Norm, this one’s for you . . .
Norm Weseen, a dear, dear friend who was a huge fan of the Vancouver Giants, died Saturday night on the Lower Mainland.
Norm, who was in his 80s, lived a lot and saw a lot. He was a sportscaster on the Prairies in an earlier life, then moved to B.C., where he worked in various communities and covered enough curling that the B.C. Interior Curling Association honoured him as a life member in 1989. He also was a big, big hockey guy and, before his health began to catch up to him, he was a Giants’ season-ticket holder; in fact, I believe he held two of them. He loved nothing more than to attend a Giants’ practice and bump into the late Pat Quinn.
I came to know Norm about 20 years ago when he phoned out of the clear blue just wanting to talk hockey. It wasn’t long before we were having regular conversations during which we would solve a whole lot of problems. He knew his way around arenas in Estevan and Weyburn. He had worked in Smithers, B.C., and loved the Watson brothers.
With the Giants, he especially liked the lunch-bucket guys like Milan Lucic and Garet Hunt. And, of course, there was no one better in Norm’s mind than Brendan Gallagher.
Norm also introduced me to Dickson Liong, a courageous young man with cerebral palsy who has written for the Giants, as well as the Vancouver Canucks and their AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks. (There’s more on Dickson right here.)
One other thing . . . my wife, Dorothy, fell in love with Norm. She underwent a kidney transplant more than nine years ago, and whenever we talked he always started the conversation with: “How is Wonder Woman doing?” Of course, whenever he called and she answered the phone, I would have to wait 10 or 15 minutes for my turn. And it never was too early in a new year for him to start asking when he would be able to make a donation in support of Dorothy and her annual Kidney Walk fund-raiser.
Yes, Norm was a dear, dear friend. It is true, however, that time waits for no one and it caught up with Norm on Saturday.
RIP, old friend. Dorothy and I’ll be missing you.
After the excruciating way in which the Victoria Royals lost at home on Saturday night, one has to think they will be excited about hitting the road for their next six games.
The Royals dropped a 6-5 OT decision to the visiting Vancouver Giants on Saturday in a game that, if you’re a Victoria fan, ended in bizarre fashion. If you are a Giants’ supporter, well, you must have loved it.
Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist called it a “near-epic collapse.”
The Royals, who got three goals from F Jake Poole, held a 5-3 lead with 107 seconds left to play in the third period.
F Ty Thorpe got Vancouver to within a goal at 18:12.
Vancouver F Samuel Honzek tied it with 1.4 seconds remaining in the period.
F Zack Ostapchuk, the Giants’ captain, won it at 1:09 of extra time. (The Royals, in their recap, gave the game-winner to F Ty Halaburda, which, if a change is made, would really rub in some salt because he is from Victoria.)
Meanwhile, I am left to wonder what would constitute an epic collapse.
It all allowed the Giants to improve to 2-5-3 with the Royals falling to 2-8-2.
The Royals, who open a swing through the six-team Central Division on Wednesday against the Red Deer Rebels, will be hoping a change of scenery proves to be the cure for what ails them.
“It was a really tough loss and (the road swing) will be a good way to turn the page,” Dan Price, the Royals’ general manager and head coach, told Dheensaw. “Our players are disappointed but are very mature, confident and resilient.”
Of course, it should be mentioned that the Rebels have opened the season with a franchise-record 10-game winning streak.
The Vancouver Giants returned home — they play out of the Langley Events Centre — on Sunday and won their second game in a row for the first time this season, beating the Kamloops Blazers, 6-3. . . . Each team was playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours; the Giants were playing their fourth game in fewer than 96 hours. . . . Vancouver (3-5-3) also is taking its show on the road. The Giants will play six games in the Central Division, starting Thursday night against the Edmonton Oil Kings — and two against the Prince George Cougars before next playing at home against Kamloops on Nov. 18.
My upcoming reading list includes three new releases, including the book referred to in the above tweet — Rising from the Deep: The Seattle Kraken, a Tenacious Push for Expansion, and the Emerald City’s Sports Revival. It is the work of Geoff Baker, a former Toronto Star and Montreal Gazette sports writer who now is on the Kraken beat at the Seattle Times. . . . Also on my list are The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson, written by the prolific Jeff Pearlman. His books always are great reads, but he asks that you not buy the one about Brett Favre. Seriously! . . . And, finally, I am looking forward to getting my hands on The Book of Joe: Trying Not to Suck at Baseball and Life, by former MLB manager Joe Maddon and Tom Verducci, a sports writer of note.
The Prince Albert Raiders, playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours, weren’t any kind of match for F Riley Fiddler-Schultz and the host Calgary Hitmen on Sunday. Fiddler-Schultz, the team captain, struck for five goals, four of them in the first period, in leading the Hitmen to a 6-1 victory. . . . Fiddler-Schultz tied F Pavel Brendl’s franchise record for most goals in one game. Brendl scored five in an 8-2 victory over the visiting Raiders on Nov. 11, 2000. . . . Fiddler-Schultz’s four first-period goals tied Brendl and F Owen Fussey for most goals in a period. Brendl scored four third-period goals in a 5-2 victory over the Warriors in Moose Jaw on Oct. 18, 2000; Fussey had four in the third period of a 7-3 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes on Feb. 6, 2002. . . . Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) also tweeted that Fiddler-Schultz, who had gone six games without a goal, now has had one three-goal game, a four-game and this five-goal effort during his career. Brandow also noted that Fiddler-Schultz set a franchise record for fastest three goals (2:43) — F Michael Bubnick held the previous record (6:48) from a 5-3 less to the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Jan. 13, 2002. . . .
According to the WHL, “The last five goal performance in the WHL was recorded by former Lethbridge F Justin Hall on Feb. 26, 2022. The last six goal performance was recorded on Feb. 27, 2009 by Tyler Ennis of the Medicine Hat Tigers.”
JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Don’t sleep on the Saskatoon Blades. They are 9-2-0 after winning their sixth straight game, 5-1 over the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Sunday. The Blades got two goals and an assist from F Trevor Wong in that one. . . . Freshman F Samuel Honzek put up six points — three goals, three assists — in the Vancouver Giants’ back-to-back victories. Honzek, who is to turn 18 on Nov. 12, is from Trencin, Slovakia. He has six goals and seven assists in his first 11 games. . . . It was a rather nice late autumn Sunday in Kamloops; it was anything but on the flatlands. In fact, things were so nasty that the WHL had to postpone a game that was to have had the Moose Jaw Warriors facing the Pats in Regina. That game now will be played on Wednesday night.
THINKING OUT LOUD — To the boss at the Vancouver Province: If you notice that your Sunday newsstand sales have shrunk by one, it’ll be because I bailed. You’ve gone from five crossword puzzles to one on Sundays? Thanks for the entertainment value over the past few years, but I’m out. . . . NFL observer Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) points out that the New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos all are 5-2. The Saints’ first-round draft pick, he adds, belongs to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Browns’ first pick belongs to the Houston Texans. The Broncos’ first pick belongs to the Seattle Seahawks. . . . How would the Seahawks’ brass respond if the Broncos were to offer QB Russell Wilson to them for QB Geno Smith? Yeah, that’s what I thought? . . . There are 15 teams in baseball’s National League. The Philadelphia Phillies went 87-75 (.537) in the regular season. That was the NL’s sixth-best record, something that wouldn’t have got them into the playoffs in any other season but this one. Now they’re going to the World Series. Make of that what you will.
The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks played their home-opener on Saturday night and lost their sixth straight game, this one 5-1 to the Buffalo Sabres.
The Canucks’ fans aren’t taking it well.
After Saturday’s debacle, Thomas Drance of The Athletic wrote that the Canucks “finally . . . returned to the supposedly friendly confines of Rogers Arena. And this one had it all. It had the road team opening the scoring with a fluky power-play goal. A gentleman wearing a retro Canucks jersey and a paper bag on his head, posing for photos with other fans in his section. The fans booed during play as the game twisted away from Vancouver. They booed as the Sabres top line cycled the puck endlessly in the Vancouver end. They booed the Canucks on the power play. They even booed ‘Sweet Caroline.’ ”
If you subscribe to The Athletic, Drance’s piece is right here. If you don’t subscribe, you should give it some thought.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Living Kidney Donor Program
St. Paul’s Hospital
6A Providence Building
1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6
Toll free: 1-877-922-9822
Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney
Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre
Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9
604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182
Or, for more information, visit right here.