I say that for no other reason than to make up for what happened with the game-tying goal for Moose Jaw in game 6 when, late in the 3rd period, Warrior defenceman Kale Clague’s shot was tipped down into the Swift Current net by Brett Howden. Howden’s stick was clearly higher than the crossbar but since the net was tipped over forward, the replay centre decided his stick was low enough and let it count.
Staring at that replay from the treadmill of a Regina gym Saturday night, I just knew that goal was going to count for the simple fact that if it didn’t, the series was probably going to end right then and there. Calling it a goal meant the series would be decided by something else. The ref and the league got it right and ultimately it ended up eliminating any controversy when the Broncos won the series anyway.
2 – TIM TISDALE GETS IT RIGHT: Speaking of Swift Current, I have always been very impressed by the down-to-earth approach of Broncos alumni and former Regina Pats head coach Tim Tisdale. Now working as a WHL official, he has just about as much familiarity as anyone could have with the Humboldt Broncos tragedy, having lived through the Swift Current Broncos bus crash of 1986. That experience has taught him some lessons of how he might assist the young men who survived the Humboldt disaster.
“Right at the beginning, there’s lots of people around and it’s up front,” he told CTV. “As time goes by, all of a sudden a lot of people disappear. So, I think I just want to wait a little while and go in when there’s not quite as many people.”
All too often, we think of these people around the time of these tragedies and the anniversaries which is great but it’s the probably the days in between where they really need someone to count on the most.
3 – A LOT OF WHAT-IF’S: Last summer, Sheena and I were fortunate enough to visit a watering hole in Kanata, Ontario managed by my good pal and SJHL stick boy alumni Perry Wenham. He shared with me that day his little brother Daniel (also an SJ alum) was about to interview via skype for a job on the Humboldt Broncos coaching staff.
Needless to say, Perry and I are now both glad Danny never went to Humboldt and I’m sure Dean Brockman is wondering how things might have gone for him, had he stayed in Humboldt and not moved up to the Saskatoon Blades a few years ago. What if’s can be a dangerous thing to think too much about and the reality is that tragedy could’ve happened to any one of us.
The solution is to be grateful it didn’t and to do what we can for those who did get caught.
I shared a text exchange with Melfort Mustangs personnel guru Rick Oakes on his way home from the funeral of Montmartre’s Adam Herold. “This one stings.”said one message. Boy does it ever.
4 – HOW TO DIVIDE THE MONEY: The Humboldt Broncos Memorial Fund Inc. has been established and they’re creating a committee to decide how to divvy up the more than 12 million dollars raised through gofundme. There’s no question survivors of the crash who have the most serious life-changing injuries will need to get the biggest cut of that but there will be no end of people needing something out of this. I’m just glad I don’t have to make those decisions. The only thing certain about this process is that some people will be grateful and happy with what they get and some people will not.
5 – ESTEVAN/NIPAWIN A CLASSIC CHAMPIONSHIP: Retired Edmonton Oiler defenceman Chris Joseph lost his son, Jaxon, in the crash and then tweeted out “We’re all so happy you are playing.” That tugged at the heart-strings because he lost as much as any-one and still wanted the show to go on.
Christina Haugan, the widow of Darcy Haugan, chimed in “He would not have wanted hockey to stop, that’s for sure.”
This championship series will never have the same kind of hatred for each other that most do but the spirit in which it’s being played and emotion involved will make it unforgettable. And if early returns are any indication with the Bruins and Hawks splitting games 1 and 2, it just might go the distance. Something tells me Access Communications will be more focused on that than the WHL.
6 – DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE JETS: The Winnipeg Jets blew a chance to take a stranglehold on their series with the Wild by laying an egg Sunday in a blow-out loss at Minnesota in game 3. Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck had a stinker and he’s entitled. That won’t happen very often the rest of this series. I’m picking the Jets in 6.
7 – LET FINCH PLAY: Speculation is running wild about what the Calgary Stampeders will do with running back/return guy Roy Finch after his arrest in Oklahoma for allegedly hitting a police officer. If it were up to me, I’d let him play and allow the legal process to play out if it’s his first offence although I don’t expect that to happen. Couple last summer’s positive drug test with this latest ‘unfortunate’ incident and I expect we have seen the last of Roy Finch in a Stamps uniform.
8 – STOTTLEMYRE IN REGINA: I am deeply humbled and forever indebted to the Regina Red Sox for turning Mitchell Blair and I loose on legendary Blue Jays pitcher Todd Stottlemyre at their annual fundraising dinner April 28th in Regina. If anyone has any good questions they would like to hear us ask, buy tickets and also shoot me a message on twitter. Somehow I have a feeling ‘the slide’ in Philadelphia will get brought up.
9 – JETER TAKING TOO MUCH HEAT: The abuse being heaped upon Miami Marlins new boss Derek Jeter is completely unfair. He did well to unload that awful contract of Giancarlo Stanton which was going to handcuff the Fish for a generation and he’s cut some of the dead weight in the Marlins front office too. Axing legends Tony Perez and Andre Dawson might not be popular to do but what were they actually bringing to the Marlins anyway? The team is getting about 16 million dollars a year in TV revenue due to a horrendous contract previous owner Jeffrey Loria signed a decade ago when they should be getting closer to 100 million like other teams they compete with.
Jeter will get this right. It’s just going to take some time.
10 – DOCUMENTARY/BOOK OF THE WEEK: A good number of us have wanted to control our own sports franchise at some point and ESPN’s 30 for 30 “Big Shot” showcases the fraud of John Spano buying the New York Islanders with no money at all. It’s an oldie but a goodie and what struck me most about the film was how close Spano actually came to pulling that off. It makes me wonder how many other billionaire owners tried the same thing but got away with it.
(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)