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Tuesday, May 14, 2013


It's not exactly breaking news.   London got awarded it's second Memorial Cup in the last four Ontario bids.  What could have been a competitive bidding process became something of an inevitability as the awarding of the event came closer and closer.   No secret that London, and its solid facilities and great support of junior hockey played a role, but it also is no secret that the almighty dollar guarantee played a significant role in this decision.   Followers of university basketball will empathize with the current plight of the Barrie Colts and Windsor Spitfires who were the two competitors for London in the recent round of Memorial Cup bids.  

 You see for upwards of a quarter century the fine city of Halifax had a stranglehold on men's university basketball's Final Eight Tournament.  No doubt that the city did a tremendous job in hosting the tournament, often packing the place when local teams played.  That said elite basketball never got exposed to the rest of the country.  Sure there might of been not as many venues available, but year after Halifax bid against it self, offering the university sports body a nice return on investment.  One year Hamilton leapt into the fray and a lot of people felt that the time had come to move the tournament to Southern Ontario and at least expose the tournament to other parts of the country.  At the time Hamilton had an elite basketball university in McMaster good facilities at Copps Coliseum which had already hosted a lot of great basketball, university basketball included.  Yet for murky reasons unknown the tournament went back to Halifax where for the first time the word "stale" got tossed around.  As time passed the murky reasoning basically became defined under a financial guarantee.  At least, I think that is how it was decided.  I'm not sure eloquent feedback was the order of the day.   

The point is that don't say that you invested in growing the game when you keep going back to the hand that feeds you time and again.  Even today in the university basketball the Final 8 bounces back and forth between Ottawa and Halifax.  Hopefully another significant bid will be on the horizon. However, the bid process is an exhausting one on both political and sporting levels.  People devote a plethora of time on top of their regular job lobbying for the tournament, finding corporate support putting on bid presentations, locating the appropriate amenities and on and on  For the Memorial Cup committee to award a tournament to the same city for the second time in four bid processes is not exactly sharing the wealth and likely makes cities a little hesitant to exhaust their resources in a process with a low guarantee of success. .  

London, no doubt, will welcome the CHL with open arms and run a first class tournament with sell out crowds cheering, while the cash registers ring with equal joy, but you know what?  Other cities could have done just as good a job, but we will not get to find that out until next time around, and if you are small or mid market team it likely will be an  exercise likely born into futility, especially if the likes of London, Kitchener or Ottawa jump into the bidding pool. 

Friday, May 3, 2013


Aah the joys of having your own blog. Because in the creative sense, a blog can be an extension of your own personal Freedom of Expression, you can use it to gratuitously plug your own self-absorbed, ego maniacal projects! 

With that in mind, happy to say that my initial foray into the world of hosting, producing and creating my own TV Sports Show has continue to define itself, and has returned this year for brand new episodes.  Last year we experimented with a half-hour format and felt a little constrained with content, and the time seemed rushed.  Plus, some shows were better than others.  As a guy used to play by play, it does take a while to define your own personality on-air when you are in the hosting realm, as opposed to commenting as to what is happening on the field/ice/court.   I sure had my good days and bad days.  What I did not realize is that every single minute detail from the set, to the camera placement, to the placement of your guests to what you wear become equally as important as the content you are providing.  My most egregious error was showing up too casually, actually wearing a golf shirt, khaki pants and sandals.  Unfortunately due to camera placement my sandled feet were on display far too much, and it was far from a pleasing visual.   Overall, the shows were effective and gave us a solid foundation with which to build upon. 

This year we expanded to one hour, kept the panel format, though I will be experimenting with a couple of one on ones, and tried to tackle a lot more issues oriented shows.  So far we have tried to define Hamilton as a sports town, and tried our hand at marketing Canadian university sport. In the works is a show featuring local basketball legendary coach Mark Walton, and what one of his ex-players is doing, a hopeful 1 hour sit-down with a prominent member of the sports media, who just happens to be from the Hamilton area.   In fact, what we have found is that there are a lot of great stories from Hamilton out there just waiting to be told.   There is a new summer basketball league playing out of Redeemer College, Dundas is hosting the Allan Cup next year, there are Hamiltonian's excelling in both the amateur and professional field.  For myself, gone are the sandals and golf shirts, and I feel more, and more comfortable each week in the hosts chair.  I have utmost respect for journalists like Michael Landsberg who do this each and every day.  In fact, I would say that the Off The Record template is the one I look to for guidance.   We choose our guests carefully because guest dynamic is likely as important a factor as the host, or any of the other aesthetics.  So far we have struck gold as the guests have been eager to discuss, debate and clarify. 

There are many great stories that have been told, and are yet to be told.  We are always scouring the newspapers for good stories!  Maybe someday, yours is the one that we will tell.  Stay tuned...

Episode 1:  Hamilton as a Sports Town- guests Scott Radley (Hamilton Spectator, CHML Sports Lounge), Doug Farraway (Former PD of The Fan 590)- Aired April 26th

Episode 2:  Marketing the CIS- guests Robert Hilson (Athletic Director Brock University), Parrish Offer (Marketing Officer McMaster Athletics and Recreation)- Airs May 3rd 4pm and 10pm

Episode 3:  Basketball:  Achieving the Next  Level- guests Mark Walton (longtime coach at high school/elite/NCAA) Mihai Raducanu (NCAA Athlete/Founder No Limit Sport- Airs May 10th 4pm and 10pm 

Episode 4: TBA, Airs May 17th 4pm and 10pm