Ice Chips & Quips

COVID-19 rears its ugly head, again!

With the announcement of several active, positive COVID–19 cases based out of Mindemoya, that town’s Minor Hockey Association (MMHA) has released a notification this past Monday that practices and games for the Thunder have been cancelled until further notice. In a season that was already fraught with worry that the rink would even open plus all of Ontario Hockey Association’s return-to-play protocols and limitations, now this!

There are many of those among us who have an ‘it can’t happen here’ attitude and have likely let down their guard a bit. This move by the MMHA is a sensible decision where the safety of our youngsters are at risk. It is here and it is real. Teachers and students are being told they must stay at home for two weeks up to and including the Christmas break. 

The holidays are on everyone’s minds, not the least of which are the kids, but we all need to sacrifice a bit now to avoid a longer shutdown later. Sports must be part of that. What about those holiday shinny games on top of the friends and family gatherings. If we can all do our part we can all get back to our regular activities, sooner!

In just another of what will surely be repeated with other active pursuits, Dan Fletcher of Manitoulin School of Martial Arts has made the following announcement: “As most of you are aware of the rising number of COVID-19 cases on the Island, as a precaution we have decided to cancel karate classes for the next two weeks (December 9 and December 16). To be clear, there have been no reported cases in our karate classes. We shall continue monitoring the situation over the Christmas break, and should everything be safe, we can resume karate classes on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. Take care and we wish you all Happy Holidays.”

Santa Shuffle all this week!

Sudbury’s longstanding 5K Santa Shuffle and Elf Walk put on by the Running Room decided to be virtual a while back. A benefit to the virtual version of these race formats is that you can fit it around your schedule. Sleet and driving winds today? Go tomorrow! That is until Saturday when the 2020 Santa Shuffle ends. Visit the Running Room or the Sudbury Rocks Running Club’s event page.

There are all kinds of prizes and incentives to raise money to help people get into the season in an active, healthy and socially distanced fashion. Check it out!

From the desk of Dad!

A few weeks ago, I did a short piece on the improvement of a hockey player over the years. The young fellow I refer to today, of course, has a family of his own now. Many years ago he played on the Mindemoya Peewee “B” squad. There were enough players that year to have two teams. When we first saw him he didn’t look like a hockey player. He was short and didn’t look tough enough. He did have a big smile on his face, though. Maybe that threw us off. He just didn’t look the part. The kid seemed to avoid the puck for any length of time. 

Flash ahead about half a dozen years. I now coached the Manitoulin Midget Panthers in the very tough Nickel District League. The player of whom I speak had earned a spot on the first line in an extremely rough league. He had become one of the best “role” players that every championship requires.

He improved his puck-handling skills, but that wasn’t why he was on the first line. He played with the highly-skilled Aljoe twins (Trace and Trev). They possessed elite puck skills but had played together so long that they often didn’t remember that they forgot that they had a right winger. I tried everyone with them but not one worked out. The player we finally picked to play with the twins was tough as nails, afraid of no one. We worked him extra on body-checking skills. He was always a good skater but now he was lightning. 

His job was to be the ‘wrecking ball’ on the line. His role was to be the first one to the puck in the offensive zone. He was always to take the man and ignore the puck. The nearest Aljoe would follow to pick up the loose biscuit. He was still short but now solidly built. Being hit by him at full speed was not a pleasant experience. In my own statistics I told him that I would credit him with an assist every time the Aljoes would score with a loose puck created by the plyer, affectionately known to his teammates as “Ghandi.” Ladies and gentleman, his work ethic and positive attitude had made an important and effective hockey player out of Chris Dunn! Kudos, Chris.

A good sport is good for sports.