A Small, Important Opening
Chances are pretty good that all major-league sports and some of the lower-profile ones will manage to complete partial 2020 seasons despite growing signs that COVID-19 will not give up without a long and continuing fight for dominance over sports and all else in today’s world.
Experts and observers of all athletic and public disciplines agree, however, that nothing is certain: baseball players are opting to stay home; basketball players express discontent and confusion every day; the NHL waffles over naming so-called hub cities for a wacky playoff proposal that continues to raise more questions than answers.
In the midst of all this uncertainty comes one simple burst of optimism: the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame will welcome the public on Thursday, 98 days after the rampaging coronavirus pandemic forced closure of the building on the edge of Red Deer on March 16. It is fair to concede that reopening a small-city building warrants little public interest when compared with the billions involved in professional sports, but it’s also reasonable to accept that every step of progress in this deadly world-wide struggle is worth recording.
Although none of the $302,000 committed to the Hall in the current provincial budget has been received – a $75,000 commitment has been made but no cash has appeared and a review is already promised for later this year – executive director Tracey Kinsella said some pleasant things have been achieved during the lockdown.
“We have been extremely busy giving our Hall of Fame an update,” she smiled. “Our goal is to improve the entire experience for our visitors from the moment they walk in the door.”
Cleanliness was, and is, essential in the reopening. Sanitizers, directional signs and plenty of obvious messaging are part of the opening, of course. There is no plan for an opening ceremony, Kinsells said. “We would like to do something of a celebration, maybe later in July.”
At one time, fingers were crossed that induction of the 14 members selected several months ago but “we had to decide (last week) that there will be no induction banquet in 2020. We’ve had to tell all the inductees that we’re having to wait until next year.”
The list includes four athletes: skier Deirdra Dionne, hockey player Chris Phillips, chuck-wagon racer Kelly Sutherland and snowboard-cross star Michael Robertson. Five builders – Jan Ullmark, figure skating; Terry Morris, curling; Ken Babey, hockey; Derek Douglas, soccer – were selected along with five Hall of Fame Award winners Nancy Southern and Ian Allison (equestrian broadcasters, Bell Memorial Award), John Currie (Western Canada Summer Games 1983, Achievement Award); Stan Wakelyn (1922 Canadian soccer champions 1922, Pioneer Award); Dennis Kadatz (coach of Edmonton Huskies national junior football champions 1962-64).
Those awards show clearly how broad is the effect of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. Every winner spent years working and practicing toward the world’s most elusive goal: perfection. There is no suggestion that it was reached, just as there can be no hint that they have inspired thousands to follow them.
Discussing the government’s failure to live up to its contracted financial commitment, Kinsella was not especially critical: “We’re sad, disappointed, maybe a little alarmed.” During a lengthy discussion, she finally confirmed receipt of the government’s letter providing the limited amount and mentioned “I’ve asked for meetings, have not had a direct, face-to-face conversation with anyone in the area of culture.”
My unsolicited opinion: this is unreasonable. As the Hall opens its doors, perhaps a government department should also open up.
Learn more about the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.
Shattenkirk scores in overtime, Tampa Bay beats Dallas 5-4 in Stanley Cup final
EDMONTON — Kevin Shattenkirk scored on the power play 6:34 into overtime to lift Tampa Bay to a 5-4 win over the Dallas Stars on Friday and put the Lightning one win away from the Stanley Cup.
Shattenkirk fired the puck from the right face-off circle through traffic and past Dallas goalie Anton Khudobin.
The Lighting have a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven NHL final series and could lift the cup for the second time in franchise history with a win in Game 5 Saturday night at Rogers Place.
Brayden Point, with two goals, Yanni Gourde, and Alex Killorn also scored for Tampa Bay.
Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 26 shots for his 17th win of the post-season against six losses.
Joe Pavelski, with two goals, John Klingberg, and Corey Perry replied for Dallas. Khudobin made 30 saves. His playoff record falls to 13-9.
It was a back-and-forth game with multiple lead changes.
Dallas coach Rick Bowness, looking to spark his team after a 5-2 loss in Game 3, broke up his top line of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov, mixing and matching them in various combinations with Joel Kiviranta, Perry, and Pavelski among the top six.
The strategy worked early on.
Dallas had just three shots in the first period but scored twice. Klingberg scored first, then Benn dished to a streaking Pavelski in the slot, who zipped the puck blocker-side low on Vasilevskiy.
Point got his first goal in the dying seconds of the first period on a perfectly executed 200-foot breakout.
Shattenkirk, at his own end line, fired a bounce pass off the boards that Ondrej Palat corralled at centre and in turn relayed to Point in full flight, who deked out Khudobin on the backhand.
Point tied the game at two early in the second period on the power play, standing beside the Dallas net and bunting a puck out of mid-air.
Dallas took a 3-2 lead midway through the second period when Vasilevskiy stopped a close-in shot from a streaking Seguin, but Perry sailed in to jam home the loose puck.
Tampa replied again on the power play with a minute to go in the frame. Gourde jumped on a rebound that came right to his stick in the slot.
The Lightning took their first lead seven minutes into the third period. Killorn scored on a spin-around wrist shot from the right face-off circle.
Pavelski replied on a similar, sharp-angle shot soon after to set the stage for overtime.
Point has 13 goals and 17 assists, but remains behind linemate Nikita Kucherov for the NHL playoff scoring lead. Kucherov logged two assists and has seven goals and 32 points.
Pavelski leads the Stars with 12 post-season goals.
Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos did not dress for the game and is questionable for the rest of the series. Stamkos started Game 3 on Wednesday and scored on his first shot but sat on the bench for the last two periods.
He had been out since late February, recovering from core muscle surgery and a lower body injury. The NHL is not releasing injury information.
All games are being played in front of no spectators at Rogers Place, and players are isolating between contests to prevent contracting COVID-19.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2020.
Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
Alberta announces carbon levy-funded programs to reduce oilpatch methane emissions
EDMONTON — Alberta has announced where it will spend part of the money it recently earmarked to reduce methane emissions from the oilpatch.
Environment Minister Jason Nixon says $25 million will be spent helping companies buy emissions reduction equipment.
Another $27 million will be spent helping companies find, repair and measure methane leaks.
The money will come from Alberta’s levy on industrial greenhouse gas emitters, a type of carbon tax.
Nixon says the program will help reach the province’s goal of reducing methane emission by 45 per cent below 2014 levels by 2025.
Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas, about 25 times more so than carbon dioxide.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2020
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