Headlines: Jan. 9, 2024

· The Pulse
  • The city activated its extreme weather response on Jan. 8 as severe cold hit Edmonton. The response, which is set to last until Jan. 18, includes a third bus for the Winter Shelter Shuttle Service, 50 temporary shelter spaces at the Al Rashid Mosque, and expanded day services at social services agencies, including the Bissell Centre and Boyle Street Community Services. Residents are urged to be aware of hypothermia signs and encouraged to call emergency services if they see someone in distress outdoors. Agencies are accepting donations of warm clothing and money. More information is available through Homeward Trust.
  • Members of the Edmonton Police Service and city crews suspended the tear down of the eighth encampment site identified for removal. Jim Gurnett of the Edmonton Coalition on Housing and Homelessness told Postmedia he suspected the removal was stopped because the city activated its extreme weather response, which happens when temperatures hit -20°C. A spokesperson for the city couldn't confirm when the encampment would be closed, but said the city is following the requirements established in a court order issued in December.
  • The Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society is urgently requesting Edmontonians to foster dogs and puppies as it experiences a critical capacity issue that is being worsened because of the sudden drop in temperatures. Director Rachel Cote said the organization is anticipating an increase in rescue calls to save animals from the cold as conditions are expected to hit -40°C wind chill on Jan. 12 and 13. Cote said prospective foster families can apply through the organization's website and will be provided with necessary supplies.
  • Edmonton recorded an unusually low snowfall in 2023, with the Edmonton International Airport recording just 36.8cm, the lowest snowfall since 1981 and significantly lower than the yearly average of 120cm, according to data compiled by the Edmonton Weather Nerdery blog. The city saw its last snowfall of the spring on April 11, which was earlier than usual, and the first snowfall of the fall on Oct. 23, which was typical. Compared to other Canadian cities, Edmonton's snowfall was one of the lowest, with Ottawa and St. John's receiving the highest accumulations at 260cm and 363cm, respectively.
  • Edmonton Oilers General Manager Ken Holland said the team is still determining its approach for the upcoming trade deadline on March 8, praising the chemistry and recent performance of goaltenders Stuart Skinner and Calvin Pickard. Despite Jack Campbell's struggles and subsequent reassignment to the AHL's Bakersfield Condors, Holland said decisions regarding any roster changes will be made closer to the deadline. The Oilers, currently holding the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference with a 20-15-1 record, are experiencing a resurgence after a rough start to the season.
  • Sports writer Allan Mitchell ranked Edmonton Oilers General Manager Ken Holland's top 10 defining moments in a piece for The Athletic as Holland's tenure with the team approaches its end. Among the moves highlighted were Holland's successful free-agent signings, including signing Zach Hyman, who has become a top performer, and the acquisition of Mattias Ekholm, who has improved the team's defence. The piece also examined Holland's less successful trades, such as the controversial acquisition of Duncan Keith and the signing of goaltender Jack Campbell, who have not met expectations and strained the team's salary cap.
  • The Edmonton Elks have signed McLeod Bethel-Thompson as the team's starting quarterback, a move head coach Chris Jones says will strengthen the team's position for 2024 and beyond. Jones said the team still has plans for quarterback Tre Ford, who helped the Elks turn around a losing streak last season. Bethel-Thompson, a two-time Grey Cup winner and former Toronto Argonaut, said he wants to work closely with Ford to develop his skills further, emphasizing the importance of creating a solid play-by-play approach to complement Ford's natural talent.