With all that has happened over the past few weeks, and the way things seem likely to continue for the next while, you really have to wonder how much trepidation there is in the business of hockey academies.
With unemployment rates skyrocketing, many small businesses struggling, with more of them shuttering every day, and with some borders closed and a lot of other travel not recommended, you really wonder what our world is going to look like six months from now, a year from now . . .
Whenever we are able to come out the other end of this situation are families going to have the money necessary, in most cases more than $20,000 a year, to have children attend hockey academies?
Meanwhile, the West Vancouver Hockey Academy, which started in 2015 and operated out of Sentinel Secondary and the Hollyburn Country Club, is done, at least for one season. That decision didn’t have anything to do with the finances of parents.
In January, the West Vancouver School District told the academy’s owner, the Spartan Sport Group (SSG), that it wasn’t renewing its agreement for 2020-21. After getting that news, SSG had hoped to cut a deal with Seycove Secondary in North Vancouver, but that isn’t going to happen.
Earlier this week, Jane Seyd of the North Shore News reported that a letter to Seycove parents from North Vancouver school superintendent Mark Pearmain informed them that a decision on an agreement has been suspended.
The West Van Warriors were part of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League, with teams at the midget prep, elite 15, bantam prep and bantam varsity levels.
One of West Van’s student/athletes was Connor Bedard, a 15-year-old from North Vancouver who has been granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada and is expected to be selected first overall by the Regina Pats in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft.
Seyd and Andy Prest reported in February that money didn’t have anything to do with the West Vancouver School District’s decision on West Van.
A letter to parents stated that the decision was due to “concerns about academic success, and other challenges such as student programming and scheduling as well as the increased enrolment at Sentinel.”
Seyd and Prest reported that “fewer than half the players” attending the academy were from North or West Vancouver, “with several coming from across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley and others from more distant locales such as Vancouver Island, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Denver and Beijing.”
In the end, though, it could be that West Van was done in, at least in part, by COVID-19. At least one meeting that was to have been held involving Seycove parents was postponed because of the physical distancing restraints now in place. According to Seyd, Pearmain told parents that things have been suspended because officials haven’t been able to have a proper consultation process.
Seyd’s complete story is right here.
I am here to tell you that Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, was at his best in his Thursday rant. He wrote a lot about changes he would like to see come to his favourite sports once they are back in our lives. . . . Changes like:
“In MLB — and even in some minor league games — players come to bat with walk-up music. It is stupid and not part of the game. Any player who allows walk-up music to be played for him should also expect to hear Chopin’s Funeral March played for him every time he makes an out. . . .
“Any golf writer who focuses on anything Tiger Woods says or does in a tournament where Woods is 15 shots off the lead should be banned from covering golf and made to cover camel racing in Saudi Arabia.”
He was on his game and it’s all right here.
The curmudgeonly one’s Thought for the Day comes from Will Rogers: “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people that they don’t like.”
ICYMI, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in his daily address, told us Thursday morning:
“Normality as it was before will not come back full-on until we get a vaccine for this. . . . That will be a very long way off.”
Then, in French, he added: “We will have to remain vigilant for at least a year.”
Might be a good time to think about starting your Christmas shopping because delivery times may be about to get lengthier than they already are.
Santa Clara County in California is home to the San Francisco 49ers (NFL), San Jose Sharks (NHL) and the San Jose Earthquakes (MSL), as well as three major universities. . . . On Tuesday, Jeff Smith, the SCC executive officer, told his board of supervisors that “I don’t expect we’ll have any sports games until at least Thanksgiving, and we’ll be lucky to have them by Thanksgiving. This is not going to be something that is easy to do.”
FYI, American Thanksgiving will arrive on Nov. 28.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, Smith added:
““When the orders are weakened, it’s pretty much guaranteed there will be new infections because, at least at this point, there’s no herd immunity for those who are uninfected.
“There will definitely be individuals who will get sick. And because there are individuals who get sick, there will be individuals who die after the order is released, unless we come up with a foolproof immunization, which is highly unlikely.”
One of these days, the NHL will get around to cancelling what is left of its 2019-20 season, including the playoffs. Around that same time, perhaps even on the same day, the NBA will follow suit.
After that, it will be Major League Baseball’s turn, although the boys of summer likely will hold out a lot longer just in case Agent Orange was right when he said the virus will die off in the heat.
Then it will be the turn of the big dog — football.
The college football season is about 140 days away. Mike Gundy, the head coach at Oklahoma State, shot holes in both his feet this week when suggesting he wanted to get his program up and rolling on May 1. Uhh, that’s not going to happen, as Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated points out right here.
In another SI piece, this one by Forde and Ross Dellenger, it becomes evident that athletic directors throughout the NCAA are beginning to face up to the fact that football, the engine that drives everything in their world, may well be about to go away for at least part of a season and maybe for the whole thing.
But no matter how you look at it, the numbers in this piece right here are mind-boggling and you have to wonder if college football — indeed, college sports — will ever get back to such a level again.
Here is Pete Blackburn of CBS Sports with one of the decisions many of us are faced with on a daily basis in these strange times:
“If you’re working from home, when do you prefer to brush your teeth? I feel like that’s the most difficult decision I have to make each day. I could brush them first thing in the morning but I know I’m going to be drinking coffee right after that so, like, what’s the point? But sometimes I drink coffee right up until lunch, and by the time lunch rolls around I’m not thinking about brushing my teeth. So basically what I’m saying here is that I keep forgetting to brush my teeth lately. I am a disgusting troll.”
The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s volleyball announced an interesting signing on Thursday in the person of Maxim Turgeon, a 6-foot-6 outside hitter/middle from Calgary. . . . His father is former NHLer Sylvain Turgeon, an an uncle is another former NHLer, Pierre Turgeon. . . . Two of Maxim’s former teammates with the Canuck club in Calgary also are playing at TRU.