Category Archives: sports

Boston 2024

I love Boston and I think it is an amazing city but why is doing this to itself?

The United States Olympic Committee has chosen Boston to be its entry in a global competition to host the 2024 Olympic Games, putting its faith in an old city that is brand new to the Olympic movement.

The USOC announced Thursday after a meeting at Denver International Airport that it will back Boston’s Olympic bid over those from San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and two-time Olympic host Los Angeles.

With the vote, Boston vaults into an unfamiliar, high-profile position on the international sports stage. During the next two-and-a-half years, it will be part of a competition that could include some of the most significant cities in the world: Paris, Rome, Hamburg or Berlin, Budapest, and Istanbul. There could be competition from South Africa, from Doha in Qatar, from Baku in Azerbaijan, and from other cities or regions attracted by new rules intended to make it easier to host the Games. A winner will be chosen in 2017.

Scott Blackmun, USOC chief executive, said that the decision was “gut-wrenching” for the panel but that Boston came out on top in part due to the business people and elected officials who drove the effort.

“One of the great things about the Boston bid was that the bid leadership and the political leadership were on the same page,” Blackmun said, in an exclusive Globe interview at the Denver airport.

So Boston becomes the latest city to strive to go deeply into debt to build host a corrupt games.  Hilariously the say that it will be a privately funded games.  No public money needed.  I’ll believe it when I see it.

Liability concerns prompt some cities to ban sledding

Saskatoon holds firm and allows kids to be kids

Tobogganing is coming under threat as cities across the U.S. and Canada move to restrict – and in some cases outright ban – the activity.

Saskatoon isn’t on the list of cities considering a sledding ban, but the beloved winter pastime remains a dangerous one, say officials.

“Every year we see a lot of these types of injuries,” said MD Ambulance spokesperson Troy Davies, who confirmed that paramedics were called to three sledding incidents this past weekend.

The three most common types of injuries stemming from sledding are typically concussions, dislocated knees and twisted ankles, said Davies.

“With the rate of speed that people can get nowadays it’s become fairly common for us to deal with these types of calls,” he said.

Councillor Mairin Loewen said a sledding ban is unlikely. “This isn’t something that I would entertain,” said Loewen. “There’s typically some risk associated with most winter activities, but this isn’t anything that I’ve heard about.”

Dubuque, Iowa, is set to ban toboggans in nearly all its 50 parks. Other cities, including Des Moines, Iowa; Montville, New Jersey;

Lincoln, Nebraska; and Columbia City, Indiana, are following suit by restricting certain runs or posting signs warning people away.

When I was 8, I was sledding in a private park in the Canyon Meadows neighbourhood in Calgary.  It was a long and steep hill which has a slight curve in it.  It was well lit at night by light standards that were on the top of the bowl.  I was sledding on one of the circular saucers which always made you go down backwards.  

As I was descending this steep and icy hill… backward, I rose up the side of the hill and hit one of the light standards hard and almost straight on with my spine.

I hit the light standard just off centre so I managed to take the full impact but still keep going up over the top of the bowl and back down the other side.

I remember laying on my back and kind of doing a medical version of the song, “Do the hokey, pokey”.

“Put your left foot in”

Okay, that is working

“Take your left foot out”

So that foot isn’t broken.

“Shake it all about”

Now that hurts a bit.

I was fine but had a bruise going from my one butt cheek to my shoulder.

After some adults confirmed that I was only slightly concussed, I was back on the slope.  Since my neighbourhood didn’t have a private park (or a toboggan hill) anything less than a collapsed lung and I would have fought to stay on that hill.

My point is that Councillor Mairin Loewen is completely right.  All of us knew there was considerable risk of putting small children on fast devices on a hard service with no safety devices.  We did it any ways and our parents encouraged it.

It is natures way of deciding who can live on the prairies and who has to move to the west coast.

The ticket prices are too damn high!

IIHF president Rene Fasel said Hockey Canada set ticket prices too high for preliminary world junior games, contributing to disappointing attendance figures

The IIHF said Hockey Canada was responsible for the ticket prices that may have led to empty seats at Montreal’s Bell Centre for preliminary games at the world junior hockey championship.

Face-value tickets for games in Montreal started at $71 and ranged to $336 for the New Year’s Eve game between Canada and the United States, which drew 18,295 fans. Just 14,142 fans were in attendance for Canada’s opening game against Slovakia on Boxing Day.

The capacity of Bell Centre is 21,273.

Tickets for Canada’s first three round-robin games (against Slovakia, Germany and Finland) ranged from $66 to $261.

“I was really surprised,” IIHF president René Fasel said at a news conference Sunday. “If you would do this pricing in Europe, you would have nobody in the arena.”

The average NHL ticket price is in the $65 range. Face-value single-game tickets for the Canadiens’ next home game Jan. 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning range from $27 in the family zone to $275 in the platinum level.

The Canadiens play just above capacity and are second in the league in attendance with an average of 21,286 fans a game.

Fasel wondered if marketing and the economy in Montreal played a role in the world junior attendance problems. He conceded not personally knowing what the ticket value should be, but added, “Hockey Canada decides the prices of the tickets, not us.”

$261 to wach Slovakia and Finland play seems a little high for a round robin game.  In fact that was the best part of the tournament in Saskatoon was that you could afford (and get tickets) to a Slovakia and Switzerland game and not have to pay an arm and a leg (and be in a packed SaskTel Centre full of fans cheering for both teams).


The NFL Season in Review

Many of you are aware that I said goodbye to the NFL this fall after the Ray Rice scandal hit and wonder how I did.  Here are my thoughts of the NFL season that never was.

  • I still watched some football.  I am a Notre Dame fan and of course Mark plays high school football (where he played every position on the defence this season).  I enjoyed a lot of it.  I also came to grips that I am not a CFL fan.  I wish I was a bigger one but I really am not.
  • We cancelled cable and I got rid of my NFL Now subscription.  That hurt a bit but I vowed not to give the NFL any money in 2014.  I didn’t.
  • I spent my Sundays with Wendy which was time well spent.  We went for coffee at City Perk, out for walks, and explored the city.
  • I realized how much time some of my friends spend watching the NFL.  Sunday, Monday, and Thursdays.   That’s a lot of time in front of a television.
  • After spending 25 years a die hard Denver Broncos fan, it was weird not to know how they were doing during the season.
  • Despite giving up on the game, I still heard a lot about Jonny Football.  That isn’t a good thing.
  • I am still a fan of the game but Roger Goodall makes the game almost impossible to respect.  Even if you get past him, you have Jerry Jones, Jerry Richardson, Woody Johnson, Jimmy Haslam, Jerry Jones (whose stadium uses more oil than Liberia on game days), and of course Daniel Snyder who are all owners who have done horrible things.  Of course the NFL and other leagues all have horrible owners (Darryl Katz anyone?) but the idea of me giving my money to them really bothers me.  Again, I’m not calling for a boycott, it’s just a personal decision.
  • I have spent a little more time watching the Raptors (maybe because they are good), the Calgary Flames (after we had a breakup back in the late 90s during the second last lockout) and while I can’t watch such bad hockey, I find myself enamoured by the train wreck that is the Edmonton Oilers.
  • I should link to this, other pro sports owners are horrible humans as well.
  • In the end, not watching the NFL wasn’t really that big of deal.  It is a bunch of millionaire athletes playing a child’s game in the hope of winning a championship which will somehow validate themselves in their minds.  It’s fun to watch but doesn’t matter a lot to me in the big picture.
  • It is also a big business in which local communities are pitted against each other to keep their billionaire franchise owners even richer.  That part is what I find so offensive.
  • I was happy to see the NFL take a tougher stance against Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson but at the same time, this should have been done decades ago.  For all of the Ray Rice’s, there was a Warren Moon who was never suspended.  I am hoping there are changes moving forward but I am still going to take a wait and see.  I just have no faith in Goodall or owners like Richardson who won’t cut or suspend Greg Hardy.

Can someone help Kevin Lowe up from under that bus

Well that was an awkward press conference

Is it MacTavish’s fault? His intense forensic investigation has discovered that ….

… no.

No, this is totally not his fault, according to no less an authority as Craig MacTavish.

When grouped in with Kevin Lowe and Scott Howson as part of the Oilers’ braintrust, MacTavish bristled.

 “I’ve been on the job for 18 months. So you want to lop me in … I coached the team for a long time, but I have nothing to do with management. So don’t lop me into a situation of power and influence in the management level of this organization,” he said.

MacTavish coached the Oilers for eight seasons. The idea that he didn’t have input on player personnel decisions is, frankly, nonsensical. So essentially here he’s passed the buck for the poor construction of this roster over the years to former GM Steve Tambellini and Kevin Lowe, who is MacTavish’s boss and currently being helped from under a bus.

But MacTavish has attempted to position himself not as another example of the franchise’s addiction to nostalgia and cronyism, but as an “outsider” that is coming in to fix this mess. And claiming this isn’t his mess – and he lack of restructuring in both the roster and the team’s maligned scouting department says it is, at least partially – helps establish that persona.

“I’m pissed off. No one lives it more than me. And our fans are pissed off,” said the Rebel GM.

“We’re going to continue making rational, responsible decisions based on the situation that we’re in.”

No panic buttons. Stay the course. Patience with the young players. 

More of the same. Another year in the basement.

The Mess that is the Washington Football Club

This is a train wreck in Washington

Less than a year after a showdown over Robert Griffin III, another appears to be brewing. Jay Gruden’s desire to part ways with the ineffective quarterback may put him at odds with owner Daniel Snyder and President and General Manager Bruce Allen, potentially leaving the Washington Redskins searching for a coach yet again.

Late last week, battle lines were drawn between the coaching staff and senior management at Redskins Park after multiple team employees revealed Gruden is done with Griffin, as much because of the 24-year-old’s spotlight-craving antics as his shortcomings in the pocket. Prompted by the news of Gruden’s position, an unnamed Redskins official told ESPN that Griffin could start again during the team’s final four games, lending credibility to the notion that Gruden’s bosses still are committed to the league’s 2012 offensive rookie of the year.

This mess has been going on since Dan Snyder bought the team

Snyder supported the risky move to trade four high-round picks in order to select Griffin second overall in the 2012 draft. A former high-ranking team official said at the time of the trade the move would weaken the franchise for as much as a decade if Griffin failed to become a longtime superstar.

Considering his substantial investment in Griffin and how well the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner played in his rookie season, it wouldn’t be surprising if Snyder took a wait-and-see approach. Also, Snyder and Griffin developed a personal relationship, sharing high-dollar dinners and mingling with Hollywood stars. For Allen, trading Griffin could be a career-killer.

Allen strongly encouraged Shanahan, who had roster control, to move up in the draft to select Griffin, people within the organization say. Internally, Shanahan expressed major reservations about giving up so much for a college quarterback who did not play in a pro-style system.

But Shanahan agreed to the deal, in part, because of Allen’s persistence. After botching his first offseason in charge of the roster, trading Griffin would signal yet another failure on Allen’s part.

Allen had no role in hiring Shanahan and benefitted from Shanahan being ousted from power when Snyder gave him final say over the roster and added team president to his title. In contrast, Allen hand-picked Gruden to lead Washington after they worked together in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ organization.

I haven’t watched a game this season but even while avoiding the NFL I can’t avoid the train wreck that is the Washington football team.

U.S. Defends America’s Cup in… Bermuda?

Long time readers of this blog know how much I love the America’s Cup, partly because I find it to be the world’s purest sport; a sport contested by billionaires and their lawyers as amateur sport should be but this is kind of crazy.  The United States is defending the cup not at home but in Bermuda.

The America’s Cup has generated some strange partnerships and situations in its 163 years. A yacht club from landlocked Switzerland once won the Cup in New Zealand with a crew full of New Zealanders. Another Cup match was an unfair fight between a big, single-hulled boat and a nimble, wing-masted catamaran.

But Tuesday provided one of the oddest plot twists in the long-running story line of the event, sailing’s most prestigious, as an American team chose — with no outside pressure — to defend the Cup outside the United States.

Larry Ellison, an American software magnate and one of the world’s wealthiest men, spent hundreds of millions of dollars — only some of it on lawyers — hunting down the Cup, and then defending it in San Francisco Bay in 2013 with his syndicate Oracle Team USA. But after considering domestic options, above all San Diego, Ellison’s team announced Tuesday that it had chosen Bermuda as the site of the next Cup, in June 2017.

This was a first for an American team. And it was only more symbolic that the announcement came in New York, home to the New York Yacht Club, which zealously kept the Cup in the United States for 132 years.

”I think it’s a curious choice,” said Gary Jobson, a former Cup sailor who is now a broadcaster. “It’s not in the United States, which I find very disappointing as a past president of US Sailing. The whole thing makes me scratch my head.”

Bermuda has long caused sailors concern — consider the Triangle — but the worries this time are that it offers too small a commercial base for teams in search of sponsors and too small a fan base, with its population of 65,000 perched on a group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Bermuda is a fine and picturesque place for a sailboat race. It has a rich maritime history and is already the finish line of the Newport-Bermuda Race, held every two years. Many of the Cup’s stars, including Ainslie and Oracle’s skipper, James Spithill, know the islands and their waters well.

But shipping the Cup to Bermuda certainly does not seem like the ideal route to building big interest in the event in the United States, which was one of Ellison’s stated goals before the last edition. Oracle’s historic comeback against Emirates Team New Zealand, in which it rallied from an 8-1 deficit by winning eight straight races, generated real buzz at home as well as abroad. But instead of riding that wave in San Francisco, Ellison and Russell Coutts, Oracle Team USA’s chief executive, have chosen to start anew in a British overseas territory — as close as the British have come to staging the Cup since they lost the inaugural regatta at home off the Isle of Wight in 1851.

“Well, we’re halfway there,” said Ben Ainslie, a British yachtsman who sailed for Ellison in 2013 but is now the head of a British team, Ben Ainslie Racing.

Moving the race closer to Europe was a major reason for choosing Bermuda, Coutts said, as was the territory’s proposal to build a central base for teams and spectators. For now, there are five confirmed challengers for the 2017 Cup: Team New Zealand, Ben Ainslie Racing, Artemis, Luna Rossa and Team France. Four of those teams are from Europe.
Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyFinding the right time zone for European television “was absolutely critical to us,” Coutts said in an interview Tuesday.

RIP Pat Quinn

I learned this about Pat Quinn today

He was much more then the “Big Irishman” from Hamilton.  He was a well educated and big thinking coach.  In many ways he was hockey’s Phil Jackson.

Quinn for me was always the coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Canucks but he had a great run in Philadelphia.

Quinn twice won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach. The first came in 1979-80, his first full season on the job, after the Flyers fashioned a record 35-game unbeaten streak that is unlikely to be broken now that shootouts are used to settle tied games. The Flyers also reached the Stanley Cup final that year.

His second coach of the year award came after the 1991-92 season with Vancouver. Two years later he guided the Canucks to within one victory of the Stanley Cup before they fell to the New York Rangers in Game 7 of the final.

Quinn also served as the general manger of the Canucks and the Maple Leafs.

One of my favourite coaches of all time, even if his Canucks broke my heart by beating the Flames in the playoffs.

What it is like to have a billionaire racist boss

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin on what it was like to work for Donald Sterling

Donald Sterling literally introduced me to everyone. Here’s how he did it, every single time, to every single group of people, while holding on to my hand:

“Everyone, have you met our newest star? This is Blake! He was the number one pick in the entire NBA draft. Number one! Blake, where are you from?”

Then I’d say I was from Oklahoma.

“Oklahoma! And tell these people what you think about LA.”

Then I’d say it was pretty cool.

“And what about the women in LA, Blake?”

It was the same conversation with every group of people. When he would start having a one-on-one conversation with someone, I’d try to slip away, and he’d reach back and paw my hand without even breaking eye contact with the person. Whenever he didn’t have anything left to say, he just turned around and walked us over to the next group.

“… Have you met our newest star?”

It went on like this forever. At one point, a guy who had clearly been to a bunch of these parties turned to me and said, “Just keep smiling, man. It’ll all be over soon.”

At this point, a lot of you are probably wondering why I didn’t pull my hand away, or why I didn’t just leave the party. For one, I was a 20-year-old kid from Oklahoma. But even if I had been 25, I don’t know if it would’ve been any different. The guy was my boss. Ask yourself, how would you react if your boss was doing the same thing to you?

Umm, I’d walk out, call my agent, demand a trade and if that didn’t happen then, file a complaint with the union, the NBA, and then evaluate my options of holding out and playing in Europe.  Of course that is just me.  I enforce my personal bubble.

The post comes from The Player’s Tribune which is Derek Jeter’s new venture.

How the CBC lost Hockey Night in Canada

This is a sad story of how CBC lost it’s cash down and part of it’s soul

Hockey Night in Canada

The victors strode into the CBC’s Toronto headquarters at 250 Front St. West on June 1 in an especially humiliating denouement for what was left of the public network’s sports department and its version of Hockey Night In Canada.

Not only had Rogers Communications Inc. wrenched the Canadian national broadcast rights to NHL games from the CBC’s grasp with a stunning $5.2-billion payout over the next 12 years, but the Visigoths were actually at the gate. Part of the ensuing deal, in which those in charge of the CBC meekly handed over the company’s airwaves for free, was that the Rogers people connected to Hockey Night, along with some people hired from rival TSN, would use the CBC’s studios and take over the show’s office space on the north side of the eighth floor – the plushest in the building thanks to the show’s status as the network’s biggest money spinner.

The cash-strapped national broadcaster may have lost a Canadian institution it held for 62 years because it could not hope to match the money Rogers threw at the NHL, but no one was actually going anywhere. The show’s staff stayed put and the new bosses moved in. Hockey Night will continue to be broadcast on the CBC’s stations across the country – the show makes its season debut Saturday night after Rogers officially unwrapped its new toy this week with Wednesday Night Hockey to cover the NHL’s opening night – but the money all goes to Rogers now.

The only revenue the CBC will get is from renting its studios, offices and some staff to the conquerors.

Not long after the Rogers people moved into the CBC building, a notice went up: The eighth-floor boardroom was now off-limits to CBC staffers. If they wanted to use it, a request had to be made through Rogers.

“I’d say weird is a great way to put it,” one Hockey Night staffer said of the atmosphere in the offices on the eighth floor, adding that another emotion has a greater hold. “I’m angry at the CBC for how they handled this. I think a lot of people are mad. They fired 50 people in sports and those are people with families. This didn’t have to happen.”

It didn’t have to happen, staff at both the CBC and Hockey Night say, because they believe NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his marketing chief John Collins were willing to offer the CBC a compromise that would have saved a scaled-down version of Hockey Night for the network that still would have been a significant source of revenue. Those staffers also believe the CBC executives missed this chance because of their failure to recognize the changed broadcast landscape and to see the threat posed by Rogers and BCE Inc., which owns the TSN and CTV networks. The CBC negotiators insisted throughout an exclusive negotiating period with the NHL that any new deal would see the network stick to a regional and national schedule by carrying all games played by Canadian-based NHL teams on Saturdays.

A humiliating blow to the CBC which will have an impact on Canadian broadcasting for years to come.