Should hockey just shut down for 2020-21? . . . ECHL loses six more teams . . . MJHL’s Blues, Freeze disciplined


“The ECHL and the International Ice Hockey Federation came out Wednesday with their latest plans for this season and they involve such a bastardized version of competition that you have to begin to wonder whether the game – at all levels from the NHL right down to minor hockey – shouldn’t consider simply shutting down for 2020-21,” writes Ken Campbell of The Hockey News.

“I mean, it’s getting ridiculous. And it just seems as though leagues all over the world are desperately trying to jam a square peg into a round hole in a desperate effort to play this season in the midst of the second wave of a global pandemic, the likes of which the world has not seen for a century.”

His complete column is right here.


All six teams in the ECHL’s North Division have “elected a voluntary echlsuspension” for 2020-21, according to a league-issued news release. The Adirondack Thunder, Brampton Beast, Maine Mariners, Newfoundland Growlers, Reading Royals and Worcester Railers all say they will return for the 2021-22 season. . . . The Atlanta Gladiators and Norfolk Admirals had already opted out of the season. . . . Players from teams that don’t play become free agents, but only for the 2020-21 season. . . .

The ECHL has 13 teams preparing to open the season on Dec. 11. . . . From thesinbin.net: “For the remaining five teams that were to start on January 15, 2021 — Cincinnati, Fort Wayne, Idaho, Kalamazoo, and Toledo — the deadline to opt out comes in 12 days. Allen, Florida, Greenville, Indy, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Orlando, Rapid City, South Carolina, Tulsa, Utah, Wheeling and Wichita all are scheduled to start play on December 11, 2020 and there hasn’t been any indication of that timetable being pushed back due to the latest surge in coronavirus cases.” . . . There is more on the story right here.



The SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers, the only Manitoba-based team in the league, are FlinFlonlooking for permission to shift their base of operations to Creighton, Sask., during the pandemic. Due to restrictions put in place by the Manitoba government and health officials, the Bombers aren’t allowed to practice or play in Flin Flon’s Whitney Forum. . . . If given the OK by health officials, they would practise in Creighton and play all of their games on the road so long as the restrictions are in place. . . . Creighton is less than two miles southwest of Flin Flon.


Carter Brooks of gameonhockey.ca has his story right here, and Skylar Peters of Global News in Winnipeg has a story right here.


Wiretap


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: Canada-United States border closure extended again, this time until December 21st, CBC News has learned. The formal announcement is to be made later this week.

Jill Macyshon, CTV Manitoba: 11 more COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba today. Three deaths linked to Golden Links Lodge in Winnipeg. 400 new cases identified today in Mb. 239 of those cases in Winnipeg. The five-day test positivity rate is now over 14 percent.

CBC News: Manitoba to introduce $298 fine for people not wearing a mask in public.

CBC News: Saskatchewan records 132 new COVID-19 cases and 1 additional death. In the previous 7 days, the province had been averaging 173 cases a day.

Marc Smith, CTV Regina: This is the 7th death in the past 12 days. Hospitalizations hit a record high (76) for the 10th straight day, while the province also has a record 17 people in ICU. The 132 new cases came on only 1,619 tests, which is an 8.2 per cent positivity rate.

CBC News: Alberta reports 11 more COVID-19 deaths, 732 new infections. Province now has 10,057 active cases, slight decrease from the day before.

Janet Brown, CKNW Vancouver: Latest covid19 BC numbers: 762 new cases, 481 in Fraser Health region; 10 more people have died for total 320; 209 people hospital (+11), 58 ICU (-5), 9871 in self isolation.

Scott Brown, Postmedia Vancouver: B.C. Premier John Horgan calls for restrictions on inter-provincial travel. “People of Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba need to know that they should stay in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba, until . . . we can start distributing a vaccine across the country.”

CBC News: Ontario is reporting 1,417 new cases of COVID-19. That’s consistent with the province’s 7-day average, which is 1,422. 463 of the cases are in Peel Region, with 410 in Toronto and 178 in York Region. . . . Ontario reported 32 more deaths linked to COVID-19 today — the most on any single day during the second wave of the pandemic.

CBC News: 35 more deaths in Quebec are being attributed to COVID-19. The province is also reporting another 1,179 new cases; that brings Quebec’s 7-day average down to 1,243 from 1,272.

CBC News: New Brunswick reports 9 more COVID-19 cases, the highest daily total since October 11th. The province’s average for the previous 7-days was 3.4.

CBC News: 10 new COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed in Nunavut, bringing the territory’s total to 70; all have occurred in the last 2 weeks. 8 new cases are in the community of Arviat (population 2,400) on Hudson Bay’s west coast.

CBC News: U.S. leads the world in COVID-19 deaths as toll exceeds 250,000. Number of people hospitalized with the virus in the U.S. has doubled in the past month.

The New York Times: Hundreds of health care workers at the Mayo Clinic have become infected with the coronavirus as the prestigious hospital system treats rapidly growing numbers of patients with Covid-19.

The New York Times: “No one is happy about this decision,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said, after announcing that the New York City public school system would shut down a second time. Virus case numbers are rising so quickly in the city that more restrictions appear likely.

The New York Times: Kentucky will close schools beginning next week, ban indoor service at bars and restaurants, and impose new limits on indoor gatherings, Gov. Andy Beshear announced, citing a steep rise in coronavirus cases in the state.

——

F Ridly Greig of the Brandon Wheat Kings hasn’t yet reported to the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp in Red Deer. Now we know why . . .

A hockey league in Saskatoon for skaters ages 60 and older has shut down after experiencing four positive tests. . . . Theresa Kliem of CBC News has more right here. . . .

The NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, who are scheduled to visit the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, now have 11 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list. DE Clelin Ferrell went on the list Tuesday after testing positive. He was followed on Wednesday  by S Johnathan Abram, DT Maliek Collins, DT Johnathan Hankins, DT Kendal Vickers, DE Arden Key, CB Isaiah Johnson and pratice squad DE David Irving, all of whom were deemed high-risk close contacts. . . . DB Lamarcus Joyner also is on the list. LB Cory Littleton and OT Trent Brown and been on the list since earlier in the month. . . . Players who were deemed close contacts will be able to play Sunday if they continue to test negative. . . .

The Cleveland Browns have placed K Cody Parkey, OT Jack Conklin and long snapper Charley Hughlett on the reserve-COVID-19 list. . . . They are at home to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. . . .

Kunlun Red Star arrived in Helsinki on Wednesday to play a KHL game against Jokerit. However, the game was postponed when Kunlun had several positive tests show up. . . .

The Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST) has cancelled its fall season, meaning now men’s and women’s basketball or volleyball seasons.  The association had delayed its fall season in the hopes of playing in the winter semester, but now that won’t happen. . . . The association features teams from 10 colleges throughout B.C. . . .

The U of Maine was to have opened its men’s hockey season this weekend against UMass, but has postponed both home games. Maine now hopes to open next weekend at UConn. . . . Connecticut was to have played Vermont this weekend, but Vermont has paused things for now. . . . So it has been worked out for UMass and UConn to play each other. . . .

The Colorado State at UNLV football game scheduled for Saturday won’t be played because what UNLV athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois called “the surge in cases in the Las Vegas community.” . . . Earlier Wednesday, it was announced that another Mountain West game, Wyoming at Utah State, wouldn’t be happening either.

Loyola U in Chicago has paused its athletic department, other than the women’s basketball team, because of positive tests. The Loyola Phoenix reported that sources had told it that “the majority” of the men’s basketball team had tested positive.


Psychic


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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 Spokane Chiefs have signed general manager Scott Carter to a two-year contract extension that goes through the 2022-23 season. He has been the GM through four seasons. . . . Tyler Valin has joined the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines as an assistant coach. He has been the head coach of the Alberta Midget Hockey League’s Fort Saskatchewan Rangers for the past three seasons. In Whitecourt, he will be working alongside Shawn Martin, the general manager and head coach. . . . The SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves announced on Wednesday that they have signed Kevin Kaminski, their GM/head coach, and Gaelan Patterson, the assistant GM/associate coach, to “new multi-year contracts.”


Robber

Hey, coach, you should wear that mask properly because world is watching . . . Words of emotional advice from Emily Cave . . . Blues, Freeze say they’re sorry, but . . .

A friendly reminder to hockey coaches everywhere. . . . If you are required to wear a facemask while behind your team’s bench or anywhere else in the arena, make sure you wear it properly — covering your mouth and your nose. . . . Someone emailed me a nice big photo of a coach that got prominent play in his local newspaper — unfortunately, he was using his mask as a chin diaper, and that’s just not a good look. . . . So make sure to wear it properly because in this day and age there are cameras everywhere, and part of your job is to set a good example. . . . Thank you!


Colby Cave, a former WHLer (Swift Current, 2011-15), died on April 11, a few days after suffering a brain bleed. He and Emily had been married for nine months when he died in Toronto. Due to hospital restrictions brought on by the pandemic, Emily wasn’t with her husband at the end.

On Thursday, she took to her Instagram account to express some feelings, words that have echoed around the globe and been picked up by all kinds of media outlets.

Here are Emily’s words:

“I have kept my opinions regarding COVID to myself or people in my close circle but today I hit my breaking point with Alberta making new restrictions. I personally see & hear so many people complaining. I understand a lot of people feel that they won’t get it & if they did they would survive it.

“However, what would happen if your loved one became sick very fast with something else, was in a car accident, or was dying . . . & then because of the COVID restrictions you weren’t allowed to be with them?!?!

“My 25-year-old husband died alone. . . . I have no clue what his last breath was like. . . . I have yet to be able to have a funeral. . . . because of this global pandemic.

“So for goodness sake wear a mask, wash your freaking hands & it’s not the end of your world if you can’t go to house parties or do things that are essentially a ‘luxury’ in your blessed world because let me tell you . . . it’s not a luxury having your husband die alone. It’s not a luxury getting a phone call saying he’s dead compared to being there holding his hand. It’s not a luxury losing a loved one during a freaking global pandemic.

“If this insults any of my followers, unfollow me or grow up because until you’re in my shoes . . . which I pray to God you never have to be . . . your opinion can eat sh*t.”

Wear a mast. Social distance. Wash your hands. Please.


The MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues and Winnipeg Freeze, both of whom are under fire for holding unsanctioned practices in Warren, Man., last week, issued a lengthy apology on Friday. . . . Both teams are owned by 50 Below Sports and Entertainment, which also owns, among other properties, the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice. . . . Matt Cockell, the Ice’s president and general manager, is the president and governor of both the Blues and Freeze. . . . The apology, which doesn’t include any names and isn’t signed, runs to 1,511 words. . . . It goes to great lengths to rationalize what occurred. If you are one of us who takes this pandemic seriously, you might see all of this as a weak explanation about looking for loopholes. . . . Carter Brooks of gameonhockey.ca has more right here, including the entire, uhh, apology.

Columnist Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun read the, uhh, apology and wrote: “Two Manitoba Junior Hockey League teams who flouted public health guidelines by staging practices just outside the city early this week have both apologized for and justified their actions.” . . . Perhaps the headline on Friesen’s column — “MJHL teams offer apology, but remain in hiding” — says more than anything. . . . His column is right here.


The Vancouver Giants have signed Keith McCambridge as their new associate Vancouvercoach, replacing Jamie Heward, who left “to pursue a different hockey opportunity.” . . . Heward, who spent two seasons with the Giants, is expected to join the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights as an assistant coach under Manny Viveiros. . . . McCambridge, a native of Thompson, Man., the hometown of former WHL coach of the year Jack Sangster, played four seasons in the WHL (Swift Current, Kamloops, 1991-95). He was a defenceman on the Blazers team that won the 1994 Memorial Cup. . . . The 46-year-old McCambridge coached in the AHL for 10 seasons, most recently as the head coach of the Hartford Wolf Pack (2016-19). The Wolf Pack is the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s New York Rangers, who chose to let McCambridge go after the 2018-19 season. . . . In Vancouver, McCambridge will work with head coach Michael Dyck, who leaves this weekend for Red Deer to join Canada’s national junior team for its selection camp. He is an assistant coach so will be gone until the World Junior Championship ends on Jan. 5. . . . WHL teams plan on bringing players in for brief training camps right after Christmas, and then hope to open their season on Jan. 8. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia has more on the Giants’ story right here.


Bob


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Karel Houde-Hébert of Radio-Canada in Regina reports that the SJHL “would FlinFlonlike” the Flin Flon Bombers to play out of Creighton, Sask., which is located two km west of the Manitoba city. . . . The Bombers have put their season on hold because of Manitoba being on a province-wide lockdown. The Bombers were to have played a weekend doubleheader against the visiting Kindersley Klippers. When the restrictions came in this week, the Bombers announced that they would play the two games in Kindersley. However, they announced Thursday that the games would be postponed. . . . Travis Rideout, the Bombers’ president, says the organization is “still looking at all the possibilities to continue our season.” . . . Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief medical officer of health, doesn’t like the Creighton option at all. “Sanitation measures were put in place for a reason. They save lives,” he said. “I encourage all Manitobans to play by the rules and not try to bend them.” . . . Houde-Hébert’s story is right here.

CBC Saskatchewan: The province is rolling out more COVID-19 rules including mandatory masking in 59 communities, limits on when alcohol can be served and the reduction of fitness-class sizes. The restrictions come into effect on Nov. 16.

CBC Saskatchewan: COVID-19 in Sask.: 81 new cases, 53 people in hospital on Friday. There are now 1,427 active cases, out of a total of 4,513 reported since the start of the pandemic.

——

CBC News: Alberta is reporting 907 new cases of COVID-19 and 5 additional deaths related to the virus. 240 people are in hospital, including 54 in ICU. The province has 8,593 known active cases.

Troy Gillard, rdnewsNOW: Friday’s numbers are in and Red Deer is back to 94 active cases of COVID-19.

Mo Cranker, Medicine Hat News: Medicine Hat now has 34 active cases of COVID-19, meaning we have been added to the watch list.

——

Janet Brown, CKNW Vancouver: Latest covid19: 617 new cases, 2 deaths for total 290, 167 people hospitalized, 50 ICU, just about 6000 active cases and nearly 12000 in self isolation.

James Peters, CFJC-TV, Kamloops: B.C. records daily record 617 new cases of COVID-19 (Friday), including 42 in Interior Health. Hospitalizations up to 167 with 50 in ICU.

——

CBC News: Number of daily coronavirus cases in Ontario drops to 1,396, down from Thursday’s all-time high of 1,575. But the number still exceeds the province’s average from the previous 7-days of 1,299.

——

CBC News: 30 additional deaths due to the coronavirus are being reported by health authorities in Quebec. The province also has 1,301 new cases, the lowest in 3 days but still above the average of the previous 7-days of 1,263.

——

CBC News: Nunavut confirms a new case of COVID-19; the territory reported its 1st case on November 6; there are now 4. The latest one is in Arviat, a community of about 2,600 people on the west coast of Hudson’s Bay just north of the Manitoba border.

——

CBS2 News: The Washington State Department of Health reported 2,142 new COVID-19 cases, 88 additional hospitalizations and 12 more deaths due to the virus.

oregonlive.com: Oregon governor orders 2-week coronavirus freeze, restricting bards and restaurants to takeout, closing some businesses.

——

North Dakota has shut down all winter high school sports until at least Dec. 14. Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald writes that “the shutdown includes all extracurricular K-12 school activities and applies to all association, community and club sports for youth and adults.” The fall sports that now are wrapping up will be allowed to complete their championships. . . .

Jeremy Turley, inforum.com: North Dakota has enacted a statewide mask mandate and occupancy limits on restaurants, bars and event venues as the state’s worst-in-the-nation COVID-19 outbreak keeps spiraling out of control. Violators of the mask order could be charged with infractions.

680 CJOB Winnipeg: North Dakota is now allowing health-care workers who are COVID-19 positive, but asymptomatic, to continue working in corona virus units.

——

I think it’s fair to say that’s quite a circus going on south of the 49th. Consider the case of the Cal Golden Bears football team. Cal was to have opened its season last weekend against the visiting Washington Huskies. But a positive test led to Cal coaches and players going into quarantine as close contacts and the game was cancelled. This weekend, Cal was scheduled to visit Arizona State, but that game was cancelled on Friday because of positive tests, including head coach Herm Edwards, among the Sun Devils. Instead, Cal will meet the UCLA Bruins on Sunday at the Rose Bowl. . . . The Bruins were to have played host to Utah but the Utes pulled out because of — you guessed it — positive tests. . . . As of Friday, Cal still had its entire defensive line, some coaches and other players in quarantine. The Golden Bears practised this week with one defensive lineman. . . . Rusty Simmons, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “As California eclipsed 1 million coronavirus cases this week and counties throughout the state rescind plans to reopen businesses and still can’t operate in-person schools, it’s difficult to find a reason to play a football game.” . . .

The U of Alaska-Anchorage cancelled its indoor winter sports season on Friday, meaning the Seawolves hockey team won’t be playing this winter. Also shut down are men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track, and women’s gymnastics. . . . Volleyball and cross-country teams found out in July that their fall seasons wouldn’t be happening. . . . This decision could signal the end of the Seawolves’ hockey program as the school said in mid-August that the 2020-21 season would be its final one. . . .

The NCAA hockey season that is to start this weekend lost one game on Friday when Long Island U’s first-ever game was postponed. It was to have played Army at West Point. However, the game was postponed due to an outbreak on the Army team. . . . Army also postponed its Nov. 20 game against visiting Holy Cross. . . . 

Golden Gate Fields, a thoroughbred race track in the San Francisco Bay area, has suspended live racing until at least Nov. 20. That’s because it has experienced 24 positive tests since Oct. 30.


Job


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.


Roger Bader, the head coach of Austria’s national men’s hockey team, has stepped in as head coach of the country’s national junior team. He takes over from Marco Pewal, who is an assistant coach with VSV Villach of the Erste Bank Hockey League. His club team could play as many as 15 games while Pewal would have been away, so it chose not to release him to the national junior team. Last season, with Pewal as head coach, Austria earned promotion. . . . Martin Merk has more right here. . . . The World Junior Championship is scheduled to open Dec. 25 in an Edmonton bubble.


Dogs

Hey, 50 Below, what’s up with this? . . . Michigan’s Power won’t be in Canada’s camp . . . More nasty COVID-19 news and numbers

Well . . . isn’t this interesting.

With southern Manitoba pretty much locked down since Nov. 2 — and headed mjhlto a province-wide lockdown that could last four weeks starting on Thursday — Carter Brooks, the associate editor of the Winnipeg-based Game On Magazine, writes: “50 Below Sports + Entertainment has some serious explaining to do.”

That’s the parent company of, among other things, the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice and two MJHL franchises — the Winnipeg Blues and Winnipeg Freeze. Yes, two franchises in a 12-team league are owned by the same outfit.

Some background: Health officials in Manitoba went to Code Red in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region on Nov. 2, then extended it to the Southern Health-Santé Sud Region a week later. On Tuesday, it was announced that the entire province will be under Code Red for four weeks starting on Thursday.

Code Red means no hockey. Period. “Playing team sports . . . will also be out of the question,” reads a CBC News story from Tuesday.

But it seems that the Blues and Freeze chose to book practice ice in Warren, Man., despite the fact that they operate out of the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region. That resulted in, as Brooks wrote, “an anonymous email to MJHL President Kevin Saurette (BCC’d to members of the local Manitoba sports media) of images” that appear to show players from the Blues and Freeze on the ice.

This comes after Hockey Manitoba specifically told teams on Nov. 2 that “for the safety of all members, both hockey teams and individuals (players, officials, and team staff) residing in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region are ineligible to participate in hockey programming beginning November 2, 2020 . . . (that) will be revisited on November 15, 2020.”

The Blues and Freeze, it seems, practised at Warren’s Sunova Arena on Monday. According to Brooks, they also had practices booked for Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in Warren, which is located 45 km northwest of Winnipeg.

Rhys van Kemenade, the president of the Sunova Centre, 50 Below Sports + Entertainment’s director of teams and tournaments.

As well, Brooks reported, “Not only did the two teams . . . illegally book the ice and use it for practices against direct orders from both the Province of Manitoba and the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, they did so in a manner that attempted to falsify what they were doing. Originally booking their ice under their two team names, the Blues and Freeze since changed their bookings to ‘Laker Academy.’

As evidence, Brooks’ story includes screen grabs from the Warren arena’s date book, information that has since disappeared from the arena’s website.

As Brooks concludes his story: “This program is certainly in line for massive repercussions following such a selfish act of blatant disobedience amid a global pandemic.”

Ya think?

Brooks’ story is right here.

Taylor Allen of the Winnipeg Free Press also did a story that is right here.

His story included this paragraph:

“The Free Press has requested comment from MJHL commissioner Kevin Saurette, Blues and Freeze president Matt Cockell, Blues head coach and GM Taras McEwen, Freeze head coach and GM Josh Green and Laker Hockey Academy instructor Larry Woo to comment on the situation but there has been no response, thus far.”

There’s also a piece in the Winnipeg Sun, written by Paul Friesen and Scott Billeck. That one is right here.

That’s a lot of publicity for all the wrong reasons, isn’t it?

——

680 CJOB: Manitoba health officials reported 384 new cases of COVID-19 and five additional deaths Tuesday.

CBC News: Manitoba goes ‘red’ as of Thursday to prevent COVID-19 spread. Household-only social contacts, no gatherings. Closures include restaurants (take-out only), personal services (hair salons etc.), gyms, sports, religious centres, museums, libraries, theatres.

——

The MJHL didn’t mention the Winnipeg Blues or Winnipeg Freeze in a Tuesday news release that referenced the Nov. 2 directive from Hockey Manitoba.

“Any hockey activity that takes place outside the . . . Hockey Manitoba restrictions for regions identified as Critical (Red) is not permitted and is not sanctioned by Hockey Manitoba, the governing body of the MJHL,” the statement from the MJHL reads. “Any teams or individuals who participate(d) in hockey activities outside of the above restrictions would be choosing to do so in an un-sanctioned environment outside of Hockey Manitoba and MJHL jurisdiction.

“The MJHL will provide no further public statement regarding the restrictions outlined above.”

With all of Manitoba locking down starting Thursday for what could be as long as four weeks, the MJHL board of governors is to meet today (Wednesday). You have to think that the league will shut down indefinitely as it awaits for direction from health officials.



Hockey Canada announced Tuesday that D Owen Power of the U of Michigan Canadawon’t be attending the national junior team’s selection camp in Red Deer. . . . Players are scheduled to arrive in Red Deer on Monday with the camp running from Nov. 17 to Dec. 13. The World Junior Championship, to be played in an Edmonton bubble, will open Dec. 25 and close on Jan. 5. . . . According to a statement by Scott Salmond, Hockey Canada’s senior vice-president of national teams, “Power will not be released to participate” in the camp. . . . Mel Pearson, the U of Michigan’s head coach, had said Monday that he would release Power for the camp; he just didn’t know when that might happen. . . . With two of the three major junior leagues not yet playing games due to the pandemic, the selection camp will run for almost four weeks, resulting in a conflict with NCAA schedules. Some NCAA teams are about to start and Power, with no guarantee of making Canada’s team, could miss as many as 10 Michigan games.


Peaches


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League has put some of its schedule on hold for a week after COVID-19 exposures at two Nanaimo high schools that are attended by several players. . . . The four North Division teams — the Nanaimo Buccaneers, Campbell River Storm, Comox Valley Glacier Kings and Oceanside Generals — will sit for a week. . . . Simon Morgan, the VIJHL president, said in a statement that the four North Division governors “are taking this measure out of an abundance of caution and to do everything that they can to help slow the spread of COVID-19.” He added that “no VIJHL player has tested positive . . . this is a precautionary measure that will allow the VIJHL to monitor the situation and evaluate re-start activities when appropriate.”

Janet Brown, CKNW Vancouver: Latest covid19 numbers:  525 new cases, 3 deaths, 142 hospital (+9), 46 ICU (+3), 9781 self isolation, 5133 active cases, hospitalizations highest since Apr 5

Castanet Kamloops: BC announces 525 new coronavirus cases, 27 in IH region.

Shelby Thom, Global Okanagan: Interior Health warning Metro Vancouver-style restrictions could be coming to the Southern Interior if the region doesn’t get a handle on a surge in COVID-19 cases. Health authority urges against ANY non-essential travel.

——

CBC News: Saskatchewan reports 127 new COVID-19 cases. That’s the lowest total in 3 days, but still above the province’s previous 7-day average of 114. Health authorities say no new deaths have occurred.

——

CBC News: Alberta reports 713 new coronavirus cases and 7 more deaths. Province sets new COVID-19 records with 207 people hospitalized with the illness. Province also breaks record with 8,090 active cases. . . . Doctors and other health-care workers are warning that the province’s hospitals may not be able to handle the rising number of cases.

——

The junior B St. Catharines Falcons of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League announced Tuesday that they have “experienced a number of COVID-19 positive cases.” According to the team, “The initial cases were from contact outside of our team bubble through asymptomatic transmission. Unfortunately, subsequent to this we had further transmission within the team and . . . the entire team now is under a 14-day quarantine process.” . . .

CBC News: Ontario reports 1,328 new COVID-19 cases, marking new record for 2nd straight day.

CBC News: Toronto won’t follow province when some COVID-19 restrictions lift Saturday. Ban on indoor dining remains, event spaces, casinos, gyms, fitness centres to stay closed for another 28 days. Chief medical officer also recommends limiting social gatherings to household members only.

——

CBC News: Quebec is reporting 38 additional deaths due to COVID-19. Health officials are also reporting 1,162 new coronavirus cases. That pushes the province’s 7-day average to 1,180 from 1,139.

——

oregonlive.com: Coronavirus in Oregon: 3 deaths, 771 new cases as officials sound alarm on hospitalizations.

WA Dept. of Health: Increase in COVID-19 activity statewide extremely concerning as holiday season nears; Health officials call for renewed efforts now.

Seattle Times: Washington state health officials have warned that “any in-person gathering is risky” as daily COVID-19 cases are at record-high numbers. Another stay-at-home order is still possible if counts don’t improve, officials said.

The New York Times: The number of Covid-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. hit an all-time high, as the pandemic continued shattering records and straining medical facilities.

The Pittsburgh Steelers placed four players, including QB Ben Roethlisberger, on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday morning. OL Jerald Hawkins, RB Jaylen Samuels and LB Vince Williams also went on the list. . . . TE Vance McDonald went on the list on Monday. . . . The players have to isolate for five days while undergoing testing. Negative results would get them off the list in time to play against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. . . . At 8-0, the Steelers are the NFL’s only remaining undefeated team. . . . The Philadelphia Eagles revealed Tuesday that a staff member has tested positive and is self-isolating.

The NCAA has dropped three football games from Saturday schedule — Alabama at LSU and Texas A&M at Tennessee were postponed Tuesday, after Auburn at Mississippi State went by the wayside on Monday. . . . LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn all are dealing with positive tests. Auburn paused practices Tuesday after getting 12 positives. . . . The Cal Golden Bears had their season-opener cancelled last weekend because of positives and haven’t yet gotten the OK to return to practice. That included having the entire defensive line quarantined for two weeks. Cal is supposed to play at Arizona State on Saturday. . . .

The Minneapolis StarTribune reports that “multiple members of the Gophers men’s and women’s basketball teams have tested positive . . .” The men’s team has paused activities indefinitely; the women’s team paused last week and then started practising again on Friday. The women’s team now is hoping to start up again before this week is out. . . . Duke announced Tuesday that it won’t allow fans at its men’s and women’s basketball games at Cameron Indoor Stadium this season. The school isn’t allowing fans at football games either. . . .

The Rochester Institute of Technology is a member of the Liberty League (NCAA Div. III), which cancelled its winter sports season on Monday. It turns out that the cancellation includes RIT’s hockey programs, which are the school’s only Div. 1 teams. The players are protesting the decision, but if it holds the Tigers will be the first Div. I teams to have their seasons cancelled. The RIT men play in Atlantic Hockey, while the women are in College Hockey America. Both conferences are planning on playing. . . .

The New York Knicks closed their practice facility on Tuesday after three employees tested positive. The NBA allowed teams to open up facilities on Oct. 30. Players won’t report for training camps for a while yet with the season to open on Dec. 22.


Elevator


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.


Pilates

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while thinking about the weather in Denver . . .

Scattershooting


The MacBeth Report continues to keep both eyes on happenings in Europe and beyond.

Some KHL-related notes from a Friday filing . . .

“Ak Bars Kazan opened the season in Riga against Dinamo Riga. However, one of the referees tested positive for COVID-19, so the start of the game was delayed until a new officiating crew could be found. Per Aivis Kalnins, an all-Latvian crew worked the game.

“Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk head coach Vyacheslav Butsayev told TASS Thursday that they intended to play with a short lineup Friday night at home against SKA St. Petersburg (2-1 loss) but did not say why. Neftekhimik dressed 20+2, the full lineup, but only the two goalies, three defencemen, and five forwards are officially on the Neftekhimik roster. They dressed four defencemen and two forwards from their farm club and one defenceman and five forwards from their junior club. Butsayev himself didn’t coach. It was announced before the game that Butsayev and two assistant coaches would not be coaching tonight ‘in connection to recover from a previous illness.’ The coach was head coach of their junior team, Vyacheslav Kasatkin.

“Amur Khabarovsk also has been hit with an outbreak. Head coach Pavel Torgajev on Wednesday: ‘We have already reported that a number of players have passed the initial positive tests for COVID-19. Over the past few days, there are more of them, some results have been confirmed. Players with positive test results are isolated, under medical supervision. There are players who have already recovered, which is confirmed by the tests done the day before, but in accordance with the league protocols, they need to wait for the second negative test. Only then will they be able to join the team. Therefore, at the start of the season, we will not be able to play with the optimal lineup. We have attracted the players of the youth team, this is a great chance for them. Everyone who goes on the ice will fight, everyone missed hockey, and for the ‘youth’ this is a great opportunity to try themselves at the adult level.’

Amur dressed a full 20+2 line-up Thursday at Cherepovets (6-4 loss to Severstal) but five skaters and the back-up goalie were from their junior team and four skaters and their starting goalie were from their farm club.

Per Amur’s website, the club’s charter flight left Khabarovsk 8 PM local time Wednesday for Cherepovets. 5,292 miles, about 8 hours flying time. There is a seven-hour time difference between the two cities, so when they arrived in Cherepovets, it was around 9 PM Wednesday there, 4 AM Khabarovsk time. Game time in Cherepovets was 7 PM Thursday, which was 2 AM Friday Khabarovsk time.”

——

The KHL team Avangard Omsk unveiled its new uniforms the other day. If you haven’t seen it already, you don’t want to miss head coach Bob Hartley — yes, the former NHL coach — as he does the introduction. When he’s done as a coach, he may have a career as a pitchman. . . . It’s all right here.



Manager Gabe Kapler and his San Francisco Giants were leading the Colorado Rockies, 18-2, in the seventh inning the other night when he chose to challenge a play at first base. That got Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times to wonder: “So why isn’t there an unwritten rule about that?”

——

One more from Perry: “The entire Alaska-Fairbanks hockey team was placed in quarantine after six partying players tested positive. In other words, COVID-19 just went on the power play.”


Recipes


The MJHL has sold an expansion franchise to Winnipeg-based 50 Below Sports + Entertainment, which also owns the league’s Winnipeg Blues. This means that the 12-team MJHL has two franchises in the Manitoba capital both of them owned by 50 Below Sports + Entertainment, which also owns the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice. . . . Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press has reported that the team is to be called the Freeze. Josh Green, an assistant coach with the Blues two seasons ago and with the Ice in 2019-20, is expected to be the head coach, with former WHL G Sonny Mignacca as his assistant. . . . According to Sawatzky, Jake Heisinger, the Ice’s assistant GM and vice-president of hockey operations, is expected to be the Freeze’s GM. . . . The MJHL is aiming to start a 40-game regular season on Oct. 9. Training camps can begin on Sept. 18, with rosters limited to 34 players. . . . The Freeze had a protected list of 33 players prior to the MJHL announcing its presence. As well, the Freeze is opening a three-day prospects’ camp today.


Quesadilla


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The NHL said Monday that is has gotten through six weeks of bubble play without a positive test. There were 2,534 tests conducted for the period Aug. 30 through Sept. 5. . . .

The UFC was forced into holding a short card on Saturday night in Las Vegas after two bouts, and perhaps a third, were cancelled because of positive tests. In the end, it was able to hold on seven bouts on the card. . . . There is more right here.

——

If you are a junior hockey fan, you may be interested in reading what teams in the KHL will have to go through in order to play in Helsinki, Finland, and what that city’s team, Jokerit, will have to do to play in Russia, all of this thanks to The MacBeth Report . . .

Arrangements have been finalized that will allow Jokerit to play its 2020-21 home games at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki. For a while, it appeared that Jokerit would play its home games somewhere in Russia.

However, according to Jokerit’s website, the team and the KHL have

put together a model that enables foreign teams to travel safely to Finland.

On Sept. 1, the KHL began coronavirus tests for all team members as well as club staff. These are conducted every five days.

Here’s a look at steps that are being taken in order to play these games . . .

Visiting teams arrive in Helsinki on their own charter flights. They are transported from the airport by private bus to the hotel, where they are provided with their own secluded facilities to stay and dine. During their 1-2 day visits to Helsinki, team representatives will not leave the hotel premises, outside the restricted area of ​​Hartwall Arena, or the airport.

The teams move from the hotel by their own bus to the arena, where a so-called clean area is used on ice level. This area can only be accessed by persons subject to KHL corona testing and their identities, as well as a valid negative corona test result is confirmed by displaying a QR code. Without a negative test result, one cannot enter the clean area. After the games, the teams will take their own bus to the airport and leave the country.

Jokerit has the same practices on their own away game trips in both the arenas and the hotels. In the hotels, a separate floor is reserved for the team and meals are also held separately from other hotel guests. Team representatives will not leave the hotel other than by public transportation to the arena or airport. When traveling, protective masks are used both

on the plane and on the fields. When arriving at the arena, a mask must also be worn both in Finland and abroad.

The safety of the public is guaranteed in home matches in accordance with safety regulations.

Jokerit is top play its first home game on Wednesday against against Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk.

Here is what goes into ensuring the safety of spectators . . .

  • The hall has a total of nine auditorium blocks upstairs and downstairs, each with its own entrance and its own toilet facilities.
  • A maximum of 500 spectators, up to a maximum of 50 per cent of full capacity, may be accommodated in a single auditorium block.
  • You cannot move between the auditorium blocks.
  • There are no numbered seats on the entrance tickets so that safety distances can be observed in the auditorium. Jokerit will notify each of its season-ticket holders individually how they can redeem their tickets and how they can get a seat as close as possible to the place they purchased.
  • Hand sanitizer is available at the entrances to Hartwall Arena and in all of the arena’s restaurants.
  • Cleaning during the event will be intensified and safety-related issues will be announced on screens and in announcements.
  • The use of a face mask during the event is recommended. Jokerit fabric face masks can be purchased at the Jokerit fan store.
  • In Finland, there are restrictions on indoor public events, and within these, a maximum of 4,500 spectators can currently attend Jokerit home matches at Hartwall Arena. In addition, spectators can be taken to the suites.

——

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.


Headline at fark.com: Washington releasing running back Adrian Peterson for fear his off-field reputation might taint an otherwise stellar organization.



Slots

MLB just isn’t what it used to be . . . Sea Dogs lay out season-ticket, seating plans . . . No fans for Derby

In his Friday posting, Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, dropped the curmudgeonly gavel on MLB, and I can’t disagree with him. Here is part of what he wrote:

“I have not been overly impressed with MLB games on TV this season. To be clear, I am not talking about the absence of fans in the seats or the cardboard cutouts of fans; the games are not compelling. Most teams have played about 25 games so far; for 2020, that is 40 per cent of the season.  Here are some stats:

“Five teams – 20 per cent of the teams in MLB – are hitting below .220 as a team. . . . Four teams have an OBP below .300. . . . Twenty teams — 67 per cent of the teams in MLB — have more strikeouts than hits. . . . Twenty-nine of the thirty MLB teams have struck out at least  100 times more than they have walked. . . . Two teams are averaging 10 strikeouts per game.”

His entire post is right here.



And while we’re on the subject of MLB, hey, it’s about that extra-inning rule that puts a runner on second base to start each half inning.

Baseball once was a slave to statistics — there always had been a certain symmetry to it — and that is one of the things that so many fans loved about it. It isn’t anymore, unless it eventually will just erase all the numbers from this bastardization of a season. . . . I mean, we now get lead-off two-run home runs. . . . In a game between the Dodgers and Angels, the ghost runner stole third base and scored on a sacrifice fly by the leadoff hitter. Yes, a leadoff SF. . . . Jayson Stark of The Athletic pointed out that there has even been a two-up, three-down inning that included the ghost runner getting doubled up. . . . 

And here’s one that hasn’t happened yet, but is likely to at some point. As former MLP pitcher Ryan Dempster explained to Stark: “What about: You come in with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning and you get the guy out. So you’re the hero. Then you go back out and pitch the 10th, and you get a punchout and a groundout, and then they take you out. And now the other guy comes in and gives up a single, and you get the loss. If that doesn’t sum up 2020, I don’t know what would.”

If you’re a baseball fan, you don’t want to miss Stark’s columns from The Useless Info Dept.


What do you know about your kidneys:


Earlier this week, the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs released season-ticket information for the approaching season. . . . Their home arena, the TD Station, seats 6,307. Last season, the Sea Dogs’ average attendance was 3,345. This season, the Sea Dogs are expecting to be allowed to use about 25 per cent of the seats, so that means attendance will be capped at about 1,500 per game. . . . One of the results of that is an increase in season-ticket prices, from $499 to $575, even though there will be four fewer games (60) this season. . . . There are other changes, too. From a Sea Dogs news release: “Some of the bigger changes include very limited capacity (around 25% of seats), social bubbles, and masks once you get inside TD Station. Also, because of all the changes to the seating plan, you shouldn’t expect to sit in your same seat, and possibly not in your same section as last season.” . . . Jamie Tozer of Station Nation has more right here.



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The NHL’s Arizona Coyotes laid off and furloughed an unspecified number of employees on Friday, citing financial issues caused by the pandemic. . . . The Coyotes, who furloughed half their business staff in April, were eliminated from the NHL playoffs on Wednesday when they lost to the Colorado Avalanche in Edmonton. . . . Earlier in the week, the Washington Post reported that Monumental Sports & Entertainment, owner of the Washington Capitals, Washington Mystics and Washington Wizards, was about to furlough 232 employees. . . .

In recent times, I have on occasion mentioned the apparent link between COVID-19 and myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart. . . . Amanda Christovich of frontofficesports.com has a whole lot more on this issue right here. . . .

The MLS’s Chicago Fire has had a player test positive. The unidentified player didn’t travel with the team for a Thursday game against host FC Cincinnati on Thursday. The Fire lost, 3-0. . . . The Fire said the team is asymptomatic and self-isolating. . . . 

The U of Iowa has decided to drop men’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s tennis when the 2020-21 academic year ends. . . . In a statement, the school said it “projects lost revenue of approximately $100 million and an overall deficit between $60-$75 million this fiscal year. . . .

Australia has withdrawn its teams from the IIHF’s 2021 U20 World Championship Division III and U18 Women’s World Championship Division II Group A, citing travel restrictions in place due to the pandemic. . . . The U20 event is scheduled for Mexico City from Jan. 10-17, 2021. . . . The U18 women’s tournament is to be played in Dumfries, Great Britain, Jan. 19-22, 2021. . . . 

Athletics Canada has cancelled the 2020 Canadian cross-country championships that were to have been held in Abbotsford, B.C., on Nov 28. The event would have drawn about 800 competitors. . . . 

The Kentucky Derby, originally scheduled for May 2, will run before empty grandstands on Sept. 5. The pooh-bahs at Churchill Downs had said they would limit attendance to 23,000. That changed because of the way the virus is spreading in Kentucky, which had 2,300 new cases this week. . . . 



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.


Taras McEwen has taken over as the head coach of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. He already was the general manager. . . . McEwen has coaching experience with Fort Knox of the junior B Prairie Junior Hockey League and with the SJHL’s Notre Dame Hounds. . . . The Blues also have named Zach Heisinger as an assistant coach. Last season, he was an assistant coach with the Vincent Massey team in the Winnipeg High School Hockey League. He also spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League’s Fort Garry Twins. . . . The Blues are owned by 50 Below Sports + Entertainment, which also owns the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice. . . . McEwen was the Ice’s manager of scouting. His father, Brad, is Hockey Canada’s head scout. . . . Heisinger’s father, Craig, is the assistant GM and director of hockey operations with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, while a brother, Jake, is the Ice’s assistant GM and vice-president of hockey operations.


Cozens on shelf for up to three months after thumb surgery. . . . Burnett signs to coach Blues. . . . Four more ex-WHLers get deals overseas


MacBeth

F Štěpán Novotný (Kelowna, Swift Current, 2008-11) has signed a one-year contract with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, in 33 games with Frýdek-Místek (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had a team-leading 22 goals and 10 assists. On loan to Třinec, he had two goals and three assists in 14 games. . . .

D Tomáš Kundrátek (Medicine Hat, 2008-10) has signed a three-year contract with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL), he had three assists in 25 games, and he was an alternate captain. He also had one goal and one assist in six games with Třinec, and one goal and three assists in 13 games with Davos (Switzerland, National). . . .

F Robin Kovář (Vancouver, Regina, 2001-04) has signed a one-year contract with the Bracknell Bees (England, National). Last season, he had five assists in eight games with Budapest (Hungary, Erste Liga), and 12 goals and 16 assists in 15 games with the Blackburn Hawks (England, National Division 1). . . .

F Trevor Cheek (Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, 2010-13) has signed a one-year contract with Esbjerg Energy (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). Last season, with the Tucson Roadrunners (AHL), he had seven goals and three assists in 63 games.


ThisThat

It would seem that F Dylan Cozens’ participation in the Lethbridge Hurricanes’ training Lethbridgecamp is up in the air. He definitely will miss the World Junior Summer Showcase, which is scheduled for Plymouth, Mich., July 26 through Aug. 3. . . . Cozens was selected by the Buffalo Sabres with the seventh-overall pick of the NHL’s 2019 draft in Vancouver on June 21. He suffered an injury to his left thumb on June 29 when he put his hand out in an attempt to cushion the fall after absorbing a hip check during the Sabres’ development camp. Cozens left the ice immediately and it was apparent that he had been injured just by the position of the thumb. . . . Cozens underwent surgery on Wednesday and, as the tweet from the Sabres suggests, will be sidelined for up to three months. . . . The Hurricanes will open training camp in late August and are to open the regular season on Sept. 20. . . . Last season, he finished with 34 goals and 50 assists in 68 regular-season games, then added four goals and four assists in seven playoff games.


There has never been a subscription fee for this blog, but if you enjoy stopping here, why not consider donating to the cause? All that’s involved is clicking on the DONATE button over there on the right and following the instructions. Thank you very much.



Gord Burnett is the new head coach of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. A Regina native, Burnett spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Ice, which has moved to Winnipeg, and Blues both are owned by 50 Below Sports + Entertainment. . . . With the Blues, Burnett replaces Billy Keane, who had been the GM/head coach for the past two seasons. . . . Taras McEwen was named the Blues’ new general manager in May.


Tweetoftheday

Czech goalie appears headed to Chiefs. . . . ‘Canes’ Cozens suffers thumb injury. . . . Campbell staying in Portland


MacBeth

F Brandon McMillan (Kelowna, 2006-10) has signed a one-year contract extension with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). Last season, in 47 games, he had seven goals and 12 assists. An alternate captain he averaged 19:04 TOI. . . .

D Anatoli Yelizarov (Edmonton, 2015-17) has been traded by Salavat Yulaev Ufa to Sochi (both Russia, KHL) for monetary compensation. Last season, with Salavat Yulaev, he was pointless in 40 games. He also had one assist in 16 games with Toros Neftekamsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), and had one assist in two games with Tolpas Ufa (Russia, MHL). . . . MHL (Molodyozhnaya Hokkeinaya Liga) is Russia’s national junior league.


ThisThat

Allan Walsh is a prominent player agent and the co-managing director at Octagon-Hockey. One of his clients would seem to be Czech G Lukas Pařík, 18, who was selected by the Spokane Chiefs in Thursday’s CHL import draft and it would seem that he is bound for the WHL. . . . A few days earlier, Pařík had been selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the third round of the NHL draft, then spent a few days in the Kings’ development camp. . . . At this point in time, he joins three other goaltenders on the Chiefs’ depth chart — veterans Bailey Brkin and Reece Klassen, both of whom are prepping for their 20-year-old seasons, and Campbell Arnold, a second-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft who played last season with the junior B Spokane Braves.


F Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes suffered an injury to his left thumb on Saturday while in the Buffalo Sabres’ development camp. It appears that the thumb was hurt as he put his hand down in the hopes of easing a fall as he tried to absorb a hip check from D Brandon Hickey. . . . Cozens, who is to see a specialist on Monday, later told reporters: “It’s good. I saw the videos and stuff. I think it looked a lot worse than it really was. . . . but right when it happened I wanted to get right back out there, so I’m feeling good.” . . . Cozens told reporters that the thumb isn’t broken. He also kept his left hand in the pouch of his hoodie as he spoke with reporters. . . . The Sabres selected Cozens with the seventh pick of the NHL’s 2019 draft.


You may recall that the Prince George Cougars’ 2018-19 schedule included an 11-game road trip that began in early December and ran into Christmas, all but ruined their season and may well have cost head coach Richard Matvichuk his job. . . . So what kind of schedule are the Cougars looking at for 2019-20? . . . Hartley Miller of 94.3 the GOAT and the analyst on Cougars’ home broadcasts, takes a look right here.


There has never been a subscription fee for this blog, but if you enjoy stopping here, why not consider donating to the cause? All that’s involved is clicking on the DONATE button over there on the right and following the instructions. Thank you very much.


An interesting item from Patti Dawn Swansson, aka The River City Renegade, who is a must read whenever she posts a smorgasbord of thoughts and opinions, which usually is a couple of times a week

“Can it really be true that parents are required to pony up $12,000 for their 17- and 18-year-old kids to skate with Winnipeg Blues in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League? That, according to an article by Taylor Allen in the Drab Slab, is up from $3,000 last season. I don’t make a habit of telling folks how to spend their money, but in this case I will: Are you people nuts? That’s a lot of coin for a handful of hope. I mean, if the goal for your boy is the National Hockey League, you might be better off buying $12,000 worth of lottery tickets. I don’t blame parents for dreaming, though. The bad guys here are the mucky-mucks at 50 Below Sports + Entertainment. That $12,000 price tag is just wrong.”

The “Drab Slab” is the Winnipeg Free Press, in which Allen wrote:

“To suit up for the Blues this (season), it will cost $12,000 for players between the ages of 17 and 18, and $6,000 for 19- and 20-year-olds. Last (season), players had to pay roughly $3,000, with some of the cost offset by fundraising. The price has gone way up, as the Blues, who are owned by the same ownership group as the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice, are now a club whose main intention is to develop players in hopes of getting them ready to play in the WHL.”

Are the Blues the only junior A team in all of Canada whose goal is to groom players for the WHL rather than try to get them hockey scholarships with NCAA teams?

Swansson’s complete piece is right here.



The Portland Winterhawks have re-signed Rich Campbell, their athletic trainer/strength Portlandand conditioning coach, to a contract extension, the length of which wasn’t revealed. . . . Campbell is prepping for his 12th season with the Winterhawks. . . . “Rich Campbell is the longest serving member of our current staff, and we are pleased to announce that he will be returning for several more seasons,” Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ vice-president, general manager and head coach, said in a news release. “One of the key reasons we are able to develop players for the National Hockey League is because of the work Rich does off the ice.” . . . Campbell’s resume includes a stint with the 2008 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team that played in the Beijing Games, and working as the head trainer for the NHL’s New York Islanders from 1997 to 2006.


JUST NOTES:

The Toronto Maple Leafs have hired Dave Hakstol as an assistant coach under head coach Mike Babcock. Hakstol, the former U of North Dakota head coach, was fired as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 17. . . . The Leafs had an opening on their staff after Jim Hiller, a former WHL player and coach, left after four seasons to join the staff of the New York Islanders. Hiller was the head coach of the Chilliwack Bruins for three seasons (2006-09) and the Tri-City Americans for five (2009-14). . . .

Mike Vellucci, who was the head coach of the AHL-champion Charlotte Checkers for two seasons, now is the head coach of that league’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. . . . The announcement was made on Friday, one day after Penguins head coach Clark Donatelli resigned for personals reasons. . . . Vellucci is the AHL’s reigning coach of the year. . . . He spent five seasons (2014-19) with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes as assistant general manager and director of hockey operations. For the past two seasons, he also was Charlotte’s head coach. Before joining Carolina, he spent 14 seasons (2001-14) as the GM/head coach of the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers. . . .

The junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League have named Clayton Robinson their general manager and head coach, with Jesse Hammill coming on board as associate coach. . . . Robinson has owned the franchise since May 1, 2018. . . . Curtis Toneff, the team’s GM/head coach for two seasons, left to join the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos as an assistant coach.

Tweetoftheday

Three WHL coaches get Hockey Canada posts. . . . Rockets sign d-man from U of Denver. . . . McEwen now Blues’ GM, too

MacBeth

D Mark Louis (Brandon, Red Deer, 2003-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Cardiff Devils (Wales, UK Elite). This season, he had three goals and 10 assists in 60 games.


ThisThat

Three WHL head coaches are among coaches named to Hockey Canada’s national junior Canadateam and its U-18 side. . . . Dale Hunter of the OHL’s London Knights has been named head coach of the national junior team. His assistants will be Mitch Love, who just completed his first season as head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, and Andre Tourigny, the head coach of the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s. . . . The 2020 World Junior Championship is scheduled for Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic, from Dec. 26, 2019, through Jan. 5, 2020. . . .

Dan Lambert, the head coach of the Spokane Chiefs, will be head coach of the U-18 team that will play in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Czech Republic and Slovakia in August. . . . Lambert’s assistants will be Dennis Williams, the head coach of the Everett Silvertips, and Mario Duhamel, who is an assistant coach with the 67’s.

Hockey Canada’s news release is right here.


Taras McEwen, the Winnipeg Ice’s manager of scouting and hockey operations, now also is the general manager of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. . . . According to 50 Below Sports and Entertainment, which purchased the Blues at about the same time it was moving the Ice to Winnipeg from Cranbrook, B.C., McEwen will continue in both roles. . . . As the Blues’ GM, McEwen takes over from Billy Keane, who has been the Blues’ head coach since 2016 and had been the GM since 2017. . . . The Blues haven’t yet announced if Keane will return as head coach. . . . McEwen, 28, is from Whitewood, Sask. He joined the Ice as the manager of scouting in 2016, and took over as manager of hockey operations a year later. His father, Brad, is a familiar face on the scouting circuit and presently is Hockey Canada’s head scout.


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The Kelowna Rockets have signed D Sean Comrie, 19, who played this season for the U of KelownaRocketsDenver Pioneers. . . . Comrie, from Edmonton, was a second-round pick by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. He chose to go the NCAA route, and had one assist in 18 games with the Pioneers as a freshman this season. . . . On May 2, prior to the 2019 bantam draft, the Rockets acquired Comrie and the 10th-overall selection from Brandon for the fifth-overall selection. . . . Last season, he had seven goals and 27 assists in 54 games with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints. . . . Comrie is eligible for the NHL’s 2019 draft. . . . The Rockets, the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup, are attempting to rebuild their roster in a hurry after not qualifying for the playoffs this season.


When last we left the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs, an Ontario judge had unsealed documents that were connected to the team’s having committed recruiting violations. . . . Today comes word that city council in St. Catharines, Ont., the home of the IceDogs, has voted to change the name of a street — IceDogs Way — near the team’s home arena, the Meridian Centre. . . . According to Karena Walter of The St. Catharines Standard: “The move was in response to the 2017 decision by the Niagara IceDogs’ owners not to go forward with a $1 million donation for naming rights after problems hammering out a deal with the city.” . . . Walter’s story is right here.


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WHL: Kootenay Ice, R.I.P; Long Live the Winnipeg Ice . . . Ice has nine games left in Cranbrook . . . Off to Manitoba capital after this season

Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, was in Cranbrook on Tuesday morning to provide the last rites to the Kootenay Ice.

The WHL’s Cranbrook-based franchise is dead after 21 seasons. It will be reborn in wpgiceWinnipeg after it plays nine more home games in Cranbrook’s Western Financial Place.

In Winnipeg, the franchise will continue to be known as the Ice and will play out of the WHL’s East Division, something that will result in the Swift Current Broncos moving to the Central Division. That allows each division to remain at six teams.

The Winnipeg Ice began taking $50 non-refundable deposits this morning, noting that the team will spend a couple of seasons in the U of Manitoba’s Wayne Fleming Arena and that seating will be limited. That deposit will get you on “a priority list for season-seat membership,” according to a news release at winnipegice.ca.

As for ticket prices, the news release stated: “Season-seat pricing will be communicated

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Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, arrives at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook on Tuesday morning to announce the relocation of the Kootenay Ice to Winnipeg.

prior to the seat-selection period. At this time, no decision has been made on whether fans can choose a multi-year season-seat commitment option.”

Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, who purchased the Ice from the Chynoweth family prior to the 2017-18 season, joined Robison at the news conference that was held in WFP and lasted about 30 minutes.

They had met with members of the business community earlier in the morning in an event that one observer told Taking Note appeared to be by “invite only to friendly business people.”

That observer said the message was that “we are apologetic that it didn’t work . . . and we had to make a business decision,” and that the situation was looked at from a league point of view “for several years and we came to the conclusion that it wasn’t going to work.”

When the scene shifted to the arena for the news conference, there were a few fans present who had hoped to be allowed in. However, they were told that it was for media only. Someone did stream it on Facebook, so there were people elsewhere in the building who were able to watch.

According to two Taking Note correspondents who were in attendance, Robison began by acknowledging that losing the franchise is difficult for Cranbrook fans. He also thanked the fans for their support over the team’s 21 seasons in their city.

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Taylor Rocca (left), the WHL’s senior manager, communications, wraps up the news conference at which the Kootenay Ice’s move to Winnipeg was made official. Seated, from left, are WHL commissioner Ron Robison, and Ice owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell.

Robison pointed out that the previous owners — the Chynoweth family — attempted to increase fan support but that it has continued to slide over the past number of years.

In Robison’s estimation, the Chynoweths, as well as Fettes and Cockell, did everything they could to get things turned around.

Robison tried to take some of the heat off the franchise’s owners by claiming that “this was a Western Hockey League decision ultimately — not the ownership decision — to transfer this franchise. It was a decision made over an eight- or nine-year period of assessment of this market and the ability of this franchise to be sustainable over a long period of time.”

It turns out that the WHL’s board of governors voted on the move in December; Robinson refused to say whether the vote was unanimous.

Asked what this announcement means for other small-market WHL teams, Robison responded that those teams, some of which are community-owned, have to work hard to maintain a balance. He added that moving the Ice isn’t a reflection on the Cranbrook community.

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The Winnipeg Ice will spend two seasons playing in the U of Manitoba’s Wayne Fleming Arena, which, at the moment, has a capacity of 1,400. (U of Manitoba photo)

Asked what went wrong in Cranbrook, Robison referred to the WHL playoffs in the spring of 2011, pointing to poor attendance at Ice games, and adding that the attendance has been declining since then.

The Ice won the WHL championship that season, but the announced average attendance for nine home playoff games was only 3,049. Kootenay beat the Portland Winterhawks in the final, winning in five games, but the arena wasn’t sold out. Of course, it didn’t help attendance that a lot of WHL games, including all games in the final, were televised.

Robison also admitted that attendance league-wide has been declining, saying that it has changed overall for most teams, and stating again that the Ice’s owners, past and present, did all they could to boost attendance.

When Fettes was asked how long he has been looking at the Winnipeg market, he said he had been wanting to buy into the WHL long before purchasing the Ice. He added that the Ice’s owners have been studying the attendance situation and began working on moving plans last summer.

As for the chances of another team moving to Cranbrook, Robison told the news conference that there aren’t any teams interested in moving at this time.

The Ice is the first WHL team to change locations since the Chilliwack Bruins were sold and moved to Victoria after the 2010-11 season.

Prior to the start of this season, the Ice launched a season-ticket campaign — Drive to 25 — with a goal of selling 2,500 season tickets, which would have marked an increase of about 600 from the previous season. Instead of an increase, however, the drive resulted in about 1,700 season tickets.

In 2017-18, the first season under new ownership, the team had an announced average attendance of 2,442, up from 1,754 the previous season.

This season, attendance has slipped to an average of 2,218.

In November, a group comprised mainly of local businessmen — the Green Bay Committee — began work to sell tickets and sponsorships on behalf of the Ice. After raising what members said was more than $50,000, the committee ceased operations due to an “absence of active engagement” from the Ice owners, who chose not to attend GBC meetings or provide anything in the way of support.

At the time, John Hudak, the GBC’s marketing director, told the Cranbrook Townsman that “it’s extremely disappointing that we have had to terminate our campaign at this particular time, but it is what it is.”

On Tuesday, Hudak told Taking Note: “I have never ever heard of successful business people turning down business.”

Asked if 2,500 season tickets would have kept the franchise in Cranbrook, Cockell admitted the community had reacted well in Year 1, but ticket sales didn’t show well prior to this season and reflected a reduction in management’s benchmark goal.

But, Cockell added, management had to acknowledge that people in the community have worked hard in support of the team.

Robison, Fettes and Cockell also spent time with Mayor Lee Pratt and some city councillors, but the franchise’s exit from its lease has yet to be negotiated.

It’s believed that the Ice players were given the spiel earlier in the morning. They then were taken to Kimberley for a team outing, so there weren’t any players around the arena to speak with the media following the news conference.

Robison, Fettes and Cockell departed via a side door, so didn’t have any interaction with fans who were waiting in the arena’s foyer.

“Leaving town and throwing the fans under the bus” is how Hudak put it.

With 18 games left, the Ice is 10-32-8. It is ninth in the 10-team Eastern Conference and won’t make the playoffs for a fourth straight season, the second in a row under the ownership of Fettes and Cockell.

Last season, the Ice went 27-38-7, missing a playoff spot by 16 points. This season, it is 22 points from a wild-card spot.

The franchise began as the Edmonton Ice, an expansion franchise that was owned by longtime WHL president Ed Chynoweth. Unable to gain any traction in two seasons (1996-98) in that marketplace, he moved the franchise to Cranbrook where it now is in its 21st season.

The Ice has won three WHL championships (2000, 2002 and 2011) and the 2002 Memorial Cup.

The Ice will play its final game in Cranbrook on March 17 against the Red Deer Rebels.

The Winnipeg Ice’s next game is scheduled for Friday against the Swift Current Broncos in Cranbrook.

JUST NOTES: Taylor Rocca, the WHL’s senior manager, communications, was on hand to do the introductions at the news conference in Cranbrook. Before going to work for the WHL, he was a sports writer at the Cranbrook Daily Townsman and, yes, he covered the Ice. . . . Fettes confirmed at the afternoon news conference in Winnipeg that he has reached agreement to purchase the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. The Blues are the only Winnipeg-based franchise left in the MJHL, which once also included the West Kildonan North Stars, St. Boniface Saints and St. James Canadians. . . . If you have been following this story, you will recall that Fettes purchased two domain names — WinnipegIce.com and WinnipegIce.ca — in April 2017. Asked about that, Fettes said that through his business (24-7 Intouch, a global call centre), he has hundreds of domain names. On this occasion, he claimed he and his eight-year-old son were playing around and just made up some more. . . . The website winnipegice.ca was up and running on Tuesday. . . . Robison has long wanted to have a WHL franchise in the capital city of each of the four Western Canadian provinces. Under his watch, the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers were awarded an expansion franchise that began play in 2007-08 in Edmonton, Alberta’s capital; the Chilliwack franchise relocated to Victoria, the capital of B.C.; and now Winnipeg, Manitoba’s capital, has a franchise. Regina, Saskatchewan’s capital, has long been home to the Pats.

This trade deadline bit quieter . . . Chiefs add some truculence . . . Smart, Peckford join junior A teams

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F Alexander Kuvayev (Lethbridge, Vancouver, 2010-12) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Lada Togliatti (Russia, Vysshaya Liga) after being released by mutual agreement by Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk (Kazakhstan, Vysshaya Liga). He had two goals and two assists in 17 games. . . . Kuvayev started this season with Yermak Angarsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). He had one goal and one assist in eight games when he was released on Sept. 26 by mutual agreement. . . .

D Ty Wishart (Prince George, Moose Jaw, 2004-08) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Fehérvár AV19 Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had four goals and thee assists in 27 games. He was released on Jan. 2. . . .

D David Turoň (Portland, 2002-03) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Zagłębie Sosnowie (Poland, PHL) after obtaining his release from Polonia Bytom (Poland, PHL). He had five goals and 11 assists in 27 games.

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If you were wondering . . .

A year ago, I began counting down the WHL trade deadline on Nov. 13, 2017, because tradewirethat was when the first major deal was made in the lead-up to Jan. 10.

It was on Nov. 13, 2017, when the Regina Pats, loading up because they were the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup, dealt two players — D Jonathan Smart and F Cole Muir — along with two bantam draft picks and a conditional pick to the Kootenay Ice for D Cale Fleury.

By the time the deadline went by, the WHL’s 22 teams had made 58 trades involving 110 players, 77 bantam draft selections and 12 conditional picks.

So . . . how’d it go this time around?

This time, I started counting on Nov. 26. There hadn’t been a trade since Nov. 9; on Nov. 26, there were three trades — involving the Regina Pats and Tri-City Americans, the Kamloops Blazers and Saskatoon Blades, and the Blazers and Spokane Chiefs.

That signalled to me that teams were open for business.

In the end, the 22 teams combined to make 44 trades involving 77 players, 63 bantam draft selections and 15 conditional bantam draft picks.

A year ago, there were 17 transactions made on Jan. 10; this time, there were 11.

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The Spokane Chiefs have signed F Kaden Hanas, who turned 19 on Dec. 18, and added SpokaneChiefshim to they roster. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Hanas, from Strathmore, Alta., had been playing with the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons. An alternate captain, he had five goals and 12 assists, along with 85 penalty minutes, in 30 games. Last season, in 49 games, he had seven goals, six assists and 168 PiM.

The Chiefs also have released D Mike Ladyman, 17, who is expected to join the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. Ladyman is from Winnipeg.

He was a fifth-round pick by the Regina Pats in the 2016 bantam draft. However, the Pats dropped him from their protected list and the Chiefs added him to their list in November 2017.

This season, Ladyman had two assists in 22 games with the Chiefs, who will keep on their protected list.

On Tuesday, the Chiefs released D Luke Gallagher, who is expected to join the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. Gallagher, 18, is from Mead, Wash., and was an eighth-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2015 bantam draft.

This season, he had two assists in 22 games. Last season, he finished with a goal and three assists in 33 games.

Like Ladyman, Gallagher will remain on Spokane’s protected list.

The Chiefs found themselves overstocked with defenceman as Filip Kral returned from a stint with Czech Republic at the World Junior Championship and 6-foot-5 Matt Leduc, who hadn’t played since Oct. 12, returned for the Chiefs’ 4-2 victory over the visiting Prince George Cougars on Wednesday.

With these moves, Spokane now is carrying seven defencemen.

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D Alec Capstick of the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen has made a commitment to attend Miami of Ohio and play for the RedHawks next season. . . . Capstick, 19, made the announcement via Twitter. . . . On Feb. 12, 2015, he had made a verbal commitment to the U of Notre Dame and the Fighting Irish. . . . From Langley, he has three goals and 19 assists in 39 games this season. . . . He was a fourth-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft.

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The Lethbridge Hurricanes have added F Rylan Thiessen, 17, to their roster. He had been with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. A list player, Thiessen has 11 goals and 17 assists in 25 games with the Wheat Kings. Last season, he finished with eight goals and 24 assists in 48 games. . . . He has played two games with the Hurricanes this season, but has yet to earn a point.

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The BCHL’s Penticton Vees have acquired the junior A rights to D Jonathan Smart, 19, pentictonwho didn’t return to the WHL’s Kootenay Ice after the Christmas break. . . . The Vees acquired his rights from the Alberta Valley Bulldogs for future considerations. . . . Smart, a first-round pick by the Kelowna Rockets in the 2014 WHL bantam draft, played 216 regular-season WHL games, splitting time between the Rockets, Regina Pats and the Ice. . . . “Jonathan decided to leave the Kootenay Ice to be closer to home for personal reasons,” Fred Harbinson, the Vee’s president, GM and head coach, said in a news release. “At that point we acquired his rights from Alberni who had listed him a few weeks prior. Jonathan has a smooth skill set and adds experience to our backend with over 200 WHL games under his belt.” . . . Smart could make his Penticton debut on Friday against the visiting Powell River Kings.

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G Shane Farkas of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks had his junior A rights move from the West Kelowna Warriors to the Prince George Spruce Kings to the Cowichan Capitals on Thursday. . . . Farkas, 19, is 24-9-5, 2.86, .901 in 39 appearances with the Winterhawks this season. . . . On Wednesday, the Winterhawks sent six WHL bantam draft picks, including two first-rounders, to the Swift Current Broncos for G Joel Hofer, 18.

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F Ryan Peckford, who left the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors in November, is going to be playing for the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints. . . . Peckford, 19, left the Warriors on Nov. 26, and went home to Stony Plain, Alta., to contemplate his future. A second-round selection by the Victoria Royals in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft, Peckford has 49 goals and 61 assists in 200 regular-season WHL games over four seasons. . . . This season, he had eight goals and eight assists in 20 games with Moose Jaw. . . . Peckford played 140 games with the Royals, who dealt him to the Warriors on Dec. 11, 2017, along with a fourth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft, for F Noah Gregor and an eighth-round pick in 2018.

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F Quinton Waitzner, released this week by the Swift Current Broncos, has joined the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. Waitzner, an 18-year-old from Victoria, played 82 games with the Broncos. This season, he had two assists in 34 games.

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The MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals have acquired the rights to F Jesse Mistelbacher, 17, from the Swan Valley Stampeders for a fifth-round pick in that league’s 2019 draft. Mistelbacher, from Ile Des Chenes, Man., had one assist in 15 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors, but has been released and will join Virden. . . . He was a sixth-round pick by the Prince George Cougars in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. They released him and the Warriors placed him on their protected list in October 2017.

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The midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings made a coaching change earlier this week, with former head coach Ken Schneider returning to take over form the fired Chris Johnston. . . . Chris Jaster of the Brandon Sun reports that the change was made after Tuesday night’s practice. . . . Schneider was the team’s coach from 2010-14. . . . The Wheat Kings were 23-8-0 and in third place in the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League at the time of the change. . . . Jaster reported that Bruce Moar, the team’s president, “wouldn’t say why Johnston was fired.” However, Jaster wrote, “it did come on the heels of a full line brawl at the end of Saturday’s road game against the Winnipeg Thrashers. Brandon also finished a game against Yellowhead in November in fisticuffs.” . . . Schneider played for the WHL’s Wheat Kings (1980-82) and now scouts for the Regina Pats. . . . Johnston spent five seasons (1990-95) in the WHL, playing with the Wheat Kings, Red Deer Rebels and Regina.

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