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Sherry Bassin still has plenty of bark at 71

By Tim Wharnsby CBC Sports.ca April 5, 2011


ERIE, P.A. -- There are a couple of hours before puck drop, and Erie Otters managing partner Sherry Bassin has exited through the front door of the Louis J. Tullio Arena to take his beloved corgi Newman for a pre-game walk.

For Bassin and his dog, it was time for reflection. His Otters were about to face one of junior hockey's best in Windsor Spitfires netminder Jack Campbell in Game 4 of a first-round OHL series. Campbell had stopped 70 of 75 shots in the two previous games to allow the back-to-back Memorial Cup champs to take a 2-1 series lead. Bassin and Newman hoped for better times.

The 71-year-old Bassin has experienced plenty of good times in his life. But that wasn't the case about eight years ago when his mind and energy were not on junior hockey and began to wander. That trademark oomph was gone when he was around the rink.

He was worried about his eldest daughter, Zalena. She was in a Las Vegas hospital fighting for her life after being diagnosed with bladder cancer and an aggressive case of Chrohn's Disease. For a few years, Bassin and his wife, Jean, traded weeks down in Las Vegas to be with their daughter. Son Darin and the youngest daughter, Alana, also made visits to be with their ailing sibling.

For the first time in their Dad's life, hockey had taken a backseat and the Otters' on-ice performance exhibited his lack of attention. Since capturing the 2001-02 OHL championship, the Otters had six consecutive poor to middling seasons.

One spring Las Vegas evening three years ago, Bassin returned to his daughter's townhouse. He was exhausted, but noticed the light was blinking on the answering machine. It was from the school where Zalena taught. They wondered when she was coming back to work.

The next day Bassin drove to the school to talk to the principal. It was in a rough neighbourhood and he didn't like the scene. When he went to visit Zalena in the hospital later that day, he asked his daughter what she was doing teaching in that school. Her reply hit Bassin smack in the face. "What are you doing in hockey?," she shot back.

"I told her not to answer with a question," Bassin recalled. "But she wanted to know what kind of a job I was doing."

The answer was not good. Zalena was telling her Dad that she loved what she was doing and she knew her Dad's lifelong passion was hockey. It was time for Bassin to have faith that his daughter was on the mend and better times were ahead. It was time for him to immerse himself back in hockey.

"When I landed back in Toronto I drove straight to Erie and organized a meeting with the front office staff, the coaches and the players," Bassin said. "I told them 'the Sheriff is back in town.' I told them I'll take full responsibility if we don't get this thing back on track."

Life lessons

The Otters began the turnaround the next fall, and in the third season since Bassin's address they notched 40 wins, one short of the remarkable championship season nine years ago. Bassin was back on top and all the people who have been touched by him in his 45 years of hockey couldn't be happier.

"He has been such a big influence to so many people and players," said Buffalo Sabres forward Brad Boyes, who played on Erie's 2001-02 championship team. "I went there not really knowing much about junior hockey. I moved away from home for the first time. Having him there was a bonus. He taught me how to carry myself, how to play, the kind of commitment you need to make and then there is his passion. He's had so much success and experienced everything. He's a special person.

"I just have so much respect for him. He is so captivating to listen to. He always has a story that helps get his point across."

For Boyes, the story about Joe Sakic's work ethic has stuck in his mind. When Bassin was hired by the Quebec Nordiques in the summer of 1993 as assistant general manager, he set out to talk to each Nordique player that summer because he wanted to gauge the character and personality of every player on the roster.

When Bassin phoned Sakic on a Saturday morning to introduce himself, his girlfriend asked Bassin if Sakic could call him back in about 90 minutes when his workout in the basement would be finished.

"I've got all kinds of stories like this to get the message across for all the generations I've been with," Bassin said. "Here was a superstar [Sakic] who was 24 at the time and he's already in a routine and regiment in July. People talk about the will to win, well, it's more than that. It's not just talent that wins, it's the will to prepare to win."


Bassin began forming his winning philosophy as a kid growing up in Semans, Sask., under the watchful eyes of his parents, Mal and Molly. Mal owned grocery and clothing stores in the town of 400. His industrious work ethic was unmatched and rubbed off on his son Sherwood, as did his parents' unflagging optimism.

Bassin's grandfather was killed in Russia because of his religion (he was Jewish). Mal helped his mother and five sisters flee to Canada. Molly was part of a family of eight that emigrated to this country.

"My Dad would always tell me that a job that is not worth doing well isn't worth doing at all," Sherry recalled.

"There was a three-strike sort of rule with my Dad. When he spoke to me in English you were safe. When he was telling you to do something in half-English, half-Yiddish, you better start to listen. If it was all Yiddish - lookout."

It was slang, however, that Mr. Bassin employed when he noticed his son was spending too much time at the local outdoor rink. "He told me, 'hockey, smockey.'" Sherry said. "School was the only thing I was supposed to be worried about.

"But I grew up in a small town and if you didn't play hockey or curl in the winter or play baseball in the summer, you died of boredom."

Back in the game

Dad got his way. When the family moved to Winnipeg when Sherry was 16, Sherry excelled at school. He went to United College (now the University of Winnipeg) and gained post-graduate pharmaceutical and law degrees in North Dakota.

It was in North Dakota that Bassin began to make his mark as a motivator with young hockey players. He led a Fargo youth team to an upset 1-0 win over Grand Forks in the state championship. All of a sudden Bassin was on his way.

When he moved to Toronto in 1968 to work for the legal division of Health Canada, he stopped by a nearby rink. Next thing Bassin knew he was teaching a kid how to shoot and the existing coaches swiftly installed him behind the bench that season.

Not long after, he guided the York Mills bantams to the league final, the Wexford midgets to a Metro championship and a dominant Pickering junior B team to its league final. Bassin's success was not ignored by Oshawa Generals owner John Humphreys. As a result, Bassin was hired to run the Generals in 1976 and after some early hiccups behind the bench, Bassin, who was teaching at Durham College in Oshawa by then, concentrated solely on the general manager duties.

"I remember John asked me when he hired me what I wanted him to do," Bassin said. "I told him I'm a big believer in owners own, managers manage, coaches coach, scouts scout and players play. I may play devil's advocate quite a bit to a scout or a coach or a player. But that's just to challenge them."

It wasn't long before the Generals won the 1982-83 OHL title and lost the Memorial Cup final to the Portland Winterhawks that spring. A few years later the Generals were back as hosts of the 1986-87 Memorial Cup tournament.

Bassin moved to Sault Ste. Marie in 1989 to help rescue, along with a local ownership group, the once-proud Greyhounds franchise. A few months earlier, the previous regime, led by Phil Esposito, refused to acquiesce to Eric Lindros's demands to play closer to home. But Bassin found a way to convince his fellow OHL governors to change the rule that prohibited a team from trading its first-round selection.

Half-way through that 1989-90 season, Lindros was dealt to the Generals. They won the Memorial Cup and the following season the Northern Ontario city exacted its pound of Lindros flesh when the Greyhounds upended No. 88 and the Generals in six games in the OHL final.

Bassin would make three straight trips to the Memorial Cup with the Greyhounds and they finally captured the elusive trophy in 1993. The junior championship, in his mind, allowed him to try the NHL after he turned down many offers.

Although he had left by the time the Colorado Avalanche hoisted the 1995-96 Stanley Cup, Bassin helped build that Nordiques/Avalanche club into a contender.

Golden moment

Another proud accomplishment for Bassin was his assistance in developing the Canadian junior program. He was an assistant coach and assistant GM on the 1982 and 1985 teams and won a silver in 1984.

When Canada won its first world junior gold in 1982, it was Bassin who helped inspire the players to the title. It looked bleak for Canada as the Czechs held a 2-1 advantage after 40 minutes. During the second intermission, Bassin persuaded an organizer to lend him a gold medal. The emotionally charged Bassin sashayed around in the dressing room, waving the prize.

"He told us we could touch it, but not hold it," Canadian goalie Mike Moffat said.

Bassin asked how many players had won city and provincial championships. He then said, "Well, if you don't win this third period, you will only be able to tell people you were 20 minutes away from being world champions."


Canada busted out with goals from Mark Habscheid and Mike Moller for a 3-2 lead. The Czechs scored the tying goal, but a draw was enough to give the Canadians their golden moment in the round-robin tournament.

"The party lasted a long time in Rochester, [Minn.]" Bassin said. "We realized we had to get back to Minneapolis for the official ceremony. Then this rink rat, the guy who drove the Zamboni, hands me a piece of paper with a 613 phone number on it and says, 'Some guy named [Pierre] Trudeau has been trying to get a hold of you guys.' We tried to phone the Prime Minister, but no one answered.

"I wish I would have kept that piece of paper as a souvenir."


So here is Bassin, 29 years later, still in junior hockey. He has had both hips replaced and received a new shoulder. He has six trips to the Memorial Cup. He doesn't need this at age 71. Or does he?

"What are you doing in hockey?" as Zalena asked her Dad a few years ago.

The answer is quite simple. Bassin isn't the retiring type. He still has plenty to teach and plenty more to accomplish. Plus, he knows it's in the Bassin DNA that he will be around for at least another 20-plus years.
Mal was 97 when he passed away. Molly was 94.

"My life has been pretty good and as a family we've always tried to give back," said Bassin, who has been married to Jean for 47 years, but really only six, he jokes, if you count all the time he's been away.

"I still have the passion for hockey. What I love about the game is that there is no place to hide in hockey and some people do that in life."


And you can bet that Bassin won't be hiding in Windsor before and after Game 7 on Tuesday. You see, the Otters didn't win Game 4 at home last Thursday, but they have won two in a row to force a deciding seventh game.

Win or lose, Bassin will climb back into his car with Newman to make the lengthy drive home. They'll talk about the game, about hockey, about life. Bassin will either be upbeat about the next round or next season.

That's why he still is in hockey, Zalena.


Dean
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Mission Impossible was the most popular activity I ran in schools. The pictures are from a Kindergarten to ninth grade school, 5-14 year olds. All classes did it. We set up an obstacle course with the equipment in the gym. The kid's got 8 minutes to get to the end. Any failure and they have to start again. There was complete silence because the scenario was that they are trying to escape from a prison of war camp. Half the students were guards and half prisoners. If they touched the floor anywhere but safe places, knocked anything over, made a loud noice, were touched by a snake (dangling ropes), fell off the raft and into the acid moat (off the scooter and touch the floor) etc. They had to ring the bell at the top of the rope to finish. I built in areas where cooperation was needed to pass through.

At noon they all played together and there are pics with them in the regular clothes.

This same idea idea can be used at hockey practice by making a progressively more difficult circuit requiring individual or partner work.

https://cid-bd6fa116988317e9.skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?page=play&resid=BD6FA116988317E9!1117&authkey=qGy3MEUv!HE%24


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Just got a video from a pro player that I have worked with the last two summers. We go on the ice together and work on puck handling, shooting, etc. He played in the Finnish first division this year. He played NCAA div. 1, some American league games and a few seasons in the Eastern League. Good skills, good size.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3K1NIjeIH8c


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Red Bulls - Champs

Today was game 7 and it went to OT tied at 2-2. Two previous games had gone to OT and the Red Bulls lost both. This time they won 3-2 early in the overtime. A player I recommended to Pierre Page assisted on their last two goals. Ryan Duncan a 5'6"-150 lb. PLAYER, who played at North Dakota and won the Hobey Baker while playing on a line with Jonathan Toews and Oshie.

I couldn't return because of family commitments but am really happy they won. I will be in Salzburg for 2 days at the start of May and hope some of the coaches I worked with are around and we can have a cola together.


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I have been waiting for a tablet computer that will show the videos from this site. Ipad won't play Flash and the others I have tried at the computer store show the diagram but not the videos.

Blackberry release Playbook on Tuesday so I went and tried it out and much to my wifes dismay I bought another what she calls "Toys". The 16 GB one does everything I need. You just need WiFi access.

It plays the videos really clearly and is basically a 7" computer. I like it.


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Tom,

You continue to amaze (and embarass) me! I am so far behind you in techy stuff...! I was wondering about this playbook - I have avoided the iPad for the same reasons as you - the inability to play Flash, etc. I really want to use it as a teaching tool on site. Where did you get it and what are the costs for the various 'sizes' of stograge?

You say it needs to be connected via a WiFi connection to do so? Does it have the ability to connect to a USB jump drive? I am thinking you could store the stuff you need on one of those; then have it available to show so you don't need to rely on a WiFi connection...



Steve Norris (and his wife Lea) is going to Slovakia to present at both the Youth and regular IIHF conferences. Steve is a dynamic, passionate speaker who specializes in Long-term athlete development. I am sure people will enjoy his presentations.



Thanks to Dwight for getting me back onto the site. For some reason, I couldn't log on for the past several days. I had several articles to contribute, but don't know if I will be able to find them again - lots of news sources only keep them active for a few days. If I can find them, I will post them. Tough to find lots of time these daysbetween being sick, teaching, a couple of funerals lately (heading to another tomorrow in BC) and with the kidlings running around at home! (RCMat, I will try to call you as soon as I have time! I haven't forgotten...)
--------------------------------------------------------
Dean it does hook up via usb to the computer so can download all your videos, pictures, diagrams etc. and play them without wifi. It is a mini computer. It plays all of my hockey video, gets email and you can surf the web. The keyboard pops up when you need to make notes or write emails. It also has a word and excel function. I am still getting used to it.
I got the 16GB for $500, the 32 gb is $100 more and I don't know if they is a 64 GB one. It also has a good camera for both still and video with front and back lenses. I also can read my Kobo books on it. I think I will load the 4-500 hockey practice diagrams on it as well. I don't know if I can paste them onto the Technicoach template I use for practice planning or not. I have to experiment.

I have listened to Steve Norris. He is good. I leave for Vienna next Wed.


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Tom,

Is there anything you learned from your trip that you could share on the site?

Hope you had a good time... we need to go for a beer soon to discuss your trip in more depth!

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean, it was a great trip. Staying with Juhani Wahlsten and listening to him during the three days there is always interesting (11 years on Finnish National Team, 7 as captain, 3 Olympics, IIHF Hall of Fame). He was working on his autobiography that a publishing company asked him to do and he shared a lot of stories about Finnish and International hockey. There was no hockey there when he was a little boy and he got excited about this new game when it was introduced in Finland. They played soccer football and bandy. Lots of interesting stories and insights on a life well spent. He is also the Father of Ringuette in Finland; as he saw the game here and introduced it there. I think they are World Champs now.

Kalle Kaskinen is and assistant coach for the U18 Finnish Team and will be at the World Jr's here next year with the U20 team. We discussed lots of coaching ideas.

I was offered a coaching position in the Czech Republic as a U20 asst. and coach mentor. I said if I can come home on a regular basis I am interested. No decision yet.

In Salzburg it was just visiting friends and I have posted video of the whole trip in the video section here about my hockey trips.

Let me know when you want to get together.


Dean
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Like Magic, Great Sports Nicknames Are Disappearing

New York Times By JOHN BRANCH Published: May 10, 2011


Today’s baseball rosters are filled with names, not nicknames, not like the ones that used to be. The N.B.A. playoffs are equally devoid of onomastic pleasures, just cheap echoes of Magic and the Mailman, Tiny and Tree, Chief and Cornbread. The N.F.L. cannot match the treasured nicknames that evoke folk heroes like Night Train, Hacksaw and the Refrigerator.

A part of sports, somewhere near the soul, is slowly dying an unimaginative death. In an age of A-Rod and D-Wade, when nicknames rarely conjure imagery beyond a corporate logo, it can be easy to bemoan the loss of another slice of simpler times.

“There’s no substance there,” said the Hall of Fame basketball player Walt Frazier, also known as Clyde.

But sociologists and experts in onomastics, the study of names, said the diminishment of nicknames was not exclusive to famous athletes. Studies on the subject are few, but there is widespread agreement that the use of nicknames across American society has steadily slipped.

“You just have to extrapolate in places where you can gather data, like baseball players,” said Cleveland Evans, an associate professor of psychology at Bellevue University in Nebraska, who writes a regular column on names for The Omaha World-Herald. “And they are certainly less common than they used to be.”

Less certain is why. Maybe it reflects a loss of intimacy and connectedness. Maybe it is because of the changing way we name children, or how we now deflect unflattering nicknames to shape our own identities. Maybe all the good nicknames are taken.

Whatever the case, the decline is most easily gauged in sports, where nicknames have long played a role in distinguishing and at times deifying athletes. They often arrived with a nickname given by family or school friends. (Such was the case for Lawrence Peter Berra, called Yogi by a boyhood friend for his apparent similarity to a film version of a Hindu yogi.)

Those who did not have one were frequently nicknamed by their teammates or coaches. (George Herman Ruth did not become Babe until he was signed by the Baltimore Orioles.)

Sportswriters, looking for imagery or lyrical alliteration in the age before cable television, made a habit of bestowing nicknames on athletes. Rams receiver Elroy Hirsch became Crazy Legs because of a Chicago newspaper reporter; decades later, a 15-year-old basketball player named Earvin Johnson was considered Magic by a reporter in Lansing, Mich.

“When we gave them a nickname, good or bad, it meant that we cared,” said Ernest Abel, a Wayne State professor of psychology and obstetrics who has studied names and is on the executive council of the American Name Society. “You don’t give someone about whom you are indifferent a nickname. The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

Doc Rivers, the coach of the N.B.A.’s Boston Celtics, was simply Glenn as a boy in Chicago. But he was a big fan of Julius Erving, known as Dr. J, and wore an Erving shirt when he arrived to play at Marquette. Al McGuire, the former Marquette coach, was there and nonchalantly called him Doc.

“I didn’t have a lot of say-so in it,” Rivers said recently.

When Rivers played for the Atlanta Hawks in the mid-1980s, his teammates included Tree Rollins, Spud Webb and Dominique Wilkins, the Human Highlight Film. Now Rivers coaches a perennial championship contender with big-name stars that is nearly devoid of memorable nicknames. Shaquille O’Neal continually nicknames himself — generally a no-no — but people still call him Shaq.

“Back then, I thought you got nicknamed from other people, and it stuck,” Rivers said. “And now it’s almost like guys or gym-shoe companies try to give you a nickname. It’s not as natural.”

One exception is Glen Davis, the soft-muscled Celtics forward. Everyone he knows — friends, coaches, his mother — has called him Big Baby since he was a big baby with a propensity for crying.

Now Davis is part of a dying legacy of great nicknames.

“That’s true,” he said. “Most people don’t even know my name. They just know Big Baby. That’s a good thing.”

There are a smattering of other present-day nicknames around the sports world, including the golfer Tiger Woods, the baseball player David (Big Papi) Ortiz and the basketball player Chris (Birdman) Andersen. The San Francisco Giants, last year’s World Series winners, featured pitcher Tim (the Freak) Lincecum and third baseman Pablo Sandoval, known as Kung Fu Panda.

But most famous athletes are now best known by their given name. The Yankees won generations of championships with men known as Babe, Iron Horse, Joltin’ Joe, Scooter, Yogi, Catfish and Mr. October. More recently, they won with players named Derek, Mariano and Andy. Alex Rodriguez — A-Rod — has what passes for a nickname these days.

The sociologist James Skipper, author of “Baseball Nicknames: A Dictionary of Origins and Meanings,” found that the use of nicknames peaked before 1920. It has since been in steady decline, dropping quickly in the 1950s.

Using a baseball encyclopedia listing all major league players from 1871 to 1968, Skipper found that 28.1 percent of players had nicknames not derived from their given names. (Lefty, Red and Doc were most popular.) No doubt the percentage has since dipped precipitously.

“The era of the colorful nickname may be over,” Skipper concluded about 30 years ago.

Chris Berman, and ESPN announcer, saw the void in the 1980s. He became well known for his creation and use of hundreds of colorful nicknames, based mostly on puns — Mike (Pepperoni) Piazza, Sammy (Say it Ain’t) Sosa and Bert (Be Home) Blyleven among them.

“I viewed it as reviving a lost art,” Berman said. “Why aren’t there nicknames now? Maybe everything is so literal. You can see everybody on the Internet, TV, YouTube, whatever it is. There’s very little left to the imagination.”

The Harlem Globetrotters, more than any other team, keep the nickname tradition alive. Every player on the roster has one.

“We want our fans to have an emotional attachment to our players, especially kids,” Kurt Schneider, the Globetrotters’ chief executive, wrote in an e-mail. “It’s more fun and easier to connect with — and emulate — Special K, Dizzy and Ant, than it is Kevin, Derick or Anthony. A nickname grants ethereal status to a player and elevates him to a platform where kids can aspire to be like them; it is a form of escapism and fantasy to want to be like Thunder or Hammer, and they are global in nature.”

In other words, the Globetrotters try to engineer a connection that generally does not exist today. Athletes are more famous and more disconnected from fans than ever, sociologists said.

“I think it represents a loss of intimacy and identification with the players,” said Ed Lawson, past president of the American Name Society. “I don’t know how you have the same level of affection when a guy makes $16 million a year.”

But nicknames rarely came from fans; they came from friends and family, teammates and reporters. None of those connections are as strong as they once were.

“With the communication age, everybody’s on the computer, the cellphones, there’s not a lot of communication,” said Frazier, who became Clyde four decades ago when his wide-brimmed hats reminded Knicks teammates of the movie “Bonnie and Clyde.”

“When we traveled, there were only three channels, and all during the day, there was nothing but soaps on,” Frazier added. “So the guys spent a lot of time together, playing cards, talking, hanging around in the same places, traveling together on the bus or whatever it might be. There was a lot of camaraderie among the players.”

George Gmelch, a professor of anthropology at the University of San Francisco and a former minor league baseball player, said the influx of international athletes could be a factor in the decline of nicknames. American players are less likely to give nicknames to Hispanic or Japanese players, he said.

He and others also suggested that nicknames were less useful, given the trend toward less-common names. After all, the N.B.A. player Joe Bryant was better known as Jellybean. His more famous son is simply Kobe.

According to the Social Security Administration, the 10 most popular baby names for boys in 1956 represented 31.1 percent of the total born. In 1986, around the time many of today’s athletes were born, the top 10 represented only 21.3 percent of the total. In 2010, the number dropped to 8.4 percent.

“Nicknames are less needed today because given names themselves are so much more varied than they used to be,” said Evans, the Bellevue psychology professor.

He also posited that nicknames are often “humorous or noncomplimentary, and we may live in a culture where people are less willing to accept names that are less complimentary.”

It is telling that few of today’s biggest stars have widely used nicknames. LeBron James is an exception, but he is better known as LeBron than as King, the lofty nickname used for commercial purposes. Michael Jordan never really had a nickname, lest those who wanted to “be like Mike” be distracted from buying Air Jordans.

“Their own names now act as brand names,” said Frank Neussel, editor of Names: A Journal of Onomastics, and a University of Louisville professor of modern language and linguistics. “Your identity is not your nickname. It’s your stats.”


Dean
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Jim Souhan: Jarring Friday reminds us no one is immortal

Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
Updated: May 15, 2011 - 8:11 AM

Kirby Puckett told us not to take life for granted; the news of Harmon Killebrew and Derek Boogaard reminds us of that lesson.



We shouldn't require reminders. We should know, innately, that death plays no favorites, that not even the strongest escape this planet alive.

Somehow, though, death always jars us when it intersects with sports, making this one of the saddest and most jarring weekends in memory.

Friday morning, we learned that Twins legend Harmon Killebrew will end his battle with esophageal cancer and spend his remaining days in hospice care.

Friday night, we learned that former Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard had been found dead at his Minneapolis apartment.

The men shared few connections. Killebrew is 74 and those close to him, such as Jack Morris, expected this news. Even those far removed from Killebrew's inner circle realized that this form of cancer was particularly devastating, especially for a man of Killebrew's age.

Boogaard was 28 and those close to him worried about his recovery from a concussion. At 6-7 and 258 pounds, possessing the toughness of a man who made his living with jaw and fists, he would have seemed, to an outsider, invulnerable as Killebrew in his prime.

They are not invulnerable, though. Beneath the muscle and machismo of a pro athlete beat all-too-mortal hearts.

We shouldn't require these reminders, especially we Minnesotans. We followed Kirby Puckett's descent.

In 1991, he became a part of World Series history. In 1996, he awoke blind in one eye, and retired months later. In 2006, he died after suffering a stroke.

A.E. Housman wrote the most celebrated elegy about interrupted athletic lives: "To An Athlete Dying Young."

The greatest poem ever written on the subject, though, was uttered, extemporaneously, by a product of the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago, when he announced his retirement in a cramped room deep inside the Metrodome on July 12, 1996.

"Can you all just do me one favor?" Puckett said. "Don't take life for granted, because tomorrow isn't promised to any one of us."

A version of that quote now hangs in the Twins clubhouse, close to Justin Morneau's locker. Saturday night, Morneau, the rare person who befriended both Killebrew and Boogaard, stood under that quote and spoke quietly about a weekend of loss.

"Yesterday was a rough day," he said, speaking of Friday. "Obviously it was rougher for their families, but it was tough. I found out after the game about Boogey, and I was in shock.

"On the ice, he was completely different than he was off the ice. You can ask anybody who knew him. He cared about people. If you asked him what he did and he told you he was a fighter in hockey, you wouldn't believe him."

Boogaard, like Morneau, struggled to overcome concussion symptoms. "With his concussion, he's been checking up on me and seeing how I'm feeling," Morneau said. "He texted me last week to see how I was doing, make sure everything was OK.

"We talked back and forth. He's come down and taken batting practice with us. To get news like this about him, it's not fun."

Many Twins knew that Killebrew was nearing the end of his battle with cancer. Boogaard's death arrived without warning.

"It's almost like, as athletes, you have that feeling of invincibility," Morneau said. "You're out here and you're supposed to be in the best shape of everybody, and that's not supposed to happen. That's why it tends to be more of a shock.

"You're looking at guys in their 20s and 30s who are supposed to be at the peak of health. Something like this happens, and you realize that you're not invincible, and that every day you get to come out here you're lucky, and you should enjoy it."

A visitor pointed to Puckett's quote. "That's it," Morneau said. "That's why what we're going through as a team, even though it's not fun and we're not used to it around here, we can't feel sorry for ourselves just because we're losing baseball games. You look at the big picture, and while obviously everyone wants to have success, you can't feel sorry for yourself because you went 0-for-4. There are people going through a lot harder things."

Fans brought flowers to Killebrew's statue by Target Field, and honored Boogaard by placing flowers outside of Xcel Energy Center.

"Boogey was 28 years old," Morneau said. "That's not supposed to happen to a guy that young."


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Kris Knoblauch latest in line of great Kootenay Ice coaches

By Jim Matheson, Postmedia News May 15, 2011


EDMONTON — Kootenay Ice general manager Jeff Chynoweth proudly says he’s never fired a coach, probably because he keeps hiring the right ones.

Ryan McGill, Cory Clouston and Mark Holick all got professional minor-league offers after spending time behind the bench with the Western Hockey League team.

Kris Knoblauch may be on the same career path.

Knoblauch, in his first season as head coach of the WHL champions, has been pushing all the right buttons for the Ice, who’ve won 15 of their last 16 playoff games to reach the Memorial Cup.

It’s obviously not just Knoblauch. The Ice beat the Brayden Schenn-led Saskatoon Blades four straight in the second round of the playoffs. Schenn was taken fifth overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2009 NHL entry draft. Kootenay had another sweep in the third round, eliminating the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Ice then got past the Portland Winterhawks with Ryan Johansen (fourth overall to the Columbus Blue Jackets) and Nino Niederreiter (fifth overall to the New York Islanders) — two of the top five draft picks last June — in five games in the WHL final.

They did it more, as Chynoweth says, with “our will prevailing over their skill” mentality, along with wonderful netminding Nathan Lieuwen, who is getting plenty of NHL notice right now. They also had trade-deadline pickup Cody Eakin, a Team Canada junior star forward who could make the Washington Capitals next year, giving up eight draft picks and players to the Swift Current Broncos in the blockbuster deal.

After trailing the Moose Jaw Warriors 2-1 in the first round, they won 11 games in a row, lost an overtime match to start the final with the Winterhawks, then won the last four contests.

They’ll start the national junior championship tournament Saturday against the Ontario Hockey League champion Owen Sound Attack.

“We beat Saskatoon, which was the best team in the WHL (regular season), Portland was second-best and Medicine Hat, I believe, fifth overall. We didn’t have an easy route,” said Knoblauch, who once played for the Edmonton Ice before the team moved to Cranbrook, B.C.

McGill, who took the Ice to the junior championship in 2002, went on to coach the New York Rangers’ American Hockey League affiliate in Hartford, Connecticut; Clouston left for the Ottawa Senators’ farm job in Binghamton, New York, and eventually made behind the bench of the NHL club too; and Holick was hired by the Anaheim Ducks to coach their development club in Syracuse, New York, last summer.

Throw in Brad Lauer, McGill’s assistant, who went to Milwaukee as an assistant before joining the Senators, and it’s a well-worn road to the pros.

Knoblauch would like to follow in their footsteps.

The 32-year-old played five years for the Alberta Golden Bears, then had two pro years in Austin, Texas, and Paris.

He also spent four seasons as a WHL assistant, one in Prince Albert under Peter Anholt and three in Kootenay under Holick. He’s proof positive that Chynoweth knows his stuff.

Chynoweth had a stack of applications for the head job when Holick left, but opted for Knoblauch.

“In the last eight years, we’ve moved four coaches onto pro hockey and I don’t think any team in major junior hockey can say that,” said Chynoweth.

“We knew Kris had a bright future . . . he played at U of Alberta under Rob Daum, an assistant with Anholt and Holick, but it’s all timing. How do you know if you’re ever ready for a job? Not just in hockey,” said Chynoweth. “But we promoted Clouston when Ryan McGill left. I believe in hiring from within but, sometimes, it’s hard being a head coach of a team when you’ve been an assistant. It’s like substitute teacher day.

“Kris is a student of the game . . . his degree is in education. That’s important dealing with the 16- to 20-year age group. It’s a volatile age group.”

Knoblauch never once considered coaching until he played for the Golden Bears.

“I wanted to pursue the playing dream as long as I could, but I saw Rob Daum and I thought he had a pretty good thing there. He was very organized and he was very rational. He didn’t fly off the handle like a lot of coaches,” said Knoblauch, who thought about applying for the Golden Bears assistant job to Daum’s successor, Eric Thurston, before Chynoweth rewarded him with the Kootenay head job last July.

“Initially, Jeff felt more comfortable giving the (head) job to a more experienced coach, which was understandable, but he had a change of heart and I was fortunate to get this job,” said Knoblauch. “I’m very grateful to be in this situation. We’ve got a special group of players. I could coach many years and not have a group like this one. We have great character and, if we don’t have a lot of players who’ve been drafted, I think NHL teams are taking a second look at them now,” he said.

jmatheson@edmontonjournal.com
© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal


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Ed Chynoweth Cup comes home


May 15, 2011

Matt Coxford

PORTLAND, Ore. - After posing for pictures with Western Hockey League commissioner Ron Robison and the WHL championship trophy on Friday night, Kootenay Ice captain Brayden McNabb invited someone else to the party.

A few more shutter bursts later, McNabb handed the Ed Chynoweth Cup to the namesake's son. Team general manager and president Jeff Chynoweth lifted it above his head, and gave it a few revelatory shakes before kissing it.

"I thought it was fitting that he got the trophy first," said Ice head coach Kris Knoblauch. "It was our captains who thought of it, and Jeff didn't want to have any part of it because he felt it's the players' moment. But we pushed him out there and he did get it."

Chynoweth insisted the same thing after the game, crediting the players and coaches instead.

"They're the ones that are in the trenches, they're the ones that do it day in and day out," he said. "They deserve all the credit. I'm in the back and don't want to take away from anybody. At the same time, it's very special to me and my family and it's something I'll never forget."

Few who witnessed it will.

"It's tough to put into words," said Chynoweth, his eyes welling at the recollection. "I kept thinking about my dad and everything he did for this league and our organization. A lot of the kids here did meet him, and it's emotional. My mom's in Arizona right now and she's a mess. My brother is in New York and he's a mess. He'd be happy. Let's enjoy it and get ready for the next challenge."

An architect of the Canadian Hockey League and champion of the WHL education program, Ed Chynoweth moved the Edmonton Ice franchise to Cranbrook in 1998. Ten years later, he lost a battle with cancer, and was posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the builders' category.

The trophy had previously been known as the Presidents Cup. The Spokane Chiefs were the first team to win the Ed Chynoweth Cup, and advanced to win the 2008 Memorial Cup.

A couple of Ed's former employees with the Ice had shots at the Ed Chynoweth Cup as general managers of other clubs: former Ice head scout Roy Stasiuk with the Lethbridge Hurricanes in 2009, and former Kootenay GM Bob Tory with the Tri-City Americans last year.

"This trophy is something we've always wanted, especially when they renamed it three years ago," said Chynoweth. "Roy said the other day: 'It's your turn. We're 0-2 already.'"

Much of the Ice team didn't get to meet Ed, but McNabb got to know him well in short order.

"I remember when I was 15, I got called up and he picked me up at the airport and took me out for a pre-game meal," said McNabb. "He was a great guy and he did a lot for this league and I'm very proud that we won it."

Although another Cup looms large on the horizon - the Memorial, of course - the Ed Chynoweth Cup isn't an interim sort of trophy, like the Eastern Conference mug.

"We can touch this one as much as we want," McNabb laughed.


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Kai, you must be pretty excited about being World Champion.

It was fair. Canada beat Sweden, Russia beat Canada, Sweden beat the USA and Finland beat Both Russia and Sweden. So the best team won.

Congratulations.

You have 5 million people and we have 5 00 000 hockey players as does the USA. You must be doing something right.


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And how about Granlund's goal? Pretty nice...! Cheers to Finland!


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Thank You,

Yes, it has been quite wild here for few days.
Granlund is very good promotion for the hockey. When he is interviewed he allways says how he is ejoying the game and just having fun. He is talking about how shinny is the base for he's skills and game sense.


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You may have seen F Mikael Granlund score that spectacular goal for Finland in the world championship game against Russia last week. The MacBeth Report points out that he did the same thing during the 2006-07 season while playing for the Kärpät Oulu bantam team. The video isn’t top-flight but you can see it right here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2w5Q6yKk04 . . . . As The MacBeth Report adds: “So in four years, he goes from bantams to scoring possibly the most talked about goal in World Championship history.

(From Gregg Drinnan's Blog May 18, 2011)


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TWEET OF THE DAY:
@USAHockey surpassed 100K members in 8&under category for 1st time in 2010-11 & finished season w/105,394. Goal for 2011-12: 110K!”
———
Those are rather interesting figures and should make Canadian hockey people sit up and take notice.
If you are wondering, Hockey Canada had 584,679 registered players in 2008-09. That figure slipped to 577,077 for 2009-10.
I couldn’t find figures for 2010-11 but apparently they were expected to decline another one per cent.

gdrinnan@kamloopsnews.ca

gdrinnan.blogspot.com


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Canucks flasher causes a stir

By KRISTY BROWNLEE, QMI Agency May 19, 2011


Vancouver Canucks fans are abuzz over their team's 7-3 win Wednesday night, but also a breast-baring woman in the stands.

With about 2:30 remaining in the third period of the Western Conference finals game, a blond woman lifted her Canucks jersey and pressed her breasts against the penalty box glass as San Jose Sharks player Ben Eager sat inside.

It aired uncensored on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada.

Jeff Keay, CBC spokesman, said the broadcaster has received "very few e-mails" from angry viewers.

Keay said it was an in-house camera, not controlled by CBC, that captured the nudity.

Jen Rollins, media relations co-ordinator for Canucks Sports and Entertainment, said the incident was "unacceptable behaviour."

Rollins said complaints have trickled in and are expected to be received throughout the day.

The identity of the woman is unknown.
--------

Didn't see it but I am sure it was better than the Green Men!


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Just got this. I guess they don't consider people who have got lower air fares on non refundable plane fares and hotel rooms. I guess I am having a vacation in the Maritimes.
------------------------
Dear Registered Delegate,

Please be advised that the 2011 International Coaches Conference scheduled for July 14-17 in Halifax, Nova Scotia has been cancelled.

Hockey Canada wishes to inform all registered delegates that conference registration numbers lagged behind the projected requirements to insure the delivery of an event that meets with the Hockey Canada standard of quality.

All delegates who are currently registered for the event and have paid the ICC registration fee will receive a full refund. Within the next 72 hours, refunds will be automatically processed back onto the credit card the registration was purchased with. Refunds should appear on your next credit card statement. Should you have any questions related to your refund, please contact Derek Amalfa at damalfa@hockeycanada.ca or 403-777-4589. All Hockey Nova Scotia registrations entered under the Hockey Nova Scotia promotional code will be removed from the system. No refunds will be processed under this promotion.

Hockey Canada wishes to recognize the commitment of Hockey Nova Scotia Board of Directors and staff for their support of the ICC planning process.

Please accept Hockey Canada’s sincere thanks for your interest in and commitment to the 2011 International Coaches Conference.

For any additional information please do not hesitate to contact me directly at your convenience.

Yours in hockey,





=====================================

Michael Bara

Manager, Coaching/ Responsable, entraineurs

Hockey Canada

2424 University Drive NW

Calgary, AB T2N 3Y9

Ph/Tél (403) 777-3620
Fax/Téléc (403) 777-3635

mbara@hockeycanada.ca

www.hockeycanada.ca




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Quote by: TomM

Just got this. I guess they don't consider people who have got lower air fares on non refundable plane fares and hotel rooms. I guess I am having a vacation in the Maritimes.
------------------------
Dear Registered Delegate,

Please be advised that the 2011 International Coaches Conference scheduled for July 14-17 in Halifax, Nova Scotia has been cancelled.

Hockey Canada wishes to inform all registered delegates that conference registration numbers lagged behind the projected requirements to insure the delivery of an event that meets with the Hockey Canada standard of quality.

All delegates who are currently registered for the event and have paid the ICC registration fee will receive a full refund. Within the next 72 hours, refunds will be automatically processed back onto the credit card the registration was purchased with. Refunds should appear on your next credit card statement. Should you have any questions related to your refund, please contact Derek Amalfa at damalfa@hockeycanada.ca or 403-777-4589. All Hockey Nova Scotia registrations entered under the Hockey Nova Scotia promotional code will be removed from the system. No refunds will be processed under this promotion.

Hockey Canada wishes to recognize the commitment of Hockey Nova Scotia Board of Directors and staff for their support of the ICC planning process.

Please accept Hockey Canada’s sincere thanks for your interest in and commitment to the 2011 International Coaches Conference.

For any additional information please do not hesitate to contact me directly at your convenience.

Yours in hockey,





=====================================

Michael Bara

Manager, Coaching/ Responsable, entraineurs

Hockey Canada

-----

Tom, that is crappy. You would think they (Hockey Canada) would be able to do something - like offer those who have already booked their flights (and can't cancel) a free pass for their next event?

PS I know a prof at Acadia (motor learning / sport psych / TGfU) who is a hockey guy. I will see if he is around and maybe you guys can meet.



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Taylor Vause (Swift Current) - Photoshop Posters!

Gregg Drinnan, Taking Note, Jan 30 2012



Check out this and see what F Taylor Vause of the Swift Current Broncos does in his spare time. I guarantee you will be impressed.

http://imgur.com/a/RqPKG/noscript


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LeBron uses bike to beat pregame gridlock

SIMON EVANS, Reuters, Jan. 29, 2012



LeBron James got in the saddle before the Miami Heat’s clash with the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, riding to the game on his bicycle.

The Miami Marathon on Sunday morning meant delays were expected around the city due to road closures and the two-times National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player, decided two wheels would be more effective than four.


Drivers stuck in traffic saw James, in cycling helmet, zipping past them and before long pictures of the spandex-clad forward were appearing on social networks.

James estimated the journey from his home took 40 minutes but the trip had no discernable influence on his performance as he racked up a game-winning 35 points and 11 rebounds in Miami’s 97-93 win.

“I’ve done it a few times, it’s not common but I’ve done it a few times. It felt good this morning,” he told reporters.

It was not likely that James would be cycling home, and with the tight NBA schedule meaning he is back on court on Monday, James joked he might not even take the trip back.

“I might just stay here till tomorrow’s shootaround,” he said.


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Obituary
Angelo Dundee, trainer of Muhammad Ali, dead at 90

TIM DAHLBERG, The Associated Press, Feb. 01, 2012



Angelo Dundee, the brilliant motivator who worked the corner for Muhammad Ali in his greatest fights and willed Sugar Ray Leonard to victory in his biggest bout, died Wednesday in Tampa, Fla. He was 90.

The genial Dundee was best known for being in Ali’s corner for almost his entire career, but those in boxing also knew him as an ambassador for boxing and a figure of integrity in a sport that often lacked it.

He died with his family surrounding him, said son, Jimmy Dundee, but not before being able to attend Ali’s 70th birthday bash in Louisville, Ky., last month.

“It was the way he wanted to go,” Jimmy Dundee said. “He did everything he wanted to do.”

A master motivator and clever corner man, Dundee was regarded as one of the sport’s great ambassadors. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1994 after a career that spanned six decades, training 15 world champions, including Leonard, George Foreman, Carmen Basilio and Jose Napoles.

But he will always be linked to Ali as one of the most successful fighter-trainer relationships in boxing history, helping Ali become the first to win the heavyweight title three times. The pair would travel around the world for fights to such obscure places as Ali’s October 1974 bout in Zaire against Foreman dubbed “The Rumble in the Jungle,” and Ali’s third fight against Joe Frazier in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, called by promoters as the “Thrilla in Manila.”

“I just put the reflexes in the proper direction,” Dundee said in a 2005 interview with The Associated Press.

Their partnership began in Louisville, Ali’s hometown, in 1959. Dundee was there with light heavyweight Willie Pastrano when the young Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, called their room from a hotel phone to ask if he could have five minutes. Clay, a local Golden Gloves champion, kept asking the men boxing questions in a conversation that lasted 3 1 / 2hours, according to Dundee’s autobiography, “My View From the Corner: A Life in Boxing.”

After Ali returned from Rome with a gold medal at the 1960 Olympics, Dundee ran into him in Louisville and invited him to come to Miami Beach to train. Ali declined. But that December, Dundee got a call from one of Ali’s handlers, seeking to hire Dundee. After Ali won his first pro fight, Dundee accepted.

He helped Ali claim the heavyweight title for the first time on Feb. 25, 1964, when Sonny Liston quit on his stool after the sixth round during their fight in Miami Beach.

In an age of boxing when fighter-manager relationships rarely last, Dundee and Ali would never split.

When Cassius Clay angered white America by joining the Black Muslims and become Muhammad Ali, Dundee never wavered. When Ali defied the draft at the height of the Vietnam war, losing 3 1 / 2years from the prime of his career, Dundee was there waiting for the heavyweight’s return. And when Ali would make bold projections, spewing poetry that made headlines across the world and gave him the nickname “The Louisville Lip,” Dundee never asked him to keep quiet.

“Through all those days of controversy, and the many that followed, Angelo never got involved,” Ali wrote in the foreword to Dundee’s book. “He let me be exactly who I wanted to be, and he was loyal. That is the reason I love Angelo.”

Born Angelo Mirena on Aug. 30, 1921, in south Philadelphia, Dundee’s boxing career was propelled largely by his older brother, Chris, a promoter. After returning from the Second World War – “We won, but not because of anything I did” – he joined Chris in the boxing game in New York, serving as his “go-fer” and getting the tag “Chris’ kid brother.” Angelo and Chris followed another brother Joe, who was a fighter, in changing their surname to Dundee so their parents wouldn’t know they worked in boxing.


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The Last Sweet Man in Boxing: The life of Angelo Dundee

Dave Kindred, Grantland.com, February 4, 2012



Angelo Dundee sent postcards. They came from everywhere. "With Willie in Puerto Rico," one said. Another, "Dupas in Miami tonight." He carried an address book and sent postcards to sportswriters. It was so quaint, postcards showing he'd thought of you. Sometimes, he called.

"Mailing you something," he said.

"What is it?"

"Helen found it," he said.

Such a sweet, sweet man. Angelo Dundee, the son of an Italian shepherd, came to be boxing's most famous trainer. He was an island of sanity in Muhammad Ali's mad world. He was in the corner for a dozen champions, among them Willie Pastrano, Ralph Dupas, Carmen Basilio, Jimmy Ellis, Luis Rodriguez, and, if only for one fight, George Foreman. Sixty years ago at a fight, the short, dark, Italian immigrant's son met a luminous, willowy model named Helen Marone. "She is," he would say, "my greatest champion." They were married three days after she came to Miami to tell him she couldn't marry him because her very Southern Georgia parents would never allow such a mismatch.

"Helen found this thing looking for something else," Dundee said. "You'll like it."

The mailman delivered a memory. It was an 8x10 photograph of an impossibly beautiful young man, 18 years old. There was a sunrise in his smile. He flexed his arms overhead, a strongman's pose. He sat on a fighter's stool. His name ran in script letters across his white workout shirt: "Cassius Clay." All of life awaited him. Behind Clay, Dundee leaned on the ring ropes. Behind Dundee, light came through a pair of tall windows painted with block letters: GYM. The trainer and the kid were in the 5th Street Gym, Miami Beach, 1960.

Two weeks ago, he and Ali were still together. God only knows how Dundee did it. Up from nothing, scrambling for survival through the Depression, street-smart, sly, and unfailingly optimistic, he came to Ali with a psychological gyroscope that kept him even-keeled in a quarter-century of unprecedented turbulence. Dundee's partner in Ali's corner, the fight doctor Ferdie Pacheco, told me, "Angelo did it by being an innocent. He was soft-hearted, kind, gentle. He was the exact same man Ali was — but no one knew that about Ali then. They clicked in ways nobody could ever have guessed, let alone explained."

The malevolent Fruit of Islam thugs — the thick-necked muscle of Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam in the 1960s — wanted the little white guy gone. Dundee stayed. He stayed through Sonny Liston, Malcolm X, Vietnam. He knew the glory of Zaire and the hell of Manila. He outlasted three of Ali's wives and walked without harm through the fight game's snakes, who were licking at Ali's feet. Pacheco's take: "Angelo kept his nose clean. He went about his business, nobody else's, and he was good at staying in the shadows. He knew Ali was the star of stars. He was just along on the ride, and he was happy to be part of the circus."

This January, though feeling ill, Dundee flew to Louisville for a celebration of Ali's 70th birthday, a celebration in name only, for all that's left of the Ali we knew are the abstractions layered onto the myth of a man who, once upon a magical time, lived those ideals. That man is now old and infirm, withered and silent, sitting in a wheelchair. It was cruel of fate, which had been so kind to Dundee for so long, to send him home from that party with a blood clot that put him in a hospital. On February 1, 90 years old, Angelo Dundee died, and a time died with him.

He came to boxing when boxing mattered. He knew men who knew men who knew Jack Johnson. He knew the great trainers Charley Goldman, Whitey Bimstein, Chickie Ferrara. He heard Ray Arcel talk of taking men in against Joe Louis. "They'd be all right until they looked across the ring and saw Joe," he said. "Then they wilted like tulips."

Dundee was born in Philadelphia in 1921, one of five sons of Angelo and Philomena Mirena. Before World War I, the shepherd had taken his wife out of the mountains to the toe of Italy to catch a ship across the Atlantic. He found work driving spikes into railroad ties. Mirena's firstborn son, Joe, became a boxer; to hide the work from his mother and to escape discrimination against Italian immigrants, he changed his name to Joe Dundee. All the Mirena boys became Dundees.

In 1948 Angelo joined another brother, Chris, who was managing fighters in New York. Afternoons, he hung around Stillman's Gym, watching trainers. Every night, he'd go to a fight club. His introduction to training happened as quickly as a man could toss a roll of tape to him. He told the story to Dave Anderson for In the Corner, a book on the trainer's art: "My first night, in Fort Hamilton out where the Verrazano Bridge is now, I was standing around the dressing room when Chickie Ferrara threw me two rolls of gauze and one roll of tape and said, 'Wrap this kid's hands.' I said, 'I never wrapped hands.' So he showed me."

Then, in 1957, in Louisville with the light-heavyweight champion, Willie Pastrano, Angelo Dundee took a phone call from a young man who said, "Mr. Dundee, my name is Cassius Marcellus Clay. I'm the Golden Gloves champion of Louisville, Kentucky." There followed a list of fights he had won and championships he intended to win, including the Olympics and the heavyweight championship. "I want to talk to you and Mr. Pastrano." Dundee said to Pastrano, "Some nut downstairs wants to talk to us. But he sounds like he might be a nice kid. Want to talk to him?" Pastrano said, "Why not? Nothing good on television."

Dundee had learned the game by listening to old men talk. Here was a kid speaking their language. How much roadwork did Pastrano do? How many times a day did he eat? How many rounds did he spar? Dundee liked both the kid's hunger for information and the intelligence of his questions. "By then, I'd worked with six champions," Dundee said, "and none of them ever talked the way the kid did."

After Clay won a gold medal in the 1960 games at Rome, his sponsors hired Dundee to make him a pro. Dundee may have done the smartest thing any trainer/coach/manager ever did. He left Clay alone. He recognized supranatural abilities when he saw them. He took credit only as a guileful cornerman looking to help his guy. Dundee once slit a glove to gain Clay time to recover from a knockdown. Hearing Clay complain of "something in my eyes," he pushed him off the stool in the first Liston fight with one instruction: "Run!" Dundee loved a thing the estimable Eddie Futch said. After 11 rounds in Manila against Futch's man, Joe Frazier, Ali thought to quit. He said he felt near death. But then, as always, he came off the stool. "Angelo prevailed upon him to continue," Futch said. Ali won when Futch wouldn't let Frazier come out for the 15th round.

There are people who believe Dundee should have prevailed upon Ali to quit — and long before Manila. Those people believe Ali's condition today is the result of brain damage suffered in 30 years of being hit in the head, the last decade by men younger and stronger than him. In fact, on an April morning in 1978, a few months after Ali had been beaten by the unknown Leon Spinks, Dundee told me he wanted Ali to retire.

"Forget it now, Muhammad," Dundee said.

"No, I gotta get a check," Ali said. He wanted to see a doctor.

"You don't need any checks," Dundee said. "There wasn't anything wrong with you. You were in great shape. Just forget it now, Muhammad. You got nothing to prove to anybody."

But he knew his guy wouldn't go away beaten. He said, "I'm not God. Muhammad quits when he wants to quit. Not when I think he ought to. Who am I? He wants to go on, he goes on. He's earned it. He can do what he wants and nobody ought to say any of that baloney about having so much 'heart' it'll wind up hurting him."

Ali fought for three more years, always with Dundee in his corner.

Dundee was still looking for fighters the last time I saw him, six years ago. He had worked as a consultant to Will Smith on an Ali movie and had helped the actor Russell Crowe get through a movie in which he played a fighter. But Dundee was 84 years old and pale and tired, and he stumbled over names and lost the thread in sentences. As Red Smith taught us, I closed the notebook when there was nothing more to learn. Then, when I thanked Dundee for all the years, and told him to thank Helen for finding the photograph of the young Clay, he spoke in a whisper.

"She's not good now," he said.

Ferdie Pacheco had told me about her cancer and said he had told Dundee he should be ready for the end.

"So I've gotta be with her as much as I can," Dundee said.

They'd picked out burial spots.

"We'll be together soon."

Helen Marone Dundee died two years ago.


Dave Kindred is the author of Sound and Fury, a dual biography of Muhammad Ali and Howard Cosell.


Dean
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Here are the best TV commercials of Super Bowl XLVI (Including the Budwesier Hockey Flash Mab)

Sympatico.ca Sports, Feb 6 2012



We know that many of you simply tune into the NFL's Super Bowl (or visit websites like this one) for the latest over-the-top-sometimes-too-far-but-often-funny-and-extravagant TV commercials that companies pay millions of dollars for. With that mind we've grabbed what we think are the best commercials of Super Bowl XLVI and placed them all in one convenient place for you. And your friends. Check them all out and let us know which commercials you thought were the best.

http://www.thecheapseats.ca/2012/02/check-out-the-best-super-bowl-xlvi-tv-commercials.html

The one below is for the hockey ad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Cw6c77TaKWs


Dean
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When Al Saunders' sentries let him down

Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronichle, February 7, 2012



Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Al Saunders during their NFL football training camp in Napa, Calif., Sunday, July 31, 2011.
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Al Saunders has been replaced as Raiders' offensive coordinator. Now that he's likely gone, I can share a story with you, because it has a useful life lesson: Always check the asparagus.

Saunders did a nice job with the Raiders under adverse circumstances, but I feel relieved that he is no longer around, because I probably don't have to worry about accidentally bumping into him.

He's a good guy. That's the problem.

In 1988, I was living in Los Angeles and my wife and I came to San Francisco to attend a banquet in honor of Leigh Steinberg, the player agent. The event was in the ballroom of an Embarcadero hotel. We were seated next to Saunders, then head coach of the San Diego Chargers.

Saunders was a charming fellow. We chatted with him for a half hour or so. Dinner was served. At some point, Saunders said, "Excuse me, I see someone I want to say hi to. Would you watch my plate, make sure the waiter doesn't pick it up?"

No problem.

Actually, problem.

My wife and I were yakking with others at the table when she did a comedic double-take.

"Oh, no!" she said, or words to that effect. "They took his plate! We're dead."

I noted that technically, Saunders had asked her to watch his plate. That observation didn't seem to relieve the tension.

Looking around desperately, I saw that the person clearing the tables had left the pickup cart right behind us. I found a plate that barely had been touched and placed it at Saunders' seat. Voila!

My wife recoiled in horror.

"It's gotta be his," I said confidently. "He had hardly started eating."

Saunders returned to the table and prepared to dig back into his dinner, then:

"This isn't my plate."

My wife and I usually don't perspire heavily at social functions, but we might have made an exception.

"What do you mean?" we asked in clumsy unison.

Saunders was staring at his plate.

"I ate my asparagus."

Awkward silence.


Dean
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Echoing Tom's question - where was your picture taken?

   
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