Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Two more veterans leave WHL . . . Ex-WHLer forced to stop playing

Jerrid Sauer has joined the Medicine Hat Tigers' coaching staff.
(Photo: Medicine Hat Tigers)
It may not be a problem, but it would seem to be a trend.
First, there was D Reid Gow, 20. Then, D Cole Wedman, 20, followed suit. On Sunday, it was D Jeremy McIntosh's turn.
And now F Geordie Maguire and F Aspen Sterzer have moved on.
Gow and McIntosh, 19, both cited a loss of passion in deciding not to return to the Spokane Chiefs. Wedman, who had been dealt by Spokane to Moose Jaw over the summer, has informed the Warriors that he won't report, choosing instead to attend the U of Alberta.
Now you can add Maguire and Sterzer to the list.
Maguire, 19, isn’t in camp with the Swift Current Broncos and apparently will be heading to school.
From Winnipeg, he began his WHL career in 2012-13, picking up nine points, including four goals, in 65 games with the Wheat Kings. The Everett Silvertips had selected Maguire in the fifth round of the 2010 bantam draft, then dealt him to Brandon for G Brandon Anderson, 20, and a fifth-round pick in the 2013 draft.
At the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft, the Wheat Kings dealt Maguire to Regina, along with a third-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft, in exchange for "draft day considerations."
At the 2013-14 trade deadline, the Pats traded Maguire to the Broncos for a sixth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. Maguire, who led the Manitoba midget AAA league in scoring in 2011-12, had 14 points, seven of them goals, in 27 games with Regina, and one goal in eight games with the Broncos.
Sterzer, meanwhile, has chosen not to report to the Red Deer Rebels for his 20-year-old season.
Greg Meachem, the Red Deer Advocate's sports editor, reports that Sterzer has told Brent Sutter, the Rebels' GM/head coach, that the passion is gone and that he plans on going to school.
“We’ll stay patient with it and see what happens," Sutter told Meachem, "but during my conversation with him he said he just didn’t feel he has the passion to play any more. He made that commitment to his family, to his mom and dad, that if he wasn’t at the pro level after his 19-year-old year that he would go to school.”
Sterzer played 174 regular-season WHL games, 144 of those with the Kamloops Blazers. He missed a lot of the 2012-13 season with health issues, including a brain injury. The Blazers traded him to the Rebels last season, giving up F Matt Bellerive and a third-round 2014 bantam pick. Sterzer had 21 points, 12 of them goals, in 30 games with Red Deer. Between the two teams, he had 53 points, including 29 goals, in 70 games.
“For us, it was disappointing. It caught us off guard,” Sutter added. “We didn’t expect it after our year-end exit meetings. He kept in contact with our coaches through the summer and was doing the conditioning stuff that was required of him.
“Then all of a sudden he changed his mind.”
Without Sterzer, the Rebels have three 20-year-olds on their roster -- D Brett Cote, who was acquired from the Victoria Royals for a second-round 2014 draft pick on May 1, D Devan Fafard and F Brooks Maxwell.
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Albin Blomqvist turned 21 on Jan. 8, so no longer is eligible to play in the WHL.
Not that he would be able to were he 20 years of age, because he has become another victim of brain injuries.
Blomqvist, from Osby, Sweden, played two seasons (2011-13) with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. In his first season, he had a goal and two assists in 38 games; the next season, he had three assists in 31 games.
Last season, he was limited to one game with Osby IK, a Division 2 club in Sweden.
As Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News reports, Blomqvist has had to retire, and he has written a letter to Hockeysverige.se.
“It’s a tough read and brings up a lot of important issues for the hockey world,” Kennedy writes right here.
Kennedy continues: “Translated into English, Blomqvist rails against a culture that pushes dreams more than reality. With his hockey career over and no chance at playing in the NHL, the defenceman also has come to the realization that his singular focus and lack of education may not have been the best idea.”
Blomqvist‘s brother, Axel, plays for the Victoria Royals and has signed with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets.
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The OHL announced Wednesday that it has made more moves aimed at getting fighting out of the game.
What follows is from the OHL news release:
“The OHL will be augmenting the current staged fight rule whereby players receive an automatic game misconduct for a fight occurring immediately following the drop of the puck at the commencement of a period or game. Such rule has been expanded so as to include a fight that occurs immediately following any faceoff during the game. Should a staged fight occur, the player(s) involved shall each receive a game misconduct in addition to the major penalty and any other penalties assessed.
“If a player receives a third game misconduct during the season for a combination of any five-minute major and game misconduct penalties for checking to the head, checking from behind, boarding, kneeing and clipping, for which suspensions have not previously been applied, he shall receive an automatic one-game suspension. For each subsequent game misconduct, the suspension shall be increased accordingly.
“If a player receives a third minor penalty for instigating during the season, he shall receive an automatic one-game suspension. For each subsequent instigating minor penalty, the suspension shall be increased accordingly.
“The number of fighting majors that a player can receive in a game before a game misconduct is assessed shall be reduced from three to two.
“If a player receives a fourth minor penalty during the regular season in any one of the following categories, ie., checking from behind, checking to the head, kneeing, clipping or boarding, he shall receive a one-game suspension. For each subsequent minor penalty in any of the particular categories, the suspension shall be increased accordingly.
“Each OHL team shall have a threshold of three major penalties for fighting during each game. A disciplinary fine shall be assessed for each team exceeding such threshold.”
Neate Sager of Yahoo! Sports Canada has more on the OHL changes right here.
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Alan Caldwell, over at Small Thoughts At Large, is in pre-training camp form in a big way. The other day, he took a look at the team-by-team 20-year-old situation. . . . Now he’s working on training camps, starting with rosters as they become available, and opening dates. Check it out right here; there also is a link over there on the right.
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F Jake Mykitiuk, who played two seasons (2011-13) with the Prince George Cougars, is going to camp with the Tri-City Americans. He had 21 points, including seven goals, in 126 games with the Cougars. Last season, the 5-foot-7, 160-pound Mykitiuk, who turns 19 on Nov. 21, split last season between the AJHL's Sherwood Park Crusaders and Spruce Grove Saints. He totalled 38 points, 16 of them goals, in 39 AJHL games.
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WHLF Austin Calladine, who turns 19 on Dec. 21, is in camp with the Swift Current Broncos. A second-round pick by the Calgary Hitmen in the 2010 bantam draft, he has a goal and two assists in 37 regular-season games, 33 with the Hitmen in 2012-13. The Hitmen dealt him to the Saskatoon Blades for a conditional 2015 eighth-round bantam draft pick on Sept. 26. The Saskatoon native was pointless in three games with the Blades, then put up 34 points, 17 of them goals, in 46 games with the SJHL's Flin Flon Bombers.
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BCHLF Shane Danyluk won’t be back with the Prince Albert Raiders for a fifth season. Danyluk, 20, cleared WHL waivers on Wednesday. He expressed a desire to play in the BCHL for his hometown Salmon Arm SilverBacks. Danyluk was a second-round selection in the 2009 bantam draft. . . . Last season, he had 24 points, including seven goals, in 71 games. In 248 regular-season games, he put up 77 points, 25 of them goals. . . . Danyluk’s departure leaves the Raiders with five 20-year-olds on their roster -- F Calder Brooks, F Dakota Conroy, F Jayden Hart, D Sawyer Lange and F Carson Perreaux.
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The Medicine Hat Tigers have added Jerrid Sauer, 26, to their coaching staff. He will work as an assistant coach, alongside GM/head coach Shaun Clouston and assistant coach Joe Frazer. . . . Sauer, from Medicine Hat, played in the WHL with the Swift Current Broncos (2002-06) and the Tigers (2005-08). He then went on to the U of Calgary. . . . On the Tigers’ staff, he will replace Darren Kruger, who now is senior director, player development. . . . Sauer played for the Tigers in 2006-07 when they won the WHL championship.
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The Everett Silvertips go into the season under a bit more pressure than some other teams. That's because ownership has guaranteed its season-ticket holders at least a fourth-place finish in the 10-team Western Conference.
In February 2013, the Silvertips guaranteed season-ticket holders that they would finish at least sixth in the 10-team Western Conference or they would cough up $100 towards 2014-15 season tickets. Everett didn't have to pay up after finishing fourth.
At the same time, Everett management guaranteed at least a fourth-place finish in the conference in 2014-15. If the Silvertips don't get that high, season-ticket holders who renewed early will get a $100 credit towards 2015-16 tickets.
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Veteran F Trent Lofthouse, who turns 20 on Nov. 17, is in camp with the Portland Winterhawks. He also has played with the Everett Silvertips, Victoria Royals and Vancouver Giants. Last season, he started with Victoria, playing 11 games, and finished with the Giants. In 148 regular-season games, he has 38 points, including 25 goals. . . . As of now, Lofthouse is scrapping with F Adam De Champlain, F Trace Elson and D Josh Hanson for Portland’s three 20-year-old spots.
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CHLThe Central Hockey League’s Denver Cutthroats have suspended operations effective immediately. The franchise now is looking for additional investors and hopes to operate again in 2015-16. For now, all players who had signed with Denver are free agents.
The Central league also appears to have lost the Arizona Sundogs, and this could be permanent.
Brandon-based player agent Darryl Wolski tweeted Wednesday evening that the Sundogs “have ceased operations . . . players have been notified.”
CHLThat being the case, any players who have signed with the Sundogs now will be free agents.
Without Denver and Arizona, the Central league is down to seven teams. Shed a tear for F T.J. Fox. He played last season for the Cutthroats. On Friday, he signed with the Sundogs.
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Chiefs, Warriors lose veteran players








D Paul Albers (Calgary, Regina, Vancouver, 2001-06) has signed a one-year extension with Cortina (Italy, Serie A). Last season, he had seven goals and 22 assists in 42 games with Cortina. . . .
F Stanislav Gron (Seattle, Kootenay, 1997-99) has signed a one-year extension with Cortina (Italy, Serie A). Last season, he led Cortina in scoring, with 67 points, including 29 goals, in 40 games.
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The Spokane Chiefs took a hit Sunday when D Jeremy McIntosh informed general manager Tim Speltz that he won’t be returning. . . . “Jeremy contacted me Sunday evening to inform me of his decision to move on," Speltz said in a news release. “He said he has lost his passion for the game and is not as committed as he feels is necessary to play in the WHL.” . . .  A native of Calgary, McIntosh had four goals and six assists in 70 games last season. In his freshman season, 2012-13, he had a goal and four helpers in 65 games. . . . “I am hoping he reconsiders his position and as an organization we will be as patient as possible should he have a change of heart,” Speltz added. "We expected Jeremy to be a big part of our defensive core this season and his decision is a total surprise." . . . McIntosh was a sixth-round selection by the Chiefs in the 2010 bantam draft. . . . Two other veteran defencemen who finished last season with the Chiefs also are gone from the WHL. Reid Gow, the Chiefs’ captain last season, has chosen not to return for his 20-year-old season, while Cole Wedman, 20, was dealt to the Moose Jaw Warriors and has since decided to attend the U of Alberta.
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F Bryson Gore won’t be returning for a third season with the Moose Jaw Warriors. Gore, 19, is from Milo, Alta. . . . According to the Warriors, Gore “has decided to remain at home near Lethbridge and is considering his future hockey and academic opportunities.” . . . Last season, Gore had 18 points, including 11 goals, in 68 games. The previous season, he had nine goals and seven assists in 69 games. . . . He was a 10th-round selection by the Portland Winterhawks in the 2010 WHL bantam draft. He was listed by the Warriors after being dropped from Portland’s protected list.
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According to Shawn Mullin, the radio voice of the Swift Current Broncos, F Maxim Letunov won’t be reporting to the WHL team. Letunov, an 18-year-old from Moscow, was selected by the Broncos in the CHL’s 2014 import draft. He was a second-round pick by the St. Louis Blues in the NHL’s 2014 draft, after playing last season with the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms. He had 43 points, including 19 goals, in 60 games with the Phantoms. Mullin tweeted that “there have been discussions and the door remains open. Looks like he will play in the USHL still.” . . . Letunov also has committed to Boston U, so that may have figured in his decision not to journey to Swift Current.
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What business is up 500 per cent over the last 10 years? Worth peanuts 10 years ago, it’s now worth $75.5 million annually. If you said the tattoo removal business, go to the head of the class. . . . Sophia Harris of CBC News has an interesting story right here.
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The SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers, the reigning RBC Cup champions, have shaken things up a bit. . . . Don Chesney, who had been their general manager, now is director of marketing. . . . Trent Cassan, their head coach, has added the GM’s duties to his portfolio and he has signed a two-year contract extension.
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Blake Cosgrove has joined the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks as an assistant coach. He will work alongside GM Chad Shiel and head coach Ryan Barrett. . . . A native of Chilliwack, B.C., Cosgrove, 28, played two seasons with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs and four years at Northern Michigan.
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The Simon Fraser U men’s hockey team has promoted Jim Camazzola (Kamloops, Seattle, New Westminster, 1982-85) from assistant coach to associate coach. . . . He works alongside Mark Coletta, who is preparing for his seventh season as head coach. . . . SFU also has added Tom Spencer as an assistant coach. He was the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League’s coach of the year last season after taking the Valley West Hawks to the league final.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Everett, Regina add to coaching staffs . . . Caldwell looks at 20s


Chris Mast (@MastImages) is as good as any hockey photographer you will find,
and judging by some photos he tweeted Monday night from a workout
involving the Everett Silvertips, he already is in midseason form. At top, veteran
goaltender Austin Lotz really gets down and spread out to make a save. Above,
that's Logan Aasman going top shelp and drilling the water bottle.

(Photos: Chris Mast, mastimages.com)
Things are progressing nicely as we prepare for the 2014 Kidney Walk in Kamloops on Sunday.
Dorothy’s Team will be at Riverside Park to register shortly after 10 a.m., with the 2.5-kilometre walk to begin at 11.
Dorothy walked 2.5 km on Saturday for the first time in a long while and she handled it easily. She will continue to prepare with another walk this morning, weather permitting. There is a road on the south side of the South Thompson River with paved shoulders where we have measured 2.5 km, so it is perfect for our needs.
If you are new to this site, Dorothy, my wife of 42 years, underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23. From the beginning, she has said she wants to give back to the Kidney Foundation, so this is the start.
If you are a regular here, you will know that the friend who gave up a kidney through the Living Donor Paired Exchange program so that Dorothy could get one doesn’t want her name used, so I refer to her as Joan. Anyway, she and Dorothy were chatting last night and Joan wanted to know what time we would be walking on Sunday. It seems that he and her husband will provide support by walking 2.5 km at the same time as we are, albeit in a different city.
Is that neat, or what?
If you would like to sponsor Dorothy, you are able to do so right here. Once on that website, just click on Sponsor a Participant. (As I write this, she has been sponsored to the tune of $1,915, a lot of which has come from the hockey crowd, including fans, teams and scouts.)
Thank you all very much.
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With WHL training camps set to open, Alan Caldwell of Small Thoughts At Large apparently didn’t sleep Sunday night as he tried to figure out what the 20-year-old picture looks like. . . . His astute thoughts and observations are right here.
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The Everett Silvertips gained an assistant coach on Monday, but lost their trainer. . . . Brennan Sonne, a former Silvertips forward (2005-08), has signed on as an assistant coach to work alongside head coach Kevin Constantine, assistant coach Mitch Love and goaltending coach Shane Clifford. Sonne, 27, worked last season as the head coach of Meco Hockey Academy in Hong Kong. . . . Meanwhile, the Silvertips have lost trainer Marc Paquet to the NHL's Calgary Flames. He has been named head trainer of the Flames' AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Flames, who play out of Glens Falls, N.Y. Paquet, 27, had been with the Silvertips for three seasons.
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Corey St. Laurent is leaving the Victoria Royals and is moving into the WHL office in Calgary. He will begin his new duties on Sept. 2. With the Royals, he has been the manager of communications and hockey operations co-ordinator for two years. With the WHL, he will be the senior manager, communications. . . . In the WHL office, he takes over from Jeff Hubert.
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Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post reported Monday that the Regina Pats are expected to announce today that “Darrin McKechnie has agreed to join his former team as an assistant coach.” . . . McKechnie, 47, will work part-time with the Pats, as he also has a full-time position in the Regina Police Service. . . . With the Pats, McKechnie, who played two seasons with the Pats (1986-88), will work with head coach John Paddock and assistant Dave Struch. . . . Rob Muntain, the Pats’ goaltending coach, also is with the RPS. . . . Paddock arrived in Regina on Monday.


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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Magee returning to Royals . . . Trolls are winning








D Lukáš Bohunický (Kootenay, 2005-07) has signed a one-year contract with the Edinburgh Capitals (Scotland, UK Elite). Last season, in the Czech Republic with Mladá Boleslav (1. Liga), he had a goal and three assists in 33 games. He also was pointless in eight games while on loan to České Budějovice (1. Liga). . . .
D Ty Wishart (Prince George, Moose Jaw, 2004-08) has been released by the Schwenninger Wild Wings (Germany, DEL) per his request citing personal reasons. Last season with the Wild Wings, he had five goals and 11 assists in 50 games. He had signed a one-year extension with the Wild Wings in March.
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F Brandon Magee has decided to return to the Victoria Royals for a fifth season. Magee, 20, signed a tryout deal with Kometa Brno (Czech Republic, Extraliga) in May but has since decided to opt out of that deal. . . . From Edmonton, Magee played one season with the Chilliwack Bruins and is preparing for his fourth with the Royals. Last season, he had 67 points, including 25 goals, in 65 games. In his career, he has 203 points, 90 of them goals, in 268 games. . . . He will miss the first 12 games of the season with a suspension left over from the WHL playoffs last spring. . . . The Royals expect to open the season with Magee, D Travis Brown and F Austin Carroll as their three 20-year-olds.
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The road from Bakersfield, Calif., to Moose Jaw stopped in Phoenix for F Brayden Watts, who was a third-round selection by the Warriors in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. . . . Watts will be in Moose Jaw when camp opens on Thursday. He’s too young to stick this season, but Bob Bartlett, the Warriors’ manager of U.S. scouting and player development, says Watts has a chance to play next season. . . . Mike Griffith of the Bakersfield Californian has Watts’ story right here.
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WHL teams are preparing to open training camps this week, so it’s time to get ready. Andy Eide, who covers the Seattle Thunderbirds for 710 ESPN Seattle and helps out at thehockeywriters.com, has done his part with a WHL social media guide that is right here.
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Johnny Manziel, writes Cathal Kelly of The Globe and Mail, “is Tim Tebow through a glass darkly.” Furthermore, claims Kelly, it all started with something Charles Barkley said in a Nike commercial in 1993. . . . Kelly’s column is right here.
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If you haven’t already figured it out, the trolls are winning. On social media, it isn’t anywhere close to even a draw. Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times has more right here.
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Brad Rock writes a column, Rock On, in the Deseret News of Salt Lake City. The other day, it included this item: “Faced with declining revenue and high maintenance costs, some golf courses are allowing a new game called ‘footgolf.’ Participants kick a soccer ball down the fairway and into a 21-inch hole. Rock On will pass on that. He’s waiting to cash in on the swimboxing craze.” . . . Hey, Rogers Sportsnet, it’s about those digital ads that show up on the hitters’ background on your Blue Jays telecasts. How about dumping them? They really are misleading because that isn’t what the hitters are looking at. Besides, it‘s not as though there aren’t enough ads in the ballyard and on the telecasts already. . . .

If you missed it, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Matt Scott lost his cookies and then threw a touchdown pass during his club’s NFL preseason opener. Column contributor Bill Littlejohn wonders if that’s “a puke-six?” . . . “A woman found IKEA bags in a Swedish church that were filled with ancient human skulls and bones,” reports RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “And dozens of odd little wrenches.” . . . One more from Currie: “Knicks star Carmelo Anthony says he wants to be a facilitator. Imagine Nero saying he wanted to be a firefighter.” . . .

You know you’re having a bad season when you have a toy-truck giveaway and one of the trucks has a different team’s logo on it. That’s what happened to the New York Mets. One of the trucks that was given away actually had a Philadelphia Phillies logo on it. . . . In case you don’t think young players copy what they see on TV, consider this note from Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle: “I watched five minutes of the Little League baseball regionals. Every batter steps out of the box after every pitch. One kid drew in the dirt with his bat, crossed himself, twitched, dug in and gave the ump the big ‘Wait!’ hand. After every pitch, the kid stepped out and refastened his batting glove. Stop that!” . . .

Astronaut Barry Wilmore is a happy camper these days, because NASA has agreed to provide an SEC Network feed to the space station so that he can watch some college football. There may be a downside, however. As Reggie Hayes of the Fort Wayne News Sentinel pointed out: “I’m guessing he’ll have a pretty long wait for the cable guy if he loses his signal.” . . . A wildlife note from Vancouver comic Torben Rolfsen: “Sharks kill 10 people annually. Hippos kill 2,900. When is Hippo Week?” . . . Rolfsen, again: “Smoke signals herald a new pope; baseball owners elected Rob Manfred as MLB’s new commissioner and tobacco spit gushed out of the building.” . . .

“Forty years ago (last) weekend, Nixon resigned,” notes Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe. “The younger generation may find it hard to believe, but there actually was a time when we were shocked to learn that our leaders could be crooks.” . . . One more from Hough: “Tiger Woods has taken himself out of Ryder Cup consideration. Guess I should take myself out of consideration to be George Clooney's girlfriend.” . . . Hough, again: “The prosecution in Bob McDonnell’s trial has rested. They said the former Viriginia Governor and his wife took more than $165,000 in illegal gifts. And down in Louisiana they’re thinking ‘Amateurs’.” . . .

In case you missed it, Canada’s men’s soccer team is down four spots to No. 122 in FIFA’s latest rankings. Canada now is one spot ahead of Guinea-Bissau. . . . Headline at TheOnion.com: Johnny Manziel Forced To Wear Cleveland Browns Jersey In Cruel Rookie Hazing Incident. . . . You wonder how long it will take PTI’s Michael Wilbon to get over it when he realizes that Tiger Woods now is just another guy on the PGA Tour. . . .

Aunt Jemima’s great grandson is reportedly suing various product makers for $2 billion in royalties. “He claims they have been using her image and recipes without compensation since 1937,” notes Richmond blogger TC Chong. “Following this case closely are families of Sara Lee, Betty Crocker and Tony the Tiger.” . . . There are a whole lot of junior hockey teams into training camps already, and a whole lot more will join the crowd this week. It’s all about school, you know. Gotta get the players who won’t be on the roster back home in time to start school. Except in B.C., of course, where going to school is just a distant memory. . . .

Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express has a question for TV watchers: “Would anybody else like to hear that Wendy’s pretzel-bun woman and Trivago Man are shacking up in a cheap motel?” . . . Here’s Hutchinson, again: “In Ontario, the provincial curling finals will be known as the Recharge with Milk Tankard. Somewhere Paul Gowsell must be shaking his head.” . . . A head-nodder from comedy writer Alex Kaseberg: “The NFL announced it is placing tracking chips in players’ shoulder pads to measure how far and fast they run in a game. This from the league that still measures first downs with three guys, two sticks and a chain.”

(Gregg Drinnan is a former sports editor of the Regina Leader-Post and the late Kamloops Daily News. He is at gdrinnan.blogspot.ca and twitter.com/gdrinnan. Keeping Score appears here on weekends, except when it doesn’t.)

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