He won’t be playing and neither will he get the send-off he deserves
The writing was on the wall for Carl English and his future with the St. John’s Edge basketball team back in October, when team owner Irwin Simon suggested English was done following a series of injuries which hobbled him last season.
“He is St. John’s ... he was the anchor of our team,” said Simon. Notice he was referring to English in the past tense.
“I think the big thing is a team is made up of a group of individuals, and not one person. And he had a tough year last year from a medical standpoint.”
Simon spoke of English as if the Newfoundlander had moved on from the Edge, or retired. In truth, English was hell-bent on playing this year, despite his wonky legs and ankles which sidelined or hindered him for much of 2018-19.
But St. John’s fans have seen the last of Carl English, the player, and not because of injuries or the fact he turns 39 soon.
No, English is angered ownership owes him money — “failure to meet contractual obligations” is the official line.
Some wags suggest it could be as much as 200 grand, another sum in the scads of bills that had been left all over town by the Edge.
So instead of English getting the proper sendoff, complete with a rocking chair at centre court on ‘Carl English Night,' he shuffles silently to the sidelines amid a load of unanswered questions.
The whole thing stinks.
Kind of like the decision to bring in Tyrone Levingston as the St. John’s Edge president this season.
The same Tyrone Levingston, who was at the helm when the Cape Breton Highlanders sank last season under the weight of mounting debt.
Levingston, who was the president and general manager of the Highlanders the last three seasons, signed a one-year contract with St. John’s.
Levingston brought pro basketball to Cape Breton in 2016, but after three seasons the Highlanders announced they would be taking a one-year leave of absence from the league because of financial problems.
And to whom did the Edge reach out to run its operation this season? The very man who piloted the Highlanders on to the rocks.
What could possibly go wrong?
But should we be surprised Simon reached out to Levingston?
Sydney is Simon’s new playground, where the Cape Breton native owns the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Cape Breton Eagles.
I’m shocked, actually, Simon didn’t purchase the Highlanders when the opportunity arose. Then again, what would he do with the Edge, and could he recoup the money he’d sunk into the soon-to-be three-year-old franchise?
Which is why it wouldn’t surprise me if Simon, with ample encouragement from Levingston, doesn’t relocate the Edge to Sydney next season when the Highlanders are officially kaput.
Given what’s happened to English, we wouldn’t be shocked, would we?
Unless your name happens to be Jonathan Toews or, most recently, Cale Makar and Dante Fabbro, there’s a very real possibility that if two players vying for a position on the Canadian world junior hockey team – one an NCAA player, and the other toiling in one of the three Canadian major junior hockey circuits – the player winning out is a Canadian Hockey League guy, particularly if they are of equal ability. Hockey Canada will always give a longer look to CHL players over NCAA guys. Simple. My opinion, of course … Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis’s absence from the St. John’s Edge lineup will have an impact at the Mile One turnstiles this season, just as Carl English’s vacancy will, but Davis will not be missed in many other ways. Not that the former NBA player was a cancer on the team, but there were some nights, I’m told, the big guy refused to go on the floor, when he was healthy and ready to go … Memo to Alex Newhook: Daniel Cleary was cut from three Canadian world junior championship teams. He eventually won a Stanley Cup, was invited to the 2010 Canadian Olympic team summer tryout camp, and enjoyed the most prolific NHL career of any Newfoundlander. Getting cut from the world juniors — though I imagine it must hurt like a son of a gun — is not the end of the world, in other words … Has the zest or fervour for the Herder Memorial Trophy all but disappeared? And I wonder why? Mismanagement of the senior hockey game in Newfoundland and Labrador for years and years and years? …
Robin Short is The Telegram’s Sports Editor. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org