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NEW Edmonton Baseball Mystery

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NEW Edmonton Baseball Mystery

Unless there’s a sudden burst in the amount of information being released by those who speak for the Edmonton Prospects and the still-unnamed baseball team recently established as the new operators of Re/Max Field,  a lot of guessing will be going on for at least a little longer.

The mystery: will there really be two university-level baseball teams in the Edmonton area next year?

Up to this point, Pat Cassidy’s Prospects have received most of the public attention after being ousted from their previous home in an apparent ‘hostile takeover” engineered by Randy Gregg and his followers. Cassidy’s biggest announcement came with details and probable pictures of what a new stadium will look like when it opens as the Prospects’ home in nearby Spruce Grove. The Gregg group, as usual, stayed silent.

On Thursday, however, entrepreneur Dale Wishewan, founder of the powerful Booster Juice franchise, went public. He is part of the group – also including Gregg’s brother Gary – that outlasted the Prospects in a fierce confrontation over which organization would receive city council blessing to operate at Re/Max.

Wishewan promised quick and positive news about where the new team would find a home. One unconfirmed guess: the 12-team Western Baseball Association, which has two teams — Kelowna and Victoria – opposing foes from Washington and Oregon.

A call to one number on the WBA website was not answered.

The Prospects are part of the Western Canada Baseball League, based entirely in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Operators have determined, so far at least, that there is no room for any newcomer intruding on the space of current members.

Wishewan, one of several minority owners tied to the NHL’s Vegas Knights, has been a lifetime baseball fan. At a young age, he played in and around tiny Waskatenau and Smoky Lake County, about 90 miles from Edmonton, then progressed to college ball in Oregon.

His interest in baseball became obvious at least a year ago when an Edmonton lawyer organized a meeting for discussion of some small hope that Edmonton might rejoin the Triple-A Pacific Coast League and let participants know that Wishewan was among those likely to attend. He did not appear, but his recent comments reaffirm his love of baseball.

“There’s a pretty big announcement that we want to make in the next few weeks,” he said. “It’ll be the best calibre of baseball that’s come to Edmonton in years.”

If in fact the Western Baseball Association heads this way, plenty of positive noise can be expected. One WBA player, a Washington product, was taken in the first round of the recent Major League draft. The website says it is common for WBA players to go in high rounds of the MLB selection process.

Cassidy, careful once again to avoid more heat on the Re/Max issue that forced the Prospects to find a new home, refused to comment on Wishewan’s statement.

 “There is nothing I can say that will affect what will or will not happen,” he said. “It would be interesting to see the difference in the fans’ approach – Canadian teams playing here with a lot of Canadian content, or American cities that may have no Canadian kids at all.”

As always in conflicts such as this, hard feelings can be expected to linger on all sides. One welcome possibility comes to mind: over time, how attractive would a western college playoff – WCBL vs. WBA – become in the public’s view?

Neither Cassidy nor Wishewan was asked for an answer to this hypothetical question.

Fast Action, And Fair So Far

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Alberta

‘Horrific:’ Witness says Alberta doctor slain while working in medical clinic

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RED DEER, Alta. — A witness to a fatal attack at a central Alberta medical clinic says the victim was her family doctor.

The assault happened at the Village Mall Walk-In Clinic in Red Deer just before noon on Monday.

RCMP said in a release that one man was in custody and officers were not looking for other suspects. 

Anina Mullin said she waiting in the lobby of the clinic with her 13-year-old daughter when they heard a commotion.

“We heard banging and then, ‘Help Me! Help Me! Call 911! Call 911!'” Mullin told rdnewsNOW.

“That was the doctor screaming, yelling. One of the receptionists ran to the door. It was at the far end of the walk-in clinic and she came running back like she had seen a ghost and was like, ‘Can someone help him?'”

Mullin said two larger men nearby sprang into action to assist. They came back quickly, telling everyone to get out.

“I grabbed my teenage daughter’s hand and we just ran as fast as we could out the doors. Once we got outside, we got into the truck and waited. And she’s like, ‘Mom can we go?’ And I said, ‘No, I’m too shaken. I can’t.”

Mullin said the two men who had helped stood at the clinic door and held it shut until police arrived.

“The one police officer went to the door and opened the door and had his gun drawn and he yelled, ‘Put it down, put it down or I will shoot you!'” said Mullin.

“At that time, a hammer flew at the police officer and bashed into the door and then flew outside. It was drenched in blood … like you couldn’t see any metal on it. It was just covered in blood.”

Mullin said the officer then ordered someone to ‘put down the machete’ and went inside. He was quickly joined by other officers, who brought out the suspect in handcuffs.

“He was wearing a hooded sweater with his hood up,” said Mullin.

“He had blood all around the rim of his sleeves and large clothes. From there, the ambulances came and they all rushed in with medical bags and a stretcher … they also brought out the other patients I assume were in the other waiting rooms along with two other doctors and a bunch of nurses.”

After that, Mullin said her doctor was brought out on a stretcher.

RdnewsNOW is not naming the physician. RCMP would not say if the victim was a doctor.

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro said he was “deeply saddened to hear of this horrific incident.”

“Sending my condolences to the physician’s family and loved ones.” he said Monday on Twitter. “My thoughts and prayers are with all staff and patients who witnessed this tragic attack.”

Dr. Christine Molnar, president of the Alberta Medical Association, also sent condolences to the physician’s family, colleagues and the Red Deer community.

“The AMA will be reaching out to local medical staff to learn how we can best provide support at this time,” said in a statement.

Mullin said her physician was an amazing doctor.

“I’ve never seen anything quite as horrific as that.

“It’s definitely affected my daughter. It’s hard to get out of your mind,” she said. “I don’t know if I could ever go back into that clinic. It’s awful.” (rdnewsNOW)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 10, 2020

— With files from Bill Graveland in Calgary

Sheldon Spackman and Troy Gillard, rdnewsNOW, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Oilers 50/50 raffle delayed as team resolves errors, offers refunds

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EDMONTON — A record-setting Edmonton Oilers 50/50 draw won’t have a winner for several more days as officials work out problems with the online raffle.

The community foundation says in a news release that all tickets for the Friday draw, which hit more than $15 million, remain valid.

But it says Alberta fans who want to void any ticket purchases will have until noon Thursday to make those requests and get a refund before a winning ticket is drawn.

The foundation has said its technology providers’ servers were overwhelmed with requests to purchase tickets.

At certain points, it says demand for tickets exceeded $100,000 per minute, causing slow loading times, geolocation errors and duplication of some orders.

It says it’s trying to resolve customer issues and is in communication with the province’s gaming regulator to ensure the integrity of the raffle remains intact.

“We understand the frustration created by the delay in resolution,” the foundation said on its website Monday.

“We are excited to announce the winning ticket number once we resolve the many inquiries we have received since Friday.”

Friday’s 50/50 record broke a previous one set Wednesday by a $5.4-million Oilers draw, which had to close early when the service provider reached its maximum allowable ticket sales. 

Officials had said the provider had increased its capacity by 2 1/2 times for Friday’s draw.

The previous record was held by Toronto Raptors basketball fans when a 50/50 raffle reached $2 million during the 2019 NBA Finals, the year the team won the championship.

Half of the pot raised from the Oilers raffles go to the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, which supports organizations focused on vulnerable populations in downtown Edmonton and youth sports throughout northern Alberta.

The Oilers were eliminated from the playoffs Friday when the hockey team lost Game 4 of its best-of-five series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 10, 2020

The Canadian Press

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