1. For the benefit of anyone who hasn’t read the details of the scandal surrounding our local junior hockey team, I encourage you to take the time and do so. If only a fraction of it is true, it’s a heck of a damning statement about the Burkes and their integrity and it certainly strikes a blow against the supposedly wholesome nature of junior hockey. Furthermore, again, if this is in any way true, the Burkes got off awfully easy in terms of discipline, as OHL and CHL Commissioner David Branch, a heavy-handed authoritarian, is not afraid to put the hammer down. By accepting a lesser fine, I can only surmise that Branch wants this matter to go away as quickly as possible, particularly with the CHL’s showcase event just around the corner.
1a. There are a number of reasons why the Meridian Center hasn’t seen my shadow in a year and a half, but this isn’t one of them.
2. Though the Burkes have officially denied it, the timing of rumors concerning the team’s sale is likely not a coincidence. For the record, if it comes to pass, I have no idea as to whether this will be a good thing or a bad thing. Before the report on the secret deals surfaced, my feelings on the Burkes were largely neutral and I have no idea what kind of owners the new group led by Steve Ludzik, Rick Dudley and Chuck McShane would be.
2a. For interest, I’ve seen Ludzik play with Chicago and behind the bench of the IHL’s Detroit Vipers, I’ve seen Dudley play in the WHA and later with the Jets, and I met McShane during a campaign event for Doug Ford. And yes, that is the same Rick Dudley who was the last general manager of the Atlanta Thrashers.
3. Glad to hear there’s a movement afoot in the Old Country to name the St. James Civic Center arena after Ab McDonald, the Jets’ first captain who passed away last year. It’s especially fitting given that McDonald was a St. James resident and, in addition, the arena has some significant connections to the Jets. The team practiced there on occasion and it was the first place where the famed Hot Line took to the ice as a trio. And who can forget the 1979 exhibition game the Jets played there against the Tulsa Oilers, their farm team, in which yours truly was among the overflow crowd.
4. Speaking of the St. James Civic Center, I noticed that its primary tenant, the MMJHL’s St. James Canucks, a team I saw on occasion when I lived in the Old Country, was in the league finals. After missing out on a chance to clinch their first title in 20 years when they dropped Game 6 at home, they held a 4-0 lead with seven minutes to play in the second period in the decisive Game 7 in Morris. And lost. Ouch. Seriously, those kids are going to take that one to the grave with them.
5. Spotted on a church in Buffalo on Saturday was a sign that read, “Jesus was a refugee.” True or not, I doubt that, unlike today’s “refugees,” Jesus demanded:
a) free health care,
b) free dental care,
c) free accommodations at a luxury hotel,
d) a lavish monthly stipend, and
e) free legal representation to assist with the immigration process.
6. To help combat rising water levels on Lake Ontario, I expect the federal Liberals will soon be introducing a water tax. After all, according to their logic, if a carbon tax will reduce carbon emissions, a water tax ought to lower water levels.
6a. It’s scary to contemplate how many won’t get the obvious sarcasm in the above point.
6b. It’s a wonder our municipal Liberal representative who goes by the title of “mayor” doesn’t implement a suicide tax to stop people from jumping off the Burgoyne Bridge.
7. Dear Canada: The next time someone runs for prime minister who tells you how much he admires one of the world’s most brutal and oppressive dictatorships, believe him.