A long-range look at Sea-Hawks hoops teams

John Browne
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“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
—  Winston Churchill

John Browne

The start of the season is a ways away yet, but I got to thinking about Memorial Sea-Hawks basketball the other day.

There are changes on the way for both the MUN men’s and the women’s teams this year and it remails to be seen if they are positive or negative.

MUN men’s basketball coach Peter Benoite said last week that while things are “moving along at a good pace,” he’s definitely not ready to begin the season at this point.

“We’re working day-by-day to be where we need to be,” Benoite noted. “But, I feel we are much further ahead then we have been in previous years.

“It looks like we’ve got a lot of the pieces that we haven’t had at the this time in previous seasons, so there is a lot of reasons for optimism at this point.

“Of course, I’m always optimistic about the start of the season and always feel we have the potential to do well. So I’m trying to keep things in perspective.

“As we have seen in the past, things never quite go as you plan and anything can happen between now and the start of the season.”

Benoite says the team is deeper than its ever been since he took over the helm in 2008.

“The guys are getting after it in practice and we’ve had good energy around the team,” he said. “ We have guys at each of the key positions and we have a deep enough roster to challenge each other in practice.  That alone will make us more game ready.  

“So all-in-all, I’m pretty optimistic about things. Things are looking up.”

The Sea-Hawks have alumni games Friday and Saturday before heading to Montreal Oct 3. The team will be in Waterloo, Ont., Oct. 18. The team’s AUS season opener is Nov. 9 against Saint Mary’s at the Field House.

As for Memorial’s women’s team, head coach Doug Partridge said it’s a little early to comment on how things are going.

“Lots of change and we just started real practice last (Wednesday) night,” Partridge noted.

The veteran MUN coach did confirm Sam Kavanagh has chosen to continue her education at CONA (College of the North Atlantic) meaning she will not play this year and that Emily Jameson was accepted to the MBA program at Saint Mary’s University and will transfer and play there this season.  

Asked if he gets a little antsy waiting for season to get underway, Partridge said he used to once, but not so much these days.

“Just excited to get started training with what I feel is possibly the most athletic group of players we have ever had at Memorial. Being so young, we have so much potential,” he said

“ I’m fascinated to see how it all shakes out over the next three or four years.”

Like MUN men, the Lady Hawks open at home to Saint Mary’s Nov.9.

In the meantime, the team will play some local high school boys’ teams Oct 11-12. The Lady Hawks will play a couple of games at McGill University Oct. 18-20 for what Partridge is calling “our first real competition.”

“As we say in program: progress, not perfection.”

— SNL’s Stuart Smalley


Christine Sinclair, Canada’s best known women’s soccer player, wouldn’t do a one-on-one interview with me Monday night at Topsail Field.

Her handlers said she doesn’t do one-on-one interviews because she’s so shy. Well, she did a one-on-one interview with CBC TV’s Wendy Mesley last year. It’s amazing how some athletes get over their shyness when you put them in front of a TV camera.

Look, Sinclair, whether she wants the responsibility or not, is the face of Canadian women’s soccer. I understand that most athletes don’t like doing interviews. But she’s the captain of the team and part of that responsibility is to deal with the media. She’s 30 years old. She needs to suck it up and do every interview she’s asked to do if at all possible. It’s how you help grow the sport. Let’s face it, women’s soccer needs all the publicity it can get.

The Sinclair snub aside, the four national team soccer players did an outstanding job at the camp with the youngsters. After the final day of camp the players took several minutes to sign autographs and pose for pictures with every kid at the camp. I understand it was Sid Cox who was responsible for bringing in this group and he’s to be congratulated. A first class job all around and a feather in the C.B.S. soccer cap for sure.

Brownie points

 Memorial University Director of Athletics Michelle Healey sees a future for both men’s and women’s volleyball at MUN. She said men’s coach Luke Harris “has done a good job in recruiting this off-season and is looking forward to the start of the season. Our women’s volleyball team made it to the semifinal last year (under coach Bill Thistle) which shows the potential we have in that sport,” said Healey ...St. Pat’s senior soccer team is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its one and only provincial championship next month with a dinner ... Some rugby people believe injured Dean Blanks will be back playing within two years, though probably only at the local level of the game...


Organizations: Sea-Hawks, Field House.As, MBA McGill University CBC

Geographic location: Saint Mary, Waterloo, North Atlantic Canada

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Recent comments

  • Tracey
    September 20, 2013 - 13:25

    Mr. Browne, its funny how you decided to come out on the last evening of the Strive teams trip to try and get an interview. Where were you Saturday when they came in, (their flight times were made public). Where were you on Sunday during the media event or during the pouring rain when these four women spent hours outside with hundreds of kids and didn't care about the weather? Why didn't you go to the lunch on Monday? As a matter of fact, where were you in the months and weeks leading up to this event. Oh yeah, no where to be found!! Christine Sinclair and the other women owe you nothing. Maybe I should send you some of the dozens of pictures I have of my children and their friends laughing and having fun with these amazing athletes so you can get the real story. What kind of message are you trying to send out to other athletes/role models who may consider this type of thing in the future. Come to Newfoundland but if you don't do an interview with me I will write something bad about you. Grow up and get over it. As far as I am concerned you owe Sinclair an apology for what you said about her, LeBlanc, Matheson, and Wilkinson one for making it seem like they weren't good enough for an interview with you, and Sid Cox one for after all the hard work he put in, this how you show your support for a wonderful event. Side note: you should have interviewed some of the children for your article instead of insulted one of their heros, the public response would have been much kinder.

  • Natasha Kean
    September 20, 2013 - 11:32

    I was pretty peeved to read the comments about Christine Sinclair. It is so difficult to find positive role models for young girls today, not to mention, get them to come to our province to act as mentors. I was at the Strive camp where my daughter participated in the two hour session with all four Olympians. All four were full of energy, excited to be here and were extremely friendly. There are pictures of Christine Sinclair tying the laces on the cleats of some of the girls...definitely not the actions of a woman who thinks she's too good. If she's shy, then she's shy. I don't think it's fair to attack her because someone has a bruised ego from being denied an interview. Personally, I'd love for them to come back. I'm sure there are many who would enjoy that but it won't happen if they feel they're going to be under a microscope once they step off the plane. Please don't tarnish the good things that happen in this province and for its people over petty issues such whether you were able to land an interview...it's childish!

  • Jodine
    September 19, 2013 - 13:03

    Hi As a parent of a soccer player, I am very disappointed with the comments in this editorial. To personally degrade someone as wonderful as Christine Sinclair is shameful. These Canadian Olympians came to our province to share their experiences, passion and knowledge with our children.......not the media! Thousands of girls and boys look up to these women as role models and many aspire to be Olympians themselves one day. The fact that they don't all feel comfortable talking to media is not relevant . My daughter attended the STRIVE luncheon and camp and I can tell you it was a dream come true for her. Every moment the Olympians were in the presence of our children, they were engaged in conversation and laughter, and all four were very personable. These women are true Canadian heroes and we were are very lucky that they chose to come to our province. A huge Thank you to Sid Cox for organizing this amazing opportunity. He worked long and hard to make this happen. To have it end on such a negative note has to be disheartening.

  • Gord
    September 18, 2013 - 20:43

    I just wanted to say that this event was an experience of a ,lifetime. I met the girls and they are fantastic people, that came to inspire, encourage motivate young athletes to be the best they can be and to interact with the kids on the field. Mr. Brown you seem to put down CBS soccer in many articles and now are sore about not getting an interview with Sinclair. The strive for excellence event was for the young soccer players across the island and was not about you. Instead of being negative and writing about the negative side of the sport and associations, you should promote the sport. I can only hope that the organizers of the Strive program do not get to read this article because my friend, you made the province and yourself look bad, Hats of to Mr. Cox for all the work he put into this to make this event happen.

  • Michelle
    September 18, 2013 - 16:45

    Christine Sinclair (along with three of her team mates) were in CBS for the Strive for Excellence camps not on behalf of the Canadian Women's Soccer Team. Strive provided Karina LeBlanc as the spokes person for this camp. It is sad how the province's newspaper would take this amazing experience and put a negative spin on it. Sorry you didn't get your interview with Sinclair but her focus was on the players.....they defiantly got an unforgettable experience this weekend that they will cherish for a life time. The camps and luncheon were done with outstanding results. Shame on you for trying to put a negative spin on this!!!!!! As in your words "suck it up"! We hope to have the Olympians return again next year!

  • Laura Breen
    September 18, 2013 - 15:10

    Very, very disappointed to read this article. I have NO idea how someone could possibly turn this once in a lifetime experience into something negative. Women's soccer is thriving with or without your interview with Sinclair and I don't think it's fair to also put a negative spin on the sport. And the players took 45 minutes after the session to sign autographs and get pictures which is a lot more than several. I spent a fair bit of time with them while they were here and all they did was takes pictures and sign autographs. They have nothing but time for their fans. This whole event certainly deserves more than one small paragraph of praise and hopefully the interview you did with Matheson will be in your next article along with an apology now that you have all the facts straight. Not everyone can go online and read to comments here correcting your work! Seriously though, an apology is warranted I think?

  • Soccer Parent
    September 18, 2013 - 12:22

    Our child attended the Strive 4 Excellence camp held on Monday evening and thought it was a fantastic evening, well done and thank you to CBS for bringing such great athletes to NL. Christine Sinclair and the other Strive women were there to encourage, motivate and inspire up and coming soccer players and they did that fantastically well. The event was advertised as a two hour clinic with a meet and greet and it was all of that plus more. The players took more than several minutes to sign photos and meet with the kids, we weren't rushed as you seem to imply. I don't know why your article needs a negative undertone to take the shine off a very well organised and received event. Your article states women's soccer needs more publicity, perhaps you could help that with a positive story focusing on the fact that CBS just hosted 4 Olympic Medal Winning Athletes who were happy to share their stories with the camp. This wasn't a media event and I would think when Wendy Mesley interviewed Ms Sinclair, she did so at a pre scheduled time, not when Ms Sinclair was delivering a training session to children who were full of excitement at meeting their Olympic hero.

  • Gail
    September 18, 2013 - 11:57

    Too bad John felt the need to take such a potshot at one of our treasured Olympians! My understanding of Strive's policy is that they won't even ask the athletes to do one-on-one interviews, so Ms. Sinclair did not turn down the interview, Strive did! My daughter was one of many who benefitted from the time these athletes were here, and I think it's sad that Mr. Browne chose to sook publicly instead of 'sucking it up'!

  • Nicole Moores
    September 18, 2013 - 11:55

    Hi John, I have to comment on your piece on Sinclair. During her time here I got to witness her passion for her fans especially young players. Just so you know instead of being interviewed by you on monday night, she continued up into the CBS club house in order to continue with autographs and photos with her many fans waiting for her inside! Their time was every limited after the session Monday and they wanted to make sure the people waiting upstairs (volunteers) had their time for photos, autographs, and interactions! Diana did the interview for you instead then rush in to greet the fans in the club house and didnt have time to do the job she wished to do in terms of photos and autographs and was sad about this. These four women came here for less then 3 days and every hour was packed, they were busy the entire time making sure fans were happy. They talked about when they were young players their role models often refused to sign autographs for them and they made a promise themselves not do the same when they became role models! And I witnessed past few days just this promise! They all, Including Sinclair, made sure to sign an autograph for every fan possible, young and old. They all went the extra mile to do that! So yes it is unfortunate you didn't get an interview with Sinclair but if you look at the bigger picture as to why she declined - her fans - I think it was the right decision! We know they enjoyed their time here and hope to come back! Young soccer players were inspired by these 4 women and that is what matters in the end! Nicole Moores

  • Andrew
    September 18, 2013 - 11:10

    Met the girl, sweetheart, all there for the kids. Maybe she realized that the kids, who were her audience don't read your pathetic columns anyway and only watch TV! Suck it up yourself you got turned down, stop whining, you consider yourself on the same level as wendy mesley? please

  • Sid Cox
    September 18, 2013 - 10:52

    Just want to clarify, Christine did not refuse to do an individual interview, that was the stipulation from the Strive management, and is the same for all of their camps nationwide. They were here as Strive program of which Karina LeBlanc is spokesperson. Karina was available for interviews. The Telegram was not the only media that had this request turned down for Christine. I spent a lot of time with all of these ladies while here and the focus, effort & detail they put into the camps with the kids was beyond exemplary. They put their attention to them above everything else and we would be most fortunate to have them return. I would encourage any of the participants to add their experience and comments as well!