Friday, November 15, 2013

Water purification system among cargo to leave CFB Trenton Friday

A Canadian Forces water purification system and other aid is en route to the Philippines along with more members of the Disaster Assistance Reponse Team (DART).

Ten more personnel left CFB Trenton Friday evening bringing the total number of Canadians Forces members on the ground to roughly 200.

Defence Minister Rob Nicholson was in town to see them off.

"I know a lot of work and effort has gone into this already," he told the troops before they boarded their flight. "You have responded very very quickly to this terrible tragedy that has afflicted the Philippines. This is part of what we do as a county."

Three Griffon helicopters are also being prepped to be taken over in the coming days. Many roads are still impassable.

The official death toll from the disaster stands at more than 3600, with another 1200, including 55 Canadians, listed as missing. More than half a million people have been left homeless

Third Philippines-bound flight leaves CFB Trenton

More troops were on the way to the Philippines Thursday night, bringing the total number of Canadian Forces boots on the ground in the typhoon devastated area to almost 200.
A flight carrying 70 members of the rapid response team left CFB Trenton late in the evening.
They’re bound for the region of Iloilo on Panay Island. 
Major-General Jim Ferron, commanding officer of the 1st Canadian Division Headquarters, says one of the biggest priorities is getting clean water to those who need it. 
He says more of the 287 members of the Disaster Assistance Response Team should be leaving for the Philippines in the coming days. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

DART heading to the Philippines

The Canadian government and the military are ramping up help for the people in typhoon-devastated islands in the Philippines.
An advance team of government officials is set to land in the Philippines Monday night and the Canadian Forces disaster team is on standby in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
A C17 aircraft carrying 43 members of the Canadian Forces’s DART team, the Disaster Assistance Response Team, left CFB Trenton Monday evening.
It is on standby in Hawaii until the advance team assesses what is needed and where. Canadian Forces officials say the advance team of nine staff including military and civilian staff is expected to be on the ground for between one and three days.
The C17 is loaded with command post members and equipment, along with engineers, medical staff, a forklift and a field ambulance. When the DART team gets the green light to fly to the Philippines the initial team will set up on the ground and it’s expected that a second wave of soldiers along with more equipment and supplies will be sent.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Renos for Heroes

A man from Vaughn has completed his 120 kilometre journey Monday to the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial at CFB Trenton on foot.

Durval Terceira began the walk Wednesday from Oshawa in support of Renos for Heroes, which provides money for disabled veterans to help renovate their home.

Terceira, who is a carpenter by trade, says various members of the carpenters union gave money as well they gave him the time off and bought him his sneakers.

But he says he also received support from the small communities he walked through and the Legions along the way.

He says he plans on making the effort an annual event. Anyone wanting to donate can go to

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

European goalie ban makes no sense

As published on Sports Reported

You couldn’t make this stuff up.

The Canadian Hockey League has decided to phase out the ability of European goaltenders to play in the league. Because those Euros are stealing jobs from Canadians and clearly that’s why we’re losing at hockey.

This year’s import draft teams will only be able to choose netminders in the first round. By the 2014 draft, teams will not be able to choose them at all.

Teams will still be allowed their two European players, they just can’t be goaltenders. (seriously.)

The concern is Canadian-born goaltenders are getting squeezed out of jobs. It might be an easy thing to sell without facts (and Google). Look at some of the top netminders in the NHL: Boston’s Tuuko Rask (Finland), San Jose’s Antti Niemi (also Finland), Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky (Russia), the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist (Sweden).

That’s a scary list of European goaltenders that are taking jobs from ‘good Canadian kids’.....until you realize that not one of those goalies came through the CHL. All of those players came through their country’s junior/elite league system before landing in the NHL.

So back to the CHL. Are Europeans actually taking jobs away from Canadian goaltenders?

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

There are 60 CHL teams. I found about ten European goalies who had played more than 1632 minutes (the threshold where stats may be considered for a league leader). And not all ten of those were starts, as many split duties with their Canadian counterpart.

That leaves 50 starter positions open with another 60 understudy positions. It is junior hockey after all, everyone has to move along after a few years.

Ripping the European goaltenders out so suddenly, I would argue, brings down the calibre of the league. The Seth Jones’, Nathan MacKinnons and Jonathan Drouins of the league will be shooting at a lower calibre of goaltender. Their jump to the NHL will be harder. It’s already happening as the best international goaltenders are staying in their home country and developing in those leagues. Canadians are only coming across these players come World Junior time. No wonder they’re having trouble.

Does anyone actually believe the CHL is where a goaltender develops? Sure it’s where a player can make or break it, but development comes long before. Development is in minor hockey. Canada seems to be pumping out skaters just fine, so why not goalies? That’s the question Hockey Canada and the CHL need to be asking. Has anyone explored the fact that the cost of growing a goaltender is damn expensive. Many parents push their kids away from the position (I know I would, I’m not made of money). That’s a legitimate concern. I know many people who say “Oh not my kid, I can’t afford that”.

That’s where this discussion needs to start. At the grassroots level. Not some childish, protectionist “blame the Europeans” ban.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sizing up the 2013 NHL draft board

As published in  
In many draft classes there is a clearcut choice. Crosby, Stamkos, Ovechkin.
But this year it was a toss up. Fans in rinks across the country debated the merits of who would go on stage first. Towering American defenseman Seth Jones or Cole Harbour’s Nathan MacKinnon. Then dynamic and skilled forward Jonathan Drouin pushed his name into the mix with an outstanding season and World Juniors.
And even though Central Scouting ranked Jones first overall, until the draft order was set in April there was still a lot up in the air. It would all depend on what the team wanted. A solid blueliner or a skilled forward.
With the Coloarado Avalanche winning the lottery, it looks like it will be Jones going number one.
Although, the Avalanche’s director of amateur scouting, Rick Pracey, has said in interviews following the Draft Lottery in April that drafting Jones isn’t a slam dunk.
Well, he may have been just being nice. The Avalanche do not have standout defensemen and their stat sheet is littered with minuses.
The Portland Winterhawks defenseman is the type of player you can build a franchise around. He’s able to quarterback a power play, has a mean slapshot and has the ability to make breakout passes. Not to mention he’s a damn fine athlete (With former NBAer Popeye Jones as a dad, how can you not be a good athlete?).
Not only all of that, but he’s a hometown kid of sorts, playing minor hockey in Denver while his dad played for the Denver Nuggets.
Pretty much a slam dunk, yes?
Meanwhile teammates Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon are both making compelling cases for themselves. At the time of writing this article, the Halifax Mooseheads were two games deep into the QMJHL finals and they still hadn’t lost a game.
Drouin leads the league’s playoff scoring with 30 points, and MacKinnon sits one point back. Both in just 14 games.
Which team takes which player will come down to what they’re looking for. MacKinnon has had many people compare him to Sidney Crosby. And why not. He hails from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia the same hometown as Crosby. He also played at the same U.S. prep school, Shattuck St. Mary’s, prior to a career in the QMJHL. But the real comparison comes with the work ethic. He also has excellent skating – his first two strides leave many defenders looking behind them. He also has that same low center of gravity that makes Crosby so effective.
Meanwhile, Drouin has hands. Fancy hands. Seriously fancy hands. Take a look on YouTube for Drouin goal highlights and you’ll find dazzling plays where you wonder if the puck is indeed taped to his stick. At 5-foot-11 and 176 pounds Drouin’s knock is his size and strength.
Back to the drafting order. It’s hard to say which Florida team will take which player. Florida Panthers have the #2 pick and Tampa Bay has #3. Both Drouin and MacKinnon played on a line with Jonathan Huberdeau in the CHL Prospects game and had instant chemistry.
Some experts have Finnish centre Aleksander Barkov higher than fourth. But it seems unlikely. Both General Managers, Dave Tallon (Florida) and Steve Yzerman (Tampa Bay) have been spotted scouting at the Halifax Metro Centre. Whichever player Florida takes, it would be safe to assume Tampa Bay will pick up the other.
Tampa is weak on the blueline. However, the next possible prospects are a little further down the line, although Darnell Nurse of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds has steadily climbed the rankings.
Moving down to the number 4 pick, it’s likely the aforementioned Barkov will head to the Nashville Predators. The top-rated European skater played for Finland at the World Juniors and notched 48 points in 53 games playing in the Finnish Elite League.
At number 5, the Carolina Hurricanes will be hoping that picking in the top five will work out better than their 2005 pick of Jack Johnson, who inevitably strained his relationship with management and the Canes traded his rights to the L.A Kings.
Despite being burned by that pick, one of the names that keeps popping up is super-strong six-foot-four Russian forward Valeri Nichushkin. Nichushkin has even been touted as the next Evgeni Malkin.
Sounds like a good fit until you find out he signed a two-year deal with the Kontinental Hockey League.
One of the wildcards in this draft will be the Calgary Flames. With the team’s tear-down at the trade deadline, GM Jay Feaster has three first round picks (with a total of nine picks overall), and it’s quite possible you’ll see a draft day trade to move up in the order. Their current draft position is 6th, with the other positions to be determined following playoffs.
The Oilers, another enigma, could make a trade splash. Despite choosing first overall for three straight seasons, the young, superstar-laden team has yet to crack the playoffs. The team is heavy upfront, while not so much anywhere else.
They have several options. They could trade their pick. A top ten pick in this draft could be worth some excellent payback. Or they could choose to move one of their scorers Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Nail Yakupov, for a defender. They could also choose to go for a netminder like Zach Fucale, who despite being the top-rated North American goalie, is slated to go late in the first round. Through 14 playoff games Fucale has posted a 1.95 goals against average and a .912 save percentage. The only problem there is goalies usually take a while to develop and the Oilers don’t have that luxury.
The safe route sees the Oilers picking up a blueliner in Rasmus Ristolainen, Darnell Nurse or Nikita Zadorov. But the likelihood of new General Manager Craig MacTavish going for the safe route is unlikely. If you’re looking for a blockbuster during draft and free agent weekend, it could be made by Edmonton