Connect with us
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=12]

Alberta

Future of junior football murky as Covid-19 forces cancellation of season

Published

4 minute read

This simple equation is perhaps the easiest way to enter a description of the Wednesday decision, and Thursday public announcement, that the Canadian Junior Football League has dropped all plans for games this year.

CJFL president Jim Pankovich made it clear that the decision by the Prairie Junior Football Conference and allied leagues in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia supported the decision unanimously.

“Canadian junior football has 18 teams with 18 different ideas — no, make it 18 teams with about 50 ideas — but this was a combined decision and every organization had a chance to provide input,” Pankovich continued. “It has been a long process.”

The Edmonton Huskies, Edmonton Wildcats and Calgary Colts are affected by the decision. All teams were part of the national negotiation.

Coupled with a previous USports decision to wipe out university football across the country in 2020, the junior move leaves only the Canadian Football League as an option for players and fans, with a decision due from the struggling CFL soon, after a bid for $30 million in federal support money is evaluated.

Pankovich, Prairie Football Conference leader Curtis Craig and Edmonton Huskies owner Bob Bula mentioned in separate telephone conversations Thursday afternoon that the COVID-19 regulations made it impossible to consider a 2020 season. All three mentioned the importance of keeping players involved .

“:Small-group sessions and skill-specific training” were mentioned by Pankovich as a necessity for all teams. He and others mentioned that the game is as important for the lessons it provides to young males as it is for the actual on-field competition.

As soon as the announcement became public, there was serious suggestion that high school players hoping to move into junior ranks and current juniors designing their athletic future around possible participation in university programs.may run into traffic jams because eligibility issues are more complicated than before.

Huskies head coach Iain MacLean agreed fully with the decision: “it’s about the safety of our players and all the others who would have to work with us during the virus.”

He lamented that “this will be the first year of my life without a football season since I was 10 years old” and suggested there will be less pressure than anticipated on young players competing against more potential teammates than usual.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if quite a few of the young guys just stop playing,” he added, “and I think a lot of coaches will be considering the same thing.”

Bula insisted that there was no opposition to government regulations that limit the number of persons — 50 in any on-field cohort at one time — able to participate in games. “We might need as many as 100 or more, including other staff.”

Craig, who also is vice-president of the national governing body, said no Prairie team has the potential to develop a “hub” similar to those now employed by the National Hockey League and National Basketball Association.

For CFL fans the last refuge is always hope

Alberta

Active shooting incident in Airdrie – Multiple injuries from BB guns

Published on

From Airdrie RCMP

Airdrie RCMP investigate reports of an active shooter

Airdrie RCMP are currently investigating an incident which has lead to multiple people injured from at least 6 different locations.
At this time it appears that BB guns were used in the “shootings”. One person is in custody and RCMP are looking for the others involved.
RCMP has businesses in a “Shelter in place” in the downtown core. Anyone in the downtown/midtown communities are asked to stay inside.
This is an unfolding situation and more information will be released when it becomes available.
Continue Reading

Alberta

Citrus vs. Cactus: Tampa-Dallas NHL final is duel of former coaching associates

Published on

EDMONTON — It’s not only two American Sunbelt teams facing off Saturday in the NHL’s Stanley Cup final, it’s also a matchup of two head coaches who once worked together, but with the student now trying to outshine the mentor.

Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness was an associate coach for five years with the Tampa Bay Lightning alongside head coach Jon Cooper until leaving in 2018.

Bowness, with five decades of coaching in the NHL, gets a chance to win the Cup for the first time as head man in the final, which will be held in front of no spectators at Rogers Place

But first he has to get by Cooper.

Cooper recalled hiring Bowness when he got the head job in 2013.

“It was about bringing somebody in that knew the league and, honestly, could work a little bit as a mentor for myself, and that’s what I personally wanted. I searched everywhere and was very fortunate to run into Rick Bowness,” Cooper told reporters on a Zoom call Friday.

“I learned so much from him, just about how the league works and how to have success.

“We spent a decade together and we had some pretty good runs, especially the one in 2015, (Tampa lost to Chicago in Stanley Cup final) and Bonsey was a big part of it.”

Cooper said the parting was “amicable” in keeping with the quicksilver nature of the league where coaches come, go, switch, return, retire, and un-retire but added, “I’m probably not sitting here today without a lot of the help of Rick Bowness.”

Bowness vs. Cooper is just one of multiple storylines in this final chapter of the NHL’s surreal season of COVID-19, where, in a matchup of citrus versus cactus, teams from cities that never see snow will do battle in an empty rink on the bald Canadian prairie in September to determine the champion of a traditional winter sport.

Both teams are dealing with some past adversity. The Lightning set records last year racking up 62 wins and the President’s Trophy only to get humiliated by the Columbus Blue Jackets and swept in the first round last season.

Since then, Tampa general manger Julien BriseBois has added some grit to the roster in veterans like Zach Bogosian, Kevin Shattenkirk, Luke Schenn and Pat Maroon while beefing up the second line with Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow.

That builds on the core of high flying scorers like Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat and Victor Hedman, backstopped by Andrei Vasilveskiy in net.

Their best players have been just that this post-season. The top line of Palat, Point and Kucherov has 23 goals and 64 points in 19 games to lead the Lightning past the Blue Jackets, Boston Bruins and New York Islanders.

“We’re a different team,” said Hedman.

“We have different bodies in the lineup. We’re a better team, I think.

“Columbus got to us in the playoffs (in 2019), and if you’re not ready it could be an early exit, and that was what happened to us. But I think we put that behind us pretty quickly. We learned from it. We took that experience, and you don’t want to feel that feeling again.”

They have also done it without star captain Steven Stamkos. Stamkos underwent core muscle surgery on March 2 and hasn’t played since. He is skating in practice in Edmonton.

“(Stamkos) is still rehabbing. We haven’t ruled him out. I don’t expect him in the lineup (for Game 1),” said BriseBois.

The Dallas franchise which began life as the Minnesota North Stars in 1967, has won it all once — in 1999 — but had not been back to the Stanley Cup final until now.

The Stars had a rough start to this season, winning one of their first nine games, then saw head coach Jim Montgomery summarily fired in December and replaced by Bowness.

Dallas finished 10th in the league standings (37-24-8) when the regular season was halted March 12 due to COVID-19 (Tampa was fourth at 43-21-6).

The Stars and Lightning played each other twice in the regular season, with Dallas winning both times in overtime (3-2 and 4-3)

Dallas’s success starts with goalie Anton Khudobin.

The 34-year-old career journeyman backup has found his stride in the playoffs replacing the injured Ben Bishop. He is 12-6 in 18 starts and saved the team’s bacon in the last round against the Vegas Golden Knights, stopping 153 of 161 shots (.950 save percentage) as Dallas outscored Vegas 9-8 in five games but won the series 4-1.

In the last two rounds, against Colorado and Vegas, the Stars have been outshot to 415 to 338 while the goals have been even, 37 to 37.

Dallas general manager Jim Nill has also added sandpaper and playoff experience to his lineup with veterans Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry.

The offensive punch has come from defenders Miro Heiskanen, just 21, and John Klingberg (eight goals and 32 points combined) and captain Jamie Benn (8 goals, 18 points).

The Stars will need continued heroics out of Khudobin and more production out of first line centre Tyler Seguin if they want to beat the Bolts. Seguin was the team’s top scorer in the regular season (17 goals, 50 points) but in the bubbled playoffs has just 2 goals and 8 points 20 games.

“They (Tampa) are a big offensive threat (up and) down the lineup. Up front they’ve got great players and obviously they have Hedman at the point who doesn’t seem to miss a shot right now,” said Seguin.

“They have an unbelievable goalie. They’re well coached, so we definitely have our hands full.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2020

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

september, 2020

sun27sep10:00 am4:00 pmWith This Ring...Bridal Gala Central Alberta'a largest bridal gala.10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Trending

X