News you need to get through the day …
Some still-forming pre-coffee thoughts on a Saturday morning …
HAMILTON VS. HAMILTON VS. HAMILTON
Three of the four teams remaining in the playoffs were at one time rumoured — or more — to have called Hamilton home.
In 2007, Jim Balsillie had a letter of agreement to buy the Nashville Predators and a lease arrangement with Hamilton city council to use then-Copps Coliseum either temporarily or permanently.
A year before that, Balsillie agreed to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins but pulled out when the NHL restricted his ability to move the franchise. It was believed/expected Hamilton was his desired destination.
And in 1990, Hamilton was a favourite to be granted an expansion franchise but Ottawa won the bidding on the back of some lofty promises, despite shaky financing and no arena.
People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. We understand that. Still …
Shortly after the CFL draft, the B.C. Lions official website published a story about former McMaster Danny Vandervoort being the team’s top pick. The article misspelled Vandervoort (Vandervoot), Tiger-Cats (Tiger-cats), and Marauders (Muradors). But it was just getting started. Because it also misspelled the name of the league’s first overall draft pick, Faith Ekakitie (Ekikitie), the team’s fourth pick, Frederic Chagnon (Gagnon) and said this was the 2016 draft (it is 2017).
Then for a capper, it actually misspelled the name of the franchise’s own director of football ops and player personnel, Neil McEvoy (Mcevoy).
OK, WE DO IT, TOO
No, we at The Spec aren’t perfect in the typo department. A couple years ago after the final game of the final AHL Bulldogs’ season, we ran this favourite gem:
“In the end, the Bulldogs didn’t miss by much. With a record of 3429-12-1, the team closed out its 19th year in 10th place in the west …”
Must’ve been a pretty good league that year if a .996 winning percentage doesn’t get you a playoff spot.
Five little-known Hamilton Bulldog connections to the teams remaining in the Stanley Cup playoffs. As in, less obvious connections than PK Subban once played here and Guy Boucher used to be the Bulldogs’ head coach, which everyone knows.
1. The brother of Ottawa’s Cody Ceci (Cole Ceci) is a goalie with the OHL Hamilton Bulldogs and has played for the Jr. B Ancaster Avalanche.
2. Ottawa Senators video coach (Kris Young) and head equipment manager (John Forget) both held the same roles with the Hamilton Bulldogs as recently as last year.
3. Ottawa backup goalie Mike Condon played for the Bulldogs from 2013-2015.
4. Pittsburgh’s Trevor Daley and Ron Hainsey were occasional defence partners here in the 2004-05 season when the Montreal Canadiens and Dallas Stars shared the local affiliation.
5. Nashville defenceman Yannick Weber was a Bulldog from 2009-11.
BIRDIES BUILD NEST EGG
Going into this weekend’s Players Championship — which he was co-leading after the first round — Dundas golfer Mackenzie Hughes had won $1,724,578 this season in 19 PGA Tour events.
In his entire pro career before this season (70 events) he’d made $314,416.
Though few paid much attention to the provincial Junior A Hamilton Red Wings when they were playing out of the Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena from 2003-2015, perhaps they should’ve. At least eight former players — including Edmonton Oilers’ star goalie Cam Talbot — have gone on to play in the NHL.
The 2010-11 team alone had four players who eventually made the big league: Zach Hyman, Matt Carey, Buddy Robinson and Tyler Gaudet.
NOT JUST A HOCKEY PLAYER
Speaking of Hyman, you may not know that in addition to being a forward on the Maple Leafs he’s also a children’s author. He’s written two books — “Hockey Hero,” and “The Bambino and Me” — with a third being released next spring.
Any chance there’s another one in him about a Toronto kid who grows up a huge Leafs fan who eventually lands on the hometown team playing first-line minutes alongside the likely rookie of the year while becoming the favourite of the head coach?
“That’s a good story,” he said on my radio show this week. “But the story is far from finished, so I’m going to save that one.”
WASN’T SHE COLD?
On this Mother’s Day weekend as we celebrate the wonderful women who raised us or our children, a reminder of what NOT to do if you’re a sports mom …
In 2004, a Woodbridge woman was banned from all city arenas for a year after she distracted her son’s opponents in a hockey game by standing by the glass, lifting her shirt and shaking her breasts from side to side.
The kids she was distracting were 11.
Toronto Maple Leaf centre, and children’s author, Zach Hyman celebrates a goal against the Florida Panthers on March 28.