CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Some Charlottetown sports fans and another much larger group of Prince Edward Island residents are hoping that Santa delivers the goods next week but the goods in this case are not what one would normally expect under the Christmas tree.
Most of us would be greatly satisfied for the gift of good health and perhaps you should be too. Let's take a closer look under the tree.
The Charlottetown sports fans I've talked with recently still think a new sports complex is possible, but I doubt that will happen as the City of Charlottetown doesn't have the money for a projected $80-100 million project, especially on its own. The city had a modest surplus in 2017 but after a decade of negative fiscals, the cupboard is bare.
It may be possible, as part of a Canada Games venture, or with the province, but I don't see that happening. The province is already committed to a new school in Stratford, a big mental health upgrade and the completion of the North River-Cornwall roundabout and the last time I saw Finance Minister Heath MacDonald at the gym, he didn't look much like Santa Claus.
A new sports facility is a longshot at this stage of the game.
A much, much larger group, and that's all Islanders, is more concerned with protecting our little Island from the ravages of climate change brought on by industrial greenhouse emissions and this ought to be on the very top of Santa's 2018 wish list for P.E.I. Unfortunately, it's a dream that is highly unlikely to happen.
According to the 2016 Paris Accord, Canada is responsible for 1.6 per cent of global emissions and scientists now tell us targets set in Paris cannot possibly be reached. The three largest polluters China, Russia and the United States are not participating in any such reductions and right now are responsible for more than 50 per cent of the fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions and expanding, which tells me the good guys cannot possibly win this battle.
Protecting our P.E.I. coastline and wishing for good health for all are at the top of my wish list for Santa, I just hope he delivers.
The Island Storm lost two tough games to a powerhouse St John's Edge club last weekend in Newfoundland and the road trip continues this weekend with a long trip to Sudbury, Ont., Friday night and Sunday afternoon in Windsor, Ont.
The Storm is here at Eastlink Centre on Boxing Day for a 2 p.m. tipoff with the Saint John Riptide. It's a chance for fans to see Sampson Carter and Russell Byrd in action as these two are among the top scorers in the entire National Basketball League of Canada.
The release of guard Jarrell Tate was a surprise but let's hope newcomer Kareem Canty can provide some much-needed secondary scoring.
There is no live harness racing today at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park as next live harness racing goes Boxing Day with a 15-dash card.
Three-year-old colt standout Sock It Away returns to action in the $2,400 top class and he looks like the best with catch-driver Corey MacPherson, who gets the assignment as Marc Campbell has his own Eagle Jolt in the same class.
Young Drew Neill, who has been hot of late, has Collective Wisdom from Post 4 in the $2,350 open mares against a good field that includes Prettyndangerous, Drivinthedragon, Dustylanemissmolly, Malabrigo and Outrageous Spirit.
At Flamboro Sunday night, Ryan Desroche won again with Bravado Seelster in 1:57 returning $22.50 on the nose. Also, at Flamboro last week, Sodwana Bay, co-owned by Wayne MacRae and Blaine MacPherson, handled the $10,500 top class again in 1:57:4.
Jason Ryan handles Rose Run Quest tonight in the $11,500 feature at Western Fair.
Simulcasting available tonight from Mohawk with interest in the Race 6 Foiled Again Farewell Pace. Also tonight, The Rev goes in Race 7. There's also simulcast from The Meadowlands but not Yonkers, which is dark until the first week in January.
We are still in Ontario as Anthony MacDonald and wife Amy are waiting for their new baby, a brother or sister for Ava and Ollie. On the fractional ownership front, it's great to see lots of interest in Alby Curran and his group, which have attracted more owners to the harness racing game. Natascha and Marc Campbell also have a fractional group and it is proving successful with new owners in the game.
Fred MacDonald's column appears every Saturday in The Guardian. He can be reached at email@example.com.
The NFL heads into Week 16 and after going 3-for-4 last week (the lone mix-up Pittsburgh beating New England), we'll try again in picking the winners for you.
Baltimore Ravens (8-6) at Los Angeles Chargers (11-3) – The Ravens have won four of their last five and young QB LaMar Jackson looks like the real deal. The Ravens have the defence to shutdown Phil Rivers and the Chargers, Ravens win a tight one.
Kansas City Chiefs (11-3) at Seattle Seahawks (8-6) – The Seahawks need just one win to clinch a playoff spot. They are tough at home, have a top QB in Russell Wilson and can upset the Chiefs in Seattle. I see an upset here too.
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1) at New Orleans Saints (12-2) – The Steelers came up with one of their best games of the season in upsetting New England last week. Now the Steelers go on the road against an all-around top team, maybe the best in the NFL, with a great QB in Drew Brees. The Saints are rock solid defensively and are at home, where a win means they do not have to play outdoors again this season. I love the Saints.
New York Giants (5-9) at Indianapolis Colts (8-6) – The Colts and QB Andrew Luck looked terrific in blanking Dallas 23-0 while the Giants played awful in a 17-0 loss to Tennessee. The Colts can make the playoffs by winning their last two and getting help. They are red hot right now and deserve to be nine-point favourites.