The man who brought down Alan Eagleson

Russ Conway was an old-school journalist: principled, detail-driven and thorough to a fault. His tenacity paid huge dividends and taught great lessons

The man who brought down Alan EaglesonThe first time I spoke to Russ Conway, he wanted nothing to do with me. “I’m tired of reporters trying to steal my stuff,” he said in his chowderhead accent. “I don’t need any help.” I’d been recommended to Russ by National Hockey League legend Carl Brewer and his partner Susan Foster, who’d been pursuing…

Big shots in Toronto, long shots in Calgary sports markets

In both markets, money is an issue. That makes sense in Calgary, but not so much in Toronto

Big shots in Toronto, long shots in Calgary sports marketsThe week of infamy has begun for Toronto Blue Jays fans. Three years ago their team was a powerhouse, seemingly on the brink of a trip to the World Series. But the week before Major League Baseball’s 2019 trading deadline finds the Blue Jays gone from powerhouse to house of cards. The power and the…

Coming to grips with the gay reality in sports locker rooms

Professional male sports teams are a cross-section of many cultures. But the idea that they agree about much beyond winning is a fabrication. It's time to open up.

Coming to grips with the gay reality in sports locker roomsOne former pro athlete recently observed that an athlete doesn’t mention three things in the dressing room: His playing time. His salary. And the first name of a teammate’s wife. He might also have added whether your favourite jock likes guys or girls when he gets home from the game that night. This prohibition has…

Canada’s great basketball awakening

The Raptors’ win was transformative for the league, the business of sport and for Canada in general

Canada’s great basketball awakeningYou don’t have to ask the impact of the Toronto Raptors winning the National Basketball Association title last week. Two million people on the streets of that city speak to the engagement created by the team’s dramatic process through the playoffs. Think of the public’s addiction to the games as Game Of Thrones – except…

Tanking takes the heart out of statistical analysis in sports

Only the purity of competition assures that the resulting data has relevance and application in a sport

Tanking takes the heart out of statistical analysis in sportsSome call it analytics. Some call it statistics. Some call it trivia. Others call it a waste of time. But collating and interpreting the reams of data generated by pro sports teams is now an integral part of sport. On one hand, analysis of data is how players get paid the vast sums they receive.…

Hall of shame sports owners led by Ottawa’s Melnyk

Far too many odious owners haunt the world of professional sports, preying on ticket-buying fans

Hall of shame sports owners led by Ottawa’s MelnykIt takes a lot of talent to screw up a National Hockey League franchise in a Canadian city. But Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is up to the challenge. The Melnyk misery tour has reduced Ottawa to the frozen equivalent of an Albanian shoe factory. The Sens are four points clear in the Titanic Cup, my…

Pro sports have become a grinding bore

The tanking masses of the NHL, NBA and MLB have turned the regular season into a race to the bottom in search of top drafts

Pro sports have become a grinding boreO joy. The Feb. 25 National Hockey League trade deadline slides into view just as the National Basketball Association’s version of Trader Vic’s has expired. The fact that these two arbitrary dates are considered five-star attractions of the regular season tells you a lot about what a grinding bore the regular season has become in…

China syndrome: how long does HNIC stick with Huawei?

And are the Leafs negotiating with Auston Matthews? Are the Calgary Flames the real deal? Where does that leave the Oilers?

China syndrome: how long does HNIC stick with Huawei?Huawei did they go? That was the question on Saturday as Hockey Night In Canada hit the airwaves. The financial world has been roiling since Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested by Canadian officials in Vancouver on Dec. 1. She faces extradition to the United States, where she is accused of helping Huawei circumvent…

Stumbling Oilers now have a Hitch in their step

Tough love has long been Ken Hitchcock’s calling card in the NHL. But does it work on young men who are multimillionaires?

Stumbling Oilers now have a Hitch in their stepIf Ken Hitchcock is the answer for the Edmonton Oilers, what’s the question? Probably something like: How badly have we pissed people off? The National Hockey League team that dares to be known by first-overall picks alone finds itself spinning out of control yet again. The Oilers are dropping like a stone in the ultra-competitive…

The NHL shoves concussion conversation behind a curtain

Commissioner Gary Bettman never backed up or hinted the NHL might have had a problem related to head injuries to players

The NHL shoves concussion conversation behind a curtainIt used to be a staple of TV game shows. The grinning host on the stage. The dishevelled contestant looking dazed before him. “Do you want the $100 I’m holding in my hand … or would you like what’s behind the curtain up on stage?” Music, cheering, pandemonium. Maybe it was a new set of…