Sunday, September 5, 2010

Saturday . . .

If you follow sports, particularly baseball, you will be aware that Nyjer Morgan has been in the news a bit the last few days.
If you’re not aware, here’s the top of an Associated Press story from Friday evening:
“Nyjer Morgan’s wild week has landed him an eight-game suspension, one of nine punishments handed out Friday by Major League Baseball following a brawl between Washington Nationals and Florida Marlins.
“MLB suspended Nationals outfielder Morgan and fined him an undisclosed amount for three separate incidents over the past week. Friday’s penalty is in addition to a seven-game suspension he received Aug. 25 that is currently under appeal.”
That adds up to 15 games in suspensions, and that’s pretty hard to do by today’s standards.
Anyway . . . Morgan has been a popular fellow in the blogosphere because of his recent time in the spotlight. And he has carried the WHL and the Regina Pats into the spotlight with him.
It is the Internet at its ugliest and, I supposed, its funniest . . .
All because Morgan played seven games with the Regina Pats in 1999-2000. He scored two goals and had 20 penalty minutes. While those numbers show up at, his name doesn’t appear in the WHL’s alltime player index that is in the 2009-10 Guide. There are three Morgans listed — Cory, Garth and Jordan — but no sign of Nyjer.
Anyway . . . back to the Internet.
There was this on one blog:
“A young Morgan was taken with the sport after watching the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, and pestered his parents to play the game until he was able to snag a tryout with the British Columbia Hockey League's Vernon Vipers as a 16-year-old.
“He didn't make the team, but bounced around several other clubs in the low Canadian minors until hooking on with the Regina Pats of the famed Western Canadian Hockey League in 1999.
“Even now, the WCHL carries with it a reputation of making the tough players tougher and weeding out the rest. Morgan was no exception. He not only had to fight to keep his spot on the team, but also had to fend off cuture shock and prejudice; after all, he was trying to make his way in a sport that is predominantly Caucasian, in a league that is primarily Canadian, and in Regina, Saskatchewan — a bastion of lily-whiteness in the most lily-white of Canadian regions: the Prairies.
“The Regina Pats also carry with them a tradition of sending cementheads to the pros, guys who at one time might have been able to make a mark playing the game, but who were molded at this step into enforcers. Garth Butcher, Lyndon Byers, Stu Grimson are retired punchers with bona-fide NHL careers whose names stick out . . .”
Enough with that kind of bullcrap because it only gets worse. Oh, how painful is all of that?
Later, the blogger goes on to mention some rumours as to why Morgan was released by the Pats. Of course, there is no evidence to back up any of the rumours.
I asked Brent Parker, the Pats’ general manager at the time, about Morgan, and here’s what he told me, via email:
“He was a good kid . . . always smiling. Good skater but limited hockey sense.”
According to Parker, Morgan scored two goals in his first game — it was against the Moose Jaw Warriors — and that was it.
I also found this at one blog:
“Nyjer Morgan didn’t grow up dedicating his every waking minute to playing baseball, he spent a good chunk of his youth playing the one sport that actually encourages fighting, hockey. He fell in love with the game watching the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary and eventually talked his parents into letting him play. If he wasn’t tough enough already, being a skinny African American kid playing a rough sport almost entirely dominated by Caucasians sure did the trick. Morgan eventually made it to the low Canadian minors, playing for the Regina Pats of the Western Canadian Hockey League, a league with a reputation for toughness in a sport full of it. It was here in the rural Canadian prairie that before giving up hockey for baseball Nyjer Morgan was solidified as one tough s.o.b.”
More hilarity, not to mention stupidity. . . .
And somewhere else on the Internet, someone was looking for a game-worn Morgan jersey from when he played for the Pats.
I think I might know someone who has some. How many would you like?
F Petr Stoklasa (Tri-City, 2007-09) was released after his tryout ended with Kiekko-Laser Oulu (Finland Mestis). He had 11 goals and 13 assists in 25 games with HC 46 Bardejov (Slovakia 1.Liga) last season.
The Medicine Hat Tigers have a player in camp with a familiar last name. Gavin Broadhead’s father, Curt, also played for the Tigers. Sean Rooney of the Medicine Hat News has that story right here.
A tip of the hat to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Their training camp reports include scoring summaries from their scrimmages. Seriously! . . . You are able to check out Saturday’s info right here.
The Regina Pats have signed their four top picks from the 2010 bantam draft. They had signed F Morgan Klimchuk, their first pick, earlier in the summer. Now they also have signed D Kyle Burroughs (third round), D Colby Williams (fourth round) and F Ty McLean (fifth round). . . . Burroughs, from Langley, B.C., had 50 points in 33 games with the Langley Eagles of the Pacific Coast association last season. . . . Williams, from Regina, had 27 points in 22 games with the bantam Regina Oilers. . . . McLean, from Redvers, Sask., had 90 points in 25 games with the Carlyle-Moose Mountain bantam team.
The U of Waterloo Warriors hockey team has revealed its recruiting class for 2010-11 and it includes D Ryan Molle, G Justin Leclerc, F Josh Schappert and F Andy Smith, all of whom played in the WHL. . . . Molle, the son of former CFL offensive lineman Bob Molle, played with the Swift Current Broncos and Kootenay Ice. Leclerc was with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Kamloops Blazers. Schappert had played with the Seattle Thunderbirds and Smith with the Prince Albert Raiders and Chilliwack Bruins.
Warren Henderson of the Capital News in Kelowna takes a look at F Zach Franko and why he chose to attend the Rockets’ camp rather than make plans to attend Bemidji State and play for the Mustangs. That story is right here.

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