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ROBIN SHORT: No mixed feelings on this mixed curling stuff

Michael Burns/Curling Canada Val Sweeting and Brad Gushue form one of 18 teams who started the Canadian Olympic mixed doubles curling trials this week.
Michael Burns/Curling Canada Val Sweeting and Brad Gushue form one of 18 teams who started the Canadian Olympic mixed doubles curling trials this week. - Curling Canada

ECHL or QMJHL? … Who says it’s the 200th? … 50s were a great organization

Nobody asked me, but …

 

I like curling. I’ve covered enough of it, from world juniors, to a couple of Olympics, Olympic Trials and Briers, but this mixed doubles thing is a bit much, no? Call it quirky or gimmicky, but there’s no need for it to be in the Olympic Games when the traditional four-man/four-woman teams representing an array of countries are involved. Throw your stone, and then catch up to it and sweep? Please. Power play? What the heck is that? Isn’t that what the Edmonton Oilers were lethal at back in the 80s? If I’m a male fastpitch player, shut out from Olympic competition, and watching two-person mixed curling, I’m scratching my head … Has anyone noticed the Toronto Maple Leafs are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games, and the Montreal Canadiens are 4-6? Difference is the Leafs have a bright future, especially with a bit of tinkering here and there. The Canadiens are a mess, with little on the horizon. And this is on Marc Bergevin. Noone else … Sure hope Auston Matthews stays healthy. The collision with teammate Morgan Reilly before Christmas, which caused Matthews to miss a half-dozen games, didn’t look like much …

 

 

 

 

Not certain which league would be more received in St. John’s, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League or the professional ECHL. The Q was here for three years, and while the St. John’s Fog Devils had their moments, they didn’t capture the hockey audience’s attention like the American Hockey League Maple Leafs did before them. And with the ECHL — a rung below the American Hockey League — I can hear the critique now: this is like senior hockey! Whatever comes to Mile One Centre, an education of local fans will be required. Major junior hockey goes in cycles, as teams generally tank before re-tooling over a three- and four-year period to make a run for a championship. And the ECHL is indeed pro hockey, and by all accounts (full disclosure: I’ve never seen an ECHL game) is a good brand. Often, there’s little separating (an inch or two in height; a step or two in speed) an ECHL player from his AHL counterpart. A number of cities that recently belonged to the AHL — Manchester, N.H., Portland, Me., Worcester, Mass, Glens Falls, N.Y., Salt Lake City, Utah and Norfolk, Va., — currently have, or will have (Portland) ECHL teams. Other former AHL cities that now have ECHL clubs are Cincinnati and Indianapolis (Indy) …

The skating loop at Bannerman Park is a great addition to the city, and City Hall has to be commended for it. But wondering if it’s been discussed having a couple of kids hired to keep the ice clean and free of snow every hour or so in the evenings? … Despite what’s been proven through exhaustive research by historian Jack Fitzgerald, that the Royal St. John’s Regatta is not 200-years-old, the Regatta Committee is forging ahead with 200th celebrations next summer. I kind of get it: the Committee has said 2018 is the 200th year, and now they’re boxed in. But I’d like to hear their reasoning behind this. Obviously, they think Fitzgerald is wrong. Where’s their evidence? …

The Shamrocks baseball team has always been an annoying crowd — that’s probably jealousy more than anything! — but the 2017 edition of the Shamrocks took arrogance to a new level on New Years Eve with a Tweet from @shammiesbaseball that read: “The Champs would like to wish a Happy New Year to all the other teams out there. We appreciate all of you. Without you, we’d have nobody to beat. Oh, and if you’re looking for fireworks, we bought enough for the next few championships. We’d be glad to help you out.” Wowza! If that’s not bulletin board material, I don’t know what is …

Speaking of Twitter, see where Bill Butt, one of the long-time AHL off-ice officials, turned 80 the other day, and all the boys who worked games at the old Stadium and Mile One had a get-together. That’s one thing I miss about the AHL, seeing all those guys … Was there not a better sports organization than the Junior 50s, who sponsored junior hockey and softball teams in the 1980s and 90s? You don’t see too many of them anymore. The 50s, Higher Levels softball, the Guards and Feildians …

 

Robin Short is The Telegram’s Sports Editor. He can be reached by email robin.short@thetelegram.com Follow him on Twitter @TelyRobinShort

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