Edmonton Oilers rally for 5-3 win over Flames

Leon Draisaitl scored the game-winner with 5:31 left in third, giving the Edmonton Oilers a 5-3 decision over the Calgary Flames Saturday night at Rogers Place.

The Oilers end a seven-game winless skid that saw them go 0-5-2.

“We’re not the team that loses seven in-a-row,” Draisaitl said. “We’re not that bad, and I think everybody knows that. We know that. And I think that’s most important. Tonight feels really, really good but we have to continue pushing and getting better.”

LISTEN BELOW: Leon Draisaitl and Mikko Koskinen

For the 24th time in the last 28 games, the Oilers allowed the first goal. Matthew Tkachuk slammed in a rebound to make it 1-0 8:29 into the game. Milan Lucic deflected a puck past Mikko Koskinen for a power play goal in the final minute of the first.

“It would’ve been easy to fold up shop and worry about the next one down two, but I thought our group responded well,” Connor McDavid said.

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The Oilers broke through on the power play in the second when Evan Bouchard bombed one past Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom. Bouchard wristed home another power play marker four minutes later.

“Jesse (Puljujarvi) was doing a great job net-front, doing the dirty work in front and that’s how goals come,” Bouchard said.

LISTEN BELOW: Connor McDavid and Evan Bouchard

Brendan Perlini rifled in his fourth of the season to make it 3-2 with 1:41 to go in the second, but Noah Hanifin replied for the Flames 57 seconds later.

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Koskinen made a brilliant, stretching save to deny Dillon Dube on a two-on-one halfway through the third.

“I think it’s my top save in the NHL if you think about where we are,” Koskinen said.

“Saturday night against your biggest rival on Hockey Night in Canada, and you’re on a losing streak—there’s a lot of pressure with that, and he performed very well,” Oilers head Coach Dave Tippett said of Edmonton’s goaltender.

“(Koskinen) is a guy that’s faced a lot of criticism—same with a lot of our group—but he’s a guy we want to battle for and he played great for us tonight,” McDavid said post-game. “He made a lot of great saves and that one in particular was massive for us. It gave us a chance to win.”

Later, Draisaitl took a long pass from Duncan Keith and went in down the right side. He cut around Chris Tanev, out-waited Markstrom and flipped in his 27th tally of the season. Draisaitl, who finished with two goals and two assists, added an empty netter just before time expired.

Koskinen made 44 saves for his first win since December 1.

“There’s relief but there’s a happiness,” Tippett said post-game. “People don’t realize the toll it takes on you when you lose. It hurts everybody, so it’s great to see them feel good about it for a night and, hopefully, it’s a night we can use to start building ourselves back up again.”

LISTEN BELOW: Dave Tippett

The Oilers, 19-16-2, will play in Vancouver on Tuesday.

With files from Brenden Escott, 630 CHED

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Big third period gives London Knights the victory in Guelph

Third period goals by London Knights Sean McGurn, Tonio Stranges and Luke Evangelista turned a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 win over the Storm in Guelph on Saturday night.

Bad bounces dogged London in two of the first three games they played against the Storm this season. One resulted in an overtime winner for the Storm in London. Another off a referee’s skate led to the winning goal in Guelph a couple of weeks later.

On Saturday things were different.

Cody Morgan turned the tide when he literally bounced the puck into the Guelph net off the back of goaltender Owen Bennett at 8:22 of the first period.

The Knights came out flying in the second period and peppered nine shots at Bennett in the first five minutes and 22 seconds but could not beat the Georgetown, Ont. native.

Guelph rode those stops to the game tying goal at the 8:15 mark of the period as Jake Karabela banged in a loose puck in front of the London net to make it 1-1.

Storm rookie defenceman Michael Buchinger scored his first Ontario Hockey League goal on January 18 against Flint. He scored the second of his career on Saturday to put Guelph up 2-1 as he sent a shot through a screen and past London goalie Owen Flores.

Matthew Poitras fed Braeden Bowman under four minutes later to make it 3-1 Storm, but Knights defenceman Gerard Keane got London within a goal heading to the final 20 minutes with a hard snap shot from the slot.

The third period featured the biggest bounce in London’s favour as a point shot by Logan Mailloux hit the leg of a Guelph defender and deflected right to Sean McGurn. He had an open side to fire the puck into to tie the game 3-3.

The Storm challenged the play as goaltender interference, but after a review that lasted long enough to play “The Hockey Song” by Stompin’ Tom Connors in its entirety, the goal was counted and the game sat even halfway through the third.

Morgan picked up a puck in centre and fed Tonio Stranges for a breakaway where he got the eventual game winning goal at 13:42 of the third.

Flores made his biggest stop of the game for in final two minutes with the Guelph net empty. Vegas Golden Knights draft pick, Daniil Chayka, skated into the slot and got a shot away that Flores snapped out of the air with his glove.

Moments later McGurn set up Luke Evangelista for an empty-netter to give London their first win over the Storm this season.

The Knights outshot the Storm 33-23.

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An Evangelistian pace

It will always be pointed out that anyone who scores a hat trick in their first game of an OHL season is on pace to score 204 goals. So far not a single player has been able to keep up that kind of a pace. Ernie Godden set the record for most goals in an OHL season with 87 in the 1980-81 season and it has stood ever since.

Still, London Captain Luke Evangelista has been keeping up quite the goal scoring momentum this year. Two goals against the Erie Otters on January 21 have Evangelista on pace for the first 50-goal season by a London Knight since 2015-16 when Christian Dvorak hit the number on the nose and the first 60-goal season since Patrick Kane when he put up 62 goals in 2006-07.

If Evangelista keeps up his current production rate he would score 61 goals this year joining Kane, Dave Lowry, Dennis Maruk, Dave Simpson and Dino Ciccarelli as the only players in Knights history to top the 60-goal plateau. Ciccarelli is the all-time record holder. He had 72 goals in 1977-78.

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McGurn and Evangelista lead London Knights to win to kick off three-game weekend

Houser stays hot

Former Knights goalie Michael Houser is now 4-2 as a National Hockey League goaltender with a .927 save percentage in six appearances with the Buffalo Sabres that have been spread over two seasons.

Houser won his second straight start on Saturday, January 22 as Buffalo beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-3. Houser stopped 30 of 33 shots against the Flyers less than a week after making 44 saves in a 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

Houser is doing in the NHL what he did in his final season with the Knights when he posted a .925 save percentage on his way to being named Canadian Hockey League Goaltender of the Year and the Red Tilson Trophy winner as the OHL’s Most Outstanding Player.

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Capacity limits for Ontario sports teams still more than a month away

Up next

The Knights and Storm will be right back at it on Sunday afternoon in Budweiser Gardens for the fifth of ten meetings between the teams this year.

The game will mark the fourth home game London will have played without fans in attendance.

The Knights are scheduled to play the Saginaw Spirit on January 28 and 29 and the Flint Firebirds on January 30.

All games can be heard on 980 CFPL, at http://www.9890cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Call Of The Wilde: Montreal Canadiens fall to Colorado Avalanche in overtime

Montreal played one of their best games of the season Saturday night, despite falling 3-2 in overtime to the Colorado Avalanche. The Canadiens are continuing a five-game road trip through western U.S. Tonight’s loss came after a win in Dallas and an overtime loss in Vegas.

Wilde Horses 

The return of Mike Hoffman and Tyler Toffoli has added composure and maturity to the entire Canadiens roster. They’ve both scored in the limited time they’ve been back in the line-up. The addition of Toffoli has been especially important. Toffoli has racked up points in all three games since his return.

Tonight, Toffoli made a sweet saucer pass to set up Nick Suzuki on a two-on-one for an assist to go with a his two goals in three games. Suzuki then fed Artturi Lehkonen with a perfect pass to get the Canadiens on the board after two periods trailing only 2-1.

The Canadiens tied it in the third and this time it was Hoffman who got the helper as Suzuki got his second point of the night. Suzuki had a terrific game. There are nights when he appears tired and the grind is too much, but all in all, this kid is going to be a terrific pro for years to come. The contract that Marc Bergevin gave Suzuki for eight seasons won’t be an albatross for Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes, like many of the other Bergevin signings they’ll have to unload.

That Montreal was even in the game was, once again, thanks to outstanding goaltending. Bad netminding would have  made the games look horrendous. Samuel Montembeault has been carrying the load, but he will be out of the line-up now due to a wrist injury. He has a torn tendon that might just mean surgery.

Montembeault has waited his entire hockey life for a chance like this, but just as he truly starts to seize it, he gets injured. What a shame. Hopefully, he won’t be out for long. Word on that will come from the Canadiens organization soon.

So with the Montembeault injury, in steped Cayden Primeau to face a barrage of shots. Primeau rose to the moment holding Montreal in the game. He was particularly sharp in the first period when he faced 23 shots, stopping 22 of them.

Primeau has been looking better with every visit to the big club. He is tracking the puck nicely now and starting to look like the pro Montreal hoped he could be when Trevor Timmins took a flyer on him in the seventh round of the 2017 draft.

There hasn’t been a lot of good come to the Canadiens this season, but the club seems deep in net these days — even if Carey Price doesn’t return to the club. That’s not something they could have said before this season, when one injury would have been devastating.

Now they have three injuries and the goalie has been the strongest player of the night this week.

There was strong work from Ben Chiarot and David Savard in tonight’s contest. Many defensive pairings have gone into Denver and been destroyed by one of the best lines in the league. But the Habs pair was solid against Landeskog-MacKinnon-Rantanen. Perhaps there were some scouts taking note. Chiarot is an unrestricted free agent and will certainly be traded. If someone got interested in Savard that would be a godsend to a rebuilding team.

What a run for the Canadiens on a road trip with three games, earning points against some of the better clubs in the entire league. Baby steps for sure, but they’re still steps.

Wilde Goats 

The Canadiens have managed to stay in the game recently. It’s been thanks mostly to their goalies Samuel Montembeault and Cayden Primeau. Montreal, who still haven’t won two games in a row this season, are on their way to their worst seasonal record in the over 110 year history of the club. They almost put another dubious mark in the books on Saturday night.

In the long history of the NHL, there has been only one team ever that allowed more than 50 shots in three straight games. The Kansas City Scouts allowed more than 50 in three games in March of 1976. It’s hard to believe that these Canadiens were on the verge of the same page.

The Scouts were shockingly bad. In their final 44 games in franchise history — a history that lasted only two seasons — the Scouts won only one game.  Montreal certainly didn’t want to share a record with them.

However, Montreal allowed 51 shots in Dallas, 53 shots in Vegas, then 23 in the first period in Denver. It was looking like new, bad history would be made. But Montreal tightened up in the second and third periods, and instead of being routed with 50-plus shots, they were competitive again.

The Canadiens allowed 46 shots in Denver, but that included an overtime as well. Colorado has only one loss at home in their last 20 games. They’re a powerhouse.

The Habs are figuring some things out, so when they stay in a game against the second best team in the league, behind only Carolina, it’s more appropriate to ease up on the criticism.

Wilde Cards 

It certainly was disappointing when the NHL announced that their players will not go to the Olympics in China this February. The Games start in less than two weeks, and the hockey competition will have players from every other league in the world, except the best one.

It’s not all disappointment for Canadiens’ fans though as they will get a chance to watch one of the Habs’ top prospects play for the American team. Sean Farrell was chosen to represent America. Farrell was a fourth round pick for the Canadiens and ever since that moment has been chewing up two leagues offensively.

He hit the century mark in points last season. He and Connor McDavid were the only players in the entire world, in pro and junior leagues, who got 100 points in the COVID-19 shortened season. Farrell is now at Harvard University where he continues to shine. The freshman has 19 points in 14 games, including eight goals. Farrell gets points wherever he plays. It will be interesting to see him among men at the Olympics, considering that his small frame is his greatest worry.

Not all the teams have been fully named yet. There is strong belief that Kaiden Guhle will be named to the Canadian team. Only three defenders have been named so far, and he is thought to be among the remaining choices to be revealed on Tuesday.

Some former Canadiens will be on the club, though, and they’ll be fun to watch. David Desharnais, Daniel Carr, Mark Barberio and Eric Staal will suit up for Canada.


© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Rielly, Mrazek lead Leafs to 3-1 win over Isles

NEW YORK (AP) — Morgan Rielly had a goal and an assist, Petr Mrazek stopped 25 shots and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the New York Islanders 3-1 Saturday night.

Mitch Marner and Pierre Engvall also scored as the Maple Leafs finished a six-game road trip at 3-2-1.

Zach Parise got his second of the season for New York, and Semyon Varlamov made 20 saves. The Islanders lost in regulation at home for the second time in 10 games (7-2-1) after dropping their first seven (0-5-2) at the $1.1 billion UBS Arena.

Engvall helped Toronto regain an advantage when he beat the buzzer with 1 second left in the first period to give the Maple Leafs a 2-1 lead. The 25-year-old forward completed a nifty forehand-backhand maneuver before sliding a puck between Varlamov’s legs.

Rielly made it 3-1 when he buried a cross-ice feed from William Nylander at 9:42 of the second period. Islanders forward Austin Czarnik was caught watching the puck and lost defensive positioning on Rielly. Alexander Kerfoot also assisted on the play.

Marner opened the scoring with a short-handed goal 6:35 into the game. Rielly stripped the puck from Mathew Barzal in the defensive zone and sent a fluttering puck down the ice that Marner tracked down before guiding a puck past Varlamov. Toronto’s alternate captain also scored down a man in the Maple Leafs’ 3-0 win against the Islanders here on Nov. 21.

Parise tied it with 1 minute left in the opening period. Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield sent a bouncing puck into the offensive zone that eluded Toronto’s Timothy Liljgren before Parise roofed a backhand over Mrazek’s glove.


The Islanders honored Hall-of-Fame forward Clark Gillies, who died Friday, with a video tribute and a moment of silence prior to the start of the game. The power forward was one of 16 players to win four straight Stanley Cups and 19 straight playoff series with the Islanders during the dynasty years in the early 1980s. New York also wore a No. 9 decal in the upper right-hand corner of their jersey in remembrance of the former captain.


Toronto improved to 8-2-2 in 12 games that have taken place on Saturday this season. … The Islanders fell to 2-10-2 when surrendering the opening goal. ,,, Toronto is 18-3-1 when scoring first. … The Maple Leafs also improved to 19-0-1 when leading after two periods. … New York is now 1-12-2 when trailing after 60 minutes.


Maple Leafs: Host Anaheim on Wednesday night.

Islanders: Host Philadelphia on Tuesday night.


More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

© 2022 The Canadian Press

YLW calls on Ottawa to reevaluate COVID-19 protocols for international travellers

Kelowna International Airport is making a call to the federal government, that it is time to review COVID-19 protocols for international travel.

Working with International travellers navigating COVID-19 protocols, testing requirements, and quarantine plans is tough, says the airport director at Kelowna International Airport.

“Right now it’s a mess. It’s very difficult for the traveling public,” said Sam Samaddar.

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The airport is calling on the federal government to review COVID-19 protocols for international travel.

“Why do you need to test passengers arriving on international flights when they’ve already been tested before they board the flight?,” said Samaddar.

He wonders why the federal government is seemingly wasting COVID-19 tests on international arrivals while winding down community testing inside the country.

“We have this domestic need where we don’t have enough testing available in the community,” said Samaddar.

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Global News has heard from air travelers that international COVID-19 protocols have also deterred them from flying internationally.

“We started this process to go to Punta Cana back in July hoping this would be all over with and it’s just snowballed more. I canceled that trip,” said Terry Marshak, a passenger at YLW.

An open letter from the chief medical officers of Air Canada, Toronto Pearson Airport and WestJet asks government officials to shift PCR testing from airports into communities.

“In the most recent week of reported data, over 123,000 PCR tests were conducted at Canada’s airports with an average positivity rate of three per cent. Meanwhile, the positivity rate in our communities is now approximately 30 per cent and could be higher due to the under-reporting of positivity from a lack of tests,” states the letter.

“We need to ensure Canada’s limited testing resources are being used where Canadians need them most—to support our communities, schools, hospitals and long-term care homes.”

Samaddar said he’s reached out to the federal government numerous times but has not received a reply so far.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Britain says Kremlin working to install pro-Russia leader in Ukraine

WATCH: Canada providing $120 million loan to Ukraine to counter Russian threats

Britain on Saturday accused the Kremlin of seeking to install a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine, and said Russian intelligence officers had been in contact with a number of former Ukrainian politicians as part of plans for an invasion.

The British foreign ministry declined to provide evidence to back its accusations, which came at a time of high tensions between Russia and the West over Russia’s massing of troops near its border with Ukraine. Moscow has insisted it has no plans to invade.

The British ministry said it had information the Russian government was considering former Ukrainian lawmaker Yevhen Murayev as a potential candidate to head a pro-Russian leadership.

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“We will not tolerate Kremlin plot to install pro-Russian leadership in Ukraine,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Twitter. “The Kremlin knows a military incursion would be a massive strategic mistake & the UK and our partners would impose a severe cost on Russia.”

The British statement was released in the early hours of Sunday, Moscow and Kyiv time, and there was no immediate statement from the Kremlin, or from Murayev.

A foreign ministry source said it was not usual practice to share intelligence matters, and the details had only been declassified after careful consideration to deter Russian aggression.

The Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed the comments as “disinformation,” accusing Britain and NATO of “escalating tensions” over Ukraine.

“We urge the Foreign Office to cease these provocative activities, stop spreading nonsense and finally concentrate its efforts on studying the history of the Mongol-Tatar yoke,” the ministry said on its verified Facebook account.


The British claims come a day after the top U.S. and Russian diplomats failed to make a major breakthrough in talks to resolve the crisis over Ukraine, although they agreed to keep talking. Russia has made security demands on the United States including a halt to NATO’s eastward expansion and a pledge that Ukraine will never be allowed to join the Western military alliance.

U.S. National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said in a statement: “This kind of plotting is deeply concerning. The Ukrainian people have the sovereign right to determine their own future, and we stand with our democratically-elected partners in Ukraine.”

Murayev, 45, is a pro-Russian politician who opposes Ukraine’s integration with the West. According to a poll by the Razumkov’s Centre think tank conducted in December 2021, he was ranked seventh among candidates for the 2024 presidential election with 6.3 per cent support.

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“You’ve made my evening. The British Foreign Office seems confused,” Murayev told Britain’s Observer newspaper. “It isn’t very logical. I’m banned from Russia. Not only that but money from my father’s firm there has been confiscated.”

Britain, which this week supplied 2,000 missiles and a team of military trainers to Ukraine, also said it had information that Russian intelligence services were maintaining links with “numerous” former Ukrainian politicians, including senior figures with links to ex-President Viktor Yanukovich.

Yanukovich fled to Russia in 2014 after three months of protests against his rule and was sentenced in absentia to 13 years in jail on treason charges in 2019.


“Some of these have contact with Russian intelligence officers currently involved in the planning for an attack on Ukraine,” the British foreign office statement said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Downing Street office also said the British leader was planning to ramp up pressure on Russia this week by calling for European counterparts to come together with the United States to face down Russian aggression.

Earlier, RIA news agency reported that British foreign minister Truss would visit Moscow in February to meet her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, while Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and his British counterpart Ben Wallace have also agreed to hold talks.

© 2022 Reuters

Edmonton's Chinatown community fed up with crime, vandalism: 'Nobody feels safe'

A recent rash of crime and vandalism in Edmonton's Chinatown area has some business owners fed up. This comes as the local business association says ongoing calls to the city of Edmonton for more security and cleaner streets are falling on deaf ears. Chris Chacon reports.

Businesses in Edmonton’s Chinatown said a recent increase in crime could be the end for them. The local business association said its calls for more security and cleaner streets are not being answered.

“It’s too much, nobody can take it anymore. It’s a tipping point,” Chinatown and Area Business Association executive director Wen Wong said.

Surveillance video captured outside of Edmonton’s Pacific Mall in Chinatown last week shows an individual smashing several store-front glass windows with a hammer.

“Nobody feels safe, our customers are leaving our community, our members are leaving our community,” Wong said.

And the destruction didn’t stop there.

“On 106th there was another two members, their windows were smashed,” Wong said.

Wong said those business are now out nearly $20,000 dollars to get those replaced.

Hong Kong Bakery owner Chip Tang is all too familiar with the problem.

“It’s hard, it’s expensive, insurance rates have increased. I had that big window smashed a few years ago, that cost like $4,000 to replace,” Tang said.

He said after years of dealing with crime, social disorder and what he said is a lack of police support, there is no hope for Chinatown and that’s bad for business.

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“Look around here, lots of businesses closed because I don’t think they can survive,” Tang said.

Edmonton police chief Dale McFee said Thursday at a police commission meeting that Chinatown needs solutions.

“There’s a significant drug problem. A lot of it is meth related and meth has got some unpredictable violence and we’re seeing that play out,” said McFee.

While no specifics were outlined, EPS is working to address neighbourhood crime.

On Jan. 13 police made several arrests at problem properties in the area.

Police seized thousands of dollars worth of fentanyl, prescription pills and a weapon.

A win for the war on drugs, but businesses in Chinatown said a scene filled with police and yellow crime tape just adds to their loss.

“More than a dozen business members are leaving Chinatown in the next few months for sure,” Wong said.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Fire crews battle fire in Beltline community

Firefighters battled flames and smoke at a Beltline apartment building Saturday afternoon. Courtesy: Scott Calder

Streets in the Beltline neighbourhood were closed Saturday afternoon as crews dealt with an apartment building fire.

Flames and smoke could be seen billowing from the 4th floor balcony of the building near 8 St. and 15 Ave. S.W. around 3:30 p.m.

Fire crews used hoses to attack the flames on the outside while other crews worked to keep the fire from spreading inside.

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Aerial ladder trucks were on standby in order to provide an elevated master stream if needed.

The Calgary Fire Department said a number of residents left before crews arrived. Others were told to shelter in place as the spread was contained mostly to the outside.

Calgary EMS said nobody was hurt.

Police were on scene for several hours, helping firefighters check on the building’s residents and managing traffic in the area.

Several suites suffered water and smoke damage, along with some of the outside walls.

Building management and a restoration company were on scene as well, working with those displaced by the fire.

Investigators were still trying to determine the cause Saturday evening.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

COVID-19: SFU students plan walkout over concerns about return to in-class learning

Student groups are voicing concerns about COVID-19 safety as some of the province's biggest universities prepare to return to in-person learning and as Emad Agahi reports, SFU students are planning a walkout on Monday in protest.

Student groups are voicing concerns about COVID-19 safety as some of the province’s biggest universities prepare to return to in-person learning.

Simon Fraser University students are planning a walkout as the school returns to in-person learning on Monday to protest what they say are insufficient safeguards.

Students are calling for an extension of remote learning, the creation of permanent hybrid learning and the provision of free N95 masks and rapid testing on all SFU campuses.

They’re also asking for the school to extend tuition and course withdrawal deadlines.

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Matthew Provost, vice-president external of the Simon Fraser Student Society, said a survey of nearly 20 per cent of the school’s student body found that 45 per cent wanted remote learning, 28 per cent wanted hybrid learning and five per cent wanted remote learning with an in-person exam.

“I think the numbers kind of speak for themselves. Almost 80 per cent of the students surveyed wanted some component of remote learning,” said Provost.

“It’s important to note we’ve just been told, ‘Well. expect that your profs or the faculty will get COVID and you also may get COVID,’ leaving the onus on students to take responsibility for their safety.”

A spokesperson for Simon Fraser University said none of the school’s executives were available for an interview on Saturday.

Students at both SFU and the University of Victoria are slated to return in-person studies on Monday, after the schools postponed returning to campus due to surging COVID-19 case numbers driven by the Omicron variant.

The University of British Columbia, in contrast, has pushed the return to in-person learning for most students back to Feb. 7.

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Joshua Millard, executive director of the Alliance of British Columbia Students, said concerns about returning to classrooms were not unique to Simon Fraser University.

The alliance sent a letter to B.C.’s provincial health officer and minister of advanced education on Friday on behalf of 10 student groups representing more than 112,000 students, calling on the province to adjust its official return-to-school guidelines and promote remote learning options.

B.C.’s current guidelines, issued in December, advocate for a full return to in-person learning.

“Our members were concerned the strategy didn’t account for students who were immunocompromised or students who are living with those who are at risk, regardless of what variant they are exposed to,” said Millard, arguing the guidance was out of date given the spread of the Omicron variant.

Millard said the last two years have proven that post-secondary educations have the ability to offer high-quality education via remote or hybrid models.

“We shouldn’t have students having to put their education on hold because they don’t feel comfortable in the learning hall,” he said.

“What we’re asking for is new guidance from the PHO that encourages universities to come up with new options, working with their student bodies, to make sure everyone can engage in their education experience in a way that makes them safe.”

In a statement, Advanced Education Minister Anne Kang said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, “guided by the data, has been clear that in-person learning can be done safely right now, and in fact is important for students emotional and mental well-being.”

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In a letter to the province’s post-secondary institution presidents dated Jan. 21, Henry restated her confidence in B.C.’s back-to-school guidance.

In the letter, Henry said the dominance of the Omicron variant has meant shorter incubation times and a lower risk of serious illness for fully vaccinated people, adding that B.C. has seen lower rates of infection among university students.

“Much, however, remains the same in terms of risk settings and measures to prevent spread and we continue to see lower risk in structured seated settings,” the letter states.

“Given as well the disproportionate adverse impacts of the pandemic on our young adults in the context of a highly vaccinated population, I urge you to prioritize on-campus instruction whenever possible.”

Henry writes the guidance is a balance between managing COVID-19 risk and the negative effects of remote learning, such as worsening mental health and concerns about “missing out on enriching experiences of post-secondary education.”

The SFU walkout is scheduled for 11 a.m., Monday, when students plan to rally at the Burnaby campus Convocation Mall.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Staffing shortages, COVID 19 lead to postponement of B.C. provincial exams

British Columbia’s education ministry says graduation assessments for students in Grades 10 to 12 will not take place this month due to COVID-19.

The ministry says in a statement that staffing issues have significantly affected the administration of the assessments.

The ministry says it will provide an exemption to Grade 12 students graduating early in the school year.

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The ministry says the news may cause concern for students and promised that all Grade 12 students will graduate on time, both for early graduation and June graduation, as long as all other graduation requirements are met.

It adds that is has worked with post-secondary institutions to ensure admissions will not be affected by these changes.

Exams will be pushed to a later date.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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