Category Archives: NHL and the rest of the world

Facts are no excuse in politically correct world

Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons, at the time of this writing still gainfully employed by the Postmedia company, has committed an unpardonable sin. He did what columnists all over the world are supposed to do. He was controversial, almost to the point of provocative.

He wrote to be read.

Simmons’s regular Sunday contribution to the world of entertainment (professional sports, that is) includes a section named Hear and There.

Simmons hinted that it’s not necessarily one’s skin colour (he avoided gender and every other hot issue of the day) that defines one’s success in whatever endeavour one decides to pursue.

To drive the point home, Simmons compared two careers: Akim Aliu’s and Wayne Simmonds’s. The two are professional hockey players, both of them are black, and each has enjoyed a different level of success.

By the numbers: taken 56th overall in the 2007 NHL draft, Aliu would end up playing just seven NHL games.

Skating for the Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres and now, the last two seasons, Toronto Maple Leafs, Simmonds has played significant minutes in 1,019 NHL games.

Aliu’s greatest achievement: he made coach Bill Peters persona non grata in North American hockey, getting him fired from a Calgary Flames head coaching job. Aliu accused Peters of racist behaviour. The sin had happened a decade before Aliu called Peters out.

Aliu, a Nigerian-born Canadian-Ukrainian former professional ice hockey player, last played for HC Litvínov in the Czech Extraliga (2019-2020). His professional career spanned AHL and ECHL teams in the Blackhawks and Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets organisations before a trade sent him to the Calgary Flames.

Aliu’s crowning achievement: encouraged by NHL’s (and Flames’) reaction to his accusations, he founded a group named Hockey Diversity Alliance (HDA).

How dared he?

Simmons’s sin? The next 93 words: “No one wants to say this because of the politically correct police and all, but those who coached Akim Aliu must cringe every time they see him in a news report or a commercial talking about what’s wrong with hockey. Like he would know. By my count, Aliu played for 23 teams in nine different leagues in 12 professional seasons and rarely finished any season with the same team he started with. If that was colour-related, how is it that Wayne Simmonds spent just about the same 12 seasons playing in the NHL?”

That was it.

Having checked with several personal friends within management ranks of HC Litvínov, their replies – independent of one another – were unpleasantly simple and straightforward: we’ve wolfed down a snake on this one (a Czech idiom loosely translated as we’ve fallen for it).

Neither Simmonds nor Aliu were amused.

Simmonds took to Twitter to offer his reply (the quote below leaves all misspellings and unusual turns of phrase untouched):


Just a quick msg to the hockey world. I usually don’t have time for this but tonight I do! I really don’t appreciate what your trying to do (Steve Simmons) your article was asinine and in no way reflects the real plight that my self, Akim and other players of colour go through.

You Are Minimizing the pain and suffering and dismissing the actual fight that we as a ppl actually have to endure just to even be accepted in the game of hockey at a lower level nvm the professional ranks. DO NOT EVER use my name or any other player of colour’s name to try and make your point. We will no longer sit by quietly as our characters are assassinated Steve! This will only make us stronger and speak out against ppl of your nature! If you were trying to be cool or funny, you missed your mark. YOUVE BEEN WARNED!!! Ps this is me being nice!

Aliu, (@Dreamer_Aliu78) added his five cents’ worth under a headline saying that hate will never win:

Obviously being in this space there are times that people say negative things about you but you find a way to let it go. But this one got me good. This one got me at my core. … I’ve seen Steve talk negatively about me for some time now and the funny thing is I’ve never spoken to him or met him in my life … people like Steve are what’s wrong with society.

You’re a racist and you’re an arrogant, and you have zero credibility and respect from even your own peers in the media space and athletes alike. And if the Toronto Sun had any integrity whatsoever, you will never write another column again.

End of quote.

Last season’s Stanley Cup champion Nazem Kadri, now of the Calgary Flames, tried to play it somewhat safer, avoiding inflammatory language as much as he could. Kadri tried to build his point around the known rule that columnists write to be read, meaning, their copy has to be around the limits of the barely acceptable.

This is NOT to debate the quality of Simmons’s writing. Suffice it to say that Steve Simmons is the longest-serving member of the Toronto chapter of the Pro Hockey Writers’ Association. To add to his suffering, he has covered the Leafs since 1980.

Ugly head

This entire tropical storm the size of a hurricane inside a teapot is about identity politics.

This tool, used to divide humanity under the motto “Divide and rule,” isn’t new. After all, it even has a Latin name (Divide et impera, and it had existed even before Rome was built: according to historians, the motto started with Philip II of Macedon, who ruled his kingdom from 359 BC until his death in 336 BC.

It’s more interesting to note the hysteria in both Simmonds’s and Aliu’s outbursts: Simmonds bans Simmons from ever using his name (or that of any other player of un-white skin colour). Aliu demands that Toronto Sun fire Simmons on the spot. He’s got some experience in this respect, having achieved a similar goal with Bill Peters in 2019.

The only difference: Peters admitted his guilt, while Simmons expressed an opinion based on undisputable facts.

Yes, there are only a few black hockey players around, at all levels, not only in the penthouse named the NHL.

Has anyone asked whether there are enough black athletes to justify this discrepancy? What if these kids were more interested in baseball, basketball, football (any kind: North American and the rest of the world, a.k.a. soccer)? Or track-and-field, even?

And how about the percentage of white kids, all eager to earn their keep playing hockey, and most of them having to settle down as avid hockey fans, white privilege or not?

And how about the demand made by Aliu that Simmons be fired? Cancel culture or cancel culture?

Akim Aliu, now too old to play in a professional hockey league, should perhaps learn and earn a job more useful than releasing such amounts of hot air into the atmosphere, dividing people by their skin colour and not by their abilities.

Wayne Simmonds would (and should) spend his time much better trying to help his team make it beyond the first round of this season’s Stanley Cup, rather than making irresponsible statements.

In any case, the fact this story has ever erupted is a sign of the tragic state our society has found itself. Constant complaints about the fact that life isn’t a rose garden could be funny (to a degree) as a form of strange folklore. As it is, they are taken seriously, and the pattern is threatening. Gone is the era of “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

The saying has been attributed (wrongly, it seems) to 18th century French philosopher François-Marie Arouet, known by his nom de plume Voltaire.

The attribution matters little, the content matters a lot.

What we’ve been witnessing is constant (and unforgivable) erosion of democratic rights and freedoms. Neither Akim Aliu nor Wayne Simmonds would have been able to accuse others of such (non-existent) heinous crimes if those rights and freedoms didn’t exist.

Democracy has a terrible time defending herself: in most cases, she would have to resort to methods that don’t meet her basic standards.

Should she? Yes, in fact, she has to, it says in this corner.

And, meanwhile, Steve Simmons should simply ignore his politically correct, woke and cancel-culture vulture-like attackers, and go on writing, pissing them all off while he’s at it.


Czech government stick to their brown-nosing ways

The Czech government told the NHL to tell its member clubs not to include their Russian players on the forthcoming trip to their country.

The San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators are supposed to open their seasons Friday, Oct. 7, in Prague’s O2 Arena, with a repeat encounter the very next day.

The Sharks have five players coming out of Russia on their roster, while the Predators have three.

The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced they wrote to the NHL head office making this point loud and clear.

Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Smolek released a statement making this point official.

“We can confirm that the Czech Foreign Ministry has sent a letter to the NHL to point out that, at this moment, the Czech Republic or any other state in the (visa free) Schengen zone should not issue visas to the Russian players to enter our territory,” Smolek told Czech publications and

Former goalie Dominik Hašek, owner of two Stanley Cup rings and an Olympic gold medallist from Nagano 1998, has joined the Czech government. He also demands that Czech athletes under contract in Russian leagues don’t honour their deals and refuse to play in Russia.

An Associated Press (AP) news item quotes Hašek as tweeting earlier this year: “The NHL San Jose Sharks – Nashville Predators match should take place in Prague in October. If the NHL (given the situation) wants to allow any Russian player to play in this match, I will consider it an inexcusable act.”

Hašek expanded his thought by saying that he would work hard “to ensure that this match does not take place in our country.” He would meet with top Czech government officials to make his point of view known, Hašek added.

San Jose Sharks General Manager Mike Grier’s reaction was blunt and to the point: “We’re a team, so, if they say some guys can’t go over then, either we all go or no one goes. But I’m not anticipating any issues right now.”

In theory, if the Sharks don’t appear for their games, they might lose valuable points by forfeiting, should the Czech government remain stubborn.

“I don’t know how it would go as far as forfeits and things like that,” Grier said. “That’s something for the league to handle. But I’m a pretty firm believer (that) we’re a team here, we’re a group, and it’s not the players’ fault. They didn’t do anything wrong. So I don’t think they should be punished for it.

“We stand with them and we’re all together as one in here. If it comes to that and hopefully it doesn’t — and I’m not anticipating that it will – we’ll do things as a group.”

Sharks’ captain Logan Couture echoed his GM’s view: “My view is we’re a team in here. If we go over there, we want everyone on our team to be there. All the guys that are going to make the team are part of our team.”

Meanwhile, the Columbus Blue Jackets (four Russian players) and Colorado Avalanche (two Russians) are supposed to face off in a pair of 2022-23 regular-season games at Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland, Friday, Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 5.

Finnish authorities haven’t yet said a word about letting Russian NHL players in but, being candidates for NATO membership, one wonders.

In the case of the Czech government, here’s the main issue: even many of their own country’s citizens are angry about their leaders’ brown-nosing ways so far as both NATO and the European Union (EU) are concerned.

Throughout Czech history, many had issues with politicians who demanded the dismantling of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and creating Czechoslovakia in 1918.

The country also offered very little resistance to the Nazi occupation (1939-1945), and during the communist era, her main slogan was “With the Soviets for ever, and no other way,” which they changed after the so-called Velvet Revolution of 1989 into “With the Americans for ever, and no other way.”

Some claim that this ability to bow to superior power has helped the Czechs survive being surrounded by enemies throughout centuries. Considering that Poland and Hungary, next-door neighbours, have been in similar situations and never surrendered, this claim doesn’t hold much water.

And then it reaches such tragicomic scale as to make moronic bans on Russian-born NHL players coming to play hockey in their country.

Meanwhile, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told AP that he has “no concern” with Russian players entering the Czech Republic in two weeks. That, obviously, must have been before he read the Czech Foreign Ministry statement.

Of course, this kind of development won’t have any impact on issues that really matter.

But if it makes the Czechs ashamed of their government enough so as to kick them out, it would help.

War hysteria re-defines hypocrisy

Adolf Hitler dragged politics into sports big-time in 1936 when Germany hosted the Summer Olympics in Berlin.

After the Second World War, when then-communist countries began taking part, with their master, the Soviet Union, joining the Olympic fray in 1952 (Norway’s capital Oslo for the winter, and Finland’s capital Helsinki for the summer), Olympic Games would become unabashedly politicised. Winning medals would no longer be a sign of the winners’ athletic prowess. It would signal whose political system is better.

The parallel between fascism, Nazism and communism is intentional: they are but three branches of the same tree.

With the communist countries falling into the toilet during the late 1980s and early 1990s, most international sports, and the Olympics in particular, would turn into outright business, with a dash of outright nationalism thrown in for good measure.

Yes, nationalism. What’s an athlete running faster than others got to do with patriotism?

Here’s what: biased media whip nationalism up into literal jingoism (our runner is better than your runner, nyah nyah nyah nah nah). Passionate fans, united behind the flag, do what? Yes, they buy tickets, they watch television, listen to radio broadcasts (including commercials), and they buy newspapers or visit their papers’ websites, paying for beyond-the-paywall access, with advertisements galore all over the place, and they buy shirts and other merchandise like there’s no tomorrow.

And into this din, some athletes (and sports officials) would try to impose all kinds of political slogans du jour. Some scribes covering sports would try to sound like social scientists, asking athletic stars and starlets for their opinions on this or that hot political topic of the day.

It has now swollen into a crescendo of hysteria, with one political movement trying to outdo all others, trying to paint professional sports and professional athletes as hotbeds of socially aware ideologies. An athlete serves as what they call “role model,” and that now includes proper opinions and stands on proper issues, instead of serving as a role model in, say, shooting the puck from any point in the opponent’s zone, or back-checking, or whatever else is important to and in the game.

Whether their fans really care seems to have become less than an afterthought.

Except: a war that fills newscasts and newspapers’ front pages has broken out, and it so happens that athletes from the warring sides happen to be employed in sundry professional leagues all over the world. Most of those host countries have decided that one of the warring sides is guilty. True, Russia did fire the first shot, but in the scheme of things, so far as sports go, this debate is not as important. The important question is: how to treat athletes born in Russia, and still citizens of the generally acknowledged aggressor?

Skating around the issues

In North America, it is the National Hockey League (NHL) that has the most Russians on their teams’ rosters.

Tensions flared up when someone who couldn’t write if it saved his life asked Alexander Ovechkin, a legitimate NHL superstar and captain of the Washington Capitals, for his opinion on the war between Russia and Ukraine.

The poor guy danced around it as if he was a trained diplomat. One of those who don’t tell their interlocutors that they are lying like nobody’s business but use instead sentences such as, “Correct me if I’m wrong but it seems to me that your statement can cause serious doubts in a more serious conversation.”

Whether that scribe was aware that Ovechkin just happens to be on friendly terms with Russian president Vladimir Putin doesn’t matter much. In fact, if he did know and still asked, it would show a considerable level of insensitivity at a time when all and sundry have to undergo so-called sensitivity trainings so as not to annoy people with their questions or statements, or just simple looks, even.

Of course, in today’s atmosphere of political correctness, Ovechkin was taken to task for not blasting his country’s president and personal buddy to pieces. Not so much by fans but by the media and, shockingly, by a former goaltender, and Hockey Hall of Fame member, Dominik Hašek. Confirming the accepted view that hockey goaltenders are generally crazy, because only crazy people would voluntarily face barrages of projectiles shot in their direction with alarming speed and precision, Hašek called poor Ovechkin all kinds of names, some bordering on expletive. And, while he was at it, he demanded that all Russian players currently employed by NHL clubs be suspended (at best) or outright fired (at worst).

That some of the Russian athletes are no particular friends of their country’s president, didn’t matter. Artemi Panarin, a Russian-born forward many hockey fans would pay a lot to see in action, has been open about his negative views of all Vladimir Putin stands for. Yet, in Hašek’s book, he’s still guilty as charged. Just because he was born where he was.

Most of the media reported on Hašek’s outburst with politically correct admiration.

How this approach fits in politically correct abhorrence of racism and nationalistic chauvinism remains unexplained.

All kinds of international sporting bodies have imposed sanctions on Russian teams’ participation in their competitions: Russians are banned from soccer events, the popular hockey under-20 world competition has banned Russia (and Belarus, as Russia’s alleged ally), and they all feel smug about themselves. They’ve contributed to what they think is justice.

Yes, these bans and boycotts may cost Russian sporting organisations a few dollars here and there, but anyone who thinks Russian government is bothered, they should have their heads examined. This kind of behaviour only confirms the traditional Russian view of the surrounding world: we’re not paranoid but here you can see that everybody’s against us.

Not only that, in the propaganda war context, it justifies Russian government’s view that their country is within her rights to put the stinking Ukrainians in their place.

There’s one word for the western reaction: counterproductive.

A strange request

A few groups of Canadians of Ukrainian origin have asked the Canadian government to stop granting new visas and work permits to Russian athletes.

Coincidentally, these groups have no issue with Ukraine’s security services showing their enthusiastic admiration for Nazi ideology and methods of governing. The fact that official Ukrainian view promotes the Second World War criminal Stepan Bandera onto a national hero pedestal doesn’t matter to them one iota, either.

And this is not a one-in-a-million case of nation-wide worship for Hitler’s Nazi collaborators among the Ukrainian population. While, granted, there have been many reasons why the Ukrainian dislike all things Russian, and a huge share of them very valid (the artificially-induced famine, a.k.a. Holodomor, of the 1930s comes to mind), this still does not justify making these individuals national heroes.

Of course, when Putin speaks of his desire to de-Nazify Ukraine (this is his own expression), perhaps he should start by cleaning up the anti-Semitism that pervades in his own country. After all, the word pogrom (attacks by frenzied masses on peaceful Jewish communities) comes from Russia.

Still, none of this justifies, for example, the decision by the world’s top soccer body, FIFA, to grant Team Poland a walkover win over Team Russia in the qualifiers for the World Cup. And none of this makes correct, for another example, the newest decision by the NHL to cancel its cooperative agreement with its Russian counterpart, the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).

Nothing in the world justifies the New York Metropolitan Opera’s decision to fire one of today’s greatest soprano ladies, Anna Netrebko, either. This happened, word from the Met’s top ranks says, just because she is Russian and happens to have Putin’s private telephone number on her speed-dial. She was hired, after all, to sing and attract thousands adoring opera lovers to enjoy her art.

Boomerang effect

Russian athletes, artists or scientists currently in North America won’t talk too much (and too openly) about what’s happening. Those who agree with Putin fear North American reprisals based on politically correct hysteria. Those who disagree with Putin fear repercussions imposed by Roskomnadzor, Russia’s top censorship office.

The tide is growing: a Russian F1 driver was banned recently from the British Grand Prix. Norway is banning Russians from upcoming skiing competitions.

Does it make any sense other than making those issuing these directives feel they are ahead of the stream, punishing people who have nothing to do with the events other than their nationality?

This kind of international behaviour didn’t help much with South Africa’s apartheid: the shoe is on the other foot now, and the old racial wars continue. The only thing that has changed is who owns more guns and controls the system.

Proponents of the banning game speak of collective responsibility. This is definitely not a brand new idea. Just look at atrocities imposed on losing nations by victors throughout history.

Does the fact that this kind of collective solidarity-based revenge has been an accepted rule make it acceptable?

For an answer, look up North American governments compensating the children and grandchildren of people of German, Japanese or Italian descent who were living on this continent during the two World Wars, and who were detained as potential enemy supporters during those conflagrations.

So, one more time: does the fact that this kind of collective solidarity-based revenge has been an accepted rule make it acceptable?

Be honest when answering: what would you think if it were to happen to you?

It’s where the Titanic is headed that counts

Those who vote decide nothing.

Those who count the vote decide everything.

Thus the great Soviet dictator Josif Stalin.

We saw Stalin’s definition proven alive and well in 2020 in the United States, and there will be more elections forthcoming in the very near future: down under, the Aussies should vote any time between February and May, with inside prognosticators pointing to March of 2022.

The first round of the 2022 French presidential election will be held on April 10, 2022. A heated runoff will take place between the top two candidates on April 24, 2022, if there is no winner in the first round.

George Soros is licking his lips about what’s going to happen in April or May of 2022 in his native country: that’s when Hungary will hold her next parliamentary elections. The globalists have had it with the current Prime Minister, Viktor Orban. Many believe the vote will include the population’s reaction to Hungarian government’s handling of the so-called Covid crisis. The plan is to muzzle all those praising Orban for his stand in the refugee crisis and claiming his country’s legitimate rights within the European Union, the current leader’s strong points.

Meanwhile, the Italians will have time to think until June 1, 2023 (but not later), while Britain’s Fixed-term Parliaments Act sets the election date to May 2, 2024.

And the Americans will enjoy their mid-term elections next November.

That explains what American economist Martin Armstrong calls the Panic Cycle. That also explains the sundry authorities’ sudden concerns about the so-called new variants of coronavirus, whatever they wish to call them: the idea is to reinforce the panic.

Major North American sports leagues have they joined the fray, announcing that they keep records of how many athletes on each of their teams began sneezing, and changing their schedules accordingly.

The top hockey league in the world, the NHL, is even making sure all of its fans (and players) are aware that its personnel’s participation in the forthcoming Winter Olympic Games in China depends on the non-existent pandemic and China’s quarantine rules.

That the People’s Republic’s human rights record has been going to hell with increasing speed doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter, either, that the People’s Republic stands among the accused of spreading an artificial entity as a new bioweapon.

Here’s the issue: none of these issues is of overwhelming importance.

What will happen?

We shouldn’t be talking so much about next year, except for those elections, as we should about the years that will lead up to 2032.

Yes. A decade from now.


Because that’s when we’ll see the reasons for today’s panic mongering, at long last.

It’ll take at least till then for the globalists to succeed in finally ending democracy.

The World Economic Forum gurus call democracy “populism.” Masses of the unwashed are way too stupid to know what’s best for them.

They call themselves the elites, and the plan is for them to retain power, and for the rest of the world to keep our mouths shut and keep working.

All that while the Earth’s population will be shrinking from 7.8 billion to 1.5 billion souls, making this process a genocide on a scale unseen since at least the Great Flood (of Noah’s Arch story’s fame).

In World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab’s native language: maul halten und weiter dienen.

Out with the Keynesian economics. Milton Friedman be damned. Three cheers for Karl Marx in Schwab’s version.

The idea is to strip normal people of all of their debts and, while they’re at it, of everything those debts are supposed to pay off.

Government will default on their own debts. They ran out of real money (worldwide average) in 2014, after all. To hide this perfectly shocking failure, herewith the solution: their citizens will own nothing and be happy because governments will erase all of their debt, too. Instead of a pension, citizens will be receiving something tentatively called Guaranteed Basic Income.

This is a Ponzi Scheme to end all Ponzi Schemes.

Here’s what it means: an investment fraud pays existing investors with money received from new investing arrivals. We’ll invest your money and generate high returns with little or no risk, such schemes’ organisers promise. Instead, they use newcomers’ money to pay those who had invested earlier. What’s in it for them? They keep some of such contributions for themselves, that’s what.

Crying at the wrong funeral

And, meanwhile, everybody and their dog keep arguing about (you guessed it) Covid as a virus, vaccines as either a fraud or a real medication, Covid passports as an infringement on basic human rights, lockdowns as an economic idiocy that solves nothing, and the pure illegality of it all.

Yes, those who argue that Bill and Melinda Gates, Klaus Schwab and George Soros are mere puppets of powers stronger than anyone of us can imagine, and that even the infamous Dr. Anthony Fauci is but a Big Pharma marketing guy, may have valid points.

Except: none of this is the real point. Not even Big Pharma’s profits are the real point. And not even the poisoned foodstuffs we eat and water we drink, and the strange vapours in the air, or the obviously killing electromagnetic waves from the newest 5G communications systems are the real point.

The real point is the question of why governments of all stripes are assaulting their own nations with all kinds of lockdowns and unconstitutional mandates, and why right now.

Why so much hurry? in other words.

Because of those forthcoming elections.

Oh, the globalists will try to rig them, of that there can be no doubt. You can’t have the wrong people run countries, even the good old British comedy series, Yes Prime Minister knew. And that series hit the waves pretty long ago.

That’s what explains the rush.

And that’s why we have not much time left to stop this crime against humanity.

A Canadian historian goes bonkers

A new joke has been making rounds in Russia, and, it seems, it has become wildly popular in that country. Here it is:

A guy who happens to be a foreign spy enters a pub somewhere in Russia. The regulars take one look at him and say: “You speak like a Russian, and you dress like a Russian, but you definitely aren’t Russian.”

So, the newcomer orders a glass (stakan, 100 grams they call it) of Stolichnaia vodka and downs it. The regulars shrug and say: “You speak like a Russian, you dress like a Russian, and you drink like a Russian, but you definitely aren’t Russian.”

Now desperate, the newcomer breaks into kazachok (a Russian dance). The regulars shrug and say: “You speak like a Russian, you dress like a Russian, you drink like a Russian, and you dance like a Russian, but you definitely aren’t Russian.”

The guy returns home to America, goes straight to his spy chief’s office and reports he failed.

“Hell,” the spy commander yells, “you Afro-Americans screw up everything you touch!”

Why all this?

The trickle of accusations that this or that equals cultural misappropriation has grown into a veritable flood.

Mostly, the cries deal with the names of sports organizations. Just as mostly, they come from people whose jobs should not exist, that’s how irrelevant they are.

Just a few examples: professor of Canadian and Indigenous history at the University of Manitoba, a Dr. Sean Carleton, posted a Twitter message on the subject of NHL club Vancouver Canucks’ logo. It shows a killer whale or orca. And Dr. Carleton, who obviously must be bored beyond humane limits, is upset. The logo, he says, uses elements of Coast Salish or Haida design.

This is not the first time in recent history that the Canucks got into hot water.

In an attempt to get better in goal, they hired Braden Holtby, a Stanley Cup winner with his previous team, the Washington Capitals. In order to show respect for the people of the area he was moving to, Holtby had his mask re-painted, using Indian (First Nations, in the politically correct lingo) motives.

Unfortunately, Holtby used the services of an artist who could not claim even an ounce of Indian blood.

Holtby committed an act of cultural misappropriation. Thus Dr. Carleton.

Instead of sending Dr. Carleton a request that he direct his steps into an area better not described in mixed company (or at the dinner table, your choice), Holtby apologized profusely, and commissioned a local Indian artist to paint him another mask.

Holtby must have realized that by signing with the Canucks he joined a world ruled mercilessly by idiots. The club’s owner, one Francesco Aquiini, had just fired the team’s anthem singer, Mark Donnelly. Poor Mark’s sin: he sang O Canada at a rally that protested the new mandatory facemask fashion.

If Dr. Carleton’s was a lone voice in the Sahara Desert, fine, we’re entitled to being idiots, this is a democracy, after all.

But if this becomes a new fashion, then, alas, something is desperately wrong.

And it has: most recently Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Cleveland Indians announced that they will be changing their name. Canadian Football League’s (CFL) Edmonton Eskimos and National Football League’s (NFL) Washington Redskins have already dropped their former names. They are nameless while this is being written. MLB’s Atlanta Braves, NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, and NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks have yet to announce their plans, if any.

Of course, the Blackhawks have, for the time being, banned wearing your typical Indian attire, starting with warbonnets and sundry headbands, to their home games. People who would insist on wearing this kind of traditional attire without showing proof they are of 100-per-cent Indian blood would be asked to leave the arena forthwith. No word yet on whether they would be reimbursed for their tickets and parking fees. No word yet, either, on whether the Blackhawks would be demanding that other teams introduce this policy, too, whenever their club drops by for a road game.

Those who defend this example of perfectly clinical moronism point to the fact that, for example, the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes asked the Hopi tribe leaders for permission to use Kachina in their logo.

For the uninitiated: Kachina is a spirit being in the religious beliefs of the Indian cultures located in the south-western part of the United States.

Since the Arizona Coyotes’ current existence is closely (some would say too closely) linked to Indian gambling institutions in the area, their Kachina obedience is easily explained.

But the principle is not.

Step in different shoes

Is it cultural misappropriation when many Indians, chiefs included, wear trousers (with belts or suspenders, or both), white shirts with ties, and jackets, with polished shoes on their feet?

(To avoid any potential misunderstanding: ties worn around people’s necks are also known as cravats. Croatian soldiers who, a couple of centuries ago, lived in France, were wearing this kind of nonsense, the French, fashionistas as they always have been, adopted it, calling it croats, which quickly led to a mutation: cravats. Most Croats would become acquainted with the Indians only when some German filmmakers decided to change Karl May’s imagined stories into films about a noble savage named Winnetou. They filmed most of the Wild West sequences in Croatia. May was behind bars for some allegedly serious insurance swindle when he wrote his Indian stories. He had one fact right: Winnetou really existed. He was the chief of the Mescalero Apaches (and the Apaches in general, with the Navajo included). His father was Intschu-tschuna and he had a sister Nscho-tschi. Both of these names appear in the film series. Everything else was Karl May’s imagination, including the Germanic ways all of his characters – including the Indians – lived under.)

Or: is it cultural misappropriation when Louis Armstrong sings about Moses who heard from the Lord he should tell the Egyptian Pharaohs to let his people go? Are the gospels cultural misappropriation?

Of course not. And neither is Karl May’s Winnetou.

While useful, Canadian and Indigenous history studies should keep to studying history. Activism, such as that shown by Dr. Carleton, would seem to indicate there’s not much material to study. A wrong conclusion, by the way. Canada’s history is pretty rich, and a lot of it deserves to be discovered yet. Unable or unwilling to dig deeper, the activists have invented a brand new field for their efforts.

Except: this is no longer history. If they are sincere, they would stop collecting wages as historians and start fundraising for their activism.

Nothing less.

Hockey Diversity Association blackmails the NHL

In any normal grammar, the following Hockey Diversity Association statement would be viewed as blackmail with a lower-case b.

What the Hockey Diversity Association (HDA for short) would prefer is blackmail where the letter b is in capital case.

The top hockey league in the world, the National Hockey League (a.k.a. the NHL), decided not to stoop as low as the Hockey Diversity Association demanded, and the HDA is upset.

“The NHL,” thus the HDA in all seriousness, “focused on performative public relations efforts that seemed aimed at quickly moving past important conversations about race needed in the game.”

All that because a convicted criminal, apprehended by law enforcement officials while committing several more crimes, died, allegedly because of the arresting police officer’s actions.

(The reality seems to differ wildly from the accepted racial story-telling.)

What followed was an incredible wave of violent looting, with bands calling themselves Black Lives Matter and Antifa terrorizing innocent citizens and destroying local businesses, while putting American cities ablaze.

The NHL answered all this by making sure its fans, glued to their television sets during the so-called Return To Play, saw distinct signs such as We Play for Black Lives.

That the hockey players make their outrageous salaries thanks to the interest of fans of other skin colours, too, seemed to be perfectly irrelevant.

The NHL even responded in agreement to its Player Association’s (NHLPA) demand that it postpone for a day the proceedings, to get in line with what the richest athletes on earth, basketball’s NBA stars, called a boycott.

That they obviously are not aware of the real meaning of the word is another matter.

Defenceman Matt Dumba, one of the HDA founders, spoke eloquently during the opening broadcast of the NHL playoffs, saying, “We fight against justice.”

He caught himself in that Freudian slip, waited, just like a professional broadcaster would, a few seconds, and corrected himself: “We fight against injustice.”

Sure enough, subsequent replays of the touching scene hit the air without the howler.

(Technically speaking: where was the seven-second-delay button when Hockey Night in Canada needed it?)

Racist demands

The HDA has also asked the NHL to make sure a certain percentage of their management ranks (as well as a certain percentage of management ranks within individual clubs) be filled with what they call People Of Colour (it has already achieved a status symbol: it has got its own abbreviation, POC). Simply speaking, qualifications be damned. It’s the colour of your skin that matters.

There hasn’t been any official talk about quotas for dark-skinned players on NHL rosters (similar to Quebec nationalists’ demands for French-speaking players skating for Montreal Canadiens and, in the past, Quebec Nordiques). What hasn’t happened yet can easily happen in the future.

What the HDA has been demanding: have the NHL support young dark-skinned players so they can make the step into the top league ranks eventually. That it would be best to leave such decision to these kids (and their parents) somehow never struck the HDA as a most logical option. And never mind that the youth leagues are run by somebody else. The national hockey associations (Hockey Canada, USA Hockey), and their subsidiaries, such as the youth leagues, would certainly look askance at the NHL whenever it or its teams try to interfere with the programs in any shape or form.

Of course, the NHL hired Kim Davis, appointing her to the post of Executive Vice President, Social Impact, Growth Initiatives and Legislative Affairs. Based in the League’s New York office, she now reports directly to Commissioner Gary Bettman. She will also be in constant touch with what the league described as its clubs and stakeholders.

Top North American companies have been taking her advice on corporate responsibility and inclusive leadership practice, the NHL said.

That, of course, is not enough, so far as the HDA is concerned.

This is what the group said in its newest statement: “We have waited many months for a response to the common sense HDA pledge we proposed and it is clear that the NHL is not prepared to make any measurable commitments to end systemic racism in hockey.”

Where’s the beef?

Of course, the HDA has yet to define with any semblance of precision what it views as systemic racism. Judging by its co-founder Matt Dumba’s words during the infamous league re-opening, what we’re dealing with is systematic racism rather than systemic. The two expressions can hardly differ more, but let’s not be sticklers for detail. Neither the HDA nor the BLM (yes, even the Black Lives Matter have achieved the status of abbreviations) and nor the Antifa have yet come up with any kind of definition that couldn’t be successfully challenged, but that doesn’t matter, obviously.

So, the HDA informs all and sundry, “While we are disappointed, the HDA will operate separate and independent of the NHL and authentically implement necessary education programs and changes to the sport and seek to be role models for the youth in Black and Brown communities who want to play hockey.”

Former NHL player Akim Aliu, whose allegations that his former coach Bill Peters insulted him using a racist remark about the music he played in the locker room started the flood of “me-too” accusations, is one of the heads of the HDA. San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane is the other one.

Founders of the group include players such as Trevor Daley, Anthony Duclair, the abovementioned Dumba, Nazem Kadri, Wayne Simmonds, Chris Stewart and Joel Ward.

The NHL has but one way to proceed: shrug the fierce HDA proclamation off and try to restore its business to make it a viable proposition again.

If the HDA has problems with it, the NHL should congratulate it: the HDA’s got something the NHL doesn’t.

And that should be the end of the story.

NHL obsessed with words, symbols, hiding the emptiness of political correctness

We fight against justice, said Matt Dumba during the opening ceremony of the tragic comedy a.k.a. NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs 2020.


But not to worry. The Minnesota Wild defenceman, a Regina (Sask.) native, behaved like a broadcast professional he’s not yet (but it may be in his future, who knows). Dumba gave it a couple of seconds, and then returned to the proper script. We fight against injustice.

And, sure enough, his Freudian slip disappeared from subsequent showings of his speech as if by magic.

It wasn’t the only questionable mistake in young Mr. Dumba’s appearance. While Black Lives Matter’s ideologues claim with all seriousness that America suffers from systemic racism, Mr. Dumba mentioned systematic racism. Not once. Twice.

Systematic is an adjective that suggests there exists (or appears to exist) a system, a method, or a plan, or that whatever is happening involves any of these possibilities.

Systemic, on the other hand, is an adjective that means of or relating to a system. Phenomena affecting every part of an entire system (such as illnesses or social problems) can be described as systemic.

A seemingly minor difference, but of major importance.

The entire opening extravaganza bordered on the shocking, to say the least.

First of all, television screens lit up with words taken from an incendiary speech by the late Nelson Mandela, and to make sure everyone, even the illiterate among us, knew what it was all about, the former South African president’s voice filled the air.

Basically, Mr. Mandela’s speech was calling for an armed struggle, or else our children will hate us. In that particular clip, no reason for the armed struggle was mentioned, but it was expected that everyone and their dog would know.

What nobody from the NHL or Hockey Night in Canada bothered to mention was that Mr. Mandela was behind bars in South Africa because he was convicted of (and admitted to) terrorism.

Yes. Violent attacks against innocent and unsuspecting civilians, children included, are called terrorism by definition.

Not only that: one of Mr. Mandela’s chief advisers was a white-skinned man named Joe Slovo. Born as Yossel Mashel Slovo in Lithuania in 1926, he held the rank of full Colonel in the Soviet intelligence service, the KGB.

That the NHL and Hockey Night in Canada would choose a terror-driven Marxist-Leninist as a symbol of their fight against what they call social injustice is beyond comprehension.

The outrage happened on the 186th anniversary (to the day!) of the British Empire banning all forms of slavery (Canada was a part of the United Kingdom then, and still is).

A reminder: the United States followed suit 31 years later, in 1865.

Absolutely, racism did not end on that day so long ago, but it was a momentous start.

What else?

Can you imagine that powers that-be would tell a member of an Indian tribe he must not wear a three-piece suit, with a tie around the collar of his snow-white shirt, and his Gucci loafers shining like nobody’s business?

And wearing a, say, proper Fedora hat would be a no-no, as well?

Yes? No?

(For reasons known only to them, they call themselves First Nations in Canada.)

So why does nobody object to the recent decision of NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks according to which wearing Indian-style head-dresses to games is forbidden from now onwards into eternity? Fans entering United Center at 1901 West Madison Street in Chicago, Illinois, will be asked to remove the offending collection of feathers from their heads, and if they refuse, they will be removed from the premises.

No word yet whether they will be reimbursed for the cost of their tickets and parking stalls.

The Blackhawks management was inconsistent, by the way: why did they not ban moccasins, too, while they were at it?

Or: a sponsor demanded that the Canadian Football League’s Edmonton Eskimos drop the Eskimo part.

Instead of saying who needs such sponsors, going begging in the streets is more reputable than succumbing to such moronic blackmail, the Eskimos will have a new, preferably inoffensive, name soon.

Or take Yahoo. Originally a search engine, now a tragic attempt at a combination with a news source. This bunch of yahoos has removed a chess International Master from their site. (The International Master description indicates the player has achieved a pretty lofty level of play.) Yahoo’s censorship software did not like some of this International Master’s comments.

A few examples: he registered a move, and explained: “Black has totally screwed up here.” On another occasion, he wrote: “Black decided for the most violent continuation.” He dared use such outrageous remarks as: “… and after this move, white is deservedly winning.” Comments such as: “… and white dominates” didn’t help him much, either.

Illiteracy rules

The calls for so-called social justice have come close to Nazi shrieks of Sieg Heil (Hail to Victory). What actually constitutes social justice for the Black Lives Matter movement remains a closely guarded secret, hidden behind such seriously-looking expressions as systemic racism. This must sound seriously funny to anyone who watches black basketball players, multi-millionaires all, taking to their knees during their national anthem, mouthing platitudes that should make a mentally-challenged (it used to be called retarded) kindergarten kid blush.

And never mind the minor fact that the national anthem is a symbol of the country (and system) that has allowed them to become multi-millionaires in the first place.

Speaking of which, hockey’s Matt Dumba took the knee when they played the American anthem (with Chicago’s goaltender Malcolm Subban and Edmonton’s defenceman Darnell Nurse holding their hands on his shoulders to show their support). At least, he stood up for O Canada. Matt Dumba is not as rich as his basketball colleagues, but still, thus far, professional hockey has enhanced his bank account by about $19,656,668 (see All that in about seven years.

Oh, and by the way, speaking of the seemingly innocent word retard, even that has experienced a bit of controversy of its own.

When an airliner is about to land (especially the Airbus aircraft are guilty of it), the pilot is controlling the process, but automatic devices check and announce such important data as altitude (in feet) above the ground and runway, and speed. If the plane is approaching faster than calculations permit (length of the runway, wind, temperature of the air right above the runway, whether the runway is dry or wet, etc.), the devices will say: retard, retard, and will continue saying it until the pilot manages to adjust the speed to the proper requirements.

The din this has created among the bleeding-heart do-gooders when they heard about it was unbelievable. It would take quite an effort for the airlines and their pilots to explain to those illiterates what the word really means, in particular when used as a French language verb. (Remember: Airbus aircraft are assembled in Toulouse, France.)

What an opening!

Visuals used by the NHL and Hockey Night in Canada during the opening ceremonies in Edmonton and Toronto used images of the convicted criminal George Floyd, whose violent death in the hands of a police officer in Minnesota has allegedly triggered the entire Black Lives Matter movement.

Nothing can be further from the truth: we have been hearing this perfectly racist slogan for quite a few years now.

Not only that: presenting a convicted violent criminal as a hero, as a role model, even, is as cynical a decision as cynical gets.

Racism exists, yes, that much is true. Whether it is systemic remains to be seen. Systematic it is not.

Yes, there may be fans who use racist epithets when they do not like a player, and see his skin colour as the only reason for hating him. This is not limited to black players: athletes of, for example, Asian origin can tell tales about treatment they have received from some morons who come to sports events to vent their frustrations rather than support their teams.

But: for the NHL (and, by extension Hockey Night in Canada) to proclaim slogans such as “We skate for black lives” is a sign of racism to end all racisms.

According to people who represent the newly established (and, at first glance, rather vigilant) Hockey Diversity Association, they want more people of colour (their own expression, even though some of them were more open: they said black) playing hockey.

The way they put it seemed next thing they would be demanding would be quotas. Something similar to Québec nationalists who from time to time demand that the Montréal Canadiens (of the former Québec Nordiques) have a certain number of French players on their rosters, or else.

How about letting kids decide for themselves whether hockey is the sport they love the most?

For the record: all lives matter. To be singling out some lives based on their race equals racism.

There are no ifs or buts about it.

Let’s hope even those who have been starving for NHL hockey will show the league their displeasure by not watching its renewed attempt to remain relevant. It’s the only way professional sports understand: they go where their pockets lead them.

My Stanley Cup winner prediction? One of the 24 teams still playing. Who cares?

Note to NHL: public money and private business do not mix

As gall goes, Gary Bettman has set new standards.

In a live interview on Hockey Night in Canada  the other day, Scott Oake apologized for even broaching the subject, and then he asked a logical question: what’s the NHL commissioner’s view of the City of Glendale’s decision to quit the agreement they had with the Arizona Coyotes?

Why did Oake feel he had to apologize? It was hot news of the moment, and he was speaking to the boss of the outfit that has had a keen interest in the matter.

Apologies or not, Bettman’s answer showed anger unbecoming of a person in his position. And it showed an arrogance that in just a couple of sentences displayed for everybody to see everything that’s wrong with professional sports on the business level.

Corporate welfare is the best description of what professional sports teams have been abusing. They’ve been getting away with public financing of new arenas, special deals, and whatever they could obtain, ripping off the (mostly unsuspecting) taxpayer all along. And, most surprising, shocking, even, they have felt they are entitled.

Which brings us to the outburst of anger one isn’t used to see in a Gary Bettman.

Unhappy council

The good members of the Glendale city council have had enough of the Arizona Coyotes shenanigans. They couldn’t get majority owner Andrew Barroway to talk to them. When they asked the minority owner, Anthony LeBlanc, about reports of some financial transactions that allegedly went against both the letter and the spirit of the deal the city had with the club, all they would get was incoherent obfuscations. Mr. Barroway, thus Mr. LeBlanc, is a busy man. He runs a hedge fund in New York, you see. The message was obvious: he hasn’t time to spare to talk to the hicks who run the city of Glendale.

So, council members decided to look for a hole that would get them out of the deal. They said so publicly that this was their plan. A few weeks later, Mr. Barroway and Mr. LeBlanc managed to find time in their preciously crowded schedules to meet with the mayor of Glendale, his deputy, and a few city officials. No coffee was served, no sandwiches were available. According to some reports, there were a couple bottles of water somewhere in the room.

That wasn’t the important part. The important part was that city representatives told Coyotes’ owners they were unhappy about the entire scenario and would like to open discussions about making a few changes here and there. The Coyotes’ owners said absolutely no way. To top it off, Mr. LeBlanc said they were ambushed. Either he’s illiterate and doesn’t know how to read regular newspapers (or their associated websites), and nobody read it to him, or he just doesn’t care what the city of Glendale has been saying rather publicly for quite some time.

If he wasn’t making it up and this was the first time Mr. LeBlanc had heard about the city’s distinct lack of happiness about the deal, it speaks volumes about his entrepreneurial incompetence.

In either case, ignorance is no excuse.

City in the poorhouse

The city of Glendale has been suffering for quite some time. It has had difficulties meeting its own financial obligations. Compared to just a few years ago, the city government’s workforce has been cut by almost 20 per cent. Enforced furloughs, vacant positions going unfilled, merging departments, you name it, the city has used all of these methods, and then some. Yet, it’s still unable to buy a new firetruck or open a new public library.

There might be studies that would find why this has been happening. There might be studies trying to figure out who or what is guilty of it all. But they are not relevant for the Arizona Coyotes soap opera. The city’s economic situation is what it is, and to be demanding $15 million annually for arena maintenance borders on the unconscionable.

That’s how simple it is.

In fact, for professional sports clubs to be asking for public handouts in the first place is unconscionable.

A bit of theory. Economy is divided into three basic spheres. They are described as core, public purpose, and business spheres. Some classify them as household, government, and business spheres. Names may differ, but other than that, it’s the same thing.

In economic theory, business sphere is strictly separated from the other two spheres. Government can (or may) use policies of economic stimuli to attract or keep an industry (a business, that is), but this just happens to be one of the must muddied areas of economics. Suffice it to say that pure economic theory frowns upon such relationships.

End of the bit of theory.

To be blunt: professional sports clubs do not create anything productive. Enthusiasm about a wicked wrist shot in hockey, or a curved (Beckham-like) shot in football (soccer, that is), or a new kind of kicking in free-style swimming, may (or may not) improve an individual’s mood. But that’s about it.

To limit an individual’s emotional well-being to watching extraordinary feats achieved by professional athletes is a dumbing-down proposition.

That’s one point of view.

To limit access to basic services that a government is supposed to provide just because said government is out of money as it had spent it on helping a professional sports club borders on the criminal.

To stay with Glendale, Arizona: what is more important to its citizens, a new firetruck, a new library, or an old and repeatedly failing hockey club? According to a recent public opinion poll, almost two thirds of Glendale’s citizens prefer the former to the latter.

Enough said?

Not according to the owners of the Coyotes, a hockey club that’s been losing money left, right and centre since the moment it landed in Phoenix in 1996. Please remember: it came to Phoenix from Winnipeg, a hockey-crazy community that had not been able to sustain it. And it came from Winnipeg to Phoenix, the place where they like their ice at the bottom of their glasses (filled with fire water, mostly), and where most of the locals can hardly care less about the fastest team game in the world.

Why Phoenix in the first place?

The strategic intent was easy to grasp: let’s have NHL hockey spread all over the Excited States. That’s the only way to get a national broadcasting contract and, thus, exposure. Alas, it seems (in hindsight) that Phoenix and environs have been doomed right from the start.

Not only that: blessed with one suspect owner after another, it seems NHL poohbahs would do well to look up in their dictionaries the real meaning of the expression: due diligence.

But the main point is simple: professional sports clubs should not be allowed to even approach governments, hats in hands, asking for taxpayer-subsidized handouts. If there is one industry where this should be forbidden by law, it’s the professional sports industry. (That, by the way, includes the Olympic Games and sundry international events, too.)

The rule should be: if you have the wherewithal to start a professional sports club, you would be logically expected to have enough money to pay for the re-zoning and building permits, for the construction itself, and for the running of the club, too. If one of these pre-conditions is not met, no permits would be forthcoming, and no taxpayer-funded subsidies, either.

And the word to such owners and leagues should be simple: no, you are NOT entitled to anything.

A minor legalistic observation: the Coyotes intend to claim that former city attorney Craig Tindall had nothing to do whatsoever with the contract between Glendale and the hockey club. That, they said they planned to say, makes the hole the city used to call the deal off null and void. They’ll have to convince a number of judges that they have a valid point. For the city, it would suffice to show that the text of the deal passed once (just once!) through said Mr. Tindall’s hands, even if it was for proof-reading purposes only.

Of course, it would be grasping at straws on the Coyotes’ part. And it would be missing two basic points.

First: the locals don’t want you. Stop behaving like a jilted lover who keeps telling her or his departing partner but you can’t leave me! Why not? Because I love you!

Instead, leave while the leaving is (still) good.

And the second point, even more important: grow up and realize that you are not entitled to anything from the public. Grow up and realize that public money and private business just do not mix. Remember that, eventually, if you persist in your attempts to blackmail the public, it may come back to haunt you.

And then, where will you be?

Team Russia shows no sense of decency

This is called sportsmanship at its best.

After Team Canada won the world championship 2015 title in the O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic, Sunday, it took the vanquished team quite some time to skate over and accept their silver medals from International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) President René Fasel.

In fact, Fasel had to keep waving at the Russians for almost a minute to convince them to come over and collect what was deservedly theirs.

But that wouldn’t be the end of it.

What happened then was even more shocking. Not surprising: something like that had happened in other, similar situations, too. And it always involved Russian teams in one shape or another. But one would have expected that the Russians would have learnt their lesson by now and not stoop to this kind of scandalous behaviour yet again. When Team Russia captain Ilya Kovalchuk saw the IIHF dignitaries began distributing gold medals to the winners from Canada, he ordered his teammates to leave the ice. He waited by the door to the bench to see that the entire squad leaves.

To their credit, a small group that included Team Russia’s brightest stars, Alexander Ovechkin and Yevgeni Malkin, remained at the blue line. Kovalchuk kept ordering them to leave forthwith, while Ovechkin was gesticulating back that good manners dictate they should stay there till the end of the ceremony. Or, at least, until Team Canada captain Sidney Crosby receives the championship cup and O Canada had been played.

It took about a minute of embarrassing exchanges. But when the fireworks started and the confetti were fired, Kovalchuk skated over and personally forced the remaining Russian players to leave immediately.

That no Russian player stayed to see Crosby and his teammates skating around with the cup is one thing; that they didn’t wait until an orchestra gathered to play O Canada, is another.

Fasel said he was very disappointed with Team Russia’s behaviour. He said he found it perfectly unacceptable and added that the IIHF is going to debate potential punishment. Team Russia’s behaviour showed profound lack of respect for the other team, and Russian Hockey Federation will be asked for an explanation, Fasel told the Russian TASS news agency, adding Team Russia’s behaviour showed not only lack of sportsmanship, it also broke the IIHF’s rules, and for that, the Russian Hockey Federation can expect proper punishment.

Fasel said some Russian players wanted to be sportsmanlike: “We saw Ovechkin and Malkin who tried to stay. It’s the team management and coaching staff who should have made sure nothing like this happened; they were right there, on the ice, at the time.”

Vladislav Tretyak, the former all-world goalie who now serves as Russian Hockey Federation’s president, said it was all a misunderstanding rather than lack of respect: his players even shook Canadian players’ hands, he said.

But former Czech goalie Petr Bříza, who served on the organizing committee, said wherever Team Russia showed up, difficulties would follow.

When they came to Ostrava, instead of staying in a hotel reserved for all teams that played there, the Russians demanded that they be accommodated in Kravaře, an Ostrava suburb. Then, when they saw it took them longer than it took others to get to the ČEZ Arena, they demanded that the organizers provide them with police escort, so their team bus can get to and from the arena breaking all traffic rules.

In fact, Team Russia was scandalized its team bus had to wait at a railway crossing for a train to pass. Organizers in Ostrava started asking publicly whether they should have made the railway change its schedule, and Team Russia dropped the subject.

And, Bříza added, “They brought a few problems with them to Prague, too, issues that hadn’t been here before their arrival. The eight teams that had been here were living side by side quite famously, but then the Russians came and the first thing they did was they blocked off a hallway in the arena and demanded to stay in a different hotel. That created serious security issues for us, and if anything had happened, it would have been linked to the championship, no question. And then, they topped it off with such lack of sportsmanship and respect for others, including the entire event,” Bříza concluded.

It seems it may be useful for the organizers of the forthcoming World Cup (NHL and NHLPA) to remind Team Russia management in advance that there are basic rules of decency and sportsmanship that one should keep in mind even following bitter defeat.

And if they can’t live with it, disinvite them, no matter the star power that the event would lose.

The black art season is upon us, Hockey Unlimited promises

(Updated with detailed broadcast schedule below.)

Remember the Edmonton Oilers selecting Steve Kelly sixth overall in the 1995 NHL draft? The event took place in the Northlands Coliseum (remember THAT place? No? Would the name Rexall Place put it into context?). When then-Oilers’ president and general manager, Glen Sather, and the team’s then-chief scout, Barry Fraser, were mounting the podium, the audience went berserk, demanding the locals select one Shane Doan.

Doan went to the Winnipeg Jets who were selecting seventh. He’s been with them through thick and thin till this day, and he’s still their desert incarnation’s captain in Arizona.

Come to think of it, Edmonton native Jarome Iginla went 11th overall in that same draft, straight to the Dallas Stars, only to be traded to the Calgary Flames for Joe Nieuwendyk.

Where’s Steve Kelly now? Retired, that’s where, after achieving the unpleasant title “underachiever,” never playing more than a half of a season for any given NHL team, going through the German DEL hockey league all the way to the AHL, and ending his career there, following an injury.

Whether it was Kelly’s pure bad luck is irrelevant now. The only thing that matters is that, in hindsight, his selection in the first round was a mistake.

A mistake? After all, as we all know, hindsight is 20-20.

Again, it depends on your point of view.

In 1993, the Ottawa Senators have selected Alexandre Daigle first overall. They were so ecstatic to have landed him, they gave him an outrageous salary by the standards of the day, forcing the league to introduce more or less sensible limitations on rookie income (entry-level contract, as we know it now).

Daigle became famous right then and there. Not so much for his hockey prowess but, rather, for his frightfully idiotic statement that he’s happy to be picked first because, you know, who remembers the guy selected second.

Hartford Whalers (today’s Carolina Hurricanes, for the uninitiated) were selecting second. Chris Pronger was their choice.

Who of the two has achieved more? A rhetorical question.

This being its last installment for this season, Hockey Unlimited’s eighth episode opens with what it calls the science and black art of scouting.

Remember, the regular season will be almost over on the day Rogers Sportsnet airs this episode, Thursday, April 9. (See broadcast schedule below for further broadcast times.) The playoffs will be upon us, but so will be the draft lottery, and, ultimately, the draft itself.

Even with today’s use of advanced statistics and other hugely involved tools of what their priests call the analytics, teams are selecting real, living people, hoping they’re finding a series of gems in the rough. This, in and of itself, makes the draft a hit-and-miss proposition, easily comparable to guessing the sex in one-day-old chicken. Winning over one-armed bandits in casinos carries more probability than picking the right player.

And that even with the hoopla about the so-called “generational players,” such as Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel this season.

Teams that place first and second in the draft lottery should be very careful about what they wish for. Just to refresh your memory: the abovementioned Alexandre Daigle carried the same “generational” label.

Having an insider take us through the maze of trying to find big-league talent is going to make this an interesting segment, for sure.

It is quite logical that, following this insider look into the NHL draft, the second segment of Hockey Unlimited is going to concentrate on a school that has produced so many hockey stars.

It’s known as Athol Murray College of Notre Dame. Founded in 1927 by a visionary Roman Catholic priest, Père (Father) James Athol Murray, Notre Dame has given us stars like Curtis Joseph, Wendel Clark, Vincent Lecavalier, Tyler Myers and Jaden Schwartz, among many others. Located in the relatively small village of Wilcox, Saskatchewan, this high school academy has been developing the spirits, minds and bodies of its students since its inception.

The school’s alumni have remained “hounds for life,” as the second segment of the season’s final episode of Hockey Unlimited shows.

It wouldn’t be Aquila Productions if they didn’t find a hockey story that puts the whole thing into perspective.

Noah Fayad, a 14-year-old player on the St. Albert Sabres AAA Bantam team in the Edmonton Major Bantam Hockey League, has been stricken by leukemia. His quietly courageous battle against this disease has inspired both his teammates and his opponents alike.

Fayad’s battle has helped create a special bond between him and the Sabres’ young assistant coach Brady Reid, who lost his father John to the same disease when he was about Noah’s age. As has become the series’ tradition, Hockey Unlimited will again offer viewers valuable tips on hockey fitness from high-performance personal trainer Simon Bennett and on-ice skills from NHL instructor Steve Serdachny.

Episode eight of Hockey Unlimited will begin airing on multiple Sportsnet channels on April 9, with repeat broadcast at various times over the following week preceding the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs. (See broadcast schedule below for further broadcast times.)




Thurs. Apr. 9

3 PM ET SN One

Fri. Apr. 10

1 PM ET SN Pacific, West, Ontario, East
11:30 PM ET SN One

Tues. Apr. 14

5:30 PM ET SN Pacific, West, Ontario, East
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