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Women in Sports, Gretzky’s Coaching Invite and Future GM Luongo?

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Your Thursday links, news and notes

2019 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

The Senators showed some true resilience as they answered back with an in impressive win against the New Jersey Devils after being crushed by the New York Islanders a few nights ago. The JG Pageau surge continues with a hat trick that further increases his trade value, should the Senators decide to part ways with him at the deadline. Now, let’s delve into this Thursday’s news and links the hockey world.

Women in Sports: a reality worth supporting

Nina Kolundzija is probably not a name many have heard of. She is a Serbian sports reporter who works for channel B92 (Serbian network) as well as acts as a delegate to the Global Sports Mentoring Program. GSMP is an initiative aimed to bring light to the importance of female athletes and female sports fans in today’s competitive field. The program is collaborating with the US Department of State, the University of Tennesse and ESPNW to focus on gender equality in sports as well as empowering people with disabilities in sports. Kolundzija recounts several occasions where female athletes in Serbia were advertised on their looks before any mention of their athletic accomplishments, including Olympic medals. Male athletes however were often referred to as “best athlete of his field” with absolutely no mention of their physical features. Nobody can argue that these references also happen with athletes in North America and almost anywhere in the world where female and male athletes reach successful milestones.

Personally, a quote that stood out to me the most was the following:

She’s still asked in her country if she really loves sports and watches the games. “Why wouldn’t I? It’s normal,” she said.

It is amazing how many times female fans get asked the question of “do you actually love watching sports or know anything about them?” or even “is this a phase you’re going through?”. The questions that doubt a female’s validity of being a sports fan come in so many shapes and forms but the message is the same, sports is a man’s forte. The truth is, it’s not anymore and programs like GSMP that bring awareness and praise to female leaders in sports are a step in the right direction to eliminate many gender stereotypes.

Coach Gretzky, One More time?

It has been 10 years since Wayne Gretzky coached a game in the NHL and the opinion on him as a coach is divided. His record as a coach over four seasons with the Arizona Coyotes was 143-161-24 with no playoff appearances but this time, his potential return was going to be on an international level. On Tuesday, Pierre Lebrun reported that Gretzky was officially asked by Sean Burke to coach Canada’s Spengler Cup team and the response was a “maybe”. It was confirmed today however that Gretzky turned down the opportunity as the timing (Christmas) was not suitable for him and his family. While it is understandable that he did not want to spend Christmas so far away from his family, it would have been fun to see the Great One be involved with Team Canada once again. While his record as a coach does not boast the greatest numbers, I think many would welcome the chance to see Gretzky in some capacity behind a Team Canada bench. Olympics 2022 maybe?

Roberto Luongo Hired as Advisor

Possibly one of the most liked goalies in the league on and off the ice, Roberto Luongo hung the skates up this summer. He retired with the Florida Panthers and has settled in Florida in his retirement days after spending 11 seasons with the franchise. It was announced last night that he took on the position of assistant to the GM with the Florida Panthers after being seen multiple times with the management team at Panthers games. Luongo will without a doubt bring a fresh outlook to the management team as he hasn’t been long removed from the game and can bring in a players’ perspective to the decisions being made. More so, Luongo’s passion for the game should not be wasted and it would be interesting if he ends up evolving into another Steve Yzerman type of GM.

Hockey Players and Financial Problems

Last week, it was reported that Evander Kane was sued by a Las Vegas casino for failing to pay his gambling credits. This week, it’s a different kind of a financial problem for former player Jason Garrison. The former Vancouver Canucks defenceman is suing RJ Financial Group, a Vancouver-based insurance and wealth management for giving him bad advice, overselling him risky investments causing him to lose money and using copies of Garrison’s signature to complete forms without his permission. The first two accusations seem like an unethical act of taking advantage of a client who obviously has no financial sense but if proven to be true, the signature forging may result in an extremely successful lawsuit for Garrison. Again, I feel like it should be mandatory for all NHL players to take a few financial courses in order to avoid being taken advantage of, not getting into trouble with gambling or mindless spending or even worse thinking they can manage their current and future savings on their own.