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The NHL had no choice but award bubble sites to Toronto and Edmonton based on the raging coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) south of our border, but you and I know – or should have known, the decision would come with consequences.
The Americans were upset the sites were both in Canada as many USA hockey fans expected Las Vegas to have the inside lock on one of the sites hosting the Stanley Cup playoffs. The NHL was forced to pass on Vegas but here comes some bad news and the political realities.
Sportsnet will only serve as the world feed for the games in Edmonton with NBC bringing its crew of 50 north of the border to do the games in Toronto. The two companies own the broadcasting rights for the NHL.
The recent decision leaves some Canadian hockey crews, like broadcasters, directors, cameramen and technicians, sitting on the sidelines.
I have no problems with the NHL teams travelling to Toronto and Edmonton under strict bubble conditions, but the situation with baseball's Toronto Blue Jays is a completely different matter.
The Jays are asking the federal government to play their home games in Toronto, with US teams travelling back and forth into Canada in the midst of the pandemic. There are no bubble cities in Major League Baseball, and that is a huge problem. The Jays travel to Tampa Bay to open the season on Friday and Florida is a hotspot for the coronavirus, so it’s no wonder the Jays would prefer to play their games at Rogers Centre.
The federal government, which has been plagued with the We scandal, would much prefer to shift the spotlight away to a more popular topic like sports, but that also presents political risk.
The problem is the public is in a very fragile state of mind right now and the safety issue tops all others. Here in P.E.I. for example, the mere mention of a new coronavirus case or two, and you can see and listen to the panic among Islanders.
The feds will say no to the Blue Jays’ request. The situation for baseball is chaotic. Imagine, the Jays still do not know if they can stay and play their games in Toronto. What a mess.
Young Tyler Hashmi, son of professor Yousef Hashmi and mother Julie, fired a blistering-round 65 Tuesday at Belvedere – the best round of the year at the city golf course.
Tyler attended Lenoir-Rhyne University in North Carolina on a full ride scholarship until being forced back home in March. He will be one of the favourites this weekend in the P.E.I. Amateur at Andersons Creek. The toughest competition will likely come from Tim Yorke, who is on his home turf, and the talented Stephen Anderson. Two weeks ago, Anderson carded seven birdies and an eagle as he and Brodie Ward finished one stroke behind Curtis Martell and Jeff Hughes, who posted 63-65 rounds, at the two-man, best-ball event at Avondale.
Hashmi and Anderson are red hot, certainly ranked among the favorites for the amateur, according to The Prophet.
Live harness racing goes tonight at 6 p.m. in Charlottetown. Ken Arsenault’s Lisburn heads the $2,900 Race 10 five-horse feature against Soccer Hanover, Creepin, Silverhill Buddy and J K Express.
The $3,000 Jimmy Ferguson memorial goes this afternoon at North Sydney, N.S., with a solid eight-horse local field.
I’ve always been a fan of Brodie MacPhee’s driving and it was great to see him win the Governor’s Plate with Bugsy Maguire for owner Walter Simmons, who has raced horses for over 80 years.
If you watched last Saturday’s $250,000 graduate final from the Meadowlands, you were treated to driver Mark MacDonald at his best, as he drove Hurricane Emperor to a sizzling 1:47 victory, the fastest mile in North America this year.
The race was won in the first turn as Mark decided not to follow Dancin Lou and driver Brian Sears, but to follow Black Hole (George Brennan), reasoning if Sears made front, he would not let anybody go. Lou torched Black Hole, the half in 52:2, and the rest is history. It was a new record for the John MacDermott-trained horse.
Dr Ian Moore’s Century Farroh left on the rail and was shuffled back to 10 at the half in a race where every horse was charted in 1:48 or better. Century Farroh was seventh beaten by three lengths; his mile 1:47:4 and did not earn a dollar.
Hurricane Emperor and Bettors Wish are not entered in the $460,000 William Haughton memorial tonight at the Big M but Century Farroh has Post 4, Dancin Lou has Post 6 while Mark MacDonald is aboard Aflame Hanover from Post 8.
The $7,500 Lindsay Construction Exhibition Cup invitational goes tonight at 7 p.m. at Truro Raceway in Nova Scotia as part of the three-year-old stake card. The big boys are there, including Rose Run Quest, Avatar J, Screen Test, Simple Kinda Man, Euchred, Time to Dance and from the rail Yankee Osborne.
Fred MacDonald's column appears every Saturday in The Guardian. He can be reached at [email protected].