dallas, then worked for two seasons as the head coach of the Stars’ AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars.

The Vancouver Canucks hired him as head coach prior to the 2014-15 season and he spent three seasons with them. In 2017-18, he worked as the head coach of Canada’s national team, including at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Desjardins finished this season as the interim head coach of the Los Angeles Kings, having been hired on Nov. 4 following the firing of head coach John Stevens just 13 games into the season. The Kings went 27-34-8 under Desjardins and missed the playoffs.

Desjardins also is involved with the South Alberta Hockey Academy that has partnered with the Prairie Rose School Division in Dunmore, just east of Medicine Hat.

When Desjardins left the Tigers, he was the franchise’s all-time winningest coach, with 323 regular-season victories. He also won 10 games as the head coach of the Saskatoon Blades in 1997-98, so his career regular-season total is at 333.

Clouston took over from Desjardins as head coach for 2010-11, then posted his 324th regular-season victory on Dec. 30, 2017. When this season ended, Clouston had 391 victories.

On Thursday, according to Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News, Tigers media services manager Adam Jones told a news conference: “I think it really is a case of going a different direction. We’ve been doing the same thing for a lot of years and it’s time to try something new. As far as I know, everything was very mutual both ways.”

Clouston, now 51, played three seasons (1986-89) with the Portland Winterhawks, and was the team captain for the last two of those seasons. He returned to the Winterhawks as an assistant coach for 2001-02, then took over as the Tri-City Americans’ head coach for 2002-03, only to be replaced by general manager Bob Tory in midseason.

Clouston spent the next two seasons as an assistant coach under Desjardins with the Tigers, then was promoted to associate coach. When Desjardins left for Dallas, Clouston took over as head coach. He had been the general manager and head coach since 2012-13.

With Clouston in charge, the Tigers qualified for the playoffs in eight of nine seasons, twice reaching the Eastern Conference final. The one time they missed the postseason (2015-16), they lost a tiebreaker to the Edmonton Oil Kings.

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Here’s a look at the 23 WHL head coaches who have more than 300 regular-season victories to their credit (following 2018-19):

1. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 750

2. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 742

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina, Vancouver) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 572

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 509

9. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 500

10. Peter Anholt (Prince Albert, Seattle, Red Deer, Kelowna, Lethbridge) 466

    Jack Shupe (Medicine Hat, Victoria) 466

12. Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon) 465

      Dean Clark (Calgary, Brandon, Kamloops, Prince George) 465

14. Bob Lowes (Seattle, Brandon, Regina) 453

15. Doug Sauter (Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Brandon) 417

16. Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna) 411

17. Bryan Maxwell (Medicine Hat, Spokane, Lethbridge) 397

18. Shaun Clouston (Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 391

19. Mike Johnston (Portland) 355

20. Graham James (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Calgary) 349

21. Bob Loucks (Lethbridge, Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340

22. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

23. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326


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