Thanks Al, you’ve given me so many wonderful memories



Al Arbour, arguably the best coach in NHL history, has passed away.

As a kid who loved the Islanders – and still do – it’s depressing news.

When you think of the Isles and all of their success, you’ve got to think of Al Arbour above all other names.

The mannerly coach with a talent for shaping young players and getting the most out of them, has a modern record that will stand the test of time.

He took the Isles to the pinnacle of the hockey world – winning four consecutive Stanley Cups in the ’80s.

The dynastic team had Hall of Famers such as Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin, Clark Gillies, Bryan Trottier, Billy Smith, my favourite Chico Resch…. the list goes on.

But it was Arbour who led the team to 15 playoff appearances in what can only be called  a stellar career.

Arbour was suffering from dementia and Parkinson’s, so at 82, perhaps it’s time to let him go. But it’s hard.

As former Islander Ray Ferraro said in a Tweet: “Have so many thoughts on passing of Al Arbour. So sad, he impacted my career, life deeply. Rest peacefully Al.”

Thanks Al. You’ve given me so many wonderful memories.

My photos from Pan Am Games competition in Toronto

Damian Warner of London after Day 1 of the decathlon

Damian Warner of London after Day 1 of the decathlon

Damian Warner misses his high jump attempt. He clears 1.97, below his best of 2.07

Marquise Goodwin flies off the blocks.

Marquise Goodwin flies off the blocks.


Medal ceremony for women's 800 metres. Great to see Canadian flag on top. Lovely scene as the sun sets.

Medal ceremony for women’s 800 metres. Great to see Canadian flag on top. Lovely scene as the sun sets.

Damian Warner after the day's competition.

Damian Warner after the day’s competition.

Marquise Goodwin, left and Jeffery Henderson, celebrate silver and gold respectively in long jump.

Marquise Goodwin, left and Jeffery Henderson, celebrate silver and gold respectively in long jump.

Melissa Bishop celebrates her win in the 800 metres.

Melissa Bishop celebrates her win in the 800 metres.

Andre De Grasse after winning the 100 metres.

Andre De Grasse set for the 100 metres, which he won.

Jillian Camarena-Williams and her son clap along with the crowd after she won the silver medal in shot put.

Jillian Camarena-Williams and her son clap along with the crowd after she won the silver medal in shot put.

My mother and I outside Athletics Stadium.

My mother and I outside Athletics Stadium.

400 decathlon

Damian Warner of London, second from right, competes in the decathlon 400 metres, which he won.

Dealing with an unsympathetic officer on the hated HOV lanes

The Pan-Am Games start today and there has been much talk about the HOV lanes in the Toronto area.

While it is an attempt to get Games folks to their destination quicker, there have been numerous complaints about the lanes.

Unfortunately for my uncle, who is over 65, he needed to use a lane to get out of gridlock.

He was stuck in traffic recently and had to use the washroom. He said it was to the point where it was an emergency.

He exited using the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lane and was soon pulled over.

Although he explained to the officer that he needed to use the washroom quickly, he had to wait while a $110 ticket was issued.

Figuring it was easier to pay it, he only found out after payment, that he was also slapped with three demerit points.

Now, since he is over 65, the loss of those points, means he also loses his AZ class driver’s licence.

His lawyer told him there was nothing he can do about it except go through all the testing again in the next month, including an eye exam, written test and driving test.

How did an emergency situation turn into the loss of a driver’s licence? And why didn’t the police officer tell him he would also be issued demerit points.

An MTO staff member told him that there are problems with the HOV lanes for those facing emergencies.

My uncle also wonders why only seniors lose their AZ licences with demerit points. He spends a lot of times of the road. His record is clean. Discrimination?

Do you know anyone who is run into problems on the HOV lanes?

Thinking about our freedom

canada day 2015


Happy Canada Day to all.

We spent our day at the Stratford Festival, enjoying the Sound of Music.

The singing is beautiful. There are many moving moments of music in the production. Mother Abbess, Anita Krause, has a voice of both power and sweetness.

I particularly enjoyed Edelweiss, sung by Ben Carlson as Captain von Trapp, as the family is facing the loss of their father because the Nazis are demanding he join their navy. As he sings “Bless my homeland forever,” I thought about Canada and the many freedoms and blessings we enjoy here.

What is the most important privilege we have as Canadians?




Latest book out in Castle Lake series by local author

Woodstock writer Tom Ryerson has completed a new book.

It’s called Castle Lake Grave Reckoning and is the third book in his Castle Lake series.

Here is a description of the book:

In the first volume of Castle Lake, sixteen year old Alicia Murdock fought and conquered the evil spirit of William Fick with the help of her family, and narrowly survived.

In this brand new volume however, the odds are stacked wickedly against her. The spirit of William’s daughter, Lorra Anne is out for pure vengeance, and Alicia is fighting for her life at the Girl’s Academy of Learning in Landmark. It’s just her, her wits, and the help of a new friend pitted against the dark forces of black magic. Will seventeen year old Alicia Murdock live past October 28th 1889?

I have interviewed Ryerson in the past and he always keeps me informed of what he’s up to.

Ryerson will be doing a reading on Sunday, May 3 in Port Dover at the Authors’ Book Fair there.

His scheduled time is 1 p.m.

If you’re out for a drive on Sunday – it’s supposed to be a beautiful day – stop in to Port Dover and see Tom.

The fair is at Lakewood Elementary School, which is in the same building as the Norfolk County Public Library, 713 St. George St.

Here’s more information about the book fair:

Forever an Islanders fan


Still feeling down about the New York Islanders loss on Monday to the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series.

It was a game that could have gone either way.

What is remarkable to me is just how much players believed they were going to win the Stanley Cup. Some were in downright shock about the loss after the game when doing interviews with the media. They thought they were not only going to win Game 7 but go on to win the Cup. I like that winning attitude.

What made the loss more discomforting was that the Isles played their final game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island.

Opened in 1972, it was the only home of the Islanders who were the last dynastic team in the NHL. While the Oilers won 4 Cups in 5 years, they only managed two Cup wins in a row, while the Isles had four consecutive.

The arena was built on Mitchel Field, which was a former Army/Air Force base. It was dedicated to those who lost their lives in service to their country.

The players made this a special year, exceeding all expectations.

Last Saturday afternoon, they played their final game at the Coliseum.

Although my son had a hockey awards event and party, I opted to stay home and watch the game. While it was a hard decision, it was one I’m glad I made.

It was incredibly exciting to watch the game and I can’t imagine what it was like in the arena. Coach Jack Capuano was hoarse after the game because he had to yell at his players so they could hear him. That’s how loud it was in there all game long.

It turned out to be the final game at the venue and it was a victory. The players saluted the fans after the game and it was a highlight.

The game was intense, hard-hitting and skillful. One of the best games I’ve ever watched.

I’ve been an Islanders fans since I was a little girl. My father taught one of the Islanders, Wayne Merrick.

I loved their goalie, Chico Resch and had his hockey card when I was young.

As hard as it was for me to see the team lose Monday, it was even sadder to listen to the players as they cleared out their lockers for the last time at the venue, chock full of memories.

“It’s going to be tough to say good-bye to this rink,” says Isles defenceman Thomas Hickey, who remembers walking through the seats when he first arrived at the building and looking up to see the historic banners.

“I’ll never forget it,” defenceman Calvin de Haan says of the building and the fans this final season. “It’s kind of depressing. It’s a second home. We spent a lot of time in this building. You learn to love it. It’s not the most glamorous building, but it’s home.”

Here’s more from forward Cal Clutterbuck as he talks about scoring the final goal in the arena and what the building, fans and atmosphere meant to the team:

On a happy note today, John Tavares has been named a Hart Trophy finalist as most valuable player.

Sentence handed down in stabbing death

adelaide street

Almost three years after 19-year-old Londoner Jared McKnight was stabbed to death, the man responsible was handed his sentence.

It was not the sentence McKnight’s family had hoped for.

While the Crown was asking for nine years, Perry Eggett Jr., 25, received an eight-year sentence. For time already served, he’ll be eligible for release in three years and seven months. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to manslaughter.

In her ruling, Justice Helen Rady told the court Tuesday Jared’s death was, “An utterly senseless death that shouldn’t have happened.”

Eggett stabbed McKnight in the chest on May 12, 2012 – after he mistook him for his younger brother Jordan McKnight.

On Monday, Eggett told the court that he regretted what he had done saying, “I wish it never happened and I could take it back.”

Jared’s mother, Lori Scott, who has left comments on this blog, said, “I just want to see [Eggett] never see the light of day, the same way my son is. That’s basically what I would want to see as a mother, but it won’t happen.”

I came upon the scene shortly after the stabbing on Adelaide Street near Hamilton Road.

I talked to people on site and broke the news that Eggett had been the perpetrator.

Here’s one of my earlier stories.

I wish to offer condolences again to the family. After waiting so long for the case to wrap up, it seems the wait behind bars for the man who killed McKnight isn’t nearly long enough.

And CTV London’s coverage from Monday: