The Big news comes from the Kelowna Rockets, who have had to suspend activities for 14 days. It seems that after the positive test in the “Cohort,” which was outside the players, the bubble burst with as many as seven positive tests from the players. This means all on-ice activities have been suspended, including games through April 13. What that means is games in Kamloops were played on the days that Kamloops was to travel to Kelowna with Prince George and Victoria moving up a day. The Western Hockey League provided the following statement:
Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League released today the following statement on COVID-19 testing results:
The WHL completed the eighth week of its return to play with eight positive test results for COVID-19 among the 897 tests administered across the WHL from March 27 through April 2, 2021.
In the Central Division, a total of 171 tests were administered for the Calgary Hitmen, Edmonton Oil Kings, Lethbridge Hurricanes, Medicine Hat Tigers and Red Deer Rebels from March 27 through April 2. Using private PCR testing provided by DynaLIFE, testing was administered once to all members of the team delegations in the Central Division.
In the East Division, a total of 93 tests were administered for the Saskatoon Blades, Swift Current Broncos and Winnipeg ICE from March 27 through April 2. Using private PCR testing provided by DynaLIFE, testing was administered once to all members of the team delegations of players and staff. The WHL is awaiting test results for the Brandon Wheat Kings, Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince Albert Raiders, and Regina Pats. A further update will be provided once these tests have been processed.
In the U.S. Division, a total of 467 tests were administered for the Everett Silvertips, Portland Winterhawks, Seattle Thunderbirds, Spokane Chiefs, and Tri-City Americans from March 27 through April 2. Using private antigen testing, members of the team delegations were tested three times.
In the B.C. Division, a total of 149 tests were administered for the Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Prince George Cougars, Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals from March 27 through April 2. Using private PCR testing provided by DynaLIFE, testing was administered once to all members of the team delegations of players and staff. Seven positive test results for the Kelowna Rockets were returned, including three for Hockey Staff and four for players.
There was one positive test result returned for a WHL Official. That official has since tested a second time, with the results showing negative. The WHL Official has not skated a WHL game since March 20.
To date, the WHL has administered a total of 4,991 tests for COVID-19 from February 12 through April 2, 2021, with nine positive test results.
The WHL will continue to provide regular updates on COVID-19 testing results. The WHL will not be providing information on the identity of any individuals.
With the changes, the WHL posted the following changes in the schedule:
Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League announced today the following changes to the Regular Season schedule of games in the RE/MAX Hub Centres in Kamloops and Kelowna through Thursday, April 8.
RE/MAX Hub Centres – Updated Schedule
|New Date||Time||Matchup||Location||Orig. Date|
|Saturday, April 3||7:05 p.m.||Kamloops at Victoria||Kelowna||April 1|
|Sunday, April 4||6 p.m.||Vancouver at Prince George||Kamloops||March 31|
|Monday, April 5||7 p.m.||Kamloops at Vancouver||Kamloops||April 3|
|TBD||7 p.m.||Prince George at Vancouver||Kamloops||April 8|
*all times listed are local
There is no change to the WHL Regular Season Games on April 6 (Victoria at Prince George) and April 7 (Vancouver at Victoria). Both games will be played as originally scheduled.
There will be no games played in the RE/MAX Hub Centres in Kamloops and Kelowna on Thursday, April 8.
Further adjustments to the schedule of games in the RE/MAX Hub Centres between April 9-13 will be announced at a later date.
In a two-game-only game set, the Portland Winterhawks crushed the Tri-City Americans in a home game 6-2. After outshooting Tri-City 42-23 and going 2 for 7 after blanking Tri-City on two tries, the Hawks put up 1 in the first, 1 in the 2nd, and exploded for 3 in the third as they made their way to victory. Simon Knak led the way with a shorthanded and powerplay goal for the Hawks; Sasha Mutala scored both goals for the Americans before ceding the way to the Hawks takeover. The Hawks’ other goals were by Kurtis Smythe, Jaydon Dureau, Seth Jarvis, and Nick Cicek.
Other scores saw Everett grab the last three goals in the game, leading to a 3-1 win over Seattle Thunderbirds, Winnipeg Ice blanked Prince Albert 3-0 Moose Jaw shutout Saskatoon 4-0 where they only had 18 shots on goal in getting 4 goals, and Medicine Hat scored a 4-1 win over the Calgary Hitmen where both teams had 31 shots on goal.
The Next night Portland faced a buzzsaw from Everett, where they lost 4-1. After giving up the first three goals, Portland finally got on the board with a goal by Mason Mannek, where he faked a pass and instead shot high glove on Dustin Wolf. From there, Wolf shut the door on the Hawks. Everett would score a late empty-net goal. Everett outshot the Hawks 37-34, and both teams were blanked on the powerplay. Everett went 0-5, Portland 0-3.
Other scores saw Tri-City score a 3-2 Overtime win over Spokane Chiefs, Winnipeg nabbed a 5-2 win over Regina Pats, Prince Albert Raiders picked up a 4-2 win over Swift Current Broncos, Kamloops beat Victoria Royals 4-3 in Overtime, Medicine Hat Tigers got by Calgary Hitmen 6-5 also in Overtime, and Edmonton Oil Kings continued on their strong tear with a 5-1 win over the Red Deer Rebels.
The weekend’s final games saw Seattle Thunderbirds and Spokane Chiefs battle, where Spokane has yet to win a regular-season match. After tonight, they still are looking. The final 5-4 in overtime. Spokane tried a great deal by going 3 for 5 on the powerplay and shutting out Seattle on three tries. Seattle outshot Spokane 42-37. Brandon Wheat Kings 3-1 over the Saskatoon Blades. The Blades went one of four on the powerplay and held Brandon off the sheet in their five tries. Brandon with the 32-23 shot advantage. And Vancouver Giants and Prince George Cougars had an incredible defensive nettle, with the Gants claiming a 1-0 win in a shootout. The Giants’ 44-14 shots advantage made Tyler Brennan the top star in the Cougars’ nets. Neither team scored on the powerplay despite the Giants having 6 tries and the Cougars with 5 chances.
Next week will be the telling story on whether the Rockets can get going again with such high numbers. Unrelated were the NHL Vancouver Canucks, who exploded with 20 confirmed COVID 19. The scary add-on could sink the team for the season.
The OHL still awaits its go-to, and the QMJHL, according to Gregg Drinnan in Taking Note, has had severe teams sidelined this week due to COVID-19. Despite the vaccine and taking proper precautions, we are far from out of the woods as yet.