Milestone victory for Hamilton . . . Habscheid helps out WHL’s Christmas fund . . . Celebration of Swaby’s life on Friday


Steve Hamilton, the head coach of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, joined the 200 WHLClub on Sunday when his side dumped the visiting Regina Pats, 10-3. He put up 108 coaching victories in four seasons as head coach of the Edmonton Oil Kings; Sunday’s victory was No. 92 with the Hitmen. . . .

Meanwhile, Marc Habscheid of the Prince Albert Raiders won his 561st regular-season game as a head coach when his guys beat the host Winnipeg Ice, 4-3 in OT, on Sunday. Habscheid is the winningest active head coach in the WHL today. He is sixth on the all-time list and could move up a notch before season’s end; Mike Williamson is next on the list at 572. . . . The Raiders enjoyed quite a trek into Manitoba, as they beat the Wheat Kings, 2-1, on Friday night. . . . Prince Albert is 8-12-1; Winnipeg is 21-1-1, with Brandon at 9-11-0. . . .

Attention WHL coaches . . . you have been forewarned. The head office has opened its Christmas party fund. Habscheid was the first to contribute after being fined $750 on Monday. That’s the price he pays after being ejected from a Nov. 24 game against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. He got the ol’ heave-ho from referees Adam Bloski and Troy Murray prior to the start of the third period of a game the Raiders would lose, 4-1. . . . Habscheid later told Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW that “. . . I just wished them a Merry Christmas, and that was that.” . . . It could be then that Habscheid was tossed for not waiting until December to start spreading Christmas joy. . . .

In the QMJHL, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan signed Jason Clarke as its new head coach, replacing Mario Durocher, who was fired last week. Clarke was working as an assistant coach with the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes. He is a former owner, general manager and head coach of the junior A Carleton Place Canadiens of the Central Canada Hockey League.


The Saskatoon Blades and Regina Pats weren’t done any favours by the schedulemaker last weekend and they came out of it, perhaps predictably, with one victory to show for five games . . .

The Blades won once during their three-game trek into Alberta. They went into the weekend with five healthy defencemen, then lost one of those guys on Sunday. Still, you have to think they were quite pleased with their trip. . . . They opened in Red Deer by beating the Rebels, 3-1, on Friday night. The Blades played again Saturday, this time at 1:30 p.m., and got dumped, 7-0, by the Hitmen, who hadn’t played on Friday. On Sunday, Saskatoon ventured into Edmonton for a 4 p.m. start, scored the game’s first two goals, then gave up five in a row and dropped a 5-2 decision to the Oil Kings, who had been off on Saturday. . . .

Meanwhile, the Pats were in Alberta for two games. They played Saturday night in Red Deer, losing 4-2, and then had to be back on the ice Sunday in Calgary for an 11 a.m. — yes, a.m. — start. They were drubbed, 10-3, by the Hitmen, who got four goals and two assists from F Riley Fiddler-Schultz.

Yes, there oughta be a rule about morning or afternoon starts after a team has played the previous night. And it should never, ever happen when the home team was off the previous night.

A celebration of Matt Swaby’s life is scheduled for Friday, 1 p.m., at the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre. Swaby, who played in the WHL for four seasons, was killed in a farm accident near Prince Albert on Friday. He was 34 and is survived by his wife, Carla, and three sons — Thomas, 6; Blake, 4; and Kody, 2. . . . The celebration of life is to be videotaped and live-streamed at . . . A GoFundMe page to benefit the family had raised $178,106 as of Monday evening. That page is right here.

The Dallas Cowboys will be without head coach Mike McCarthy on Thursday when they meet the host New Orleans Saints. He has tested positive, and there are reports that the Cowboys have as many as eight positives in their organization. That includes WR Amari Cooper, who is unvaccinated and has missed two games after a positive test. . . .

NFL teams placed at least seven players on the COVID-19 list on Monday — S Kevin Byard of the Tennessee Titans, OT Kyle Murphy of the New York Giants, CB Patrick Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings, DB Kevin Seymour of the Baltimore Ravens, long-snapper Trent Sieg of the Las Vegas Raiders, RB J.J. Taylor of the New England Patriots and LB T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Off the Mark
Off the Mark


The CBA that governs Major League Baseball expires on Wednesday night at 11:59 ET. At that time, it is expected that MLB will lock out the players; it also is anticipated that this lockout could last and last and last and . . .

And won’t it be fun if any of the owners plead poverty.

After all, the New York Mets have signed RHP Max Scherzer, 37, to a three-year deal worth $130 million. As Darren Rovell, a sports business reporter, pointed out, Scherzer will make $3.95 million more this year than the Mets paid Dwight Gooden for his entire time in New York, factoring for inflation.” Scherzer has averaged 28 starts and 182 innings pitched in his career. Based on that, he will be paid $1.5 million per start, or $238,000 per inning. . . . Remember when people got excited when the New York Yankees signed RHP Gerritt Cole to a deal that pays him $36 million per season? That was in 2019. Scherzer will make $43.3 million a season.

The Mets aren’t the only team throwing money around.

LHP Robbie Ray won the American League’s Cy Young Award in his only season with the Toronto Blue Jays and now is headed to the Seattle Mariners for $115 million over five years.

The Blue Jays turned around and signed RHP Kevin Gausman for $110 million over five years.

Toronto also lost 2B Marcus Semien, who hit 45 home runs in 2021. He is joining the Texas Rangers for $175 million over seven years. The Rangers also have signed SS Corey Seager for $325 million over 10 years. He had been with the Los Angeles Dodgers with whom he was the 2020 World Series MVP.

Meanwhile, in the world of U.S. college football, Lincoln Riley, 38, is leaving Oklahoma after five seasons to become the head coach of the USC Trojans. Why is he moving? Well, his new contract apparently is worth $110 million. As well, USC will purchase the two homes he owns in Norman, Okla., for $500,000 over the asking price; USC is to buy him a $6 million home in Los Angeles; and he will have unlimited use of a private jet for his family. . . .

At the same time, head coach Brian Kelly, 60, is leaving the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for LSU, and it’s expected that he’ll be paid $15 million per season. . . . Kelly’s Notre Dame players found out via social media; he then sent a text to them, telling them that he will inform them officially when they meet at, uhh, 7 a,m.

What do you think? Is it time to pay the players?


The Winter Universiade, featuring university athletes from more than 50 countries, was to have opened in Lucerne, Switzerland, on Dec. 11, with 102 Canadian student athletes in attendance. However, the games were cancelled on Monday as part of the world’s reaction to Omicron, the latest COVID-19 variant. Including coaches and support staff, Canada would have had 144 people in Lucerne. . . . The next Winter Universiade is scheduled for Lake Placid, N.Y., in January 2023.

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