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The world is full of options


5 minute read

The world is full of options.

Keep dreaming or cut your hopes? With opinions dominating every aspect of life, whose judgment can you trust? Should we step outside or wait until the siren stops wailing?

Right now, almost at this moment, the National Hockey League is asking those questions: push aside all obstacles and restart the abbreviated current season, or accept that games without fans won’t provide the answer, and the emotional, fan-driven thrills, that supporters truly want? Those questions are front and centre for commissioner Gary Bettman and his paid advisers, as well as for all of us who count on sports – especially hockey, even in what should be baseball season – to fill essential blanks in our schedules. Another group waits more anxiously than ticket-buyers or big-screen addicts possibly could.

The players, of course.

For many, their future next season – even beyond whatever shape their game takes in the short term – is transcendent. Those who have endured a difficult partial season obviously have more concerns than those whose team standings and personal statistics are beyond rebuke. But that, in every sport, is a minority. Far more common are those who cannot tell what next year will bring.

It’s entirely possible that one such man will be Mark Pysyk, the former Edmonton Oil Kings captain who became a first-round draft choice of the Buffalo Sabres in the 2010 entry draft and later was traded to the Florida Panthers, where his career has been solid but, as he would clearly admit, not spectacular.

Pysyk holds a high place in Oil Kings junior history. Although his profile never reached the level of Hall-of-Famers Johnny Bucyk or Norm Ullman, nor Al Hamilton and coaching great Pat Quinn and Hall-of-Fame builder Glen Sather, he was the first prospect to don an Edmonton uniform when the franchise returned to organized hockey in 2007 after a long period of ugly sports politics kept this community on the outside looking in.

Pysyk played only 14 Western Hockey League games that season but was a junior star from then on. After Buffalo grabbed him, he played part of one season in the American Hockey League. Since then, he has been fully employed, except for three games in Rochester while recovering from an injury in the 2015-16 season, shortly before he became part of a draft day trade that sent him to the Florida Panthers.

In the next two seasons at his sunny South home, Pysyk performed almost exactly as before: go to work, do the job, get ready for practice tomorrow. seven goals and 33 points in 164 regular-season games; impressive enough, he was, to remain protected in the Las Vegas expansion draft. Then, last season, it was down to one goal and 10 points in 70 games. Word leaked that he would be available for the right trade offer.

Some idle time at the start of this season could not have been unexpected. New head coaches – Joel Quenneville, in this case – always bring change. Blueliners Aaron Ekblad and Anton Stralman played longer minutes. Mike Matheson and MacKenzie Weegar contributed to Pysyk’s extra rest. Then came the change that provided a whole new picture – at least potentially.

Pysyk became a right winger. He scored nine goals – easily his best ever – and the Panthers remained, somehow, as playoff possibilities. His defensive abilities helped keep opposition scoring chances down while this third (sometimes fourth) line improved the offence.

That happy collection of events certainly has presented new possibilities. Will he be a Panther next season? Will he be a forward or a defenceman? Is there any chance that the astute Quenneville saw something other analysts missed before Pysyk arrived.

Eventually, this quality young man will use his ability and his character to answer those questions.

What is Calvin McCarty’s future with the Eskimos?


“With success comes challenge.” Premier Smith to Alberta Municipalities

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Premier Danielle Smith delivered a keynote address at the 2023 Alberta Municipalities Convention in Edmonton.

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Aurora Cannabis to raise $33.8M in share offering, plans to repay convertible debt

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EDMONTON — Shares of Aurora Cannabis Inc. were down more than 10 per cent after the cannabis company announced plans to raise $33.8 million in a share offering.

The company says Canaccord Genuity has agreed to buy, on a bought deal basis, 46,250,000 shares of the company at a price of 73 cents per share.

It has also granted Canaccord Genuity an over-allotment option for up to an additional 6,937,500 shares on the same terms. If the over-allotment option is exercised in full, the offering will total $38.8 million.

Aurora says it plans to use the money raised to repay the remainder of its outstanding convertible senior notes at or prior to maturity.

The company says the remainder, if any, will be used for strategic purposes, including potential acquisitions.

Aurora’s stock price was down 13 per cent at 79 cents per share in early trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2023.

Companies in this story: (TSX:ACB)

The Canadian Press

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