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Questions About Silence on COVID


4 minute read

Questions About Silence on COVID

Only one day was required for Auston Mathews to poke a hole in the National Hockey League’s strategy of insisting that teams officially avoid telling the public about COVID-19 intrusions into any dressing room or practice facility during the countdown to the coming Stanley Cup playoffs.

It seems reasonable at this point for an old cynic to suggest the talented Toronto Maple Leafs scorer should be fined for breaking one of his league’s unwritten regulations. His crime can be described in one sentence. He confirmed that the coronavirus recently intruded on his system.

He’s OK now, he says, and apparently all the testing mechanisms agree, so this will be dismissed as a minor issue, which will please commissioner Gary Bettman and his minions greatly but will continue the deliberate act of keeping knowledge from those often described as essential members of the professional sports family: the fans.

Such control of information is far from unique in the NHL or any other league. Arguably, the National Football League does the best job of levelling with the public on the question of players’ injury or illness, largely because keeping the lid on – officially at least – is seen as essential in a sport which triggers so much gambling action, day after day and week after week.

The world’s highest-level hockey league, for example, has developed a regular-season system that reveals only whether a player’s injury is confined to the upper or lower body. It has yet to be determined where a wrist or hand injury figts on this scale; perhaps it relates to whether the arm was folded or straight at the time of the incident.

There has been no clear explanation for the NHL’s decision, except for this news conference comment from Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner: “We . . .continue to feel that medical privacy is important in this process,” he said.

“At least for now, we’re going to maintain a policy where the league is announcing (test) numbers and clubs are prohibited from giving any information with respect to COVID test results.”

Using privacy as a shield is a handy escape mechanism.

The league and the players’ association have agreed that any player can  choose not to compete in the workouts or any of the five rounds of playoffs leading to the (still probable) Stanley Cup final in about three months. Fans and media are entitled to speculate whether players such as Edmonton Oilers defender Mike Green or the Calgary Flames’ Travis Hamonic are ducking all suggestion of COVID infection by stating in public that family reasons explain their decisions to opt out.

No outsider can fairly suggest these honourable veterans are evading the truth in this or any other case, but this point is obvious: the NHL would rather avoid the truth than reveal it when necessary.

In at least one sense, this is admirable strategy. Already, major-league basketball and baseball are being shaken at training by revelations of fresh coronavirus intrusions. Major League Soccer has suffered most of all, with COVID-19 fears and discoveries forcing teams to pull out of the emergency makeup schedule designed to fill television moments until the other pro leagues could get organized.

Sitting slightly below the surface, however, is the realization that large segments of the public question every piece of information being distributed by politicians and other spokespersons. Professional sport will can not possibly benefit if similar doubts begin to pile up about the accuracy of NHL reporting on this essential issue.

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Strength & Confidence from Strong & Steady

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Strength & Confidence from Strong & Steady

Gale likes to walk outside but started to feel afraid that she may fall out there on her own. She had taken other courses from RDPCN. She noticed they also had a Strong & Steady program so asked to attend.

She says, “It made me stronger- both physically and mentally. I am no longer afraid to go walking. I feel much more confident.”

The program really motivated her. She knew the exercises would really help others she knew so she got 10 people together to do the exercises with her. She was walking about 1 mile a day until COVID restrictions. The program introduces you to venues where you can walk safely. She loved the college, but it is harder for her to get to. The arena is very handy and she found it a great place to walk in winter.

The Strong & Steady program was motivating and enjoyable. She would highly recommend it to anyone not confident in their mobility.

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Former student lovingly remembered by classmates

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From Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools

A former Father Henri Voisin School student, Julie Burke, was lovingly remembered today through an outdoor blessing and dedication ceremony.

The Julie Burke Memorial Bench was unveiled to the Father Henri Voisin School community and blessed by Father Jan. Julie’s family, division senior administration and Grade 5 student leaders were in attendance in a socially distanced manner.

The memorial bench will be a friendship bench for students.

Julie’s former Grade 4 teacher, Jessica Maloughney, fondly remembers Julie as a girl who was full of kindness and bravery, despite her illness, and says that the bench will, “be a symbol of Julie’s love and bravery. Even though Julianna is no longer here with us, she lives on in all of our hearts. When a student is brave enough to sit on the bench, waiting for a friend – Julie will be there with them. When one of you sees someone sitting on this bench, and invites them to play – Julie will be with you too.”

Father Henri Voisin School Principal, Jeff Tuchscherer, added, “we feel extremely blessed and privileged to have been provided this bench by the Burke family. It will honour Julie’s memory and provide a powerful reminder of the value of friendship, as well as the importance of bravery. Present and future students will vastly benefit from this legacy of a child that lived her life with steadfast love in her heart for all.”

The Julie Burke Memorial Bench faces the school playground and will serve as a reminder to all the students at Father Henri Voisin School that nothing is more important than friendship and kindness, just like Julie believed.

Father Henri Voisin School serves over 385 Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 5 students in Red Deer. As a learning institution, Father Henri Voisin School is committed to serving students with a complete offering of learning opportunities delivered within the context of Catholic teachings.

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september, 2020

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