A Bricolage of Canadian Sports News

By Ben Hamill - February 16 2016
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The NBA All Star Weekend in Toronto was a huge success except for one sad occurrence: Nelly Furtado of Victoria gave what may have been the worst rendition of O Canada I have ever heard.

It would have been much better had she simply forgotten the words which happens from time to time with the U.S. National Anthem. Had Nelly just forgotten the words she would have received much sympathy from Canadians who are known for their generous nature. But Nelly knew all the words. She just sang them horribly. It's really too bad because it has gotten so much play on social media that it's almost as if people have forgotten the game or the other events.

NBA Cares Wins 196-0

Someone else from Victoria did much better at the NBA All Star Weekend. Deion Green was born without tibias in his legs. He's been in a wheelchair all his life but hasn't let his disability prevent him from leading a productive and purposeful life. He was inspirational to the fully-legged athletes who saw him play in an NBA Cares event during All Star Weekend.

The NBA is very aware of the bad-boy image of some of its players. The league goes out of its way to show its players giving unselfishly of their time. NBA Cares is one way players give back to the community. At All Star Weekend, there were 35 NBA Cares events throughout Toronto.

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Good News From Tennis

I was happy to see Alexandra Wozniak perform as well as she did in the run-up to the Fed Cup in April. Alexandra was seen as Canada's premier female tennis player ten years ago. A series of injuries have slowed her over the years. She underwent a serious shoulder operation in 2014. At such a young age, it was heartbreaking to see her once-promising career in such jeopardy but her performance has brought back memories of the Alexandra of old.

Even Short Goalkeepers Can Make Spectacular Saves

If you haven't seen Jeff Lerg's amazing overtime save against Fort Wayne in the ECHL, you have to find it online. Lerg was out of position on a two-on-one but flipped over and reached back with his arm to prevent the game winning goal from going in the net.

Canadian Soccer Re-invents the Wheel

The Canadian women's soccer team defeated Trinidad and Tobago 6-0 in a qualifier for the Olympics. Canada has never lost to T & T so the outcome was no surprise. The formation used by the Canadian women's team did surprise some. Usually Coach John Herdman uses four defenders. In this game he used only two defenders and four mid-fielders to complement the four forwards.

159 and Counting

Christine Sinclair scored a goal, her 159th in international competition putting her ahead of the far more famous Mia Hamm in second place on the all-time scoring list for women. She trails the all-time leader, Abby Wambach, by 25 goals.

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Oh A-punching We Will Go

David Lemieux from Montreal will enter the ring in a middleweight boxing match on March 12. This will be the first bout for his opponent James de la Rosa since he was knocked out in December 2014 by Hugo Centeno Jr. That calculates to fifteen months between fights.

I can't help but think that boxing is a barbaric pursuit. I hesitate to call it a sport. If football and hockey players suffer life-long disability from the effects of concussions, I can only imagine that all boxers must have some lingering disability from the many blows to the head they receive in the course of their careers.

I realize that boxers were ferocious even in "the old days" but for a boxer of de la Rosa's youth and talent to need fifteen months to be prepared to re-enter the ring indicates that his injuries were severe, that perhaps he's in the wrong line of work, and maybe he should not be fighting again, ever.

Gliding Across the Ice

On the subject of taking a long time off between competitions, Patrick Chan of Toronto won his 8th Canadian Figure Skating Championship in January. Chan had taken off more than one year after the Sochi Olympics but was in full form at the Canadian Championships.

Chan said that he needed the time to get back to the point he had reached going into the Sochi Olympics. He needed the time to get back to the point that skating was fun for him again.

Chan and Liam Firus will compete in the World Championships in Boston in March. Firus beat out Kevin Reynolds by 1.02 points to gain the second and last Canadian spot in men's singles in the World Championships.

Alaine Chartrand won the women's singles in a heart-stopping performance under intense pressure caused by Gabrielle Daleman who had skated superbly in the routine just before Chartrand's.

Two pairs of Canadians also skated beautifully to advance to the World Championships. Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won their fifth Canadian Championship in pairs. This comes as no surprise: the two are also reigning World Champions and will have a good chance to repeat in Boston.

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje won their second consecutive Canadian Championship in ice dancing. Poje expressed his relief at not being a mere historical footnote by winning again. He said that he feared being known only for his fifteen minutes of fame. It sounds to me that he could learn from Patrick Chan on the importance of having fun even as one competes at a world class level.

Controversy Swirls as Rocks Glide Across the Ice

Boxing has been called the "sweet science" by people who never took a powerful blow to the head. But little did I realize that the real and true sweet science is sweeping in curling.

One sweeper changes the rotation of the rock whilst the second sweeper keeps the rock in a straight line.

There is controversy in the icy world of curling my friends as the composition of the bristles in the curling brooms has come under fire. The World Curling Federation has called a halt to the use of "directional fabric" in curling brooms. Oh my.

"Artificially-textured" brush fabric has also been banned. It turns out that many teams from around the world refused to use these brooms stating that their use could negatively affect the integrity of the game of curling.

Something strange is afoot when concussions and debilitating injuries don't affect the "integrity" of some sports whilst the development of a better "straw" might call into question the fairness of curling competitions forevermore!

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