Hockey, basketball and volleyball gone from the U of A’s fall and winter to-do lists
At almost any time in memory, Wednesday’s decision to remove hockey, basketball and volleyball from the University of Alberta’s fall and winter to-do lists would be considered a major surprise.
This year, I suspect fans and athletes should have been at least partially prepared for it. Blame the pandemic. That’s easy.
Explain that sponsorship money has dried up and every available penny must be saved to keep professors employed and students involved. That’s easy, too. Some are sure to suggest that there are deep political motives in this move to move beyond the Bears and Pandas for one year. Maybe. Maybe not. Rightly or wrongly, political movements are seen in every action these days.
If additional explanations are required, Alberta’s UCP government is sure to be singled out as cause number three; they inherited an entity in severe financial difficulty, ensuring that some budget cuts would be made as soon as possible after the NDP lost political control of the province.
This, of course, occurred well before the coronavirus crisis created overwhelming proof that sport, certainly in Canada, is something of an after-thought at all levels of society. As this is written, every professional sport is being exposed on a daily basis as a means for millionaires and billionaires to fatten their bankrolls. If timely political statements are necessary, fine; they’ll be made, but no rational soul would dare to suggest that sport has actual relevance in this time of incoherent arguments and twisted responses.
In one old scribbler’s opinion, good news ultimately will develop, almost as a result of the disappearance of the Bears and Pandas for at least one season. A move so dramatic at a level so vital is sure to create deep thought.
Which is where university sport fits in the puzzle. These organizations are the home of undoubted brilliance. In many ways, they create the model for all amateurs and low-profile professionals to follow. One day, perhaps soon, this world-wide rash of social, physical and emotional misery will be behind us. Then, cohorts of tough and committed leaders across the entire spectrum of athletics will have to step up. They will be obligated to contribute time and effort in a search for the best possible ways to ensure excellence in scholastics, citizenship and competition.
Now, looking back for even a few years, it’s essential to remember that amateur sports were being painfully slammed by financial necessities before COVID-19’s destructive arrival.
Athletic directors at U of A and MacEwan University have spoken of rising costs in tones that sometimes sounded almost desperate. I’m sure the same applies to the University of Calgary.
Similar words have been heard commonly in discussion with coaches and athletic directors at Alberta colleges. NAIT and Concordia leaders know the topic extremely well. So do alumni members working to keep hockey alive in the storied atmosphere of Camrose’s Augustana campus of the U of A.
In a lifetime of hearing old adages, one has stuck out since childhood:
“It’s Always Darkest Before the Dawn.”
This corner hopes the dawn comes quickly.
Three men, including police officer, face charges after overdose death in cell
An Edmonton police officer and two former community peace officers have been charged after an internal investigation into the death of man in custody.
In March 2020, a 38-year-old man was found dead inside a cell and an autopsy the next day determined he died of fentanyl toxicity.
A report from Alberta’s police watchdog released last year says hourly arousal checks were not done on the detainee as required by Edmonton police policy.
The report from the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team says the detainee was left more than five hours without being checked and could not be resuscitated after someone noticed his situation.
Edmonton police say they conducted a followup investigation after the ASIRT report and forwarded the findings to the Calgary Crown Prosecution Service for an opinion.
Mathieu Labrie, who is 32, as well as 52-year-old Jeffrey Mullenix and 35-year-old Const. Yi Yang have been charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life.
The three accused were community police officers working in a detainee unit at the time of the man’s death.
They say Yang is on administrative leave with pay and the other two accused are not employed by Edmonton police.
Calgary, Edmonton mayors expect good relationship with re-elected UCP government
Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek speaks at an announcement in Calgary on April 25, 2023. The mayors of Alberta’s two largest cities say they expect a good relationship with a re-elected United Conservative Party government, despite its loss of seats in Calgary and Edmonton. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
The mayors of Alberta’s two largest cities say they expect a good relationship with a re-elected United Conservative Party government, despite its loss of seats in Calgary and Edmonton.
Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek adds that all politicians need to stand up against hate and divisiveness.
Gondek and Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi say the cities and the province need to work together to address affordability.
Sohi adds that it’s unfortunate Edmonton won’t have any representation in the provincial government.
Danielle Smith’s UCP dominated outside the two big cities while retaining enough support in Calgary to lessen the pain of an NDP sweep in Edmonton and win a second consecutive majority government.
Several of Smith’s cabinet ministers were unseated, including former health minister Jason Copping and former mental health and addiction minister Nicholas Milliken in Calgary, as well as deputy premier Kaycee Madu in Edmonton.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 30, 2023.
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