Edmonton Oilers lose in overtime to Vegas Golden Knights

The Edmonton Oilers’ five-game winning streak came to an end Saturday night with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Vegas Golden Knights at Rogers Place.

“It’s disappointing we didn’t get the two points tonight,” Oilers Head Coach Jay Woodcroft said. “I thought we did some good things, but the other team has certain attributes that make them a good team and I thought some of the goals we gave up tonight were preventable.”

Both teams scored on their first shots on goal. Jack Eichel flicked a right wing shot past Stuart Skinner 61 seconds into the game. Zach Hyman tapped in a pass from Draisaitl just over three minutes later.

“It was a tight game–it’s what you expect in the playoff,” Leon Draisaitl said. “Obviously, they’re a team that we could face. I think we know how to handle these types of games and tonight didn’t go our way, but we’ll take the point.”

The Golden Knights scored on the power play late in the first thanks to a long wrister by Pavel Dorofeyev.

“The teams are built pretty much the same way,” Oilers defenceman Mattias Ekholm said. “I thought we were as good as they were. We could’ve won that game just like they did, but they came out on top tonight and we’ll have to learn from it.”

Draisaitl scored the only goal of the second period. He positioned himself in the slot with his back to the net, took a pass from Connor McDavid, then spun and fired in his 45th of the season.

The Golden Knights dominated the opening stages of the third and went ahead with 13:03 left when Jonathan Marchessault cracked a long one-timer past Skinner. Warren Foegele leveled it 3-3 when his wrister snuck through Laurent Brossoit with 8:41 to go.

“Going into tonight, we knew how important this game was to us,” Foegele said. “Looking at the standings, we wanted those two points and just came up short, but it was a competitive game.”

With 2:34 left in overtime, Nicolas Roy found himself alone in front. Skinner stopped the initial shot, but Roy slammed in the rebound to end the game.

“We blew a coverage opportunity and it ended up in the back of our net–they get the extra point,” Woodcroft said. “When there’s a coverage breakdown in overtime, it’s usually a grade A chance. We had one or two chances but they had the best chance and they converted.”

The Oilers, 41-23-9, will visit the Arizona Coyotes on Monday (630 CHED, Face-off Show at 6 p.m., game at 8 p.m.).



© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Dale Hunter earns career coaching victory number 900

True greatness can be difficult to describe.

You can know it when you see it, but explaining what makes it so is virtually impossible even for those who can be called truly great.

Often times it seems to come down to little things. But those little things often lead to great things.

London Knights head coach Dale Hunter has reached 900 victories in the Ontario Hockey League adding a new milestone to an already great coaching career.

Hunter has hit the number faster than any other head coach in OHL history and while his place among the greats is certainly cemented he continues to bring success to the teams and players he guides from behind the London bench.

If you go back to the beginning of the 2022-23 OHL season there seemed to be an outside chance Hunter would reach it. The Knights needed to win 44 games to have it happen. In a 68 game season that isn’t easy. Last year only two OHL teams were able to reach that number.

It happened with a 6-3 victory by his Knights in Windsor, Ont., on March 25, 2023.

If you go back to the beginning of Hunter’s OHL coaching career it shouldn’t surprise anyone that he navigated this year’s club to a place among the league’s best. He has been guiding his teams to huge heights year after year after year.

Dale Hunter stepped behind the bench during the 2001-02 season when the Knights were looking for a new head coach. The obvious choice to fill the role at the time appeared to be Mark Hunter. Mark had an excellent coaching resume. Dale had almost no experience at all.

But Dale started with a simple strategy. He had played for quite a few coaches in his life. He had watched what resonated with players and he had watched what fell flat.

Hunter did his best to use the things that brought success while avoiding everything else.

Four months after his first game as head coach Hunter’s eighth place London squad upset the top-seeded Plymouth Whalers in six games in the 2002 playoffs. Then the Knights pushed the loaded and eventual OHL-champion Erie Otters to overtime of a sixth game before Carlo Colaiacovo of the Otters tipped in the series winner.

Hunter got everything he could out of a young and inexperienced roster. He had them prepared to win and he made them believe they could win.

Then he helped his players to make it happen.

It’s a formula that has been repeated ever since.

A formula that has seen the wins grow bigger. From those early upsets to the Canadian Hockey League’s biggest stage where London has twice captured the Memorial Cup and to major junior’s largest International setting where Mark and Dale Hunter helped to construct and then execute a gold medal performance with Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship.

Hunter does not look for accolades or attention. He always credits his players and points out to anyone asking that, “they are the ones blocking the shots and taking the hits.”

Still there are so many moments where a coach directly impacts a game. Fans don’t get to see them but they happen. A change on a line or an extra shift for someone Hunter knows “is going that night” and suddenly a game swings in his team’s favour.

It happened on opening night at Budweiser Gardens (then the John Labatt Centre) in 2002 when the Knights found themselves down 4-1 to Plymouth early in the second period. A quick goaltending change snapped his players out of a sluggish start and London came back to win 5-4.

But some of Hunter’s greatest moves have been much more subtle.

In 2016 at the Memorial Cup in Red Deer, Alta., London had brought a 16-game winning streak into the championship game against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. The Knights had earned a bye and had been from Wednesday to Sunday leading up to the final.

They scored the first goal of the game but the Huskies came back and took a 2-1 lead and the clock started to tick down late into the third period.

With 4:26 remaining in regulation time London was called for an intentional offside at the Rouyn-Noranda blue line and the game went into its final scheduled TV timeout. The face-off came back deep in Knights territory. On the bench London defenceman Brandon Crawley stood up and gave an inspired speech about the game ”not ending this way” but Hunter’s mind was at work. The line of Mitch Marner, Matthew Tkachuk and Christian Dvorak had been the best in all of the Canadian Hockey League that year. They had just been on the ice before the timeout began.

Dvorak was due to go out and take the defensive zone draw but he would get off the ice as quickly as possible to rejoin Marner and Tkachuk for their next turn.

Hunter made a decision as Dvorak skated away from the bench.

“I knew we needed to get something going so I called out to (Dvorak) to stay out,” Hunter remembers.

Dvorak won the draw to Max Jones and he carried the puck up ice and got it into the Huskies zone before getting knocked down. Aaron Berisha chased the puck into the right corner and Jones got to his skates and went flying into that same corner with a big hit that knocked the puck to Berisha.

Berisha centred it to Dvorak who wasn’t supposed to be there. He would normally have gone to the bench as Jones came up the ice. But Hunter had told him to stay out and Dvorak was in position to take the Berisha pass and score the game-tying goal that set up the ultimate drama of the Knights Memorial Cup victory in overtime.

It was a little thing but it was a vital thing. It ended up leading to a great thing. The kind of gut feeling that Hunter has made use of throughout his career.

It appeared in the gold medal game at the 2020 World Junior Hockey Championship. With just over four minutes remaining in the third period Team Canada was tied 3-3 with Team Russia.

Hunter’s players had battled back from a 3-1 deficit but the pace of the game had stalled.

Chances weren’t really coming either way.

Hunter recalls looking down the seated line of Team Canada sweaters in front of him for something that might “get something going.”

“Akil Thomas had scored big goals against (the London Knights),” admitted Hunter.

Thomas had been playing the role of 13th forward in that game so he wasn’t on a regular line but Hunter gave him a tap and as Team Canada made a change on the fly and Thomas jumped on the ice, caught up to a puck that was shot up the ice and put a backhand shot into the back of the net for what would be the eventual game winning goal.

Little things that lead to great things.

Hunter is always looking for the next little thing that can help his team.

“Hockey keeps you on your toes. You watch any team or any game and you can learn from it…. drills… ideas… It’s enjoyable.”

But some of his greatest joys come with the relationships he has built with his players.

“(Former Knights captain) Scott Aarssen brought his three little kids into the coach’s room the other day. That’s a big change. But they all come back. And we follow all of them. That’s what’s great.”

Next up for Dale Hunter in OHL coaching milestones is not 1000 wins but second place on the all-time list. The late Bert Templeton won 907 games during his outstanding career.

Former Ottawa 67’s head coach Brian Kilrea is the all-time winningest coach in Ontario Hockey history. He amassed 1194 victories during his Hall of Fame career.

Hunter and Kilrea met up before the most recent game between London and the Ottawa 67’s in Ottawa, Ont., on Jan. 27, 2023.

Asked what the two of them talked about Hunter replied, “Just some little things.”

No doubt little things that will continue to lead to even more great things for Dale Hunter.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

London Knights win number 900 for Dale Hunter and secure OHL's best road record as well

A four-goal explosion in the second period by the London Knights propelled them to a 6-3 win over the Spitfires in Windsor, Ont., on Saturday night.

The victory was the 900th of Dale Hunter’s OHL head coaching career and made him the fastest OHL coach ever to reach that milestone.

Hunter now trails the late Bert Templeton by just seven victories for second place on the all-time OHL coaching wins list. Brian Kilrea sits in first place on that list with 1194 career coaching victories.

The London Knights pose for a picture with head coach Dale Hunter after his 900th career victory.

The London Knights pose for a picture with head coach Dale Hunter after his 900th career victory on March 25, 2023.

Courtesy London Knights

For the second night in a row against Windsor, London ran into some huge stops from a Spitfires goalkeeper as former Knight Matt Onuska turned aside 15 first period shots.

Londoner Brett Harrison opened the scoring for Windsor on a wrist shot that found its way through a screen and past Zach Bowen at 5:49 of the first period.

The Knights continued to keep up the pressure in the second period and broke through with two goals 18 seconds apart. The first came on a shot through a screen by Jackson Edward and then Brody Crane sent Easton Cowan in on goal for his 18th of the year at London had their first lead at the 5:58 mark of period two.

Crane added to that with a goal of his own at 10:05 giving him nine points in six games against the Spitfires this season.

Before the middle period ended the Knights made it 4-1 when Isaiah George grabbed a puck the bounced to him outside the Windsor blue line and snapped it behind Onuska.

A Spitfires power play goal just over three minutes into the third period cut into the London lead but a pair of short-handed goals 33 seconds apart on a beautiful individual effort by Jacob Julien and then on Cowan’s 19th of the year as he fired a shot high and in.

A long-range shot at the Knight net by Windsor defenceman James Jodoin went in with just over three minutes remaining to wrap up the scoring.

London outshot the Spitfires 37-29.

The Knights ended their road schedule with 23 wins. That is one better than the Ottawa 67’s giving London the best record away from home in the OHL in 2022-23.

The Knights had four youngsters in the lineup giving rest days to co-captains George Diaco and Sean McGurn along with veteran forward Ryan Winterton and second-year centre Denver Barkey.

Kaeden Johnston, Will Nicholl, Mike Levin and Sam O’Reilly all played in the game for London.

A 7-3 Guelph Storm win in Saginaw, Mich., on Saturday guaranteed that the Knights and Storm cannot meet in round one of the post-season.

That leaves two games to decide the final two Western Conference series.

London will host Kitchener on Sunday afternoon while the Owen Sound Attack visit the Spirit.

Depending on the outcome of those games the Knights will wind up meeting the Rangers or Owen Sound in the first round.

The attendance at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ont., was the third largest in the building’s history behind only opening night and the 2017 Memorial Cup final.

After recording a hat trick in London, Ont., on Friday, Alex Christopoulos of the Spitfires was held at 49 goals on the season.

London Jr. Knights set for OHL Cup

The U16 London Jr. Knights will open the OHL Cup tournament on Wednesday, March 29 at 4 p.m. against a wild card team yet to be determined. The Jr. Knights are coached by former London captain Danny Syvret and posted a 27-2-4 record in the regular season.

They lead the Alliance with 173 goals in just 33 games. The Jr. Knights defeated the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs seven points to three in their opening series in the Alliance playdowns. London then knocked off the Sun County Panthers six points to two.

The Jr. Knights will face the Waterloo Wolves for the Alliance championship that is scheduled for Ap. 5 to Apr. 14 following the OHL Cup.

Big year for Knights 2021 draft pick

Forward Jonathan Castagna was selected by the Knights in the eighth round of the 2021 OHL Priority Selection. He has wrapped up a big offensive year at St. Andrew’s College that saw Castagna record 29 goals and 72 points in 50 games.

The Toronto, Ont., native is slated to play next season for the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League and has been rated as the 135th best North American skater by NHL Central Scouting.

Up next

The Knights will play their final game of the 2022-23 regular season at home against the Kitchener Rangers on March 26 at 6 p.m.

The game has a chance to be a preview of a first round series between the teams.

The clubs would be meeting for the second year in a row in the exact same matchup.

Last year the number seven seeded Rangers defeated London in overtime of Game 7.

The Knights have gone 4-1 against Kitchener so far this year.

Coverage will begin at 5:30 p.m. on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Call of the Wilde: Montreal Canadiens rout Columbus Blue Jackets

The Montreal Canadiens have had a difficult schedule since the All-Star break, so it was a relief for the team on Saturday night not to be facing one of the best teams in the league. Instead, Montreal routed the Columbus Blue Jackets 8-2 at the Bell Centre.

Wilde Horses 

When the braintrust of the Canadiens Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes get together to assess the goals for the team in the rebuild, actual game results are close to the bottom of their list of importance.

That means they want players to increase their talent levels substantially. With that as the gauge, this has been an outstanding season for the Canadiens.

Start with Kirby Dach. The Canadiens went from only having Nick Suzuki as a top-six centre to having a second centre that may be equal to or even better than Suzuki one day. The development of Dach is a tremendous win.

The improvement of Suzuki is a win as well. His career high is 61 points. He will eclipse that, which is impressive considering he lost his line-mates Dach and Cole Caufield for large portions of the season. With the first four point night in his career, Suzuki moved right to 61. He’s got nine games to pass his best season points total.

Caufield has showed that he is indeed the real deal. Caufield was on pace for a 47-goal season when he was removed to repair the torn labrum in his shoulder. Caufield as a true sniper is a massive continuing development.

Continue with a defensive corps that had as many as five rookies finding success in the NHL. Remember that before opening night in October, there was no real proof that any of them could find success at all on a consistent basis. All five are NHL calibre.

Add to it, the shocking development of Mike Matheson at 28 years of age. There were years that Matheson wasn’t even a regular in the NHL. This season, under Martin St. Louis he is playing like a first-pair defender. Matheson has nine points, on three goals and six assists, in his last seven games. He rushes the net, and controls the play like Andrei Markov used to.

Continue on with some of the American Hockey League players that could fight for jobs next season. Rafael Harvey-Pinard had three goals in this one. He has 12 goals in 29 games and deserves a shot next October. How can you not give a serious look to a player who if he played all 82 would have set a pace for 34 goals?

Jesse Ylonen scored as well against the Blue Jackets. He also deserves a serious look. Oddly, Ylonen is a better NHL player than he is an AHL player. Some players like the higher level of organization that an NHL game has. It fits their mind better.

Add another trade that is working as Denis Gurianov is rejuvenated under a player’s coach. Gurianov had two goals in 43 games this season in Dallas. In Montreal, he has five goals in 14 games. He looks like a player worth giving an offer to.

Even Jonathan Drouin is making a case in the last year of a long contract that he may win an offer for one season this summer. Drouin is almost a point-per-game player for the last 24 games. The only issue with Drouin is he will turn 28 this week. That’s a little late in the game to offer a forward a contract for a rebuilding team. Drouin should find work though somewhere.

Samuel Montembeault put together a lot of strong games, and it appears he has the skills to be, at least, a back-up in the NHL on a regular basis. He’s still young as well, at 26, as goalies often take longer to develop.

The only important player who was a mild disappointment is the first pick overall Juraj Slafkovsky, and that is because he didn’t get to play enough. Slafkovsky didn’t light the league on fire, but not a lot was expected at his age in his first half season. It was a shame that we didn’t get to see him play the second half of the year. He will have eyes on him next season as someone who will need to show more.

Other than the disappointment of Slafkovsky’s development being hampered by injury, this was a season where there were no true disappointments in the development department. They needed young guns to improve, and definitely, youth was served in Montreal.

In the win-loss column, not much worked. Thankfully, that is irrelevant. In fact, it is preferable for a higher draft pick. Next season, expect that top draft pick in 2023 to join a half-dozen high talent Montreal prospects who have been tearing it up this year.

Rebuilds take time. Three years is the minimum for a true one. Draft picks are needed to get the best players at the top of the draft. The Canadiens are just finishing season two. They have likely two more seasons left to draft in the top ten.

They will need a goalie eventually. They will need a first pair right side defender, because the best they can claim now is Justin Barron or Logan Mailloux, and that’s not likely to be enough.

They will also need Suzuki or Dach to continue to improve enough that they are point-per-game centres. Cup winners have strength down the middle, and one of them has to elevate just a bit more to show they have 80 to 90 points in them.

Overall, the Canadiens foundation is strong and on the way to getting much stronger. This was an excellent season for development.

Wilde Goats

It was an entertaining night at the Bell Centre. The fans enjoyed all the goals and wide open play. They even made it through a game without a major injury. It was a goat-free night.

Wilde Cards

It is most likely that college scoring sensation Sean Farrell is a Montreal Canadiens player by mid-week. Farrell concluded his second season with the Harvard Crimson on a sour note Friday losing 8-1 to Ohio State in the regionals of the NCAA Frozen Four.

He could return to college to continue his hockey career at the amateur level, but it is difficult to see his motivation for staying at the Ivy League school. Farrell was able to fast track his studies because of Covid and summer classes, so he will graduate this spring.

He also has dominated at the college level  as one of the top scorers in the country and is a Hobey Baker finalist. He has nothing left to prove in college hockey. Add to that, the best players on the Harvard club will also be moving on, so it appears as if it is a transition year for the Crimson.

Farrell has also played at the world championships and the Olympics. Why wouldn’t he move forward to the next challenge. Considering Farrell is such a highly thought of prospect, the Canadiens will need to dangle a carrot in front of him to entice him to sign.

Only Montreal has rights to him, so they will offer him a three-year deal to make sure that they keep him. Should they delay with their best offer, he may consider letting the clock run out to play the free agent market the following year.

This is always a danger drafting a collegian, but the relationship is perfect with the Canadiens. The expectation is he will be offered a three year contract as a 21 year old.

Farrell and Adam Nicolas have had an outstanding relationship with the Director of Player Skills Development thinking extremely highly of Farrell’s potential to be a star in the NHL.

Speculation that Farrell would go to Laval is weak instead of Montréal is weak. It is unlikely that he would sign a contract that sends him immediately to the AHL.

Farrell has earned the NHL three-year offer and the Canadiens know that as well. His agent would surely argue for the three-year NHL offer that would begin immediately, thus pushing the clock forward to the end of his ELC and subsequent bigger money offers as a free agent.

Expect that Farrell signs as soon as Monday, then he would get acclimated with Martin St. Louis, then start in the red, white and blue early next week.

That’s the timeline, if there are no surprises. Expect no surprises.

Brian Wilde, a Montreal-based sports writer, brings you Call of the Wilde on globalnews.ca after each Canadiens game.


© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Meadows hits three-run homer, Tigers beat Jays 4-1

DUNEDIN, Fla. – Parker Meadows hit a three-run homer in the top of the third inning and the Detroit Tigers coasted to a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in a spring training game on Saturday at TD Ballpark.

The Tigers (13-16) scored all four of their runs in the third, thanks to a Blue Jays’ throwing error and inexperienced pitching.

Ryan Kreidler of the Tigers reached first in the third inning on a throwing error by Jays’ third baseman Max Chapman. Zack Short was then hit by a Sem Robberse pitch.

Jake Rogers then doubled, scoring Kreidler and moving Short to third. And then with two runners on base Meadows hit a home run to make it 4-0.

The 21-year-old Robberse, from Zeist, Netherlands, finished up with one walk and one strikeout, allowing three hits and four runs in three innings of work.

The Jays (16-12) scored their lone run in the bottom of the eighth as Otto Lopez drew a bases-loaded walk with two out.

The Tigers outhit the Jays 8-3.

The Blue Jays will play the New York Yankees on Sunday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 25, 2023.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Suspect charged in connection to Nanaimo, B.C. shooting that left business owner in hospital

People from Nanaimo and beyond rallied at a park in the city's downtown today, just days after a local business owner was stabbed while allegedly trying to recover stolen property from an encampment. Those in attendance demand all levels of government do more to keep violent, repeat offenders off the streets. Kylie Stanton reports.

A suspect connected to a Nanaimo, B.C., shooting that left a business owner in serious condition in hospital has been charged.

According to online court records, Craig Edward Truckle has been charged with one count of pointing a firearm at another person.

Nanaimo business owner Clint Smith, who was shot “several times” on March 12, praised hospital staff for saving his life in a social media post.

He said he had to go through multiple surgeries and was in a medically induced coma.

“I indeed was shot several times. I have about a foot less colon now (and) have had three surgeries,” he wrote. “It is indeed dire. I was in a long, medical-induced coma while the professionals at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital worked furiously to save my life.

“The staff that has taken on the task of keeping me alive are literally nothing short of miracle workers,” he said. “I feel that I am alive and can post this is wholly due to their teamwork, understanding, and compassion.”

Smith was shot in the stomach when he and a group of others reportedly decided to go into a homeless encampment to retrieve stolen property.

“I do not condone reaction, violence, retribution, vengeance, or any other such foolish sentiments,” Smith said in his post.

“A rising tide raises all ships. Right now is the time to show and prove caring and compassion will carry us all further than anger and violence ever will. Please let me be the last person shot in Nanaimo.”

The items were believed to have been stolen from Ernie’s Black Point Repair.

Smith is said to be in stable condition, but demonstrators at a public rally said this should never have happened and more needs to be done.

“Public safety is very much an emergency in Nanaimo,” Collen Middleton with the Nanaimo Area Public Safety Association said on March 16.

“This is not a partisan issue. We can’t have our politicians using a menu of half-measures to address this problem. We need people of all political stripes, across the political spectrum to realize public safety is in the best interest of everybody.”

Nanaimo RCMP said, near the time of the shooting, that community members should never take the law into their own hands and should contact authorities when crimes occur.

“I’ve never seen these situations where they don’t end well for the people involved and the quote-unquote suspects,” Nanaimo RCMP Const. Gary O’Brien said. “You’ve got to call us.”

Later  Saturday afternoon, BC RCMP did confirm a charge had been laid against Truckle in connection to the incident, and the investigation remains ongoing.

Global News has reached out to the BC Prosecution Service and Smith for further comments.

— With files from Kristen Robinson, Amy Judd and Kylie Stanton

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Terry Cahill hitchhikes to Saskatoon for Rush vs. Roughnecks game

Terry Cahill, Fubar and Trailer Park Boys star has arrived in Saskatoon to watch the Rush take on the Calgary Roughnecks in Saturday night's game.

Terry Cahill, Fubar and Trailer Park Boys star, has arrived in Saskatoon to watch the Rush take on the Calgary Roughnecks in Saturday night’s game.

“I pretty much hitchhiked my way out, so it didn’t take that long you know,” Cahill joked.

After watching the two teams face off in Calgary last week, Cahill said tonight’s rematch was more than enough reason to head to the SaskTel Centre.

“I just kind of needed a reason to bust out of Alberta and I can’t think of a better one than a lacrosse game,” said Cahill.

Cahill will be cheering on both teams at 7:30 p.m.

“I kind of just decided to be an ambassador,” said Cahill while sporting his Rush jersey. “I’m a little conflicted I ain’t gonna lie, like you know like they say, ‘when in Rome’.”

He said he will be cheering for every goal on the field tonight.

“If the game goes one way I’ll be like right on, if the game goes the other way, I’ll be like right on.”

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce calling for amendments to B.C.’s paid sick leave

Andrew Caldwell with Peninsula Canada explains what employers and employees need to know about B.C.'s paid sick leave program.

British Columbia’s year-old employer-paid sick leave rule needs amending.

That’s according to the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce (GVCC), which said it recently surveyed its members and found concern from some businesses that the rule is being abused.

“Employers want to do what is best for their employees, especially when they are ill,” said Dan Proulx, Greater Vernon Chamber general manager.

“However, it was clear during the survey that paid sick leave has created challenges for private sector and non-profit employers when it comes to staffing levels and costs.”

The province instituted the rule on Jan. 1, 2022, and employers are now required to provide eligible employees up to five days of paid sick leave.

The province says employers may reasonably request sufficient proof of illness, and that employees must have worked for an employee for at least 90 days to be eligible.

The chamber says the rule needs amending so it’s more efficient and transparent, and that it will be reaching out to Vernon-Monashee MLA Harwinder Sandhu.

“It’s also evident that there is a lack of clarity around sick days and when they are available,” said Proulx, “and that, unfortunately, has led to some misunderstanding and, in some cases, abuse.”

In stating its position, the GVCC said “many of the survey respondents indicated that some employees are treating paid sick days as holidays and even trying to bank them for time off.”

It will be asking for the following rule amendments:

  • That some form of verification of illness be identified, such as a physicians’ note;
  • That employer-paid sick leave be pro-rated for part-time or casual staff;
  • That employers be compensated for paid sick leave, potentially through WorkSafeBC.

However, in December, the B.C. Federation of Labour says it should be 15 days of paid sick leave, not five.

“The reality is we know five days isn’t enough,” BCFL president Susanne Skidmore told Global News.

“As we’re seeing with the uptick in health issues right now, five days — that’s just one sickness and that’s just once in a year.”

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Hundreds protest outside Indian Consulate in Vancouver held by Sikh community, supporters

Hundreds of protesters waved bright yellow flags in front of Vancouver’s Indian consulate downtown Saturday to protest crackdowns targeting Sikhs in Punjab, India.

The government of India cut off the internet in the northwestern, Sikh-majority state of Punjab for several days.

“It’s all happening under the guise of a manhunt which we know to be false,” said BC Gurdwaras Council’s Moninder Singh. “The suspension of civil liberties, the suspension of civil rights and political dissent… that has us worried.”

Indian police are looking for Amritpal Singh — a polarizing Sikh preacher and activist. He leads a group calling for an independent Sikh homeland called Khalistan. The Indian government has banned the Khalistan movement.

Demonstrators in Vancouver told Global News, they’re worried about their loved ones in the Punjab region.

“Whether or not they see it as treason, individuals shouldn’t face such harsh reprimand in terms of taking away their civil liberties,” said Harnoor Minhas, a Vancouver resident. “They should be able to speak out, especially if it’s in a peaceful manner.”

The government of Canada has said officials are “monitoring” the situation in India.

The unrest in India has sparked protests in major cities across the world, like San Francisco and London, sending a message to Indian officials that the world is watching.

“Maybe in the past, without social media and the connectivity we have today, that wasn’t an option,” Minhas said. “But today these things…we won’t let this happen and we won’t allow these injustices to happen in silence.”

Global News has reached out to the Vancouver Indian consulate office for comment.

— With files from Negar Mojtahedi

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Greater Victoria firefighters hold first annual fundraiser hockey game in memory of two firefighters

Firefighters and supporters gathered Saturday in Vancouver Island’s Township of Esquimalt for a friendly hockey game.

The first annual “Ken Gill and Forrest Owens Memorial Hockey” game was held at noon, with the goal of raising funds and awareness for mental health and cancer.

“Today is about us remembering a couple of our good friends, Ken Gill and Forrest Owens,” said Steve Serbic, Esquimalt’s fire chief.

“We are playing a memorial hockey game but also creating a safe space where the general public can come down and talk about cancer and mental illness.”

Occupational cancer is the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths in the fire service and firefighters experiencing multiple traumatic events have a higher risk of developing post-traumatic stress which burdens mental health.

“Ken Gill and Forrest Owens were friends. Many people knew them personally, and they both were huge advocates for mental health. I’ll be picking up a hockey stick and will be playing a few shifts.”

An oncologist, Dr. Kenneth Kunz,  spoke at the event. He talked about the impacts of cancer and firefighting on both firefighters and their families.

“Firefighters get all different types of cancers, and they come much earlier than the general public,” he told Global News.

“Firefighters are routinely exposed to thousands of different types of carcinogens that are synthesized in the heat and fire… there are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and heavy metals… when you burn these plastics and synthetic construction materials, even if firefighters wear all their proactive gear, these molecules are extremely small.

“These molecules penetrate the gear and the bodies are coated by thousands of carcinogens which are absorbed through the skin.”

Ken Gill had a 33-year firefighting career with the Langford, Department of National Defence, Sidney and Oak Bay Fire Departments. He retired in 2014 from the Oak Bay FD as a captain inspector. Ken then served as FD Chaplain to both Oak Bay and Esquimalt Fire Departments and was a strong advocate for mental health. He passed away in 2018.

Forrest Owens had 35 years of service to the Central Saanich community working as a volunteer firefighter, captain, and career assistant fire chief. He was well known and respected in the community not only as a firefighter, but also as an avid fisherman, dedicated coach in hockey and lacrosse, and member on several boards and committees, according to Esquimalt staff. He passed away in 2022.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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