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Door opening for fan increase for minor-sports?


4 minute read

No surprise that the COVID pandemic has eliminated many high-profile sports in the last 100 days or so, and that promoters are struggling to get back to work. What may be a shock is that many officials tied to low-profile sports see an opportunity to fill the gap with events that normally receive only limited space on the back pages – if they get any media attention at all.

One of those who sees the opening, and welcomes it, is a man intimately connected with university, junior and age-class versions of his sport at all levels.

Enthusiastic comments are part of the Tim Enger personality; he played and coached this game before stepping into administration and ultimately becoming executive director of Football Alberta. It’s a big plus that he tempers his optimism with the basic understanding that the NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB and others are sure to draw the bulk of fan and media support as soon as massive problems with border access, real or feared boosts in infection totals and growing disputes between players and ownership are settled. The Canadian Football League cannot be added to this list because there has been no clear indication that any games will be played in 2020.

The timing of Enger’s comments is commendable. So is his understanding that a lot of professional supporters are reluctant to watch unknown amateurs do their thing. “We know that not every game is a thriller,” he conceded. “But most of our games provide a good level of excitement.”

Obviously, the major difficulty right now is tied to coronavirus reduction. Grid schedules will not be settled for quite awhile. “In Alberta (Step 2  of the recovery process), junior teams have permission to practice in cohorts of 50. Basically, that’s an offensive group and a defensive group. They haven’t been approved for larger numbers, so there are no full-team workouts at this point.

“We (Football Alberta) stay in contact with the health minister and Alberta Health Services,” said Enger, happy that his small staff is back at headquarters in the Percy Page Centre after two months of working almost exclusively at home. “There has been no sign of when Tier 3 will go into effect, so all we can do is wait.”

Tentative schedules have been designed. Obviously they’ll be adjusted as necessary.

He anticipates at least a partial junior schedule this season, perhaps starting in August with the Edmonton Huskies, Edmonton Wildcats and Calgary Colts filling some dates. Clashes with Saskatchewan and Manitoba teams are iffy these days because  provincial rules vary on border access and possible isolation.

“There has been talk of a Manitoba-Saskatchewan connection, with a possible playoff between the two groups. We’ll have to wait and see.”

The Prairie Junior Conference outlook changes radically from high school programs,” he said. They deal with school boards, principals and the ASAA (Alberta Schools Athletic Association.) Their road to competition might be quite a bit longer than ours.”

Already, the University of Alberta decision to give the Golden Bears a year off has negatively affected provincial football. For those concerned that they may be done for good, it’s pleasant to recall what happened when athletic director Dale Schula announced the sport had been chopped in 1991. The Bears alumni stepped up to raise enough money to keep the program alive. Two years later, then-coach Tom Wilkinson – one of Canada’s leading sports heroes, in many opinions — led a drive to raise another $400,000 when tight university economics threatened a final end to Golden Bears football.

Our sports history has value


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Southern Alberta hailstorm caused almost $1.2B in damage: insurance bureau

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EDMONTON — The powerful hail storm that pounded homes, vehicles and crops across parts of southern Alberta last month caused almost $1.2 billion in insured damage.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada says the hail, rain and wind that hit Calgary, Airdrie and Rocky View County on June 13 were part of the costliest hailstorm and the fourth most expensive insured natural disaster in Canadian history.

Hail as big as tennis balls shredded vinyl siding, pounded roofs, smashed windows and flattened crops.

Celyeste Power, a vice-president with the bureau, says insurers are still processing claims.

The bureau says damage caused by hail and wind is typically covered by home, commercial and comprehensive auto insurance policies.

It notes that the Alberta government is offering some support for people who experienced overland flooding in flood-prone areas.

“Albertans know too well the stress, turmoil and financial hardships that severe weather events can cause,” she said Wednesday in a release.

“Of the 10 most costly disasters in Canada, six of these have hit Alberta. Fortunately, Albertans are resilient and continue to come together in difficult times like these.”

The most expensive insured natural catastrophe on record is the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire, which cost almost $4 billion.

The next highest loss was the 2013 flooding in southern Alberta at $3.5 billion.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2020





The Canadian Press

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Alberta RCMP Officer attacked with own baton

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From Cold Lake RCMP

Cold Lake RCMP officer recovering after aggravated assault

A 44-year-old male is in custody in Cold Lake following yesterday’s violent attack on the RCMP officer trying to effect his arrest.

At 5:30 p.m., Cold Lake RCMP located a stolen vehicle in the Walmart parking lot and the responding officer made an effort to deal with the vehicle and arrest the male who was believed to be responsible.  The male allegedly assaulted the RCMP member by punching the member in the head.  The RCMP member’s baton was taken by the male and the member was struck in the head numerous times with the baton.

The male fled on foot with the RCMP baton. The male smashed the window of a different, occupied vehicle in an unsuccessful attempt to steal it.  He then threatened another driver with a knife and the baton and fled southbound on Highway 28 in the newly stolen Trailblazer.

Cold Lake RCMP initiated a pursuit and managed to cause the stolen Trailblazer to become disabled.  The male was arrested on scene without further incident.  The RCMP baton was recovered in the vehicle.

The RCMP member has been treated at the hospital for non life-threatening, but serious injuries and is recovering at home.

The male remains in police custody and will be facing charges as this investigation continues. An update will be provided when available.

“I want to thank the community members who came forward to assist our RCMP member and to provide valuable witness evidence in relation to this terrible incident” says Sergeant Ryan Howrish of the Cold Lake RCMP.  “An incident like this highlights the unpredictable and dangerous situations we face on a daily basis.”

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july, 2020

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