Category Archives: National Hockey League

06 Apr

Pity for Leafs Fans

During this past summer, it must have seemed like a dream
When the schedule makers gave you a late-season date with the league’s worst-run team

Down the stretch, your team would surely need a win
With the easy two points, maybe the Leafs would get in

It did not take the Amazing Kreskin for foresee
That in early April, your woe begotten opponents would be ready to take to the first tee

All they had to do was give it a halfway decent showing
Instead, fans were left crying and moaning

Because there can be nothing more emasculating to a player or a fan
Than to lose to a team run by Mark Chipman

The playoffs are something Chipman’s team will never see
For this year, neither will the Leafs, since misery loves company

22 Mar

Questions to Ponder

1. Are there more cell phones, dogs, or people in Winnipeg?
2. With all the furor over the expenses that Red River College President Stephanie Forsyth is billing to the Manitoba taxpayer, wouldn’t you like to see what expenses Garth Buchko of the Bombers is racking up? Or Mark Chipman, owner/GM of the so-called Jets? Since both the Bombers and True North are publicly-funded organizations, don’t we have the right to know?
3. Is Winnipeg the largest city in North America without a law enforcement agency?
4. Is Manitoba Progressive Conservative leader Brian Pallister a genetic clone of his predecessor? Pallister seemed like a fighter. Someone who could really take on the Non Democratic Party. I had such high hopes for him. But then, like his predecessor, he sits silently while the NDP turns Manitoba into a Canadian version of Greece. Then he comes out of hibernation to speak about welfare rates. Oy.
5. Why does the government continue to use the slogan “Friendly Manitoba” on the license plates?
6. Has there been a day in the last five years in which there has not been a stabbing in Winnipeg?
7. Am I the only person in Winnipeg who has not watched an NHL game this year? And has not missed it one bit?
23 Jan

Viable, Indeed

Ever since Mark Chipman seized control of the Atlanta Thrashers a couple of years ago and relocated the franchise to Winnipeg, I’ve been asked many times as to how I think the team will fare off the ice.
I said at the time that I do not believe that an NHL franchise in Winnipeg can be viable over the long term and that, within five to ten years, it will be on the move again.
Since that time, there has been a run on tickets. Fans have bought them. Crown corporations, exceeding their mandate to provide a thinly-veiled handout, have bought them.
There has also been an explosion of merchandise sales. You can’t turn around without seeing someone with an “I Love Mark Chipman” T-shirt or jersey. Fans even expressed their love for Winnipeg’s most prominent used car salesman by purchasing special license plates with his logo on it.
At the end of the season, the team made so much money that it didn’t need to dip into NHL revenue sharing.
You were wrong, people told me.
“More than that it stated to the community and the world that no subsidies are needed in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Period,” said Chipman’s sugar daddy, David Thomson, to Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press.
But the weight of evidence is very much against the 3rdBaron Thomson of Fleet.
Even before the ink was dry on the purchase agreement for the Thrashers, Chipman was bounding up the steps of the Legislative Building. Into Premier Greg Selinger’s office he went bucking up for another handout.
In addition to the generous subsidy packages the three levels of government provided to build his arena and the practice facility that sits at the western edge of the city adjacent to his auto dealerships, he wanted more.
Sadly, “Greasy Greg,” eager to buy votes in an election year, gave in. And far too easily. “Help,” he euphemistically called it.
While farmers in the western part of the province and residents along the shore of Lake Manitoba, devastated by the flood of 2011, still wait for fair compensation, Chipman certainly didn’t have to wait for his most recent handout. This morning’s Free Press reported that $6.9 million of our money went to True North in 2011.
In that same Free Press article this morning, we get word that a casino is going up in cityplace that will pump even more money into Chipman’s pocket.
But I thought that they didn’t need subsidies. The 3rdBaron Thomson of Fleet said so.
Well, obviously they do.
You may argue that the revenues from this new casino don’t really come out of the taxpayer’s pocket. It’s a voluntary contribution. An “idiot tax” if you will. If I don’t want to subsidize Chipman, all I have to do is not gamble there.
Gambling revenues, however, are not limitless. The amount that people gamble is not likely to increase significantly as a result of this latest casino. All it means is that people who would gamble might spend money at this casino instead of going to, say, Club Regent or McPhillips Street Station.
And that means that money that would be going to the government is instead being diverted into Chipman’s pocket.
Guess who has to make up the difference.
Should the government be subsidizing Chipman or any other sports owner or team is another question. It is true that Chipman’s team does bring in other revenues that makes an arguable case, unlike the Blue Bombers, for example, who are simply dead weight on the public treasury.
But the next time someone wants to debate the viability of NHL hockey in Winnipeg, I’ll gladly debate the topic when and only when Chipman is taken off welfare and repays all the money that he’s taken from public coffers.
Then we’ll see if the cadaver that is the so-called “Winnipeg Jets” can breathe without life support apparatus.
03 Dec

Misplaced Blame


As the most recent NHL lockout lingers on, the only thing that surprises me more than the intransigence of the owners is the number of people in Winnipeg who are firmly in their favor.

Without question, there’s plenty of blame to go around on all sides.
Yes, the players make gobs of money. More than the average person on the street can comprehend.
So do the owners.
Revenue is growing at unprecedented levels. The owners are making money hand over fist.
And it is the owners who decided to shut the league down in order to get even more.
In past disputes between players and owners, there were justifiable reasons on each side.
Players held out for the right to be able to have more freedom to choose where they wanted to work. This is a right that most of us take for granted. With a limited window of opportunity to enjoy the fruits of a career at the NHL level, who can blame them for wanting to be able to ply their trade with the team of their choosing at a salary dictated by a free market system?
By the same token, owners have every right to ensure that their business remains economically viable. They have invested large sums of money and are entitled to reap the rewards from that investment. The “cost certainty” that the owners fought for has enabled all of the league’s franchises to thrive on and off the ice.
This dispute has no such honorable motives.
This lockout is about nothing more than pure, unadulterated greed.
The NHL’s owners, including Mark Chipman, are playing us all for suckers. And I know that I’m not the only one who is utterly disgusted.
The day after this past season ended, I called my television service provider and proudly cancelled my NHL Center Ice subscription. I enjoyed watching the Dallas Stars, but I’m not coming back.
Yet, many fans in Winnipeg paint Chipman as an innocent victim and cry foul because the players have the audacity not to capitulate.
Chipman is not innocent. His vote counts the same as hard-liners like Jeremy Jacobs in Boston. He is no more or less responsible for the current lockout than any of the rest of them.
The players are giving in. But they’re just not giving in as much as the owners would like. Led by stronger leadership than they’ve ever had in their history, they’re not just going to fold like a house of cards.
The longer the lockout goes on, the more entrenched each side will become. It could be years before the stalemate is broken. Both sides are digging in like soldiers on the western front in the Great War.
In the meantime, as far as I’m concerned, Gary Bettman, Mark Chipman and Don Fehr can all join hands and jump in the nearest lake.
Don’t bother hollering for a life preserver.