If you haven’t already done so, you can stroke Chilliwack, B.C., off the list of potential landing spots for the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice.
Brian Maloney, the general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, says his club isn’t going anywhere and the WHL isn’t moving into the Chilliwack Coliseum.
He should know, too, because he also is the building’s GM.
“I’ll clear the air right now,” Maloney said in a post-game interview on Friday after a 4-3 OT loss to the visiting Nanaimo Clippers. “I’ll clear the air right now. The Chilliwack Chiefs aren’t going anywhere. The WHL’s not coming here. We’ve tried that song and dance before.
“Our owners are invested into this community. They’ve been here for years. They did try it for a few years as everyone knows. It rubbed a lot of people the wrong way . . . I think it was handled poorly to be honest with you.”
The WHL had a franchise — the Chilliwack Bruins — for five seasons (2006-2011) before it was sold, moved to Victoria and became the Royals.
At the same time, Maloney said he thinks “Winnipeg should move to be honest with you. Anytime you’re pulling in 1,000 fans at the major junior level it’s probably time to move.”
The Ice plays in the Wayne Fleming Arena on the campus of the U of Manitoba. The building seats about 1,600. According to figures compiled by the WHL, the Ice’s average announced attendance is 1,634, the poorest in the 22-team league.
All of this speculation surrounding the Ice has been in the air for weeks now, but it turned into more than that following a Feb. 15 column by Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun that suggested the franchise’s days in the Manitoba capital may be numbered. If you haven’t seen it yet that column is right here.
(Friesen followed up that column with this one right here.)
“I’ve made the calls to our ownership group; they’re laughing and saying they’re not going anywhere,” Maloney said. “I’ve even heard rumours that they’ve contacted the building and secured a lease agreement and booked all the ice and everything for next year.
“They forget I hold the title as the general manager of the building as well. I’m the guy receiving those phone calls and I haven’t received anything yet. It’s quite comical to be honest with you.”
At the same time, Maloney said he fully realizes social media drives a lot of the rumours and speculation these days.
“It’s the way society is going right now,” he said. “Everyone can have a voice and they can sit in front of their computer or phone and make stories up . . . just to kind of get some attention.”
Still, Maloney is of the opinion that something is going on with the Ice.
“I think Winnipeg is probably moving,” he reiterated. “It’s not going to Penticton; it’s not going to Chilliwack. Who knows where they’re going?
“They’re just desperately trying to stir up stuff to try and go somewhere.”
It is hard to believe that it’s been 37 years since Mickey Mouse Night took place in the Crushed Can in Moose Jaw. Yes, that was the night that Kevin Gallant, the play-by-play voice of the Regina Pats, wore the Donald Duck suit as he called the game against the Warriors. . . . These days, Gallant may be the Warriors’ biggest fan. His son, Matthew, is a sophomore defenceman with the Warriors. Yes, life does take funny turns on occasion.
You may have heard that tennis star Novak Djokovic is trying to get into the U.S., despite not being vaccinated against COVID-19. Of course, the U.S. isn’t allowing unvaccinated foreigners into the country. Despite all that, Djokovic wants in so that he can play tournaments in in California and Florida in March.
Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“The U.S. government’s vaccinations requirement for entry by foreign travellers has been extended to at least April 10, so a waiver for a tennis player would seem unlikely, unless someone in authority recognizes that a rich man’s quest for more money and fame is worth the risk of sickness and death it might cause, directly and by way of trivializing science-based COVID-fighting measures.
“As Djokovic made his appeal, California hit the milestone of 100,000 COVID deaths, with an average of 22 Californians daily dying from the disease that is now well under control unless it happens to be currently killing you.”
According to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, there were 1,936 deaths from COVID-19 over the past week in the U.S. For the past month, the number is 11,829.
In Canada, there were 241 deaths over the past week and 872 for the past month.
Just in case you thought we were all done with this virus.
If the WHL playoffs started today:
Winnipeg (1) vs. Calgary (8)
Red Deer (2) vs. Medicine Hat (7)
Saskatoon (3) vs. Regina (6)
Moose Jaw (4) vs. Lethbridge (5)
Seattle (1) vs. Kelowna (8)
Kamloops (2) vs. Vancouver (7)
Portland (3) vs. Prince George (6)
Everett (4) vs. Tri-City (5)
SUNDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:
F Andrew Cristall’s goal in the second round of a shootout gave the Kelowna Rockets a 3-2 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . The Rockets had a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Carson Golder (25), on a PP, and F Dylan Wightman (10). . . . F Brandon Whynott (4) pulled Calgary to within a goal at 1:12 of the second period and F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (26) tied it at 9:20 of the third. . . . This was Kelowna’s first shootout appearance this season. . . . The Rockets (22-31-3) are eighth in the Western Conference, two points behind the Vancouver Giants, who hold a game in hand. . . . The Hitmen (24-26-8) have lost four in a row. . . . Calgary is eighth in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Medicine Hat Tigers and one ahead of the Swift Current Broncos. The Tigers and Broncos both hold two games in hand. . . .
F Zach Benson and F Conor Geekie each scored three times as the Winnipeg Ice cruised to an 8-1 victory over the Oil Kings in Edmonton. . . . Benson also had three assists for a six-point outing, while Geekie had one assist. . . . Benson now has 33 goals; Geekie has 28. . . . Benson has 92 points in 54 games this season. In 136 career regular-season games, he’s got 175 points, including 68 goals. He’s riding a nine-game point streak, with 20 points over that stretch. . . . F Miles Cooper, a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2021 draft, got Winnipeg’s final goal. It was his first WHL score and came in his second game. Cooper was brought in from the U18 prep team at Edge School in Calgary; he was returned to his team on Monday. . . . Winnipeg (47-7-1) has won 10 in a row and is running away with the Eastern Conference and the East Division. . . . Edmonton (8-45-3) has lost eight straight. . . .
F Austin Roest and F Jackson Berezowski had two goals each to lead the Everett Silvertips to a 5-2 victory over the Royals in Victoria. . . . Roest now has 31 goals; Berezowski is up to 39. . . . Roest broke a 1-1 tie at 10:37 of the second period; Berezowski made it 3-1 at 12:47 of the third. . . . Roest got it to 4-2 at 18:10, before Berezowski ended the scoring with a shorthanded empty-netter. . . . F Ben Hemmerling (21) had a goal and two assists for Everett. . . . The game featured two goaltenders who were traded for each other earlier this season. Tyler Palmer earned the victory with 23 saves, six fewer than Braden Holt. . . . Everett (29-24-3) has won two in a row. It is tied with the Tri-City Americans for fourth in the Western Conference. . . . Victoria (15-37-7) has lost six straight (0-5-1) and is 10 points from a playoff spot with nine games remaining.
Mark Weninger has written a book about the Lethbridge Broncos and their stay in the Alberta city. He also has started a blog — lethbridgebroncosblog.webador.com/ — where he will “share additional information about the Broncos.” . . . He says former players continue to share memories with him and he is passing them along on the blog. . . . He starts with Stan Jensen, who scored the first goal in the Broncos’ Lethbridge history. . . .
The best-of-three Canada West men’s hockey final will be played in Calgary starting on Friday. It will feature the U of Calgary Dinos and the Alberta Golden Bears, who eliminated the UBC Thunderbirds in Edmonton on Sunday. Alberta won Game 3 of the semifinal, 6-3, to advance. Calgary took out the Saskatchewan Huskies, also in three games, in a series that ended Saturday in Calgary.
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St. Paul’s Hospital
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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney
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