Friday, January 27, 2012

Every once in a while, you find a real nugget on the Internet.
I mean, a really big chunk of gold.
In this instance, the link arrived via email, sent by Cam Moon, the former WHL goaltender who is the radio voice of the Red Deer Rebels.
Moon, believe it or not, may be a bigger fan of baseball than he is of hockey. Seriously!
Anyway . . . he sent me a link that I am going to share with you. But I am warning you. To enjoy this one, you will need at least three cups of coffee and a headset.
Written and prepared by Daniel Riley, this piece appeared in the October 2011 issue of GQ magazine. It is an interactive story about and with Vin Scully, the greatest play-by-play voice of them all.
There are links to Scully’s actual call  of Sandy Koufax’s perfect game on Sept. 9, 1965, Henry Aaron’s 715th home run on April 8, 1974, Kirk Gibson’s home run on Oct. 15, 1988, and Bill Buckner’s boot on Oct. 25, 1986.
More than that, though, there are conversations with Scully as he reminisces and it doesn’t get any better than that. Chances are you will do what I did — give it all a read and a listen and then file it away for later enjoyment.
Check it all out right here. And you can thank Cam Moon later.
There is a story in Friday’s Globe and Mail that is headlined: Americans consider ban on fighting in junior ranks, hope Canada follows suit.
Written by Allan Maki, it contains this quote from Jim Johannson, USA Hockey’s assistant executive director of hockey operations:
“Whatever we do there’ll be a fight in junior hockey next season. But if kids are in this level of hockey and fighting x amount of times, then what’s going on? We have a responsibility to safeguard the game at the minor levels. This is not the NHL, and that’s not a criticism of the NHL. These are kids under 20 playing hockey.”
Hallelujah! Someone with some authority understands that it is the responsibility of the adults who are in charge of hockey at this level to safeguard the players.
It seems that during the World Junior Championship there were meetings held that involved USA Hockey, Hockey Canada, the Canadian Hockey League and the Canadian Junior Hockey League.
According to Maki, USA Hockey has since held winter meetings and “recommended that fighting be eliminated at the Tier I, II and III levels.”
If the recommendation is adopted — there will be a vote in June — the ban could be in place for next season.
Unfortunately, this isn’t likely to happen in Canada. Well, it isn't going to happen this season or next. But it is going to happen. The writing is on the wall and sooner or later it is going to happen.
Maki quotes Bob Nicholson, the president of Hockey Canada, as saying: “We want to remove fighting from the game, but we don’t want to create other violent acts that may occur. We’ll work hand in hand with USA Hockey.”
Ahh, yes, the creation of “other violent acts” excuse, the thinking being that if players aren’t allowed to punch themselves in the face they’ll hack themselves to death with their sticks.
And then there’s WHL commissioner Ron Robison, who fell back on the old excuse that his league is developing players for the NHL “and we have an understanding to mirror their rules.”
Which, of course, is so much bunkum. For starters, the WHL has no-touch icing; the NHL doesn’t.
“From a WHL/CHL perspective,” Robison told Maki, “we feel strongly our role is to prepare players for the next level and as long as fighting is an element of that, we need to prepare the players so they can protect themselves.”
That ignores the fact that if major junior hockey outlawed fighting, players wouldn’t need to fight to protect themselves.
It also seems that a whole lot of European and NCAA players who have advanced to the NHL are having success while not having done a whole bunch of fighting. Pavel Datsyuk and Jonathan Toews seem to be making out OK, don’t they?
Of course, Robison has yet to explain how a league that cracked down on headshots as this season started continues to allow its players to punch each other silly.
In Maki’s story, Robison makes the claim that fighting in the WHL is down 10 per cent over a year ago. Maki doesn’t cite any statistics.
But using figures available at, it is easy to calculate that fighting in the WHL is on pace to be down less than six per cent.
There were 1,713 fights in 792 games last season. This season, in 529 games, there have been 1,079 fights. That computes to 1,616 fights over an entire season. That would be a reduction of 5.7 per cent.
With the flood of information that has come to light involving brain trauma and concussions and CTE, any hockey league that employs teenagers and continues to allow fighting — and features more than 1,600 fights in a season — should be embarrassed by such numbers.
Let us not forget that there were more than 100 concussions in the WHL last season, a number that resulted in the WHL taking injuries under cover this season and announcing player absences as being due to upper- and lower-body injuries. NHL teams, meanwhile, now are reporting when players are out with concussions.
The WHL’s latest injury report, released Tuesday, lists 49 players as being out with upper-body injuries.
Maki’s complete story is right here.
Meanwhile, in a story at, Gov. Gen. David Johnston says that fighting shouldn’t be part of the game.
"What other sports say (fighting) is a part of the game?” said Johnston, who played hockey at Harvard. “Least of all in this game, because the essence of this game is the speed and the skill and playmaking. . . .
"If we want our children, both our boys and girls, to be playing this game we don't want them to be subjecting themselves to concussions and so on."
That story is right here.
Shawn Mullin, the radio voice of the Swift Current Broncos on The Eagle 94.1 FM, reported Thursday that D Jordan Evans, 19, won’t play again this season.
Evans, from Drumheller, Alta., hasn’t played since Oct. 1.
“At the time,” Mullin reported, “(Evans) apparently took the concussion test and didn’t seem to have one. They thought maybe he had a virus. Since that time he has continued to have concussion-like symptoms and there is apparently not much improvement.
“Evans now is back home in Alberta and his season is apparently done. Given his age and history of concussions this could also mark the end of his WHL career if not his hockey career.”
Evans was in his fourth season in Swift Current. He was pointless in five games this season, but had seven minutes in penalties, five of those coming from a fight with F Dyson Stevenson of the Regina Pats on Sept. 23.
The Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association is taking body checking out of the game in the rec levels starting next season.
Paul Woods, the executive director of Hockey Winnipeg, has told Doug Lunney of the Winnipeg Sun that “it’s probably long overdue.”
Here’s more from Woods:
“I would like to see it personally. If it’s going to advance the safety of the game and allow some kids to participate in the game a little bit longer, then I would say it would have to be a positive.
“Some of those (negative) comments are coming from traditionalists who don’t want to let the sport go. They feel it’s a man’s game. They grew up in that environment and they’re still holding on to that.”
Woods points out that there are players who leave the game as youngsters and return to recreational leagues in their 20s. So why not make the environment safer in an attempt to keep the children safe and in the game?
Lunney’s story is right here.
Sharp-eyed hockey fans may recognize Doug Lunney’s name. A goaltender, he played in the WHL with the Prince Albert Raiders, Kelowna Wings and Winnipeg Warriors (1982-84).
Canalta Cup
The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League has cut a 10-year deal with Canalta Hotels that has resulted in the junior A league renaming its championship trophy.
The SJHL champion now will win the Canalta Cup.
According to a news release, the deal calls for the hotel chain to “contribute more than $600,000 in partnership revenue” over the 10 years.
Established in 1979, Canalta Hotels has six hotels in five Saskatchewan markets — Humboldt, Melfort, Moosomin, Tisdale and Weyburn — with construction underway in Esterhazy and Shaunavon.
The OHL has suspended Stan Butler, the head coach of the Brampton Battalion, for eight games. Butler’s crime? He picked up a double game misconduct for abuse of an official after a 2-1 victory over the visiting Sudbury Wolves on Sunday.
Butler is said to have berated referee Mike Marley on the ice and in a corridor in the arena. Butler felt that an instigating penalty should have been given to a Sudbury player following a fight in the third period.
The Prince Albert Raiders will induct ex-players Robin Bartel and Dean McAmmond, along with builder Gerry Bergen, into their Wall of Honour this season. They will be honoured prior to a Feb. 25 game against the visiting Kootenay Ice. . . . Bartel played three seasons (1979-82) with the Raiders, playing in three Centennial Cup championship games and winning two of them. (The Centennial Cup now is the RBC Cup, which goes to the junior A champion.). . . . Dean McAmmond played 217 games with the Raiders over three-plus seasons (1989-93). A wonderful skater, he left Prince Albert as part of a seven-player trade with the Swift Current Broncos in January 1993. Before leaving, he was the Raiders rookie of the year (1989-90) and playoff MVP (1992). . . . Bergen, a long-time volunteer, has worked as a goal judge, penalty box attendant, spotter, timekeeper and scorekeeper. He also has been the off-ice co-ordinator, managing 14 volunteers. . . . Bartel and McAmmond will be the 13th and 14th former players to be inducted, while Bergen is to be the ninth volunteer. The Wall of Honour is located in the History and Heroes section of the Art Hauser Centre by the Raiders dressing room.
JUST NOTES: The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Adam De Champlain, a 10th-round selection in the 2009 bantam draft, who is with the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. De Champlain, 17, has 14 points, including eight goals, in 38 games. . . . Regina Pats F Chandler Stephenson, who has missed 14 games with a sprained knee, is expected to return tonight against the visiting Swift Current Broncos. . . .
If you have followed the BCHL over the years, you may want to go on over to and vote on the players of the decades.
There’s a link on the right-hand side, near the top of the website. Click on there and have some fun

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