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Roenick Fired, Labour Talks and Hockey is For Everyone

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Thursday Links

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

It’s almost the weekend, and if you live in New Brunswick, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan and British Columbia you must be excited for the long weekend. Without any further delays, let’s get a tour of the latest and greatest of the hockey world for this week’s version of the Thursday links.

  • After making a series of inappropriate comments about his co-broadcasters Kathryn Tappen, Patrick Sharp and Anson Carter on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast; NBC decided to suspend Jerey Roenick indefinitely. It was announced yesterday however, that Roenick will no longer be coming back to NBC ending his tenure of almost 10 years on the broadcast. I can’t say I’m surprised by the firing as much as I was by the comments, even coming from a someone like Roenick. In pure JR fashion, he took a twitter to respond to the news with the following clip:
  • After a scare during the St Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks game on Tuesday night; there was a reassuring update regarding Jay Bouwmeester’s bench collapse. Bouwmeester seems to have suffered a cardiac episode during the game but was quickly attended to and is now undergoing a series of tests. While things seem to be looking positive; many will be anxiously awaiting more updates on his condition with hopefully good news coming soon.
  • The issue of the NHL going to the Olympics will remain to be a hot topic probably until an official announcement is made. There are valid points to both sides of the argument but one thing is clear: the players want to go, the owners don’t want them to. The league and its union have been in labour talks this week and will continue to do so next week. Talks have been positive regarding the major topics discussed but did not include talks about the option to reverse the NHL’s Olympic stance. It does seem the IIHF is doing whatever it can to sway the NHL in its favour by paying for the players’ expenses and allowing the NHL to use Olympics material to market its players. On the union side, Don Fehr is not pleased with the fact that this issue isn’t being tied to the recent labour talks and he seems ready to put up a good fight for his cause:

“I can’t figure out why anybody would not want to go and take advantage of this opportunity because it doesn’t come around every day, we think and have always thought that a matter like this should be addressed on its own merits, and it seems to us that the merits on this one are crystal clear.” - Don Fehr

  • Tonight will be a special game for the Ottawa Senators as they celebrate diversity within our community in the “Hockey is for Everyone” initiative. It is a known fact that sports teams have a strong impact on the community where they operate regardless of performance; so these small gestures continue to truly make a difference in people who truly need to feel like no matter who they are, they have a chance to make their dreams come true.
  • In a season where the record was broken for the number of coaches being fired, the Winnipeg Jets broke the norm by signing Paul Maurice to a 2-year extension. Personally, I was never a fan of him but he has been good for the Jets and good coaches have been hard to find lately.
  • It is no secret that the attendance in Ottawa has been struggling and it has been for a while. In good times, Ottawa’s attendance was under scrutiny if it hit anything below the 18,000 mark; this season we’ve seen regular attendance numbers of under 10,000 fans. The Senators management team is surely concerned and without a doubt feeling the impacts, and for a newcomer like CEO Jim Little, it’s no easy task to bring these numbers back up. TSN’s Ian Mendes had a sit down with the new CEO who is addressing concerns of the low ticket sales and more importantly the low season ticket holder numbers. He admits that the organization lost sight of its customer which is a fresh take from the team at this point.

“Frankly, over the last few years there have been some areas where – as every company goes through – you lose sight of the customer. My first and foremost job is to get the customer back.”- Jim Little

He seems to be tasked with the ugly job of reconnecting the fans and local businesses with the story that Eugene Melnyk is still passionate about this team and its success. Let’s hope this is not the only approach he is relying on because at this point, I don’t see any faith in Melnyk from the fans coming back.