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Alberta

Edmonton’s connection to the defection of Baltimore Orioles’ superstar Jose Iglesias

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Here’s the simplest possible message for all and any who are bothered by the realization that the real world has interfered with the world of sport, so often described with great accuracy as “the world’s playpen” — it has happened before and surely will happen again.

For many, the most dismal example of politics destroying a major sports event is the 1936 Olympics, when Adolf Hitler’s prejudices were on open display. Memory of the brilliant sprinting by Black American Jesse Owens during those Games stands as civilized society’s best-known antidote to such critics of what now is identified as “social justice.”

In some ways Alberta is central to this debate: strong statements were made in support of Black Lives Master by players in the anti-Covid bubble designed to keep them healthy enough in Edmonton to complete the NHL’s first-ever late summer Stanley Cup playoffs at Rexall Place.

The international response, pro and con, will continue for some time, close observers predict.

“…. (Castro) was really angry. He was loud.”

It surprised me during the weekend to recall that a hubbub, but smaller, touched international baseball in 2008, when 18-year-old Cuban infielder Jose Iglesias defected from his national team during the world junior baseball championships in  Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River Valley. The memory was triggered by coincidence: Iglesias showed on television as a member of the Baltimore Orioles in a series against the Toronto Blue Jays.

That world championship was one of several conducted in Edmonton by a group of volunteers headed by the late alderman, Ron Hayter. There was immediate evidence that the shortstop with excellent defensive skills was important in his nation: Premier Fidel Castro called personally to object..

Longtime Edmonton resident Don Clark of Edmonton has spoken often of the experience. He wound up taking a long-distance call initially intended for Hayter.

“I only got on the phone because Ron wasn’t around,” Clark said. “At first, I didn’t know who I was talking to, but soon it got pretty clear.  There was nothing any of us could do. They were gone.”

Smiling at the discomfort of that distant moment, Clark recalled the sound of Premier Castro’s voice.

“There’s no doubt he was really angry. He was loud.”

Years later, in an interview with a Detroit newspaper, Iglesias explained the departure from team headquarters on the University of Alberta campus. During a stretch of about two hours when the team was not under direct supervision, “We just got up and walked out.”

At the time, Iglesias spoke no English.

“It was tough. Really tough. I had no family. No friends. I just wanted to do what I loved: play baseball.”

He signed a big-league deal with the Boston Red Sox in 2009 and made the all-rookie team before signing his current $3-million one-year deal with Baltimore. He  also played with the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers. With Detroit, he signed long-term contract for about $6 million a year.

Major League Baseball lists 32 active players as defectors from Cuba, including promising Toronto outfielder Lourdes Gurriel, New York Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman and other stars.

Read more of John’s stories here.

 

Alberta

Ottawa unveils proposed federal carbon offset emission credit regulations

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CALGARY — The federal government is unveiling proposed regulations for its greenhouse gas offset program that will govern how developers can register and sell credits earned through projects that reduce emissions.

Environment and Climate Change Canada says one credit will be issued for each tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent reduced or removed from the environment, adding that eligible projects must be in Canada and offer “real, additional, quantified, unique and permanent GHG reductions.”

The projects will have to be registered and approved, monitored and face third-party verification before credits can be sold to industrial buyers for use to offset their greenhouse gas emissions and thus reduce their carbon tax costs.

In a briefing, department officials said the federal program will not compete with credit generators under similar programs offered in provinces such as Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec, adding approved carbon offsets can only be used once.

The regulations are to undergo a 60-day comment period ending May 5 and final regulations are to be established by next fall.

Meanwhile, the department will be developing protocols to govern how various types of offsets will be regulated. On Friday, it unveiled proposed protocols for advanced refrigeration system upgrading, landfill methane reductions, and forest and agricultural land management.

In December, Ottawa announced a $15-billion plan to meet its climate change commitments that includes steady annual increases to its carbon tax from $50 per tonne in 2022 to $170 per tonne by 2030.

Canada wants to get to a 32 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030, slightly more than its 30 per cent Paris agreement commitment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Darryl Sutter has ‘unfinished business’ in return to Calgary Flames

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CALGARY — Darryl Sutter says he has “unfinished business” as he returns to coach the Calgary Flames.

The Flames announced late Thursday night that they had fired head coach Geoff Ward and hired Sutter to replace him.

Calgary’s general manager Brad Treliving says he feels the move was necessary because the team had been inconsistent and was under performing this season.

Treliving says Sutter’s clarity and ability to maximize player performance will help the team that has gone 11-11-2 so far this year.

The move marks Sutter’s return to the team he coached from 2002 to 2006, and served as general manager for from 2003 to 2010. Under his guidance, Calgary went to the Stanley Cup final in 2004, losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a seven-game series, and Sutter says he is intent on winning the Cup now that he has returned to the Flames.

Sutter is expected to join the team Monday after going through the league’s COVID-19 protocols. Assistant coach Ryan Huska will run the bench when the Flames face the Oilers in Edmonton on Saturday and host the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. 

The Canadian Press

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