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!
THE NBL of Canada DRAFT
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.
ICE DOGS OPEN CAMP
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.