Protocol out the window for Gretzky, Orr and Heather Moyse, too

Fred
Fred MacDonald
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I don’t know if the extended cold weather is to blame but I believe it has had a negative impact on the thought processes of some Islanders.

Take the case of Olympic gold medallist Heather Moyse, who will receive the Order of Prince Edward Island later this year. Premier Robert Ghiz made the announcement at the big gathering in her honour last Friday in Summerside. At the time most Islanders believed it was a nice gesture on behalf of the premier.

Moyse is an exceptional athlete, a national standout in numerous sports and a double gold Olympian, and, in my view, her inclusion into the Order of Prince Edward Island can add nothing but grace and class to that body. I would like to remind my old friend Wayne Collins, and those on the Order of Prince Edward Island committee, that in certain, rare circumstances exceptions to protocol can, and should, be granted. Hockey’s Hall of Fame did not wait the required three years to induct Bobby Orr or Wayne Gretzky. They were inducted as soon as they were available.

Heather Moyse’s inclusion into the Order of Prince Edward Island is similar to the Orr and Gretzky case as she is to us what they are to hockey. The fact the premier made the announcement is most appropriate since he is the most visible (and influential) politician in the province. End of story.

AUS basketball

The Subway AUS women’s basketball championships continue today on the UPEI campus and hopefully the Greg Gould-coached Panthers are still playing.

The Panthers opened the tournament last night as sixth seed against the third-seeded Cape Breton with the winner playing tonight 8:15 in a semifinal against St. F.X.

The Panthers finished the year at 9-11, loss one game in overtime and five others by three points or less. They’ve lost to X and Cape Breton by two and three points, so back-to-back wins was within their reach.

Saint Mary’s has not lost all season and the Halifax women would like to complete an SMU varsity sweep in AUS basketball. For the Panthers to reach the final, they must get great efforts from forward Amy Gough and guard Danielle MacDonald.

Minor hockey

The provincial bantam AAA championship looks like it could be an all-west final.

I took in last Sunday’s semifinal at Simmons Arena and it was a thriller as the Charlottetown Abbies edged the Western Maroons 3-2. Thomas Casey’s goal late in the third period broke open a close game as the Abbies tied the series 1-1.

Abbies Goaltender Ava Boutilier was terrific in this one and I would not be surprised if down the road she gets her education paid via hockey whether here or the USA. She’s a top goalie right now.

Defenceman Chris McQuaid, Adam’s first cousin, was a tower of strength on the Abbies blue-line, which also got strong performances from speedster Robbie Howatt, Andrew (Soupy) Campbell, rugged forward Ryan May and little defenceman Thomas Harper.

The West Prince club blanked the Abbies 3-0 on Tuesday to take a 2-1 series lead and could have advanced to the championship round against Summerside with a win last night.

West Prince has two outstanding goalies in Bronson Banks, who has two shutouts in three games, and Luke Oliver and a great supporting cast of forwards like Brydon Smith, Brayden Handrahan, Isaac Callaghan, Isaac Knox and talented defenceman Jacob Arsenault.

Summerside swept Mid-Isle in three straight and have gifted players in Noah Dobson and Brodie MacArthur plus a top supporting cast. There’s not much love lost between Western (or Charlottetown) and Summerside, so the final should be a dandy.

Curling

Curling fans on Prince Edward Island are upset, and rightfully so, that Prince Edward Island and three other teams will have to play in a playoff for one spot in the 2015 Tim Hortons Brier.

The Canadian Curling Association decided the bottom four clubs are not as competitive as they should be, hence the change to the qualifying round. The Brier has always had teams competing from every province and that’s what made it a truly national event. Let’s be realistic, the governing body, as in most sports, pays little attention to the Maritime clubs.

The Eddie MacKenzie rink from P.E.I. played extremely well at the Brier this week, especially early when they were 3-1 with a big upset of Quebec. MacKenzie made some terrific shots and although they’ve fallen to 3-7, they were indeed competitive.

Over the years, the number of Island teams competing for the right to go to the Brier has dwindled from a high of nearly 50 teams in the early 1970s to as few as six or eight today. It must be a sad day indeed for curling greats like Doug Cameron, Bob and George Dillon and Al Smith, who took a backseat to nobody on the Canadian curling scene in the 1950s, ‘60s or 70s. The same can be said of skips like Wayne Matheson, John Fortier, Ted MacFadyen, Bill Jenkins, Al Ledgerwood, Robert Campbell, Peter Gallant and a few others who were dangerous opponents at such events.

Ironically one of the top teams in Canada, the Brad Gushue rink from Newfoundland and Labrador is comprised of three Islanders in coach Peter Gallant and talented Brett Gallant and Adam Casey.

The association is proposing a similar move with the Scotties, but I can’t see that involving Prince Edward Island women since they’ve more than held their own at Scotties tournaments. Maybe this is a wakeup call for curling enthusiasts across the Island to implement strategies to get more youth into the curling game.

Harness racing

The latest edition of Trot magazine has a great story on Serge Savard and his colt Arthur Blue Chip, who according to latest reports from Florida is training very well.

On the racing front, simulcast action is available via Yonkers, the Meadowlands and Woodbine tonight at Red Shores. The Yonkers card tonight has such familiar faces as Gold Cup and Saucer starters Silent Swing, Machs Beach Boy and R Caan.

The Meadowland feature has the $60,000 Buddy Gilmour Memorial with horses like National Debt, Capitol Account, the Barbarian and Pierce among others. Buddy was a guest here at Old Home Week five or six years ago.

At Woodbine, Mystician has the rail in the $28,000 feature and he looks like the best.

The harness racing community was saddened by the passing last week of Moncton native Pete Seaman, who was well known at the Meadowlands and at Blue Bonnets Montreal and on the Mohawk circuit. Pete and brother Bobby were here last Old Home Week. Our condolences to the family of this gentleman.

The annual Horsemens Curling Bonspiel is a few weeks away and curlers Doug MacGregor, John Likely and George Larter are throwing rocks to gain that all important edge.

Fred MacDonald's column appears in The Guardian each Saturday. He can be reached at fiddlersfacts@hotmail.com.

Organizations: F.X. The Panthers, Edward Island committee, Bronson Banks Canadian Curling Association Adam Casey.The association Trot magazine

Geographic location: Summerside, Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island Saint Mary USA Charlottetown Quebec Canada Newfoundland and Labrador Florida Moncton

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  • Rinkydink
    March 08, 2014 - 10:56

    Whatever you say Prophet Fred. I wonder if brother Tex in the Premier's office would have something to do with your comments...hmmm.