SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
Paying the Bills…and other guys, too By Charles Roberts First the Buffalo Bills resign key players and then mega-free-agent Mario Williams signs a contract that could reach $100 million? In Buffalo? No way; it wasn’t supposed to happen this way. Wide receiver Stevie Johnson was going to sign an enormous deal to play in a bigger market; tight end Scott Chandler was taking his emerging talent elsewhere; and veteran placekicker Rian Lindell was giving the boot to Western New York. Oh, and signing a bigticket free-agent or two? As actor Johnny Depp often said in the movie Donnie Brasco, “Forgetaboutit.” The Bills’ front office, however, would have none of that. Johnson was awarded with a five-year deal, worth a reported $36.25 million, $19.5 million of which is guaranteed. Chandler signed a two-year deal, reportedly worth $5.45 million. And Lindell signed the dotted line to the tune of four years and $11 million. But there’s more. Not only did the Bills retain talent and
sign the 27-year-old Williams–arguably the best defender to hit the free-agent wire in years–to a gargantuan deal, the team snatched up 28-year-old defensive end Mark Anderson, formerly of the division-rival New England Patriots. Anderson picked up 10 sacks last year, the second best total since his rookie year, in which he had 12 as a member of the Chicago Bears. In 2010, he played 11 games with the Houston Texans, lining up opposite of Williams. “I talked to Mario [Williams]. He and I have a pretty good relationship. And I talked to Nick Barnett as well. I’ve met him over the years and I’ve been watching him play as well. Those are the only two guys mainly,” Anderson, who signed a four-year, $27.5-million contract, explained. “Just watching film when I was with other teams and we were watching everybody, going against other teams, I’ve seen everything that they [the Bills] were doing and I just want to be a part of that. I felt like it’s something that I want to be a part of.”
Despite what certainly looks like an uncharacteristically financially aggressive offseason, Bills general manager Buddy Nix attests it’s not a matter of changing the organization’s philosophy. “I’ll say this to you: The reason we’re doing more now is the guys that we like that are out there,” Nix said. “There’s been some guys that just didn’t fit in free agency, some older guys whose careers were on the decline and that’s not the market we’re in. We’re in [it for] these young guys that are on the rise. And I think that’s part of the reason for this year being like it is.” Johnson, who last year became the first Bills receiver in team-history to record back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, began his career in Buffalo in 2008 as a seventhround selection. He said he knew all along that Buffalo was where he wanted to remain when his rookie-contract expired. “There’s a lot of promise here and I love working with these guys,” Johnson said. “Just waking up in the morning, even on the cold days out here and just coming to
Buffalo and being around my teammates. That’s what it’s about. I’ve always wanted to be here.” Defensive tackle Kyle Williams, who took last year’s addition to the defensive line–rookie Marcell Dareus–under his wing, has got to be licking his chops with the team’s spending spree. Still, he keeps things in perspective. “I think with Buddy Nix and coach Gailey and coach Wannstedt they’ve gone on and indentified spots where they’ve felt like we needed to get better,” Williams said. “Moving into a new defense, add some top level talent, add some depth and do some different things. I think it’s all about winning; I think that’s all you can say about it. I think it’s all about winning at this point and those guys are going to help us do it.” Next up on the Bills’ financial short-list: a payraise for running back Fred Jackson. The way things have been going, dating back to last year’s $59-million deal for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jackson should be the next of the Bills to get paid.
Photo by Joe Valenti
It wasn’t hard to imagine a scenario where Stevie Johnson found a new team, but the Bills’ front office never let that be an option.
Attention AFC East (and deer): Mario Williams is in the house By Charles Roberts
On the surface, it looks like defensive end Mario Williams could be just what the doctor ordered for the Buffalo Bills’ long-suffering pass-rush; the 6-foot-6, 295pound first pick in the 2006 NFL Draft is a two-time Pro Bowler who has a penchant for tossing quarterbacks to the turf. After playing the first six years of his career as a member of the Houston Texans, Williams became the biggest—literally and figuratively—defender to hit the free-agent market this offseason. The Bills, looking to put an end to the notion that winning is second fiddle to keeping a balanced budget, put on a three-day, full-court press to obtain him in midMarch. The result: Williams was awarded with a six-year, $100 million contract, including a reported $52 million guaranteed. Boatloads of money notwithstanding, the thought of teaming up with Bills defensive tackles Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams—which, on paper, could arguably be the best defensive line in the league—was a big part of why he ultimately signed on the dotted line. But one of the other non-money-related factors: deer. “That there’s deer in your backyard,” Williams said when asked what besides the money led him to signing with Buffalo. Williams, an avid hunter, was also courted by Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim
mean it was just like going Kelly—also a hunting buff— back.” who invited him into his Bills general manager house. If dinner at Tempo Buddy Nix knew landing the wasn’t enough to lure highly coveted Williams Williams to Western New would take a little extra York, a trip to the Kelly effort, one household that might might have require sealed the phoning a deal. few friends “Even to get negoseeing Jim tiations to Kelly was the next definitely a level. big plus for “ K y l e me. He did Williams some heavy and our re c r u i t i n g players and threw again I have in a couple said this in of hunting the past, ‘If adventures you really and things Photo by Jeff Barnes want to like that,” Mario Williams could be the know the Williams pass-rushing threat the Bills truth about said. have missed. the coaches “I just and the front office, then ask wanted to be somewhere the players that are there,’” where I felt like we got guys Nix said. “We are all in a who are completely honest recruiting mode and we say from players, to the top and the things they want to hear, somewhere where I can fit in but players tell them like it and feel comfortable and Jim is. Kyle and of course exdefinitely helped that as far players like Jim Kelly that as him letting me into his have done a lot with us to house and talking to his wife help this come about has and everything was just great really been a good, long and I couldn’t say no,” he process, but one that has continued. “I mean from been fun. The next and last looking at it apples to apples, group I want to thank is our it’s a family atmosphere here. fans. You drive up Abbott I think the biggest thing is Road and you see all the you go from a big city to a signs that made Mario feel small city or a small city to like he is wanted in Buffalo. big city and then for this Once we got him here and example, for this being, it got him to visit with not the almost feels like a big people that heard about Richlands, [N.C.] which is Buffalo but the people that where I’m from, in case you live here then you find out didn’t know that. It feels like what a unique place this is. a big home atmosphere and I
He is going to help it even get better.” Williams and his fiancée, Erin, reportedly will reside in East Aurora, N.Y. That is, of course, when he’s not punched in at One Bills Drive. He brings the Bills 53 career sacks, including five in a matching number of games played last year. After switching to outside linebacker as a part of the Texans’ move to a 3-4 defensive scheme, Williams suffered a torn pectoral in Week 5, while sacking Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell. The injury, of which he reports to be fully recovered, forced him to be placed on the injured-reserve list, missing the rest of the 2011 season. If he can stay healthy, the Bills certainly hope he
returns to his form from the 2007 and 2008 seasons, when he racked up 14 and 12 sacks, respectively. Bills head coach Chan Gailey was rather matter-offact when discussing how he and Nix decided to go after Williams. “I said [to Nix], ‘Who’s the top guy?’ He said, ‘This guy [Williams].’ And I said, ‘Well, that’s the guy I want, too, then.’ You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out,” Gailey said. While the move wasn’t rocket science, as Gailey pointed out, it has immediately put the Bills back on the national radar, much the way the trade for now-retired quarterback Drew Bledsoe did in 2002. In fact, just four days after the ink dried on Williams’ contract, the Bills
announced that 1,400 new season-tickets were purchased and more than 4,000 were renewed in the same span. “It’s been an exciting week for our organization and Bills fans everywhere,” Russ Brandon, chief executive officer of the Bills, said in a news release. “The recent increase in new season-ticket sales and ticket renewals, along with the traffic numbers on our social media platforms continues to highlight the passion of our fan base.” The Bills will run a minicamp from May 11 to May 13 for rookies and first-year players. If Williams doesn’t participate with the first group, the team returns to action May 29, with organized team activities.
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
From the Publisher Before Andrew Luck heard his named called by the Indianapolis Colts as the first pick in this year’s NFL draft, the Bills were among the off-season’s biggest winners with the acquisition of “Super” Mario Williams. The highest profile and coveted free agent not named Manning, William’s interest in Buffalo was at first questioned in news reports. Amid speculation that Williams was only meeting with the Bills to leverage another franchise for more money, three memorable days in Buffalo, the recommendation of Kyle Williams, an invitation from Jim Kelly and fervent fan support was all it took to convince the defensive end that Buffalo was the place for him. No other visits were necessary. While the Bills’ signing of Williams was certainly the biggest headline coming out of One Bills Drive, the team very prudently resigned key players such as wide receiver Stevie Johnson, tight end
Scott Chandler and veteran placekicker Rian Lindell. Counting Ryan Fitzpatrick’s multiyear deal and the acquisition of defensive end Mark Anderson from the rival Patriots, it is clear that the front office believes in the guys on their roster. The only other order of business they have is locking up running back Fred Jackson who should be receiving a much-deserved pay raise. As the Bills start building up to the start of their season, the Sabres exited with an anti-climactic loss and overtime loss to end their season, finishing just a game and a half out of the eighth playoff spot. Although it didn’t look like the Sabres would go anywhere before the All-Star break when they languished at or near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, they were nearly able to overcome several key injuries to fight their way back into the playoffs. A healthy Ryan Miller helped lead the charge and always
gives the Sabres a fighting chance. Despite calls for their removal, cooler heads have prevailed and all signs indicate that Lindy Ruff and Darcy Regier will be back for another season as the longest tenured head coachgeneral manager tandem in the league. Although the Sabres would prefer not to be golfing in May, it is a great time for Western New Yorkers to hit the links in their own community or make a short trip on the Thruway to try some new courses. This year’s golf directory has all the information you need from course locations and specials to new equipment and clothing. The nice weather is also a great excuse to dust off your bike, oil up the chain and ride one of the many fabulous trails or roadways in Niagara, Buffalo and Rochester. A good and active summer to you.
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Publisher & Editor Marian Giallombardo Associate Editor Jeffrey Levine Feature Writers Paul Adamo, Robert Caico, Rick Davenport, Mike Dyer, Mike Fox, Ivan the Impaler, Ed Kilgore, Joe Kirchmyer, George Kuhn, Jeffrey Levine, Adam McGill, Brian Michalek, Ron Montesano, Len Mytko, Gary Reeves, Charles Roberts, Dave Sully, John Williams, Rick Zurak (golf editor) Chief Photographer Jeff Barnes Staff Photographers Ryan Bartholomew, Bob Conlon, Nick LoVerde, Joe Valenti, Mike Majewski, Holly Malinowski Cover photos Mario Williams & Dick Beyer by Jeff Barnes, Ryan Miller by Joe Valenti Advisory Board: Phil Haberstro, Adam Lingner, Denny Lynch Contributing Writers Pam Borges, Bob Conlon, Leigh De Groot, Kevin Freiheit, Holly Malinowski, Bob Plezia, Dave Ricci, Michael Shaw, Kyle Soppe, Coach Steve, Bob Timkey, Matthew Young Layout & Cover Scott Appleby, Graphic artist Liz Seivert Copy Editors and Office Assistants Len Mytko, Justin Vernold, John Williams Please send your letters, questions, and comments to: Sports & Leisure Magazine, 469 Virginia Street, Buffalo, NY 14202 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, address and phone number or your letter can’t be published. All letters and responses become the property of Sports & Leisure Magazine, they may be printed, and are subject to editing. Sports & Leisure Magazine is circulated throughout Western New York and Southern Ontario. All rights and trademarks reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the express written consent of the publisher is strictly prohibited. ©1997 2012 Sports & Leisure Inc. Facebook: Sports and Leisure Magazine and Hugesportz.com
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
Buffalo Sabres 2001-2012 season review
goal every six regular season games during his prime. But the Goose never scored even a single playoff goal for the Sabres in 38 career playoff games. So what does he do in his first playoffice and said “I’m off game following his not going to fight for trade to Nashville? He those guys up front scores and the anymore. They’re big Predators win the enough to take care of game by one goal. themselves.” Why couldn’t he do “What the hell,” that for the Sabres? Imlach wrote, “It 3. The team has no doesn’t take long for elite level talent. The the other guys who Hockey News recentdon’t fight to catch on. ly published the Then all of a sudden, results of their player everyone is looking poll ranking the NHL’s after themselves as 50 best players. The individuals, not as a Sabres had only one team. It gets around player ranked, Ryan that nobody is going Miller at 47th. to fight my battles for Defending Stanley me, therefore I’m Cup champion going to look after Boston had six playmyself, not take ers ranked ahead of chances. The edge you Miller including both get from having a guy Photo by Joe Valenti of their goaltenders. behind you who’s Flurry at the end of the season helped Drew Stafford get to 20 goals. Their leading scorer, going to take care of Tyler Seguin, wasn’t you if needed is gone. I even ranked. Two players the Sabres faced a Flyers team so tough that he could conshould have traded him that Boston traded away because that had perhaps the worst ceivably thrash the snot out of day.” they detected flaws in their goaltending performance in an oak tree. As a national This is not to draw a paralmakeup, Joe Thornton and the history of playoff goalmagazine noted, “There isn’t a lel between Schoenfeld and Phil Kessel, were both ranked tending but still lost a seven team in the NHL unaware that Gaustad who did face up to among the NHL’s best. Boston game series. In their 2-1 regustarting a brawl with the Lucic in the next game against had either drafted or devellar season loss at Philadelphia Boston Bruins means someone the Bruins. As Punch Imlach oped eight players, 16 percent that eliminated them from is going to have to square off noted back then and Jeremy of the top 50 in the NHL. Is it playoff contention this year, with Zdeno Chara. And since Roenick saw now, the Sabres no coincidence they are the the Sabres held a 1-0 lead into nobody wants that, Boston were missing that edge, that defending Stanley Cup chamthe third period but couldn’t players have a little more freebelief that someone had their pion. Not one Sabres skater add another goal or keep the dom to mow down opposing back. The players had to realwas ranked. Flyers from scoring a pair. goaltenders than, say, Buffalo ize that they were on their 4. The Sabres are too good In the Flyers series, one or players do.” own. Ryan Miller showed the to be great. It takes elite NHL two goals from Paul Gaustad Lucic is also an enforcer new mindset when he was talent to win a championship. at the right time could have with his own deterrent effect, steam-rolled by Jordan Tootoo Every Stanley Cup champion won the series. He averaged a and he certainly knew Chara in his first game back in the was on the ice when he decidlineup following his Lucic ed to ram into Miller. Would induced injuries. He became Lucic have steamrolled Miller his own enforcer, immediately had Chara been on the ice jumping on Tootoo and pumwearing a Sabres uniform at meling him, not waiting for that time? Probably not. But help from a teammate. knowing that Chara had his Imagine if he had broken his back, Lucic took out the hand from punching Tootoo Sabres best player and sent the and been lost to injury. Sabres season spinning into a Players like Lucic and dark hole from which they Tootoo are comfortable preywere unable to recover. ing on the Sabres because the That same magazine noted, team lacks the presence of an “Don’t think that both Milan enforcer. The role of the Lucic and Jordan Tootoo enforcer is to deter opponents weren’t making a very calcufrom physically harming your lated move running right players. The one dimensional through Ryan Miller. I’m not enforcer is now virtually sure there’s a guy who beats extinct. An enforcer must now himself up more over perhave an NHL skill package. ceived injustice, right or The Sabres current enforcer is wrong, than Miller. Hell, the Cody McCormick who scored entire Sabres roster is full of eight goals playing as a fourth damaged psyches.” Those liner in 2010-2011. In comaren’t my words or thoughts parison, former enforcer but it is an interesting perspecAndrew Peters was a more tive which may explain everylimited player who scored thing. only four goals in his entire 2. Sabres haven’t learned 229 game NHL career. how to win when it matters. The best enforcer of all time In 1990 the Sabres lost a hard was probably Larry Robinson fought opening playoff round whose reign began when his to the Boston Bruins. The fans thundering hit on Gary and media in Buffalo regarded Dornhoeffer in the 1976 finals the Bruins as a hated rival. actually dented the boards. Following the Bruins second Robinson was one of the very round victory over Montreal, a best players in the league so he Boston player told me that was on the ice as much as posMontreal was their main rival sible. Opponents were as terriand that the Bruins expected fied of his fists and bodyto beat Buffalo. He went on to checks as they were of his say the Bruins were confident skills, maybe even more so. It that Buffalo couldn’t beat was said that Robinson’s stare them “because the Sabres had was enough to scare away not learned to do all of the opponents. things necessary to win in the The equivalent of Robinson playoffs.” today is Zdeno Chara. Huge That statement also seems and tremendously skilled, to fit the current edition of the Chara plays nearly 30 minutes Sabres. In last year’s playoffs, every game for Boston and is
The year of not good enough By George Kuhn The Sabres much anticipated first full season of the Terry Pegula era ended with a whimper as they finished out of the playoffs in ninth place following their spirited rise from 15th place into the eigth and final playoff spot fell apart with key losses in the final few games. The lost promise of the early Pegula era begs the question, ‘What went wrong?’ 1. The Sabres are not tough enough, physically or mentally. The players may deny it, but their season was lost following their 6-2 loss in Boston on Nov. 12, 2011 when Milan Lucic ran into goalie Ryan Miller and was not made to pay the price. The Sabres reactions in defending their goaltender were timid or nonexistent; timid in not addressing Lucic at that moment and nonexistent when not confronting him later in the game. Paul Gaustad was on the ice at the time of the hit but it was unfair to criticize him for not immediately challenging Lucic. Gaustad was otherwise engaged with man-mountain Zdeno Chara and Nathan Horton. It would be ridiculous to suggest that he could throw those two players aside and then take on Lucic. No player could. But why wasn’t Lucic handled later in the game? The two points were soon out of reach so there would have been nothing to lose in the standings by showing Lucic, the Bruins, and every player in the league, that you can’t take liberties with the Sabres players. But nothing happened. So Miller went down with concussion symptoms and the Sabres went into a tailspin, going 10-18-5 over the next 33 games before the All-Star break. ESPN’s Jeremy Roenick noted during their free fall into last place that the Sabres players were “playing for themselves.” But who could blame them? The Lucic affair was not a good exercise in team building for Buffalo. During the early glory years of the French connection, the era Terry Pegula cut his teeth on, the team relied on the physical presence of players like Jim Schoenfeld and Jerry Korab as much as they did on the scoring of Gil Perreault and Rick Martin. NHL hockey is a contact sport and team success involves blending together skill and toughness. Following their loss in the 1975 finals the Sabres were expected to be a Stanley Cup contender for years but were eliminated early in the playoffs in subsequent seasons. In his book “Heaven and Hell in the NHL,” former Sabres GM Punch Imlach described Jim Schoenfeld as a player of limited ability who played with an edge that caused opponents to give him extra room on the ice. Schoenfeld’s presence also gave his teammates an edge. Imlach said that one day Schoenfeld came in to his
Page 5 since the 2005 lockout, except Detroit, has had at least one first or second overall draft choice in their lineup. In 2009 Pittsburgh had three; Sidney Crosby (1st) Evgeni Malkin (2nd), Marc- Andre Fleury (2nd). Teams generally don’t trade away these elite players. Unless you get a first or second overall pick, you’ll never get a player like Crosby or a Jonathan Toews. So if Buffalo continues to contend for a playoff spot, they will never “earn” a top pick. Hence the paradox, the Sabres are too good to be great. 5. Where do the Sabres go from here? The core group of players includes Ryan Miller (31), Thomas Vanek (28), Jason Pominville (29) and Derek Roy (28). These guys still have a year or two left at top end before they begin the inevitable decline. This team needs to win now but has been unable to do so. Free agents aren’t always the answer but Rick Nash could be a player to help the Sabres move up a level. With two first round and two second round draft picks on board for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the Sabres can swap some picks and players for veteran help while continuing to restock the prospect pool. While Miller and Vanek had subpar seasons due to injuries and should play better next year, these core players are not likely to get any better at this stage of their careers and will need some help from outside the organization to bring that Stanley Cup to Buffalo.
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
Fantasy baseball By Mike Fox We’re just a few weeks into the 2012 season, and fantasy owners are already being reminded that that our imaginary game can sometimes be more confusing than a Ryan Braun urine test. Injuries and slow starts have already planted the seed of doubt into some owners’ minds, making this a good time to prowl the trade waters seeking bargains. Try targeting these players, all of which could produce stat lines that exceed their current perceived value in your league. Jesus Montero has been one of the most closelywatched prospects in baseball over the past two years, to the point where everyone’s 2012 “sleeper pick” is more highly regarded than some established veterans. The Mariners will have to give him regular at-bats just to justify his trade acquisition price (fireballer Michael Pineda), but success may not come immediately for Montero in Seattle’s offensestifling environment. He’s certainly the Montero you want in keeper leagues, but for the short term Arizona’s Miguel Montero might be the ticket. The oft-injured backstop finally showed us last year what he was capable of over a full season (.282-18-86, 65 runs scored), and at age 28, may still not have shown us his career year. Those who don’t mind a bit of risk in their fantasy prospecting should focus on Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt. The 24-year old slugger was named the California League MVP in 2010, led the minors in homers in 2011 before being called up to the majors in August, and smacked eight more dingers in 177 at-bats with the D-Backs. Concerns
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The Cubs hope late-bloomer Bryan LaHair’s minor-league success will translate well in the majors. about his batting average continue to deflate his current fantasy value, but Goldschmidt’s power numbers should stay strong in the desert air, and he could easily add enough stolen bases to allow him to sneak into the top-10 roto 1B rankings. Bryan LaHair’s minorleague success story reads much like Goldschmidt’s, but it’s harder to climb aboard the bandwagon when the “prospect” is 29 years old. The Cubbies have made it clear that they consider Anthony Rizzo their first baseman of the future, but the starting job is LaHair’s for now. He hit 38 homers with Triple-A Iowa last year with an OPS north of 1.000, and that’s tantalizing no matter how old a player is. He’ll get plenty of at-bats in the heart of the Chicago batting order, making him a fine
fantasy value play, especially if he’ll also maintain OF eligibility in your league. Speaking of stolen bases, Dee Gordon is about to help Matt Kemp make the L.A. base paths look like a race track. Gordon swiped a whopping 156 bags over the past three years in the minors, then added 24 more in just 224 atbats with the Dodgers. If you’re looking for power numbers at the shortstop hole, well, look elsewhere, but Gordon’s plate discipline should allow him to reach base often enough to challenge Michael Bourn for the NL stolen base crown, and he’ll score plenty of runs at the top of the Dodger lineup. Father Time might be offering two veteran outfielders a reprieve this year. Michael Cuddyer has come to be viewed as a safe but unspectacular fantasy play after 11 seasons toiling for the Twinkies, but his off-season move to Colorado could well result in an uptick in his stat line across the board. Thirty homers are a possibility here, and Todd Helton’s age and balky back will ensure that Cuddyer retains 1B/OF eligibility again next year, an extra teaser for keeper league owners. Jayson Werth may have been the biggest fantasy disappointment of 2011. In my home league, he was disdainfully referred to as “Jayson Werth-less,” posting a meager .232-20-58-19 line after signing an eight-year megadeal with the Washington Nationals. I’m still willing to give him a mulligan, however. His stats improved markedly in the second half of last year, and the Bryce Harper Era will be starting soon, bringing added protection to the Nats’ lineup, so Werth should show that last season was the aberration, not his strong 2009 and 2010 campaigns. Buy low, and enjoy.
Body checking: Concussions out of control in minor hockey By Gary Reeves In 2006 the Canadian TV P r o g r a m Disclosure recently aired a study related to 9-year-old kids and body checking in hockey, which they revealed to be extremely f l a w e d . However the CHA (Canadian Hockey Association) says that in the study the flaws weren’t significant. Disclosure didn’t buy it. They showed an 11-year-old in a Toronto Sick Children Hospital being operated on to pin a crushed wrist that could have led to a permanent disability. He was a recipient of a cheap shot that not only crushed his wrist but knocked him out cold. A pilot project was instituted on what would happen if 10 and 11-yearolds were allowed to hit. The study concluded that if it were allowed there would not be an increase in injuries, so a 20-year ban on body checking at these levels was lifted. Disclosure claims that the man most responsible for the major rule change is John Gardner, president of the Greater Toronto Hockey League who claims that hitting is part of the game and that kids should be taught to hit no matter how old they are. Denny Bernard of Laval University conducted numerous studies on the subject and was appalled at Gardner’s stand. He said that in his studies he proved a high rate of injuries do occur at these levels where body checking was allowed in comparison to teams that do not body check. Bernard states that the current conditions are unacceptable and that the 20-year ban on body checking with 9-yearolds should be reinstituted. Disclosure revealed the original study by a Toronto professor was flawed and after a discussion with the professor on his study, he admitted to his miscalculations and said he made a serious mistake. This professor now claims there are four times the injuries when body checking was allowed. When Disclosure approached the spokesperson for the CHA on the reversal of the original study, he said that the problem according to his documents wasn’t significant
enough to change. The reporter then pointed out that not only the professor who conducted the study but the two independent researchers who worked on the project felt there was a significant difference. The end result: the CHA decided to act on this matter at its next meeting. My personal opinion; young hockey players are neither mentally nor physically prepared to play the game incorporating body checking. Players from seven to 14 years of age should be taught all the basic skill levels on how to go around a player not through him. I would also like to point out the difference in the growth rate of many youngsters. I have a 10-year-old student that weighs 140 pounds. Can you imagine him body checking another 10-yearold at 50-60 pounds? It is now 2012, six years later, and injuries have increased with the physical problems of premature body checking in our minor hockey system. This has graduated into something far more serious called concussions. Body checking in my opinion should start no earlier than 14-years-old when development begins. Prior to 14, we should be training young hockey players on how to take their opponents out by using leverage and not by charging their check in open ice or on the boards with all the physical strength they can muster. This is why minor hockey has a 70 percent dropout by the age of 14. Many of these smaller kids will physically mature faster and play the game with more intensity than many of the 9 to 14year-old bullies who are inflicting pain on them now. However, intimidation along with cuts and fractures isn’t the only reason to be an early dropout in minor hockey. Recently there is another frightening reason and that is the alarming rate of concussions being reported. The Toronto Star reported two young hockey players out with serious concussions, both at 12 years old. The one 12 year-old received a second concussion after being cross
checked into the boards. After this his parents pulled him out of contact hockey. I personally know of two 12year-old boys that are out of hockey for the rest of the season commencing in January. So what are the remedies? 1. My suggestion would be to take body checking out of the game for these age groups who are not mentally, physically or emotionally prepared to do so. 2. Train coaches to train young hockey players in high skill levels of puck control, passing, shooting, and evasive moves, both offensively and defensively. This incorporates an instructor who knows the mechanics required to perform these moves and the drills created using these mechanics. Teach them how to spin off a board check, an evasive move consistently used in the NHL. 3. Train coaches to teach the young hockey player to take opponents out of the play by using leverage. If an opposing player is carrying a puck along the boards don’t meet him shoulder to shoulder and try to put him through the boards, you will more than likely go down yourself since he has the support of the boards. Simply get a half stride on him, cut in with your shoulder making contact slightly below and inside his outer shoulder, now come up and in, forcing his shoulder behind him towards the boards. What you’ve created is a twisting of your opponent’s upper body whereby his hips must follow, consequently his feet will tangle and down he goes. At the same time you slide your stick under his, disarming the puck, and away you go! Martial arts are an excellent example of using leverage. 4. When you are racing your opponent to the boards try not to beat him to the puck unless you are absolutely sure you can come out first. If not, turn and fight your opponent off into the boards to gain possession. Never turn your back on your opponent. This will save you many a broken wrist, shoulder, knee or last but not least a serious concussion!! For more information or questions about private or team tutoring, call Gary Reeves at 905.384.0508 or e m a i l , Cochrane@vaxxine.com.
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
Sabres make right decision to keep Regier and Ruff
By Ed Kilgore Ch2 Sports Director He meant well, of course, and he was deadly serious when he said the Sabres sole reason for existence was to win a Stanley Cup or Cups, but owner Terry Pegula also set the bar a bit higher than circumstances warranted heading into the 2011-2012 season. My gut tells me Pegula is just as frustrated and disappointed as most Sabres fans are after a late and exciting late season charge fell three points short of a playoff spot in a league where more teams make the playoffs than don’t. But my gut also tells me Pegula’s life experiences and ups and downs are why he did not follow the advice of many by “blowing things up” in the offseason. It might have been tempting to fire GM Darcy Regier and even coach Lindy Ruff for a “fresh start,” but that would be foolish and he knows that. Foolish, because there simply isn’t a better coach out there, and as one NHL executive told me late in the season, “if anything, Ruff deserves a ton of credit for keeping the team focused for a late season run when just about everything that could go wrong went wrong.” As for GMs, Regier has had more hits than misses, and it is now quite obvious he’s been given unfair blame for some previous ownership shortcomings. In their 14 year tenure, the duo of Regier and Ruff have won more than 56 percent of their games both in the regular season and in the playoffs. That number might have been even better with capable ownership. There simply are no Stanley Cup winners who lack GREAT ownership, no matter WHO the GM or coach might be, and the Sabres now have that ownership in Pegula. This doesn’t mean there won’t be changes, and there will be changes in this offseason that may even involve a longtime Sabre favorite or two.
Ryan Miller will not be one of those changes, nor should he be. Forget all the rumors about how his mid-season struggles were due to the fact his movie star wife lived out west, which is where his heart really was, etc. Moving past a concussion or two had everything to do with his slump, and that slump also dragged the team down with him. Miller is not the only reason the Sabres lost 12 straight on the road—a playoff killer if ever there was one—nor is he the only reason the Sabres were one of THE best teams in the NHL from February on. But he was certainly the key to the late run, and he remains the key to any legitimate hopes of a Cup coming to Buffalo in the next few years. We can argue all day about whether or not Miller is the best, or one of the five best, etc., but we can’t argue that acquiring a better goaltender than Miller is a virtual impossibility. Miller isn’t the only untouchable Sabre, although there aren’t many I would put in that category. You might be surprised at my second most untouchable Sabre, but that would be Tyler Ennis. OK, he’s not very big at 5-foot-9, 157 pounds (holding a bag of pucks), but Ennis PLAYS big—and FAST. Along with Miller, his success after Ruff moved him to center was huge in the late season surge, and also made it easy to see Ennis as a rising star in the NHL at 22. Ennis played only 48 games last season, and his speed and creativity were sorely missed. He finished with 15 goals, 19 assists and was a team high plus 11. One NHL scout pointed out to me from the press box one night how opposing defensemen begin backing up the moment Ennis is anywhere near the puck, which is respect not shown to many players of any age. He’s smart, and he doesn’t mind sticking his nose into the traffic around the net. Whether he’s a No.1 center or not, he’ll be a very large part of the Sabres of 2012-2013.
No big surprise here, but another youngster who already has a permanent locker in Buffalo is forward Marcus Foligno. He paid his dues in Rochester but clearly was good enough to play with the big team earlier, but in the end, the Rochester experience probably helped him. He has his dad’s (Mike) offensive skills and tenacity, but he’s bigger and stronger (6-foot-3, 227 pounds) and an ideal NHL power forward with a tremendous future. Foligno almost willed the Sabres into the playoffs after a late call up with six goals and seven assists in 14 games while posting a plus six rating and several board-rattling hits. He’s 20 years old! How in the world he lasted until the fourth round in 2009 is a mystery, but give the Sabres credit for landing him, because there are MANY teams who’d love to have him now. It was the Sabres belief in Foligno that gave them the will to ship Zack Kassian to Vancouver to obtain yet another quality young center in Cody Hodgson, who at 22 was in the running for the Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year. Hodgson was the Canucks’ first round pick (10th overall) in 2009 and after a slow start in Buffalo he finished strongly. I’m NOT putting Hodgson in the “untouchable” category just yet, but he’s close. As far as Kassian was concerned, the “inside” story I’ve gotten about him from a veteran NHL scout is that the Sabres and virtually everybody else thought he was a big, physical player with a “mean streak” that could give the Sabres some physical toughness they’d been lacking. As it turns out, that player in juniors was not the real Kassian. He was bigger and stronger at that level and used his size to be noticed, but in reality, Kassian (I’m told) viewed himself as a skill player who simply knew he had to be physical to get noticed. The Sabres figured this out after he all but disappeared in Rochester. Kassian scored a goal against the Sabres in the first game after the trade, and a lot
of folks thought maybe the Sabres had made a big mistake. Well, it turns out that was the ONLY goal Kassian scored in 17 games with the Canucks. Wonder if the Canucks would make that deal now? The other Sabre untouchables would be Tyler Myers, and captain Jason Pominville. Pominville was a model of consistency with 30 goals, and it’s pretty obvious in hindsight a concussion had everything to do with a bit of an off year in 2010-2011. He’s a great leader who brings it night after night, can kill penalties and score big goals. Who’ll ever forget him out battling Alex Ovechkin for the puck along the boards before scoring a shorthand goal that helped the Sabres whip the Caps 5-1 in a late and meaningful game in DC? His teammates voted him their MVP, and that speaks volumes. That’s it for the untouchables, so you’ll notice I’ve left Thomas Vanek off the list, and trust me, I like Vanek a lot. But you have to give up something to get something, and even with Vanek’s big price tag, he would garner interest as part of a deal. Vanek admits he did play hurt most of last season and he still has the potential to score 40 or more goals, which
means he’s still valuable. The Sabres also have (give Regier credit on this one) an extra first-round draft pick from Nashville for Paul Gaustad, which can also be used as “currency” in part of a deal. I like Vanek not only for his goal scoring touch, and, despite a late season slump that was no doubt in part due to injuries, he plays hard both ways and is willing to take the punishment in front of the net some players shy away from. One more blessing about having an owner with deep pockets, is that Vanek’s seven million a year contract won’t be a stumbling block in any possible negotiation if the Sabres identify a player they really want. I’ve also left Drew Stafford off the untouchable list, but I’d also be cautious about trading him unless it’s to obtain a targeted player, because he had such good chemistry with Ennis and because he’s only 26 and does have size and offensive skills as a former first round pick. It is no gimme to find 20 goal scorers of that ilk. Derek Roy is still a skillful and talented center, but not a No.1 center, and he could also be dangled as trade bait, although there were no takers for him during this season
Let’s play hockey Community Sports Report
The 2012 Paul Grundtisch Hockey Schools Summer Programs is set for its 34th year of teaching at various hockey schools throughout the U.S. and Canada. This summer will feature three specialized programs held at Holiday Twin Rinks in Cheektowaga or Leisure Rinks in Orchard Park. These include the Shooting & Stickhandling School, Power Skating & Skills School and the Defensemen School. The Shooting & Stickhandling School will be held July 9-12 at Leisure Rinks and is for intermediate to advanced skaters aged 913. The school will cover all the shots of the game with
basic to advanced shooting drills to reinforce the many techniques and tricks you’ll learn. A great deal of time will be devoted to different game type situations that require shots such as the “one timer,” the off-wing shot, rebounds, point shots and many more. Two sessions will be offered, 10 a.m. or 12:45 p.m. and will consist of one hour and 45 minutes of ice time per session with a 15-minute break. The Power Skating & Skills School will be offered three times this summer. Each session will be divided into two age groups of intermediate to advanced players ages 6-9 or 9-13. There will be separate sessions July 30-
we’re told. There are several other Sabres I like, like Christian Ehrhoff and some younger players, but any of them could be expendable if the Sabres can upgrade. I certainly love Angola’s own Patrick Kaleta, who is a terrific physical asset when healthy, but his style of play means we never know when he will or won’t be in the lineup. This will be a very interesting offseason, because Pegula will be emotionally and financially ready to pursue players who’ll improve this team, and Regier and his staff will have the green light to go after them. Despite the disappointment, the Sabres still finished seven games over .500 despite a horrific mid-season slump, and with an upgrade or two both up front and behind the blue line, they can contend for a division title very soon. A Cup? Let’s see what happens next year before we make any predictions. One prediction I’ll make here though is that another playoff miss means ALL bets are off from GM to coach to players, and don’t think they don’t know that while they’re out playing golf while everybody else is playing.
Aug 3, Aug 6-10 and Aug 20-24. The classes feature a program designed to improve the player’s total performance and will consist of power skating instruction with various high-paced drills to reinforce these techniques. The Defensemen School will be held July 23-26 at Leisure Rinks from 10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. for players 10-13 years old. This unique school has been developed to improve a player’s total defensive skill and all aspects of the defenseman’s role in today’s game. Emphasis will be on skating techniques and puck control (shooting, stick-handling and passing) necessary to not only be a strong defenseman, but also as an offensive-minded defenseman.
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
Western New York, a cyclist’s paradise By Bob Timkey The French Alps, Napa Valley, San Diego, the Adirondacks…these are just a few regions where cyclists are known to gravitate for world class cycling routes, scenery and challenge. Lucky for us, Western New York offers its own brand of scenery and challenge on par with some of the best routes in the world. Niagara County If we’re going to start in my county, we might as well start as far north as we can. Route 18 begins in the picturesque town of Lewiston, situated on the east bank of the lower section of the Niagara River (lower, meaning, down river from Niagara Falls). This route runs northward, parallel to the river, for about five miles before it turns eastward and closely hugs the south shore of Lake Ontario offering spectacular views of deep blue waters stretching beyond the horizon. You can follow this road all the way to the outskirts of Rochester if you wish. This route’s proximity to the open water makes it susceptible to the elements: wind, rain, sleet, and cooler temperatures, which vary by season and lake conditions. Depending on your relationship with your bike, these elements may be a welcome challenge to augment your training, or a good reason to pedal south. So, check a current weather report before you pedal toward the lake and pack a windbreaker in your jersey pocket, even on warm days. You never know. Route 104 also runs east to west, parallel to Route 18, about five miles to the south.
This well-travelled highway also begins as the main drag in Lewiston, called Center Street and extends eastward. Along the way, a cyclist will find Route 104 to be very kind with wide, well-marked shoulders most of the way. The route is used by motorists, commuters, weekend day trippers and truckers so it is well supplied with charming conveniences such as family operated gas stations, diners, antique shops, fruit stands and the like. While Route 104 rolls through the countryside past farms and century old towns, you won’t find the landscape too hilly or challenging. If you are looking for a challenge, and would prefer it come more from gravity than the unforgiving gusts along the lake, the Niagara Escarpment awaits you. This geographic ridge is the same feature that results in the Niagara River plummeting over 180 feet to form Niagara Falls. This is a truly beautiful, challenging and historically significant region of New York State. And, for a gritty cyclist intent on earning his chops the old fashioned way, it’s a playground. Route 104, described above, runs along the base of this ridge. Any southward turn in Niagara County will earn you a hard fought gain in elevation until you reach Lower Mountain or Upper Mountain Road. At which point, you are welcome to turn around and zoom back down to 104 until the next crossroads opportunity to challenge the ridge. In this manner, you
Deep water running By Leigh DeGroot, PT, DPT You’ve probably heard of aquafit, aquacize, water therapy, water aerobics or water exercise as something your mother or grandmother attends with her lady friends, but it is becoming so much more than that! Whether you are a runner, tri-athlete, someone recovering from an injury or just looking for a great workout, deep water running may be just the thing for you! I began teaching water aerobics five years ago and have since learned more about water exercise for seniors, those with arthritis or rehabilitating from an injury and individuals looking for a great, low-impact workout. But it wasn’t until two years ago when I was introduced to deep water running. Deep water running (aka Runners Clinic or Totally Tethered) consists of participants donning a floatation belt, hopping into the deep end of a pool, and perform-
Photo: Christopher Koenig, PT, DPT, MBA
In the pool about to start deep water running training. ing a running motion just like you would on land. During a typical workout an instructor will start with a simple warm-up to slowly increase the heart rate and prepare the muscles to work. During the bulk of the class, participants will perform various intervals and training drills including pyramids, burst activities intervals with varying on/off times. Finally, you will finish
can ride hills all day in Niagara County until your quads burst. Erie County While Erie County is characterized by the City of Buffalo and its many suburban neighbors, plenty of spacious, undeveloped outdoors falls within its borders, especially in the Southtowns. Even within the city limits, there are bike path choices to consider. The “UB Bike Path” is a popular, smooth asphalt path through clean and well-kept parks that avoids high traffic intersections and roadways. A reliable map of this path and others in Amherst, NY can be found, http://eap.buffa-
lo.edu/aom/documents/bike path.pdf The bike trail between the impossible-to-miss south Grand Island Bridge (Interstate 1-90) and River Road in Tonawanda is a favorite among recreational cyclists, rollerbladers, runners and lovebirds walking hand in hand. As the description implies, this trail is subject to a bit of congestion and slower moving traffic so it’s a better choice for a leisurely beach cruiser spin than for a serious training or fitness ride. Choose this path for its people watching opportunities on a warm summer evening along the Niagara River.
Once you leave the city limits and follow any route south from Buffalo, you’re sure to encounter rolling hills, leading to challenging climbs as New York State’s topography begins to hint of ski country. Some favorite routes to test your strength and endurance include 20A, which is rather straight with rolling hills. This is a highly trafficked route with clean asphalt and wide shoulders. A four-mile route in East Aurora comes highly recommended by Buffalo area triathletes and cyclists. Connect Knox, Willardshire, and Seneca/Buffalo Street for some interesting turns interspersed with flat straightaways. And, no article on cycling in Erie County can be complete without mentioning Chestnut Ridge. Simply find Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park on a map and go explore. Any further description would deny you the opportunity to discover this wonderful public area for yourself. Pack a picnic lunch and a blanket and bring your road bike, mountain bike, or cruiser. Visit http://www2.erie.gov/parks/i ndex.php?q=chestnut-ridge to plan your escape. Monroe County Route 104, the cycling jewel of Niagara County, described above, extends its wide shoulders and simple virtues all the way through Rochester, Monroe County and beyond. One could choose to follow Route 104 east, past Oswego where it eventually terminates at Route 81, just North of Syracuse. This 180-mile stretch from Lewiston to Mexico, N.Y. could easily
with a cool-down and stretching sequence to slow the heart rate and prevent delayed onset muscle soreness. Movement patterns consist of the basic running motion as you would perform on land with the addition of movements such as jumping jacks, crosscountry skiing, flutter kick, cycling, and abdominal exercises. This is not your grandmother’s type of water aerobics! As stated above, deep water running is a great method for cross training, recovering from an injury, or changing/modifying your fitness program. Cross training is important for any athlete to help prevent injuries. Most people will head to the gym to cycle, row, weight train or do yoga, but have not experienced the benefits water has to offer. Running in water closely mimics land running, has no compressive forces through the joints and can challenge your cardiovascular system the same if not more than land running. Water running challenges the same muscles as land
running with the added bonus of the resistance the water has to offer. Slowly increase your intensity over time as your muscles adapt to the water’s resistance and buoyancy. If you have an injury, especially one in the lower limbs, deep water running will allow you to continue your exercise regimen and maintain or improve your current fitness level all while limiting the compressive forces on your joints to allow your body to heal. Injuries that can benefit from water training include (but are not limited to): stress fractures; knee and ankle sprains/tears; IT band tightness; and injuries from falls/motor vehicle accidents. It is important to listen to your body and pace yourself during water sessions (especially in the beginning) to ensure your body adapts appropriately to the new form of exercise, your technique is good, and you are not aggravating your injury. Finally, no matter what your favorite form of exercise is, it is important to
switch it up every so often. Your musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems adapt to whatever form of exercise you enjoy so changing the type of exercise will keep your body changing and improving. Here are some tips: • Try to mimic your land running pattern as closely as possible. • Keep your hands closed in a fist. • Keep your head in a neutral position (eyes looking straight ahead) as much as possible to prevent strain to your neck muscles. • Ensure that your legs are pumping straight down and back to prevent unnecessary torque on the knee and ankle joints. • Wear water shoes and/or webbed gloves to increase intensity. • Expect a lower cadence compared to land running due to the added resistance of the water. • Ease into a program as this will be a new work-out for your muscles; don’t overdo it the first time out! • Drink lots of water
Photo courtesy Bob Timkey
Western New York offers plenty of options for cycling from leisurely bike paths, to winding asphalt ribbons to off-road trails.
constitute a two or three day ride, even for an accomplished endurance cyclist. Considering you’ll likely be a long way from home at the end of this stretch and need to pedal your way back, you could lose yourself for the better part of a week on this friendly highway while enjoying the fruits of the land, meeting the people and shaking the hands that toiled the very soil that produced your meals and your scenic view of Western New York from the cockpit of your bike. So, why look any further? Because we haven’t even left the asphalt yet! Monroe County is currently conducting a pilot program to assess the effect of off-road bicycling on nonpaved pathways. Trails in two Monroe County Parks have been designated to host the pilot: Irondequoit Bay Park West and Tryon Park. This is an open invitation to take your knobby tires to some excellent trails, previously reserved only for hikers. Of course, this program is also our opportunity, as cyclists, to earn the approval for additional trails to be open for cycling throughout New York State. Rules must be followed: helmets are required; cyclists must yield to hikers; no littering. Trail riding is restricted to designated shared-use trails and is not allowed on footpaths or other non-designated areas. Trails will be patrolled by volunteer members of the National Mountain Bike Patrol. For more information and trail maps, visit, http://www.monroecounty.gov/ off_road_cycling_pilot_program Bob Timkey is an outdoor enthusiast and Ironman distance triathlete who lives and trains in Western New York.
before, during and after. It won’t feel like you are sweating because you are in water but you still need to replenish fluids. • If you experience lower limb cramps, increase your water intake about two hours prior to your session to decrease the lactate build up in the muscles. • Remember that your heart rate will be about 10 beats per minute (bpm) lower in water than on land secondary to the compression forces the water places on your body. I hope you will consider deep water running as an adjunct to your physical activity regimen and discover for yourself the many benefits it has to offer! Leigh de Groot is a Doctor of Physical Therapy at McGuire Group’s Harris Hill location and a Water Fitness Instructor at West Park Pool and the soon opening Kiwanis Aquatic Facility in St. Catharines, Ontario. If you have any questions about Deep Water Running, please contact Leigh at email@example.com.
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
Doctari’s Fishing Forum
with Rich Davenport
Early spring puts fish ahead of schedule The warmest March on record, on the heels of a milder than normal winter, has fish movements well ahead of seasonal norms, creating early excitement for panfish anglers, while leaving stream-searching trout trekkers in the cold. Although the volatile and chilly April weather kept water temperatures from skyrocketing, conditions are set up for May fishing to seem more like early to mid-June. Trout and Salmon Lake Erie tributaries, normally highly productive steelhead waters through early May, show low water levels due to lack of snowpack runoff, resulting in few fish running upstream from Lake Erie during the traditional peak of the spring runs. Although the major streams like Cattaraugus Creek, Eighteen Mile Creek and Chautauqua Creek show enough water for fish to move in and out, a hefty early run of suckers and smallmouth bass, not normally seen until mid to late April, often prove to
offer the better bite, as crystalclear waters have steelhead on high alert. A sucker spawn fly worked with persistence delivers some strikes during low light periods, but expect this opportunity to disappear earlier than normal. Lake Ontario streams also see higher movement of bass and other species, but boaters have enjoyed an earlier start to the brown trout runs as well as a seemingly earlier start to the spring salmon feed. Boaters and pier casters concentrating near creek mouths, like at Olcott and Oak Orchard harbors, find hot action trolling stickbaits and spoons over depths of less than 30 feet. Chinook salmon already begin to set up for the spring feed off Wilson Harbor and the Niagara Bar, with Chinook showing in sizes over 20 pounds already, nearly a month ahead of schedule. Expect salmon movements to dig deeper as we get into May. Lake Erie Yellow Perch The warm weather and lack of ice this year has perch seekers smiling ear to ear, as
we need not wait for ice to clear to get boats over the productive 50 to 60 foot depths over hot perch grounds off Sturgeon Point, Cattaraugus Creek and Dunkirk Harbor. Emerald shiners vertically presented just a few feet off bottom draws strikes from hefty Lake Erie “jack” perch during all hours of the day, with action seeming to rise and subside as feeding and near-spawn schools aggressively move about in search of forage and mates. This is the time of year when perch are at their heaviest, and populations of ringbacks in the Eastern Basin shows far higher than in years past—good news for anglers seeking to fill freezers to make up for the lack of ice fishing action. Calico Bass One of WNY’s prized panfish, calico bass (more commonly called crappie) typically begin their spring spawning activity shortly after ice out, yet many waters showed little to no ice this season, putting crappie in the spawning patterns early. Barge canal out-
Buffalo Raceway’s calendar filled with excitement By Matthew G. Young harness racing season and two on March 30. The include 3-year-old colt and winning ticket only paid Buffalo Raceway is about filly trotters, along with four $2.70 for two dollar wager, halfway through their curseparate races for 2-year-old even though one of the winrent meet and the harness horses; colt and filly trotters ning horses paid $29.80 for racing excitement is still and pacers. a win bet. After a thorough building. This past March, According to Buffalo investigation by the track they hosted a series of handRaceway’s Jonathan Cramer, officials and the New York icapping contests at the the New York Sire Stakes State Racing and Wagering track during four Saturdays “have changed [a] little bit Board, it was revealed that in March. For each of these this year. The Excelsior an offsite bettor had risked qualifiers, the top five indiSeries is being held [in $4,328 on the daily double, viduals entered in the conBuffalo] for the first test advanced to the time in recent years. finals, which were I’m looking forward held on April 14. Out to that,” Two standof the 20 finalists, out horses that Dave Nowakowski Cramer hopes will took home the grand perform at Buffalo prize of $1,500. The Raceway for this top five places all had event includes Heston cash awards given. Blue Chip and One new twist for this Forever Just. These year’s contest was that two horses had a the qualifying rounds Photo by Paul White combined winnings also had a payout of 2011 New York Sire Stakes 2 Year Old total of over $400,000 $75 to the person Colt Pace Champion Heston Blue Chip as 2-year-olds. Heston with the highest point cruised to victory at Buffalo Raceway Blue Chip was the total. About 125 peolast July as a two year old. He will look overall 2011 2-yearple participated in to continue his winning ways as a 3 old pace champion of this event over the year-old on Saturday May 12 when the the New York Sire course of the month New York Sire Stakes kick off. Stakes and plans on of March, making it a defending his title in the 3thus drastically lowering very competitive contest. year-old division this year. the amount that double bet Recently, Buffalo Raceway Last year, he finished first in paid out. Buffalo Raceway is announced that they would all but one NYSS race. His compensating fans for this be having a $6,000 voucher lone second place occurred odd outcome with the free giveaway for the weekend of at Vernon Downs on August betting vouchers. the Belmont Stakes, June 8 11. Besides the start of the through June 10. Due to an The current meeting at Triple Crown, this May unforeseen action in a Buffalo Raceway goes until brings forth the return of March 30 daily double bet, Sunday, July 22. After this, the New York Sire Stakes to the officials at Buffalo they also hold simulcast Buffalo Raceway. This event Raceway agreed that they racing and wagering will kick off on May 12 with would give away betting Wednesday through Sunday the 3-year-old colt pacers vouchers to some lucky for the major thoroughbred racing. The series includes individuals that come out and standardbred horse raceight separate race days at for the final leg of thoroughing tracks around North Buffalo Raceway. Other bred racing’s Triple Crown. America within their races that will go on The daily double bet in Clubhouse. throughout the rest of the question involved races one
ings show excellent crappie activity in close proximity to down trees fallen over deeper waters. Emerald shiners set about two to three feet below a float draws hungry calicoes when presenting very tight to structure. Expect to lose some gear when seeking canal-running crappie. Chautauqua Lake crappie action is heating up in the open waters over emerging weed beds found in the lake’s south basin. Lakewood waters to grass and rock island near Celeron, draws packs of boats in search of calicos. Concentrate efforts over eight feet of water, presenting minnow-tipped jigs down about five feet for best action. State of Lake Erie Meeting Info The State of Lake Erie meeting on April 12 at the new Southtowns Walleye Associations facility on Southwestern Boulevard offered insight into not only the population estimates of highly prized gamefish, but also spoke to the lower trophic conditions of the shallowest and most productive of the five Great Lakes. Although problems associated with agricultural and municipal runoff show higher impacts to the fertile western basin waters, the deeper and more stable waters of our eastern basin show near-perfect conditions for all gamefish species prevalent in waters from Buffalo to Barcelona. Increased concerns over raw sewage outflows to Lake Erie and other Great Lakes were discussed, as increased pharmaceutical contamination in our waters of life show impacts to behavior of some prey fish species, as well as document physiological changes to small numbers of smallmouth bass. Until longneeded upgrades to our wastewater treatment system
Photo by Eric Boehnke
Big yellow perch are popping on Lake Erie, as Rich Davenport shows during a recent outing to the “perch grounds.” (sewers and treatment plants) are finally addressed, this problem will only grow in severity. Upcoming Events Several Family Fishing clinics get underway in WNY. A quick list of free events for May/ June as follows: 5/5/2012 Boston Conservation Kids Fishing Derby, for more info, call Dave Woodworth at (716) 5493515. 6/2/2012 – East Aurora Fish & Game “Teach Me to Fish” – For more info, call Dave Barus at (716) 5974081. 6/9/2012 – Erie County Federation Family Fishing Clinic – Tifft Farms – For more info, call Dave Barus at (716) 597-4081. 6/16/2012 – Buffalo Riverfest – For more info call Peg Overdorf at (716) 5538350.
6/23/2012 – Erie County Federation Family Fishing Clinic – Chestnut Ridge Park - For more info call Dave Barus at (716) 597-4081. Remember, take a kid fishing, and give the gift that lasts a lifetime. Rich Davenport is cofounder of WeLoveOutdoors.com, an avid Outdoorsman and member of the NYSOWA. His works are also published in NY Outdoor News, Walleye.com and the Buffalo News. Rich is also the recording secretary for the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, secretary of the Western New York Environmental Federation, member of the Erie County Fisheries Advisory Board and is the co-chairman and Region 9 Rep NYSCC Big Game Committee. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
with Mike Dyer
Topps Baseball Heritage amazes fans of game When I think of popular baseball sets from the 1960s, I immediately think of the 1963 Topps set. It usually draws oohs and ahhs from collectors based in Niagara Falls to Rochester. It is known for the rookie cards of Pete Rose and Willie Stargell. The ‘63 set also includes cardboards for Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Warren Spahn, Sandy Koufax, Hank Aaron, Robin Roberts, Yogi Berra, Frank Robinson, Whitey Ford, Ed Mathews, Lou Brock, Ernie Banks, Al Kaline, Roberto Clemente, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Carl Yastrzemski, Harmon Killebrew, Duke Snider, Billy Williams and Brooks Robinson. Topps made a lot of collectors happy last month when it unveiled the 2012 Topps Heritage set. This 500-card set (with scarce numbers 426 to 500) gives us close-up views of the best players in the game today. The set is based on the 1963 Topps design with colorful and well-photographed cards. The backs are easy to read and the numbers are large enough for dinosaurs like me to see easily. Career statistics are found on the card backs. The Yankees Alex Rodriguez is shown standing with his bat on card No. 361. Fans have to wonder if A-Rod will bounce back from his 16 home runs in 2011. He started the season with 629 career home runs. You have to smile when you see San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson with his long black beard on No. 325. If you’re a fan of retired Jorge Posada, you’ll find his last card at No. 330. Posada finished his career with a .273 batting average and 275 homers. I get a kick out of smiling exYankee Bobby Abreu on No. 335. My favorite card could be No. 348 with the Detroit Tigers Miguel
Cabrera offering a rare smile. Obviously, he’s thinking of how he terrorized opposing pitchers in 2011 with a .344 average, 30 homers and 105 RBI. Cabrera has a .317 lifetime average and is nearing Hall of Fame talk. Here are
the top cards in the set with the card number in brackets: Josh Beckett (28); Cliff Lee (56); Carlos Santana (72); Buster Posey (85); Joey Votto (90); Roy Halladay (91); Johan Santana (93); Tim Lincecum (106); Vladimir Guerrero (108); Jacoby Ellsbury (115); Hanley Ramirez (122); Ryan Howard (161); Jose Reyes (174); Evan Longoria (177); Mark Teixeira
(183); Joe Mauer (186); Matt Holliday (190); Curtis Garnderson (200); Felix Hernandez (246); Robinson Cano (264); Ryan Braun (276); Matt Kemp (279); Adrian Gonzalez (285); Mariano Rivera (289); Albert Pujols (290); Stephen Strasburg (291); Carlos Beltran (300); Jorge P o s a d a (330); Miguel C a b r e r a (348); Alex Rodriguez (361); Matt Moore (391); Prince Fielder (476) and David Ortiz (482). My grade for the set is A-. BIG SHOW: Amherst sports card show promoter Rob Schilling is beaming after his very successful two-day show in April at the Hearthstone Manor in Depew. “Feedback from the regular dealers was extremely positive,” Schilling told me. Schilling says the date for the fall show will be announced after the Buffalo Bills announce their 2012 schedule. Mark down April 7 as the date for the 2013 show at the Hearthstone. L o c k p o r t ’s Dave Mattiuzzo won a seat from the old Buffalo Aud at the big card show. Some 85 dealers (covering 115 tables) set up. Next show is slated for May 9 at Leonard VFW Post on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga. The free admission show starts at 5 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m. A retired sportswriter and author of two books, Mike Dyer now lives in Cheektowaga. He votes for the Baseball Hall of Fame and can be found at most area sports card shows. You can contact him at email@example.com.
NHL Playoffs trivia quiz By Mike Fox a. 10 b. 13 Even though our c. 15 Sabres fell a bit short d. 17 of the mark, it’s hard 7. What was the last not to get enthused team to win backabout the grind that is to-back Stanley the NHL playoffs, Cups? when sports fans are a. Edmonton treated to the best Oilers hockey of the year. b. Pittsburgh 1. Who is the only Penguins active player ever to c. Detroit Red score 15 goals in one Wings playoff year? d. Montreal a. Johan Franzen Canadiens b. Henrik 8. Brett Hull is the Zetterberg career leader in c. Sidney Crosby playoff shots on d. Marian Hossa goal with 803. Who 2. There have been 20 ranks second with occasions in which a 730? goaltender has won 16 a. Claude games in one playoff Lemieux year, most recently b. Chris Chelios Tim Thomas. Who c. Ray Bourque was the first to win Photo by Joe Valenti d. Brendan 16? Buffalo fans fondly recall Danny Briere’s Shanahan a. Ron Hextall playoff prowess, but has he ever scored 36 points in one playoff year? 9. Who is the only b. Billy Smith goaltender ever to c. Mike Vernon record seven shutouts in 5. Only five players have d. Grant Fuhr one playoff year? scored 30 or more career 3. Who holds the all-time a. Jean-Sebastian Giguere playoff power play goals. record for career save percentb. Martin Brodeur Who is the only active playage in playoff games, at .936? c. Tim Thomas er on the list? a. Tim Thomas d. Roberto Luongo a. Teemu Selanne b. Dominik Hasek 10. Who is the only active b. Nicklas Lidstrom c. Curtis Joseph player ever to score 36 c. Jaromir Jagr d. John Vanbiesbrouck points in one playoff year? d. Patrik Elias 4. Who is the only active goala. Eric Staal 6. Of the 30 current NHL tender ever to lose 11 games b. Patrick Kane franchises, how many are in one playoff year? c. Danny Briere still looking for their first a. Antti Niemi d. Evgeni Malkin Stanley Cup champib. Johan Hedberg onship? c. Martin Brodeur d. Miikka Kiprusoff Answers 1. c 2. d 3. a 4. d 5. b 6. b 7. c 8. a 9. b 10. d
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A typical ice hockey sled.
Sabres support veterans with two new programs Photo by Marian Giallombardo
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, at its finest.
To Wales and back in three days By Marian Giallombardo The other day someone asked me, “What was the craziest thing I had done recently?” What came to mind was a recent trip I took to Wales. Yep, I said Wales! And I don’t mean the town of Wales in Southern Erie County. Without much notice or hesitation, I spent three days in the Welsh capital of Cardiff to watch a rugby “match” (as they say in British vernacular). Three days, plus two days traveling, I practically blinked and I was there and had returned. The trip was so short that many people didn’t even know I had left. Given my choice of career, I’ve been to all sorts of sporting events, but not a rugby match. Who would have guessed that my first taste of rugby would be a HUGE international game? The match was between Wales and Italy at the Millennium Stadium, in Cardiff, South Wales. This was the fourth game for Wales in the Six Nations International Rugby Tournament. Other teams include England, Ireland, Scotland, and France. Millennium Stadium is the national stadium of Wales and home of the Welsh national rugby union team. The stadium opened in June 1999 and can accommodate up to 74,500 spectators. It is the second largest stadium in the world with a fully retractable roof and was the second stadium in Europe to have this feature. On game day, part of the city was cordoned off to allow for safe and easy access to the stadium. People were allowed to drink on the streets
and many did. Surprisingly it was not a chaotic atmosphere. My comrades and BIG rugby fans who joined me were my good friends John Williams and his cousin Carolyn Risby. This was very much unlike other games I had attended in the US. Expressing their national pride, some of the fans were dressed as onions (leeks) and flowers. The daffodil and the leek are also symbols of Wales, hence the fun, fan-wear. The match was great. The game consists of two, 40minute halves played within two hours. It was fastpaced and all eyes were on the game at all times. The game is continuous with no commercial breaks! To my surprise I did not see people leaving their seats to buy munchies or drinks. Most fans stayed seated during the whole game. The few people I saw eating were enjoying pot pies - not exactly what I would call typical stadium fare. No peanuts, nachos or hotdogs for these rugby fans. Also notable was the absence of player equipment. From what I understand, the main difference between American football and rugby is that rugby players play the ball first and the man second. North American football is more of a man-on-man sport with the ball being actually played by a select few. This explains why there is protection needed in the NFL but not in rugby. Rugby may be a rougher game but football is lot more dangerous. After the game everyone was in a buoyant, but well behaved mood as we exited
to the streets. The pubs and restaurants were packed. It was spectacular to say the least. Cardiff is a palatial city of some 330,000 people. While the downtown is a beehive of activity, the city is very clean and safe. Cardiff is what I hope Buffalo can become. The Welsh Capital was an old mining town but over the last half century it has become a major tourist destination. It is a “walking city” with a lovely waterfront, great shopping, live theater and various ethnic cuisines. Another cool attraction in the city is Cardiff Castle; it’s a real castle located right smack in the middle of Cardiff and minutes from the stadium. As one would imagine, Welsh pubs with grand woodwork and old-fashioned heavy wooden doors lined the streets. The food at the pubs was decent with french fries enjoyed with most meals. I was cracking up when I saw a store called Poundland. This is the Welsh equivalent of our dollar stores. If you get the chance, Wales is a great place to visit. The city is picturesque, adorned with rolling green hills and well-kept buildings with gorgeous architecture. Let’s not forget, the shopping is great as well! By the way, Wales won this match (24-3) and the right to play for the Grand Slam the following week against France. They defeated the French (16-9) to win their third Grand Slam title in eight seasons. This was my first visit but it won’t be my last.
Community Sports Report The Buffalo Sabres Foundation, Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association and National Fuel have joined together with the Veterans Affairs Western New York Healthcare System to provide recreational on-ice services to local veterans using sled hockey and traditional standup hockey as a driving force for physical and emotional rehabilitation. The two new teams will be called Buffalo Sabres Sled Vets and the Buffalo Sabres Warriors. The three organizations— Buffalo Sabres Foundation, Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association and the National Fuel Gas Company Foundation—have committed a total of $90,000 per year for the next three years to support the program. The funding will pay for equipment, uniforms and ice time, as well as tournament and travel costs. The partnership is a culmination of a relationship that started in the fall of 2011, when a free hockey clinic, open to any disabled veterans in the area, was held at Riverside Ice Rink. The first clinic, run by Norm Page of USA Sled Hockey and Hasek’s Heroes, drew 15 veterans who experienced sled hockey for the first time. Since then, more than 75 veterans have participated in eight on-ice clinics. In April, 26 veterans from the program participated in the USA Disabled Hockey Festival in Dallas. “We are so fortunate in Western New York to have the support from the Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Sabres Foundation, and National Fuel to provide this recreation therapy sport for Veterans,” Brian G. Stiller, medical center director, said. “As a veteran health care
provider it is so heartening to know that this show of support exemplifies our Buffalo commitment to our nation, service members and veterans.” The program is a new addition to the sports offered through the VA Hospital recreation therapy program and is designed to build confidence, help with readjustment and physical fitness and improve their quality of life through mind and body. The veterans participating in the on-ice program range in age from early 20s to late 60s and may have physical or other disabilities. “We are thrilled to join together with our Sabres Alumni Association and National Fuel to support this very important program for the local heroes who have so bravely served our country in many parts of the world for decades,” Cliff Benson, Buffalo Sabres Chief Development Officer and President of the Buffalo Sabres Foundation, said. “The object of our involvement is to provide funding and awareness for the program so we can make this opportunity available to as many veterans as possible in our community.” “Ideally, we hope other markets throughout the country will take notice and begin to develop these programs in their own communities,” Benson added. The Sabres Alumni Association and National Fuel were quick to recognize the value and impact of the program. “At National Fuel, we have built a long-standing tradition of extending a hand to those who need help and a top priority are the brave men and women who have served in the U.S. Military,” David F. Smith, Chairman & CEO of
National Fuel Gas Company, said. “Too often, service members return home to enormous family and social pressures that, while different in nature, are as challenging as those they faced abroad.” “We are proud to partner with the Buffalo Sabres, the Sabres Alumni Association, the VA Western New York Health Care System and the USA Sled Hockey Team to make the Sabres Sled Vet and Warrior teams a reality,” Smith continued. “Our returned veterans have unconditionally risked their safety and well-being to defend our freedom and protect our country and they need our commitment and thanks for their efforts. If their time on the ice as a member of these teams makes a difference in their day, our investment is well worth it.” Rob Ray, Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association President, added, “It is an honor to be involved with this group of individuals. They deserve the opportunity to be able to compete on the ice, to be a part of a team and we couldn’t be happier about lending our support.” The program is open to all individuals who served in the military and currently reside in Western New York. With the continued growth of the program, plans are underway to create different teams based on level of ability and an anticipated full schedule of practices and games during the 2012-13 hockey season. For more information on how to become involved with or to support the Buffalo Sabres Sled Vets program, please contact Pam Kaznowski of the VA Western New York Health Care System at 716862-6814 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Baseball underway in Rochester: Red Wings kick off the 2012 season By Matthew G. Young Baseball has finally returned to Rochester and the Red Wings are well into their 2012 season, trying hard to erase the memories of a poor 2011 showing. With many new faces on the team the Red Wings are hoping that they can turn in a much better season this year. Newly appointed manager Gene Glynn has high hopes for his team and brings with him over 27 years of experience in professional baseball. This will be his sixth year of managing at the minor league level. Even with the new faces and fresh talent it’s difficult to measure the success of a Triple A club because you Photo courtesy Rochester Red Wings need to take into The Red Wings are glad to have Brian Dinkelman back from account the fact that Minnesota. Whether he stays in Rochester for the entire season they are primarily a is another story. supplier of talent for strong start for the 2012 Red Wings have since their Major League parent. season. He has won his first acquired a record of 9-8. For the Red Wings, that four starts of the season The Red Wings have a would be the Minnesota and has an ERA of 1.07 strong catching staff, which Twins. The Twins struggled over those games, placing makes sense with All-Star to a 63-99 record last year, him at the top of the backstop Joe Mauer halting a large part of the reason International League standtheir way. J.R. Towles had why the Red Wings also ings for pitchers who have the honor of starting the struggled. This is only part thrown more than 20 home opener in this posiof the problem that the innings. On Diamond’s tion thanks to his previous Wings faced last year, most recent start against MLB experience. Towles though. With big name the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, had a double and a run for players like catcher Joe Manager Gene Glynn comthe Wings as they opened Mauer being injured, a lot mented in an interview their home schedule of top Red Wings players that, “he seemed to be against the Buffalo Bisons, were called up to the under control again. He the New York Mets’ affiliMajors. This hurt the had that one inning that ate. Although they were Wings and their record, but went upside down on us, down three runs early in it is a necessary and crucial but he got out of it.” If the game, they rallied back part of the game. Diamond keeps pitching within one run of the Brian Dinkelman is one this way, it is very likely Bisons, only to eventually example of this. The outthat he will be called up to lose 4-2. fielder/designated hitter the Twins. There were 12,371 fans was sent to Minnesota The baseball season is in attendance for the home twice over the course of the long, even for Triple A opener. Although they lost 2011 season, hitting .301 teams. This makes most this game, the Wings are for the Twins over the 23 minor league teams’ performing at a level that games he played in records especially difficult they didn’t even approach Minnesota. During his limto predict because top tallast year. They already have ited time in a Wings’ unient doesn’t stay in the a winning record and many form, he was one of their Minors for very long. But players with Major League most consistent producers. the Red Wings stand a very experience under them. The Wings might have good chance of bettering Players like Dinkelman, only went 53-91 last year, last season’s record. They Towles, Rene Rivera, and but they are already showhave one of the top pitchers Drew Butera, all have expeing Rochester fans that in all of the Minor Leagues, rience performing against they are capable of outperplus a strong core of conMajor League-caliber talforming that record this sistent hitters. Whether or ent. While there were a few year. Going into their home not they will climb to the players with MLB experiopener on April 7, the top of the International ence on the team last year, Wings had successfully League standings remains this year’s team is much swept the Washington to be seen, but either way, more seasoned and better Nationals’ farm team, the this season looks like it will equipped to take on the Syracuse Chiefs. With the provide much more combest that Triple A baseball 2010 No.1 MLB draft pick, petitive play in comparison has to offer. Bryce Harper, on the to what Rochester fans saw The left handed pitcher Chiefs’ squad, this was a last season. Scott Diamond, is off to a pretty impressive feat. The
Playoff lessons, in any league, are vital By Chris Colleluori to play with a lot of details,” he Every player said. “That’s the who has ever kind of hockey laced up his you want to have skates has going into the dreamed of one playoffs.” day hoisting the But getting Cup. Marcus back to that Cup Foligno has been … given that opporTo view the tunity in his first importance of professional year. AHL playoff OK, so not experience, one THAT Cup. Not doesn’t even have yet, anyway. to travel back 365 However, days. Just one Foligno — along season ago, the with Brayden Ottawa Senators McNabb, Corey (who finished Tropp and T.J. 13th of 15 teams Brennan—were in the NHL’s given a chance to E a s t e r n win a Calder Cup Conference) sent this season after their young talent all four rejoined down to their AHL Photo by Bob Conlon Binghamton, brethren in With the Sabres out of the playoffs, Corey Tropp which earned a Rochester when looks to help the Amerks bring home a slightly different cup. seventh seed and the Buffalo Sabres went on to win were eliminated the Calder Cup. This year, aforementioned four, as well from playoff contention in after the young talent headas Luke Adam, who spent the National Hockey ed north, the Binghamton 52 games with the Sabres League. Senators had the worst but was sent down Feb. 11 “It was a tough scenario. record in the AHL. The — played a role in 10 of the We didn’t make the playoffs Ottawa club? The team that club’s 11 goals. That helped in Buffalo, but the words The Hockey News picked to secure the seventh seed in (Sabres general manager finish dead last in the East? the Western Conference Darcy Regier) said to me Those Senators qualified for playoffs and a clash with the were, ‘We need you to go the postseason with the rival Toronto Marlies. down there and make the help of 81 games apiece “They all had relatively playoffs.’” Foligno said. from Zack Smith and Erik good success. Quite a few of “For me it’s just a challenge Condra, both of whom were them produced up there. and an honor to be here and sent to Binghamton for last That’s what we want them earn a playoff spot. I want to year’s Calder Cup run. In to do here,” Amerks head be here as long as I can and addition, Bobby Butler and coach Ron Rolston said of hopefully win a Calder Cup Kaspars Daugavins both the returning players. “Here this year.” took their playoff experithey have bigger roles, but He and the rest of his ence from a year ago and you add that experience and Sabres mates wasted no played more than 50 NHL just being around the playtime getting the Amerks games this season before ers in Buffalo — their leadthere. They joined the team suiting up for the NHL players and their veterans — it for its final five games of the offs. rubs off on them. They season — and it was not a What does it all mean? bring it back here, and game too early. The fourHope. Hope for the they’ve certainly been a shot some, who combined to Sabres. Hope for the in the arm for us.” play in 84 NHL games this Amerks. It’s the “Sabres Rochester needed that season, joined a team that University” about which shot. The Amerks, who lost had lost five straight games Rolston spoke at the beginin the first round in their and had gone 2-7 in its last ning of the season. Playoff last two playoff appearances nine contests. That’s not class is in session. (2010, 2007) have not won exactly the way to start a Time will tell how much a playoff series since 2005. playoff run. they learned. This year, however, Rolston But the recalls sparked a “It’s almost like a new said the team is right where turnaround. The Amerks season, and it’s why you he wants it to be. won four of their final five play,” Adam said. “No one “We had to go into games games, and in the final three wants to miss the playoffs, knowing they were going to games of the regular season, and it’s something we’re be close, knowing that we Amerks who spent at least excited for.” had to be really good defen10 games with the parent sively, and knowing we had club — that list includes the
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Section V high school lacrosse preview By Paul ‘Mr. NFL’ Adamo In the past 15 years the growth of high school lacrosse in Section V has been outstanding and record setting. In 2012, the greater Rochester area is now one of the “hotbeds” in recruiting for Division I, Division II, and Division III college programs and has produced many top players in recent years including a former ACC Player of the Year in Irondequoit grad Joe Walters. Not to mention supplying a number of players to help build the top rated Division I Northwestern women’s program. Upstate Division III programs such as Cortland, Ithaca, RIT and Nazareth and Division II Lemoyne feature Section V lacrosse athletes. Division I players from Section V can be found in many of the top 10 lacrosse programs this year in men’s and women’s lax. From Syracuse, Maryland, Lehigh to North Carolina and the previously mentioned Northwestern women’s team, Rochester lacrosse athletes are playing at the highest levels both collegiately and for professional lacrosse leagues across the MLL and indoor NLL. In 2012 the defending Class B Irondequoit Eagles are the consensus pick by the area coaches as the premier team in Section V. Currently ranked 12th in the nation by ESPN in their FAB 50 rankings, the Eagles have six D-I players and are lead by US Lacrosse All–American attackman Nick Doktor. A high school program long on tradition and winning records year after year, Irondequoit is a good bet to be playing in June for the NYS B title. C a n a n d a i g u a , Churchville-Chili and Victor are the three teams that will likely be sectional opponents of the Eagles and provide top caliber competition for the sectional championship. In Class A, the Fairport Red Raiders and Pittsford Panthers should battle it out for large school supremacy while powerhouse Penn Yan once again appears to be the class of Class C. Pittsford, a state final four team last year, was dealt a huge blow when top Section V defenseman Kevin Sanna was lost for the season with a knee injury. Fairport, a state finalist in 2010 losing to state power West Islip, has a current string of three
Photo courtesy University of Maryland Athletic Dept.
Former ACC player of the year and Irondequoit grad Joe Walters has set a high standard for Rochester lacrosse. sectional final appearances in Class A. Fairport senior attackman/midfielder Derek DeJoe is a player to watch as he has signed with lax college dynasty Syracuse. Penfield and Webster are outside teams to compete in Class A. Look for an Aquinas/Penn Yan title match in Class C. The Pittsford Panthers, although losing three AllGreater Rochester players including 2011 player of the year selection Ali Curwin are the choice on the lady lacrosse field as the No. 1 team in Section V. Last season the Panthers lost in a gut wrenching overtime Class A state championship game to Section XI Northport in the closing seconds. This year with a new influx of talented players the team appears poised for a run at another state final appearance. Penfield has lost the last two years to Pittsford in the Class A finals and to Fairport in 2009. The lady Patriots would love to make it four straight and finally take the championship trophy back to
Penfield. Class B is loaded with highly competitive teams including Canandaigua, Brighton, Irondequoit and Victor. The Brighton Barons also reached the Class B finals in 2011 joining Pittsford as a state finalist. Honeoye Falls-Lima should lead the way in Class C. The top returning players in Section V girl’s lacrosse are goal scorers, Brighton Barons, Meghan Bowen (55 goal) and Carly Randan (50 goals) along with Victor Blue Devil Jessi Thon (49 goals). In the state of New York where many experts believe the best high school lacrosse is played in the country, Section V teams will continue to via for state championships in all three classifications. Quality youth feeder programs along with excellent coaching and facilities have propelled both boy’s and girl’s lacrosse to a level that will only continue to produce some of the best individual players and teams in the sport.
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Local boxing happenings By Bob Caico
Sam Bruce will be one of five individuals enshrined in the Ring 44 Buffalo Boxing Hall of Fame on August 10th.
Buffalo Boxing Hall of Fame honors five By Bob Caico Buffalo Veteran Boxers Association Ring 44 members selected their 2012 inductees for Hall of Fame honors. The induction ceremony and annual dinner will be held in August at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens. The five new members to be enshrined are: Lt. Colonel Matt Urban Urban had a distinguished amateur career where he won numerous collegiate championships in the early 1940s. When Urban was drafted into the Army he help coach the enlisted men to championships during WWII. After the war he moved to Michigan and was on many Olympic and Golden Gloves boxing committees. Sam Bruce
Bruce was born in Tennessee and moved to Buffalo in 1928. The welterweight fought many of the top fighters from 19281933. He compiled a 47-308 record with wins over Gorilla Jones, Jack Britton and a loss to Jackie Fields at the Broadway Auditorium, all champions at one time. George Lampshire Lampshire was a trainer, manager and matchmaker from the 1940s through the 1960s. He managed such Buffalo fighters as Joe Muscato, Henry Brimm, and others during that era. In the 1960s he was the matchmaker for Monsignor Kelliher when the Golden Gloves was going strong in the area. Herman Smith “Uncle” Herman was a mainstay in the feather-
weight and lightweight divisions from 1910 to 1922. He finished with a recorded record of 42-21-9. John L. Sullivan refereed his battle with Lockport Jimmy Duffy at Harmonia Hall in Buffalo. In November of 1911, Smith fought featherweight Champion Abe Attell at the International AC on Genesee Street in Buffalo and dropped a ten round newspaper decision. He was a long time trainer and member of Ring 44. Paddy Lavin Lavin fought from the early 1900s until 1914 and collected an impressive 5516-17 record mostly in the welterweight division. Paddy (born Patrick Cleary) fought a who’s who of the division during his time in the ring winning more than his share.
Boxing will hold their first Jr. welteramateur card at weight Nick the gym on Casal (22-4-1, 17 Saturday April KOs) of Niagara 28 and they Falls will take on plan on having Russian Ruslan regular shows Provodnikov on the third (22-1-0, 14 KOs) Friday of every June 29 at the month. The Seneca Niagara gym is located Events Center in in the former Niagara Falls, gym of St. New York. The T h o m a s main event bout Aquinas School is scheduled for and the proten rounds with a gram is open to max weight limit all ages and of 140 pounds skill levels. allowed. The Photo by Bob Caico •••••••• WBO intercontiTony Campbell (center) if flanked by professional The Buffalo nental title will fighters Excell Holmes (left) and Meacher Major Police Athletic be on the line. at the new boxing gym in south Buffalo. League Boxing ESPN 2 Friday gym has moved Night Fight to the West Side Abril (11-5-1) of Rochester Series will televise. “I just Community Services buildtravels to Albany for found out this news and I’m ing at 161 Vermont Street. fisticuffs on May 18th. very excited. I have not The PAL gym is coached by Lionell Thompson of fought in Niagara Falls Hector Alejandro, Sr. and Buffalo puts his 12-0 record since 2002 as an amateur already has a good amount on the line and a chance for and this will be my first of young boxers. The gym is the NABA light heavytime as a professional fightopen to all youths from 4:00 weight title on May 19 in ing here,” Casal said. The pm-8:00 pm during the Montreal. Thompson tusco-feature will match forweek. sles with Nicholson Poulard mer IBF featherweight •••••••• (17-3) of Montreal. Poulard champion Cristobal Cruz of The former PAL gym on is the brother of former Tijuana, Mexico, against West Ferry St. now called world champion Jean Cesar Vazquez of Mexicali. the West Side Boxing Club Pascal. Casal thought he had a bout will open (3:00-7:00 pm •••••••• with former WBO light welweekdays) after renovations Buffalo area boxing gyms terweight champion and top are completed. Adalberto were making moves lately. ten fighter Kendall Holt but Diaz-Padilla will manage Prince Eddie Boxing Club Holt changed his mind and the gym while Rick Diaz has opened in south Buffalo took on and defeated Tim and Adalberto will train at 450 Abbott Road. Ross Coleman in March. “I want amateur and professional “The Boss” Thompson Kendall Holt for backing fighters. Daniel DeJesus brings his stable of profesout on me,” Casal said. from the West Side club sional fighters there •••••••• advanced to the Jr. Olympic (Holmes, Thompson, Major Other local professional regionals in Lake Placid. If and Guillermo Sanchez) to boxers will be busy in the the 15-year-old, 132-pound train. He, along with former next six weeks. Anthony DeJesus wins there he will pro fighter Tony Campbell, Lenk (13-1) fights in go to Mobile, Alabama for will help out with any amaCalifornia on April 28, the Nationals. teur boxers who join the Meacher Major (20-4-1) Certified coaches run all club. Hours of the gym will who now resides in WNY the gyms and members, be from 4:00 pm-8:00 pm battles Logan McGuinness either competitors or nonMonday-Friday with (16-0-1) for the NABA competitors, are insured Saturday hours to be super featherweight title in through USA boxing. announced. Prince Eddie Montreal on May 12. Kenny
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Three landmark events celebrate the career of Dick“The Destroyer”Beyer By Ivan the Impaler For far too long, the life story of Western New York’s Greatest Wrestler has gone unchronicled, at least in the English language. And while he remains popular in Japan, there was no tangible proof of the esteem held for him in the land of the Rising Sun. Further, there was no real display of his memorabilia, equipment or photos of a career in both hemispheres. All of this changed in a matter of months. Dick “The Destroyer” Beyer, the masked pro wrestler who won fame and title belts in the U.S. and Japan, is experiencing three events that help define his life in Our Great Sport: the publishing of his autobiography, the opening of a museum displaying the highlights of his career, and receiving an Honorary Award from the Japanese government. Dick already had a bio written in Japanese by Tokio Tsukata, but there was nothing in English which memorialized his career, other than a chapter in Dan Murphy’s “Bodyslams in Buffalo.” The Destroyer himself was toying with the book project for many years, but the wheels started rolling in 2003 when he was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. Vince Evans had written the introduction speech for Dick, who was very impressed with it. The two eventually talked about a book; Evans was excited with the idea and agreed that “they could work out something together.” The result: “Masked Decisions,” which is now on sale. “It isn’t just a wrestling book,” Dick said. “It’s a story about my life, not just my career as a wrestler.” It was a life that took him from Buffalo to Los Angeles, Hawaii, Japan, Canada, Minnesota and many points in between. It talks about his years playing and coaching
football at Syracuse University. The book delves into his family life: his first marriage, and the impact of traveling around the world. For example, while shuffling his kids from school to school could be cumbersome, the kids oved school in the brief time they were in New Zealand, as “the way they taught was different from anything else they experienced, and they found it fascinating.” Despite all this, yes, the primary focus is wrestling. For the younger fan, it must be stressed that while his career in the U.S. and Canada (whether as Dick Beyer, The Destroyer, The Super Intelligent Destroyer or Doctor X) was impressive enough, it was his time in Japan where he became part of that nation’s folklore and cemented his place in wrestling history. His first match there, against the legendary Rikidozan, was the third most watched TV event in Japannot just for a sporting event, but any type of program. The Destroyer had already built his reputation as the WWA Heavyweight Champ in Los Angeles, where he first met and befriended Rikidozan. That opened the door for Dick in Japan; from 1973 to 1979, he wrestled there almost exclusively. Even after retiring, Dick still visited Japan frequently. He took amateur wrestling and swimming groups there yearly for tournaments. More importantly, he helped organize fundraising efforts for victims of the Kobi earthquake, as well as last year’s tsunami (when he also visited the country to help in relief efforts). This led to the Japanese Consulate in New York to present the 2012 Consul General Commendation to Dick for his contributions to Japanese heritage, culture and welfare. By the time you read this, the award will have been presented to Beyer at Ilio DiPaolo’s Restaurant in
Blasdell, N.Y., by Ambassador Shigeyuki Hiroki. And other than through “Masked Decisions,” how can you experience much of this wrestling history? By going to Akron, N.Y.! Main Street in Akron is not unlike that in any other village. Small shops, pizzerias, veteran’s post, a library and a bank all clustered within one good walk. However, not many villages have a museum dedicated to the career of a Hall of Fame wrestler. The Destroyer Museum is opening at 99 Main Street in the Village. Kris Beyer Jones, Dick’s daughter, is spearheading the project. She runs PE Personal Traning at that location, but is transforming part of the building into a display of her father’s memorabilia. It’s still a work in progress, but the large-frame photos are what captured my attention. The most catching is Dick on the wrong end of a yukuza kick by Giant Shohei Baba. There are also photos of him wrestling Mil Mascaras, as well as Dick giving the WWE Hall of Fame induction speech for Gorgeous George last year; George wrestled his last match in 1962 against the Destroyer. (The preceding paragraph addresses many of the issues Dick encountered in his life. Why he didn’t wrestle as the masked Destroyer early in his career? “The New York State Athletic Commission prohibited masked wrestlers at that time,” recalls Dick. Also, the Mascaras photo led me to address the rumors that many, many wrestlers didn’t like working with Mascaras. Beyer said that he didn’t mind working in the ring with Mascaras “because (Mil) could wrestle. I figured I could work with anyone if they knew how to wrestle.” Finally, with all the territories he worked in, why wasn’t Capitol Wrestling/WWWF/WWF/W WE on of them? Again, Beyer says, it came down to New
Amer Abdallah successfully defended his WKA United States Light Heavyweight title on April 14th at the Kenan Arena. Abdallah remains undefeated at 12-0 and sets his sights on another fight November 17. Photo by Jay Stoos Photography
Photo by Jeff Barnes
Dick “The Destroyer” Beyer at The Destroyer Museum in Akron. York’s prohibition against masks. “Back then, when Vince McMahon’s father owned the company, it was Capitol Wrestling.” They covered the northeast region, and “with masked wrestlers prohibited from working their biggest market, New York City, it wasn’t practical.”) One could talk to the Destroyer for hours about pro wrestling, his football career, and life overseas. I know I really didn’t want the interview to end, learning that he was the first in-ring opponent for Jimmy Snuka as well as discovering that Beyer was part of a meeting with other AWA wrestlers about possibly forming a union. (When he first met owner Verne Gagne after that meeting, the first words out of Verne’s mouth were “What the —-are you guys trying to do?”)
Short of talking to him, the book is the best way to know him. Vince Evans and Dick have recorded the life story of a kid from Buffalo who went around the world and kicked butt (legally), winning belts such as the WWA Title, AWA Championship, PWF US Heavyweight Championship (All Japan) and multiple tag team titles with partners ranging from Billy Red Lyons to Hardboiled Haggarty. You can now read the history, see the history, and, if you attended the Commendation ceremony, see history, all from one remarkable life. UPCOMING LOCAL EVENTS Saturday, 5/12 - NWA NY Eagles’ Nest - Buffalo Road Gates, N.Y. - 6 p.m. Saturday, 5/12 - Ring of
Honor - Ted Reeve Arena, 175 Main St. - Toronto, Ontario, Canada - 7:30 p.m. Sunday, 5/13 - WWE (house show)- Blue Cross Arena - Rochester, N.Y. - 5 p.m. Saturday, 5/26 - Buff. Champ. Wrestling - Lake Erie Italian Club, S. Park Avenue Lackawanna, N.Y. - 7 p.m. Saturday, 6/2 - ESW - St. Johnsburg Fire Hall, Ward Road - N. Tonawanda, N.Y. - 6 p.m. Sunday, 6/24 - CHIKARA presents : “Smack in the Middle” - Pastime Athletic Club- Syracuse, N.Y. MULTI-MEDIA “Wrestlevision Presents No Limits TV,” from Big Guy Productions, can be seen.... In Rochester at 3 p.m. Sundays on My18 (WBGTTV). (Replays late Wednesday/Early Thursday at 2:30 a.m., as well as late Saturday/early Sunday at 2 p.m.). For Suburban Erie County, it’s on Time-Warner Cable Channel 20 every Saturday at 4 p.m., with replays Mondays at 11:30 p.m. Listen to The Pain Clinic every Saturday at 10 a.m. on WHTK-AM (1280) in Rochester. Cashman Rich Jones hosts; you can also listen online at www.feelthepain.net Finally, Wrestlevision is on The Twitter. Appropriately, the address is @Wrestlevison
Published on Jul 2, 2012
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