Reed On Sports

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Reed On Sports December 10, 2018

For the basement bargain price of $650 million, Seattle now has an NHL franchise, to play during the 2021-22 season. That’s a steal as far as big-league franchising rights go. And how about the Seattle Americans, to provide fodder for a hoped-for rivalry with the Vancouver Canucks? … What the hell is wrong with the London Lightning, and London Nationals? Both seemed invincible, especially at home. The Bolts lost their second-straight home game Sunday at Budweiser Gardens, this time falling to the K-W Titans, 123-97. K-W scored 41 points in the fourth quarter. As for the Western Jr. B hockey Nats, after starting the season 7-0 and then 10-1, they’ve dropped four straight games and have fallen to 19-8 thanks to a 6-2 loss to Chatham on Sunday …

Colin Kaepernick. Photo: Facebook.

The Washington Redskins, without a quarterback, turned down the idea of bringing in blacklisted pivot Colin Kaepernick. Both Skins QBs, starter Alex Smith and backup Colt McCoy, broke their legs. Colt had surgery last Tuesday after fracturing his right fibula in a 28-13 loss to Philadelphia last Monday night.  Smith broke his leg in November. The club said turning down Kaepernick was strictly a football decision, given the time of year. But no one is buying it. Smells like collusion to me … How ‘bout those Cowboys? Dallas is trending in the right direction with a huge 29-23 OT win last night over the Eagles. Dak Prescott threw a third TD pass to Amari Cooper on the first OT possession. They’re 8-5, Philadelphia and Washington 6-7 … Orlando Steinauer is the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ 26th head coach, taking over for June Jones who will remain as the team’s associate coach and offensive co-ordinator. The Tabbies said they made the move because Steinauer was a much sought-after coach. This move makes sense, and it is typical of a CFL club that follows its own unique path. It’s part of what makes the CFL so great and so Canadian … On the heels of this announcement, long-time coach Jerry Glanville, on the job as Tabbies’ defensive coordinator this past season, says he won’t return for a sophomore season due to personal reasons. Steinhauer wanted him on board, but Glanville declined the offer …  Jack Wallace had two goals and an assist, Josh Sweeney added two helpers as the U.S. edged Canada 5-4 Saturday at Western Fair Sports Centre to win gold at the 2018 Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup. It’s the fifth gold medal in a row for the Americans, who have topped the podium at seven of the 12 editions of the tournament dating back to 2007. Can you say dynasty? … Retired Canadian weightlifter Christine Girard received her 2012 Olympic Gold and 2008 Olympic Bronze medals at an Ottawa ceremony last week, both upgrades following the stripping of medals from Maiya Maneza of Kazakhstan and Svetlana Tsarukaeva of Russia for use of banned substances. If this keeps up, we’ll have to establish a separate Olympic medal ceremony every year when disgraced athletes are forced to give up their medals …

Evan Bouchard. Photo: London Knights.

No surprise that London Knights defenceman Evan Bouchard, and forwards Alex Formenton and Liam Foudy were chosen to attend Team Canada’s World Junior camp. This is a trio of thoroughbreds. Final roster is expected to be named Dec. 14. Canada will play three exhibition games before opening the tourney against Denmark on Boxing Day in Vancouver … Canada’s men’s basketball team has clinched its first spot in the FIBA World Cup in almost a decade. China hosts the tournament next Aug. 31-Sept. 15 … Sad to see Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer stepping down. Headaches caused by an arachnoid cyst in his brain have worsened, and the program has been riddled with personal issues, all wearing on him. Meyer has an 82-9 record at the school … There are big-time plays in curling, and then there is the runback double from skip Jennifer Jones yesterday at Estevan, Sask. Which gave here team a bye into the 2021 Road to the Roar Pre-Trials, and qualified them for a World Curling Federation World Cup event in 2019-20. Jones’ ninth-end runback double scored three and gave her a record fourth Canada Cup curling victory with an 8-5 win over Kerri Einarson in Sunday’s final … Social curlers have always been hopped up on hops, but a new bonspiel at the Wiarton and District Curling Club will take that fun to another level. A sold-out January 26 Bongspiel, the first of its kind in Canada, will combine curling and cannabis. Organizers Ted Ratcliffe of Wiarton and Grant Nicholson of Owen Sound will provide music and munchies for the 16 four-curler teams. Alas, curlers won’t toke on the sheets, since smoking is banned indoors. Outdoor toking only, please. No word yet if Sean Penn, in character of course, will throw the first rock …

Brooke Henderson. Photo: Jeffrey Reed/LondonOntarioGolf.com.

The LPGA Tour still represents as fringe sport as far as the American TV viewing audience is concerned, but the 2019 version of the loop will include 33 official events – including four new stops – plus the biennial Solheim Cup, will visit 15 states and 12 countries and will offer a record $70.55 million US in official prize money. Australia, the Republic of Korea, Florida and Michigan will host new tourneys … You can’t drive on Highway 401 without seeing a billboard ad for a local golf course, but those days are in jeopardy now that the Tourism-Oriented Directional Signing (TODS) program fees have risen from $300 a year to $750. Canadian TODS Ltd. manages the program under supervision of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport and the Ministry of Transportation. One golf course teed off at the cost jump is Dutton Meadows GC in Dutton. They’re opting out. Expect more to leave … On this day 1972 the American League adopted the designated hitter rule in a three-year experiment. We all know how that turned out. Personally, I am a baseball traditionalist who believes in pitchers taking their turns at bat. But it disgusts me to see pitchers go to the plate with less enthusiasm than the Grinch at Christmas. Fergie Jenkins was never cheated at the plate, and he is a Hall of Famer … And finally, may you and yours have a very Merry Christmas, and a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year. Thanks for all of your support this year. Reed On Sports returns on Monday, January 14.

Reed On Sports is published each Monday morning. Send your bricks and bouquets to jeff@londonontariosports.com.

Reed On Sports December 3, 2018

They call it the Sweet Science, but a call for a ban of boxing which has gained momentum in recent years has gathered more fodder with the latest tragedy in the ring. Canadian boxer Adonis Stevenson, 41, has been upgraded from critical to stable condition although he remained in an induced coma after being knocked out on Saturday in a light heavyweight bout in Quebec City. Ukranian Oleksandr Gvozdyk ended the fight with an 11th-round knockout to take his WBC title … Why are we surprised when hearing of yet another case of hazing and bullying? Two-time Stanley Cup winner Daniel Carcillo took to Twitter to call out the Sarnia Sting for allowing hazing during his junior hockey career. Carcillo said he was beaten with the sawed off paddle of a goalie stick, forced to sit on the shower floor while veterans urinated and spit tobacco on him, forced to bob for apples in a cooler filled with pizza, urine and spit, and stuffed into a bus washroom en route to play the London Knights. Some of Carcillo’s former Sting teammates have also come forward to speak about how the hazing affected their lives. Sports and hazing have always been linked. There’s no room for it, period – not now in our politically-correct society, and not ever …

Photo: Knights Twitter.

The Knights’ winning streak has hit 14 games after a 6-3 win over Sarnia Sting Sunday at the annual Teddy Bear Toss game. What I want to know is, who counted the 8,763 teddy bears? … Lost in the Knights’ streak is the fact the Ottawa 67’s lead the Eastern Conference East division with a 22-3-3 record. The Knights are first in the Western Conference Midwest at 20-4-2 … Do you think Leafs Nation eagerly awaits the return of forward Michael Nylander? He’ll rejoin his teammates Thursday versus Detroit Red Wings, after signing a six-year deal on Saturday … The pain lingers after the Mustangs’ Vanier Cup loss, but the OUA has not wasted any time releasing its 2019 football sked. Western opens at Laurier Aug. 25, then opens at home Sept. 2 versus Queen’s … Congrats to the CCH Crusaders senior boys football squad on another stellar season. After a 10-1 year and No. 2 national ranking, they lost to No. 1 Hamilton St. Thomas More, 26-9, at OFSAA on Nov. 26 at Ottawa … So, the Atlanta Braves give Josh Donaldson a one-year, $23-million deal. A drop in the bucket for the club, but a make-or-break season for the former Jays third baseman who is an old 33-year-old, thanks to a series of injuries that limited him to 52 games, .246 BA, 8 HR, 23 RBI in 2018 … The Para Hockey Cup continues at Western Fair Sports Centre through Saturday’s gold medal game at 4 p.m. Canada captured gold seven years ago. Team U.S.A. has won the last four tourneys … Southern Ontario will be the backdrop in February for a three-game cross-border hockey series between Canada’s National Women’s Team and the U.S. Women’s National Team. The series kicks off Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. at Budweiser Gardens. This is a rivalry as strong as there is in sports. Expect some fireworks at The Bud … How good is Jon Rahm? The Spaniard, 24, wraps up his sophomore season on the PGA Tour with three more wins worldwide for six career over two years. Yesterday, tourney host Tiger Woods handed him the trophy and winner’s cheque at the Hero World Challenge … Wonder if Woods will hang around as long as ex-beau Lindsey Vonn? The American has announced she’ll extend her farewell tour into next season. Let’s hope she doesn’t enter one race too many. It’s much different crashing and burning on a slope than it is on an undulating green … Good NFC East Monday nighter: 6-5 Washington at 5-6 Philadelphia. The Cowboys lead the division at 7-5, with the Giants in the basement at 4-8 … Tom Brady passed for 311 yards and a TD, while Bill Belichick picked up win No. 250 (including playoffs) as the New England Patriots topped the Minnesota Vikings 24-10 on Sunday. Brady now has 579 TD passes (including playoffs), tying him with Payton Manning for most all-time. Brady also has 508 regular-season TD passes, tying him with Brett Favre on the all-time list. Manning is first with 539, and Drew Brees second 518 … The Patriots are now 9-3 after starting the season 1-2 … And finally, on this day 1968 Major League Baseball lowered the pitcher’s mound from 15 to 10 inches after the Year of the Pitcher. The strike zone was also reduced to span from the top of the knees to the armpits. Fast forward to 2019, and MLB umpires still can’t make correct calls on balls and strikes.

Reed On Sports is published each Monday morning. Send your bricks and bouquets to jeff@londonontariosports.com.

Reed On Sports November 26, 2018

Just how good were the Laval Rouge et Or? And just how tough is it to win in their house? The Western Mustangs had not lost a game in two seasons, and steamrolled over their opponents this season en route to a second-straight Vanier Cup championship game.

Greg Marshall

But the Rouge et Or virtually shut down the mighty Mustangs from the opening kickoff, allowing a predictable rushing TD by Cedric Joseph to open the second quarter, and a TD pass from Chris Merchant midway through the fourth quarter. This one was never in doubt. Indeed, the Mustangs do bleed… Laval have won a record 10 Vanier Cup championships in 12 appearances over 24 years. The Mustangs have won six times in 14 appearances … Classy interview with Mustangs head coach Greg Marshall post-game. He really does care about his players as people first … Make it 12 straight wins for the London Knights. Ho hum, the Hunter brothers are continuing their dynasty. They’re the Mustangs of the Canadian Hockey League. People want to play in London, where a big-league template is used on a smaller scale … The Grey Cup curse is over for the Calgary Stampeders. Terry Williams’ record 97-yard punt-return touchdown on a slick Commonwealth Stadium turf led Calgary to a 27-16 win over the Ottawa Redblacks. This was Calgary’s third straight appearance in the championship game. They lost 39-33 in overtime to Ottawa in 2016, then 27-24 to the Toronto Argonauts in 2017. It’s the Stampeders’ eighth Grey Cup. QB and CFL MVP Bo Levi Mitchell was the game MVP with 2 TD passes … It’s time to rethink spending billions to host the Olympic Games. Calgary City council just voted not to support the city hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games. Without $2.2 billion from the feds and the province, it was not possible to upgrade Calgary’s aging sports facilities. There comes a time when you have to ask yourself, is it worth it? What’s the return? More times than not, the Olympic Games do not bring a financial return …The pipeline between Toronto and Houston continues: the Blue Jays have dealt SS Aledmys Diaz, a former NL all-star, to the Astros for triple-A starter, RHP Trent Thornton. In 22 games with the Fresno Grizzlies, Thornton posted a 4.42 ERA with 112 Ks in 124.1 innings. The Jays need pitching, and must see something in Thornton. Obviously, Diaz and his .263 BA and 18 HR weren’t part of their future. Expect a lot of shuffling within the Jays camp. The roster is a mess and there’s no end in sight … Jays farmhand Griffin Conine has been suspended 50 games to begin the 2019 season for testing positive for the banned stimulant ritalinic acid. The outfielder is the son of former MLB outfielder Jeff Conine … Adrian Beltre carved out a hall-of-fame career, yet he’s a relatively unknown superstar.

Adrian Beltre. Photo: Facebook.

The Texas Rangers third basemen has hung up his cleats after 21 season, 477 home runs and 3,166 hits. His 2,759 games at the hot corner rank second only to Brooks Robinson. He’s the first Dominican to reach the magic 3,000 hits mark … It’s hard to think of David Price as the AL comeback player of the year. But the Red Sox hurler earned that honour with his 16-7, 3.58 ERA record over 30 starts. And, of course, he was a key part of the club’s World Series victory. In 2017 suffering with elbow inflammation, Price went 6-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 11 starts. Atlanta reliever Jonny Venters is NL comeback player …. Now, let me get this straight. The curling foursome of Jamie Koe, Ryan Fry, Chris Schille, and DJ Kidby was kicked out of the Red Deer Curling Classic for “unacceptable behaviour” that included being “extremely drunk.” They were thrown out from the World Curling Tour event and forced to forfeit their final match. Wouldn’t this type of behaviour eliminate just about every foursome competing at rinks from coast to coast in Canada? Fry says he’s taking time off from the game to focus on his “growth and self-improvement”  … Fanshawe Falcons midfielder Chelsea Zavitz aims to return to the national bronze-winning squad in 2019 if she can stay away from injuries. After suffering multiple concussions, she played this season after tearing her medial collateral ligament (MCL) and tibial collateral ligament (TCL) in her right knee, and her right hamstring, all during an indoor game last February. Read about Zavitz here … Kudos to hockey legend Ken Dryden for his crusade for concussion awareness. The former Habs and Team Canada 1972 netminder was spot on when stating there is “plenty of awareness. The problem is sports decision-makers who don’t take this awareness and act.” …

Chelsea Zavitz. Photo: Fanshawe Falcons.

Great move by the Canadian Premier League in adding Ontario Soccer’s League1 Ontario to its operations. The link strengthens the association between Ontario Soccer and the CPL, and provides stronger player development … As expected, FC London’s Mike Marcoccia is the League1 Ontario coach of the year. He guided both the men and women this season – read about his season here … London’s Ellie Szeryk, 17, who lives in Allen, TX returns for a second year to Golf Canada’s 2019 junior squad. Szeryk is the 2018 Ontario Women’s Amateur champion … Since 2013, the Mackenzie Tour PGA Tour Canada has given back to its event communities to the tune of $4.1 million. It surpassed $1 million this year, in part thanks to $40,000 raised by the Freedom 55 Financial Championship at Highland CC for Childcan … You can’t make this stuff up. The PGA Tour is heading to Japan for the Zozo Championship in 2019. The tourney is backed by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and his fashion website Zozotown. Maezawa was announced this year as the first commercial passenger to attempt a flight around the moon … Sarnia, Ont.’s Tall Ship Celebration, slated for Aug. 9-11, 2019, will share dates with the city’s Artzscape by the Bay and Borderfest Music Festival events. More than 100,000 people visited Sarnia for its last Tall Ship festival. Smart move by the City to combine the three for more marketing punch … Nice to see Detroit Tigers legend Willie Horton speaking about the importance of community at a recent Windsor fundraising lunch for fighting poverty. Horton was a member of the 1968 Tigers who helped unite Detroit during a time of social unrest … The NFL just pulled its scheduled Chiefs-Rams game from Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium due to poor field conditions, but a week later announced the venue would host an NFL game in 2019. It will be the third contest of a contract signed in 2016 … Meanwhile, the CFL is close to signing an agreement to forge relationships with the eight-team semi-pro Liga de Futbol Americano. CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie says there are plans to bring the best players from Mexico to the CFL, and to send Canadian players to Mexico to develop skills up to par with the CFL. Says here it’s a waste of time.

Reed On Sports is published each Monday morning. Send your bricks and bouquets to jeff@londonontariosports.com.

 

The Interview
Don’t miss our 6x/year Q&A, The Interview. Reed goes one-on-one with London and area’s most outspoken sports personalities. Read it here each month.