Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

by mike in boston / @mikeinbostonemail

 

Good morning sports media fans. Using today’s post to clear out the queue. I’m working on some cool projects for the site in the upcoming weeks and months.

 

Traffic here is up pretty significantly over the last month or so. If you’re new, let me take this chance to welcome you to TSM and tell you a little bit about our approach. This is primarily a site for listeners and readers and viewers of sports media. Jonah and I are both fans and observers of the industry. Neither of us claims to have any expertise, other than having grown up devouring sports coverage and having lived in various other markets.

 

Second, Jonah and I are editorially independent. We collaborate on plenty of things, but at the end of the day my opinions are mine and his are his. He has his sources and I have mine. He’s not responsible for what I write and vice versa. We think that makes the site better.

 

Finally, speaking personally, I am motivated to write because I enjoy having interesting debates and encountering divergent opinions. Nothing I write here is about being right; everything should be taken as an invitation to disagree. So please contribute to the conversation below. The more opinions there are the better.

 

Sports Consumption Habits

 

I am working on a few things that relate to how/where/when people get their sports news. This provides a good opportunity to take the pulse of the readership.

 

My question is this: what is your daily routine when it comes to getting up to speed on the sports stories/topics of the day?

 

I want to know the places you go for sports news, not for live sports.I am not asking about how much radio you listen to, or which station you prefer to watch the games on. Just try to focus on your default tendencies when you wake up. Is it Twitter first, then the Star with your morning coffee? Or is it radio first, then TV with breakfast, then Twitter for the rest of the day? Or is your main source the apps you have on your phone while you take the TTC?

 

You can pick 2 in this poll but there’s no way to rank them, so only choose options that reflect regular daily usage. If that means only selecting one option, then just pick one.

 

Note: if you work for a sports network, radio station, newspaper, or digital outlet you are not permitted to view the results. Leave.

 

If you ignore this request, then I expect compensation for the market research I am providing. The rate is the industry standard, though I do accept in kind forms of payment, e.g Numeris reports on how Tim&Sid is doing year over year versus what used to be in the timeslot, or how ratings changed after Jay&Dan left for the US.

 

 

Please expand on your votes in the comments. I am very curious to hear the details of how sports news fits into your routine.

 

The FAN’s ever shuffling deck

 

Despite their dominance of Toronto sports radio over the last 20+ years, the FAN is addicted to change. We covered Blundell’s recent departure after 2 years in the prestigious AM slot. Dean is still very present in the market, and has been tweeting up a storm since being “reprogrammed” by the FAN.

 

 

(Aside: there’s something odd about claiming sports media needs to be drained while celebrating the heroic return of people who spent a decade on TSN. Dean also tweeted his love for Bob McCown.)

 

Shortly after the news that Brady & Price would be taking over mornings, the news leaked out that longtime Sportsnet utility man Ben Ennis was being called up to the majors for a full-time gig. Jonah was able to confirm that Ennis is going to be joining The Andrew Walker Show in the coming weeks.

 

Regular readers will know that cheering for Ben Ennis has been a staple of this space. I had hoped he would end up as the next host of JaysTalk, but this is good too. Ennis has dutifully taken every shift that needed filling. It’s good to see someone who put in the hard work being rewarded by management.

 

I am not convinced the Walker Show needed fixing. Also, if the network wanted to find a place for Ennis, he strikes me as a much better fit for the morning show. They clearly knew both that they wanted a spot for Ennis and that Dean was being let go so it is odd they didn’t put 2 and 2 together. When you combine these points with the fact that PD Dave Cadeau hired back the guy he fired just 12 months ago, the Ennis + Walker decision looks very unmotivated.

 

All of that said, Walker has established credibility in the market, having been a co-host on the FAN morning show and then being entrusted with his own show for a year.  Zany Ennis should give him plenty of opportunities to come across as the reasonable one. It’s worth noting that this will be Walker’s 4th role in 4 years. That’s a lot of change, but if you work for the market leader I guess you can’t complain.

 

My only request for the new show is that they use this as an opportunity to ditch some of the extraneous stuff and focus on good sports talk: fewer producer pop-ins, fewer random chats with Sportsnet personalities, pick your best themed segment and get rid of the rest. Essentially, be a generalist show for the younger sports fan. None of the other shows on the station are really aimed at that market.

 

I have no inside knowledge of what is taking place behind the scenes but the Winter 2017 line-up changes don’t strike me as as anyone’s carefully crafted plan for the future of the station. It looks a lot more like making things up as you go along. Or a case of too many cooks in the kitchen.

 

The Brash Brothers

 

I listened to about 6 segments of FAN590’s Starting Line-up with Brady & Price over the last week. Here are a few thoughts:

 

  • Brady’s former partners have either ceded the mic when challenged or sounded slightly unhinged in their replies. The new guy, by contrast, seems firmly committed to the Fairness Doctrine. This will yield a very different, and possibly entertaining, dynamic once they find their groove. Right now there is a lot of loud talking that feels an awful lot like jockeying.

 

  • They took calls during half the segments I heard. No thanks. I really don’t care what Joe Stuck in Traffic thinks about the Leafs.

 

  • Hugh sounds good on radio. Hopefully they figure out how to use him effectively beyond updates.

 

  • Forgot to mention this earlier: both guys have experience working in other markets. That’s a great thing. Too many Toronto media grew up Leafs and Jays fans, lived here their whole lives, and eventually were hired into media roles. Outside perspective is good.

 

Last thought: Cadeau filled three vacancies on this show, plus another one in the 1-4pm slot. Four radio jobs: zero women hired. The message from the FAN is clear to females who want to do unscripted sports talk. Don’t bother applying.

 

Westhead’s War

 

The CHL minimum wage lawsuit has the potential to fundamentally alter junior hockey in this country. Yet TSN’s Rick Westhead seems to be the only person who is investing significant time in this story. Given how few original sports stories there are out there, it is a little surprising that no other outlets are writing editorials or doing in-depth interviews on the subject. Sportsnet had a summary of the case back on February 9th and a report on Don Cherry’s comments on February 11th.

 

Don had this to say on the subject:

 

“Absolutely ridiculous as far as I’m concerned getting minimum wage. They should be happy with their scholarships, they should be happy learning their trade, absolutely it’s a money grab as far as I’m concerned.”

 

I want to come back to the issue of “learning their trade” in a second. On the topic of money grabs, Rick’s reporting has led to a few interesting exchanges on Twitter.

 

 

 

Here are some thoughts on this debate:

 

1) The character of CHL owners is irrelevant. I’m sure some of them are great. The claim before the court is that some owners would be ruined by paying minimum wage. That’s an empirical claim that requires substantiation.

 

2) I fully accept the hypothesis that the players are fairly compensated via tuition grants. This leads to the obvious question: if they can pay tuition for all the players then why can’t they pay wages instead? The difference is that a wage is a guaranteed operational cost whereas tuition liability only kicks in if the player goes to school.

 

The proof is always in the pudding and that’s what the lawsuit is about. More generally, this case is a dialogue with Canadians about how we think about minor league for profit hockey. It strikes me as disingenuous to call this vocational training given how few players will make a living playing hockey. However, let’s take that starting point for the sake of argument. Legislation has changed around unpaid internships precisely to protect people chasing career opportunities from being exploited by employers. In most industries if someone is working for you, you have to pay them. Canadian courts will need to decide if chasing the dream of being a pro athlete is significantly different.

 

As a Canadian citizen, I care more about the basic principle of compensated labour than I care about junior hockey. If the CHL is not sustainable without bypassing minimum wage laws, then so be it. If Canadians care enough about the potential loss of teams, there are other ways for communities to keep their teams from leaving (subsidies, taxes, levies, etc.).

 

Asking the group with the least power to front the cost of junior hockey is unfair.

 

Quick Hits

 

Vice Sports has been nominated for some of their original sports journalism. This piece by Patrick Hruby on the racial aspect of the NCAA’s business model is excellent.

 

Richard Deitsch hosted a roundtable featuring Muslim sports media members. This could not be more timely.

 

There is a veritable cornucopia of quality Jays writing coming out of Dunedin. Griffin and Lott are their usual paragons of professionalism. Davidi and Nicholson-Smith are an excellent one-two punch for Sportsnet. Steve Buffery has also been a great addition to the beat. As a relative newcomer his perspective is refreshing.

 

Low Hanging Fruit

 

  • Welcome to Toronto Mr. Price! Oops, we forgot to edit the photo so you actually appear in it on Tweetdeck.

 

 

 

  • Congrats on getting your own show Scott MacArthur. We’ll get around the updating our app eventually, because … Mail It In Friday!, am I right?

 

 

  • Back to newcomer Elliott Price. I don’t know how things work in Montreal but if you’re going to challenge your interlocutor by asking a question referring a statistic, you need to know the answer beforehand.

 

  • It’s a delight to hear Ben Nicholson-Smith getting airtime on the Jays broadcasts. The high water mark set by Ashby will be hard to match but spring training seems exactly the right time to give some more people a chance to develop.

 

  • Random blocks are my favourites:

 

 

  • To the best of my recollection I have never tweeted anywhere near Mr. Ward. How does he even know who I am, let alone bother to take the time to search me out and block me? According to my records, the last time I wrote about him was over a year ago. Thanks for reading Aaron!

 

  • In related matters, the transition from NHL player to network hockey expert is not always easy. Opinions need to be backed up with persuasive and cogent reasoning. Patrick O’Sullivan is learning that lesson. It’s not going well.

 

 

  • When does Mike Johnson (54k followers) get another major gig? It’s been a while since his mysterious dismissal from Sportsnet.

 

  • As part of their annual Trade Deadline victory lap TSN sent out a press release citing the number of “likes” Jay and Dan got on Instagram. Who exactly is that data point supposed to impress? Do advertisers care about this?

 

  • According to our last poll (you can still vote if you like) people prefer Jay&Dan to Tim&Sid by a factor of 3 to 1. Honest question for fans of either duo: do you care about their sports takes … at all, or is it all about who tells the best fart jokes?

 

  • Is there anything more entertaining than Arash Madani’s passive aggressive tweets at the CFL?

 

 

  • Kate Beirness is a home grown rock star and I’d be surprised if she sticks around very long to compete with Jay&Dan reruns. I’m not sure where her career ambitions lie, but she can probably write her own ticket at this point. TSN may need to start thinking about what they could offer to convince her to stay.

 

  • 33 34 days and counting since Cathal Kelly’s last sports article for the Globe. Friday’s sports section featured 8 stories, one of which was original writing.

 

 

 


 

thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 81
  • comment-avatar
    Pat 9 months

    No love lost between Westhead and some CHL fans. A “hockey nobody” who is soaking it up…
    Making friends like he does in the NHL. How many sources will he lose over this?

    https://twitter.com/mattroberts2010/status/837843862366347265

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    Marco 9 months

    Pathetic that no one else is reporting on the CHL case. Its obvious the chl has put the muzzle on RSN due to their broadcast contract. Everyone else is too chicken to write anything about it. Kudos to Westhead. The tweet on the $125k bmw lease was priceless. The chl is a for profit league and is pulling out all the stops to quell this lawsuit. I call BS on the chl. I hope the players win and form a union. They deserve to be represented and protected.

  • comment-avatar
    Marco 9 months

    Pat what do you mean by lose his sources. He’s merely reporting on the chl teams financial statements that were ordered released the COURTS. At least he has the balls to do it not like the other chickenshit reporters.

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    Trevor 9 months

    Great article as always, Mike! As a recent cord cutter I wake up and get my sports updates from The Score app first for box scores and stats and then head over to Twitter. I have all my favourite sports media personalities and writers followed, so I usually scroll through my feed to find the articles that interest me the most. Then once I have the kids into the car and off to school, it’s radio time for more sports for me. The rest of the day is all Twitter.

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    PW13 9 months

    Kate should be offered No. 2 play by play on the CFL, replacing Rod Black. I’m confident she could do a bang-up job, TSN would get good publicity for having a woman in the booth and best of all Rod would be off CFL pbp.

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    Drumanchor 9 months

    @Pat

    Making Trump-like comments on Westhead’s accurate reporting is not going to win you any friends on this site. I would suggest you keep your trolling elsewhere.

    Now, Jay and Dan vs Tim and Sid…it’s all about the Jr. High School humour. Fart jokes cease being funny for many, but I suspect if you are a programmer and desperate for the 18-34 age bracket, then flatulence for all!

    Kate Beirness a “rock star”? I understand that she has a great deal of Twitter followers, but, with all due respect, I don’t get it. Can someone shine some light on how she stands out over others?

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    Pat isn’t trolling. He is quoting from the tweets responding to Westhead. The links to the tweets didn’t show up correctly initially. Carry on.

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    yaz 9 months

    I found it difficult to discern between Price and Burrill, they should say who they are more often or Brady should address them more frequently. Aside from that, why exactly are there three people? Feels crowded. Price seemed a little puposefully over-amped but that’s understandable. Though a couple of times Brady was speechless for a few seconds after Price barked something. Never heard Brady speechless before. It’s like he was saying to himself ‘And I thought Jim Lang was trouble…’ Generally there seemed to be some chemistry. I’d call it an okay first week.

    Word to the wise: if you’re trying to gain momentum for a new show, having JD Bunkis on as a ‘guest’ is not the way to do it. Mar. 2 – 7 am ‘Brady and Price are joined by JD Bunkis to recap last night’s Raptors loss.’ Egad. Also, JD sounds too much like JD Harmeyer on the Howard Stern show.

    But someone here must know why Walker didn’t come back. It HAD to be considered. Sorry for my all-caps tantrum but why wouldn’t it be? They celebrated historic ratings for the early time slot a little before they gave the slot to Blundell. Either they figure it’s better for continuity in the 1-4 slot ( logic I wish TSN would follow 9-4 ) where Walker is performing admirably or Walker turned it down to continue building up his own brand. Why reinvent the wheel when Brady and Walker are already a proven commodity?

    I imagine Walker’s contract is up soon. Perhaps he goes to TSN in the same slot where Landsberg and Naylor are fumbling. Walker is a radio guy. Naylor and Landsberg are not. But I don’t think TSN thinks of 1050 as a radio station but that’s a topic for another day.

    On another note, is there any worse Twitter handle than the clumsy @sn590gbrady ??? I believe he used @gbradyradio during his ‘sabbatical’. They let the easy-off-the-tongue @bradyfan590 go when Brady left the 1-4 slot then the fast moving Irka Gushtyn scooped it up. She Tweets in Russian along with landscape and animal pictures and girls in bikinis swimming underwater. You’d think the Fan would protect their brand. Friendly Irka very easily could be endlessly Tweeting #ThongThursday pictures (or much horribly worse) under Mr. Brady’s former handle with Fan 590 in every Tweet. Hopefully Irka surfs this page and can explain her logic and how she used it to gain 14,900 followers. Just like Bobcat, Irka follows no one.

    An emotional Wheeler opened up on air about his health issues. Prayers are with him.

  • comment-avatar
    Mario 9 months

    Great article as usual MIB. I personally go to the radio first thing in the morning before work, then read the sun print. Following it of updates through out the day.
    First impressions of the new morning show is pretty positive , with time to fine tune and getting comfortable with one another.

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    James 9 months

    As someone I feel was in the majority of sports radio listeners who begged and pleaded for Blundell to go, this week was a pleasure to literally return to The Fan before 9am. It had been forever, and I’ve been a listener from the Derringer and Marsden days as a teenager.

    I like the mix, maybe keeping the same producer has that warm feel to it. But, yes, Price is a work in progress, and why wouldn’t he be? I don’t know if radios in Montreal are naturally tuned quieter (yes, I know they aren’t) but he shouts. Brady gets animated, yes, but there’s a pace and emotion to it. Price is a shouter. It needs to be addressed, no question. That said, they both have lots to say and the show is going to be one I’ll give tons of time too. Two radio guys, no ex-athletes, no hockey players talking basketball, or the other way around, but Price has to find a way to calm down. Or was there a concerted effort to make Brady seem like the quieter guy after he wasn’t with his last two partners? It’s one week, so I guess we’ll find out as the show goes along. Again, all this is nit-picking given the disastrous radio show they replaced.

    Or is there something about starting the segments that makes someone louder? Why is McCown a legend? Lots of reasons can be considered, but he talks, and he converses. There’s a huge difference between a conversation on the radio, and me as a listener thinking you’re announcing a penalty in the NFL or on the loudspeaker at the Indy 500. But the knowledge is great, and there’s no Dean or sidekicks, so I’m staying.

    Good questions by a commenter above about Walker. I’m not sure and none of us can know what they considered and what they didn’t. But if they have the budget to use two people at 1pm, they always should. We all can recall how dreadful either Tim or Sid (yes, especially Sid) were when they’d host solo. It’s not that easy to do and given Sid’s tongue-in-cheek tv commercials basically are telling the viewers he’s faking his sports knowledge, now we know why.

  • comment-avatar

    After a week of Price and Brady, I think I know why they chose Price to team up with Brady.

    Much more dominating voice on air as he has the stereotypical “sports announcer” tone, very loud, makes even Brady pause when he tries to start up one of his rants.

    So far little exposure to Hugh, I listen 8-9am typically and it seems there’s little left for him to say by then.

    As to Jay & Dan “coming home” … cricket cricket

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    northyorkcanuck 9 months

    Based on my understanding of co-ops versus internships that can be unpaid, I get the sense CHL players would qualify for the former. They are filling a role the organization needs to be filled and “duties” it needs handled. They are required to commit rigid segments of their schedule to the position. The benefit of the “employment” is not mostly theirs (unless perhaps it were the case that most players are legitimately planning careers as NHL players). Minor-league hockey teams do a lot of good in their communities, but they exist as businesses first and foremost. How the scholarships factor in here from a legal perspective, I don’t know.

    Aaron Ward blocked me also, for favouriting a tweet that subtweeted him.

    I’d be interested to know what TSN thinks of Patrick O’Sullivan’s behaviour on Twitter. Often very unprofessional, bad look.

    The return of Jay and Dan seems to put Tim and Sid in an awkward spot. Jay and Dan are the inventors of what Tim and Sid have unsuccessfully tried to recreate. I don’t know in what capacity they’re returning to TSN (probably as highlight anchors), but if they were to go up against Tim and Sid doing the same style of show, I have no doubt who’s winning that matchup.

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    yaz 9 months

    To add to the welcome to Toronto Elliott Price – Starting Lineup’s Podcast description for the Mar 3, 6 am show ‘Greg Brady, David Price and Hugh Burrill recap last night’s Leafs loss.’ I guess that elbow injury allows David Price to sit in for a segment about the Leafs.

  • comment-avatar
    Jeffrey 9 months

    Mike Johnson is doing great work with Steve Kouleas on SXM.

    I don’t understand the need to bring back the despicable Aaron Ward to TSN trade deadline coverage and I am hoping that’s the last we see of him.

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    Robinaurora 9 months

    To all the people wimpering about giving get women a chance on sports radio, etc. They deserve an equal chance but when they get the chance, they have to do a good job and be able attract and retain listeners.

    Andi Petrillo is in way over her head on leafs lunch and she’s effectivley ruined her shot at developing a role on TSN radio. Maybe she doesn’t care because rado is a “step down” from TV. Who knows? Maybe she’s jus nto sunited as a host….I refuse to listen to 590 because their content is worse (TSN always has far superior hockey insiders). But leafs lunch is approaching unlistenable for me.

    As far as Kate Bierness goes, I doubt the network will fold if she leaves. Some people like her, i find that she’s weak on her general sports knowledge, doesnt have much of a personlity and she comes across as having a high opinion of herself. They don’t use her for much on the network except the loop. They gave her a shot on radio and the ncaa tournament years ago, but that didn’t last. She does neother of tham now. TSN has lots of women on staff as good or better than her. They’re just reading a script, its not that big a deal.

    I’m finding this site to be very Sportsnet centric. There is the odd mention of TSN, but the detail seems to be mostly about Rogers properties. TSN gets all the shots aimed at them too (Just sayin’)

    How come no mention of the trade deadline coverage? Is it because the ratings are going to embarrass Rogers again this year? (Just like every year)….I only scanned it on DVR, but Duthie deserves credit as perhaps the best in the business on either side of the border. He’s masterful at making it an event even when not much is happening. As an example His interview with the always sour Brian Burke once again made something out of less than nothing. (Burke is such a pantload. (He hates TSN, I’m not sure why he’s ever invited to appear)

  • comment-avatar
    Cowboyskanuck 9 months

    The return of Jay and Dan seems to put Tim and Sid in an awkward spot. Jay and Dan are the inventors of what Tim and Sid have unsuccessfully tried to recreate. I don’t know in what capacity they’re returning to TSN (probably as highlight anchors), but if they were to go up against Tim and Sid doing the same style of show, I have no doubt who’s winning that matchup.

    @ northyorkcanuck

    They’re doing SC at midnight according to TSN. I don’t believe putting them up against T&S live for two hours was even an option for TSN. They cancelled OTR a couple years ago because of the cost of producing a live 30 minute show.

  • comment-avatar
    cirroc 9 months

    @Robinaurora

    Bang on about Beirness. It’s funny because I enjoyed her in her earlier years at TSN, but I agree she now gives off an arrogant vibe. And really, this site exists in a vacuum of sorts because here we are discussing a highlight show sportscaster that I’d be willing to bet the average joe doesn’t think twice about besides her looks. Your comment about TSN not folding is bang on. They’ll just find and groom a replacement.

    As for O’Sullivan, his approach could probably use a bit of a tweak, but I tend to agree with him in his critiques of “stats nerds” as he calls them. Seeing how well O’Dog has done at the network, I wonder if TSN doesn’t mind Patrick’s abrasive behaviour to a point.

  • comment-avatar
    bgolz 9 months

    Jay and Dan, and even Kate Beirness are nothing more than TV anchors. To expect them to be able to step into PxP or having their own sports shows may be a stretch. I heard Jay and Dan on Overdrive and when asked their opinion the answers seemed clumsy and not particularly insightful. Same goes for their podcast, it’s not interesting nor funny enough to subscribe to.

    Speaking of lack of insight, when will Sportsnet put together a good Leafs broadcast crew? The past three games Greg Millen has observed things incorrectly that was painfully obvious to viewers at home (such as who took a penalty or tipped in a goal). It’s enough to make a viewer rather put that crew on mute. TSN has the proper chemistry with Cuthbert and Ferraro. Sportsnet needs to find their own Ferraro, but I thought that was Mike Johnson?

  • comment-avatar
    Anthony 9 months

    My son played 4 years in the CHL and graduated from a quality Canadian University without paying a dollar towards his education package. He had up to 18k a year to put towards his education, over a 4 year term. Minimum wage would net kids less than that a year. This will hurt kids in the league, and from what my son says, the kids within the league don’t want this. Ask me if there should be more given I’d sign up, but those involved with the lawsuit are not doing this ‘to do the right thing’, they’re doing so because they see a way to get paid without having to do much.

    If you are not involved in the CHL or don’t have a knowledge of the system, I kind of find it disingenuous to pass judgement from the sidelines. Its totally anyone’s prerogative, but just make sure you are educated on who is suing, why they are suing and what the motives are.

    Anyone who would like to talk about the actual facts about the case, feel free to ask.

  • comment-avatar

    @bgolz

    I agree with you about Cuthbert and Ferraro………in my opinion they are by far the best play by play and analyst combination in hockey right now………it is a pleasure to listen to them………..it’s just too bad they can only be heard together in the Toronto area a handful of times per season, and not at all in the playoffs (unless there is maybe a simulcast of an NBCSN broadcast)

  • comment-avatar

    I voted for Twitter and the Score app. But one option not there is a non traditional website. I go to RealGM forums for example for basketball news.

    One thing I haven’t settled on is a good way to assess highlights on my phone. Should I use an app or a website? And which ones? I often find the mobile Sportsnet and TSN sites awkward to use. Same with the league sites. I’d appreciate some thoughts.

  • comment-avatar
    Paul G. 9 months

    @Anthony

    Thank you for a very unique perspective on this issue, that I have yet to see anywhere else. Very much appreciated.

  • comment-avatar
    Bob Canuck 9 months

    @Anthony,

    I agree that we should not pass judgement unless we have knowledge of the system. Furthermore, unless we have information regarding the revenues, expenses, and profitability of CHL clubs, we observers cannot express an informed opinion concerning the impact of a minimum wage on the financial viability of CHL clubs. Nor can we at this time determine what a fair compensation package is for players. However, thanks to the court proceedings and Rick Westhead’s reporting, we have gained knowledge and hopefully we will obtain more as the case moves along.

    As a final point, I think it is terrific that your son benefited from the tuition program. However, we know from the CHL website that there is a range of tuition costs that a team will pay per player. We also know that approximately 50% of the players do not take advantage of the tuition program. My opinion is that the CHL has publicly overstated its financial contribution to post-secondary education. This is but one example of how the lawsuit and Rick Westhead’s reporting has shone a much needed light on the CHL.

    http://ontariohockeyleague.com/ohl-prospective-player-information/

    http://www.tsn.ca/focus-shifts-to-franchise-values-in-chl-minimum-wage-case-1.687018

  • comment-avatar

    Anthony – excellent post. Thank you for adding on the ground info to the discussion.

    “Its totally anyone’s prerogative, but just make sure you are educated on who is suing, why they are suing and what the motives are.”

    Just like I don’t think the character of the owners is relevant, I feel the same way about the plaintiffs. Even if they are terrible people who have personal grudges against their former teams, how does that change the substance of the claim before the court? In other words, among the things you list, it’s about the “why” not the “who” and the “what”.

    One thing about which I know nothing is how European countries deal with similar issues. That might be an interesting comparison for someone in the media to investigate. This also points to a legislative failure in Canada — how have we come this far without establishing a legal category for this kind of labour?

  • comment-avatar

    One more thing:

    Westhead’s role for TSN is to report on the CHL lawsuit proceedings. I suspect I know where he personally stands on the issue, but his job is primarily to bring out the facts and to try to get quotes from the relevant parties.

    Where are the opinion columns? Sportsnet has done some factual reporting on the case but as far as I can find, neither network has published editorials on the case. Why not? Between the two of them TSN & SN employ most of the hockey insiders in the country. Wouldn’t they be in the best position to comment on the merits of all sides to the issue? Why have the lead columnists at the papers also stayed silent?

    (I can’t read everything, so apologies if I have missed major statements by the big name journalists)

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    “what is your daily routine when it comes to getting up to speed on the sports stories/topics of the day?”

    Here is my routine, as a ‘professional’ news reader, who writes the morning NHL news aggregation at least once a week for PPP, biased to hockey as though it may be.

    First, I have an RSS feed setup through Feedly. It pulls down everything from all 33 SB Nation hockey sites, plus a handful of independent Leafs blogs, like MLHS, regular MSM sites like the Globe and Mail, and other hockey sties of interest (DGB, 538 hockey, The Color of Hockey, etc). I skim through all of that material first thing every morning. I do not look at Sportsnet or TSN websites because of their habit of adding auto-play videos, often not even related to the story, and the last thing I want at 6:30AM is to have Steve Dangle screaming from my laptop when I try to read a post. I have given up on them and stop going there all together.

    Second, however, is to go to the Sportsnet YouTube page and look at the videos of interesting moments from the previous night’s games, especially the Western Conference games which I likely missed while sleeping. Their “You gotta see it” videos are usually all worth watching.

    If the Marlies played the previous night and I was not at the game I will check out MarliesTV and listen to the interviews, especially Sheldon Keefe.

    Third is to see if there’s any funny GIF’s from @myregularface, or @peteblackburn.

    Fourth, I check up on the comments on PPP that I had missed the previous night. We have many west coast Leafs fans, and some east coast based night-owls, so there i usually 10-20 comments from overnight.

    Fifth, I look at other sports and sports business websites. There’s occasionally hockey covered on Deadspin, or a hockey business story in the New York Times, or Washington Post of interest.

    Last is to load up the NHL app on my phone while on the streetcar on the way to work. I look at the scores from the last night, and what games are coming up later in the day.

  • comment-avatar
    Pat 9 months

    Westhead posting Soo Greyhounds financials.

    https://twitter.com/rwesthead/status/838380304066838528

    https://twitter.com/rwesthead/status/838381344912728064

    Why not post all of the club’s financials statements? What is there to hide?

  • comment-avatar

    @Pat Nothing to hide but reasons not to pay the players. The Greyhounds made enough to pay the players minimum wage with profit leftover. It’s pathetic there is resistance to this. These easily show it’s possible. What cowardice by the owners quivering in fear behind PR firms laughably failing at scaring this off.

    $11.40/hour, for 23 players, for 6 months, assuming 5 days per week paid, at 6 hours for each day (a very conservative estimate), that comes to a total of about $235,000. That’s less than their ticket sale revenue. It’s tiny. The players should receive cash and be able to do with it as they please, not have their work paid in kind.

  • comment-avatar

    Nice post Anthony. Rest assured that most people involved with the CHL agree with it.

    Westhead’s feelings are quite obvious and his ‘fact-reporting’ reflects his one-sided bias. This is almost like a witch-hunt.

    $11.40/hour, for 23 players, for 6 months, assuming 5 days per week paid, at 6 hours for each day (a very conservative estimate), that comes to a total of about $235,000. That’s less than their ticket sale revenue. It’s tiny.

    Can’t let garbage like this go unchecked. Six months ?? No pay for training camp and preseason and post season ?? Do you realize how many hours players spend doing hockey stuff like games, practices, meetings, bus trips, promotions, etc ? More than 30 hours a week. And don’t forget CPP, EI, WSIB, vacpay and other employee costs.

  • comment-avatar
    Pete 9 months

    Brady and Price will obviously need some time to work out the kinks, but for the first week, I thought they were good together. Certainly miles better than what was on before. Price’s “Alright” to end conversations with guests is annoying that needs straightening out. Brady can get on his high horse, but he is very good, so if he keeps things in check, the morning show will be a breath of fresh air again. Although I too question the purpose of Burrill. If he’s just there to read updates, it’s pointless. He has more potential than that.

    I’ve trumpeted on Ennis’s hard work for the station, so it’s nice to see him finally rewarded with a permanent spot on a big time show. The show has potential to be a bust because both guys like to carry the conversation and the chemistry might be an issue, or has the potential to become too good for the time slot as both as very good, young talents.

    Beirness…meh. She is well rounded on many sports, but I don’t think that is enough to carry her to a radio show or on a bigger role. Personally, I find her grating. She comes across as someone who thinks their looks and knowledge make her too good for what she does (and I apply the exact same thing to Jackie Redmond). Both come across as divas. No thanks.

  • comment-avatar
    James 9 months

    @Pete

    I can’t believe I didn’t notice it or mention it, but yes, Price seems incapable of following up someone else’s thought in the radio studio or on the phone with anything but “all right”. Definitely a verbal crutch, but I could certainly see how it can be dismissive of a guest’s time or contribution or a co-host’s thoughts. That said, I’ll say it again, I liked a lot of what he brought and already was a Brady fan. The show has great potential to stay around a long time if the powers that be are done with exeperiments like Blundell and Crystal.

  • comment-avatar

    “Can’t let garbage like this go unchecked. Six months ??”

    Actually there was a typo there. My calcs were actually for seven months. Even at 8 months this “garbage” is less than simple ticket revenue.

  • comment-avatar
    Anthony 9 months

    @MIB

    No argument on morals and ‘who is the hero’, itll be a legal argument, however here’s the type of stuff that concerns me.

    ‘if they can pay tuition for all the players then why can’t they pay wages instead? The difference is that a wage is a guaranteed operational cost whereas tuition liability only kicks in if the player goes to school.’

    What knowledge do you have in this topic to suggest what they do and do not get. You’d probably be the first to suggest you have less than me, so that is where my ‘be sure you understand the topic’ comment comes from. You suggesting that wage is a better way is uneducated, simply because you don’t know what CHL players receive. As an example, my son walked away with $18k a year on schooling, based on 4 years of play. 4 years of school therefore. In addition to that, he also received his weekly stipend ($100 a week) and $1000 a year towards off ice training. All in thats significantly more than what minimum wage would net him. Why is that positive? Why would we embrace a system that takes roughly 6-10k away from the player? My son was an average player, top pics net 25k a year at times for school.

    In Berg’s case, he was given a very lofty package, great for him, however one of the clauses of the agreement is you need to report to camp, healthy or not. If your hurt, they get you looked after. Berg never showed up, that voids the contract, its plain as day in the clause. Why is an owner a bad guy for Berg not reporting (again, not many, if any posters have knowledge of this)?

    I hope you get me point here. Its not a ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ for me, as it is with other posters, its simple math. The minimum wage system, as illustrated by other posters, would net almost every player less than what they get now. The only reason, in my opinion, that the CHL is fighting against it is because of the back pay issues. If they could get exempt from those, I have no doubt almost every owner would rather pay minimum wage to players, its more financially beneficial to them.

    Having others suggest the CHL is offside with not paying players, as you did above, without actually knowing and understanding the system, gets my back up. If you want to have an opinion, have one, but if its not educated, how valuable is it? I just hoped that you’d have more education on the matter before jumping into something. You may agree with the philosophy of minimum wage, but the logistics will hurt more than it’ll help, and that’s why players in the league now don’t want it.

  • comment-avatar
    Anthony 9 months

    @MIB

    Apologies, forgot to add this. But lets remember the last time we had this discussion, where you where trumpeting the CHL players need for a union, and I suggested you need to be more informed as to who was behind that drive and what the motives where. Again, not piling on here, but at the time yourself, Mirtle and others assumed it was player driven, when it was driven by someone with a fraudulent past when it comes to taking money way from 15/20 year olds. As I said then, Im not so sure that it was wise to simply jump without looking into things, I think there’s a lot of parallels here.

    Westhead is covering one side, Joyce is covering another. Its all noise and PR that doesn’t help anyone in the league, other than those who are going to get the true payoff, the lawyers and finance company responsable for paying all the expenses.

  • comment-avatar
    Anthony 9 months

    @Species1967

    Thats all fine, but the system that your promoting would net my son less yearly, and overall by about 6-10K as illustrated above. How would that system help the better players who actually net over 25k a year in scholarship money. Minimium wage would have meant myself or my son would have probably had to have paid 3/4k a year out of pocket to go to school every year.

    How is that better than the current set up?

  • comment-avatar
    Pat 9 months

    @Anthony, smart comments. Thanks for sharing.
    I think you’re right- this will be about legalities and the chances are slim i think that a judge is going to say that junior hockey teams that are incorporated should be treated differently than a MCDonald’s owner, when it comes to saying they can’t afford to pay players / employees.
    One thing I wonder.
    Do you really not think it’s an issue at all that some of these teams are making so much money?
    The London knights, if you believe Westhead, have taken almost $7M out of that club in the past two years in dividends alone. That’s on top of any pay checks the Hunters get with the team and any other money flowing to them.
    Red Deer and other teams, the same thing. dividends, interest free loans, management fees.
    Do you just put on blinders and say screw it, my kid is happy, he doesn’t need a bigger piece of a big pie?
    And if you play for North Bay or a money loser, then why can’t the London and Kitcheners of the world share revenue like in the NHL?
    thanks again for the thoughts.

  • comment-avatar
    stephen 9 months

    Brady is still Brady, for me he’s unlistenable – voice, tone, personality.

    My votes went to radio & twitter.
    I follow specific teams, leagues, writers, podcasts and blogs, so I roll through my timeline and click what interests me. I don’t waste a lot of time on TSN or Sportsnet sites, same with the newspapers. I do visit Yahoo sports, SI, ESPN websites regularly.

    Radio, majority of time is SiriusXM. Next is listening to podcasts that I’ve loaded. Then it’s local radio for quick trips in the vehicle, but I’m constantly flipping the dial because I have no intention of listening to 8 minute commercial blocks.

    My only, “must listen radio spot”, is Ferraro on Overdrive. Once RF is done, so is Overdrive.

    I’m following Westhead’s CHL reports closely.
    I have nephews who were OHL draft picks and my neighbour’s son is currently playing in the O.
    My neighbour and his son have no complaints, so far, experience has been good, education pkg in place. My oldest nephew just started university this year. He was traded during his stint in the O and that could have impacted his education package. The club that traded for him agreed to pick up his drafting club’s education commitment, so everything worked out for him.
    My other nephew couldn’t get a full post-secondary pkg commitment from the club that drafted him, so he signed on with NCAA D1 program. For them, the “O” hockey was the means to playing high level hockey to earn their scholarships – different paths, same outcome.

    Both boys happy, as is my brother, and they experienced both the good and bad sides of the OHL.

    Re Westhead & the IceDogs
    The owners claim they don’t take wages, but they do issue themselves dividends, annually, so suggesting they “work for free” is a very poor optic. How an owner want to spin their club’s financial position is indeed THEIR business, but publicly crying poor when their actions reflect the contrary only erodes their credibility.

  • comment-avatar
    Justin 9 months

    @Mike in Boston

    Very interesting article on Awful Announcing this week about the death of sports updates (that may be worth exploring more in depth in a future piece): http://awfulannouncing.com/local-networks/sports-radio-updates-anchors.html

    San Francisco sports station KNBR (not the same one Don Kollins fled the FAN for) ended the longstanding practice of sports updates this week and fired their update anchors. They felt there was no longer a need for updates every 20 or 30 minutes – and they’re absolutely correct. Up until a few years ago I used to wait intently for updates while in the car to get the latest sports news, but in the age of smart phones and twitter these updates are now useless. A complete waste of time. In my opnion KNBR is moving into the future, and I wonder if it’ll be an industry trend or something we’ll ever see in Toronto. If getting rid of updates meant longer segments, I’d fully support it.

  • comment-avatar
    Anthony 9 months

    @Pat

    Im not a business man, I can’t speak to what the teams should and shouldn’t do, and to be honest it really isn’t our business. Unless they are publicly traded entities we really don’t have a say in their finances, just as I don’t have a say in yours. Regarding ‘blinders’, I look at it this way, my son is now 25 and making more money in his profession than I was at 25. He had a very good degree that got him that job thanks to the skills that he used at hockey. He’s healthy and when he did get hurt, the team payed all of his dental and health bills. He loved his time there, I loved watching.

    Im not sure what I have to be upset about here?

    I do hope you are wrong about the finances, Im no judge but it will come down to legalities. I just know what the kids get, and minimum wage will cost the kids more than it will get them. Morally you may not like that teams don’t pay them, but you are also not the parents or kids involved, so if myself, like Stephen’s nephews and his brother, feel we got value , who are you, or MIB or anyone else to tell us we are wrong with that?

    Honestly not trying to be argumentative, just more of a matter of fact. Like I said, look at my son’s example, why would I be upset?

  • comment-avatar
    MattK 9 months

    The CHL cares more about the money then the players education, they play close to 70 regular season games there is no reason to have that many games in a season. All during the school year, considering the US college plays around 40 and Canada around 30. We a had family friend play in the OHL, the school he transferred to during the season couldn’t believe he had good grades because almost all players were lacking in that department. It would be better to pay the players equivalent to what a year of school was worth or close to it, but the owners know this way is more profitable. At least it is better then the college football system in the USA were the Colleges and coaching staffs make millions off them.

  • comment-avatar

    “How would that system help the better players who actually net over 25k a year in scholarship money. Minimium wage would have meant myself or my son would have probably had to have paid 3/4k a year out of pocket to go to school every year.”

    There’s nothing stopping the scholarship program from continuing. Again, the financial statements show that ever after that contribution, and paying minimum wage — or more — teams are still profitable.

    Even then, what is this obsession over entitlements to university scholarships? 99.9% of university entrants in Canada don’t have this. They get by without it. Why must CHL players have it at the expense of discretionary wages? And 25k per year? WHAT? I paid 4k out of pocket to got to school. That was it. The whole cost. How can you be paying 25k per year to an Ontario university?

  • comment-avatar
    Bob Canuck 9 months

    @ Anthony,

    I would like to ask a question in order to understand your position. Let me first draw together the statements made by you and others.

    David Branch has said that approximately half the players do not take advantage of the tuition benefit.
    The tuition benefit received by your son was $18,000 per annum.
    If your son did not receive the tuition benefit, a minimum wage system would have cost you/ your son as much as $4,000 per year to attend university.

    Therefore, using your numbers, the difference between the current system and a minimum wage system is as follows:

    Current system

    Your son receives the value of an $18,000-year at university; the player who does not go to university receives a tuition value of nil.

    Minimum Wage System

    Your son enjoys the value of one year of university amounting to $18,000, which is financed by a minimum wage of $14,000 and $4,000 of savings; the player who does not go to university receives $14,000 as a minimum wage.

    My question is as follows: is it fair / equitable that the current system provides your son with $14,000 ($18,000 less $4,000) more per annum in compensation/benefits compared to the player who does not take advantage of the tuition program?

  • comment-avatar
    Pat 9 months

    @Anthony
    Again, thanks for your perspective.
    2 things that i’m curious about.
    These players who are trying to change CHL are doing interviews. Saw one on CTV London report.
    Why are you and other parents not going public? What’s the downside to putting your name and your son’s name out there?
    And when you say you are a parent of a player, would you agree that does not mean you speak for all 2,000 parents? (based on 1400 players)
    you speak just for yourself, yes?
    i feel like you leave yourself open to attack if you say you represent everyone.

  • comment-avatar
    Sean 9 months

    Having had a chance to work with Greg Brady in a community setting; That is honestly the biggest smile I’ve ever seen the man produce.

    I dont have much else on this post; Twitter, Jay and Dan – Fart jokes are better than Tim and Sid. 1050 should stop promoting Mail it in fridays, I am on 590 on fridays, never on 1050 for this reason. Vice is also a key go to for me.
    I feel like a fish out of water when it comes to the CHL issue, and as Anthony pointed out; know whos doing what in this situation. I do not; That being said it is beneficial to read from both perspectives on this issue ( in this comment section at least )

    Per usual – Loved it. Great Work. Can never get enough.

  • comment-avatar
    Anthony 9 months

    @Species1967
    I’m not sure when you went to school, but the cost of post-secondary education is through the roof, to the point now that the average debt load that student walk away with is upwards of $25k. You may only have had to spend $4k, but the statistics would suggest this isn’t typical. Between tuition (Ryerson engineering courses top out at about 10K a year), books, tuition, room and board etc, it gets costly.
    http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/as-student-debt-climbs-to-an-average-past-25k-schools-invest-in-battling-the-mental-health-issues-it-causes

    @Bob
    I’m not sure where Branch said that, but ill trust that its not something your simply throwing out there. If players don’t want to accept a tuition program, I don’t have any issue with them getting paid a minimum wage payout instead once there career is over. The program is pretty good in the fact that you can put it towards pretty much any type of career training, but if players have no interest in that, then sure, pay them out. Nothing unfair about that. My only issue is those what proclaim they should be paid, without knowledge that being paid would actually give them much less financial then what they get now. Most posters didn’t know that before I posted.

    @Pat
    Regarding going public, it takes a two way street. I’ve emailed Westhead suggesting he wasn’t reporting the whole story and offering facts as to what he was missing (Gumbley connection, fees paid by teams to players, etc), I didn’t get a response. Not surprised, he seems to be talking the site of the plaintiff (didn’t think reporters took sides), but ces la via. I did the same thing during the CHL labour stuff from 4/5 years ago when I was more actively involved with my son on a team, back then Mirtle wouldn’t answer my emails when I told him it wasn’t player driven and he needed to look deeper into who was leading the drive. I don’t think I was incorrect in that one, Mirtle should have probably listened to me instead of waiting for TSN to do it, but again, ces la vie, sometimes individual ideology gets in the way it seems.

    Secondly, I don’t believe I have said I speak for everyone, simply everyone I’ve interacted with, another poster above posted something similar. My son still has friends in the league, and those friends seem to tell him that they and their teammates don’t want this lawsuit. My only point is that if you don’t have firsthand knowledge like this, how can you judge anything? Most if not all the posters on here didn’t have knowledge of the $1000 expenses that kids where given every summer. If they are not educated on the topic, how can they offer hard critique?

  • comment-avatar
    Drumanchor 9 months

    @ Anthony

    Appropriate that you used the term “piling on”, as it now appears that people are piling on you. You have no obligation to answer everyone’s questions. You have articulated your perspective admirably well.

    My only comments would be that, yes, it would be wonderfully marvellous if we lived in that perfect world where all amateur athletes were “properly” compensated for their work (i.e. NCAA). However, as you alluded to, where is the harm if the athletes agree to the system being offered? You son took advantage of health, dental and an education. I understand that not all hockey players are going to go on to university as that path is not for everyone, but it is there if they want and, again, they know this going in.

    I can’t help but see a parallel with families that pay a small fortune to send their children to university only to see them being offered internships at companies that can, likely, well afford minimum wage. These kids, too, know the rules going in and, just like Jr. hockey, they see an opportunity – whether it realistically exists or not.

    I don’t see or hear a lot of people decrying this practice.

  • comment-avatar
    Anthony 9 months

    @Drumanchor

    Thanks for the kind words. I don’t think there are any bad guys in this discussion, nor are there any bad guys in the lawsuit. The plantiff’s job is to paint the CHL as an evil group, they are doing that well. The CHL is painting themselves as a mom and pop business. End of the day I don’t think any of the silly public posturing matters, it should only be about the law.

    I can offer a bit more perspective regarding ‘helpless families’. At this stage of the game every player in the CHL has a personal advisor/agent that advises them for free (if you pay your a fool). They look over the contract, educate you about the system and what you are getting, they negotiate for you. If you are doing your homework, you know what you’re getting when your are signing, its not as if you don’t have advise or lawyers working on your behalf on signing. Anyone who goes into the CHL should do so with their eyes open, and if they don’t, that’s on them. That said, like I said above, it a player doesn’t want the education package (they’d be silly not to IMO) then sure, give them the equivalent in minimum wage earnings, minus taxes and expenses played out by the team. That’s more then fair.

  • comment-avatar
    Bob Canuck 9 months

    @Anthony,

    On the subject of David Branch’s 50% comment, you don’t have to trust that I didn’t just throw it out there. You can read the fourth-last paragraph of the article noted in the second link of my first reply to you on this subject.

    http://www.tsn.ca/focus-shifts-to-franchise-values-in-chl-minimum-wage-case-1.687018

    I acknowledge that some players choose not to pursue a post-secondary education because it is not for them. However, my understanding is that a player must decide to attend a post-secondary institution within three years of their age-19 CHL season. If that is correct, then there will be a group of players who are excluded from pursuing higher education / training because they tried a professional hockey career or some other endeavour before the three-year window closes. It seems unfair to me that the tuition-eligible window closes that quickly on the player. Two questions: is my understanding of the three-year window correct and what are your thoughts on the window?

    I appreciate your perspective on this subject and your willingness to engage in a discussion.

  • comment-avatar

    I applaud Anthony’s suggestion of reimbursing former CHL players who either do not take advantage of their scholarship funds or do not play high levels of professional hockey. That makes perfect sense.

    When the whole talk of unionizing and lawsuits, etc., first came up a many years back (remember Dave Roche?), the CHL did not get out in front of the issue quick enough and, from the outside admittedly, has kinda been scrambling to catch up in more recent years. Some team owners clearly thought this would all just go away on its own. The OHL commissioner and CHL president, David Branch, has quite frankly appeared lethargic throughout much of this. Word increasingly is that, with some OHL team owners growing increasingly concerned, this class-action suit will be Branch’s final dance.

    The CHL, to its credit, has improved on some of its players programs, such as increasing overall weekly stipends and trying to cut out side deals made to certain players. For that, the league should be commended, but not let off the hook completely. Hence, Anthony’s learned suggestion.

  • comment-avatar
    Anthony 9 months

    @Bob

    You are correct with the three year window, and I have no issue with it personally, but also don’t really care if they opened it longer.

    If my son tried to play hockey and decided that at 25 he wanted to go back to school, Im not sure that he would be as successful as he is in life now. The longer you wait to go back, the more outside forces are at work to keep you out, be it a wife, son/daughter, etc. By putting the three year cap on it, they get the kid in school quicker. I can say that when my son finished his last year, he was told by his teams General Manager that he’d be dumb not to use his education package and go to school. He would have went anyways, but it was nice to get that re-enforced. He had an option to play low level pro, but what would be the point?

    I think some players get so caught up in chasing the dream that they can’t see the forest for the tees with regards to hockey. No matter what they are told, they always will try to make a living with Hockey. Some parents are just as bad in pushing them there. I just find it hard to blame the CHL for the poor choices that some kids/parents make. Its their choice to walk away from the education package, they know full well that they are, and they should be accountable for that decision. That said, I don’t really care either way, its not applicable to my situation, make it 5 years if that’s what the majority want, I’m just glad that didn’t happen in my son’s case.

  • comment-avatar

    Full disclosure here. I am the screen grab of the tweet that says that supported the owner of the Niagara IceDogs. Fuller disclosure: I am also the TV play by play voice of the Niagara IceDogs. That said, I do not wear rose coloured glasses and look past the obvious when it comes the CHL lawsuit. I’m also a high school law teacher, and while I am not a lawyer, it does give me, I think a decent working of the law.

    I’ll disagree with Mike in Boston about the idea that the character of the owners do not mean much. I think when Rick presented the owners of the IceDogs BMW leases, a lot of people jumped to some poorly reached conclusions about the owners and I felt compelled to offer insight about them. While for sure they are business people, what was not reported were the 7 money losing years in an antiquated building that offered none of the amenities of other arenas. What was not reported was all the work in the community, the school appearances, the appearances for charity. No what was presented was one singular tweet. Sure it was fact, but it did not tell the whole story. It was not even close.

    The legal quagmire in this situation is far above my pay grade, but I will say that those who stand to benefit the most from this are not necessarily the players. The extra money that could go to a minimum wage is going to come from someplace else in the budget or will fall on the ticket buyer. Someone may lose jobs, travel and equipment budgets could be curtailed. That is a very real possibility.

    I call myself a players advocate . They are the entertainment, and the bread and butter of the league. They should look to revise the current system rather than a minimum wage which would put a band aid on the problem, but not solve the problem.

    On the whole, I like Rick Westhead and much of his reporting. I’ve met him and had a little back and forth. He’s presenting the plaintiff side,seems to have a bit of an agenda, but really that is all there is right now as the CHL is complying with court orders but offering little in terms of their strategy as this goes on.

  • comment-avatar
    Sperk 9 months

    My sports info gathering routine…check the Score app, read The Athletic, listen to sports podcasts (not rebroadcasts of 590 or TSN) on my 45 minute drive to work and maybe read the Sun at lunch if I felt I’ve missed anything news wise

    Really interesting debate re: CHL…not really my area of expertise but I am a huge fan of US College sports so I see some parallels. The part that has always struck me about that and I wonder if it is true in the CHL as well is, yes they get a free education, but do they really have an opportunity to fulfill it? Road trips across the country, league games in different time zones, practices and weights pretty much every day etc.

    To me, they pretty much have a full time job before anything about their education is considered…think how hard it would be be for everyone here to balance a full-time job and also be a full-time student at the same time. Unlike other students, they got into the school not based on their academic achievement so being scholastic may not be their primary focus or what they are at school to achieve.

    So I wonder if it is the same in the CHL as the NCAA that this “free tuition” business is a pretty empty perk? Sure, kids have graduated (such as Anthony’s son) but they aren’t really set up to do so

  • comment-avatar
    yaz 9 months

    Walker is overly amped up with Ennis in the co-pilot seat. I think they’re trying to establish Ennis because Walker is leaving at end of his contract – likely to 530-9 on 1050.

  • comment-avatar

    @Yaz

    Where did you hear that Walker is leaving and heading to 1050? And when is his contract up?

  • comment-avatar
    Liberty Village Bob 9 months

    I’m a digital only guy: 1) paper websites in the morning, followed by TSN/SN. 2) podcasts on the way to work then 3) Twitter rest of day. No TV ever. The idea of sitting down to watch the news seems ridiculous in 2017. I pay $0 for all my sports news. I will subscribe once the papers die and we get rid of the old ways of doing things.

  • comment-avatar
    Liberty Village Bob 9 months

    I wonder what TSN radio is planning to do in response to the FAN’s new morning show. Blundell was feeding TSN listeners. The new show is less likely to do that. How long do they stick with Cauz in the AM? He should join Scott Mac in the PM. Move on from Landsberg and maybe give Naylor his own 9-12 show. Then look for a new morning show concept, perhaps with Beirness.

  • comment-avatar

    @Liberty Village Bob

    Blundell was feeding 1050 listeners? Landsberg & Naylor had ratings of 0.4 and 0.2. they never even sniffed a 1.0. how many listeners could Blundell has possibly fed them?

    It can’t get much worse for Naylor & Landsberg regardless of what’s on 590. Perhaps a full 0 but even then it’s not much of a drop they are basically already there.

    I’m all for a new morning show on 1050, they desperately need it. That said, you can’t move N&L to 9am. They make far too much money for that spot. it’s like the Mike Richards move to 1. you know that can’t last. It’s time to dump Naylor & Landsberg all together. As for Cauz, at the very least get him a cohost who doesn’t suck. I feel bad for Wheeler and his health issues, I wish him the best but he is terrible and he turns listeners away.

    1050 is unlistenable (is that a word?) before 1pm for me.

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    A peek behind the curtain here at Seen & Heard. Of the several thousand people who have viewed this post, only 23 have clicked on the CHL story linked in the column.

    Why do people hate reading?

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    Daz66778 9 months

    MIB, I think many people have followed the CHL story by Westhead on other sites such as TSN or Twitter and therefore don’t feel the need to click on it again. Would put myself if that category anyway.

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    robinauroa 9 months

    Art – I agree about TSN 1050, except it’s un-listenable before 4 pm for me. I find Andi Petrillo really clueless and an annoying radio personality. I will listen to Leafs lunch for the guests (except Craig Button. He’s just awful on the radio and only slightly better on TV) – And I find “Scotty Mac” as he wants to be called (“why” is a question for later) to be way too wrapped up in his own self importance that he borders on obnoxious. I honestly can’t listen to the guy and I need something in the time slot to listen to – He was passable covering the Jays, but he is not a good radio personality…Overdrive is entertaining, but it does have its warts too.

    TSN 1050 needs to really sharpen up – they have great insiders and guests for all their shows, but their hosts are really the problem. We never did get an explanation about Mackowicz. He and Cauz were good together. I won’t pile on Gareth Wheeler – I wish him all the best.

    I am resorting to listening to podcasts and Dan Patrick on Hamilton radio.

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    jaybird 9 months

    MIB:
    In response to your rhetorical question and the neat insider info that you shared: I’ve been following the CHL story via Twitter (follow Westhead) and I read alot of the stuff about the case etc that way. I find it to be an interesting story that is evolving wrt ‘amateur’ athletes and compensation models. I imagine the NCAA is watching closely, among others.

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    Daniel 9 months

    RE other TSN Radio comments – the station does have a ‘mailing it in’ vibe at this point.

    It doesn’t seem like they even do local evening or weekend programming anymore.

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    Frank 9 months

    Interesting to hear Bob and Damien talk about pdocasts earlier this week… they seemed to not understand the medium, which is ironic since I’ve been listening to PTS as a podcast since 2007. However, perhaps the most interesting information is that Bob is considering doing a podcast with long form type pieces.

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    quick question for the readership:

    who is your go-to on the current chapter of the Coyotes mess? I was flipping through podcast lists this morning and saw BlairShow was advertising Shannon as their expert guest on the Glendale situation. I can’t think of a person whose opinion I value less on anything NHL business related. He’s been Gary’s wingman for so long now I can’t take anything he says at face value.

    If I had to choose: 1) Shoalts, 2) Westhead, 3) …. can’t really think of another one. You?

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    @MikeInBoston

    I’ve kind of taken a wake me when they move approach to the Coyotes saga. I really don’t seek out information from anyone, I’m actually more likely to avoid it. It seems like they have been talking about the arena or moving for their entire tenure in Arizona. It’s hard to care about something that long when nothing ever actually changes.

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    Hans 9 months

    MIB – if maybe TSN would let one of them actually research and report on the situation instead of both doing the same NHL reporting what about TSN’s bob McKenzie or Dregger? Either could do a good job of giving the info on the Coyotes with their backgrounds, contacts and simple fact based reporting.

    Like Art, I’ll only really pay attention to this once there’s actually some real news and not the usual NHL/Gary saber rattling or whatever group in the city saber rattling at the NHL. Either move the team, shut it down or just leave it alone and be done with it.

    I know there was the 590 insider thread (and this is off-topic) but MIB lack of faith in his opinion made this come to mind and maybe this should be a question posed to said Fan590 insider: what is John Shannon’s deal? Why does he seem to be on everything hockey sportsnet tv related or on the 590 radio side all the time? Does he have a crazy contract that calls for him to be on all these things or is he just an eager beaver suck-up that does everything offered? Does 590 management know he’s an NHL stooge or do they just not care or (tinfoil hat theory) is John Shannon a NHL league plant to keep an eye on the “partners”?

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    yaz 9 months

    Coyotes are a debacle even more than the 96 Winnipeg Jets. Best logic I ever heard was the only reason the Coyotes are there is because Phoenix is a top 20 media market and NBC wants them there as part of a long term fan growth project. In that context the NHL pays some of their losses to prop them up. My hope is that they soon move to Quebec City who are standong quietly by as Winnipeg did with the Thrashers and Domi can ay in a hockey mad city.

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    Daniel 9 months

    Speaking of the Coyotes – McCown and Cox talked to Jeff Marek re the Coyotes last night. I thought he came across terribly. Like a total NHL mouthpiece.

    Marek said he thought the NHL wouldn’t want to move the Coyotes because they had a tax payer funded arena. McCown and Cox really shot it down, saying the NHL didn’t give a damn about the tax payers, and they’d move on to another tax funded Arizona arena in a second.

    It really came across like Marek was trying to tow a line, and McCown and Cox were having none of it. Was good radio, but sounded bad on Marek imo.

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    Daniel 9 months

    Also – Rogers has bought the Canucks radio rights. There are some rumours on twitter they might launch a sports station in the city to rival TSN 1040.

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    ha ha TSN has 2 stations in vancouver and neither has the Canucks? kind of funny. Can’t believe Vancouver is going to have 3 sports radio stations. Although We have 4 on our dial if you include TSN 1150 Hamilton and WGR 550 Buffalo.

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    robinauroa 9 months

    That’s a strange question, but I think john (Mr Magoo) Shannon is handling the Coyote story for the Fan 590 (if in fact he is) because he’s the only one who spoke up or made a call – and obviously needs something to do. After all, he was the one who broke the hard news story that the New Las Vegas team had signed their fist player…What a coup! Now that that story is put to bed, this Coyote potboiler is front and center!

    I don’t care about the Coyotes or where they will play tomorrow – or next year – No one I know cares about it. They aren’t even relevant as a franchise – they stink. They could fold the the team, move it, rename it, whatever scenario and I could not care in the least. Really, when you think of it, how or why would anyone in the Toronto market care unless they have a friend or family member in the organization? I guess moving it to Quebec would be a story, but anywhere else? Nope. What I find amazing is Gary Bettman being so steadfast in refusing to relocate them. The relocated from Winnipeg at the drop of a hat. They weren’t an expansion franchise. It is very strange. Atlanta was a more viable location for a NHL team than Phoenix, why did they move with a few months notice, but Phoenix hangs in like grim death? (Bettman is a duplicitous little creep and I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could spit him). Shannon is probably being told by Bettman to cover this so-called ‘story’.

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    Simulcast in Mississauga 9 months

    RE Andi Petrillo and Patrick O’Sullivan:
    I disagree with the comment here that Andi is in “way over her head”. Petrillo is a refreshing change from the platitudes of the Hockey Central at Noon bunch. Her relative youth and experience with CBC’s coverage of the Olympics give her a perspective not found elsewhere. Petrillo is one of the few stars on TSN1050 and TSN should expand her role to being host of TSN Leafs TV broadcasts.

    Petrillo’s co-host Patrick O’Sullivan’s opinions are often eye opening as he refuses to regurgitate the pabulum vomited out by both the HCN crew and Petrillo’s other co-hosts. O’Sullivan is one of the few ex hockey players turned broadcaster who actually tells it like it is as opposed to providing a sanitized version tailored not to offend the hockey establishment. He has rough edges, noticeable occasionally during the TV broadcast of Leafs Lunch, but his contributions far outweigh his learning curve in a new job.

    CHL lawsuit:
    Who will benefit is the CHL loses the ongoing suit? Lawyers who will litigate until nothing is left? Big Unions who will pronounce the glories of solidarity forever as they try to turn junior hockey players into postal workers?

    If the CHL loses the lawsuit and juniors are defined as employees, I think that the following unintended consequences will occur:
    (1) the OHL draft will be eliminated via further litigation as for-profit companies will have the right to hire who they like within the constraints of labor legislation as opposed to being limited to draft choices
    (2) parents will be forced to dig deep to support their sons in OHL hockey as in future clubs may not supply equipment (including $300 sticks), medical coverage, or university tuition as part of a new employee (player) compensation package and
    (3) 16 year olds will play Midget AAA rather than play in the OHL to avoid the restrictions in the labor code applicable to 16 year old employees and to save money.

    Next Radio Ratings:
    With TSN1050 sinking, will Bell pull the plug on the current format if the next ratings book shows continued loss of listeners?

    What is your daily routine when it comes to getting up to speed on the sports stories/topics of the day?
    And finally, to answer the above question, in terms of sports I look at various sports websites starting with SN and TSN. Then I move onto Jayski for NASCAR news and after that the online sports coverage of Toronto’s newspapers while maybe listening to Blair. I don’t mind ad supported content and would never pay any subscription fee. I never watch any sports highlight shows as they are too general; I, not SN or TSN, pick the emphasis via my selection of websites or podcasts. At noon I’ll watch Leafs Lunch on TSN or HCN if Leafs Lunch isn’t on TSN that day (I don’t know why TSN TV does not consistently carry Leafs Lunch). In the afternoon, I’ll stream PTS between 4 and 4:30 while working out but will switch to Netflix at the first commercials for ambulance chasers, Cars for Kids, or that aggravating mortgage supplier.

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    robinauroa 9 months

    Andi Petrillo is 100% “platitudes” about the Leafs. She is a fan and unashamed of it (but she should be). Same with the girly, flirtatious garbage she initiates with the all her male co-hosts and guests. It is cringeworthy and if I were a female listener, it would make me furious. (From my perspective it just makes me throat barf)

    …I will agree that Patrick O’Sullivan has been excellent on Leafs Lunch despite the poor quality host he’s been given to work with. Otherwise I would have zero reason to listen. When Andi is off, the quality of the show improves no matter who fills in. I am all for giving women a chance on radio, she is the wrong choice….as far as replacing James Duthie with Andi, let’s get real. She’s done it when he’s been away and she is a capable host on TV. But Duthie is the best in the business at his job.

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    I have always thought that Walker should have a co-host……….I definitely would not have chosen Ennis for that role but I will keep an open mind……….it will be interesting to see if they have any chemistry

    The return of Jay and Dan will not impact on me much because I never thought they were funny so I will just go back to avoiding them like I did when they were on TSN the first time…………having said that I acknowledge that they definitely have a sizable following so I guess I am too old (late 40’s) to appreciate their “humour”

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    Pat 8 months

    @robininaurora

    What a hot take for no reason. Flirtatious? Girly? Give me a break.
    Andi is not a journalist. She has never claimed to be one, as far as I know.
    She’s a “sports host,” at least that is how she describes herself on Twitter.
    She accepts free stuff like Team Canada swag and sends her thanks for all to see on social media — Stuff a journalist don’t do. But she’s a sports host, so who cares?

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    Bora 8 months

    The 23 people that clicked on the CHL are the ones posting here. I personally couldn’t care less about the CHL and that is reflected pretty much everywhere in the GTA. The Brampton Battalion moved to North Bay and the Mississauga Ice Dogs/St.Michaels Majors/Steelheads have had miserable attendance since they’ve existed. I also don’t understand this fascination to over discuss the Phoenix Coyote’s situation on an almost daily basis.

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    Jonah has you covered for the next little while.

    I broke my no-Shannon rule for research purposes to hear whether he and Bob would get anything of substance out of “Colie” Campbell on the Glendale developments We credit Bob for being a good interviewer but those 15 minutes were horrific radio. All yuks and chuckles with the saccharine sycophantism we have come to know and loathe from the Shannon era PTS.

    I’m sure Gary was very pleased with the treatment the issue received from his partners at PTS.

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    Also, has the FAN moved on from Joey Vendetta? It’s been a while since I heard him on 9-12 or 1-4, and they went in another direction for the 2 post Blundell weeks. This would be a surprising move since of the almost 7000 votes we received on fill-in hosts a huge chunk of them went to Vendetta, with Bastl the runaway favourite. See for yourself:

    http://poll.fm/5nbhv

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    Drumanchor 8 months

    @robinaurora

    Or, as I like to say: robisabore, yea.

    Flirtatious? Really? Petrillo is fine as a host. Her job is to be informed, ask decent questions and navigate the broadcast. She does all three well while, seemingly, being judged on a different barometer than male hosts.

    Also, for someone who seems to vehemently dislike much of what he hears on sports radio (and who also can’t wait to breathlessly share his thoughts), you sure listen to a lot of what you hate.

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    Anthony 8 months

    @Drumanchor

    That is a fairly common trail to some posters on here, they constantly bring up topics of discussion that they hate, from broadcasters they hate. Why do they listen if they hate it? Life is too short to encompass yourself with things you don’t like.