QMJHL team hit with 24 positive tests; playoffs still set to open April 23 . . . Hall sparks Hurricanes . . . Armstrong roars for Cougars

The QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques, perhaps not wanting to be outdone by the qmjhlnewNHL’s Vancouver Canucks, had at least 24 people in their organization test positive. . . . The results are from the latest round of testing on April 8. . . . On April 3, the QMJHL announced that Gatineau had one positive test, so team activities were being placed on hold. . . . It would seem that one positive has transmitted into a whole lot more. . . .

Jean-Francois Plante of leDroit wrote: “Head coach Louis Robitaille has not escaped the spread of the virus. Since the first case was reported on April 3, almost the entire team has been afflicted by the variant, which is believed to be of South African origin. Other club staff were also inconvenienced.” . . . Plante wrote that some players had “minor symptoms, but others would struggle with much more serious side effects. Usually, we talk about fever, headache, vomiting, shortness of breath, chest pain and a marked drop in energy.” . . . The Olympiques are carrying 25 players, some of whom have escaped unscathed to this point. . . .

The Olympiques entire organization now is in quarantine, but there could be some players back on the ice later this week. The QMJHL maintains that it will begin its playoffs on April 23. . . .

The Olympiques aren’t the only QMJHL team with COVID-19 issues at the moment. The Quebec Remparts have three new positives, giving them a total of seven, while the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada have at least two. . . . The QMJHL has has a number of teams hit with positive tests this season. In the early days, the Armada was hit with 20 positives, while the Sherbrooke Phoenix had eight. The Drummondville Voltigeurs and Victoriaville Tigers also have experienced outbreaks.



The WHL has three teams on hold at the moment, two of them — the Kelowna Rockets and Calgary Hitmen — because of positive tests, and the Medicine Hat Tigers, who were deemed close contacts after playing the Hitmen on April 5. . . . As a result, three games originally scheduled for Monday were postponed, but there still were three played. . . .

F Connor McClennon scored twice as the Winnipeg Ice skated to a 3-1 victory Winnipegover the Regina Pats in the Regina hub. . . . The Ice (12-4-0) have won six in a row. . . . Regina now is 6-7-3. . . . McClennon, who has 10 goals, broke a 1-1 tie at 17:27 of the first period, then added his second goal at 6:09 of the second. . . . F Conor Geekie (6) gave Winnipeg a 1-0 lead at 5:09 of the first period. . . . Regina F Logan Nijhoff (7) tied it at 16:08. . . . Ice F Peyton Krebs drew the primary assist on McClennon’s second goal, running his point streak to 15 games. Since being blanked in his first game, he has put up nine goals and 20 assists. He leads the Regina hub in assists and points (29). . . . G Carl Stankowski earned the victory with 22 saves, eight more than Regina’s Roddy Ross. . . .

F Justin Hall scored twice and added three assists to lead the host Lethbridge LethHurricanes to an 8-5 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Yes, it was the first five-point game of Hall’s career. He has eight points over his last two games. . . . Hall broke a 4-4 tie with his second goal of the game and 11th of this season at 3:43 of the third period. . . . F Jett Jones (4) gave Lethbridge a two-goal lead at 9:29, before F Ben King (5) got the Rebels to within one at 14:46. King finished with two goals and two assists. . . . D Trevor Thurston (3), at 16:34, and F Ty Nash (1), with the empty-netter, put away the victory. Thurston had two goals. . . . Hall has 21 points, including 10 assists, in 14 games. He went into this season with 16 goals in 102 career regular-season games. . . . The Hurricanes got three assists from each of F Liam Kindree and F Alex Thacker. . . . The Rebels got a goal, his fifth, and three assists from F Arshdeep Bains. . . . The Hurricanes (6-6-2) have points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . The Rebels (2-12-2) have lost nine in a row. . . . The Hurricanes swept the three-game weekend set, having won 6-3 in Red Deer on Friday and 5-2 at home on Saturday. . . . Lethbridge is (5-1-0) against Red Deer this season; they will meet three more times this weekend. . . .

F Craig Armstrong, who had two goals in his first 72 WHL regular-season games, scored four times in No. 73 as the Prince George Cougars dumped the Vancouver Giants in Kamloops. . . . Armstrong scored the game’s first three goals — at 13:00 of the first period, and 5:26 and 9:48 of the second. . . . F Tristen Nielsen (7) got Vancouver’s goal at 3:24 of the third. . . . Armstrong finished it off with an empty-netter. . . . Armstrong, a 17-year-old from Airdrie, Alta., has five goals and two assists in seven games. . . . Last season, he finished with one goal and seven assists in 62 games. . . . The Cougars got 37 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . The Cougars (3-2-2) have points in four straight (2-0-2). . . . The Giants are 5-3-0.


With D Carson Lambos of the Winnipeg Ice unable to play for Canada’s U18 Canadateam because of an undisclosed injury, Hockey Canada has added D Denton Mateychuk of the Moose Jaw Warriors to the roster. . . . The team’s players now are in isolation as they prepare for the IIHF World championship in Frisco and Plano, Texas, from April 26 through May 6. . . . Mateychuk, 16, was the 11th overall selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. He has two goals and seven assists in 16 games in the Regina hub this season.


Ankle


The Chicago Cubs have had two coaches test positive — bullpen coach Chris Young and first-base coach Craig Driver. . . . Because Young is positive, three relievers were deemed to be close contacts so are in isolation. Jason Adam, Dan Winkler and Brandon Workman, all right-handers, are on the COVID-19 protocol list. . . . The Cubs were the only MLB team not have even one positive test last season. . . . The Cubs opened a three-game series with a 6-3 loss to the host Milwaukee Brewers on Monday.


——

My wife, Dorothy, who had a kidney transplant more than seven years ago, is preparing to take part in her eighth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. Unfortunately, it will be a virtual walk for a second straight year, but that won’t keep her from fund-raising on behalf of the Kidney Foundation. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Peppers

Sutter steps down as Rebels’ head coach . . . Winterhawks win a wild one . . . Cougars end Miner’s shutout streak

I’m guessing that Brent Sutter went to bed on Friday night and spent the next few hours arguing with himself.

His Red Deer Rebels had been beaten, 6-3, by the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes a few hours earlier, their seventh straight loss dropping their record to 2-10-2.

After the game, Brent talked with Shaun Sutter, a nephew who is the Rebels’ RedDeerassistant general manager and director of personnel, and Merrick, his son who is the senior vice-president. The decision for him to step aside, Brent said, basically was reached at that time.

But there still was time for him to change his mind. After all, he’s the boss and he was born to coach.

As Sutter tossed and turned, the owner, governor, president and general manager titles were perched on one shoulder; on the other was the coach.

The argument, I’m thinking, raged all night long.

Sutter has owned the Rebels since 1999. He has been their head coach for all but five seasons since then. He spent two seasons (2007-09) as the head coach of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. And for the following three seasons, he was the Calgary Flames’ head coach.

This season, though, has been unlike any other. On the ice, it started in February for the Alberta teams. But for the likes of Sutter, with all their titles and responsibilities, it started long before then and it has gone on seemingly forever.

And then COVID-19 found the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks and Sutter’s son, Brandon, ended up sick — perhaps with the P.1 variant — and quarantined in his basement, with a pregnant wife and two children, ages 2 and 3, upstairs. There isn’t a more-helpless feeling than being the parent of an ailing child, even a 32-year-old NHL player, and being unable to provide help.

Combine everything — oh, and I should mention that the injury bug has hit the Rebels hard, leaving them almost out of defencemen — and it could be that Brent Sutter simply wore down.

As he told Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com: “Everthing (negative) that could happen has happened.”

So, at some time in the wee hours of Saturday, Sutter, the husband and father, the owner, governor, president and general manager, won out over the coach.

Early Saturday afternoon, the Rebels announced that Sutter was out as the team’s head coach. Shaun will join assistant coaches Ryan Colville and Brad Flynn in running the coaching side of things.

Once the organization gets this season behind it, a decision will be made on the next head coach.

“You have to put so much time into it, and when you’re doing that plus the management side of it . . . because you’re so dialled in on the coaching side you’re not there to help out with some of the other side,” Sutter told Meachem. “Mentally it’s been really tough for everyone with the whole environment we’re in. We need to get the players upbeat again.”

Including this screwy season, Sutter has 526 regular-season WHL coaching victories, eighth on the all-time list. The Rebels won the Memorial Cup under him in 2001.

Sutter also won back-to-back World Junior Championship gold medals in 2005 and 2006 as the head coach of Canada’s national team.

“I’ve been coaching for 22 years and two months and I’ve been so dialled into it, so passionate about it,” he told Meachem. “Yet you can’t be selfish. The players and the front of the jersey always come first, no matter what. The right thing for this hockey team and this organization is for me to step down right now. For me personally, it’s the right thing.”


Spy


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


LethOn the ice, the Rebels were involved in one of six games played in the WHL on Saturday night. Playing in Lethbridge, the Rebels dropped a 5-2 decision to the Hurricanes, who got a goal, his third, and three assists from F Liam Kindree. . . . Lethbridge (5-6-2) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Rebels (2-11-2) have lost eight in a row. . . . If you’re wondering, the online game sheet didn’t list a Red Deer head coach. . . . F Logan Barlage scored his fourth goal and added two assists for Lethbridge, which also got goal No. 9 and two assists from F Justin Hall. . . . The Rebels lost D Trey Patterson, perhaps for the remainder of this season, with an undisclosed injury in Friday’s 6-3 loss to the visiting Hurricanes. The Rebels, with nine games remaining, are down to four healthy defencemen — Kyle Masters, Joel Sexsmith, Mason Ward and Jace Weir. Due to COVID-19 protocol, they aren’t able to bring in reinforcements, either. . . .

F Conor Geekie scored at 2:13 of OT to give the Winnipeg Ice a 4-3 victory over Winnipegthe Prince Albert Raiders in Regina. . . . Geekie’s fifth goal allowed Winnipeg (11-4-0) to run its winning streak to five games. . . . The Raiders (4-9-2), who have lost three straight, had erased a 3-1 deficit with second-period goals from F Michal Horon (2) and F Evan Herman (4). . . . F Peyton Krebs scored his ninth goal for the Ice, running his point streak to 14 games. He was blanked in the season’s first game, and has nine goals and 19 assists in his past 14 games. . . . Ice F Zachary Benson, 15, had a goal and an assist. The 14th overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, he’s got six goals and seven assists in 15 games. . . .

F Tristen Robins scored twice and added an assist to help the Saskatoon Blades Bladesto a 4-2 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors in Regina. . . . F Brayden Yager (4) gave Moose Jaw (7-8-1) at 1-0 lead at 9:01 of the first period. . . . Robins, who has 10 goals, tied it at 10:20 and gave the Blades (11-2-2) the lead at 14:11. . . . F Wyatt McLeod (2) upped the lead to 3-1 at 1:25 of the second. . . . F Tate Popple (5) got the Warriors to within a goal at 17:57, but Saskatoon F Kyle Crnkovic (6) scored shorthanded at 1:10 of the third. . . .

On most nights, you would think a five-goal period would guarantee a team PortlandAlternatevictory. That wasn’t the case with the host Spokane Chiefs who, despite scoring five times in the third period, dropped a 7-6 decision to the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Winterhawks (5-4-2), who had lost three straight, scored three second-period goals and took a 4-1 lead into the third. . . . The Chiefs tied it by scoring three times in 2:19 early in the period. . . . Portland responded with three straight goals to take a 7-4 lead. . . . The Chiefs (2-5-3) finished the scoring with two goals in the final 36 seconds. . . . Portland F Simon Knak (8) was credited with the game-winner and it was rather fitting that it came into an empty net. . . . F Seth Jarvis (6) had two goals and an assist for the winners, with F Jaydon Dureau (3) adding a goal and two helpers. . . . F Adam Beckman ran his goal-scoring streak to four games with his sixth of the season. . . . The Chiefs’ last two goals came from F Ty Cheveldayoff and D Chase Friedt-Mohr, the first WHL score for each. . . .

The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s first three goals and the last three to Americanstake a 6-2 victory over the visiting Everett Silvertips. . . . F Samuel Huo (7) and F Jake Sloan (2) each had a goal and two assists for the Americans (5-5-0). . . . Everett (9-2-0), which had won its previous four games, got PP goals from F Cole Fonstad (7) and G Gage Goncalves (8) in the second period to get within a goal. . . . But F Booker Daniel (2) restored Tai-City’s two-goal lead at 16:07 of the second and Huo scored shorthanded at 11:16 of the third. . . .

F Jonny Hooker had a goal and three assists as the Prince George Cougars skated PGto a 6-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Kamloops. . . . Hooker drew the lone assist on F Craig Armstrong’s first goal, shorthanded, that broke a 2-2 tie at 4:40 of the second period. . . . Hooker (3) scored on a PP at 19:55, and D Hudson Thornton (1) made it 5-2 at 9:55. Thornton scored in his first WHL game. . . . D Mazden Leslie, who turns 16 on Thursday, had two goals for the Giants. He has four goals in his first six WHL games. . . . F Eric Florchuk drew three assists for Vancouver. . . . F Ethan Browne (3) scored for Prince George at 8:43 of the first period. That ended G Trent Miner’s shutout string at 234:31. Each of his previous three starts had ended in a shutout. Chris Worthy of the 1967-68 Flin Flon Bombers holds the record (265:13). . . . The Cougars (2-2-2) had lost their previous three games (0-1-2). . . . The Giants (5-2-0) had won five straight. . . . G Tyler Brennan stopped 26 shots for the Cougars. It was his final WHL game of this season as he now will join Canada’s U18 team at the IIHF World championship that opens in Frisco and Plano, Texas, on April 26.


The NHL has decreed that the Vancouver Canucks, who are still recovering from Canucksan ugly run-in with COVID-19, will return to game action on Friday. Yes, this Friday. . . . They are to play host to the Edmonton Oilers that night, and it is to start the Canucks on a schedule that calls for them to play 19 games in 31 nights. Seriously! . . . The Canucks last played on March 24. . . . The Canucks had seven games postponed. Their schedule now is to end on May 16. . . . The Canucks still had 19 players on the COVID-19 protocol list on Saturday and some of them, judging from reports, have been quite ill. If Saturday’s tests come back OK, the Canucks will re-open their facilities today, 12 days after F Adam Gaudette was identified as the first of their positive tests. . . . Today’s activities are to include some training and individual practice sessions. The team isn’t likely to practice as a team until Wednesday. . . . All told, the organization had 21 players and four coaches test positive.


joy


The UMass Minutemen won the NCAA men’s hockey championship on Saturday, beating the St. Cloud State Huskies, 5-0, in the final game in Pittsburgh. . . . This was UMass’s first NCAA hockey title. . . . Anthony Travalgia of College Hockey News has all the details right here.


If everything falls into place, the World men’s curling championship, which postponed all of Saturday’s games in its Calgary bubble, could hold three draws today. . . . The competition ground to a halt after four people from three different teams tested positive for COVID-19 during exit testing. Participants have to be tested before leaving the bubble, and they can’t go without a negative result. . . . Players on four other teams were deemed close contacts. Some of those teams were to have played on Saturday had play gone on as scheduled. . . . Still to be played are a qualification game between Switzerland and the U.S., the semifinals, a third-place game and the championship game. . . . The tests carried out on Friday were the first in the bubble since April 1. Dr. Bob McCormack, the event’s chief medical officer, was asked if there should have been more testing. His response: “What I would say to that is that we had a lot of discussion with experts and also Alberta Health to come up with the protocols that we felt were safe to establish a clean bubble. The bottom line is the protocols were established with experts and Alberta Health, saying this is reasonable, appropriate and safe.” . . . There are three more events scheduled for the Calgary bubble — two Grand Slam of Curling competitions and the World women’s championship that is to run from April 30 through May 9.


The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association was to have held a Secret Dream Gap Tour showcase in St. Louis this weekend, but it had to be postponed because “of a COVID exposure one of our teams,” according to the PWHPA. The St. Louis event was to have included two games. It is expected to be rescheduled.


DST


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.


HorseGames

Why can’t we have Green Shirt Day every month? . . . Tragedy strikes Bedard family . . . Canucks confirm variant involved in positive tests

It really was awe-inspiring to cruise social media on Wednesday — Green Shirt Day — and bathe in the impact that the Logan Boulet Effect has had in so many different places and in so many different corners.

Employees from a million business have bought in, as have so many cities and towns and villages, and schools and leagues and teams.

Dorothy
Dorothy, who had a kidney transplant in 2013, is a big fan of Green Shirt Day and the Logan Boulet Effect.

As I sit here in my recliner, my laptop in front of me — that’s why it’s called a laptop — I can only marvel at how much has transpired involving organ donor registration since Logan Boulet’s death three years ago.

Logan was killed in the accident that involved the bus that was carrying the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos to a playoff game in Nipawin, Sask. As it turned out, Logan had signed an organ donor card on his 21st birthday just five weeks prior to the accident, and he had informed his family. As a result, his organs — including heart and kidneys — and his corneas were taken for transplant.

As Logan’s father, Toby, told Karen Pauls of CBC News: “Logan was able to make six people’s lives better. He basically saved six lives.”

Since then, Logan has helped save an untold number of lives and make so many lives a whole lot better. Since the Logan Boulet Effect began to take off, it is estimated that 300,000 Canadians have registered as organ donors.

Figures compiled by the Canadian Transplant Association show that 90 per cent of Canadians support organ donation. However, only 23 per cent of that group actually have registered as donors.

Furthermore, CTA figures reveal that about 4,500 Canadians are waiting for organs.

As someone who has benefitted firsthand from organ donation — if you’re not aware, my wife, Dorothy, is a kidney transplant recipient, having gotten one through the Living Kidney Donor Program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver — I can tell you that there aren’t words to express exactly what the Logan Boulet Effect means to us.

And a mere “Thank you” to Logan’s parents, Bernadine and Toby, really doesn’t seem enough considering all that they do, especially the countless interviews, to keep this movement in the spotlight.

So while April 7 has come to be recognized as Green Shirt Day, let’s not limit organ donor registration to one day a year. What’s wrong with reminding folks of the Logan Boulet Effect on the seventh day of every month?

Did you wear green for Green Shirt Day on Wednesday? Why not wear green on May 7 and June 7 and July 7 and . . .?

Why not?


If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, in the 2021 Kamloops Kidney Walk, you may do so right here. She launched her eighth straight fund-raising campaign on Wednesday — Green Shirt Day!


F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats has started his WHL career like a house on fire, despite being only 15 years of age. But, unfortunately, the hurt that sometimes accompanies life touched him and his family on Tuesday when his grandfather, Garth Bedard, 73, was killed in a car accident near his home in Sicamous, B.C.

According to RCMP, a westbound pickup truck and an eastbound sedan, driven by a 46-year-old woman from Salmon Arm, collided head-on on the Trans-Canada Highway, seven kilometres east of Sicamous after 1 p.m.

Garth Bedard was the owner of Bedard logging in Sicamous.

Kevin Gallant, a former radio voice of the Pats, posted on social media:

“This is absolutely devastating. I watched so many games with Garth and his wife Lynn. My deepest sympathies to the entire Bedard family, and this is an extremely close family. Thoughts and prayers for Lynn. Also to Tom, Melanie, Maddie and Connor. I can’t imagine what the Bedard family is going through, but my heart aches.”

“We know how close Connor was with his grandfather, who was one of Connor’s biggest fans,” the Pats said in a statement. “Garth was incredibly proud of Connor and took great joy in his grandson’s passion for hockey and even more so in the person he has become.”

According to the Pats, Bedard will play against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday and then return to the family home in North Vancouver on Saturday. Soon after that, he is scheduled to join Canada’s U18 team to play in the IIHF World championship in Frisco and Plano, Texas, from April 26 through May 6.

Bedard, the first overall selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft, has 10 goals and 16 assists in 14 games. He had two goals and two assists on Tuesday night as the Pats beat the Swift Current Broncos, 6-1.



Help


The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks issued a statement on Wednesday, revealing that they have had 25 people, including 21 players, test positive for COVID-19. CanucksThat includes four staff members, three of them believed to be coaches, and three players off the taxi squad.

The Canucks hadn’t spoken publicly about the situation in more than a week, since F Adam Gaudette was removed from a March 30 practice due to having tested positive.

The statement that was issued on Wednesday came from Dr. Jim Bovard, the team’s physician, and Dr. Josh Douglas, an infectious disease physician.

The 18 players off the Canucks’ roster who are on the COVID-19 protocol list all tested positive; none of them are on the list because of being deemed a close contact.

What isn’t know is how many family members have tested positive.

The Canucks statement also confirmed that a variant of COVID-19 is involved in the outbreak, although it didn’t state which one. There have been reports that the P.1 variant that originated in Brazil is part of the outbreak.

According to the statement, “Full genome sequencing by BCCDC will be required to determine which specific type.”

The statement also cleared up the origin of the outbreak:

“An ongoing investigation by Vancouver Coastal Health and club contact tracing staff attributes the source infection to a single individual obtained in a community setting, which has since been identified by public health as a public exposure location. Rapid spread of infection throughout the team indicates a link between contacts and the primary case.”

So the virus was picked up by one person in the community and it spread like wildfire through the organization. Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet reported that “the community setting is believed to have been a Vancouver restaurant.”

MacIntyre’s thorough Wednesday report is right here.

After the press release was issued, D Nate Schmidt was added to the protocol list, showing that this situation is far from being over. If you’re wondering, D Jordie Benn, F Brock Boeser, F J.T. Miller and F Jimmy Vesey are the only players on the Canucks’ roster who haven’t been on the list.

Officially, the NHL has postponed four Vancouver games. However, the Canucks won’t be playing the Oilers in Edmonton on Monday and Wednesday. After that, the Canucks aren’t scheduled to play until April 17 and 19 when they are to play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Darren Dreger of TSN tweeted on Wednesday that “the NHL is targeting the end of next week for the Vancouver Canucks to return to game action. Still a fluid situation.”

The Canucks, who have 19 games remaining on their 56-game regular-season schedule, last played on March 24.


The AJHL announced Wednesday night that the Drumheller Dragons have ajhlexperienced a positive COVID-19 test. The team had been shut down since  Monday because of a positive test on the Camrose Kodiaks, who had been playing in the same cohort. So the league said Wednesday that Drumheller “will continue its isolation period.” . . . Besides Camrose and Drumheller, the Drayton Valley Thunder, Grande Prairie Storm, Okotoks Oilers and Whitecourt Wolverines have all paused their activities.


Dick


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

F Peyton Krebs had a goal and three assists as the Winnipeg Ice doubled the WinnipegMoose Jaw Warriors, 6-3, in Regina. . . . Krebs (8) scored the game’s first goal, at 9:01 of the first period, and the Ice (10-4-0) added three more over the next 4:10. . . . Krebs, who has points in 13 straight games, now has eight goals and 19 assists after being blanked in his first outing. His 27 points now leads the Regina hub. F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats has 26. . . . The Ice has won four in a row. . . . The Warriors (6-7-1) got to within a goal, at 4-3, when F Atley Calvert (2) scored at 18:18 of the second period. . . . But Winnipeg F Jakin Smallwood (10) scored on a PP at 15:59 of the third, and F Connor McClennon (8) added the empty-netter. . . . McClennon finished with two goals and an assist. . . . The Ice was 3-for-3 on the PP. . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings ran their winning streak to eight games with a 4-1 Brandonvictory over the Swift Current Broncos in Regina. . . . While the Wheat Kings improved to 11-2-1, the Broncos’ third straight loss dropped them to 3-10-1. . . . Brandon enjoyed a 37-21 edge in shots, including 15-4 in the third period. . . . F Nate Danielson (3) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 14:55 of the first period with his third PP goal of the season, and F Jake Chiasson (7) upped it to 2-0 at 9:40 of the second. . . . The Broncos got close at 16:39 when F Aiden Bulych (5) scored. . . . F Tyson Zimmer (2) restored Brandon’s two-goal lead at 16:39, and D Chad Nychuk (2) got the empty-netter. . . . The game was played in 2:04, the quickest one in the WHL this season. . . .

The Spokane Chiefs rode three second-period goals to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans. . . . Spokane head coach Adam Maglio recorded his first victory as a WHL head coach. . . . The Chiefs (1-4-3) had been the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams without a victory. . . . D Luke Zazula (3) scored twice for the Americans (4-5-0), the first one giving them the lead in the first period. . . . D Bobby Russell (1) tied it at 3:40 of the second and F Reed Jacobson gave the Chiefs the lead at 3:40. Jacobson, who has four goals in eight games, scored twice and added an assist. It was his first career four-point game. Last season, Jacobson finished with four goals in 50 games. . . . Zazula’s second goal, at 16:15 of the second, got Tri-City to within a goal, but Jacobson restored the two-goal margin at 15:18 of the third. . . . D Lukas Dragicevic, the fourth-overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, made his WHL debut with the Americans. His father, Milan, is a former WHL player (Regina, New Westminster, Tri-City, Spokane, Victoria Cougars, 1986-90) and coach with Tri-City and the Vancouver Giants. He was the Giants’ first head coach (2000-02). He now is the U18 prep coach at Delta Academy. . . .

The Vancouver Giants scored the last four goals and beat the Victoria Royals, 6-Vancouver4, in Kelowna. . . . The Royals (1-4-1) erased a 2-1 deficit on three early second-period goals in 3:25 — from F Brandon Cutler (3), F Brayden Schuurman (3) and F Alex Bolshakov (1). . . . After Bolshakov’s goal at 4:30, the Giants made a goaltending change — Drew Sim out, Trent Miner in. . . . F Tristen Nielsen (6) scored for Vancouver 37 seconds later and F Justin Sourdif tied it at 7:47. . . . F Bryce Bader (3) broke the tie at 18:45 of the second and Sourdif (3) added insurance at 10:42 of the third. . . . The Giants (5-1-0) have won five in a row. . . . Miner was perfect over 35:30, stopping all nine shots he faced. Miner went into the game having put up three straight shutouts; he came out with the franchise record for consecutive shutout minutes (225:48) going back to last season, breaking the record of 207 minutes that had belonged to Ryan Kubic from the 2015-16 season. Chris Worthy of the Flin Flon Bombers holds the WHL record (265:13) from the 1967-68 season. . . . Miner also has the longest shutout streak in the WHL this season (215:30), having surpassed the run of 213:16 put up by Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips. . . . This season, Miner has a 0.00 GAA, having stopped all 73 shots he has faced.


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.


Eggs

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

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

Because it isn’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Mars


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now Virtanen.

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

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

——

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


Walmart


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Carpet

Canucks’ situation goes from bad to worse . . . P.1 variant on the move . . . ESPN reports some players “in rough shape”

A tweet from the mother of a player from the Vancouver Canucks who has tested positive . . .

——

If you are in management with a junior hockey team that is playing games these days, you have to be holding your breath. . . .

The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks are in dire straits. . . . When we went to bed on Friday, the Canucks had Canucksseven roster players on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. As well, one player off their taxi squad had tested positive, as had one coach.

About 24 hours later, the count was 14 roster players on the COVID-19 list, meaning they had tested positive or were deemed a high-risk close contact, along with the taxi squad player, and now three coaches who have been reported as being positive.

A number of the positive tests have been reported to involve the P.1 variant that is more easily transmissible and more vicious than the original virus.

Roster players added to the list on Saturday were F Travis Boyd, G Thatcher Demko, F Jayce Hawyrluk, F Bo Horvat, F Tyler Motte, D Tyler Myers and F Brandon Sutter.

They joined F Adam Gaudette, D Travis Hamonic, D Alex Edler, F Zack MacEwen, G Braden Holtby, D Quinn Hughes and F Antoine Roussel on the list.

Postmedia confirmed that Hawryluk has tested positive for the second time. He had tested positive while with the Ottawa Senators in March.

Emily Kaplan of ESPN reported Saturday that “one source told ESPN that ‘there are some players in rough shape tonight.’ ”

Pierre LeBrun of TSN reported that the number of Canucks on the protocol list “is likely to grow.” He also reported that the NHL “is now proceeding on the assumption that essentially the whole Canucks team will likely test positive.”

Meanwhile, the QMJHL now has five teams in mandatory isolation, having shut down the Gatineau qmjhlnewOlympiques, Quebec Remparts, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, Baie-Comeau Drakkar and Rimouski Oceanic on Saturday. The Olympiques and Remparts each recorded a positive test. Both teams played against the other three teams in recent days, so they were put into isolation, too. The Sherbrooke Phoenix were shut down earlier in the week, but were given the OK to return to team activities on Friday after all players and staff tested negative. . . . Having put five teams into isolation, the QMJHL announced that it has delayed the start of its playoffs. Its Quebec-based teams completed their regular seasons on Friday and were to begin playoffs on Thursday. The teams in the Maritimes are scheduled to continue with regular-season games through May 1 and begin playoffs on May 4. . . .

The AJHL shut down the Okotoks Oilers on Friday, as they became the fourth team in the league to be put into that position. The Drayton Valley Thunder, Grande Prairie Storm and Whitecourt Wolverines, who had been playing in one cohort, went into isolation earlier in the week. . . .

And, of course, the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets have experienced seven positive tests — four players and three staff members — and are in the early days of their 14-day isolation period.

What we haven’t heard from any of the 10 junior teams that now are on hold is whether any of the positive tests involved variants.

As Thomas Drance of The Athletic pointed out: “P.1 variant is a whole new beast . . . It’s here, spreading and even tough on pro athletes . . . P.1 ripped through a workplace with strict protocols, a huge PPE budget and daily testing in days.”

If there’s one thing we should have learned over the past year it’s that this virus — and now the variants — travel really well. And It would appear that P.1 is on its way east.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer, tweeted Saturday afternoon that “we are currently investigating a significant outbreak in Alberta involving P.1 variants of concern (the variant that originated in Brazil) . . . Health officials are working hard to limit the future spread and reaching out directly to those at risk of exposure.”

Unfortunately, Alberta officials didn’t offer up any other details, it being the weekend and all that.
But if you’re in management with a junior hockey team surely you are wondering if your team should even be playing.

——

Micaela Gaudette, the wife of Vancouver Canucks’ forward Adam Gaudette, tried to enlighten the Twitterverse on the state of affairs in her household on Thursday with this:

“I’ve been feeling fine other than being tired and I just woke up with a bad headache. My hubby isn’t in great shape but I’m taking good care of him! Thank you to all that have said kind things to us during this time.”

Of course, the mouth-breathers on social media chimed in, too, resulting in Micaela later tweeting this:

“People on Twitter are ruthless. A human being gets sick with a virus we don’t know much about and (ya’ll) are angry at him because you can’t watch a game on TV?”

If you hadn’t already figured it out, it’s true that social media really knows no shame.



The MLB season began on Thursday. Thankfully. No more watching the Boston Bruins on Sportsnet, which means no more having to listen to the inanity that is Jack Edwards and his sidekick, the Brick. . . . No, we couldn’t watch the Edmonton Oilers play the Canadiens in Montreal on Thursday, but the Whiner and the Brick were on four Sportsnet channels.

——

On the subject of MLB, it might be that the best thing I discovered this spring was the Philadelphia Phillies because of Ruben Amaro Jr. The team’s former general manager now is part of its TV crew. He was the analyst on a Grapefruit League game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Phillies and he was terrific. Unlike some team broadcasters, it was evident that he had done his research on the other guys, too, something that turned it into an enjoyable watching/listening experience. Unfortunately, he doesn’t supply analysis on every telecast.


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle: “New idea nominated for instant oblivion: Farhan Zaidi’s support for the concept of making all MLB games seven innings. The Giants’ president of baseball operations pitched the idea in an interview on KNBR. That’s the worst solution to a problem since the bleach ‘cure’ for coronavirus.”


Two headlines that stood out to Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times . . .

At TheOnion.com: Nelson Agholor signs 2-year, 23-drop contract with Patriots.

At Fark.com: NFL owners approve increased profits for NFL owners.


Owls


There were seven games in the WHL’s developmental season on Saturday. Some highlights . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings scored the last five goals in beating the visiting Red Deer Rebels, 5-1. . . . The Oil Kings (10-1-0) had won 9-2 in Red Deer on Friday night. . . . The Rebels (2-7-2) have lost four in a row. . . . Edmonton D Logan Dowhaniuk, who had a six-point outing on Friday, had one assist. His six points tied a club record for most points in a game — F Jordan Hickmott had three goals and three assists in a 9-3 victory over the visiting Regina Pats on Dec. 13, 2010. . . . On Saturday, F Liam Keeler had a goal, his third, and two assists. . . .

The Winnipeg Ice scored the game’s first three goals en route to a 5-2 victory over the Pats in Regina. . . . F Jakin Smallwood’s ninth goal of the season gave the Ice (8-4-0) a 3-0 lead at 18:49 of the second period. . . . F Carson Denomie got No. 11 for the Pats (4-6-2), who got two more assists from F Connor Bedard, both via the PP. . . .

F Brett Kemp scored at 4:43 of OT to give the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers a 6-5 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Kemp, who has seven goals, scored twice for the Tigers (9-3-0) as they won their fifth straight. . . . The Hitmen now are 5-6-2. . . . F Adam Kidd (4) scored twice for Calgary. . . . Each team scored three times in the first period and twice in the third. . . .

D Luke Zazula’s first goal of the season, just 18 seconds into OT, gave the host Tri-City Americans a 3-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . F Samuel Huo, who drew the primary assist on the winner, also had goal, his fifth, for the Americans (3-4-0). He scored while shorthanded. . . . The Chiefs are 0-4-2. . . .

In Everett, the Silvertips opened up a 3-0 lead en route to a 4-1 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . D Olen Zellweger scored his second goal, added an assist and was plus-4 for the Silvertips (7-1-0). . . . D Jackson Berezowski (2) had a goal and two assists for the winners, who got 33 stops from G Dustin Wolf, who is 6-1-0, 0.71, .975. . . . Portland (4-2-2) had won its previous two games. . . .

F Ozzy Wiesblatt had three assists to help the Prince Albert Raiders end a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos in Regina. . . . The Raiders improved to 4-6-2 with what was the 549th regular-season victory of head coach Marc Habscheid’s WHL career. That moved him into sole possession of sixth place on the league’s all-time list, one ahead of Ernie (Punch) McLean. Mike Williamson is fifth on that list, at 572. . . . F Justin Nachbaur added a goal, his third, and two assists for the Raiders. . . . The Broncos slipped to 3-8-1. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers outshot the Victoria Royals 52-19 but had to go to OT to post a 4-3 victory in Kelowna. . . . The Blazers (4-0-0) are the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams not to have lost in regulation time. . . . The Royals (0-3-1) are one of two teams — Spokane is the other — with a regulation-time victory. . . . G Adam Evanoff stopped 48 shots for the Royals, who were outshot 23-3 in the third period. . . . F Logan Stankoven, back in the Blazers’ lineup after a one-game absence with an undisclosed injury, had two goals and two assists. He notched the winner at 1:39 on the only shot of OT. . . . Stankoven has five goals and three assists in three games. . . . F Orin Centazzo (1) had a goal and two assists for Kamloops. . . . F Brayden Schuurman scored his first two career goals for Victoria.


Ex


——

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.


KFC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile, there were six games on Friday . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Zoom

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while eagerly awaiting Opening Day (it arrives on Thursday) . . .

Scattershooting2

Let’s start with a gem from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “A Dodgers fan group is rubbing it in against the Red Sox by paying for a ‘Thank you for Mookie Betts’ billboard next to Fenway Park. ‘Now why didn’t we ever think of that?’ moaned the chairman of the Babe Ruth Preservation Society.”

——

Perry, again: “Ohio State safety Marcus Hooker was arrested on DUI charges after he passed out behind the wheel while waiting in a McDonald’s drive-thru line. Defense lawyers can’t decide whether to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or ‘I deserve a break today.’ ”


The visiting Calgary Hitmen got 41 stops from G Brayden Peters as they handed CalgaryEdmonton its first loss of the WHL’s developmental season, beating the Oil Kings, 2-1, on Sunday. While Calgary improved to 5-5-1, Edmonton now is 9-1-0. . . . The Oil Kings had beaten the Hitmen twice on the weekend — 4-3 in Edmonton on Friday and 5-2 in Calgary on Saturday. . . . F Sean Tschigerl (4) and F Riley Stotts (3) had Calgary ahead 2-0 before F Josh Williams (7) scored for Edmonton at 8:30 of the third period. . . . Calgary remains without D Tyson Galloway, who was injured on Friday, and D Luke Prokop, who was hurt on Saturday.


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco, in a column dedicated to pet peeves:

“The I’m-so-cool NBA arena walk-in, every player wearing headphones. Do you guys ever, like, talk among yourselves, like teammates? . . .

“At college football games in the South, how the head coach always has to have a mean-looking cop in a Mountie hat escort him on and off the field, like he’s the pope or something. Let the cops go do cop stuff. . . .

“TV college game announcers who remind us every four minutes what a ‘well-coached team’ this is. Announcers, many of them former coaches, are insufferable coach suck-ups. Please throw in an occasional ‘crappily coached team.’ ”


The Brandon Wheat Kings ran their winning streak to three games with a 5-2 Brandonvictory over the Swift Current Broncos in Regina. . . . The Wheat Kings now are 6-2-1. . . . The Broncos (2-6-1) opened the schedule with five straight losses, running their two-season skid to 23, then went 2-0-1 before this loss. . . . Swift Current led 2-0 with 13 minutes left in the second period, only to give up the game’s last five goals. . . . D Braden Schneider was back in Brandon’s lineup after sitting out two with an injury.



F Gage Concalves enjoyed his first career three-goal game and also added an assist as the host Everett Silvertips beat the Tri-City Americans, 6-1. . . . The Silvertips, who are 5-0-0 for the first time in franchise history, led 3-0 before the game was 14 minutes old and never looked back. . . . Goncalves has five goals. . . . D Ronan Seeley had a goal and three assists for Everett F Samuel Huo scored his fourth goal for the Americans (2-3-0). . . . G Braden Holt stopped 20 shots for the Silvertips, who have allowed two goals in their five games.



The visiting Portland Winterhawks scored the game’s last four goals and six of the last seven as they beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 7-4. . . . F Simon Knak (4) tied the game 4-4 tie at 13:50 of the second period and F Seth Jarvis (2) scored while shorthanded at 4:49 of the third to give Portland its first lead. . . . Jarvis finished plus-5. . . . The Winterhawks (3-1-2) have four shorthanded goals in their six games. . . . Seattle (3-2-0) got the game’s opening goal from F Connor Roulette (3) scored on a first-period penalty shot. . . . D Nick Cicek had three assists for Portland.


The QMJHL scrubbed a Sunday game between the Cape Breton Eagles and qmjhlnewCharlottetown Islanders because of COVID-19 protocol. According to the QMJHL, on Sunday morning “a few players from the Eagles experienced flu-liked symptoms and as a precaution, the QMJHL has cancelled the game. In the current context and as per QMJHL protocols, all Eagles’ players and staff will be tested for COVID-19 and put in preventive isolation prior to returning to regular team activities.”


F Oren Shtrom’s first WHL goal, at 4:11 of OT, gave the host Medicine Hat Tigers Tigersa 5-4 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Tigers (7-3-0) had beaten the Hurricanes 3-0 at home on Friday and 6-3 in Lethbridge on Saturday. . . . Shtrom, a 16-year-old from Gilbert, Ariz., was a third-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. He has a goal and four assists in nine games. . . . He is believed to be the first Oren to score for the Tigers since Oren Koules struck six times in 33 games in 1979-80. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (5) had two goals and an assist for the Tigers, while D Cole Clayton had three assists. . . . F Justin Hall scored his eighth goal in 11 games for Lethbridge (3-6-2). He went into the season with 16 goals in 102 games.



F Tristen Nielsen scored three times and added two assists to spark the VancouverVancouver Giants’ 6-0 victory over the Kelowna Rockets in Kamloops. . . . The Giants were the home team, so this was their home-opener. . . . Nielsen scored once on the PP, once shorthanded and once at even strength, all in the first period. . . . F Justin Sourdif drew four assists. . . . G Trent Miner stopped 20 shots for his fifth career shutout. . . . D Mazden Leslie, the 10th overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, scored twice in his first WHL game. . . . Nielsen turned 21 on Feb. 23; Leslie won’t turn 16 until April 15. . . . The Giants now are 1-1-0, as are the Rockets. Kelowna had blanked the visiting Victoria Royals, 6-0, on Saturday.


Time


F Peyton Krebs had a goal, his sixth, and two assists as the Winnipeg Ice got Winnipegpast the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-1, in Regina. . . . No less an authority than Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post says that Krebs has been the “best player in the East Division hub.” . . . Krebs has 11 points over his past four games so Vanstone may be correct. . . . Vanstone also pointed out that while there have been 10 shutouts in the WHL this season, none of them have been in the Regina hub. . . . Krebs has six goals and 11 assists as the Ice, which had lost its previous two games, has opened 6-3-0. . . . The Warriors (4-5-0), who have lost four in a row, were without D Daemon Hunt (suspension) and F Ryder Korczak (undisclosed injury). . . . The game was played in 2 hours 3 minutes, the fastest game to date this season.


Tuna



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.


Dogs

WHL has all divisions in action . . . Oil Kings, Blades, Silvertips keep rolling . . . Ice’s Lambos done for this season


For the first time since March, 11, 2020, the WHL had teams from each of its WHL2four divisions cleared to play on Friday night. . . . The longest of the night’s eight games took 2 hours 31 minutes to play (Everett beat Portland 2-1 in OT). Victoria and Kelowna finished in 2:10. The other game times were 2:15, 2:16, 2:17, 2:18 (twice) and 2:25. . . . Three of the games ended in shutouts, while G Dustin Wolf and the Everett Silvertips surrendered their first goal in four games. . . . If you’re on Twitter and interested in WHL numbers, you should be following Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow). . . . Some highlights and tidbits from Friday. . . .

D Aidan De La Gorgendiere drew four assists to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a Blades7-3 victory over the Regina Pats on Friday. . . . F Chase Wouters had two goals and an assist for the Blades. The assist was the 100th of his career. He has 169 points in 267 regular-season games. . . . F Colton Dach also scored twice for Saskatoon. . . . The Blades (7-0-1) scored the game’s first three goals and never looked back. . . . Despite playing in their home arena, the Pats (2-4-2) are 0-2-2 in games when they have been designated the home team. . . . Spencer Welke, one of three goaltenders on the Pats’ roster, made his WHL debut with 40 saves. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard, 15, scored once, giving him at least a point in each of his first eight career games. . . .

In the other game in Regina, F Mathew Ward had four assists in helping the Swift Current Broncos to a 7-4 triumph over the Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Broncos, who scored the game’s first three goals, got two goals from F Aidan Bulych and a goal and two assists from F Michael Farren. . . . Ward, 17, is from Kamloops and has nine assists in eight games to start his first season. . . . F Peyton Krebs had a goal and two helpers for the Ice as he went over the 200-point mark for his career. Krebs has five goals and nine assists in eight games in the Regina hub. In 183 career regular-season games, he’s got 202 points, including 148 assists. . . . The Broncos (2-5-1) have points in three straight games (2-0-1), while the Ice (5-3-0) has lost two in a row. . . . The Ice has lost D Carson Lambos, 18, for the remainder of this season. He left Regina on March 17 and returned to Winnipeg in order to “meet with doctors at home in the Manitoba capital to deal with an unspecified medical condition,” the Winnipeg Free Press reported. This situation also takes Lambos out of consideration for the Canadian team that will play at the U18 IIHF world championship in Dallas, April 26 through May 6. Lambos is projected as a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings stayed perfect as they dropped the visiting Calgary EdmontonHitmen, 4-3. . . . F Jalen Luypen had two goals and an assist for the Oil Kings (8-0-0), who got 26 saves from G Sebastian Cossa. . . . Goals by Luypen and F Josh Williams, each of whom has six, gave the Oil Kings a 4-1 lead by the middle of the second period. . . . Luypen has 10 points in eight games. . . . Edmonton has outscored its opponents, 38-12, in eight games. . . . The Hitmen slipped to 4-4-1. . . . Bob Stauffer, the host of Oilers Now on 630 CHED and the analyst on Oilers’ broadcasts, tweeted that there were 27 NHL scouts, including four assistant GM/head scouts, at the game. . . .

G Garin Bjorklund stopped 22 shots to help the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 3-0 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Tigers (5-3-0) got two goals from F Lukas Svejkovsky. . . . Bjorklund’s first shutout of this season was the second of his career. Geoffrey Brandow reports that Bjorklund is 5-0-0, 1.94, .929 against Lethbridge in his career. . . . The Hurricanes (3-5-1) have lost three in a row. . . . F Corson Hopwo’s fifth goal, shorthanded at 3:41 of the first period, was all the Tigers needed. . . . Svejkovsky now has five goals this season. . . . Lethbridge G Carl Tetachuk stopped 44 shots. . . .

F Matthew Seminoff scored twice and added an assist in leading the Kamloops Blazers to a 7-3 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . The Blazers, who got three assists from F Connor Zary, led 4-1 after the first period. . . . F Connor Levis, 16, also scored twice for Kamloops. It was his first WHL game. . . . The Giants got a goal and an assist from F Tristen Nielsen. . . . Earlier Friday, the Giants announced that “due to off season surgery, Cole Shepard will miss the 2020-2021 season.” The Giants didn’t release any particulars on the surgery. . . . From West Vancouver, he first had surgery on a hip in May 2019. . . . Shepard, who turned 19 on Jan. 2, had 11 goals and 18 assists in 50 games in 2019-20. He played the previous season for the BCHL’s Penticton Vees and was ticketed for Harvard before joining the Giants. . . .

In Kelowna, G Cole Schwebius stopped 19 shots to help the Rockets to a 5-0 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . He’s got two career shutouts. . . . The Rockets got two goals from F Alex Swetlikoff and a goal and and assist from each of F Elias Carmichael and D Jake Lee. . . . F Andrew Cristall, 15, had two assists in his first WHL game. . . . Kelowna held a 35-19 edge in shots. . . .

F Cole Fonstad scored at 4:17 of OT to give the visiting Everett Silvertips a 2-1 Everettvictory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Silvertips (4-0-0) got 35 saves from G Dustin Wolf, who had his shutout streak end at 16:32 of the second period. He had posted a shutout in each of his first three starts this season, and finished with a club-record shutout streak of 216:27. The previous record (195:12) belong to Carter Hart, who now is with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. . . . F Gage Concalves gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 3:42 of the second period. . . . F Simon Knak pulled Portland even at 13:16 of the second. That was the third shorthanded goal — two of them from Knak — in two games for Portland (2-0-2). . . . Going back to last season, the Silvertips are 24-2-1 in their past 27 games. . . . Joe Mahon, who played in the WHL with the Winterhawks (2012-13) and Calgary Hitmen (2013-14), was one of the linesmen. It was his first WHL game as an on-ice official. . . . Jackson Kozari was one of the referees. His father, Steve, is a former WHL referee who now works in the NHL. . . .

G Thomas Milic turned aside 35 shots to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-0 victory over the host Spokane Chiefs. . . . Milic, a 17-year-old from Coquitlam, B.C., put up his first career shutout in his fifth appearance, three of them this season. He is 2-1-0, 1.95, .938 this season. . . . The Thunderbirds (2-1-0) got two goals and an assist from F Conner Roulette, two goals from F Keltie Jeri-Leon, and a goal and two helpers from F Jared Davidson. . . . The Chiefs fell to 0-3-1. . . . Former WHL/NHL referee Dennis (Lash) LaRue worked the game as an analyst on the broadcast crew. He mentioned that one of the linesmen was Rance Hughes, whose brother, Bear, has played for the Chiefs.

——

The WHL announced Friday that it had 1,002 tests administered in its seventh week back and didn’t have any positive tests. Between Feb. 12 and March 26, it has received one positive test from 4,094 tests. . . . That news release is right here.


Funeral


The virus took a third team out of the chase for the NCAA men’s hockey championship on Friday when the Michigan Wolverines had to withdraw from the regional in Fargo, N.D., because of positive tests. That allowed the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs to advance to the regional final where they will meet the North Dakota Fighting Hawks, who beat the American International Yellow Jackets, 5-1, on Friday night. . . . Earlier in the week, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were knocked out of a regional in Albany, N.Y., by positive tests, while St. Lawrence University Saints withdrew after their head coach, Brent Brekke, tested positive.

——

The junior B Prairie Junior Hockey League, an 11-team Saskatchewan-based league, announced Friday that its 2020-21 season is over. “With the current Sask Health rules in place,” it tweeted, “the PJHL will be unable to return to play, therefore the remainder of the 2020-2021 season has been cancelled.The league would like to thank the players, officials, fans, and sponsors for their commitment and support during these times.” . . . The league hadn’t played games since Nov. 26.

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The Greater Toronto Hockey League announced on Friday that it has cancelled the balance of the 2020-21 season “after conducting an evaluation of the current situation in Toronto, Peel and York Regions and consulting with health experts from Toronto Public Health.” . . . The GTHL is the largest minor hockey organization in the world with more than 40,000 annual participants.


Like


Hey, how are we doing in Canada? Thanks for asking, but the numbers are depressing. And with a long weekend just a week away . . . ahhh, I don’t even want to think about it. . . . While you’re partying on, Garth, just think about this lasting for another year. OK? Thanks. . . .

CBC News — Canada closes in on 1 million COVID-19 cases as mounting daily case loads are projected to reach as many as 12,000 a day. Canada’s top doctors urge more vigilance, saying that vaccinations can’t keep up to the spread of the virus.

Richard Zussman, Global BC — There are 908 new cases of COVID-19 in BC, for a total of 95,677 cases in British Columbia. This one of the highest days in the pandemic for new cases. The 7 day average has jumped around 100 cases per day over the last week. . . . There are 294 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 81 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation. The hospital number down 12, ICU up 2. . . . There have been three new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,449 deaths in British Columbia. . . . There are 6,245 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 9,996 people under public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 87,866 people who tested positive have recovered. . . . There have been 140 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern in our province, for a total of 1,912 cases. Of the total cases, 258 are active and the remaining people have recovered. . . . This includes 1,666 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 47 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 199 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant.

CTV Edmonton — Alberta reported more than 700 new cases of COVID-19 for a second straight day as the province’s active and variant case counts continue their upward trends.  . . . The province reported 717 new cases Friday, a day after adding 764 new cases on Thursday. . . . Alberta’s active case count surpassed 7,000 for the time since late January, and is now at 7,077. . . . A total of 1,976 Albertans have now died due to COVID-19 after three new deaths were reported Friday. 

CBC News — 8 additional deaths in Saskatchewan and 213 new cases of COVID-19. That’s the province’s highest daily case total since February 13; the province’s 7-day average is now 186.

CBC News — Manitoba is reporting 116 new COVID-19 cases, the 2nd day in a row above 100 and the highest daily total since February 18. There are also 3 new deaths.

CBC News — For the second day in a row, Ontario is reporting more than 2,000 new cases of COVID-19. The province announced 2,169 new cases today, well above the 7-day average of 1,849. The province is also reporting 12 additional deaths. . . . 401 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, Ontario Hospitals Association says. Marks one of the highest totals since the pandemic began.

CBC News — New Brunswick is reporting 13 new cases of COVID-19, all in the Edmundston region. There are 99 known active cases in the province, including 4 hospitalized patients.


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.


Stupid

Ex-WHLer needs kidney; can you help? . . . Who gets new arena first — Regina or Saskatoon? . . . Cancer claims Hartnell at 48

Ryan Smith, who spent four seasons (1991-95) in the WHL, needs a kidney — the sooner, the better. Smith, 46, played with the Brandon Wheat Kings, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Prince George Cougars, totalling 158 points, including 131 assists, in 274 games before going on to the U of Manitoba Bisons. . . . A married father of two young sons, Smith and his family live in Lavington, B.C., which is near Vernon. . . . He was diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy (aka Berger’s disease) about four years ago and has been on dialysis for almost two years. . . . Smith is on the deceased donor list, but is hoping to shorten what could be at least a four-year wait by finding a live donor. He thought he had found a live donor at one point; however, 10 months into the testing process the potential donor was found to have medical issues that short-circuited things, something that sometimes happens. . . . If you are interested in being a kidney donor, the contact information for the Living Kidney Donor Program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver is further down in this post. . . . Roger Knox of the Vernon Morning Star has Smith’s story right here.


So . . . I’m wondering who is going to win the race — Regina or Saskatoon? . . . PatsShaun Semple, who with his father, Gavin, now owns the Regina Pats lock, stock and barrel, says it’s time that the Saskatchewan capital had a new arena. As hard is it is to believe, the home of the Pats is 44 years of age and, as Shaun told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post, “it’s getting tired. . . . There needs to be a new (arena) for sure.” . . . Harder’s complete story is right here, and what it tells me is that the conversation has started. . . .

Meanwhile, there has been talk in Saskatoon about a possible new arena, one Bladesthat would replace the SaskTel Centre, for a couple of years now. The home of the Blades is 33 years old and getting close to its best before date, if it isn’t already there. . . . A new facility likely would be built somewhere in the downtown area. In October, Phil Tank of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix wrote: “A funding plan for the project has not been finalized, but the cost is estimated between $172 million and $178 million. If the arena project is combined with a new downtown convention centre, the cost rises to between $330 million and $370 million.” . . . While Blades owner Mike Priestner hasn’t said a whole lot publicly about it, he has let it be known that he wants to be involved. Colin Priestner, the Blades’ president and general manager, appeared in front of Saskatoon city council on Monday and, according to Kevin Mitchell of the StarPhoenix, “made a pitch for his group to take a larger role in SaskTel Centre’s operations.” . . . Mitchell’s story is right here.



Two WHL players, both of them eligible for the NHL’s 2021 draft, have had their developmental seasons come to an end. . . . The Red Deer Rebels announced Wednesday that F Jayden Grubbe, the team captain, needs knee surgery (ACL) and won’t play again this season. According to the team, Grubbe “is expected to make a full recovery in time for the start of the 2021-22 season.” Grubbe, 18, was injured in the first period of a game against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes on Friday. That was his fifth game of this season; he had a goal and two assists. . . . Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Ice revealed that F Carson Lambos “has left the Regina hub and returned to Winnipeg for a medical procedure. . . . More information will be provided at a later date.” Lambos, 18, was pointless in two games this season. He is a potential first-round selection in the NHL draft.


Rob Hartnell, who played three seasons (1990-93) in the WHL, has died. He was 48 when he died of cancer on Friday in Camrose, Alta. . . . Hartnell played 143 games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes over parts of three seasons, then finished up his WHL career by putting up 59 points, including 25 games, in 48 games with the Tri-City Americans. . . . All told, he had 227 points, 98 of them goals, in 191 regular-season WHL games. . . . He went on to play professionally in the ECHL, WPHL and in Europe. He wound up his playing career in the Chinook Hockey League with the Bentley Generals. . . . He had been coaching the junior B Wetaskiwin Icemen until having to step aside for health reasons prior to the 2019-20 season. . . . There is a complete obituary right here.


Kris Knoblauch, a former WHL player and coach, made his NHL head-coaching debut on Wednesday night, running the New York Rangers’ bench as they drubbed the visiting Philadelphia Flyers, 9-0. . . . Knoblauch is the head coach of the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Rangers’ AHL affiliate. He was called into New York after the Rangers’ coaching staff was ruled out because of COVID-19 protocol. That took out Rangers’ head coach David Quinn and assistants Jacques Martin, David Oliver and Greg Brown. Gord Murphy, Hartford’s associate coach, and Chris Drury, the Rangers’ associate general manager, were behind New York’s bench with Knoblauch, 42. He played with the Red Deer Rebels, Edmonton/Kootenay Ice and Lethbridge Hurricanes (1996-99), and later coached with the Prince Albert Raiders and Kootenay (2006-12).


So . . . how are things going with the Buffalo Sabres? Well, they’ve lost 12 in a row and been outscored 50-19 in the process. . . . The Buffalo News published its latest NHL power rankings earlier this week and they had the Sabres in 32nd place. Yes, 32nd . . . behind the Seattle Kraken, the expansion club that won’t begin play until next season. . . . Oh yes, the Sabres canned head coach Ralph Krueger on Wednesday.



There will be a new hockey conference in play come the 2021-22 season and it promises to be a good one. The Prep Hockey Conference will feature six of the top prep programs, each with a history of producing NCAA and NHL players. . . . The six are Shattuck-St. Mary’s School (Minnesota), St. Andrew’s College (Toronto), Northwood School (New York), Culver Academies (Indiana), Mount St. Charles Academy (Rhode Island) and South Kent School (Connecticut). All six programs have developed NHLers and top-end NCAA players throughout their histories. . . . Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News has more right here.


The Wheat City Whiskey Jacks are going to play a second straight season without making even one appearance on their home field in Brandon. The Whiskey Jacks will play out of Fargo, ND., for a second straight Expedition League season because of the U.S.-Canada border being closed to non-essential travel. . . . Last season, the league played with six teams as four opted out; it now has 12 teams, all of whom have said they’re in for 2021. . . . The Expedition League is a collegiate summer circuit whose season opens in late May. . . . Thomas Friesen of The Brandon Sun has more on the Whiskey Jacks right here.



Zach16

——

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.

——

Vic2


JUST NOTES: The BCHL’s Cranbrook Bucks have lost one assistant coach and added two others to their staff. Adam Stuart has left to join the coaching staff at the North Alberta Xtreme. The Bucks have added Ehren Menard and Todd Skirving to general manager/head coach Ryan Donald’s staff. Menard has spent six seasons with the Knights of Columbus program in Edmonton. Skirving plays for the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers, who opted out of the 2020-21 season. He played in the BCHL with the Prince George Spruce Kings and Vernon Vipers, then spent four seasons at the Rochester Institute of Technology before turning pro.


Suspect

WHL’s wait is almost over; two games set for tonight . . . Second team opts out of AJHL restart . . . Beast prexy with good dope on folderoo

It was March 11. The Victoria Royals and host Kelowna Rockets were tied, 2-2, in the third period of a WHL game.

F Brayden Tracey of the Royals broke the tie, banking a shot off G Roman Basran and into the Kelowna net. The goal would give the Royals a 3-2 victory and would be the last score of the WHL’s 2019-20 season.

The last goal of the CHL’s 2019-20 season was to have been scored in Kelowna, but it should have happened in the Memorial Cup in May. That tournament, like so many other things, was cancelled.

With the world in the early stages of what has turned into a full-blown pandemic, the WHL put things on hold after March 11, a pause that will end tonight (Friday) with two games featuring four Alberta teams.

In Red Deer, the Rebels will play the Medicine Hat Tigers, while the Lethbridge Hurricanes meet the Oil Kings in Edmonton. The same teams will play again Saturday, only they will switch venues. The Calgary Hitmen, the fifth of the league’s five Alberta teams, have the bye.

In Red Deer, Troy Gillard will make his debut as the interim play-by-play voice of the Rebels, replacing Cam Moon, now the radio voice of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. Down the way from Gillard, Bob Ridley will be calling his 3,999th game as the only voice the Tigers have known.

If the excitement of tonight’s game doesn’t get to him, Ridley will do No. 4,000 in Medicine Hat on Saturday night. If you haven’t heard, he has called every game in Tigers history — except for one. It’s an oft-told story, but back in the day — way, way back — his then-boss’s wife was playing in the Canadian women’s curling championship in Saskatoon and, well, Ridley missed a Tigers game while covering curling. Yes, that’s a true story!

Meanwhile, the Oil Kings game won’t be heard on an Edmonton radio station, but will be available, with Andrew Peard on the call, on the team’s website.

(I had written here that G Lukáš Pařík of the Spokane Chiefs had scored the last goal of the season. That was in error.)

——

JUST NOTES: You may not have been aware of it, but the WHL’s trade deadline came and went on Thursday at 1 p.m. PT. For the first time in league history, there wasn’t even one trade. . . . The league released a U.S. Division schedule this week. The five American teams will open their season on March 18 with the Portland Winterhawks and Tri-City Americans meeting in Kennewick, Wash. With the Winterhawks not having clearance to play in Oregon, they will play their two March home games at the accesso ShoWare Centre in Kent, Wash. (aka the home of the Seattle Thunderbirds). The Portland home games April 2 through May 7 have TBD as the home arena. . . .

A schedule hasn’t yet been announced, but the seven-team Regina hub is expected to begin play on March 12. The hub will feature the five Saskatchewan-based teams, along with the two from Manitoba. . . . The five B.C. Division teams have yet to receive clearance to return to play from government and health officials. . . . Earlier this week, on the subject of 15-year-olds, the afore-mentioned Gillard tweeted: “So I confirmed that Alberta players are good to go since the U18AAA season here is cancelled, but Sask players are limited to 5 WHL games for now as they’ve yet to officially cancel league play in that province.” . . .

The Oil Kings have added three people to their front office — Shaun Mahe as video coach and hockey operations co-ordinator, the afore-mentioned Andrew Peard to handle hockey broadcasting and media, and Erin Klatt in charge of game-day operations. Mahe has been with the Oilers Entertainment Group for eight years, most recently in statistical analysis with the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors. Peard’s duties include play-by-play, taking over from Corey Graham who somehow lost his job during recent Bell Media cuts. Klatt has been with OEG for two years, working as a hockey engagement co-ordinator. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers have added Brodi Stuart, 20, to their coaching staff. Stuart, from Langley, B.C., played three seasons with the Blazers. His WHL career came to an end when he had knee surgery on Jan. 20. In 204 regular-season games, he had 115 points, including 45 goals. . . . The Prince Albert Raiders have added Ryan McDonald as an assistant coach. He will work with the team during its time in the Regina hub. A Prince Albert native, McDonald, 33, played four plus seasons in the WHL (Regina Pats, Raiders, 2004-09). He was the head coach for the U18 AAA Warman Wildcats in 2020-21. . . .

Josh Green, the general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Freeze, has moved to the Winnipeg Ice as an assistant coach. The Ice and Freeze are owned by 50 Below Sports + Entertainment Inc. Green, who played five WHL seasons in the WHL (Medicine Hat, Swift Current, Portland, 1993-98), was an assistant coach with the Ice in 2019-20. . . . Ryan Guenter, who had been on the Ice’s scouting staff, also will be on the team’s coaching staff in the Regina hub. When that stint is over, he will step in as the Ice’s manager of scouting and hockey operations. . . . The Ice also has added Byron Spriggs as goaltending consultant. He has been the U of Manitoba Bisons’ goaltending coach for the past two seasons and is expected to work with both clubs. . . . Cole Hillier, a former head equipment manager with the ECHL’s Jacksonville IceMen, now is in that role with the Ice. Darcy Ewanchuk, who made the move to Winnipeg from Cranbrook with the franchise, now is on staff as a consultant.


Questions, there are questions . . .

We have been hearing for a while now that the WHL’s return to play is all about giving players development opportunities. If that’s the case, and considering the special circumstances, why not allow teams to carry five or six 20-year-olds, even if they only are allowed to dress three per game? Had the league done that, teams wouldn’t have had to cut 20-year-olds over the past few days. . . .

F Seth Jarvis of the Chicago Wolves is tied for the AHL lead in goals (6) and points (9). He has played seven games. Jarvis, who turned 19 on Feb. 1, was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes with the 13th pick of the NHL’s 2020 draft. The rules call for him to be returned to the Portland Winterhawks, but if this odd-ball season, with no fans allowed, is all about development why not leave him in the AHL? . . .

If you are a hockey fan who lives in Canada, does your NHL include only your country’s seven teams? And would you be content with a seven-team NHL and having those teams play an 84-game regular season? . . .

If you get vaccinated in the next month or six are you going to want to go back into an arena next fall not knowing how many unvaccinated people are in the same facility? Is that same thing going to be an issue in some work places? . . .

If you are paying attention to the coronavirus-related numbers in B.C., with variants showing up in schools and teachers in at least one city having marched in protest, will you be surprised if the province’s five WHL teams have to wait a while longer before getting the OK to return to play? . . .

What’s wrong with this picture? . . . On March  21, B.C. announced 76 new positives, raising the number of confirmed cases to 424. There were 27 people in hospital and 12 in intensive care. There was one new death, for a total of 10. So health officials closed all personal service establishments — remember when you couldn’t get a haircut? — and ordered all restaurants to go to takeout and delivery only. . . . On Feb. 25, B.C. reported 395 new cases — down from 559 two days earlier — for a confirmed total of 78,673, with 4,489 of those active. Ten new deaths raised the grim total to 1,348. But, hey, you can get a haircut and eat in a restaurant.


On Feb. 12, Brendan Batchelor, the play-by-play voice of the Vancouver Canucks on Sportsnet 650, revealed via Twitter that he had been “exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19” and was going into self-isolation. . . . All is well and Batchelor, whose resume includes calling Vancouver Giants games, returned to action on Thursday night as the Canucks lost, 3-0, to the visiting Edmonton Oilers.


The Lloydminster Bobcats are the second team to opt out of the AJHL’s return Bobcatsto play. According to a news release from the team, it was “denied participation . . . due to public health restrictions of the Saskatchewan government.” . . . More from that news release: “The organization exhausted all efforts to resolve barriers to meet the requirements of the Saskatchewan government. So far the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League has also been unable to meet requirements, while the Western Hockey League has been approved by forming a bubble in Regina, SK. Attempts were made to establish a bubble in Lloydminster, but the team was shut out by circumstance.” . . . While they play in the AJHL, the Bobcats’ home arena, the Centennial Civic Centre, is in Lloydminster, Sask. . . . Earlier, the Canmore Eagles announced that they were opting out of a return to play. 


For the last while we regularly have heard from junior hockey pooh-bahs about Beasthow some teams may not survive the pandemic. To date, they’re all still alive, but that’s more than can be said for the Brampton Beast, a seven-year-old ECHL franchise.

The Beast called it quits last week, another victim of COVID-19, but one that won’t show up in death totals.

Cary Kaplan, the Beast’s president, general manager and minority owner of Brampton Beast, said that the pandemic simply made the hurdles too huge to continue.

Here’s part of what he told Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, and all of this will be applicable to junior hockey teams, as well . . .

“What we realized recently is that next season is compromised. Normally at this time of year, you sell a lot of season tickets, you renew your season tickets, you make group sales, you do a lot of sponsorship. There’s so much nervousness out there, we realized for the upcoming season . . . that revenues would be greatly depleted. You’re losing revenues in three distinct hockey seasons. As a business, it’s not sustainable. We came to that realization probably since Christmas, (and) for us that was just too much.”

And now we wait to see if more teams meet the same fate.

If you haven’t already seen it, Friedman’s weekly 31 Thoughts is right here.


Sauce


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The City of Toronto has cancelled outdoor events and parades through July 1. That includes Canada Day celebrations and its Pride Parade. . . .

The Prince Albert Minor Hockey Association has cancelled any games for the remainder of its 2020-21 season. The provincial government has extended restrictions until at least March 19, so the association decided it was time to move on from this season. Teams are still able to practice with eight mask-wearing, social-distancing players on the ice at a time. . . .

The San Jose Sharks had F Thomas Hertl enter COVID-19 protocol on Wednesday, so their Thursday game against the visiting Vegas Golden Knights has been postponed. The Sharks didn’t hold any practice or training sessions on Wednesday. . . . San Jose next is scheduled to play on Saturday against the visiting St. Louis Blues. . . . Also on Wednesday, the New York Rangers placed F K’Andre Miller on the COVID-19 protocol list, but they still played that night, losing 4-3 to the Flyers in Philly. . . .

Dan Ralph of The Canadian Press reports that the CFL, which didn’t play in 2020, is looking at holding training camps in May with the first exhibition game on May 23. He also writes that an 18-game regular season would open on June 10 without fans in the stands. . . . That story is right here. . . .

The 10-team Winnipeg-based Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League announced on Tuesday that it has cancelled the remainder of its 2020-21 season. “These are unprecedented times,” Kerry Lines, the league president, said in a news release, “and the events around COVID have impacted so many lives and families. Our priority as a league is to be compliant with the health orders and respect and support the decisions that are made to keep our communities safe and reduce the risk.” . . . The MMJHL last played on Oct. 29.


Warranty


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.


Kids