Ice Chips & Canoe Quips


George Armstrong was the consummate Leaf

George Armstrong passed away over the weekend at the age of 90. Armstrong was one of the best Maple Leaf players ever to play the game and paved the way for younger Indigenous players to believe that they could also make it to the big leagues. 

A Hall of Famer, George held many Leafs records and hoisted the Stanley Cup four times! In fact, he scored the last goal of the Stanley Cup winning game when the Leafs upset the Montreal Canadiens in 1967, the last cup they ever won. 

Lockdown lowdown on fitness

I sometimes, thankfully, get submissions from people who are on the pulse of sports and fitness around the Island. Last week, I received a missive from one of Mindemoya’s most eager fathers to find activities for his sporty family and the community as well, Michael Bridgeman. He reports that when the stay-at-home order came down from Queen’s Park a couple of weeks ago, the realization that all arenas would remain shuttered descended upon the Island’s hockey playing populace. With no organized games or practices in the foreseeable future, it’s back to the roots of the game for the passionate, to the available makeshift and formal outdoor rinks (ODRs) for individual skaters and familial groups.  

Passing, stick-handling and skating practice is abundant, with the sweat equity to keep the ODRs cleared of snow and ice chips the only cost, and no time limits but available light. You just require the initiative to clear a spot. So a shout out of thanks to Devin Young and Nat Williams, who cleared a sizable patch of Lake Mindemoya that has been put to good use by locals since before Christmas.  

Thanks as well to the town of Assiginack’s Fire Department, who has been flooding their ODR, and to the crew at AOK as well for their more formal (they have boards!) ODR. Is there anything more Canadian than a skate on a frozen pond on a clear, cold, sunny day? Stay safe out there.

Hypothermic Half route of the week!

Next week (specifically February 1) marks the start of the Running Room’s annual Hypothermic Half and 10K. Of course, it has to be virtual, but also means that you don’t have to get up at an ungodly hour and get oneself to Sudbury. In fact, you can run from anywhere you are, from the 1st through to 28th! Their virtual run can be run or walked from any location you choose. You get to run your own race, at your own pace, and at your own time. 

There are no restrictions and your souvenir can be picked up at a Running Room location of your choice (for free) or directly shipped to you for a fee of $15. All participants will receive a limited edition Hypothermic Half marathon souvenir product (details coming soon) and a finisher medal. This is a capped event. Registration will stay open only as long as souvenir products are available.

The Hypothermic Half Marathon and 10K package pickup is tentatively scheduled for early/mid-February and direct-to-home shipments can be expected to arrive in February/March. More details will be released on this closer to the event date.

In last week’s column I described a looped route starting and finishing in Mindemoya. Runners often fall into one of two main divisions in my estimation: ‘loopers’ and ‘out-and-backers.’ Loopers would rather not retread their same path on a training run or race and tend to choose a cyclical course. They love the ever changing scenery and not having to pass that one dog twice, who hears you coming and hides to bark and chase you into clean shorts among other reasons. Out-and-backers have other advantages. They can more easily check their half-way splits if they are going for their PB (personal best). They can judge better when that big hill or sweet descent is coming up.

With that in mind here is this week’s route that would qualify as a 21.1-km half marathon, 10.55-km out-and-backer. In Wiiky, near Wasse Abin Junior School, there is the intersection of Sesame Street and Wikwemikong Way. From there, head east to Rabbit Island Road. Follow it north until the turn-off for King’s Bay Road and follow your tracks back to Sesame Street.

I use the handy website at that allows you to plot a course and it will follow your chosen road and tell you the distance. Of course my stated distances may need to be measured in your vehicle to see if they are accurate. They have been amazingly close in my experience. Do you have a favourite route you would like to share with those in your community? If so, send me the details to the email address below.

A good sport is good for sports.