Archive for the ‘Hockey’ Category

Mark Steyn: “A Disgrace to the Profession”

September 1st, 2015
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One can’t help but wonder if Mrs. Mark Steyn lets her husband win the odd fight, lest a 900-page rebuttal in 3 parts be published, highlighting the ways in which she argued illogically over the course of their marriage. Likely not, but then who’d of thought suing the guy for libel would get you one of those.

dttpfrontmedbCertainly not Michael Mann.

When Mann sued Steyn, I was one of those who thought he picked a dangerous sparring partner, and having read Lights Out, his response to an action against him in Canada, I knew Steyn wouldn’t just roll over and accept what Mann was giving. He would, at the least, make it uncomfortable for Mann. After all, he took on Ryerson Journalism Professor John Miller in Lights Out, and has not been afraid to absolutely skewer the occasional correspondent to his own website, Even positive reviews that dare get the name of the next Bond movie wrong get their error highlighted. So it was a good guess that Mann v. Steyn would have its entertaining moments.

With A Disgrace to the Profession: The Worlds Scientists in Their Own Words – on Michael E. Mann, His Hockey Stick, and Their Damage to Science: Volume One, he doesn’t so much a make it uncomfortable for Mann as eviscerate his. The book is 300-pages of climate scientists, physicists and others with Ph.D. after their name, speaking ill of Mann and his work. With Steyn’s witty apercus throughout, A Disgrace to the Profession reads quite comfortably, not bogging down in technical details as a book devoted to science such as this is always at risk of doing.

A Disgrace to the Profession is a comprehensive take down. Mann may have thought he could sue Steyn into silence and he was wrong. But if he thought his reputation had been given a hit by Steyn, and he could regain it through the courts, he was as wrong as he’s ever been (and as Steyn makes pretty clear in A Disgrace to the Profession, that’s saying something). Win, lose or tie in the DC courts, it seems unlikely Mann’s reputation will survive his ill-advised fight with Mark Steyn.

For certified professional guitar repair in Cambridge Ontario: Brian Gardiner Guitar Repair

Hockey, Mark Steyn ,

Lord Stanley’s Candy Dish

June 16th, 2014
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Times sure have changed from the beer at the strip club days. Friday night last, or more technically Saturday morning, the LA Kings arrived at the North End Bar & Grill in Hermosa Beach, the same club that they celebrated their Stanley Cup victory 2-years ago, with the Cup in hand. As part of the evenings proceedings, they filled the bowl of the cup with M&M’s (Plain, Peanut and Peanut Butter).

Here’s the video:

Hockey, Sports ,

Well, I Won’t Be Cheering for the Leafs this Year

April 18th, 2014
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The Playoffs are on, and, like every other year, my team, the Maple Leafs, are out. Although, it must be said, the Leafs left the playoffs in the most spectacular fashion, providing lots of entertainment, if not entertaining hockey, along the way. Hey, if you’re going down anyway, go down in a fiery crash I say: or as Neil Young put it, better to burn out than fade away.

But frankly, the way the Leafs treated the one goalie who has gotten them into the playoffs in my now 16-year old sons memory, the moronic bait and switch of hiring Brendan Shanahan and pronouncing problem solved, just the overall uselessness of the organization, have me rethinking my life-long affection.

zdeno-chara-hitBut then, who to cheer for? I’ll tell you who it won’t be, it won’t be “the only Canadian team in the playoffs,” as I’m regularly told it must be. To set the record straight, I will cheer for the Taliban before I cheer for the Montreal Canadiens.

Boston wouldn’t be high on my list either. It wouldn’t, at least, until this winter.

My son’s senior football team, the Jacob Hespeler Hawks, had their best season ever this year, winning the WCSSAA championship, after losing that game the two years previous. They came within’ a game of the all Ontario Championship (CWOSSA final).

The team is coached by teachers Greg White and Mark Hatt. Mr. Hatt is also one of my son’s teachers and a good one. In chats with him through the years, both formal and informal, he is obviously one of the good ones. And now, he’s sick.

Mr. Hatt had a bad cough in February – well, who doesn’t. After a couple of days off work, he went to the doctor to have it checked. Precautionary stuff, maybe get a script, that sort of thing. By the end of the day he had a diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer which had metastasized to the lining of the heart. It was not good.

The school rallied around. A “Hatter Strong” campaign was organized and one of the students had the idea to make supportive t-shirts and sell them to raise some needed cash for treatments &tc. The shirts were to be black and yellow in the colour of Hatt’s favourite team, the Boston Bruins (he is a known Bruins fanatic). They created a logo based on the Bruins with a stylized “H” where the Bruins “B” would normally be. T-shirts sold out in a day. Then someone contacted a friend who knew a guy within’ the Boston Bruins organization. The Bruins responded.

1920014_1445372805697684_176465766_nLast month Mr. Hatt and his family were guests of the Bruins at a Maple Leaf game vs. Boston at the Air Canada Centre. He has had regular phone contact with their captain, Zdeno Chara, whom I have previously rather not liked, and has also had regular phone calls from Bobby Orr, his childhood idol. Paul Henderson, who has been fighting his own cancer battle, has been in daily contact.

So this year, and maybe future years, will be easy. The Boston Bruins and their big, hard hitting captain, reached out to a good, very sick man. If it was Leafs vs. Bruins this year, as last, I might just cheer for the Bruins. Boston and Detroit start their first round play-off series tonight, and I’m all in for Boston.

As for Mr. Hatt, his cancer had a “ALK mutation.” There is a 2%-5% chance the cancer will have this mutation, and it is very good news. Chemotherapy can now be given orally (which is much milder) and his prognosis improves considerably. Along with his wife and two young sons, Mr. Hatt, Hatter as absolutely everybody calls him, they were thrilled by the news, calling it “a gift from God.”

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Big News for Leaf Fans

September 4th, 2012


Here in Toronto Maple Leaf territory, the news this weekend was big: Captain Dion Phaneuf finally learned how to score the big one.

Actress Elisha Cuthbert shared some good news with family and friends yesterday over lobster. Cuthbert and her long-term boyfriend, Toronto Maple Leaf player Dion Phaneuf, announced their engagement yesterday at a restaurant on Prince Edward’s Island, Canada.

The bad news is, million dollar condos and diamond rings don’t work as well on the ice as off.

Hockey , ,

Bankrupting Markham

April 27th, 2012
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There’s been talk about Markham’s GTA Centre, the new 20,000 seat arena being built by W. Graeme Roustan and Rudy Bratty in the 250,000 person Toronto suburb. Today, Markham council voted to borrow half the cost of the arena, $162.5-million over 20-years.

It all sounds so familiar.

In Arizona the City of Glendale, a 250,000 person suburb of Phoenix, built a hockey rink for the Phoenix Coyotes. As Stephen Brunt notes in a recent article for Sportsnet Magazine:

A city with a population of approximately a quarter of a million people is carrying a debt in excess of a billion dollars, not including a projected $30-million budget shortfall this year, and is currently contemplating which services its citizenry will be forced to do without in order to pay the bills.

That sad state of affairs relates directly to the magical thinking that directed massive public investment into the team, into the arena, into the shopping centre that was constructed around it…

Glendale’s civic guardians…were buying into the big lie about how professional sports can be an economic engine; about how they create jobs, create wealth, put your town on the map, bring life to moribund neighbourhoods, etc., etc.

There are volumes of academic literature that definitively disprove all of that. Professional sports teams are in fact relatively small businesses that, if anything, leech discretionary spending from other sectors of the economy. They create a modest number of seasonal, low paying jobs, and a very small number of extraordinarily high paying ones — for the athletes, who inevitably leave town the minute the last game is over.

The people who run Markham, The City Council, bought into that big lie by an 11-2 vote. They bought the lie that an arena, a  “20,000-seat, 600,000-square-foot Markham Sports, Entertainment and Cultural Centre,” will be profitable for the City of Markham. In Glendale they’re talking about making cuts. Not close a library here or a pool there. Not the minimal cuts that caused so much turbulence in the City of Toronto this past year, but real cuts to the fire department and police department, real cuts to infrastructure and safety because they are underwater. They can’t begin to pay their debt, and their debt is all about a hockey rink and an NHL team thats about to decamp to Quebec City.

In Markham they voted today to unlearn the lessons that Glendale Arizona has to teach City’s that want to get into the pro sports business. They voted to ignore the evidence while the evidence is still fresh. They rolled the dice that their play for an NHL team, their foray into arena building will not come back to bite them.

As Stephen Brunt notes in his article, “But don’t lie awake fretting about the good citizens of Glendale. They’ll be just fine. Because now, they’re planning on opening a casino.”

Might as well apply to the province for that casino license now.

Economic Fundamentalism, Hockey , , , ,

“I Can’t Remember All the People Who Offered their Best Wishes”

June 29th, 2011
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killer-002When Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Cliff Fletcher are leaving best wishes, it’s possible that blog posts by, “some guy from Hespeler” may slide under the radar. That said, congratulations to Doug Gilmour, Hockey Hall of Famer and the greatest Maple Leaf I’ve watched play, from a guy who once had a lovely telephone conversation with Bobby Orr’s brother.

Hockey , , ,

Pat Burns 1952-2010

November 19th, 2010
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So sad to hear the news that Pat Burns has lost his battle with cancer. The former police officer and three time NHL coach of the year died today at the too young age of 58.

For Leaf fans under 55, the greatest Leaf season had the hard nose father figure of Pat Burns behind the bench. Few doubt that wonderful year would have happened without him.

The Leafs may be hapless and cupless in the colour TV era, but Burns was neither, winning a cup with New Jersey in 2003. Burns career coaching record is 501-353 (plus a bunch of ties) a stunning .744 winning percentage.

RIP Pat Burns: one of the good ones.


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Changing the Hespeler Hockey Guard

October 18th, 2010
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My friend Jim Hillis runs The Hespeler Project. He has cross-posted stuff I post here before, and has requested original material from me. I finally got around to giving him something, Changing the Hespeler Hockey Guard:

Here in Hespeler, we have what is euphemistically called, a favourite son. Kirk Maltby’s name is on the Stanley Cup four times, he played over 1,000 NHL games, 908 of them a few hours up the road in Detroit. For all his success, Maltby summered in Hespeler, worked out in the off season at the local YMCA and brought the Stanley Cup to the local bar, where his, and it’s, picture proudly hang on the wall.

We love him for none of that.

In Hespeler, there is only one stat that truly counts: did you buy a house in Galt? He never did, so we hung his jersey up at the Hespeler arena and called him ours.

He has had a distinguished NHL career and, sadly, this week called it quits. Retired at 37.

In the last couple of years, Maltby’s Jersey has been joined on the rafters of the Hespeler arena by Tim Brent. Granted, there was a meeting of a committee to have Brent‘s jersey, “ripped down, run through the chipper and burned like an American flag at a commune,” when there was a rumour that Brent was looking at a Condo in Preston, but the mayor (unofficial) arrived with some Grand River Town Hall Lager and sober second thought was replaced with a darn good party.

Brent was, however, always a marginal interest. Playing in Anaheim, he was wasting his career playing games at midnight on Tuesdays. Hometown boy made good, yes, but if your not up to see him on TSN, what good does it do anyone?

With Maltby’s exit from the game and Brent joining the Toronto Maple Leafs, however, an opportunity has opened up. Brent scored the Leafs first goal of the season last week against Montreal at a time when almost all of Hespeler was still up to see it.

He scored his second goal against Ottawa Saturday night, again during waking hours, this time on the CBC. Hockey Night in Canada for God’s sake: Don Cherry almost mentioned him on Coach’s Corner and there was a rumour at the Townline Tim Horton’s on Sunday morning that Rick Mercer may have him on his show – although it was agreed all round that they probably shouldn’t run into Pushlinch lake naked, Pushlinch Lake being in Guelph rather than Hespeler.

Being a Maple Leaf, Brent could easily surpass Maltby as our local hero by winning a Stanley Cup with Toronto. While that sounds like a lot, let it be said that nobody is suggesting he win a show-offy four cups like Maltby, but a modest one.

A-HA! I can hear the cries of Montreal Canadian fans in Galt pouncing. The Leafs win four lousy games and your already planning the parade. Well, yea, actually:

Around the parking lot at Townline Tim Horton’s a few times, just until everybody gets an ice cap
Across Townline road to Ellis Road and down to the arena
Around the arena parking lot, and then to Cooper Street
Down Cooper to Guelph Ave
Along Guelph Avenue to Ernie’s where, the ice caps being almost finished, we can start having our picture taken drinking beer with the Stanley Cup.

It may seem presumptuous, four games into the season. But us Hespelerites know the Leafs now have a secret weapon: A Hespeler Boy.

And no, we’re not opening the gates across the 401 that day. You guys get the Santa Claus Parade (official) and the Canada Day Parade and Fireworks: we get the Stanley Cup parades and picture day at Ernie’s with the cup.

Hockey , , , , ,

On This Day

September 28th, 2010

On Sept 28, 1960 my family changed irrevocably. It would be almost three years before I was born, another six months or so before I could utter the phrase, “changed irrevocably,” never mind grasp it’s subtle implications. None the less, the family changed in a way that would affect me dramatically: my older brother was born. The first born, he was rambunctious almost from the get go. An active boy, he would later find sports in a big way. In fact, the way I am with music, he is with sports.

A story: When I got Led Zeppelin tickets in 2007 he was the one guy I figured could afford to go. He did, and more than once while we were in England he compared seeing Led Zeppelin to the Super Bowl he had a chance to see a few years earlier. I disagreed, on two points: 1) Football sucks, Led Zeppelin doesn’t. 2) 80,000 people get to go to the super bowl annually; 20,000 people got to see Led Zeppelin once since 1980.

He is, to make a long post somewhat shorter, a sports guy. So it is appropriate that he should share his day with two significant sporting events.

It was his twelfth birthday when Foster Hewitt made the most famous call in Canadian sports in 1972:

Henderson has scored for Canada.

He is aware of the date of that goal, and has mentioned before it was on his birthday. He even has a picture of that moment hanging in his basement.

The second event occurred the day he was born. While he was entering the world in Ireland, across the ocean in the Irish-American stronghold of Boston, Ted Williams was finishing his career. Fourty-two year old Williams played his last game 50 years ago today, hitting a home run in his final at bat in the major leagues.

Williams played 21 years in the major leagues, hit 521 home runs and had a career batting average of .344. A brilliant career, capped off 50 years ago today.

Jim Pagliaroni shakes Ted Williams' hand after his final at-bat in 1960

Jim Pagliaroni shakes Ted Williams' hand after his final at-bat in 1960

Baseball, Birthday Wishes, Hockey , ,

When will the Leafs win?

October 18th, 2009

When I got an iPhone a few months ago one of the first things I downloaded was the Leafs app. Instant updates, standings, scoring leaders, all right on my phone. Of course, hockey season hadn’t started yet and last years scores, standings &tc. where still showing. sr-leafs-091017-06.JPGOnce pre-season started, the app remained the same. Two, three games into the pre-season, I’m still seeing last years scores and schedules. Surely though, it would be updated for the regular season.

The day before the first game the following message appeared on the app:


We are gearing up for the release of a new version shortly. Unfortunately scoring and stats updates will not function until we get you the new version.

Clearly an organization not prepared to begin the season. It’s as if, on Sept 30th somebody in the offices said, “holy shit, season starts tomorrow.” The sad reality is, the team on the ice has played like a team that doesn’t quite realize the season has started. As of the next game, 10% of the season is gone, and the 0-7 Leafs still have not updated their app.

A prediction then: the Toronto Maple Leafs will win their first  game once their iPhone app has been updated for the 2009-2010 season. Stay tuned Leaf fans, I’ll let you know when the update is done, and we’ll test my theory.

Hockey , , ,

Former Cambridge Hornet Center Peter Zezel Dies

May 27th, 2009
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Back in the early winter of 2002 my five year old son, and his hockey team, were invited to play at the intermission of a Cambridge Hornets hockey game. It was one of the first, if not the first, game Peter Zezel would play with Cambridge.

Zezel joined Cambridge after almost dying in 2001 of hemolytic anemia, a rare blood condition. Zezel ‘s return to hockey was an accomplishment after his near death, and he was the night I saw him the most dominant player on the ice. He didn’t score all, or even any goals as I recall, but when he was on, the play revolved around him. His passes where ungodly, his puck control far above anybody else on the ice.

Off ice, Zezel was considered a class individual, who retired from a fifteen year NHL career in 1989 to be close to a family member dying of Cancer. His imdb page notes that he was Mustang Player#1 in the 1986 Rob Lowe Cynthia Gibb hockey um… classic, Youngblood. He was also Rush Guitarist Alex Lifeson’s cousin.

Yesterday afternoon the family of Peter Zezel made the decision to remove him from life support after a return of the hemolytic anemia. He was 44 years old.

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ShutterBugging Picture of the Day: Butterfly Save

March 31st, 2009
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Damn Yankees

May 26th, 2008
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Too bad the local good guys, the Kitchener Rangers, couldn’t solve the Spokane Chiefs to win the Memorial Cup in Kitchener yesterday. But there was entertainment for everyone when the cup fell apart during the on-ice celebrations.

The look on those poor kids faces, and lets face it, they are kids. Captain Chris Bruton, who is 21, was handing it too Trevor Glass, who is 20. They look like they are thinking, “oh man, were in trouble now.”

h/t to Joanne for the video clip

Funny., Hockey

Congratulations Cambridge Penguins

May 18th, 2008
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The first team to make it to the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals? The Penguins of Cambridge!

Of course, Jim Balsillie hasn’t gotten around to buying and moving the team yet. But it’s coming, it’s coming.

And to think, in a year when I never got the rink built in the backyard, I could have been hosting the Stanley Cup Finals.


Ladies and Gentlemen…

May 12th, 2008
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The Kitchener Rangers, 2008 Ontario Hockey League Champions.

Peter DeBoer’s Kitchener Rangers beat the Belleville Bulls 4-1 tonight in game seven of the seven game series. Kitchener had gone up 3-0 in the series, but allowed Belleville back into the series, losing the next three games.

In game seven, Kitchener scored late in the first period and again early in the second to take a 2-0 lead that they would never relinquish.

Congratulations Rangers!