The UPEI basketball Panthers lost a heartbreaker last Friday night at the Metro Centre in Halifax to St. Mary’s 67-66 and Atlantic University Sport (AUS) basketball fans that watched the game will be talking about the “questionable” travelling call for a long, long time.
I watched the play and UPEI’s Mandrez Downey was fouled, not once but twice, as he drove to the net in the dying seconds. First, a SMU defender bumped heavily into him sideways and in hockey it would have been called interference. A split-second later another Huskies player blocked him as he went up for the shot. If 100 reasonable people watched the play, 95 would have called at least one foul, the other five would have seen, as I did, two fouls.
I could not believe no foul was called immediately, and how two of the three officials (crew chief Colin McAdam and referee John Hunt) quickly huddled and came up with the phantom travelling call without consulting the third official is strange, indeed.
In baseball, the umpire calls either a ball or strike. In hockey, it’s offside or not, call one or the other. Whether it’s a goal or not, make the call first. Huddle later if you must.
Organizers of the Halifax tournament would definitely want Saint Mary’s to stay alive for Saturday because a SMU opening-round win over UPEI would have a big impact on that day’s attendance. I don’t think for a minute officials would think of those scenarios but calls like Friday’s against Downey and one can see why the most passionate of UPEI fans and Metro Centre’s AUS regulars would be upset.
In searching into how officials are selected to do the AUS tournament, I have been told officials are assigned by Rob Anderson of Summerside. He assigns officials for all minor basketball, junior high school and senior high schoolgames on Prince Edward Island.
I can’t figure out why the AUS doesn’t have a pool of about 20 officials capable of doing AUS games and that body assigns the officials for the regular season. At the end of the regular schedule, the university coaches select from the pool the top eight to officiate the AUS tournament. I guess it makes too much sense for the AUS.
AUS executive director Phil Currie earlier this week handed down a five-game suspension to UNB’s Cam Critchlow for his hit on a Saint Mary’s player in Game 1 of their best-of-three hockey final. I did not see the hit, but I did see the Mason Wilgosh hit against Acadia that resulted in the UPEI player getting clobbered unfairly with a 12-game suspension. There are a great many who feel the Wilgosh hit was a clean one and that 12 games was outrageous.
Had Wilgosh received considerably less of a suspension then most likely Critchlow would have gotten maybe two games and been able to play in the nationals with his UNB teammates.
And while we are on the topic of AUS, how about a more reasonable schedule next year for the basketball and hockey Panthers? This past year, the basketball Panthers played five doubleheaders, Friday and Saturday or Saturday and Sunday, where the opponent on the second day played the single game that week. It matters in wins, losses and national rankings, which could mean a trip to the nationals. I can hear it now, it happened by accident.
As for the AUS hockey schedule, I would like to see the conference use a little common sense and/or flexibility when it comes to games in Charlottetown involving the UPEI Panthers and the P.E.I. Rocket of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Please don’t come back and tell me the schedule is carved in stone.
The NHL and the players association settled their lockout six weeks ago. It didn’t take the biggest league in the world very long, maybe seven to 10 days to put together a schedule for 30 teams, flying all over North America.
It’s time for the AUS to start using some university-type decisions.
Here’s another topic that annoys me to no end. Ernie Whitt is the manager for Team Canada in the upcoming World Baseball Classic featuring teams from the best baseball countries in the world: Japan, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Canada and, of course, the United States.
I have nothing against Whitt, matter of fact I like him, but he’s an American. Can’t we find someone in this country capable of managing Canada’s
baseball team at this tournament? Don’t get me wrong, I love Americans and if Canada has no entry in a particular sporting competition, I always pull for our North American partners. But in this case, is it too much to ask for a Canadian manager to run a Canadian team?
I can’t get too excited about the tournament anyway because the vast number of players will not be in mid-season form, it’s like exhibition baseball.
In Maritime hockey, Cap Pele is hosting the Hardy Cup and the winner of the upcoming Kensington-Charlottetown series will travel to New Brunswick for the tournament. Steve Gallant is coaching the Charlottetown team and they play tonight at 7 in O’Leary and Sunday at 8 p.m. in Souris against Kensington. More on this next week.
There’s no live racing at the CDP but plenty of simulcast action from The Meadowlands, Woodbine, Yonkers, Flamboro and a host of thoroughbred tracks.
The P.E.I. Standardbred Horse Owners Association awards night on April 6 should be sold out as the legendary Bob (Hollywood) Heyden will be the guest speaker.
The breeding season is upon us and it must be hectic over at Meridian Farms, formerly Roach MacGregor’s Glengyle Farms in Milton. Brian Andrew is standing the pacing stallions: Aahm Canadian Now (p, 1:49:3, by Cams Card Shark), Ameripan Gigolo (p,4, 1:50, by Artsplace), Brandons Cowboy (p, 1:50:2, by The Panderosa) and Driven to Win (p, 1:49:3, by Jennas Beach Boy). Any of these four would cross nicely with every imaginable broodmare in this region.
On the trot side, Neal (t, 1:54:4) is by Credit Winner (t, 1:54:4) a Super Bowl line horse and a neat outcross stallion to the many daughters of Balanced Image and his sons located in this region. Northern Bailey (t, 1:54:4, by Balanced Image) and Tad the Stud (t, 1:54:4, by Windsongs Legacy) are certainly worth pursuing.
Out North Wiltshire way there’s more solid trot blood. Earl Watts is standing the Super Bowl line stallion Nureyev (t, 1:54:4, by Striking Sahbra), Mitch Tierney is standing Duke MacCallum (t, 1:56:3, by Duke of York by Garland Lobell) while Brian MacPhee has Nikes Image (t, 1:58:4, by Balanced Image).
Tonight at Woodbine, Chasin Racin and Acceptable Risk are co-favourites in Race 5 and both looked sharp last week. At The Meadowlands, the second leg of the $35,000 Aquarius series goes tonight in Race 2 and Warrawee Needy looked some impressive in winning in 1:50 flat for Mark MacDonald last Saturday. He’s the chalk pick tonight.
At Yonkers, Eighteen and Silent Swing are both in to tonight.
Fred MacDonald’s column appears in
The Guardian each Saturday. Contact
him at email@example.com.