A story in black and white: Fred Slade shares stories from his days as chief referee
CLARENVILLE, NL — His uniform is familiar and once he steps onto the ice at a senior hockey game in Clarenville, he never gets a shift off.
No, this picture hasn’t been doctored; back in 2011, Newfoundland boasted seven NHLers
Back in August 2011, six of the seven Newfoundland natives playing in the NHL gathered on Signal Hill for a rare photo. (From left) Daniel Cleary, Michael Ryder, Ryane Clowe, Luke Adam, Adam Pardy and Teddy Purcell all signed the jerseys they were wearing, and The Telegram auctioned them off for charity. Colin Greening, who could not make it home for the photo, was sent a jersey and he, too, signed it, at which time it was also auctioned.
©Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
Take a good look at the picture. It was shot six years ago, on Signal Hill, and more planning went into that than the Pope’s 1984 visit to St. John’s.
And in the end, Colin Greening still couldn’t make it.
At the time, this province had seven athletes in the National Hockey League, all playing at the same time.
Newfoundland had never produced that many in any single season prior to that, and we’ll never see that many again, not for a long, long time.
They went on to have a fabulous 2011-12 season. Michael Ryder would enjoy a career-high 35 goals with the Dallas Stars. Teddy Purcell would pot 65 points in Tampa, an NHL single-season high for him. Luke Adam would dress in 50 games for the Buffalo Sabres, scoring 10 goals. It would be Greening’s first full season as an NHLer, and he’d net 17 goals in Ottawa. Pardy would make 36 starts for the Stars, who paid him $2 million that year.
Ryane Clowe and Daniel Cleary had seen their best days, but still both had solid years in San Jose and Detroit.
Hard to believe three of those players are now done, Cleary the latest to hang ’em up. Ryder and Clowe will be going into their third year of retirement, and I’m told the latter might not be returning behind the bench as an assistant in New Jersey (his decision, not the club’s).
Adam has gone overseas to Germany, where ex-NHLers fade away. And as for Purcell, Greening and Pardy, all are unrestricted free agents, and each played most, or all, of the past season in the minors.
Pardy is 33, Purcell will be 32 when next season starts and Greening is 31.
None of the three will be a factor in the NHL’s upcoming expansion draft. Not saying they won’t play again, but let’s be brutally honest: it’s not looking overly promising.
With the NHL becoming more and more global, at a time when we’re seeing players from Scottsdale, Arizona, South Florida and California landing NHL jobs, the betting here is it will be generations before we see a half dozen or more Newfoundland hockey players in the league at any one time …
Nobody asked, but …
The St. John’s IceCaps are done. Gone. History. But gosh darn it, aren’t we still hearing about the hockey team and the “subsidy” it received, perhaps because the NBL Canada and QMJHL are/were being mentioned as replacements in Mile One? The IceCaps were nothing to me. I didn’t work for them, didn’t get anything from them. I’m not their apologist. But consider this: the hockey team was the anchor tenant at Mile One, and from this corner, it appeared the IceCaps negotiated a better rental agreement. They were still paying a princely sum nightly to rent the building. Look at it this way: if you’re the owner of a company, and you need five pickup trucks, you negotiate with the dealerships in town looking for the best price. Naturally, you’re going to get a better deal than the guy who walks in off the street. Is the dealership subsidizing your business? …
Want to talk subsidies? It’s a safe bet most arenas across the country, home to pro and major junior hockey franchises, have adjusted their rental rates to accommodate major tenants. In Belleville, Ont., where the Bulls start play in the American league next season, the city has practically given away the rink, which is undergoing a major renovation, to the hockey team. But that’s probably going too far … Nice move by Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin dealing defence prospect Mikhail Sergachev for Jonathan Drouin. The Canadiens are desperate for offence, and Drouin scored 21 goals last season. He only turned 22 in March. Sergachev may turn out to be the next Ray Bourque. Or he could be David Fischer, one of the many first-round defence busts Montreal has selected. See, here’s the thing: the Canadiens got a sure thing for an unknown … It’s almost a certainty Daniel Cleary will wind up working in the Detroit Red Wings’ front office. But I wouldn’t be entirely shocked if he landed in Toronto. Mike Babcock really likes him … Just as I tweeted shortly after the Buffalo Sabres named Jason Botterill the new GM, don’t be surprised if Derek Clancey doesn’t join his old pal from Pittsburgh in upstate New York. Regardless if Clancey heads to Buffalo, or remains with the Penguins organization, expect him to move up a rung on the ladder from director of pro scouting …
Ulf Samuelsson and Don Granato landed jobs in Chicago as Blackhawks assistant coaches to Joel Quenneville. Heard St. John’s IceCaps coach Sylvain Lefebvre interviewed for one of the positions. Speaking of Lefebvre, hearing he might land in Buffalo as one of Phil Housley’s assistants. But I can’t figure out the connection between the two. They never played or coached together … He’s got three Stanley Cups, two Olympic gold medals, a World Cup title, a world championship, a world junior championship, two NHL scoring titles, two MVP awards and two playoff MVP trophies. Sidney Crosby has to be mentioned in the all-time top 10 mix … You telling me with shops closing up downtown, streets over which you wouldn’t run an army tank, among other concerns, all some folks at city hall have to do is draft and send out letters to people who have hockey and basketball nets on the side of cul-de-sacs or side streets? And what kind of knob complains to city hall in the first place about kids throwing a few hoops, or playing street hockey? …
Who in their right mind would want to get into the golf business in this province, with this climate? … What’s going on down at St. Pat’s Ball Park these days? An opening-day no-hitter in senior, followed by a couple of one-hitters. A one-hitter in intermediate the other day, and last weekend a pitcher fans 20 of 21 hitters. I thought softball was the pitching-dominated game? … Which reminds me: Softball Newfoundland and Labrador made a good move hiring Dave Feener as executive director … Hearing the Avalon East Senior Hockey League wants no part of interlocking play with the Central West league. If I’m a betting man, I’m guessing the Central West loop is done. There is no interest in another three-team league, and Gander is far from a sure thing … Glen Chaytor of Mount Pearl won a bronze medal for the squat at the world powerlifting championships Friday in Minsk, Belarus … The Avalon Arena Association, a not-for-profit group which runs Twin Rinks, obviously had a good year on the books, and the group is spreading the wealth a little bit, which is nice to see. The association is donating $2,500 to the St. John’s R.E.A.L. Program, which provides recreation and leisure opportunities to children and youth in financial need, $1,300 to the YMCA Newfoundland & Labrador and $1,200 to the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Centre …
Robin Short is The Telegram’s Sports Editor. He can be reached by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TelyRobinShort