SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
New coaches and a new-look defensive formation for the Bills in 2012 By Charles Roberts Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey said the changes he has planned for the defensive line next season “shouldn’t be the headline.” But then again, perhaps Gailey wants opposing offensive coordinators to forget about his two massive interior defensive linemen, Kyle Williams and 2011 firstround pick Marcell Dareus. The Bills’ defense will feature four defensive linemen and three linebackers—a system known as the 4-3—in 2012. The team has experimented with a three-man front (the 3-4) for the past two years. “On the defensive side of the ball we are going to base more out of the four-man front,” Gailey said. “…if you look around the league today, people are playing [a] four-man front, three-man front; they’re playing a little bit of everything so we’re going to try to put our guys in position to be successful whatever that position might be.” The move certainly looks good on paper for both Williams and Dareus; the combined 641 pounds of humanity unequivocally has the size and athleticism required to join the league’s elite defensive-tackle tandems. And for Dareus, it’s a shift back to a position he’s much more comfortable with; he played arguably the best game of his rookie season— a 2.5-sack performance—when the Bills shifted to a four-man front during a Week 8 matchup with the Washington Redskins. Switching to the 4-3 should also shuffle the linebacker corps, assuming no major changes reshape the unit through free agency,
trades or the draft. Nick Barnett figures to move to weakside linebacker, pushing second-year pro Kelvin Sheppard to the middle. The strongside linebacker is still anyone’s guess, however. Shawne Merriman, if he’s healthy enough to make the roster, could be converted into a situational pass-rushing defensive end. Sheppard, a third-round selection in 2011, did enough as a rookie to solidify his role heading into training camp this summer. “I know Shep’s going to be in the middle,” Gailey said. “Don’t hold me to anything after that. Shep’s in the middle, I know that.” The Bills’ sideline also figures to look a bit different in 2012, thanks to the addition of a quartet of new coaches: Pete Metzelaars, Andrew Dees, Eric Thatcher and William Inge. For Metzelaars, recently named tight ends coach, it’s a homecoming that should resonate with many Bills fans. He spent nine of his 16 NFL seasons playing tight end for the Bills (1985-1994). In 2009, Metzelaars was named to the Bills’ 50th anniversary team, thanks to a resume that includes the most receptions (302), receiving yards (2,921), touchdowns (25), and games played (156) by a tight end in team history. “I’m excited; it’s a lot of fun,” Metzelaars, who spent the previous eight seasons as a part of the Indianapolis Colts’ coaching staff said. “It’s a little bizarre. It’s been 18 years or so since I’ve really been back here so to come back it’s neat. It’s neat connecting with good friends. I told Chan Gailey this morning ‘old friends’ and he said, ‘be careful calling them old,’
so I said, ‘I meant old as in we’ve been together a long time, not old in age.’” Dees joins the Bills as the assistant offensive line coach. The 16-year college-coaching veteran’s name might ring a bell with some Western New York football fans—he coached tight ends at the University at Buffalo from 2001 to 2005. Thatcher takes over as the Bills’ defensive quality-control coach after spending last season as the assistant defensive backs coach at Mercyhurst College. He was a three-year starting free safety at Pittsburgh, graduating in 2008. Thatcher began his coaching career at St. Vincent College in 2009 and then served as a graduate assistant at Pitt in 2010. Inge, meanwhile, spent the last two seasons as the University at Buffalo’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. While he is technically entering his first season as an assistant coach at the NFL level, he is not altogether unfamiliar with the lay of the land; Inge participated in the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship program with the Bills last summer, where he assisted recently-promoted defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt in coaching the inside linebackers. “We are excited to have William join our staff,” Gailey said. “We were impressed with his abilities during last year’s training camp and feel he will make an excellent addition to our defensive staff.” University at Buffalo head coach Jeff Quinn, who also worked with Inge for two years in Cincinnati, had this to say regarding his departure: “Coach Inge was con-
tacted by the Buffalo Bills about joining their staff and has accepted the opportunity presented to him, which I completely understand. He set the example of loyalty in this profession, he was loyal to this staff, the players and the program, and did a tremendous job for us.” Under Inge’s tutelage, University at Buffalo sophomore linebacker Khalil Mack this year earned honorable mention in the Sports Illustrated AllAmerica rankings. With some excellent coaches coming in for the upcoming season, there is no question that the Bills will maximize the talent they already have ready and waiting on the roster.
Photo by Jeff Barnes
Marcell Dareus should have his mentor, Kyle Williams, playing beside him in 2012 after missing much of last year due to injury.
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
Pominville power By George Kuhn As the Sabres team captain appointed for the 2011-12 season, Jason Pominville has worn the “C” on his jersey well. He has formed a dynamic scoring partnership this season with Thomas Vanek. Both Vanek and Pominville have passed the 20-goal mark and appear headed for 30-plus goal seasons while no other Sabre is on pace to even come close to 20. As the Sabres temporarily fell to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings before beginning a push for a playoff spot, one wonders how much worse things would be without Pominville’s on-ice leadership. Pominville missed 10 games last season with injury after appearing in all 82 regular season games for four consecutive seasons. He finished the season with only 52 points in 72 games, a career low for a full season. This season he is on pace to match his career high of 80 points. Pominville feels that there are several reasons for his scoring prowess this year. “I think it’s due to me having a better start to my season. That good start gave me confidence. Thomas and I had found some good chemistry last season. They put us on the same line again this sea-
you’re not always going to score goals where the puck is, it’s about finding that open ice and most times son and have kept us togeththat’s where the puck ends er other than when Thomas up after it hits a skate. That got injured. We’ve been able open ice gives you time to continue to build to make a decision, to chemistry and feed off of make a play or shoot. It’s each other. My workreally hard to score outs in the summer have goals. Players are getting helped me. My rehab really good at blocking following my injury shots, at getting their helped me last year and feet and bodies in the I wanted to make sure passing lanes. You’ve got that I was ready this seato find different ways to son. I was ready to go put pucks away.” this year because I was Can Pominville tell in good shape.” which Sedin is which? Pominville’s point “No,” he laughed, “I’ve totals declined from 80 met them and I have no in 2007-08 to 66, 62 and idea. But guys say after a 52 over the last four seafew days you can figure sons. But he says his role it out.” isn’t just about scoring Jason says that his points and that his role on the team hasn’t declining numbers really changed now that haven’t worried him. he is the captain. “I “Not really,” Pominville hope it hasn’t. I’m still a explained regarding his guy who likes to have concern about statistics, fun and likes to chirp “You’re not always going and get chirped. Part of to have a career year. what we do and being You’re not always going around the 24 guys to beat your point totals every day is to have fun from each year. I think and be respected. I it’s about finding consisPhoto by Jeff Barnes think ever since I’ve had tency and trying to give Jason Pominville’s performance has been the highlight of the Sabres a letter on my jersey the team what they season so far. everyone has jumped on know they can expect board in the right way and and it always helps to have score goals in a league where from you. I think I’ve been been really respectful. We someone like that on your it’s becoming increasingly able to do that. That’s part of have a great group of guys line.” difficult to do so. “I think the reason why I’ve been and it’s a lot of fun to be “A lot of it is hockey communication is a big part relied upon to be out there around them. We’ve grown sense, constantly trying to of it. If you look at the Sedin when we need a goal. Or if up together, came up togethread information and read twins in Vancouver, they’re we need to shut down a line, er and spent a lot of time what’s going on,” Pominville probably the best at knowing I’m able to handle those situtogether over the years.” continued. “Sometimes where the other is going to ations too. They know what to expect from me and that’s consistency.” A combination of factors help players like Pominville and Vanek build their on-ice chemistry and help them to
be. Thomas and I have been able to talk as much as we can and give each other feedback in certain situations. We’re both capable of passing and putting pucks away
“I’ve always been a guy to talk to the young players and help them out,” Pominville added. “If I see something with a young forward where I know I can help their game, they have been very receptive. Not that I don’t look at our defenseman but I think it’s easier for a guy like Robyn [Regehr] or Christian [Ehroff] to work with them.” Pominville had some good role models among veteran players when he first arrived in Buffalo for the 2006-07 season who took the time to show him around. “I was fortunate to have a little bit of a French crew when I came here like J.P. Dumont, Danny Briere and Marty Biron. Those guys were all there for me when I needed to be shown around the city or needed anything. It was nice to be able to get that kind of help when I was young.” Are you still susceptible to practical jokes or is the captain immune from those? “I don’t know about that, it hasn’t happened so far,” Pominville laughed. “No I think I’m still susceptible to the shaving cream in the towels. Once in a while you’ll get the practical jokes. It rotates around; you don’t always want to do it on the same guy.” Hopefully, Pominville will get the last laugh on opposing defenses at the end of the season.
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
From the Publisher On February 5, the entire world was watching as Williamsville’s Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots took the field against the New York Giants in a rematch of Super Bowl XLII. The Giants proved that history has a tendency to repeat itself and came out on top once again, adding another Lombardi trophy to their case for Super Bowl XLVI. With last season in the books and the combine underway, it’s never too early for Bills fans to start reflecting on the year that was and look forward to the year that is about to be. Coach Chan Gailey has already expressed his intention to move from the 3-4 to a 4-3 as the base defense, a move that should play to the strengths of defensive tackles Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus. Newly appointed assistant defensive line coach will have the opportunity to work with the potentially devastating tandem, along with Eric Thatcher (defen-
sive quality control). On the offensive side of the ball, the Bills will welcome back Pete Metzelaars as the tight ends coach and University at Buffalo fans will be familiar with new assistant offensive line coach Andrew Dees. While the Bills started out strong and then faded, the Sabres are looking to finish their regular season with a push into the playoffs. Currently sitting on the outside looking in, the Sabres have been making up ground and could overtake some teams to get into the postseason. Team captain Jason Pominville has worn the C proudly and earned it with solid leadership—not to mention score sheet. In this edition we sit down with the winger and learn more about how he views the game, not to mention a few more lighthearted moments, like trying to tell which Sedin is which. Regardless of whether the Sabres reach the playoffs or not, there is a 100 percent chance that you’ll see a for-
mer student of Gary Reeve’s Pro-Skating Hockey Skills method on the ice this post season. With players like Patrick Kane (Blackhawks), Dan Paille (Bruins) and Dan Girardi (Rangers), Gary has been helping to mentor the best players in the Niagara region for over 20 years. Check out our feature story on Gary in this edition. Former boxer “Baby” Joe Mesi is not your average Joe. Joe Kirchmeyer talked with Joe about his career as a boxer, his run for public office and his love of family. Boxing fan or not, you are sure to enjoy our feature story. On a much more somber note, we’d like to acknowledge Williamsville South’s Gerry Gentner. The threetime New York State Championship softball coach lost his battle with cancer and will surely be missed by players, parents and the entire community.
Sports & Leisure Magazine 469 Virginia Street, Buffalo, New York 14202 Tel.: (716) 876-2738, Fax: (716) 874-8289 Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org Check us out on the web at www.sportsandleisuremag.com & www.hugesportz.com
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, Shawn Krest (Buffalo Managing Editor), 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 Jason Pominville & Mesi Family by Jeff Barnes, Amer Abdallah by Jason Stoos Advisory Board: Phil Haberstro, Adam Lingner, Denny Lynch Contributing Writers Pam Borges, Bob Conlon, Kevin Freiheit, Holly Malinowski, Bob Plezia, Dave Ricci, Kyle Soppe, 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 email@example.com. 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
Common sense approach to reduce injuries in the NHL
Fantasy hockey By Mike Fox It’s been another rough year in the fantasy trenches. Every league has at least a few owners who spent countless hours ranking players for this year’s draft, assimilating information from every possible source, only to wonder three months later if they’d have been better off relying on a dart-throwing monkey to make their decisions. Some of the bulls-eyes of the first half of the season: The Philadelphia Flyers were expected to show a decrease in offensive production after Mike Richards and Jeff Carter departed in the off-season, but instead they rank among the highest-scoring teams in the Eastern Conference thanks in large part to the exploits of Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell. Giroux is only 23, so we knew that last year’s 76 points were probably not his ceiling, but few expected him to be challenging for the NHL scoring title or leading the league in power play points at the All-Star break. Hartnell’s story has to be considered even more shocking. After ten seasons, Hartnell had come to be viewed in the fantasy world as a solid, but unspectacular mid-round pick that would chip in 25 goals in a good season while providing ample penalty minutes. Instead, he’s rewarded his owners with an almost cliché career year, currently ranking in the top ten overall in standard roto systems. His 27 goals put him on pace to shatter his career-best 30 in 2008-09, and he’s already set a career high with 13 power play goals. Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson put himself on the fantasy radar last year when he produced a 13-32-45 line at the age of 20, but even his most ardent fans couldn’t have foreseen the following spike in production. Karlsson currently leads all defensemen in assists, points, and shots on goal, and trails only former Sabre Brian Campbell in power play points. To put his season into truer perspective, his 45 assists are within striking distance of the overall league leaders, leaving him poised to be the first
defenseman to lead the league in assists since, get this, Bobby Orr. Tyler Seguin was on everyone’s wish list last year after Boston selected him second overall in the 2010 Entry Draft. Most lowered their expectations this year after Seguin’s modest 11-11-22 rookie line in 2010-11 suggested the B’s would continue to bring him along slowly, but those who suspected that
By Gary Reeves
Photos by Joe Valenti
Claude Giroux and Scotty Hartnell (top) have been carrying the offensive load in Philadelphia.
his strong 2011 playoff performance would earn him extra ice time this year have been rewarded in spades. Seguin’s 20 goals and 46 points are already more than enough to justify his average fantasy draft position, and in leagues that count plus-minus rating as a scoring category, his NHLbest +29 makes him a fantasy stud. Not bad for a guy who just celebrated his 20th birthday at the end of January. No matter what format your league uses, it’s usually better to lock down two goalies that are expected to anchor their NHL teams, but this year there have been several backups who have posted statistics worthy of starting fantasy jobs. We learned in 2009-10 that Tuukka Rask was a potential star, but the presence of reigning Vezina winner Tim
Thomas in Boston left Rask undrafted in shallow leagues, and destined for the bench in deeper leagues. A torrid December and January forced the Bruins to install him into an almost even time split with Thomas, and when you’re getting regular starts for the defending Stanley Cup champs, good things follow. Perhaps the biggest surprise in hockey is the incredible start by St. Louis netminder Brian Elliott. Elliott won 29 games for Ottawa in 2009-10, but struggled mightily last year with both the Senators and Avalanche. His off-season move to St. Louis left us assuming he’d spend most of his time watching Jaroslav Halak man the nets, but Elliott keeps earning starts for the Blues because he’s been an absolute rock between the pipes. And I do mean rock. If Elliott is able to maintain his current goals-againstaverage and save percentage over the rest of the season, they would both set modern-era records. Good luck to all as we enter the stretch run. Meanwhile, I’m planning a trip to the Buffalo Zoo to see if the curators of the primate house can grant me a small favor before baseball season starts. I’ll let you know how receptive they are to the idea.
Are the NHL governors immune to a common sense approach to reduce injuries in the NHL? If not, then why aren’t they listening to Don Cherry’s plea to change the current icing rule where two players race one another at top speed into the end boards to touch the puck first? The NHL over the years has witnessed dislocated shoulders, broken wrists, torn knee ligaments, sprained and broken ankles, I could go on and on. The present rule on icing the puck can be considered a safety hazard of the highest degree. In industry, a safety hazard is removed immediately to prevent further injuries, if not, heads would begin to roll! The AHL, OHL, OHA, CAHA, Olympic hockey and European hockey all have a common approach to the icing rule, which is, as soon as the puck crosses the goal line the play is automatically whistled down. The results are amazing, no injuries! Another common sense approach to reduce injuries is to make all ice surfaces Olympic size in dimensions. In this case the common sense approach is
pushed aside in favor of gate revenue, as seats would have to be removed to make ice surfaces larger. Back in the early 90s w h e n Gretzky and Bossy were both out with serious back injuries, not to mention the high number of concussions, the Board of Governors called a meeting to address the problem. After the meeting Gary Bettman reported that some of the solutions recommended were, move the goal line out from the boards so there’s more room behind the net, increase fines and suspensions, protect goaltenders with infractions within the crease area, and last but not least, we may have to look at increasing the size of the ice surfaces. Not long after that I attended a banquet with Yvan Cournoyer as guest speaker. Yvan was a star forward for the Montreal Canadiens and because of his speed was nicknamed “the roadrunner.” In his speech he stated that hockey today is so much faster than when he played and made reference to the fact that in NASCAR, as
cars went faster, they made race tracks bigger and questioned why the NHL likewise hasn’t made ice surfaces bigger. The fact is the game of hockey is so fast that the reaction time of the human body on smaller ice surfaces has become a critical factor in its direct relationship to serious injuries. Just look at the open ice body checks where players were hit so hard they had to be helped off the ice. By increasing the size of the ice surface it will not only increase the speed of the game but will undoubtedly bring back the smaller more speedy players who would have more room to maneuver and make it harder for the infringements of hooking, holding and open ice body checks. In closing I can only hope that a death doesn’t occur before a common sense approach to these problems are initiated. The Russians and Europeons have it right when it comes to not only the icing rule but also with the larger ice surfaces. Wouldn’t it be interesting to compare the injury list of the Europeon Elite Division to that of the NHL on a pro rated basis? For more information regarding Pro Skating Hockey Skills Clinics or Individual & Team Clinics, call Gary Reeves, 905.384.0508 or email Cochrane@vaxxine.com.
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
Brunswick Islands: Perfect for beach vacations…perfect for golf By Pam Borges Brunswick Islands is a chain of seven barrier islands that stretch north of Myrtle Beach and south of Wilmington. Known as North Carolina’s Golf Coast, Brunswick County has more than 30 championship courses designed by renowned golf legends. Home to 40 miles of tranquil beaches and top courses, Brunswick Islands is the perfect destination for that golf vacation. Where to play During my visit to Brunswick Islands, I met a group of golfers on their annual buddy-trip. For many years past they’d stay in Myrtle Beach, but a few years ago they discovered the serenity of the Brunswick Islands and have been returning ever since. What’s the appeal? Located just 30 minutes north of Myrtle Beach, it’s a more secluded, less congested area with less traffic, less noise, fewer golfers and easier tee times without the next foursome breathing down your neck. Courses are within close proximity so more time can be spent playing golf and relaxing. Whether you prefer golf a-la-carte style or an on-site inclusive plan, Brunswick Islands can accommodate. Here are some island pleasures we sampled. Thistle Golf Club ( w w w. t h i s t l e g o l f . c o m )
The 5th hole at the Rees Jones Course at Sea Trail is a beautiful challenge. (Sunset Beach), ranked 4 1/2 stars by Golf Digest for the last six years, has earned the reputation as one of the best conditioned courses in the area and the only course in the region with 12-minute tee time spacing. Crafted by Tim Cate, this 27-hole Scottish links course sports a wide-open layout, windswept rolling fairways bordered by heather-covered mounds, massive sand bunkers and generous greens all nestled within the serene atmosphere of nature preserves, lakes and abundant wildlife. The facility offers a choice of three rotations of nines you can play. The newest (Stewart) nine—the most challenging—offers more risk/reward shots and
Collecting Memories Upper Deck delivers hits with top hockey cards In the land of dekes, wristers, one-timers and five-holes, Upper Deck delivers the best hockey card set for the 20112012 campaign. The Upper Deck packs have been available since mid-winter and are bringing oohs and ahhs to Western New York card collectors. New York Rangers’ standout goalie Henrik Lundquist stretches for the ceiling in card No. 73 as he prepares for the opening faceoff. New York Islanders star center John Tavares skates out of a corner with determination and skill on No. 80. Buffalo Sabres’ captain Jason Pominville is shown scoring one of his 22 goals in 2010-2011 with a tip-in at the right post against the Philadelphia Flyers. There are some very unique poses. Followers of the Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin will smile when they see the highscoring star throwing a football on the ice on card No. 8. No one is approaching the 894 career goals or 2,963 assists by Wayne Gretzky, but there are many stars in this First Series. Claude Giroux, second in the National Hockey League in scoring, is pictured on card No. 59. Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos, the No. 1 goal-scorer in the NHL, is on card No. 26. You’ll find Daniel Alfredsson, the NHL’s 62nd career-best point scorer on card
No. 67 and Jarome Iginla, 64th best point scorer in history, can b e
found on 173. There are seven members of the Sabres in this First Series including goalie Ryan Miller, and top scorers Drew Stafford and Derek Roy as well as Pominville. Here is a checklist for the top cards in Upper Deck Series I: Alex Ovechkin (8); Henrik Sedin (13); Daniel Sedin (14); Phil Kessel (19); Steven Stamkos (26); Martin St. Louis (28); Joe Thornton (39); Patrick Marleau (40); Claude Giroux (59); Daniel Briere (61); Jason Spezza (66); Daniel Alfredsson (67); Henrik Lundquist (73); Ryan Callahan (76); Brandon Dubinsky (77); John Tavares (80); Martin Brodeur (87); Zach Parise (88); P. K. Subban (102); Brian Gionta (103); Taylor Hall (126); Henrik Zetterberg (138); Marian Hossa (162); Jeff Skinner (167); Jarome Iginla (173); Ryan Miller (180); Drew Stafford (181); Derek Roy (182); Tyler Myers (183); Tyler Ennis (184); Nathan Gerbe (185); Jason Pominville (186); Zdeno Chara (188); Corey Perry (194). Upper Deck also includes its share of parallel sets and subsets.
has three of the meanest, and most talked about finishing holes. The Thistle is named after an ancient Scottish golf society and the purplish, plumed plant that grows wild on the hillsides of Scotland. A collection of artifacts from the original Thistle Golf Club are displayed in their newly build Scottish-design clubhouse. Leopard’s Chase (www.bigcats.com) (Sunset Beach), the newest and toughest of the four Big Cats at Ocean Ridge Plantation, which also features Tiger’s Eye, Panther’s Run, and Lion’s Paw, has ranked by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine as one of the “Top10 Best New Public Courses in America.” Every twist and turn on this Tim Cate masterpiece presents
with Mike Dyer Rookie cards are short prints and part of Young Guns. Red Kelly, Milt Schmidt and Johnny Bower are included in the 1950s Hockey Heroes section. I found Ryan Miller, Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Smyth game-used jersey parts in my packs. My grade for this First Series is B. Upcoming Card Shows March will be a busy month for area sports card shows. The Leonard Veterans of Foreign Wars Post will be host to a March 14 free admission show. Dealers will sell, buy and trade cards from 5 to 9 p.m. at the VFW Post on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga. Amherst promoter Rob Schilling will stretch his Depew show to two days at the Hearthstone Manor on Dick Road. More than 125 dealers from the northeast and Canada will exhibit their items on both March 31 and April 1 as the area welcomes spring. The shows will begin at 9 a.m. each day and end at 4 p.m. Baseball Errors Short-printed cards have been selling for high prices with the arrival of the 2012 Topps Baseball Set. We’ll have a lot more on this in the next issue of Sports & Leisure Magazine. A sports dealer, Mike Dyer lives in Cheektowaga. He spent 47 years writing stories about major league players for New York newspapers. Dyer votes for the Baseball Hall of Fame and is the author of two sports books.
challenges and incredible scenery. Dramatic elevations, significant mounding, lots of water carries, and fast, undulating greens add to the challenge. A shot-placement course, Leopard’s Chase’s tight fairways demand accuracy. The course is enjoyable even if your score gets ugly. It offers a series of picturesque vignettes such as the back-to-back island greens on the front nine and a waterfall on the 18th green. Sea Trail Golf Resort & Convention Center (www.seatrail.com) (Sunset Beach) is an ideal destination for golf, family vacations, business conventions and resort living. Each of Sea Trail’s three championship courses is named for its architect: Rees Jones; Willard Byrd; and Dan Maples. All three courses have been named as “Courses of Distinction” on Golfweek’s annual “America’s Best Resort Courses” list. You don’t have to battle high slope ratings, as all three courses are playerfriendly and a “breath of fresh air,” especially after playing Leopard’s Chase! The Maples course has a “Pinehurst” feel, defined by twisted ancient oaks, tall Carolina pines, massive waste areas and it boasts gorgeous views alongside Calabash Creek. The picturesque Jones course, said to be the more difficult one, dazzles with native grasses, wildflower plantings and features a layout with mounded fairways, generous landing areas, and water on 11 holes. The Byrd track, now featuring undulating Champion
March 2012 Bermuda greens, is build around several lakes that come into play on 13 holes. The scenic 18th hole winds between two beautiful ponds leading to a picturesque finish at the Jones/Byrd Clubhouse. Pearl Golf Links (www.thepearlgolf.com) (Calabash), the jewel of coastal Carolina, offers 36 holes (East/West) that wind along the Calabash River. The links-style West Course is contrasted by the more scenic, demanding, parkland-style East Course that features crowned greens and tight tree-lined fairways that dogleg through the pristine forest. The easy beginning holes give no clue to the dynamic finishing holes. Eyeswide-open on the downhill approach on the 16th as you will be in awe of the extraordinary vistas that await you. Farmstead Golf Links (www.farmsteadgolflinks.com ) (Calabash), crafted by Willard Byrd, is a flat, open track that meanders around sparkling lakes and native grasses. This player-friendly course boasts the “Best Bermuda grass greens in the Myrtle Beach area…smooth, consistent roll every hole.” Farmstead is “Where the Carolinas meet to play golf” and is the only area course that plays in two states. Well known for its 18th hole, which was selected by Golf Digest as part of its fantasy design “Top 18 Most Fun Holes in America” (2010). The areas only par 6, this mammoth 767-yard 18th hole tees off in South Carolina and finishes in North Carolina. Where to Stay
The Winds Resort Beach Club (www.thewinds.com) is nestled in the sand dunes of Ocean Isle Beach, one of the south Brunswick Islands. This beach side setting—the ocean is right there about 100 feet away—is a cozy oasis. The Winds offers a variety of accommodations: 1-2-3 bedroom suites with kitchens and balconies overlooking lush palm-gardens, pool with Tiki bar and the ocean; for larger groups they offer 4-5-6 bedroom cottages with spacious living/dining areas, private baths for each bedroom and private outdoor whirlpool spas. Sea Trail Golf Resort (www.seatrail.com) is an excellent choice for families and golfers if you prefer to stay where you play. Accommodations include beautifully decorated, spacious 1-2 bedroom privately owned condos with golf course views. Many amenities are included in the Village Activity Center along with complimentary breakfast buffet and shuttle service to Sunset Beach. Stay and Play packages are available. Where to Eat More than 40 excellent restaurants can be found in Sunset Beach and Calabash, “The Seafood Capital of the World.” Here are some restaurants worth trying: Ella’s of Calabash; The Boundary House Restaurant at Callahan’s; and Twin Lakes Seafood Restaurant in Sunset Beach. For more information, please visit www.ncbrunswick.com.
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
Joe Mesi reflects on boxing and Buffalo while focusing on new challenges By Joe Kirchmyer From the boxing ring to the political ring to the wedding ring, boxer “Baby” Joe Mesi has done a lot of living for a 38-year-old. And while the Tonawanda native has traveled extensively both home and abroad and fought in some of the world’s most famous venues in front of legions of fans and television viewers, there are two constants that remain atop his priority list: His family and the Western New York community. Out of the sport’s limelight now for more than four years, the name Joe Mesi still carries a lot of weight in boxing circles and across the Niagara Frontier. Mesi, who started boxing at the relatively old age of 19, went on to post a 36-0 record in boxing’s heavyweight division. Some of his greatest moments in the ring occurred right here in downtown Buffalo, where he posted impressive victories against challengers such as David Izon, Robert Davis and DaVarryl Williamson. It was a controversial 2004 match in Las Vegas against Vassiliy Jirov that derailed Mesi’s climb to the top of the boxing rankings. While he would earn a unanimous decision over Jirov, an illegal blow to the back of his head and a questionable subdural hematoma diagnosis stalled his career for more than a year. He would eventually come back to fight seven more times, his last match a TKO over Shannon Miller in late 2007. Throughout Joe’s career, Jack Mesi was always in his corner, as both father and manager. At the peak of his boxing career, Joe had earned the label of Buffalo’s “third franchise,” his popularity on par with the Buffalo Sabres
Photos by Jeff Barnes
“Baby” Joe Mesi: Inside or outside the ring, he is not your average Joe. and Buffalo Bills. It’s been a long time since he’s stepped into the ring or thrown a punch, the brutal nature of boxing now replaced by the comforts of marriage and a family. But that doesn’t mean that the competitive fires have been completely extinguished. Redirected, yes, but not snuffed out by any means. “Do I miss it (boxing)? The answer is not really, because I’m still involved in a number of ways,” Mesi said. “I’m a deputy commissioner to the New York State Athletic Commission, I still help promote and market the sport and I also help my trainer, Juan DeLeon, with his boxers. I still love the sport and the business, and I’m happy to be involved at the level that I am.”
“Do I want to be in the ring again? Give me four months to train and I’d be ready to fight anyone in the Top 10,” Mesi continued. “But my life has changed and I love my new job, my wife (Michelle) and my two daughters (Hope, 14, and Juliet, 20 months), and my wife is expecting again in July. So, if the right, most perfect offer comes by, would I consider it? I get offers from ESPN and local promoters, but I just don’t have it in me to fight for that type of money.” For now, he’s content just talking about a career with far more highlights than lowlights. Among the highlights were fighting at Madison Square Garden in New York City and in front of 18,000 hometown fans at the formerly named HSBC Arena in
Buffalo. He’ll also never forget having the honor of running the Olympic torch into downtown Buffalo on New Year’s Eve and lighting the flame at midnight before thousands of onlookers assembled in front of the historic Electric Tower. While boxing was certainly good to Joe Mesi, he fears for the future of the sport that made him a household name. Ultimate fighting and mixed martial arts are very hot right now, and their popularity is taking a toll on the boxing world. “The future of boxing isn’t good for a lot of reasons,” Mesi said. “Boxing is killing itself because they’re making so many weight classes and titles and because there are no real stars and no heavyweights making any noise. There are no American heavyweights that are household names. The sport needs more talent. Promoters and state commissions are also killing it with far too many rules and regulations.” “I’m not a big fan of UFC and MMA,” Mesi continued, “and I’m probably biased because I love boxing, yet I still lobby Albany for the legalization of the sport. I hear about all the underground and backyard unsanctioned fights taking place and all the guys getting hurt and making money illegally. I think that the sport itself is safer than boxing and I’d love to be able to promote it as I think there’s a lot of money in it.” But all of that takes a back seat to a very satisfying job as
a territory manager for St. Jude Medical, and a family he loves more than anything. “One thing I learned from both my dad and my mom was that family always comes first,” Mesi said. “Some people thought my dad and I were only in boxing to make millions of dollars — even risk my health to do so — but that’s just not true. We always put family first. I have two beautiful daughters now. I love the sport and everything it’s done for me, but family will always come first.” Another labor of love for Mesi is a relatively new antibullying project he established called “Champs Against Bullying,” created to raise awareness and funds to combat the problem of bullying, especially in our schools. “I speak at a lot of high school and middle school assemblies and I always touch on bullying,” Mesi said. “And the reason for this is because I was bullied as a kid. I was undersized until about the 11th grade. I was tough and athletic, but I was undersized and pushed around a lot, and I remember how that felt. “I also hate fighting and violence. That may sound strange coming from a boxer, but boxing is a sport. For kids being bullied, I want them to know that there are people out here who want to help.” That help is just a click away at www.champsagainstbullying.com, the website for Mesi’s anti-bullying organization. Because Mesi has such a busy professional and person-
al life, it appears that he has also put the political ring in his rearview mirror. Mesi ran unsuccessfully for a New York State Senate seat but, unlike his boxing career, suffered the rare taste of defeat at the hands of Republican opponent Michael Ranzenhofer. “I worked my tail off for that campaign and I wanted it desperately,” Mesi admitted. “It was a close race, and I’m not bitter or mad. It was a great learning experience. If the right seat was to open up 10 or 15 years from now, I’d consider running for it because I love this area and we definitely need more everyday people in politics. But as it turns out, losing that political campaign was probably the best thing that ever happened to me because now I have a job that I love in the private sector. I’m in hospitals and operating rooms working with some great doctors right here in Western New York. I love where I’m at.” “I’m the luckiest man in the world,” Mesi added, pausing to reflect on his many blessings. “I’ve had the Olympic experience, college, been overseas and to almost every state in the country. I’ve flown on private jets and have been with the poorest of the poor. I’ve met a lot of great people, have a wonderful job and my family is healthy. I feel very blessed.” “I also learned, at about the age of 20, the importance of community. I loved training and fighting, but I learned to love the Western New York community more than anyplace else in the world. It’s my home and it will always be my home. The people here are great. Buffalonians are close, strong, united and love their own. There aren’t 18,000 boxing fans in Western New York, but 18,000 people filled the arena for my fights to support me. I’ll always be loyal to them and to this area.” Joe Kirchmyer is president of West Seneca-based Kirchmyer Media. To comment on this story, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
Doctari’s Fishing Forum
with Rich Davenport
Mild winter has anglers thinking spring This year “Old Man Winter” has taken a long vacation as mild temperatures have kept many area waters from developing that safe ice hard water anglers crave. Despite the higher than normal Lake Erie water temps, the snow machine seems to have remained in the barn which is good news for trout trekkers plying the steelhead streams along both Lakes Erie and Ontario. Trout Most area tributaries hold good numbers of running rainbow trout, and the mild winter air temperatures has kept most creeks ice free and fishable. The westerly Lake Erie streams, such as Chautauqua Creek and Canadaway Creek, prove very productive from the mouth to the first impassable barrier, but streams closer to Buffalo, like 18-Mile Creek and even Buffalo Creek, offer good mid-winter action. Fly casters working wooly buggers or large, minnow-imitating streamers find tremendous action throughout the day when water quality permits. Spinning gear anglers running egg sacs either along bottom through deeper, fishholding runs, or worked under a float in the slower moving deep pools have a great time pulling big steelhead and the occasional brown trout early in the morning and again later in the afternoon. Lake Ontario offerings show the Lower Niagara River to be a super destination for shore anglers and boaters alike. Boaters have little worry of ice floes but the lack of ice on Lake Erie makes for more volatile water conditions of the river, making timing of your fishing outing critical. Kwikfish worked along the 30-foot break from Devil’s Hole to Artpark tempt steelhead, lake trout, browns and even the occasional salmon. Smaller streams like 18-Mile from Olcott to Burt Dam
Photo by Rich Davenport
Hearty ice anglers ply the waters of Burtis Bay, Chautauqua Lake, as winter finally provided some safe ice to fish on. show good numbers of winter-feeding trout, and even streams like Keg Creek and Johnson’s Creek have water levels that can draw big fish and fun action. Anglers can anticipate trout runs to intensify into March, as the need to breed drives more lake-run fish into the stream. Ice Fishing The 2012 hard water season certainly has many ice anglers frustrated and wondering what is going on. Although this year seems very bizarre, it is not unprecedented, and even with the warmer than usual winter some area lakes sport safe ice for walkers to get out and jig up some hefty bluegill, crappie and perch. Silver Lake tops all fishing destinations as safe ice cover developed by mid-January, and although shoreline areas may show some softening due to rains and runoff lifting water levels upwards, a good four to six inches of safe ice draws anglers in search of perch and bluegills. Wax worms seem to do the trick on the more shallowrunning bluegills and pumpkinseeds, with deeper water excursions leading to better catches of yellow perch. Chautauqua Lake has shown very good ice, but only in areas of Burtis Bay and a few other spots up to Long Point State Park. The deeper waters of the North Basin have not seen safe ice formation to support fishing as of yet. Anglers find Burtis
Bay to be enjoyable, with five inches of clear ice found across the entire bay. Walkers need to trek out a good half-mile from shore to get over schools of feeding bluegill during the day, with sporadic crappie picking up after dark. Mousee grubs worked on teardrop jigs or marmooskas work well when presenting bait just off bottom in and around the weed beds over depths of eight feet of water. If conditions remain cold, anglers are holding out hope for a few weeks of good ice out over the deeper walleye and perch grounds near Vikings, Maple Springs, Bell Tower and Prendergast Point. Smaller waters like Case Lake and Cuba Lake show some decent ice, but call ahead or check out iceshanty.com to get the latest reports before trekking to these popular places. Err on the side of caution, and do not fish alone. This and that The annual Outdoors Expo happens March 8-11 at the Fairgrounds in Hamburg. Area family fishing clinics will get underway this year starting in April with the Bison City Rod & Gun Club’s Teach Me to Fish program. The tournament season also kicks off in April with the Southtowns Walleye Association annual perch derby. Exact dates and the full schedule will be in next month’s edition. 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 NY Environmental Federation, member of the Erie County Fisheries Advisory Board and is the Co-Chairman and Region 9 Rep NYSCC Big Game Committee. Email email@example.com.
Buffalo Raceway kicks off with some changes By Matthew G. Young Buffalo Raceway has seen quite a bit of change during this past offseason. For its 70th meeting, the Buffalo Raceway has completely revamped their stable areas and the racing surface. Three new barns were constructed and several others received new Photo by Paul White roofs and stall repairs. Cam Patch won the $10,000 Open The new racing surface Pace with driver Shawn Gray. is “the best material I’ve seen in many of January, it was expanded years,” Jim Mango, C.O.O of into February by popular the racetrack, explained. demand. The plan for carryFor the track goers, the ing the guaranteed Pick 4 overall experience will also further into the racing season be an improvement as well. A is still under consideration. two percent Player’s Reward The raceway has attracted program has been initiated a lot of new talent for the and the access to refresh2012 meeting. Shawn Gray, ments has been improved the nation’s highest Universal with “The Winners Circle,” a Drivers Rating last year with new café-like service. The a .440, has planted roots in clubhouse now has open Buffalo for this winter. A seating and nine extra days transplant from Maine, Gray of racing will be added to the is now racing most nights at meet’s schedule. Despite the raceway. The impressive these expenses, track purses UDR number that he posted have been kept consistent. in 2011 did not come as a January’s betting handle surprise to those who have was up about 75 percent over followed his career. In 2009 last year, according to he had a .420 and in 2010 he Director of Operations Jon posted a .415. His continued Cramer. This is in part due to success this season will do the exciting new developnothing but good for Buffalo. ment of having a $5,000 Dan Noble, another driver guaranteed Pick 4 every new to Buffalo, has met with Wednesday. Originally quite a bit of success in the intended for just the month
past as well. Originally from Ohio, Nobel was last year’s dash champion after winning the final race of the year at Pompano Park in Florida on New Year’s Eve. Over the course of his 2,792 races in 2011, Noble won 773. He also happens to be the leading earner at the track so far this meeting with over $126,000 in earnings. “Both of those guys are driving here regularly. It’s shaken things up a little bit,” Cramer said in regards to the top two new drivers. Having such successful drivers can only do good things for the raceway and the spectators that come to wager on the horses. Add this new crop of talent to the other top names at the track such as Dave McNeight III, Kevin Cummings, Ray Fisher, Jr., and Ray Aldrich, Jr., and you have enough talent to merit the major renovations that Buffalo Raceway has recently endured. If this isn’t enough to attract people, the upcoming handicapping contests will certainly do so. Buffalo Raceway has a series of competitions coming up starting Saturday, March 10. The grand prize winner will receive $1,500 in cash on April 14.
2012 Buffalo Motorama Mark your calendar for the largest indoor car and bike show in WNY. With even more circuit and pro built vehicles for 2012. See top cars by top builders Ring Brothers, RPM Hot Rods, RDP Motorsports, Tjin Edition, and more Kiddie Korner with games and activities for the kids and the Women’s Oasis with vendors and shops for the ladies. Sponsored by Mighty Taco, Tread City Tire, Halleen’s Automotive, RodandPiston.com, and Sound Choice Audio and Performance. The show is March 23-25, 2012 at the Buffalo Convention Center. For more information to to www.buffalomotorama.com, or www.facebook.com/buffalomotorama
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
Indoor track and field shining stars
What goes up must get stronger
By Adam McGill
By Bob Timkey
Photo courtesy Bob Timkey
Niagara Climbing Center in North Tonawanda offers a safe and challenging venue for climbers of all ages and skill levels.
n today’s effort-unnecessary society of automobiles and escalators, rock climbing serves only one, pure function: to challenge. You vs. gravity. With widely varying degrees of difficulty, indoor rock climbing can be fun and moderately challenging for a fit individual, or incredibly technical and difficult, requiring near superhuman strength, will and a test of skill for even the strongest and most focused climbers. When you’re hanging by your fingertips from a tiny ledge 20 feet above the floor, engaging core muscles you’ll never use in your normal nine to five existence to lift your legs to the next knob and reach an imaginary summit, only to be safely lowered to the floor by your safety harness for a moment of celebration before looking for an even more challenging route up another wall, you’ll challenge muscle groups you didn’t know you have, challenge the strength and endurance of all four of your limbs and challenge your intrinsic fear of falling, all in one afternoon. Watch a seasoned, technical climber scale a wall with graceful, fluid maneuvers and you may get the wrong impression. It’s not as easy as some make it look. From the instant you lift your feet off the floor and suspend the entirety of your weight by your fingertips and toes, until
you let go of the wall to dangle from the safety rope and harness, whether by choice or by error, you will be exerting yourself in some way. While you may not break into a flop sweat like you would on a spin bike at the gym, you’ll certainly feel taxed after a session on the wall. The challenge can be heightened by attempting a wall with a negative pitch, so that gravity is pulling you off the wall as you ascend or by simply choosing to ignore larger features on the wall and utilize only the smaller holds, forcing you to exert more force with your finger tips and toes to stay on the wall in increasingly precarious positions. Indoor rock climbing also matches every ounce of the pure challenge it provides with simplicity and convenience. Climbing is an elegant sport requiring, even depending on, minimal equipment. Rock climbing gyms are easy to locate online and generally have a laid-back, come one, come all vibe. Teens, adults, and supervised children are usually welcome. Easy-to-use safety harnesses and built-in equipment make this a fun and relatively safe activity for almost anyone to try. You can wear anything that’s comfortable such as baggy jeans or shorts and a T-shirt. Your favorite sneakers will get you started or you can rent a pair of snug fitting climbing shoes with textured rubber soles to
aid in gaining traction on the climbing wall. In the Buffalo area, you’ll quickly find yourself gravitating toward Niagara Climbing Center as the only public indoor climbing facility. You’ll find Chris and Sarah and the rest of the staff to be friendly and helpful and you’ll feel welcome as a first timer while you enjoy being surrounded by obviously seasoned climbers who put on a show every time they grab hold of the wall for their own, and your, entertainment. A staff member will give you a thorough yet simple run-through of the do’s and don’ts and help you feel confidant and comfortable getting started. Note: it’s best to bring along a buddy as you will need someone “on belay” (holding the safety rope and operating the mechanism that safely lowers you to the ground after each climb) every time you approach the wall. Hours of operation and reasonable climbing rates can be found at NiagaraClimbingCenter.com. Rochester area climbers can choose from a few locations including RockVentures(.net), boasting itself as the largest indoor climbing, ropes course and teambuilding facility in North America, and Red Barn Climbing Gym featuring $5 single visit passes. For more information, visit facebook.com/redbarnclimbing and climb away!
With the indoor track season coming to a conclusion and the outdoor season right around the corner, this is an ideal time to take a glance around the Western New York area at some of the local speed demons. Below are some of the local shining starts for the indoor track season: Matt Allen, Buffalo State The pole-vaulter has matured by leaps and bounds in the last year, while anchoring the men’s field program. Allen (Olean, N.Y.) has already bested the school record with a jump of 4.40 meters earlier in the indoor season and is looking to make some serious noise this summer, as it is much easier to jump on outdoor tracks. Jazmin Dunham, Buffalo State Dunham (Rochester, N.Y.) has been one of the most dominating athletes in Buffalo State history. The sophomore already has four SUNYAC Championships under her belt throughout her career and set another school record this year with her sizzling 200-meter dash time of 24.81 seconds. Dunham is as fast as they come and she will keep the Bengals’ in every track meet. Rob Golabek, University at Buffalo Golabek (Hamburg, N.Y.) set a new school record with a shot put throw of 62-2.25
Photo by Paul Hokanson/UB Athletics
Having set new indoor records in the 500 and 600meter dash, Asia Henry looks poised to have a strong outdoor season for the Bulls. feet (19.26 meters) earlier this year. The senior has dominated the MidAmerican Conference all year and will be worth watching when Regionals come around. Asia Henry, University at Buffalo Henry leads the middledistance team for Buffalo and the sophomore has been a bright spot on the team during her short tenure at the university. She set a new school record for the Bulls’ women’s team in the 500-meter dash (1:14.21) and 600-meter dash (1:31.15). The underclassmen will be a strong part of the program heading into the outdoor season and will be a steady source of points from the field. Erica Johnson, Buffalo
State Johnson is the defending NCAA Division III National Champion in the 55-meter dash and is looking hard to beat. She has carried a Bengals’ program that has been ranked as high as 20th in the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The senior sprinter will continue to break records, as she finishes the most successful season of any Buffalo State Track and Field Athlete. Miles Lewis, University at Buffalo Lewis (Coram, N.Y.) is Buffalo’s most exciting sprinter. The sophomore has the team best in the 60meter dash (6.8 seconds) and 200-meter dash (21.67 seconds). Lewis has a tireless work ethic and the sophomore has lead the Bulls’ sprinting program since he put on the jersey. Jamie McClary, University at Buffalo McClary (Rochester, N.Y.) has the top times this indoor season in the 60meter dash (7.66 seconds) and 200-meter dash (24.71 seconds) for UB. The junior may only stand at 5-foot-6, but her stride is very long and she gets out of the blocks in the blink of an eye. McClary is closing out the indoor season strongly and has certainly caught the attention of the rest of the MAC.
Dequan Jones: ECC Cat on the prowl By Brian Michalek Dequan Jones is a tough kid with a big humble heart, something that shines through in his life, in the classroom, and on the basketball court. Western New York is lucky to have the Brooklyn native, especially the men’s basketball program at Erie Community College, currently ranked No.4 in the NJACC Division II due in large part to Jones’ contributions. Standing at 6-foot5, Jones is not the Photo courtesy ECC Athletics Dept. tallest member of the Dequan Jones has been a large part of Kats basketball the Kat’s success this season. team—he’d need another six inches for “I think I lead by example,” that honor—but the sophoJones said. “By working more guard still makes his hard, and encouraging othvoice heard, even if it is a bit ers, especially those on our softer than you would team to get better. We all expect from such a gifted want the same thing, and athlete. For Jones, faith and the only way you do that is a strong work ethic—both to work hard.” mentally and physically— With 392 points this seahas put him in a position to son, Jones has proven to not be successful. “I’m praying only be hard working but every night,” Jones said. also consistent. He is aver“Just working hard and aging over 16 points a game staying humble; going out and leads the team in made to gym and everything.” threes and total field goals With eight other sophomade; the next closest playmores on the roster, Jones er is over 40 buckets away. has stepped up to take a Additionally, he is also secleadership role on the court.
ond on the team in assists, chipping in over three per game. Although Jones played basketball at The Cobble Hill School of American Studies and later Pacific High School in Brooklyn, his passion for basketball began much earlier in his life. “I have always played basketball since I was in kindergarten,” Jones said. “My father used to play basketball, so I’ve always had a passion for the game. I love the game.” With so many positive things happening on the court, it is no surprise that Jones applies the same work ethic and determination to what happens when he steps off the court. Jones wants to make a difference in life, especially the younger generation to follow him. As he continues his studies at ECC, there is nothing but potential and possibilities in his future, and he is keeping his options open. “I am majoring in general studies,” Jones said. “When I move on to my next school I plan on moving to phys-ed. I want to teach the younger kids, especially about the game of basketball.”
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
Coach Carriere carrying on family tradition By Kevin Freiheit Not many people can say their father is an assistant General Manager in the National Hockey League. Buffalo State’s men’s hockey coach Nick Carriere can say that and perhaps a bit more. Positive energy filled the room as the enthusiastic coach reminisced about old times, especially watching his father, Larry, skate as a member of the Buffalo Sabres. The elder Carriere would go on to score 16 goals and 74 assists in 367 career games as a member of the Sabres and four other teams: Atlanta Flames; Vancouver Canucks; Los Angeles Kings; and the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was also named to the all-star team eight times. While making an impact on the ice, Larry may have been posing a bigger one outside the rink. When asked what NHL player he looked up to as a child, Nick immediately responded with “my dad. I respected the things he did on the ice and the way he played.” Nick’s love for the game began because of his family and their ties with the NHL, but he is now excelling as a head coach of the Buffalo State Bengals. Nick played for Niagara University for four seasons and was twice named the team’s most improved player. His hard work ethic didn’t go unnoticed and his coaches and teammates were aware of his team-first attitude. “He was one of the most selfless players we ever had,” Niagara University head coach Dave Burkholder said. “He truly cared about the Niagara hockey program. He accepted his role with pride, did what the coaches asked
Photo courtesy Buffalo State Athletics
Coach Carriere is no stranger to the SUNYAC conference and getting the most out of his players. him to, and executed it.” After graduating from Niagara, Nick went on to play professional hockey in the United Hockey League. A short time later, he was offered an assistant coaching position at Fredonia State, which he readily accepted. “I had never really thought about coaching until then,” Nick said. He then spent three seasons as the assistant coach and became an important piece of the coaching staff. “He’s a great guy and a tremendous coach,” Jeff Meredith, who is in his 24th season as head coach at Fredonia State, said. “He was involved in every aspect of the program: recruiting; strength training; video breakdown.” Nick said he believes recruiting is the toughest part and that it wasn’t finding the players he wanted, but it was finding the ones that wanted to come to Buffalo State. “We ask that players come on the ice with an attitude
they can control, and that carries over to our play,” Nick explained. With Fredonia and Buffalo both competing in the SUNYAC conference, Nick has the challenge of facing off against his former team and coaches. “He always has very prepared teams, making him exciting to compete against,” Meredith said. “His team is always so ready to play, which has really raised the rivalry between Buffalo State and Fredonia State, but he knows some of my tricks,” Meredith added while laughing. “We both believe that we have the strongest Division III league in the country,” Meredith said. “It’s always a battle when we face Buffalo State. [Carriere] always has hard workers and they keep coming after you.” This past February, the Bengals defeated Potsdam by a 4-3 score to advance to their first-ever SUNYAC semifinal. However, the Bengals were unable to defeat second-seeded Plattsburgh as they fell 4-3 in triple overtime to end their season. Despite being outshot 7141, the Bengals hung with Plattsburgh but couldn’t finish them off. With seven years under his belt, Nick’s experience and positive coaching mentality has led his Bengals further than they ever have been. “I think the world of him and it’s obvious that he has done a great job as coach,” Meredith said. What’s probably scary for the rest of Division III is that the best may be yet to come from coach Carriere and his Bengals.
Front and center (ice) with Gary Reeves By Jeffrey Levine Almost 60 years ago, Gary Reeves came within seconds of punching future Blackhawk’s legend Stan Mikita in the face. Why it almost happened is not nearly as interesting as why it didn’t happen. “My team had to play against [Mikita’s] team and the coach said to me, ‘look Gary, this guy is getting five, six points a game. We need to put you on him. There’s no one else we have that can skate against him.’” Reeves explained. “I said ‘no problem.’ When the game was over Stan never got a point and he was really frustrated. As he was about to skate off he waived me to center ice and I thought he wanted to go. I figured I was a good scrapper and when he went to take his glove Photo courtesy Pat Hotung off I almost decked Pro Skating Hockey Skills coach Gary Reeves (right) poses with him. He said he just student Pat Hotung between drills. wanted to shake my hand and we stood at center ice for a good pushing a plow of snow got certified in Stratford and ten minutes, and became after hand cleaning the ice then started teaching for the good friends after that.” may be long gone but Welland figure skating club That was Gary Reeves in Reeves’ approach is still the doing their power skating the mid 1950s; a talented same; hard work, self-disciprogram.” young kid from Welland, pline, determination and no Although he would soon Ontario, with tremendous wasted movement. It is a part ways with the figure skating ability and some synthesis of the Canadian skating club, Reeves has tenacity for good measure. and Russian styles of play maintained his belief in Although a series of unforthat is better than the sum “Skating the Hockey Way.” tunate coincidences and bad of its parts and is in demand For Reeves, this means breaks would prevent at the highest levels of the “when you teach a player to Reeves from ever reaching game. Reeves has frequently skate, they grasp all the an NHL roster he has conconducted skating clinics mechanics much quicker, tinuously worked with topwith Bruce Boudreau, forparticularly when you relate caliber NHL talent from mer head coach of the it to the game of hockey. Stanley Cup winners like Washington Capitals and You don’t just teach them Patrick Kane (Chicago current coach of the how to skate but show them Blackhawks) and Dan Paille Anaheim Ducks, across the where to use it. It’s a large (Boston Bruins) to Dan country. Reeves’ DVDs carry reason why I have had so Girardi (New York Rangers) a recommendation from much success at training and Cal Clutterbuck Boudreau as well as Dennis young players.” (Minnesota Wild). In any Hull—who humorously Apparently, those young one year, Reeves estimates refers to himself as “The players have also had sucthat he has had upwards of Third Best Hull.” cess at helping to train 700 students. Multiplied After a lifetime in hockey, Reeves to be a better over decades and decades of these DVDs, as well as the instructor. teaching, thousands of thousands of players who “Do you know who skaters have benefitted from have skated and trained taught me? The kids,” Reeve’s Pro Skating Hockey with him, are Gary Reeves’ Reeves explained. “I see Skills program, not to menlegacy. It is a fitting tribute kids making mistakes and tion close to 20 students to his late mother, Alice, there was nothing in the that have gone on to NHL who worked tirelessly as the manual to correct it, nothcareers. Not bad for a guy co-founder of the Welland ing at all. I’m no different who first started coaching at Minor Hockey Association than a golf pro or tennis a figure skating club. at a time before there was a pro. My eye is trained to “After watching the 1972 juniors system. Alice was mechanics. I’ll form an Summit Series I was so recently inducted into the entire drill for just this impressed with how the Welland Sports Wall of mechanic or that. All my Russians handled themFame and there is little drills are custom made.” selves that I thought I need doubt that her son will be Even if you can’t make it to get into training,” Reeves joining her in the future. out to Welland to train with recalled. “I called up Howie For more information Reeves in person, the Meeker—don’t know how I regarding Pro Skating wealth of all those decades got his number—but he Hockey Skills DVDs or of training is now available answered. I went on about Individual and Team in the form of two DVDs— how the Russians outskated Clinics, call Gary Reeves, basic skills and advanced and outplayed us in the 905.384.0508, email skills—sold separately or in series, although we won, Cochrane@vaxxine.com or a package on and he said, ‘you’re right, visit, www.garyreeveshockwww.garyreeveshockey.com you hit it right on the head. ey.com. . The days of feeling the bioWe need to start training mechanics of skating by young hockey players.’ So I
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
Abdallah defends his U.S. Title Community Sports Report United States Light Heavyweight champion Amer Abdallah (11-0) has officially accepted the offer to defend his WKA United States title on April 14 at the Kenan Arena. His opponent will be the hard-hitting TJ Gibson (14-2) of Duluth, Minnesota. Gibson, a former IKF Heavyweight World Champion is known for his tremendous punching power and iron chin. He has never been stopped in his career and is amongst the most durable light heavyweights in the world. Currently ranked at the top of the Light Heavyweight division, Gibson has dabbled in MMA and Pro Boxing. “TJ is getting back to his roots of Kickboxing. That’s where he is at his best” Gibson’s manager and trainer Frank Makie stated. “We are happy that
we finally found a worthy opponent.” “We look forward to having a tremendous training camp. As always we are proud to be able to put on this caliber of fight for our WNY hometown fans.” Team Abdallah manger Ahmed Imamovic said. “We are going to go toe to toe and put on a great fight,” Makie added. “TJ is hungry, confident and we want the title. At the end, we respect all but fear NONE. It’s going to be a plus fighting in Lockport because we want Amer to feel comfortable enough and let his guard down. Believe me; we’ll take full advantage of that. He thinks he’s got the judge’s decision, but we’re not leaving it up to the judges.” In response, Team Abdallah’s Imamovic stated, “Amer is a professional and never takes anyone lightly. If
TJ thinks he’s going to come to Lockport and take this title, he’s in for a rude awakening. Gibson’s team is counting on us to slip up and give them a chance to win. That was their SECOND mistake. The first was signing the contract to fight Amer.” Also on the card is the highly anticipated rematch between World Middleweight champions Muzammal Nawaz and Shannon “The Cannon” Hudson. This will be the third time the two warriors have faced each other with each of them splitting a victory. In addition to the two main events, there will be the highly anticipated return of popular hometown favorite Corey “The Story” Webster (1-0). Webster’s last performance was an exciting second round knockout vic-
tory in his professional debut. Webster has knocked out his last eight Canadian opponents in a row earning the title, “The Canadian Killer.” In Webster’s next challenge, he will attempt to avenge his only amateur loss suffered against Jesse Ronson of Canada back in 2009. Also returning is Buffalo’s warrior, Jay Bauman, who put on a fight of the night performance in his last outing and had the crowd on their feet after a war. Martial Arts superstar Brian Irr will also make his comeback to the ring en route to a title shot. Tickets for UND1SPUTED are on sale either through T i c k e t m a s t e r (1.800.745.3000) or at the Lockport Athletic & Fitness Club (439-5232).
Photo by Jason Stoos
United States Light Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion Amer Abdallah makes his 1st title defense on April 14th.
Local boxing happenings By Bob Caico The Bomb Squad Club at the Flare Center on Leroy Ave. in Buffalo hosted a 10bout amateur card Saturday afternoon. Teams from St. Catherine’s, Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Rochester competed at the event. John Paul Barone of Thunder Boxing and Joey Krebs from Casal’s Boxing opened the show in a 60-pound contest. The little boxers put on such an exhibition that it was voted fight of the night by the ringside officials. Barone earned a razor thin decision (2-1) in the exciting battle. Other winners: Tyree Schire (Rochester St. Martin) RSC-2 Dominic Hewitt (RSM)
Steven Ryan (St. Catherines) dec 2-1 Branson Carbone (Casal’s) Cedric Mitchell (RSM) RSC-3 Jerome Costner (Bomb Squad) Gerard Ryan (St. Catherines) dec 2-1 Dakota Ogdenski (RSM) Niasheen Williams (RSM) RSC-3 J a c k s o n Kreps (Casal’s) William Miller (Bomb Squad) dec 3-0 M a t t McEvoy (Casal’s) Sequan Anthony (RSM) dec 3-0 Java Reeves (RSM) Nico Cirrito (Casal’s) RSC-3 Rodney Lee (Bomb Squad) Jack Brady (U.B.) dec 3-0 Chuck Garner (Ralston’s)
Photo by Bob Caico
The 2012 New York State Golden Gloves semi-finals were held at the Staler Golden Ballroom. The finals will also take place in the ballroom in April.
Local pro wrestling notes By Ivan the Impaler There’s no shortage of local wrasslin’ events to entertain Fans of Our Great Sport over the next month and a half, as winter (what there was of it) and the Sabres’ playoff hopes fade into the dustbin of history. Congratulations to the tag team of Hellcat and Rob Just 2 Sweet as they won the prestigious NWA National Tag Team titles on Dec. 3 at The Eagles Club in Gates, N.Y., just outside Rochester. They were scheduled to face the reigning champs, Team Omega, but Omega forfeited the titles approximately a week prior. Conspiracy theorists are still trying to figure out “why,” not buying into Team Omega’s claim that “there was no one else to beat.” The NWA gave The
Reunited Olsen Twins (Jimmy Olsen and Colin Delaney) a shot at Hellcat & Sweet, with the winner getting the vacant belts. It was a face-paced and bloody match, with both Rob and Jimmy busted open. The end came when Hellcat hit his modified STO for the win. NWA Senior referee Fred Richards was there to officiate the match and award the belts. Hellcat & Sweet are also current ESW Tag Champions. The Olsen Twins had previously held the NWA NY Tag Titles. FARE YE WELL Randy Savage, “The Bad Seed” Shawn Osborne, Sir Oliver Humperdink (John Sutton), Alex Whybrow aka “Sweet and Sour” Larry Sweeney, James Haase (J.T. Lightning), Mark “Bison” Smith.
UPCOMING EVENTS Sunday, 3/4 - Ring of Honor (iPPV) - 10th Anniv. Show Hammerstein Ballroom - New York, N.Y. 4 p.m. Friday, 3/9 - WWE House Show - Ricoh Coliseum - Toronto, Ontario, Canada - 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 3/10- NWA NY Eagle’s Club, Buffalo Road Gates (Rochester), N.Y.- 6 p.m. Sunday, 3/11 - WWE Raw House show - First Niagara Arena - Buffalo, N.Y. - 5 p.m. Saturday, 3/24 - Chikara Pro -Trio Sportplex Vaughan (Toronto), Ontario, Canada Saturday 3/24 - Buff. Champ. Wrestling (BCW) American Legion Post - 60 Main St. - Tonawanda, N.Y. 7 p.m.
Sunday, 4/1 - WWEWrestlemania 28 (PPV) Miami Gardens, Miami, Fla. - 7 p.m. Saturday, 4/7 - Buff. Champ. Wrestling - Frank Young Sports Arena, 3651 North Buffalo Road, Orchard Park, N.Y. - 7 p.m. Saturday, 4/21 – UFC 145 (PPV) - Phillips Arena, Atlanta, Ga. - Bonez Jones defends his LightHeavyweight Title against Rashad Evans. TELEVISION “Wrestlevision Presents No Limits TV”, orchestrated
•••••••• The New York State Golden Gloves finals will be held on Friday, April 13 at the Statler Golden Ballroom in downtown Buffalo. Thirty preliminaries in the sub-novice, novice and open divisions were held on Jan. 21 at the Burt Flickinger Center. The field was narrowed down on Feb. 18 at the Statler Ballroom where ten more bouts were held. The open division champions will go on to compete in the Golden Glove National Tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada. ••••••••
by Big Guy Productions and A Crew of Many, is on the following stations: 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. In Elmira/Corning, tune in to WYDC-TV (Big Fox) at
Jr. lightweight Guillermo Sanchez of Buffalo dropped an eight-round unanimous decision to Edner Cherry (29-6-2) in Chicago on Feb. 24. Sanchez dropped Cherry in the first round but couldn’t capitalize and he now has three in a row to drop his record to 13-51. •••••••• Lionel Thompson (12-0, 8 KOs) will fight on March 31 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center for his first title. He tangles with Azea Augustama (11-1, 6 KOs) for the vacant NABA light heavyweight belt. Heavyweight Excell Holmes (2-0-1) and Michael Jackson (debut) will also be on the eightbout card.
1:30 a.m. late Saturday. Or, watch WJKP-TV (Ch.39) Sundays at 4 p.m. RADIO Listen to The Pain Clinic every Saturday at 10 a.m. on WHTK-AM (1280) in Rochester. Cashman Rich Jones is Your Conductor. You can also listen online at www.feelthepain.net THE TWITTER Yes, Wrestlevision is now on The Twitter. Curiously, the address is @Wrestlevison.
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
NBA trivia quiz row? a. Magic Johnson b. Jerry West c. Larry Bird d. Tim Duncan 8. Over the past 30 years, who is the only player not named Michael to lead the league in scoring for three consecutive seasons? a. Alex English b. Kobe Bryant c. Shaquille O’Neal d. Allen Iverson 9. Since the NBA adopted the 3-point shot in 1979, there have been six occasions in which a player has led the league in treys for two consecutive years. Who was the most recent? a. Jason Richardson b. Ray Allen c. Reggie Miller d. Dan Majerle 10. The NBA made steals an official statistic in 1973-1974. Who is the only player ever to lead the league in steals for three consecutive years? a. Slick Watts b. Mookie Blaylock c. Chris Paul d. Micheal Ray Richardson Answers 1.a 2.d Ernie D., McAdoo 3.d 4.c Bellamy was traded from Knicks to Pistons midway through 68-69 season. 5. b 6.d He had a career .511 FT% 7.c 8.b 9.b 10.d
By Mike Fox 1. Who is the only player ever to win six career regular season MVP awards? a. Kareem AbdulJabbar b. Moses Malone c. Bill Russell d. Michael Jordan 2. What is the only NBA team ever to claim consecutive Rookie of the Year awards? a. L.A. Lakers b. Toronto Raptors c. Chicago Bulls d. Buffalo Braves 3. Dwight Howard has won the last three Defensive Player of the Year awards. Who is the only other player ever to win three in a row? a. Ben Wallace b. Dikembe Mutombo Photo courtesy NBA media central c. Hakeem Olajuwon Orlando’s Dwight Howard is the d. No one else has current measure of defensive ever won three in a row. excellence in the NBA 4. The NBA has mainc. Dirk Nowitzki tained an 82-game season d. Tim Duncan since 1967. Who is the only 6. Who is the only player player ever to play 88 games ever to lead the league in in one season? free throw attempts for nine a. Gar Heard consecutive seasons? b. Theo Ratliff a. Karl Malone c. Walt Bellamy b. Tiny Archibald d. Vlade Divac c. Shaquille O’Neal 5. Kobe Bryant is the d. Wilt Chamberlain active leader for career 7. LeBron James won points scored. Who ranks consecutive regular season second among active playMVP awards in 2009 and ers? 2010. Who was the last a. Ray Allen player to win three in a b. Kevin Garnett