So it’s that time of year again when CBC’s plugging its Kraft Hockeyville, the gimicky money-maker and ratings booster designed to pit town vs. town across Canada, from Pouch Cove to Port Alberni.
Newfoundland’s never won before, though Bishop’s Falls came close last year, losing the final vote to Dundas, Ont.
Harbour Grace made the top five in 2009.
Which means this year’s Newfoundland Hockeyville contender, Conception Bay South, has a better than even shot at the title.
Now, for those of us not in C.B.S., this makes for barely a raise of the eyebrow.
But if you happen to live and play hockey in the town, well, it’s a pretty big deal.
The winner receives a “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcast from the community, an NHL pre-season game and $100,000 in arena upgrades.
While the first two prizes are nice little perks, the 100 grand is probably the carrot to the fine folks of C.B.S., whose rink — the Bob French Memorial Stadium (technically might be called Robert French, but we all knew him as Bob) — is a bit rickety these days.
Truth is, C.B.S. needs more than a facelift on its aging rink. It needs a new arena, period.
The Conception Bay Regional association, encompassing youngsters from Paradise to the Conception Bay Central boundary, is the largest minor hockey body in the province.
With one rink.
Teams are forced to find practice time elsewhere, as far away as the Southern Shore Arena, even.
And we’re not even talking about figure skating or rec hockey.
So here’s a suggestion: after this whole Hockeyville thing is done and over with, why not strike a committee to look at construction of a new rink?
It’s no good to blame Terry French, the area member who just happens to be the minister responsible for sport and recreation, for the lack of a new arena. Or the town council.
The blame starts with the people of C.B.S. You want a new rink? Get moving on the project, with minor hockey leading the charge.
There’s government funding to be had, and corporate money, too. And C.B.S. has more than one or two well-heeled residents who could be convinced to throw some dough at a well-meaning community project.
But the impetus begins with the community. Neither the government nor companies nor individuals will back a project that isn’t without a group of individuals spearheading the drive.
It’s the way it is these days. All talk and no action doesn’t cut it anymore.
Nobody asked, but ...
Tuesday, Montreal Canadiens athletic therapist Nick Addey-Jibb marked his 1,500th game in pro hockey. Addey-Jibb got his start in pro hockey with the Maple Leafs, spending a number of years in St. John’s as the AHL Leafs’ head trainer. One of hockey’s good guys ... Given the interest in the Avalon East final, perhaps the league should consider staging the championship round at Mile One Centre starting next season. Of course, C.B.N. fans might take issue with that, and maybe rightfully so. But if the CeeBees were to make enough money from a larger gate at Mile One (assuming C.B.N. was in the final), the team could knock a buck or two off the following season’s general admission ticket. Or, perhaps, let the CeeBees play their home games in Harbour Grace if they wish, and Mount Pearl and Northeast could go to Mile One. We won’t mention Bell Island ...
With all the talk of concussions these days, lost is the fine play of many NHLers — namely the Sedins — and some dandy playoff races, especially in the west. But how about Teemu Selanne? He’s 40-years-old, been in the league since 1992, and is still an impact NHLer, sitting 16th in league scoring with just over a point per game ... After a fine showing at the Brier, thought that Mark Nichols might have reconsidered stepping back from the game. But Brad Gushue’s all-world third is resolute in his decision to take a hiatus from curling. Don’t care if it’s curling, basketball or lawn darts, few all-star athletes can return to their former self after an extended break, so you get the feeling Nichols’ Olympic ship has sailed, and the 2011 Brier might very well have been his swan song ...
Robin Short is The Telegram’s Sports Editor. He can be reached by email firstname.lastname@example.org