The highly regarded Luke Beck-coached Charlottetown Bulk Carrier Knights are looking to run their win streak to four games.
The Knights are hosting the New Brunswick-Prince Edward Island Major Under-18 Hockey League showcase this weekend at MacLauchlan Arena. The Knights were scheduled to play the Moncton Nissan Flyers (1-2-1) today, but that game will not be played as the Flyers will not be participating this weekend due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in the Moncton area.
Instead, the Knights will play the Mount Academy Saints' under-17 team at 11:30 a.m., and will face the Saint John Vitos (4-0-0) on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Sunday’s game between Moncton and the Northern Moose (0-4-0) has been postponed.
Each of the other three teams will play once today and once Sunday, making it easier for scouts to see all the players under one roof.
The Knights have plenty of firepower up front as four of their top-five scorers from last season are back, including Cameron MacLean, Colby Huggan, Max Chisholm and Jesse Blanchard. Cameron had seven goals and eight assists in 14 games after joining them midway through the season while Huggan was second in team scoring and big things are expected from both. First-year players Caleb MacDonald, Jude Campbell, Brett Arsenault and the talented defence duo of Harry Clements and Luke Coughlin have impressed.
Charlottetown’s goaltending is solid, too, with Aiden Williams and Jack Howatt, who was called up to Acadie-Bathurst of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last weekend.
Former New York Ranger Jason (Frenchy) MacDonald and ex-Notre Dame Hounds standout Dunstan Carroll are part of the Knights’ operation. The Knights’ arch-rivals, the Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild (1-2-0), handled by Kyle Dunn with assistants Duane Richards, Ryan Power and Alex Surett, play Northern today at 3 p.m., and Fredericton (2-1-0) Sunday at 10:15 a.m.
The news of the sudden and unexpected death of Kenny Squarebriggs late last week was a shocker to me. He was a friend for 60-some years, and his passing brings to mind the glory days of Johnnys Mayfair, a popular hangout at the corner of Prince and Kent streets in Charlottetown, which is now occupied by the Beer Gardens and the Sandy Clam.
Johnny Squarebriggs Sr. operated Johnnys for more than 50 years, passing the business onto his son, Kenny. Johnny was the final say in all sports matters, and his little restaurant and sports shop was filled at noon with top athletes of the day and a crowd of knowledgeable sports followers.
The Guardian’s J. Pius Callaghan, a huge sports fan with a hot temper, Frank (Duck) Acorn of harness racing and curling fame, Dr. Chris Gallant, Vic MacDonald, Spy Ready, Roach MacGregor, trainer and sports authority Richard Bradley, Roger MacLeod, Dr. Ian MacMillan, Ken MacDonald and Bobby Lund and many more threw friendly insults back and forth. Just when things appeared to settle down, Johnny Sr. would start a new discussion and the circus would go on again.
When Johnny Sr. retired, Kenny Squarebriggs took over the small restaurant and sports magazine shop and he stayed until father time caught up with the business. Kenny was a good baseball and basketball player and, arguably, the best bowler in the province plus a great storyteller, but – most importantly – he was a loyal friend.
In recent years, he was a familiar face at the bowling lanes at Murphy’s Pharmacies Community Centre, often helping his pal Rickey Burns in various fundraising events.
So sad, goodbye old friend.
The Colonel Gray senior AAA girls captured their third straight provincial volleyball crown by beating arch-rival Charlottetown Rural in three straight sets a week ago today. Head coach Laura Ready had high praise for the Gray club that included tournament MVP Seven McHatten, and all-stars Monica Gollaher and Syd Strain. Monica and Syd have pedigrees that suggest athletic success, as Monica’s mom is Jamie Ellen MacDonald, a sister to Tex, Sandy, Sock, Rabs, Sput, Scott and, of course, The Prophet, while Syd’s dad Paul, of the Merchantman club, is a noted sportsman and athlete.
The annual Horse Persons Day driving championship goes this afternoon with eight of the top drivers at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park battling for cash and the Paul MacDonald memorial trophy.
Marc Campbell, Gilles Barrieau, Adam Merner and Corey MacPherson are the top-four dash winners while David Dowling, David Kelly, Steven Shepherd and Don MacNeill earned their way via top percentage drivers in various categories. All are very deserving.
There are numerous draws, prizes and opportunities for Prince Edward Island Standardbred Horse Owners Association members and fans to win. In addition, those owners whose horses finish out of the money will receive “hook-up” allowances, ensuring a fun and money day for all.
Sunday’s 13-dash card gets underway at 12:30 p.m. and the $2,900 feature goes in Race 9 with last week’s winner, The Rev, saddled with the outside post against a short field that includes Soccer Hanover, Blood Money, Screen Test and the syndicate wonder, Cowboy Logic.
On the topic of syndications, Norman Hall’s fractional ownership group for broodmares, similar to The Stable.Ca model, is most interesting.
On the topic of mares, So Much More raced the $32,000 fillies and mares open Friday at Mohawk and was handicapped with the outside post.
Last week I stayed hot winning four of five, including victories by Miami, Las Vegas, Arizona and the L.A. Rams. I told the boys at the simulcast room, including Doug MacGregor, the Rams would smother the Seahawks and they did. Week 11 presents a number of very close matchups:
- Kansas City Chiefs (8-1) at Las Vegas Raiders (6-3) – Vegas beat the Chiefs earlier but this is a division game and K.C. has too much firepower. It will be a high-scoring game with Chiefs’ QB Pat Mahomes outduelling a very underrated Raiders’ QB Derek Carr.
- Green Bay Packers (7-2) at Indianapolis Colts (6-3) – The Packers are vastly overrated and, like Seattle, have a great QB in Aaron Rodgers, but not much else. Besides, Indy has 10 days to rest and Green Bay has never won in Indy. The Colts are 1.5-point home favourite and easily cover.
- Miami Dolphins (6-3) at Denver Broncos (3-6) – The Dolphins are a legit Super Bowl contender and are three-point visiting favourites and they’ll easily cover. The Broncos may not have QB Drew Lock and they are up against a great defensive club with a great young QB in Tua Tagovailoa. The Fish win with plenty to spare.
- New England Patriots (4-5) at Houston Texans (2-7) – The Patriots can get back to .500 with a win and they are coming off an emotional win against Baltimore. They have won two straight and I believe they stretch that to three. Do not overlook head coach Bill Belichick, this club will scare people down the stretch and especially at home. QB Cam Newton has not turned the ball over and Pats cover the 1.5 points.
- Atlanta Falcons (3-6) at New Orleans Saints (7-2) – The Saints will be without Drew Brees, no reason for concern as they have Jameis Winston as a replacement. Winston led the entire NFL in passing yards in 2019-20 and the Saints are the far better club and will cover the 6.5-point spread.
Fred MacDonald's column appears every Saturday in The Guardian. He can be reached at [email protected].