Toronto is the centre of the financial and media universe in this country, but professional sports has been a different story for a very long time. This past Wednesday saw two announcements that may alter the future, but please don’t hold your breath.
The once mighty Maple Leafs, who have now disappointed more than two generations of hockey fans, backed up the money truck and anointed a guy from Saskatoon to guide them to the promised land. Coach Mike Babcock has an eight-year deal worth $50 million. No one has ever been paid that much to direct a quest for the Stanley Cup.
PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. – Shawn Bowles scored once and set up two more as the Portage Terriers downed the Carleton Place Canadians 5-2 on Sunday to claim the RBC Cup.
Davis Ross, Brad Bowles, Grant Valiquette and Jordyn Boyd also scored for the Terriers, whose only loss at Canada’s men’s junior A hockey championship came against Carleton Place in round-robin action.
Alex Robinson and Maxime St. Pierre supplied the scoring for the Canadians, who lost in the finals for the second year in a row.
PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. – Jordan Boyd had a pair of goals and Zac Robidoux only had to make 12 saves as the Portage Terriers toppled the Melfort Mustangs 6-1 on Saturday to advance to the RBC Cup final.
Zack Waldvogel had a goal and an assist for the Terriers, who finished round-robin action as the top seed, while Brett Orr, Garick Gray and Taylor Friesen added a goal apiece.
David Heath found the back of the net for the No. 4 ranked Mustangs, who mustered up only six shots on net through the first two periods of play.
MONTREAL – Montreal Canadiens fans streamed out of the Bell Centre on Tuesday night, disappointed at their team’s exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs but satisfied at their performance over the season.
The Habs were eliminated in Game 6 of their second-round playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 4-1 loss.
While the game was played in Florida, it was broadcast on giant screens at the Bell Centre, where fans were hoping they would be able to see their heroes in person on Thursday in a winner-take-all Game 7.
The Stanley Cup playoffs, which had not involved Winnipeg since 1996, have now come and gone from River City. The Jets lost four in a row to the Anaheim Ducks. It was a disappointment for sure, but not entirely surprising.
It reminded me a little of the 1980 playoffs when a young Oilers team battled hard but couldn’t get by the powerful Philadelphia Flyers in the first round. It was the first playoff action for 19-year-old Wayne Gretzky, who is now a 54-year-old grandfather — is that possible?