Scattershooting on a smoky Monday … Chiefs’ trainer heads south … About Rink Burgers and more

Amanda Stein is the latest journalist to leave an MSM outlet, in this case TSN 690 in Montreal, to join a pro team — she is to be the all-access host for the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. Stein is the latest in a long line of journalists to move to a team or a league. With the continuing shrinkage of the media world, I still think it’s only a matter of time before more major junior teams follow this route. In the WHL, the Red Deer Rebels have their own writer, in Greg Meachem, the former sports editor of the Red Deer Advocate. It won’t be long before other teams begin to realize the value in following suit.

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I know I’m not the only one thinking the NHL is doing this Olympic thing all wrong. How can you talk about growing the game and then turn your back on the Olympic opportunity that comes around only once every four years?

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Also, it’s one thing to prohibit players in the NHL from playing in the Olympic Winter Games — after all, it’s all about the schedule — but it says here that you’re only being a bully if you are going to deny minor leaguers on NHL contracts what may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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From where I sit, it’s great to have Dean Chynoweth back in the WHL. If you missed it, he signed on last week as an associate coach with the Vancouver Giants. Yes, he is a son of the late Ed Chynoweth, something of which he always will be proud, but he’s an excellent hockey man in his own right.

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I can only imagine the stories that will be told when Vancouver general manager Glen Hanlon and associate coach Dean Chynoweth are in close proximity on a road trip.

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The Seattle Thunderbirds have hired two assistant coaches — Kyle Hagel and Castan Sommer — both of whom were active as players as recently as last season. I can’t remember another WHL team having hired two assistant coaches so freshly removed from their playing careers.

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The WHL has been posting on Twitter as it searches for a manager, hockey operations. I don’t know what it means, if anything, but I am told that as many as five people have moved on from the WHL’s Calgary office since the end of last season.

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It was a national holiday in Canada on Monday, with it going by various names in different jurisdictions. Manitoba gets it right, because the holiday there is Terry Fox Day. If you don’t know the name Terry Fox, get yourself to Google.

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Sidney Crosby, Mike Trout and Gregg Drinnan celebrate birthdays on Aug. 7. Two of those men get regular mentions on ESPN, Sportsnet and TSN. The other watches TV.


A birthday cake, forwarded by Mike Benton, the radio voice of the Everett Silvertips, Were I to get a real cake like this, it would go under glass and never be eaten. Yes, I used one of these when I began my career as a sports writer.
The birthday treat that I did get to eat some of in our favourite restaurant, Senor Froggy. Dorothy and best friend Della ate most of it. Right?
A Eurasian collared dove stopped by for a visit on Monday, about 6 p.m., taking time to pose in front of the wall of smoke over the South Thompson River.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to pass along birthday greetings.

Yes, there was a birthday cake. No, there weren’t any candles. You’re right. We didn’t want to risk any more smoke. As you can see from one of the photos, it was plenty bad again on Monday. There are rumblings that we may get some relief today (Tuesday), so we shall wait and see on that.

If you are wondering what’s ahead, well, Kevin Skrepnek, the chief fire information officer for the BC Wildfire Service, reiterated during Monday’s daily update that things are likely to get a whole lot worse before they get any better. As he said, again, August usually is BCWS’s busiest time of year, it’s hot and dry out there, and it’s only going to get warmer and drier.

It seems that any rain that may be in the forecast is likely to be accompanied by lightning, and that’s not good.

What I do know is that it seems like forever since we’ve seen blue sky. The worst part of the extremely poor air quality — we were 27 on the 1-10 scale Monday afternoon — is that you begin to feel like a prisoner.

It could be worse, though, because we haven’t lost our home, we haven’t even been threatened, nor have we had to deal with being evacuated.

Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen.


D William Wrenn (Portland, 2010-12) has signed a one-year contract with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL) after obtaining his release from Bolzano (Italy, Alps HL) on Friday. Last season, with the Toronto Marlies (AHL), he had three goals and six assists in 39 games. . . .

D Logan Pyett (Regina, 2003-08) has signed a one-year contract with the Tohoku Free Blades Hachinohe (Japan, Asia HL). Pyett didn’t play last season. In 2015-16, he signed with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL) but didn’t play a regular-season game after being diagnosed with sarcoma in his upper leg at the beginning of the season. In 2014-15, with Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL), he had four goals and three assists in 21 games, and a goal and seven assists in 32 games with Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL). . . .

F Blair Jones (Red Deer, Moose Jaw, 2002-06) has signed a one-year contract with Cologne (Germany, DEL). Last season, with the Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL), he had seven goals and 12 assists in 30 games. . . .

D Logan Stephenson (Tri-City, 2001-06) has signed a one-year extension with the Tohoku Free Blades Hachinohe (Japan, Asia HL). Last season, he had seven goals and 28 assists in 43 games. He was a first-team league all-star. This will be his fourth season with the Free Blades. . . .

F Sean Ringrose (Medicine Hat, 2007-09) has signed a one-year contract with Pusteral/Val Pusteria Brunico (Italy, Alps HL). Last season, he had 14 goals and 20 assists in 41 games with Gap (France, Ligue Magnus). Ringrose added six goals and 17 assists in the playoffs, as held the league in assists and points as Gap won the championship.


Best wishes to Jesse, who covers the Everett Silvertips and the WHL for the Everett Herald, and his bride from the gang at Taking Note.


Todd Daniels, the long-time trainer and conditioning coach with the Spokane Chiefs, is leaving the WHL team. He had been with the Chiefs since 2008, but is moving on as a trainer with the Tucson Roadrunners, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. . . . From a Chiefs’ news release: “Daniels signed on with the Chiefs beginning with the 2008-09 season and headed the organization’s training and conditioning program since then, including injury rehabilitation and performance monitoring. He will remain with the team through this month’s training camp before heading to Tucson.”


Troy Smith is the new head coach of the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit. Smith, 39, spent the previous two seasons with the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, as their assistant general manager and associate coach. Prior to that, he spent nine seasons in various roles with the Kitchener Rangers. For six seasons (2006-13), he was an assistant coach under head coach Peter DeBoer, now the head coach of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. Smith spent the next two seasons (2013-15) as the Rangers’ head coach. . . . In Saginaw, Smith takes over from Spencer Carbery, who left after one season for an assistant coaching job with the AHL’s Providence Bruins.


G Jonny Hogue, who played 18 games with his hometown Lethbridge Hurricanes in 2013-14, has decided to attend the U of Lethbridge and play for the Pronghorns. Hogue, now 21, played last season with the NAHL’s Odessa Jackalopes, going 2.76 and .913 in 39 appearances. . . . He was an eighth-round pick by the Hurricanes in the WHL’s 2011 bantam draft. . . . In 2013-14, he was 5.94 and .855 with the Hurricanes. He played two seasons (2014-16) with the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons.


Being an avid reader who is always on the lookout for a good sports-related book, I don’t know how I missed Rink Burgers. Written by Todd Devonshire, it was published in 2012, but somehow escaped my attention until friends sent me a copy late last month.

Well, what a captivating read.

Devonshire grew up and played minor hockey in Big River, Sask., a small community northwest of Prince Albert. In the book, he and his wife, Dawn, return to the family home to go through childhood belongings as his folks are downsizing in preparation for a move.

Going through boxes of goodies tweaks memories that spill out onto the pages like ketchup from a glass bottle.

Intertwined with the stories, is a mini-plot that involves the love affair the author and his father, Phil, have with the Boston Bruins. This was back in the day when the Habs owned the Bruins, and the Devonshires weren’t alone in having abuse heaped upon them by fans of the blue, blanc et rouge.

The love affair only deepens when Barry Pederson, who is from Big River, lands with the Bruins, and it cools slightly when he is traded for “a young prospect no one had heard of.” That prospect was Cam Neely, who had a pretty good, if injury-shortened, career with Boston.

More than anything, though, Rink Burgers is about growing up in small-town Canada, where everybody knows everybody and there are few secrets. It’s about friends and families and hockey tournaments; it’s about youngsters having to deal with a car accident that takes away friends and leaves pals without their parents. It’s about all that and more, and it’s about rink burgers.

It doesn’t matter what arena you’re in, minutes after the minor hockey game is over, the recent combatants don’t much care what the score was because they want their rink burgers, preferably with fried onions.

They don’t come any better than rink burgers, Devonshire’s book is ample proof of that, and it surely will make you smile on more than one occasion.


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If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).