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FIDDLER'S FACTS: Murchison makes U.S. NTDP

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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

Howard Murchison was a top defenceman in his junior days here about 50 years ago, good enough to play with Rogers Rangers, the major junior club at the time.

In his playing days, Howard would never be considered a candidate for any Lady Byng-type awards, nor would his son Kenny, who played junior with the Summerside Western Capitals and later with UNB championship teams.  
After graduation, Ken’s business took him to California where he married and started his own family, and, as expected, hockey was his son Ty’s sport of choice. Last year, Ty was a standout with the Los Angeles Jr. Kings under-16 club where he caught the attention of Kevin Reiter of the USA National Team Development Program (NTDP). A few weeks ago, the NTDP udner-17 squad released the names of the players for their 2019-20 club, which is based in Plymouth, Mich., with Ty making the squad.
Ty’s route to the USA national club is a curious one indeed.
With family ties to P.E.I. to California to Michigan, the six-foot-one, 173-pound left-shot defenceman has made the USA national club which will play in numerous international competitions, including the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and the Four and Five Nations tournaments. The under-17 club also plays in the United States Hockey League, the tier 1 junior league in the United States. The club is a two-year residency program for high performance players. The eight defencemen, 13 forwards and two goaltenders from 14 states are all destined for major NCAA Division 1 schools.
Ty is one of two players from California, quite an achievement in itself considering the state has 35 million people, about the same population as Canada.
I just love to see those Island kids, or kids with Island connections, making their dreams come true. Ty Murchison is a youngster that we’ll be following during the next few years.
Congratulations to Ty, Howard, Judy (Ballem) and all connected.

Weekly video



Rugby
High calibre senior men’s rugby will be on display today at Co-op Field with a doubleheader.
It features the Hunter’s Ale House Mudmen Division 1 club in a Nova Scotia league regular season game at noon against Valley while the Division 2 Mudmen tangles with Halifax Tars at 4 p.m. in the championship game.
In last Saturday’s semifinal win, veterans Marcus Dunphy and Justin Ellis, both as hard as spikes, anchored the scrum in a game where all contributed in a great team effort.
Other notables last week were Ben Whalen, a fierce tackler; Donnie Sonnier at scrum-half, Ben Fradsham, a flashy and speedy winger, and U.K. native Chris Cartmell, a hard-nosed hooker.
Veteran Gordie Tweedy, who played on the 1954 Charlottetown Nomads who won the Maritime championship, tells me he’ll take in today’s games. He had been sidelined with lingering health issues but feels much better and is excited about the Mudmen’s chances today.   

Squash
If you love racket sports, you are in for a treat as the 2019 Aspin Cup, a prestigious professional tournament gets underway Wednesday at the UPEI courts.
Sponsored by Aspin Kemp & Associates, the competition has 16 male and 16 female players from 12 countries looking for a big piece of the $12,000 prize money. P.E.I. phenom Liam Jinks, 17, plays at 5 p.m. on opening day while at 1 p.m. Mitch Chaisson from Souris plays Jesus Camacho from Mexico.
There is no admission fee for the first two rounds, which go Wednesday and Thursday.

Harness racing
Live harness racing continues tonight at 6 p.m. with a 12-dash card at Red Shores Charlottetown. The $4,000 invitational has attracted a great field and last week’s winner Lisburn (Ken Arsenault) has the rail against the likes of Rose Run Quest, Euchred, Woodmere Ideal Art and three others.
The Little Brown Jug went Thursday with Southwind Ozzi winning in 1:50:3 against a modest field of three-year-olds. Seven of the 15 starters in the eliminations have banked $75,000 or less to date and many of the top sophomores were not there. In addition, two that advanced to the final were scratched by their owners reducing the Jug field to six.
In the Jugette on Wednesday, Warrawee Ubeaut set a world record by winning in 1:50:1. In that race James MacDonald was second with Ideation Hanover. I am certain that Ubeaut would have handled the Jug field and so is trainer Ron Burke. There’s a big card tonight at Mohawk Raceway with the $750,000 Metro Pace and the $540,000 She’s a Great Lady will be in the spotlight.

Pigskin picks
Let’s take a look at a few of Sunday’s NFL games.  
Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) at Buffalo Bills (2-0) – The Bills are a playoff team and six-foot-five, 240-pound QB Josh Allen led all quarterbacks with eight rushing touchdowns in 2018. Last week he passed for more than 200 yards for the seven-consecutive weeks. He is the real deal. The Bills are tough defensively, the Bengals porous.
Oakland Raiders (1-1) at Minnesota Vikings (1-1) – The Vikings should have beaten Green Bay last week and their ground game will crush the Raiders.
Denver Broncos (0-2) at Green Bay Packers (2-0) – The Packers and Aaron Rodgers at home look like a lock.
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2) at San Francisco 49ers (2-0) – This is a tough start for Steelers QB Mason Rudolph heading into San Francisco’s vicious defence. Mason looked good in replacing Bin Ben last week, but his receivers dropped too many balls. 49ers win easily.
L.A. Rams (2-0) at Cleveland Browns (1-1) – The Rams just aren’t the same team on the road and Browns, under standout QB Baker Mayfield, think they’re a playoff team. I believe they are too and this is your upset special.
Green Bay, Minnesota, San Francisco and Buffalo are seven-point home favourites and will cover while the Rams are field goal road favourites. Bet these games on the money line, less money, but you’ll cash.


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


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