World Junior camp brought to a halt due to COVID-19

The status of Hockey Canada’s World Junior Selection Camp in Red Deer is up in the air at the moment.

Hockey Canada announced on Wednesday that all players, coaches and staff had entered a 14-day quarantine that dates back to Monday, and that all camp activities have been paused until Sunday, Dec. 6.

That decision came following Tuesday’s announcement that two players have tested positive for COVID-19, which came after a non-core staff member tested positive over the weekend.

“Hockey Canada has confirmed that all players, coaches and staff are considered close contacts and are therefore subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine period under Alberta Health Services,” senior vice-president of national teams Scott Salmond said in a prepared statement.

“Upon learning of the positive tests on Monday, the decision was made to suspend all camp activities and quarantine players and staff immediately. As per Hockey Canada’s safety protocols, all players, coaches and staff members will go through additional testing before resuming any camp activities.”

Prince Albert Raiders defenceman Kaiden Guhle and Prince Albert product Braden Schneider, who is a blueliner for the Brandon Wheat Kings, are both taking part in the camp.

The 2021 World Juniors is slated to be held in Edmonton from Dec. 25 to Jan. 1.

Around the WHL

When Western Hockey League play resumes, the Brandon Wheat Kings will have their third head coach behind their bench in as many seasons.

After one year with the club, Dave Lowry left the program on Monday to take an assistant coaching position with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets.

It didn’t take long for the Wheat Kings found a new bench boss though, as they promoted assistant coach Don MacGillivray on Tuesday.

MacGillivray has been with the Wheat Kings coaching staff since 2016 following a seven-year stint as the head coach and general manager of the Winnipeg Blues in the MJHL.

He also served as an assistant coach with the Prince Albert Raiders from 1996 to 1998 and was also the head coach for the team during the second half of the 1997-98 campaign.

Lowry, who joined the Wheat Kings in 2019 after a two-year stint as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Kings, had a 35-22-0-6 record during his lone season in Brandon.

He was a replacement for David Anning, who was the head coach for three seasons before being let go in June 2019.

In other news, the WHL officially announced on Wednesday that their annual WHL Cup tournament will not be taking place this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event, which features the top Under-16 players from Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan playing for the respective provincial teams, has historically been held in Calgary and is expected to take place again in 2021.

Memorial eCup

The full bracket has been announced for the CHL’s Memorial eCup tournament on NHL 21, which will be broadcast on Facebook Live and Twitch.

Former Prince Albert Raiders captain Zack Hayes will be taking on Charlottetown Islanders rookie defenceman Ryan Maynard in his opening round matchup, which will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m.

Two Prince Albert Mintos alumni are also in the tournament.

Kishaun Gervais, who is now a forward for the Portland Winterhawks, will face Victoria Royals forward Ty Yoder at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 30, while Kamloops Blazers forward Kyrell Sopotyk will go up against Moose Jaw Warriors blueliner Cory King on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 4:40 p.m.

Former Prince Albert Raiders defenceman Rhett Rhinehart is representing the Saskatoon Blades in the tournament.

He will be facing Blainville-Boisbriand Armada defenceman William Lavigne at 4:40 p.m. on Saturday

All 60 Canadian Hockey League clubs are represented in the tournament, which runs from Nov. 28 to Dec. 17.

Rounding out the bracket are Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet, Andy Mailly-Pressor of TVA Sports, Canada Women’s National Team player Erin Ambrose and Zach Hodder of the WHL.