The Island Storm, P.E.I.’s professional basketball team now based out of Charlottetown, is unquestionably a shot in the arm for basketball and for hoop fans from one end of this Island to the other.
A great many basketball fans from Charlottetown travelled to Summerside the past two seasons when the club was based out of Prince County and I am certain anyone that has seen this product will be returning to watch the club at Eastlink Centre. The players are so much bigger, faster and talented from what we have seen in the past as evident by their recent signing of Oliver McNally. McNally, a six-foot-three guard, graduated from Harvard where he starred in the backcourt with Houston Rockets standout Jeremy Lin. Enough said.
The Island Storm opens their regular season here on Nov. 2 and 3 against Saint John Mill Rats and Moncton Miracles. Co-owners Duncan Shaw and Darren MacKay are expecting big things from the Island team, which was 26-14 last season and lost the National Basketball League final to the London Lightning.
Other teams in the NBL are Halifax Rainmen, Mississauga Power, Brampton A‘s, Windsor Express, London Lightning and Ottawa Skyhawks.
Season packages are available at reasonable prices. The NBL schedule shows the Storm play mostly on Saturday and Sunday with no conflicts with either the basketball hoop Panthers or the hockey Islanders. For further information on tickets, contact 629-6625.
If you are looking for entertainment, this is it.
In World Series baseball play, the Red Sox and the Cardinals are tied 1-1 with the series moving to St. Louis.
Thus far in the playoffs Boston can do no wrong, with the exception of Thursday night’s 4-2 loss at Fenway Park. Fly balls hit by opponents fall mysteriously in the infield and outfield, opposing managers take out pitchers who have the BoSox hitters swinging at air, and Red Sox relief pitchers make Mariano Rivera look ordinary. I said before this series started it would not surprise me if a St. Louis pitcher tossed a one-hitter or no hitter and lost, nor would it surprise me if a Cardinals key player fell down the stairs at home and was lost for the series. Some things are meant to be, even with manager John Farrell in the dugout.
AUS men’s hockey
The UPEI hockey Panthers are in action today in the second game of a weekend homestand against Dal and Acadia. The Panthers who won on the road against the same opponents last week play Acadia tonight at 7 p.m.
Ex-UPEI sniper Kris MacPhee is making quite a name for himself with his hockey development business. In-season team training is a key component of any hockey program today and McPhee has developed numerous programs in this area. Currently the Panthers, the Islanders and minor hockey Matrix AAA teams have incorporated in-season training into their hockey program.
The Subway AUS women’s Rugby semifinal games are set for noon and 2 p.m. at the UPEI campus. At noon today, UPEI plays Acadia to be followed by the St. F.X. and Saint Mary’s game. The winners meet Sunday at 2 p.m.
Also on the local front, here are a couple of items of interest. Garth McCarvill may not be a name familiar with many of today’s hockey crowd, but he was a tireless worker for the UPEI hockey booster club especially on game days selling tickets and contributing in no small way to the Panthers hockey cause. Sadly, McCarvill passed away last April. It was nice to see the Panthers honour his memory last night.
Jeremy and Joel Watts of Hampshire leave later this month to join the National Wheelchair Basketball team at the University of Toronto Scarborough campus for the winter. The boys will be playing against all the top competition they will meet at the world tournament, so they’ll have a busy winter. Best of luck boys.
Live harness racing continues this evening at 6 p.m. at the city track and it’s a terrific card of racing. The Maritime Breeders final at $33,000 features the best two-year-old colts, including Dumas Walker, Tobins Fusion, Mr Comraderie and six others. Sensational two-year-old pacing filly Saulsbrook Alanna, who looked awesome in winning in 1:56 last Saturday, is the betting favourite in the Maritime Breeders final at $29,000.
There’s the $2,200 open mares with the Jonah Moase-trained Dirt Track Momma installed as favourite and an $1,800 open trot also on the 14-dash card.
All Turain, who had the eye-popping 1:52.2 trip a week ago, has drawn the outside in the open against Touch of Lightning and four others.
At Woodbine tonight, the $34,000 feature highlights a great looking 13-dash card. P.E.I.-owned State Treasurer has post two for trainer Dr. Ian Moore against the likes of Jug heat winner Resistance Futile (Anthony MacDonald), Camaes Fellow (Sylvan Filion) and six others.
At Woodbine Thursday, Dan MacIsaac’s Catch The Dream took the $24,000 feature trot in 1:53 for driver Scott Zeron. The four-year-old son of Cash Hall is one of the top trotters on the Ontario circuit. On the same card, Scarlet Chaser was fourth in 1:54 and change in a $17,000 overnight event.
James MacDonald and Bill Davis Jr. were off their drives on the Thursday card recovered from bumps and bruises in that horrific looking spill at Grand River the previous night. Both are at Woodbine tonight.
The Flamboro Mixed Sale of race horses and breeding stock goes tomorrow at the Dundas track.
Heading into the Week 8 there is just one remaining unbeaten club in the NFL.
Who would have believed that the Kansas City Chiefs would be that team? The Chiefs (7-0) are at home against the Cleveland Browns (3-4) Sunday and it will be a tough game. The Browns are sound defensively but have a meagre attack. Jason Campbell gets the QB start for the Browns but he’s against the NFL’s best group of defenders. The spread is 7.5 so give the points and take the Chiefs.
Green Bay (4-2) at Minnesota (1-5) – The Packers are banged up but have one of the league’s top quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers and can score points. The Vikings handed the ball to the NFL’s best back Adrian Peterson just 13 times in last week’s loss to the Giants and with that type of thinking, a loss is the most likely outcome. No matter who plays QB for the Vikings, they shouldn’t beat the Pack but you must give 8.5 points.
Dallas (4-3) at Detroit (4-3) – This should be a high-scoring game as both QBs Tony Romo and Matt Stafford have been sharp. The Lions are at home but I think Romo and the Cowboys are for real. In addition you get three points if you bet the Cowboys, so jump aboard the ship.
New York Jets (4-3) at Cincinnati (5-2) – Andy Dalton has been on fire for the Bengals and Cincinnati is a touchdown favourite at home. The Jets, however, are strong defensively and rookie QB Geno Smith has really come around. I think the Jets can win outright and if they did lose, the spread will not be seven points. Take the Jets.
As always, pay the mortgage first, the picks are for fun.
Fred MacDonald’s column appears every Saturday in The Guardian. To comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org