On the ice, on the courts, and on other things

Robin Short
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Nobody asked me, but ...    

Remember when you were young, and hockey had that Norman Rockwell charm to it? You know, little Timmy with his Montreal No. 27 Chartraw jersey, peeking over the stairway bannister past bedtime, getting a last glimpse of “Coach’s Corner,” Grapes showing a John Wensink fight? And now, the reality. Hockey is all about business, big business. About getting as much money as you can, as fast as you can. And then some. Example 861 of the business of hockey: since the start of the season, the St. John’s IceCaps were desperate for someone — anyone — to score goals. Up above, looking down from the press box, sat a player who had been scoring in double digits since arriving in the American Hockey League five years ago, including 28 and 27 goals the past two years. But the Zamboni driver was seeing more ice than Derek Whitmore, until he bolted the IceCaps for Germany this week. The IceCaps, you see, have eight veterans. They can only dress a maximum of six per game. Seven of the eight are under contract. One — Whitmore — was on a tryout. Guess who sits, goals be damned? It’s business, whether you like it or not ...

Dropped by the Field House last weekend, first time I’ve seen a Memorial University basketball tilt in a while (don’t want to intrude on the seasoned John Browne’s turf, and his chase for an honorary degree). Nice atmosphere, and the basketball’s very good.

See ST. PAT’S, page B3

The university does a good job on game production, but I can’t help but think with a few more dollars and more effort, the experience could be that much better. ... Hear about the guy on the west coast who has filed a human rights complaint saying boys are being discriminated in minor hockey? In Stephenville, boys and girls can sign up for co-ed bantam hockey for $350. For an extra hundred bucks, girls can register in female-only hockey. Unfair, claims Brent Watkins. “Female players should have to choose one division and there should be no difference in fee structure for any gender.” OK, so you really believe that. Fine. Warped, but fine. But to take it all the way to the Human Rights Commission? Watkins has way too much time on his hands. Is he concerned a female — with a bit of extra ice in the girls’ division — will earn a spot on a bantam all-star team over a boy? If that happens, it’s likely the young lad isn’t an all-star calibre player to begin with ...

Getting back to Memorial University and the Sea-Hawks. It’s been a rough go for Peter Benoite, the all-world good guy men’s team coach. Benoite has managed to keep his sanity despite winning just six games in the past three years. But there might be hope. This year’s Sea-Hawks look decent, especially in light of the fact he’s going with primarily first- and second-year players nightly. But let’s put it this way, even though Benoite is well-liked and well-respected by just about everyone, there has to be signs of improvement the remainder of this season and next. After that, all bets are off ... Mark Scheifele, second in the Ontario Hockey League’s scoring race this season, is unquestionably the Winnipeg Jets’ top prospect, but Zach Redmond has to be zooming up the organizational depth chart. By the end of this season, Redmond should be NHL-ready. … Watching any of those NHL classic games on CBC during the lockout? Don’t the goalies look really, really small? ...

With the senior baseball nationals coming to St. John’s in two years’ time, both the city, which owns the ball park, and the St. John’s Baseball Association have to seize the opportunity to give St. Pat’s the complete once-over. A new surface is needed (preferably Field Turf on the infield, at least), not to mention new bleachers, a spruced up clubhouse and change rooms. Bit of pavement on the parking lot wouldn’t hurt, either. Still don’t know why the baseball association and St. John’s minor baseball don’t climb in bed together to build on to the existing clubhouse to house minor baseball offices and storage facilities, making St. Pat’s the focal point for baseball in the city. On top of that, a new Little League field on the existing crappy soccer pitch should be built, on the city’s dime. Lord know there’s enough soccer pitches gone up ...

Two weeks into the MAX Arts • Athletics • Wellness “re-inventing yourself” program and results, happy to say, are showing. Eight pounds off for yours truly, and Telegram editor Kerry Hann’s knocked off 14. Ten of that came in Week 1 (starving himself on weigh-in days, no doubt). Anyway, these Surge workout programs are certainly, well, interesting, running the whole gamut from wind sprints in a gym, punching a heavy bag to beating a sledgehammer off a tractor tire. Can’t say I’m enjoying the whole thing, but you can’t deny the results. And, to be honest, you feel quite good following each workout. The MAX staff under Peter Barbour and Ryan Osborne have been very supportive through the process ...

Robin Short is The Telegram’s Sports Editor. He can be reached by email rshort@thetelegram.com

Organizations: IceCaps, American Hockey League, Field House Sea-Hawks B3The university NHL Human Rights Commission Ontario Hockey League Winnipeg Jets CBC Baseball Association Little League The MAX

Geographic location: Montreal, Stephenville

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