Total Pageviews

Monday, August 29, 2011



Time is short, hence the late night blog posting, but here are some quick hit thoughts from a variety of subjects, covering a variety of sports.

1. Finally...Ice Dog training camp opens tomorrow.  The team is only playing three exhibition games because Marty Williamson has been frank about his ability to field a quality squad considering that there are nine players who will be at NHL camps.   Should all nine return, and there is a very good chance that will happen, call the Ice Dogs one of the early favourites this year.

2. Not a huge CFL fan, though I do love my Tiger Cats. While I was rooting hard for the Cats vs. Winnipeg on Friday, a small part of me was happy that the newly dubbed "Swaggerville" got the W.  Love the fact that this team has success and personality! Also, love the fact that Montreal and Calgary spent a good portion of the week yapping at each other and then backed it up with a great game narrowly won by Calgary.  Its been a fun year in the CFL, unless of course you are an Argo fan or a Roughrider fan.  Sad thing is that one of those teams could very well make the playoffs!

3. No secret that I am a huge Miami Dolphin fan and no secret that this team causes no end of frustration for all of its fans.  Its bad enough having to root for a team that has dreadful aqua marine uniforms, but the mediocre football is too much. Last year ended with my Dolphin hat getting thrown in the recycling bin in disgust!  Here's hoping Reggie Bush can revitalize a stagnant offense led by the redoubtable Chad Henne who somehow managed to find one of the best receivers in the NHL in Brandon Marshall for only 3 TD passes last year.   No problem with the D, but the O better step up the game, else a "Seahawk-esque" 7-9 is very likely.  My goal for the year is to be the special guest of Jennifer Lopez, who now has a spot open in her suite after she dropped the vampire like Marc Anthony.

4. Spent the latter part of summer digging into some Fantasy Hockey magazines, which might seem strange as I don't play Fantasy Hockey, but I love the stats.  Predicted the Leafs, by the way, another one of my teams that causes me premature aging, to make the playoffs the last two years.  We know how that went.   No predictions this year, but I've been with my wife for over five years now and she has yet to see me watch a Leaf playoff game, while I have dutifully and reluctantly, I might add, have celebrated her Red Wings winning one cup and making the playoffs every year.

5. NBA update?   Nothing, unless you count Gilbert Arenas co-hort/foil Javaris Crittendon getting accused of murder.   Methinks some of these fellows need some hoops to keep them out of trouble.  At least Ron Artest is rumoured to be doing Dancing With The Stars. Wearing sparkly tuxes should keep him away from trouble.

6. With the NBA, this will give the fledgling NBL of Canada a running start in terms of focus and gaining a following.  Here's hoping hoop fans discover that there is great ball in their back yards with the new pro loop and university and college basketball.

7. Congrats go out to John Bartlett, who goes from the Marlies to the Canadiens.  While I did apply for the Habs gig, I'm happy to see a guy like John go from the OHL to the AHL to the show.

8. Congrats also to Dennis Beyak who leaves his part-time radio gig with the Leafs and returns home to Winnipeg to call games for TSN regionally and also on the radio at 1290. He will be supported by ex-Manitoba Moose voice Brian Munz.

9. The Blues Jays are officially in "play out the string" or "garbage time" mode.  I hope that that they don't mail in the last part of the season.   Three straight dismal losses to T-Bay were on the heels of losing 2/3 to the sad-sack Royals.  The only games the Jays have won the last two series, were the ones started by Ricky Romero who has been rock solid. 

10. Personally, I know that I will be back as the voice of the Niagara Ice Dogs on TV Cogeco next year along with fine broadcasters and good friends Ed Burkholder and Al Galloway.  There might be more to announce in the next couple of weeks, or nothing at all.   Ed, Al and I are in our 5th OHL season together and other 150 telecasts.  Where has the time gone?  Home opener is September 29th vs the dastardly Mississauga Majors!

Finally, can't believe I have to mention another sad passing for the second consecutive blog. Longtime McMaster Marauder basketball fan, Hamilton Tiger Cat season ticket holder and all around good guy John Millar passed away suddenly late Sunday evening at the age of 62.  There was no bigger dedicated supporter than John.  He rarely missed a Marauder basketball game, often travelling great distances on the road to support the Maroon and Grey.  He will be sadly missed.

Steve Clark

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I took a brief somewhat unscheduled close to three-week hiatus away from the bloggosphere .  A little cottage time, and other fatherly responsibilities involving a now three month old kept me away from the computer.  Got a variety of topics to cover, so lets get to it!


Congratulations to the NBL of Canada on the staging of their inaugural draft, which from the buzz that I've read was a complete and utter success. Many major media outlets covered the story.  The Toronto Sun, Star, TSN among others all offered up varying reports.  The cynicism remains, but there remains more of positive spin than other failed ventures. CEO Andre Levingston made an appearance on Prime Time Sports on Sportsnet Radio The Fan 590 on Monday and calmly laid out his vision and business plan. He was quick to point that the lure of the league is opportunity, rather than wealth as the salary cap is $150 000 per team. The challenge now is to make the players something of household names.  I'll admit I've never heard of 1st overall pick Morgan Lewis, 6'4 out of the University of Findlay, and in fact had not heard of any player until the University of Windsor's Isaac Kuon got drafted in the 2nd round by London.  Best names of the draft?  Got to be Akeem Sween, drafted by Moncton out of Humber College, followed closely by Halifax's Papa Oppong, out of Western Kentucky.  Also, the PA Announcer for Saint John will have fun with Kevin Massiah from Wisconsin when he finds bottom of the net.  The first game goes October 29th when Moncton visits Quebec City.   I think a lot of people are rooting for the league to succeed, so go buy a ticket.  There will be no question that the basketball will be of premium quality.


Magic words for all OHL fans around Niagara with the announcement of training camp beginning August 30th at the Gatorade Garden City Complex, running through  until the first exhibition game on September 3rd vs Erie.  There should be no shortage of intriguing story lines for Niagara this year as the squad has a chance to build on last years success and really be amongst the elite not just in Ontario , but in all of Canada.  Questions remain as to how long 1st rounders Ryan Strome, Dougie Hamilton and Mark Visentin will last at their respective NHL camps. Also, the aforementioned trio plus Freddie Hamilton are all gunning for Team Canada and the World Jr's.  How much time those fine players miss, may go aways in dictating the fortunes of the Dogs this year.  Also, the question of whether or not the Niagara region gets a new arena may dominate the headlines and casting a looming shadow over the year.  Here's hoping that gets settled so we can also focus on hockey!


All is silent on the hockey media vacancies at this point in time.  Phoenix, Winnipeg, and Montreal all have voids to fill on either the TV or radio end.  Montreal is looking for a radio play by play man, as is Winnipeg. While Phoenix and Winnipeg are still looking at play by play on the TV end of things.  

Personally, I'm hoping to have a couple of new projects on the go come the fall, on top of this blog and my play by play duties with the Ice Dogs.  A busy fall awaits, and you'll be the first to know if something breaks personally.  


As has been heavily documented in many media outlets, we mourn the passing of both Rick Rypien of the Winnipeg Jets organization and NDP leader Jack Layton. Many have spoken of both men and their many tremendous attributes, and both leave a lasting legacy. 

Jack Layton sudden passing at the age of 61 opened up a staggering number of tributes or respect to the affable and outgoing NDP leader.  His tireless devotion to this party and cause lead the NDP to their highest standing in the country.  More importantly Layton defied the traditional and conventional politician and truly was a man of the people.  A fighter to the end, he will be missed.

With the passing of Rick Rypien tragically at the age of 27 it is hoped that the conversation about mental illness will continue and that there can be open dialogue. Rick Rypien fought his illness for many years and still carved out a niche in an extremely competitive line of work.    Remember to everyone out there suffering from an emotional or mental illness:  There are open and non-judgmental set of ears and caring hearts if you want to talk.

Steve Clark

Friday, August 5, 2011



Great lyricists Public Enemy warned us to not believe the hype, and perhaps this should be a caution for all those expecting Brett Lawrie to be the second coming of Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt all rolled into one.  Make no mistake about it, the young man has tremendous talent and unlimited potential, but he's still a rookie trying to find his way in the league.  Sad thing is that another hyped youngster in Travis Snyder got sent down again to make room for Lawrie and Snyder is in danger of being tabbed with the "unfulfilled potential" label.

Gotta slip in a little OHL news for the team that I cover, the Niagara Ice Dogs.  Assistant Coach Mike Van Ryn, who did an admirable job with a defense led by first rounder Dougie Hamilton, is off to Houston of the AHL to fulfill a similar role.  Former Guelph Storm bench boss and general manager Jason Brooks takes over the affable Van Ryn.  Brooks did some scouting for the Ice Dogs toward the latter part of last year.

Good luck to Ice Dogs Freddie and Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Strome and Mark Visentin who are attending Team Canada orientation camp. Visentin is a lock to be the #1 goaltender for the team this year, while the Hamilton brothers and Strome will make strong bids for the team.   Former Ice Dog D-Man Matt Petgrave is also plying his trade as a hopeful.

I was a little disappointed to see Jesse Graham not crack the U-18 squad competing in the Ivan Hlinka Tournament.  Reports had seemed to indicate that he was having a good camp.  I have no doubt that Graham will channel that disappointment into positive energy and he'll have a big sophomore campaign for the Ice Dogs.


The players just ratified a 10 year agreement, which will include testing for HGH.  Simply put the NFL is a league that simply gets it.  This is a league that has a license to print money. Their preseason generates 800M per week for goodness sake.  It served no purpose to have the league shut down for any length of time, and to their credit they got the job done.   The early player transactions made NHL's free agent frenzy pale in comparison as guys like Reggie Bush, Kevin Kolb, Plaxico Burress, Matt Hasselback all changed addresses.

On a personal note, hoping to have some new projects on the go for the fall.  Its not easy to fit in media projects with my gig as a high school teacher, a full season of Ice Dog broadcasts and my most important job of all as a father to a 10 week old daughter.  It is sure to be a busy fall and winter!