Posts Tagged ‘ 2011 ’

Remembrance Day 2011

I always stand up for Don Cherry.  People who criticize him just don’t get him, and probably haven’t seen enough of him to understand the type of guy that he is.  Every once in a while Grapes gets himself into some trouble for his comments, usually made on Coach’s Corner.  Personally, I applaud Don for having the stones to be as honest as he is, and I also know that he is a classy and respectful person.

Anyone who’s watched Coach’s Corner around Remembrance Day knows that.  Every year, Don honours Remembrance Day and all of the fallen soldiers, specifically the Canadians.  One look at the way Don reacts when speaking about this stuff says a lot about the kind of guy he is.  Any time he talks about fallen soldiers his voice starts to crack, and he’s on the verge of tears.  Gotta love a guy who gets that emotional and shows as much respect for Remembrance Day as Don Cherry does.

Check out Grapes’ Remembrance Day tribute from this past Saturday here.

Last year, for my journalism Remembrance Day assignment, I went and visited my Grandpa at Poseidon Care Centre, where he lives now.  I talked with him for over an hour about his experience fighting in World War II, and was amazed at how collected and coherent he was in recounting his stories to me.

A few years ago he suffered a couple strokes, and I believe a heart attack as well, and has quite simply not been the same since.  He requires special care now, and his mind often plays tricks on him, causing him to think or believe things that are not true.

But he was sharp as a tack when it came to explaining to me his experience in the war.  He saw a lot of action, and was hit in the lower body by shrapnel from a mortar explosion in Falaise, France.  As he told me, one piece went in his “left ass cheek” (his words), and another piece went in one side of his left leg, just below his knee, and right out the other side.

He lost consciousness, somehow survived, and woke up safe at an ally camp, having been carried back by other soldiers.  He was sent back to England to be treated, and actually rejoined his troops later.  He fought through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany right up to the eventual surrender of Nazi Germany.

This is my Grandpa in Brussels, Belgium, before he was deployed:

I believe he was 19 at the time.

Today, he’s 88.  This is a photo of him taken last year, during my visit for my assignment:

He’s not sad in that photo, don’t worry.  Must be his new picture face, haha.

So buy a poppy, and respect your elders! You never know if you’re looking at someone who faced death so that you can enjoy the freedoms you have today.


Here’s the Thing About Journalism

Since I first began in CreComm over a year ago now, I’ve learned a hell of a lot about journalism along the way.  I’ve learned good things, I’ve learned bad things, and I’ve learned things that are just good to know.  But the fact remains: you can only learn so much about anything in a classroom.  I’ve long been a believer that school only gives you the tools you need to be competent in the real world, and that the majority of your actual learning will happen when you’re out of school and into a job.

This concept certainly held true last night.  I was working for the Winnipeg Free Press, on an election night intern opportunity, and this was something that I had done before, during the 2010 Civic Election.  Exact same job, two very different experiences.  Last night I was set up in Karen Velthuys’ (PC) headquarters in St. Norbert.  For those who followed the results of the election last night, St. Norbert ended up being one of, if not the, closest race of the entire election.

Working for the Free Press means my submission needs to be timely, and you’d better believe there’s a deadline.  It’s really not cool for me to single-handedly muddy the reputation of the city’s most prestigious newspaper.  So, in preparation of the night’s events, I wrote out a template for a PC victory, with blanks that I would fill in with a couple of things like quotes, and specific numbers.  I wrote one that I would submit to be published immediately on the WFP website (called a webbie) and another one that would be published in the paper the next day.

As the night progressed, Dave Gaudreau of the NDP pulled ahead.  Now I’m nervous.  An NDP victory would mean I’d have to hop in my car and drive over to his headquarters instead and get a quote from him.  Beginning to sweat, I pulled out my laptop and wrote another webbie for an NDP victory, as well as a paper copy version.  I’ve now got four different variations of stories that I’ve written for the night.  Want to take a guess at which ones I ended up using?

Correct!  None of them!

I was in frequent communication with WFP editor, Bartley Kives, and during one of our last phone conversations he told me he’d be sending another reporter to the NDP headquarters just to be safe.  By this time, the St. Norbert race was so close that a winner simply couldn’t be safely predicted.

In the end, the NDP ended up winning St. Norbert, and now there was already another reporter at his headquarters.  So I called up Mr. Kives, and asked what he’d have me do.  I tell him I have quotes from Karen Velthuys, and he asks me to just “send along a quote, and add a little bit of colour”.  Yes sir, Mr. Kives, sir.

So, Starbucks is closed by now, it’s around 11:00 p.m., but I drive over there anyways because I imagine they maybe leave their wi-fi on for me to mooch.  Wrong.

So, no template to use for this one, I write out my story on my iPhone.  Yes, my iPhone, I didn’t even have the convenience of a full-keyboard BlackBerry for this venture.  It was only about 174 words, but trust me, at the speed I was typing, my iPhone made those 174 words seem like 1,000.

What I learned last night, is exactly what I already knew.  School only teaches you so much.  Classmates; how many times have we been told to expect the unexpected in journalism?  To be prepared to change our plans on the fly?  It doesn’t matter.  You haven’t learned that until you’ve learned it.  Out there.

I also had a great time last night, which surprised me.  It was an odd feeling, to be panicking and stressing so hard, but as soon as I hit ‘send’ on my email to Bart Kives, I actually almost said out loud, “Huh… That was pretty fun.”  I actually surprised myself.

And so, I will leave you with this one tidbit of information regarding journalism that you can try to remember all you want, but (un?)forunately it is something you will simply need to learn on your own, as we all do.

Plan for the worst, and hope for the best.

(You can check out my WFP story here.  I now go by my middle name of “Staff” and married a beautiful young woman and took her last name of “Writer”.  Apparently lots of men are doing it nowadays.  Also, I am not responsible for the misspelling of Velthuys in the second graf.  Enjoy.)


Looking forward to spending tomorrow evening with the Winnipeg Free Press, covering some events of the election tomorrow night.

I’ll be stationed at PC candidate Karen Velthuys’ headquarters in St. Norbert.

Still not 100% sure what I’ll be doing, but I assume it will be a lot like what I did for last year’s Civic Election with the Free Press.  Though, I thought I heard something about shadowing an actual reporting from the WFP this year, I could be wrong.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter if you’re not already, at @JournoJT, as I’ll be tweeting about the night’s events, and pick up a copy of the Winnipeg Free Press on Wednesday to check out my contribution!


The Problem With The WWE.

The WWE, as most everybody knows, is the top dog in the Professional Wrestling universe. The WWE’s brand will be cemented in history well into the foreseeable future as the #1 Pro Wrestling company of all time. So how is it possible that the WWE is not the product that showcases the best wrestling?

Match of the Year?

You heard me correctly.  The other day I showed my mother the Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards match from Ring of Honor’s Best in the World 2011.  She posed a question that I think a lot of WWE fans would pose if they watched almost any ROH match: “Why don’t you see wrestling like this in the WWE??”

It’s a great question, with a simple answer: the WWE creates “Superstars”. The focus in the WWE is on creating entertaining TV in the same way that soap operas aim to create it.  There are simply not enough fans of the technique and skill involved in Pro Wrestling to put a company like Ring of Honor at the top of the heap, even if their wrestlers are putting on matches 100x better than anything you’ll see on WWE programming.

Is that to say that the WWE doesn’t have talented wrestlers? Absolutely not.  The WWE certainly has some of the most talented individuals in the game today.  The problem goes back to what I mentioned earlier; WWE’s top priority is turning these individuals into larger than life Superstars. Ask yourself why the entire world knows who Hulk Hogan is (even before Hogan Knows Best), and yet he was and is one of the least talented in-ring wrestlers ever.

Every wrestler that the everyday person knows about was created by the WWE.  The Rock, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart. In fact, most of those individuals are extremely talented, but it’s not their in-ring ability that they’re known for to most people.  “If ya smell what The Rock is cookin!”, middle fingers, crotch chopping… These are the types of things that non-wrestling fans latch on to, and it’s the type of thing that the WWE still tries to create, while the actual wrestling takes a backseat.

The other thing that the WWE really believes in is nobody out-performing their top stars.  So that means if you’re on a card with John Cena (and if you’re in the WWE, you almost always will be), you aren’t allowed to put on a better show than him.  And to be a wrestler like Bryan Danielson or Matt Sydal and have to tone your abilities down so much, must be an absolute nightmare. And for the actual wrestling fans, like myself, it is almost torturous to have seen what those two can do in Ring of Honor, and then watch their matches in the WWE.

The Briscoe Brothers

There’s been talk that the WWE currently has its eye on some Ring of Honor wrestlers, including Mark and Jay Briscoe, which is fantastic.  But if they bring guys like that over and plan to tone them down, then I will just shake my head.  It’s unfortunate that the only company that you can really make a name for yourself in is the one where you can’t display your full in-ring ability.

I sincerely hope that the WWE is open to changing this in the future. It’s possible to keep the showmanship aspect that makes WWE #1, and also allow your talent to go out there and blow people away.  Look no further than the face of the company, John Cena; loved by people who want to see a larger than life Superstar, and hated by those who want to see a good wrestling match.

Time to change it up, WWE.


A fan on the fence


Last night Money in the Bank rolled into Chicago, IL and what a night it was! I buy two Pay-Per-Views a year; Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. So, first of all, there’s a lot to be said for the fact that I even had the interest in buying this one.

All of the elements were there to make a colossal explosion, it was simply a matter of whether or not the WWE would pull it off, and I think they actually did it bigger than a lot of people expected.

Let’s start first with the Smackdown! Money in the Bank match. Couple of things to touch on here, the first being the Sin Cara injury angle. I honestly can’t see any reason for it other than Sin Cara being let go, or possibly being sent down to FCW to work on not botching every second move that he does. I found something suspicious in the way Booker specifically said, “Well, Sin Cara’s had an amazing run here… but I wonder if this could possibly be the end for him.” I can only assume we’ll find out for sure this Friday on Smackdown!

EDIT: Sin Cara has been suspended for 30 days for violating the WWE’s Wellness Policy. Mystery solved.

Hats off to Bryan Danielson. I was surprised but equally thrilled to see him pull that briefcase down, and the emotion that he showed after doing it just proves that it was the right thing to do. Danielson is 30 years old, and spent over 10 years on the independent circuit before making it to the WWE. Just off the top of my head, I don’t think there’s another Superstar currently on the roster who’s spent that long on the indies.

Danielson is in the business simply because he loves it, and there’s only small number left who that is true for. Winning the briefcase essentially guarantees him a World title run in the near future, and shows that the WWE has a lot of faith in his ability. Nice to see that payoff finally come for him, and I will eagerly await his first title run.

(I’ve got a copy of Wrestling Road Diaries currently on its way to me, and will be doing a full review of it on here hopefully in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for that!)

I don’t know whose idea it was to unmask Rey Mysterio while he was on top of a ladder, but it was a bad one. Next.

Alright, here we go; John Cena vs. CM Punk. An amazing storyline, an amazing match, an amazing crowd, or an amazing finish; nailing one of the four will usually put a smile on the people’s faces. But when you somehow manage to put all four together… something special happens, and it happened last night.

Punk’s dynamite promo a few weeks ago lit the fuse, and that, combined with a cluster of other elements, set the stage for a historic night. Punk’s contract was expiring, it was for the WWE Championship, Cena would be fired if he lost, and it was taking place in Punk’s hometown of Chicago. I’m not sure if the entire thing could have been planned any better.

The crowd was unreal. It was almost as good as ECW One Night Stand 2, as the crowd was overwhelmingly supportive of their hometown hero, CM Punk. Cena rarely gets the “You can’t wrestle!” chants anymore, unless he is in pretty hostile territory.

The match was an exceptional display of both men’s ability, and I was pleased with the way Cena performed. He pulled out quite a few new moves, and seemed to work pretty well with Punk. The match flowed great, and both men did a fantastic job of keeping the fans on the edge of their seats, right to the final bell.

The finish made sense. John “Superman” Cena, Mr. Hustle, Loyalty and Respect, not allowing Vince to pull off another “screwjob” because he’s got too much pride, and it immediately bites him in the ass, giving Punk the 1-2-3, and igniting the hometown crowd.

It was at this point that I expected the classic WWE cop-out to come. Yep, here’s Vince getting on the headset and calling for Alberto Del Rio to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase, and take the strap off Punk. Normally, this is where the WWE would go “gotcha!” and insult the fans’ intelligence, like they seem to really enjoy doing lately.


I can honestly say I did not expect the finish; Punk laying out Del Rio, and escaping into the crowd – his crowd – with the WWE Championship. Again, makes perfect sense. WWE storylines and character behaviour is not often well-thought out and realistic, but I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw out of Punk. He’d just won the title, of course his next move would be to haul ass out of there while he still could.

Many questions to be answered on Monday Night RAW tonight, the biggest of which is; is CM Punk truly finished in the WWE? Storylines and kayfabe completely aside, many people, including myself, are of the opinion that it would be truly unfortunate if Punk was really done in the WWE. As great as this angle was, to unleash a Superstar’s full potential a month before his contract expires doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Where normally I would feel like Punk “re-signing” with the WWE would be another typical WWE cop-out, this time I wouldn’t even care; more CM Punk!!

And also, didn’t CM Punk promise to re-design the title if he won it? Whether Punk is leaving or not, I think this could possibly be the end of Cena‘s spinner championship, and let me tell you; I am so okay with that.

And finally, to Chavo Guerrero; you need to shut the hell up. You spoke your mind once, great, but then when Cena actually delivered like you asked him to, you just went full “whiny bitch”, and took a completely cynical attitude toward the match. Chavo, you say Cena is lazy? Well damn, I guess he’s won 10 WWE Championships on lazy mode then, as opposed to your big fat zero and you say you give it everything you’ve got every single night. Maybe if you were as critical toward yourself as you are toward him, you’d still be in the WWE.

Welcome Back!

Photo courtesy of The Winnipeg Free Press

The photo says it all.  Our Winnipeg Jets have finally – finally! – returned home, as we always knew they would.

Friday, June 24 was the day, with thousands gathered at the MTS Centre for a NHL Entry Draft Party, where we watched with bated breath as Mark Chipman took the podium to announce not only our first draft pick, but the much-anticipated team name of our new NHL franchise.

The entire building was buzzing all night long leading up to his announcement, and it was truly awe-inspiring to hear the thousands of shhh!‘s turn into complete silence every single time Chipman opened his mouth.

I didn’t expect Chipman to call too much attention his announcement, even though for Winnipeggers it was a monumental one, and he certainly didn’t. While on TV I’m sure it seemed like just a passing mention of the “Winnipeg Jets” but at it’s first official mention, the MTS Centre completely uncorked. At probably a little over half its capacity, the cheers were deafening. I can only imagine the noise that will be made at our home opener.

It still seems a little bit surreal to think that not only do we have an NHL team again, but now they have a name as well, and a familiar one at that. All that’s left is to unveil the logo and sweaters, and from what I’ve heard the revamped desgined is pretty impressive.

It was an awesome experience to be a part of the huge announcement; it finally feels like we’re ready to go. I even managed to make it into a Winnipeg Free Press article that was published the next day, which you can take a look at here.

Below is a video I took from inside the MTS Centre, as Chipman took the stage and said our team’s name for the very first time. Insanity!! Mark your calendars!

October 9, 2011:
Winnipeg Jets vs. Montreal Canadiens

Tim Thomas Flattens Daniel Sedin

"S'cuse me, just gonna get this here, THANK you..."

"Where the next Sedin at!?"

Penalty. Plain and simple.

Kerry Fraser’s article on describes the basics of Rule #69, which is all about goaltender interference. Basically what he says is that people are up in arms because Tim Thomas basically said “You can’t hit me, but I can sure as hell hit you!” and that does seem slightly unfair and one-sided, but unfortunately that is the reality of Rule #69. It absolutely is one-sided protection of goaltenders, and is meant to be that way.

In that case; change the rule, because what Thomas did was ridiculous. A two-minute minor for Unsportsmanlike would have sufficed, and in all honesty he was probably expecting to be penalized. When you’re up 8-1 near the end of the third, you can take a few liberties, especially if it allows you to get inside the heads of your opponents. But Thomas was just spanking Daniel Sedin, and anybody could tell you that what he did was completely unnecessary, not to mention a bit of a cheap shot.

If there is a rule stating players can’t touch the goaltenders, it only makes sense to have it go both ways. There is never a situation where the goalie should play the body and not the puck, and if you watch the replay of the incident (below), Thomas actually did almost get scored on, because his eyes were on Sedin and not the puck, which just barely managed to stay out of the net after clipping Thomas’ skate.

But the series is far from over, and I think tonight Thomas is going to find out that if he wants to dish it out, he’d better be prepared to take it.