Storm has big day planned for Monday

Joe MacIntyre
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For Islander Day game against Saint John

The Summerside Storm has a big day planned for Islander Day on Monday.

The Storm will play an important game at Eastlink Arena against the Saint John Mill Rats at 2 p.m.  

The standings are especially tight in the Atlantic Division of the National Basketball League of Canada as only three wins separate all four teams. With the playoffs just around the corner, Monday's matinee is a very important game for both teams.

Off the court, it promises to be a fun day and looks like a great way to spend at least part of Islander Day. The Storm has a special admission bracelet that allows a family of four to bowl, swim, skate and take in the basketball game – all for a very reasonable $30.

The Storm organization will also be trying to set a world record on Monday for having the largest Pilates class. They need 863 participants to set the record, and the record-setting attempt will take place at noon time.

Well-renowned instructor Stephanie Knickle-Currie will lead the class, and the Storm hopes to make the Guinness World Record. It sounds like a lot of fun, and a great basketball game at Eastlink on Monday.  

Gordie Dwyer

Last week, I talked about what a great job Gordie Dwyer is doing coaching the P.E.I. Rocket. Prior to coaching, the 35-year-old Dalhousie, N.B., native played 108 NHL games.

He was actually drafted by two NHL teams. The St. Louis Blues took Dwyer with the 67th overall pick in 1996. He never played in St. Louis, went back into the draft and was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens, 152nd overall, in 1998.

It is rare that a player is drafted twice and, in fact, since 1999 only 37 players have gone through the draft twice. Consider that over 3,000 players have been drafted in that time frame, it is a rare to be drafted more than once.

Dwyer played 108 career NHL games with stops in Tampa Bay, New York with the Rangers and Montreal. He never scored an NHL goal, but did have five assists.

Matt Cooke

Matt Cooke is known as one of the dirtiest players in hockey. His latest incident the other night against Eric Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators is just another in a list of incidents this guy has been involved in.

He has had at least four suspensions for dirty play, and that is not to mention the hit that he put on the Bruins’ Mark Savard that pretty well ended the career of a pretty good hockey player.

The NHL did not suspend Cooke for this latest incident, where he rode Karlsson into the boards, got his skate up and cut Karlsson’s Achilles tendon, putting the NHL's best defenceman on the shelf for the rest of the season.

Some would say there was nothing wrong with the play, but how many times have you seen the same type of play where the second player going for the puck has one leg in the air like Cooke did to get the extra leverage on the hit? 

Not very often do you see a player rode into the boards the way that Cooke did on Karlsson. This is a big blow for Ottawa, and fans miss out on seeing one of its premier players in hockey for the rest of this season, and maybe longer as these type of injuries are severe and take a long time to heal properly.

It was certainly a borderline play that should have been dealt with by the NHL. Cooke has a history of being a dirty player, and this latest incident only adds to a list of incidents this guy has been involved in.

One can only wonder when Cooke may be on the receiving end for a change.

Most hated player

Sports Illustrated has released the list for the most hated players in the NHL.

Montreal's P.K. Subban tops the list, followed by Vancouver's Maxime Lapierre  and Boston's Brad Marchand to round out the three most hated NHL players.

Subban is a bit of a surprise, but I think that may come from all the hot-dogging he has done in the past, and he has gotten under the skin of many with his past antics.

Lapierre and Marchand are fully deserving of the honour.

Spring training

Spring training for Major League Baseball is underway as teams and fans head to the warmer climates to get ready for another season of baseball. It is big business for these places that host teams, and it is certainly well worth their while to do so.

Lakeland, Fla., is a city about halfway between Tampa and Orlando with a population of about 97,000 people. The city has played host to the Detroit Tigers since 1934, which is the longest-running relationship by a city and a team in the majors.

Estimates have it that the Tigers generate over $45 million to the local economy from now until spring training ends at the end of March. The Tigers are so important to Lakeland that the city is about to spend $50 million to upgrade the facility, with a completion date of spring of 2016.

Skyrocketing salaries

The Seattle Mariners signed ace pitcher Felix Hernandez to a seven-year $175-million contract this past week. It is interesting to note that in February 1987, Jack Morris was one of baseball's top pitchers and he was awarded an arbitration settlement of $1.85 million with the Tigers. The Tigers had offered $1.35 million.

At the time, the 31-year-old Morris had the most wins in the 1980s, and was coming off 21-8 season for the Tigers. Twenty-five years later, the $1.85 million would not be even close to paying the taxes on the $25 million annual salary of Hernandez.  

Flashback

Twenty-five years ago today on Feb. 16, 1987, the Summerside Western Capitals and the Summerside Recreation Department held Coke Grady Day during the Island Junior Hockey League game between the Caps and the Eastern Sports Center Huskies.

Coke and his wife, Valerie, dropped the puck to start the game.

The occasion marked Grady’s retirement as a referee from competitive hockey. Many of Grady's former teammates and friends attended the reception, which was held in the Nostalgia Room at Cahill Stadium prior to the game.

Have a great week!

Joe MacIntyre is a Summerside resident. His column appears every Saturday. Comments and suggestions can be sent to j-mac@eastlink.ca.

Organizations: NHL, National Basketball League of Canada, Detroit Tigers Storm organization Guinness World Record St. Louis Blues Montreal Canadiens Ottawa Senators Major League Baseball Seattle Mariners Summerside Western Capitals Summerside Recreation Department Island Junior Hockey League Eastern Sports Center Huskies

Geographic location: Saint John, Tampa, Montreal St. Louis New York Ottawa Vancouver Boston Lakeland, Fla. Orlando Lakeland Cahill Stadium Summerside

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