Remembering Wayne Gretzky, as his star was born

On Friday, November 24, 1978, at about 8 PM, the doorbell rang at our 82nd-Avenue house in Edmonton.

Wayne Gretzky

In 1980 with Lady Byng and Hart Trophies, Gretzky dominated the NHL from the first moment he stepped on the ice

I was closest to it, so I ran down the stairs and opened the door. Wayne Gretzky was standing on the porch.

“Hi, Steve. Can I talk to your parents?” he asked. “Sure, Wayne. Come in,” was my eloquent response.

“I have something important to tell them,” said Wayne. (more…)

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Mark Messier, the meanest ever, turns 50

On Tuesday, January 18, 2011, Mark Messier turns 50 years old.

Mark Messier

Mark Messier turns 50 this week. His playing career was a testimony to skill and toughness.

I can think of a lot of tough athletes I’ve ever seen strap ’em up. Pete Rose. Mike Singletary. Jack Lambert. Bob Probert. And probably 50 other guys I’m forgetting right now. But, without a doubt, Mark Messier is the out-and-out meanest hombre I have ever watched play professional sports. (more…)

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If Alomar goes into Hall, so should Pete Rose

Being a Toronto Blue Jays’ fan, I should be happy that Robbie Alomar has been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Roberto Alomar

Roberto Alomar's athleticism at second base was second-to-none (Jonathan Daniel/ALLSPORT)

I am, but I have a problem with it. Alomar was, without a doubt, one of the best major league infielders of my lifetime. Second best I ever saw play in person. Ozzie Smith was the best. But I can’t get past Alomar’s spitting incident. Just can’t do it. (more…)

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What our Canadian juniors did Wednesday night at HSBC Arena in Buffalo was not pretty.

Russia

Russia celebrates their 2011 World Junior Championship after a stunning third-period comeback v. Canada

In fact, it was the polar opposite of pretty. A game and a finish like that can affect a player for a very long time. For the rest of their lives, when players from that Canada squad meet each other, that game will come up. Last night’s disaster reminds me of just one hockey game – and that one wasn’t very pleasant to watch either. (more…)

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Howie Meeker deserves Order of Canada

I am THRILLED that the first topic of 2011 here is that Howie Meeker, 87, is going to become a Member of the Order of Canada.

Howie Meeker

Howie Meeker (right), with HNIC host Dave Hodge loved teaching younger players the finer points of the NHL game

It’s the highest civilian honour our country offers. And no one deserves it more. Meeker is receiving the honour in the “Communications” category. Oh, he could communicate, all right. Mostly his ideas and concepts – right into your face on Hockey Night in Canada. Howie is someone I will never, ever forget working with. (more…)

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