Tiger Apologises in a press conference
CLAUDY, HIGH 1C WEATHER MAS S16
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2010
Where is all the snow?
Linda Diebel National Affairs Writer
Debra Black Staff Reporter Despite Monday’s snowstorm, Toronto is experiencing a snow drought while cities like Washington, D.C. have been buried in snow, says a Canadian climatologist. Instead of watching the cherry blossoms bloom in Washington, residents there and elsewhere along the eastern seaboard have seen unusually cold temperatures and loads of snow. Some even suggest mega snowstorms in places like Washington, D.C. may be the beginning of a trend as climate change takes hold. This winter alone, Washington, D.C. experienced two winter storms with twoto-three-foot snowfalls – something that meteorologists suggest should only happen once every 300 to 400 years. Washington, D.C. has had 45 per cent more snow than Ottawa, meteorologists say. For its part, Ottawa, known as the snow capital of the world, has had their smallest amount of snow in 25 years. Weather patterns across Canada – and the GTA – over the past four years have also been inconsistent, suggesting to climatologist Dave Phillips that the weather and seasons are becoming increasingly variable. In fact, after two years of very heavy snowfalls, this winter Toronto and the region are experiencing what can only be described as a “snow drought” Phillips said. But neither Phillips nor Accuweather meteorologist Tom Kines believe this is all due to climate change. Rather they attribute it to El Niño – a weather pattern that occurs when Pacific waters off the northwest coast of South America become unusually warm. And this has meant a “snow drought” for Toronto and the GTA. “This time last year we had 145 centimetres of snow (at Pearson airport)” said Phillips. “We’ve had 36 centimetres so far this year.” The total amount of snow is down 40 per cent of what we usually would get, Phillips said. And even as the snow falls Monday, it will only be a small blip with the GTA seeing only as much as five to 10 centimetres of snow and rain over the next 24 hours, Phillips said. Phillips refers to it as a mere dusting. In downtown Toronto there has only been this winter 23 centimetres of snow, compared to the average of 99 centimetres. Last year at this time in downtown Toronto we had 128 centimetres of snow. So that means no Snowpocalypse for us. In fact, Phillips said none of today’s snow
After his darkest night, Giambrone calls it quits In making the decision of a lifetime, Adam Giambrone lived through a long, dark night of the soul. It came overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday after hours of grappling with his management team about a mayoral campaign in crisis. His most trusted advisers had left his downtown condo at 8:30 Tuesday evening not knowing if he would stay in the race or quit. Political strategists John Laschinger, Lecia Stewart and Robin Sears had sat hunched in his living room, talking about a rapidly developing scandal over sex, missteps and untruths until there was nothing to do except leave him to make up his mind. Giambrone, city councillor, Toronto Transit Commission chair and the great hope of so many experts who believed he’d be mayor, told them it was over. Nobody remembers his exact words. They would all get written apologies anyway. What they remember is the weight of it, the emotion that seemed to suck the oxygen out of the room. GIAMBRONE Continued on A8
RCMP needs broader overhaul, Tonda MacCharles Ottawa Bureau
Enjoying a warm and sunny Sunday at the beach boardwalk. will be on the by tomorrow when the system will turn into rain and temperatures are predicted to hover around 3-4C – downright balmy for a winter’s day in Ontario. And the weather will be the same for the rest of the week – a mixed-bag with snow and rain and by Saturday even warmer temperatures – around 5C – arrive with sunshine. “Is this nature on steroids, bad luck or a trend?” Phillips asks, admitting he doesn’t have a definitive answer. “The GTA has gone
from one of the snowiest winters last year to wondering where is the snow?” he said. “The seasons have become unpredictable,” said Phillips. “Look at the summers the last two years we had the wettest summers on record. Then before that we had the driest.” Is this part of a larger pattern? Neither Phillips nor Kines believes it is. “It’s a product of El Niño,” said Kines. “It is not a product that we’re going to see for the next eight years. This is something
Martin wins 8th straight as men’s curlers dump U.S
special for this winter. You guys usually get significant precipitation in the winter. You get storms that develop in the south central U.S. and head to the Great Lakes. WHEATHER continued on A11 SNOW STORM comming to toronto A11
Life in Haiti after earthquake a heavy cross to bear
Bill Graveland Sports
Andrew Chung Staff Reporter
VANCOUVER— The “Michael Jordan of curling” didn’t bring his A or even his B game to the Olympics on Monday but Kevin Martin’s Canadian rink was still good enough to easily defeat the United States to run its record to 8-0. Canada gave up a rare steal in the first end and finally took control in the fourth end but at one point Martin was curling a paltry 38 per cent efficiency while third John Morris was even worse off at 13 per cent. “Ooh, lucky number 13,” chuckled Morris after Canada rebounded to beat John Shuster’s team 7-2. “Yeah, a little sloppy. I don’t think it was our best first five ends but when you have round-robin first place wrapped up at this stage, I think that’s sometimes expected.”
PORT-AU-PRINCE–Brightlywith coloured slogans plastered on the rear windows of vehicles are not uncommon in Haiti. The one on Roland Noel’s rusting 1988 Isuzu Trooper says Mi Ze’m Pou Ko’m, a Creole idiom meaning “This cross is my own to bear.” Never could the expression have more meaning for him than now. His SUV, once his taxi, is also his home now, and seemingly his only refuge in the world. Noel, 58, throws his hands in the air to imply “What can I do?” He is like hundreds of thousands of others since a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti on Jan. 12, killing 217,000. Each displaced person, each family, is finding a way to survive, to get by, and eventually, to progress.
After the game, Shuster heaped maybe the ultimate praise on Martin, anointing him “the Michael Jordan of curling”. Martin was also laughing at his team’s first-half effort but admitted wrapping up first place going into Thursday’s semifinals took away from the team’s focus. “We came out with a little bit of complacency or a lack of focus after yesterday’s big win,” said Martin. “But as soon as they put a scare into us we all came
around really well and didn’t miss much in the last five ends. “It was good though to see the fire in the guys and getting upset and that was perfect. You can’t breeze through these things easy and we did show a little complacency this morning.” Olympics Continued on E3
OTTAWA – The federal government should boost RCMP ranks by 5,000-7,000, hire more women and visible minority officers, and impose stronger civilian oversight on the Mounties, says a report by a group of Liberal senators. Although Parliament is prorogued, six Liberal senators broke with custom, and with their Conservative counterparts on the Senate’s national security committee, and released Monday a “position paper” based on last year’s hearings into change at the RCMP. RCMP Continued on E3
Roland Noel, left, makes a cellphone call from his SUV Noel is trying to get to Canada to be with his wife. He doesn’t seem to be getting any closer. His spouse, Marie Gerta Fanor, a Haitian-Canadian woman who has lived in Canada for 31 years, was on the Air Canada flight that landed in Port-au-Prince the day of the earthquake. The Star profiled her last weekend, along with other passengers on that flight. Fanor was to have stayed with her husband for six months, a joyous reprieve in their long-distance marriage. Noel and Fanor, a diabetic, decided she must return to Canada. Back home, at her daughter’s house in Chateauguay, Que., Fanor is beside herself with worry. She calls him several times a day. He does the same. In the back seat hang a few shirts Noel had at the cleaners. There’s also a flashlight, umbrella and a small bottle of Haiti’s Barbancourt rum. Haiti Continued on F13
Tiger Apologises in a press conference
CLAUDY, HIGH 1C WEATHER MAS S16
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2010
Debra Black Staff Reporter Despite Monday’s snowstorm, Toronto is experiencing a snow drought while cities like Washington, D.C. have been buried in snow, says a Canadian climatologist. Instead of watching the cherry blossoms bloom in Washington, residents there and elsewhere along the eastern seaboard have seen unusually cold temperatures and loads of snow. Some even suggest mega snowstorms in places like Washington, D.C. may be the beginning of a trend as climate change takes hold. This winter alone, Washington, D.C. experienced two winter storms with two-to-three-foot snowfalls – something that meteorologists suggest should only happen once every 300 to 400 years. Washington, D.C. has had 45 per cent more snow than Ottawa, meteorologists say. For its part, Ottawa, known as the snow capital of the world, has had their smallest amount of snow in 25 years. Weather patterns across Canada – and the GTA – over the past four years have also been inconsistent, suggesting to climatologist Dave Phillips that the weather and seasons are becoming increasingly variable. In fact, after two years of very heavy snowfalls, this winter Toronto and the region are experiencing what can only be described as a “snow drought” Phillips said. But neither Phillips nor Accuweather meteorologist Tom Kines believe this is all due to climate change. Rather they attribute it to El Niño – a weather pattern that occurs when Pacific waters off the northwest coast of South America become unusually warm. And this has meant a “snow drought” for Toronto and the GTA. “This time last year we had 145 centimetres of snow (at Pearson airport)” said Phillips. “We’ve had 36 centimetres so far this year.” The total amount of snow is down 40 per cent of what we usually would get, Phillips said. And even as the snow falls Monday, it will only be a small blip with the GTA seeing only as much as five to 10 centimetres of snow and rain over the next 24 hours, Phillips said. Phillips refers to it as a mere dusting. In downtown Toronto there has only been this winter 23 centimetres of snow, compared to the average of 99 centimetres. Last year at this time in downtown Toronto we had 128 centimetres of snow.
Where is all the snow?
After his darkest night, Giambrone calls it quits Linda Diebel National Affairs Writer
In making the decision of a lifetime, Adam Giambrone lived through a long, dark night of the soul. It came overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday after hours of grappling with his management team about a mayoral campaign in crisis. His most trusted advisers had left his downtown condo at 8:30 Tuesday evening not knowing if he would stay in the race or quit. Political strategists John Laschinger, Lecia Stewart and Robin Sears had sat hunched in his living room, talking about a rapidly developing scandal over sex, missteps and untruths until there was nothing to do except leave him to make up his mind. GIAMBRONE Continued on A8
RCMP needs broader overhaul, Tonda MacCharles Ottawa Bureau
Enjoying a warm and sunny Sunday at the beach boardwalk. So that means no Snowpocalypse for us. In fact, Phillips said none of today’s snow will be on the by tomorrow when the system will turn into rain and temperatures are predicted to hover around 3-4C – downright balmy for a winter’s day in Ontario. And the weather will be the same for the rest of the week – a mixed-bag with snow and rain and by Saturday even warmer
Team Canada skip Kevin Martin, right, waves to the crowd after defeating USA 7-2 during Olympic men's curling
Martin wins 8th straight curler
Bill Graveland Sports VANCOUVER— The “Michael Jordan of curling” didn’t bring his A or even his B game to the Olympics on Monday but Kevin Martin’s Canadian rink was still good enough to easily defeat the United States to run its record to 8-0.
temperatures – around 5C – arrive with sunshine. “Is this nature on steroids, bad luck or a trend?” Phillips asks, admitting he doesn’t have a definitive answer. “The GTA has gone from one of the snowiest winters last year to wondering where is the snow?” he said. “The seasons have become unpredictable,” said Phillips. “Look Canada gave up a rare steal in the first end and finally took control in the fourth end but at one point Martin was curling a paltry 38 per cent efficiency while third John Morris was even worse off at 13 per cent. “Ooh, lucky number 13,” chuckled Morris after Canada rebounded to beat John Shuster’s team 7-2. “Yeah, a little sloppy. I don’t think it was our best first five ends but when you have round-robin first place wrapped up at this stage, I think that’s sometimes expected.” After the game, Shuster heaped maybe the ultimate praise on Martin, anointing him “the Michael Jordan of curling”. Martin was also laughing at his team’s first-half effort but admitted wrapping up first place going into Thursday’s semifinals took away from the team’s focus. “We came out with a little bit of complacency or a lack of focus after yesterday’s big win,” said Martin. “But as soon as they put a scare into us we all came around really well and didn’t miss much in the last five ends. Olympics Continued on E3
at the summers the last two years we had the wettest summers on record. Then before that we had the driest.” Is this part of a larger pattern? Neither Phillips nor Kines believes it is. “It’s a product of El Niño,” said Kines. “It is not a product that we’re going to see for the next eight years. This is something special for this winter. You guys usually
Life in Haiti after earthquake a heavy cross to bear Andrew Chung Staff Reporter
PORT-AU-PRINCE–Brightlywith coloured slogans plastered on the rear windows of vehicles are not uncommon in Haiti. The one on Roland Noel’s rusting 1988 Isuzu Trooper says Mi Ze’m Pou Ko’m, a Creole idiom meaning “This cross is my own to bear.” Never could the expression have more meaning for him than now. His SUV, once his taxi, is also his home now, and seemingly his only refuge in the world. Noel, 58, throws his hands in the air to imply “What can I do?” He is like
get significant precipitation in the winter. You get storms that develop in the south central U.S. and head to the Great Lakes. WHEATHER continued on A11 SNOW STORM toronto A11
hundreds of thousands of others since a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti on Jan. 12, killing 217,000. Each displaced person, each family, is finding a way to survive, to get by, and eventually, to progress. Noel is trying to get to Canada to be with his wife. He doesn’t seem to be getting any closer. His spouse, Marie Gerta Fanor, a Haitian-Canadian woman who has lived in Canada for 31 years, was on the Air Canada flight that landed in Port-au-Prince the day of the earthquake. The Star profiled her last weekend, along with other passengers on that flight. Fanor was to have stayed with her husband for six months, a joyous reprieve in their long-distance marriage. Noel and Fanor, a diabetic, decided she must return to Canada. Back home, at her daughter’s house
OTTAWA – The federal government should boost RCMP ranks by 5,0007,000, hire more women and visible minority officers, and impose stronger civilian oversight on the Mounties, says a report by a group of Liberal senators. Although Parliament is prorogued, six Liberal senators broke with custom, and with their Conservative counterparts on the Senate’s national security committee, and released Monday a “position paper” based on last year’s hearings into change at the RCMP. RCMP Continued on E3
in Chateauguay, Que., Fanor is beside herself with worry. She calls him several times a day. He does the same. In the back seat hang a few shirts Noel had at the cleaners. There’s also a flashlight, umbrella and a small bottle of Haiti’s Barbancourt rum. Haiti Continued on F13
Students safe after Canadian boat capsizes off Brazil “Grieve, who lives in Cobourg, Ont. “There is no doubt the crew was more than capable. The training is rigorous and precise.” Lesley Ciarula Taylor Staff Reporter All 64 students and crew aboard a sailing ship that operates as a floating classroom for a Nova Scotia school are safe after a night in lifeboats off the coast of Brazil. “Everybody is safe,” said a spokesman for the Brazilian Navy on Friday morning. Asked if anyone was sick or injured, he said, “Everybody is fine.” The S.V. Concordia, a three-masted sailing ship, sank to the bottom of the Atlantic in “hard winds” and swelling waves, he said. “It has gone to the deep.”The 48 students, eight teachers and eight crew were due in Rio de Janeiro Friday afternoon, he said. They abandoned ship for lifeboats equipped with blankets and food at 5 p.m. Thursday, Rio time (2 p.m. Toronto time). A Brazilian Navy helicopter spotted them three hours later and dropped medical supplies. Three merchant ships answered the distress call and reached the lifeboats first. Three lifeboats carrying about 48 people were rescued by the merchant ship Hokuetsu Delight, said Capt. Cmdr. Maria Emila de Moura Estevao Padilha, communications director of the 1st Naval District. Naval planes and the tug Sea-Admiral Guillobel remained at the scene where the Concordia sank after the rescue, Estevao Padilha said in a news release.
The life boats are sturdy and safe for the open seas, the spokesman said. The ship sank about 300 nautical miles off the coast of Brazil. The students were on a course taught by West Island College International, based in Lunenburg, N.S., and had left Recife, Brazil, on the Concordia Feb. 8. They were due in Montevideo, Uruguay, on Tuesday. Canada’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre helped with logistics after receiving the Concordia’s distress beacon. Kate Knight, head of the school, said everyone was picked up between 4 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. Friday morning by Brazil’s Navy. “They spent a significant amount of time” in the small craft, Knight told CP24. The life rafts are equipped with blankets and food and are designed to keep people safe until a rescue, she said. The sailors are aboard two Brazilian merchant marine ships en route to Rio, she said. Maurice Tugwell, a retired Acadia University professor, is among the rescued, his family said Friday morning. “The Tugwell family were notified last night that the Concordia had sent out a distress signal and we were later notified that everyone aboard the ship had been rescued off the coast of Brazil, after spending several hours in life rafts,” Tugwell’s children posted on his voyage blog. Knight “ensured everyone was kept up to date with as much information as was available.” On his blog, Tugwell described an international crew led by Capt. Bill Curry, with an Australian second mate, Polish engineers and an Alaskan ship’s doctor. West Island College, founded in 1984, provides students from around the world with experience sailing as well as classroom instruction. The ship was expected to dock in Montevideo, Uruguay, on Tuesday. The voyage was to continue to South Africa. The Concordia was designed and built for the school’s Class Afloat program in 1992. It is classified as a 100A-1 Yacht, the website said. The crew consists of two officers, two engineers, a
bosun, a bosun’s mate, a cook, a cook’s mate and a medical officer. “Concordia is one of the most sturdy ships on the water,” Pat Grieve, an alumnus of the Class Afloat program of 2003-04 said in an interview. “It has sailed Cape Horn, the roughest seas in the world. It was not just a ship. For 10 months and 32,000 nautical miles, it was our home. “The oceans can be very unforgiving,” said Grieve, who lives in Cobourg, Ont. “There is no doubt the crew was more than capable. The training is rigorous and precise.” Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said of the incident, “All crew and passengers have been recovered and are uninjured. This is good news. I thank Brazilian authorities, who led a search and rescue operation and acted swiftly to assist the ship and its passengers.” Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Simone MacAndrew said Canadian diplomatic personnel are working with the Brazilian government to monitor and assist with the situation.
His parents, James and Anna, had nine other children, all of whom predeceased Babcock. Because his father died in a logging accident when John was 6, he went to live with relatives and didn’t receive much schooling. The blue-eyed teen — who stood just 5’4’’ — signed up for the Canadian military in Kingston. Though he tried to pass himself off as 18, it wasn’t long before authorities twigged to his real age, 16, and put him to work unloading military trucks in Halifax. Lying about his age again, he got on a troop transport to England.
“I might have got killed,” he told an interviewer matter-of-factly. In 1921, he moved to the States and joined the U.S. Army and fell in love with the West Coast. After being stationed in Ft. Louis and the Vancouver Barracks, he settled in Oakland with his first wife, Elsie. The two were married for 45 years and had two children, Jack Jr. and Sandra. In 1932, the family moved to Spokane, where Babcock worked in the heating and plumbing business. In the late 1970s, after Elsie died, Babcock married Dorothy, a nurse 29 years his junior. Between his two children and her two sons, the couple had 16 grandchildren and a number of greatgrandchildren as well. “We had a wonderful time together,” said Dorothy on Thursday. “I’m so happy to have taken care of him in his last years.” “We should honour (Babcock’s) contribution to Canada,” said Rudyard Griffith, executive director of the Dominion Institute, an organization dedicated to promoting Canadian history. “The duty not to forget now falls on a generation who has…been separated from the history of the Great War by a period of going on 90 years. I think there is a danger (that people will forget).” France and Germany both lost their last WWI veterans in 2008, with the deaths of Lazare Ponticelli, 110, and Erick Kastner, 107. Now the duty of Canadians, say other vets, is to never forget the sacrifice of Babcock and those 650,000 other Canadian men and women who donned their country’s uniform for the Great War, as it was long known. Remembrance now mostly lives on through Remembrance Day, the Nov. 11 commemoration that recognizes those who fought in all of Canada’s wars and conflicts. But those veterans, too, are passing on. “When all the vets are dead, it doesn’t have the same meaning, because it’s an extraordinarily personalized ceremony of the generation who were scarred by it,” says Patrick Brennan, a University of Calgary historian who specializes in the First World War.
Canada’s last World War I vet, John Babcock, dies Nicolas van Rijn Staff Reporter John Babcock, Canada’s last World War I veteran, has died at the age of 109. A 16-year-old when he went in search of military glory, Babcock was the last of the 650,000 men and women Canada recruited to serve in the “war to end all wars.” Prime Minister Stephen Harper saluted Babcock Thursday, paying tribute to “Canada’s last living link to the Great War, which in so many ways marked our coming of age as a nation.” The men and women who served, Harper said, “paid dearly for the freedom that we and our children enjoy every day. “Today,” he observed, “they’re all gone. Gov.-Gen. Michaëlle Jean, head of the Canadian Forces, also paid tribute to Babcock. “You know how dear the members of the Canadian Forces and our veterans are to my heart,” she said. “And while I am deeply moved and saddened, I am also very honoured to be the Commander-in-Chief and Governor General to pay final tribute to Mr. Babcock.” At one point Canada had mooted a state funeral for Babcock, but he demurred, saying that because he never saw active service — because of his tender years he spent his war years loading trucks in Halifax and digging ditches in England — he wasn’t worthy of the honour. Instead, Babcock — who died at home in Spokane, Wash., on Thursday, where he had lived for many years — will be cremated, and his ashes scattered in the Pacific northwest mountains, as happened when his first wife died, years ago. “I think his grandkids would probably want to do that,” said his wife Dorothy. “Jack loved the outdoors, he loved to hike. Babcock, who was a few months shy of his 110th birthday, had been housebound since a bout of pneumonia last October. Recent visitors included the choirmaster from his church, Messiah Lutheran, who brought along a keyboard and a violinist for an impromptu concert, since the Babcocks had missed the concerts at Christmas.
Meme of the week: Love on the rocks, ain’t no surprise none of our customs was more appealingly adorable to idea-starved American reporters than curling. Tonda MacCharles Ottawa Bureau During an Olympic week in which the U.S. press insisted on talking about Canadians with the same paternalistic bemusement a
“You know how dear the members of the Canadian Forces and our veterans are to my heart,” she said. “And while I am deeply moved and saddened, I am also very honoured to be the Commander-in-Chief and Governor General to pay final tribute to Mr. Babcock.”
Canada's last living World War I veteran, John Babcock And although he left the country of his birth to become an American citizen decades ago, Babcock was recognized by both countries when he died, after having his Canadian citizenship reinstated in 2008. “Jack loved Canada,” said Dorothy the day that he died. “His heart was there.” Babcock’s death leaves behind two other known World War 1 vets: American Frank Buckles and British national Claude Choules, who lives in Australia. Canadian zoo visitor would convey when talking about an especially adorable monkey – “look at all those funny little Canadians in their funny little hats,” Canada-born Slate writer Dahlia Lithwick sighed in summary – none of our customs was more appealingly adorable to idea-starved American reporters than curling As the blog Deadspin snarkily noted, “every reporter ever” tried the sport in order to write a first-person article that followed the same utterly predictable arc as every other first-person article: ignorant mockery of curling to a newfound respect for curlers’ skill to a newfound respect for curlers’ fitness to general praise. Tiresome – but at least most of the newly positive reporter-curlers did a passable job of explanation. On MarketWatch.com, Washington-based blogger Bill Mann said the following: “Curling is sometimes called `shuffleboard on ice,’ but it’s more like the Canadian equivalent of bowling.”
Buckles, 108, was just 16 when he lied and signed up as an ambulance driver in the U.K. and France. Following the Armistice, he helped return prisoners of war to Germany. Choules, 108, is believed to be the last vet to have served in both World Wars. He joined the navy at 14 and became a seaman in the Royal Navy. He was 17 when he saw action on the North Sea. He joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1926 and was in service for 30 years.
Commander inherits base shaken by slayings Allison Jones The Canadian Press
TRENTON, ONT.–Leadership at an air force base rocked by scandal changed hands Friday with the new commander urging the men and women of CFB Trenton to break through the dark cloud left by their former commander, who is now facing murder charges. A pair of signatures on a certificate officially made Col. Dave Cochrane the leader
“When they asked me how old I was, I said 18,” said Babcock in an interview a few years ago. “Well ... you had to be 19 to go to France.” While he was waiting for his pretend 19th birthday, official papers arrived that listed his actual age, so he was sent to train with 1,300 other underage soldiers. By October 1918, having finally reached the age of majority, Babcock was eagerly awaiting deployment. Instead, after he and a group of fellow soldiers decided to defend Canadian honour by taking on a group of British troops in a bar brawl, Babcock spent 14 days of house arrest. Unfortunately for Babcock, the Armistice was signed during those two weeks, and he never saw combat. Decades later, he counted his blessings. of the shaken base. But it will take more than that to truly move past the allegations against Col. Russell Williams, a top air force officer said Friday. “If (only) it was as easy as just signing a piece of paper and telling somebody, ‘You got the job’ and I’ll be satisfied that we have a new wing commander and everything is going to be fine,” Maj.-Gen. Yvan Blondin, commander of 1 Canadian Air Division, said at an assumption of command ceremony. Cochrane assumed command of Canada’s busiest air force base during the ceremony attended by hundreds of officers and dignitaries. With his family – wife Sherri and children Jamie, 13 and Lindsay, 12, – looking on, he urged the soldiers under his command to stay proud. “Stand tall, ladies and gentlemen. You deserve it,” Cochrane said. Williams, 46, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Cpl. Marie-France Comeau and Jessica Lloyd.
Williams was formally relieved of his command Thursday after making his first court appearance, via video .
Col. Dave Cochrane
Realtors step up to aid Haiti It’s estimated that the earthquake in Haiti affected as many as 3 million people, taking the lives of 200,000 and injuring 250,000 more.
Pressure on Carroll to run for mayor been budget chief, a job that carries a lot of credibility for voters.” Wiseman said her challenge will be getting the “seed money” for a campaign since two other Liberals, former deputy premier George Smitherman and former executive turned nonprofit boss Rocco Rossi, are in the race and have been busy courting donors. Carroll, a former school trustee elected councillor in Don Valley East in 2003, said in January she wouldn’t run for mayor because she needed to focus on the budget. The $9.2 billion spending blueprint was unveiled Tuesday and will go to a council vote, probably in April.
Tom Lebour More than 1 million people are now homeless as a result of the disaster. It has been noted that it was the worst earthquake in the region in more than 200 years. Indeed, with respect to loss of human life, it ranks in the top 10 most devastating earthquakes in recorded history, dating nearly as far back as 500 BC. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, ranking 149th of 182 countries on theUnited Nations Human Development Index. By comparison, Canada ranks in fourth spot, preceded by Iceland, Australia and Norway. Given that Greater Toronto Realtors recognize the essential role that shelter plays in everyone’s lives, the Toronto Real Estate Board has donated $50,000 to the Canadian Red Cross to help with relief efforts, and help the people of Haiti. Realtors throughout Canada are also offering help by making individual donations through the Canadian Real Estate Association’s Realtors Care Foundation. TREB has a long history of donating at home and abroad when disaster strikes. Last year alone, Greater Toronto realtors presented Realtors Care Foundation grants totalling $171,000 to 20 local shelter-related charities, including relief efforts to help victims of an earthquake in China and those struck by a cyclone in Burma in 2008. We can take great pride in the fact that our country has stepped forward to provide one of the three largest military contingents to Haiti. There is certainly more work to be done as much infrastructure needs to be rebuilt. For those of us fortunate to live in prosperous nations, this devastation underscores the importance of emergency preparedness on an individual level. Even prior to the earthquake, more than two million people in Haiti were homeless, and shortages of potable water and fuel were the norm. It is my sincere hope that our donation will help improve shelter conditions for the millions of Haitians in dire need. Greater Toronto Realtors are professionals who truly care about making a positive difference in the lives of those less fortunate around the world. For more information on working with a realtor, visit www.TorontoRealEstateBoard. com. For more information on Canada’s relief efforts, visit www.acdi-cida.gc.ca. Tom Lebour is president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 29,000 realtors in the GTA. The views expressed here are those of the president.
Woman found dead in Scarborough apartment Bob Mitchell and Alexandra Posadzki Staff Reporters
An man is in custody following what is being described as a deadly domestic in a Toronto apartment on Friday afternoon. Toronto Police were called to a Scarborough highrise just after noon, where they found the lifeless body of a 44-year-old woman. Her identity and the identity of a man in his late 60s who was taken out of the building in handcuffs have yet to be released. The woman was found shortly after 1 p.m. on the 12th floor at 320 McCowan Rd., near Eglinton Ave. E.; residents said they were stunned by the news. “This is pretty much a safe, family oriented building with lots of nice people,” said Jacqueline Menard. “It’s such a shocker. This is such a quiet building.” She said the man taken out of the building looked “shocked” and “dishevelled” as he was put into a police cruiser. At one point, police had to steady him in the elevator, she said. “He looked really scared,” Menard said. “At one point it looked like he was going to fall but the officer said — ‘We got you’ — and they steadied him.” Police haven’t said what the relationship was between the victim and the man in custody or how the woman died in the 12th floor apartment. A white car with a handicapped sticker was towed from.
Shelley Carroll, husband Sandy in the background, takes a moment back in December, when she signed papers to run again as a councillor and said she would not be seeking the mayor's chair.
David Rider Urban Affairs Bureau Chief Councillor Shelley Carroll is strongly hinting she has changed her mind and is poised to make a run for mayor of Toronto, a veteran political observer says. Asked by reporters Thursday if Adam Giambrone’s dramatic departure from the race had made her reconsider her decision to
stay out of it, the city’s budget chief said: “It’s only February. I’m not going to pretend that the game hasn’t changed, but I’m still doing the same thing I was doing before, making sure that everybody understands this budget, making sure it gets through council.” Carroll is “opening the door” to a potential run, said Nelson Wiseman, a political scientist at the University of Toronto. “She would be a very credible candidate — a woman from North York who has
Observers say she can’t be seen as politicizing the budget, or using it as a springboard to a mayoral campaign. When Carroll said she wouldn’t run, two other supporters of Mayor David Miller, deputy mayor Joe Pantalone and Giambrone, the youthful TTC chair, had already signalled they would. Most of the team behind the coalition of NDPers, Liberals and some Tories who supported Miller moved to Giambrone, including John Laschinger, who worked on the Miller campaign in 2003 and managed it when Miller was re-elected in 2006. In December, Laschinger, a veteran political organizer, passed a hat among key Miller backers, asking them to vote by secret
Mistrial declared in dominatrix murder case
Sandra Rinella, left, is the former dominatrix mistress of Alexander Petraitis, right. They are charged with hiring Rinella’s former common-law spouse to kill the woman who was Petraitis’s wife. Petraitis is the millionaire former chairman of magazine wholesaler Metro News. Peter Small Courts Bureau A judge has declared a mistrial in a sensational conspiracy-to-murder trial involving a multimillionaire and his former dominatrix mistress after a key defence witness was found dead. “A witness or a prospective witness in this trial came to a sudden and unexpected death, and that’s created certain legal hurdles,” Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Clark
Call to post leaders’ expenses comes back to haunt Liberals “We still don’t have transparency in so many pieces of what this government does and we see it day in and day out,” Rob Ferguson Park Bureau
told a jury Friday before releasing them. “The trial cannot proceed at this time,” he said. It is the third trial delay in a case that is already six years old. Alexander Petraitis, 67, former chairman of magazine wholesaler Metro News, is charged along with his former dominatrix mistress, Sandra Rinella, 47, with hiring a hit man to kill his then-wife of 40 years, Kirsten Petraitis. But the so-called hit man, Kerry Robert Anderson, Rinella’s former common-law
spouse, claimed to have never intended to kill the millionaire’s wife. In 2004, he pleaded guilty to attempted extortion against Petraitis and was sentenced to 6 1/2 years. During his guilty plea, he admitted to threatening to tell the executive’s wife about the alleged murder plot. He said he tried to extort more than $1 million from Petraitis in return for his silence. On Tuesday, when the trial was about to begin in front of the jury, Petraitis’ lawyers
A government attempt to embarrass Ontario’s opposition parties into posting their leaders’ expenses online, along with cabinet ministers and senior bureaucrats, appears to have backfired. The New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives quickly agreed to do so but said the Liberals should do more to get their own house in order given a spate of spending scandals and a list of agencies such as hospitals where public scrutiny remains restricted. “We still don’t have transparency in so many pieces of what this government does and we see it day in and day out,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. “Really, the government’s trying to deflect their own dismal failure.” Government Services Minister Harinder Takhar issued the challenge in a two-page letter Thursday morning just minutes before the Legislature’s daily question period, prompting the Conservative and NDP to charge the Liberals were playing games.
“It’s politics,” said Conservative MPP Peter Shurman (Thornhill), calling the tactic “nonsense” from a government that promised up to $15 million for the Grace Health Centre on the eve of the Feb. 4 byelection in Toronto Centre. Premier Dalton McGuinty pledged new rules last Sept. 14 to boost accountability and transparency in government after multimillion dollar spending scandals involving untendered contracts and questionable expenses at eHealth Ontario and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. Under McGuinty’s new rules, which take effect April 1, expense claims for all cabinet ministers, MPPs who are parliamentary assistants to ministers, senior management in the Ontario civil service will be posted online – as will the expense claims of senior management in the 22 largest government agencies, such as eHealth. Shurman said any request for the opposition parties to post their expenses should have
ballot for the person they thought would be the best candidate in 2010. The winner was Giambrone, who later campaigned for 11 days before a sex scandal forced him to withdraw. Asked Friday if Carroll was considered a strong candidate even though she hadn’t indicated she would run, Laschinger said: “As I recall, and that was way back in December, she was everybody’s second choice.” Laschinger said nobody has sounded him out recently about working for Shelley, and he wouldn’t answer the hypothetical question of whether he would do so if asked. Carroll has a plain-speaking, almost folksy manner and can bandy numbers with any member of the Bay Street crowd. Friday, as economist Hugh Mackenzie released a paper on the city finances at a CUPE media event, she watched from the sidelines, nodding and smiling, sometimes chiming in. Looking through his paper, she leaned over to an aide, pointed at a graph and said: “I love that chart. That’s my favourite chart.” But asked later about mayoral ambitions, she cut the question short, saying: “Focus on Hugh.” Observers say she can’t be seen as politicizing the budget, or using it as a springboard to a mayoral campaign. John Cartwright, president of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, said that “if Shelley Carroll were to throw her hat in the ring, people would look at her very, very favourably.” Pantalone has a strong record, particularly on environmental matters, and his affiliation with the NDP will draw labour support.
Edward Greenspan and Michael Lacy applied to have it adjourned. Outside University Ave.’s criminal courthouse, Greenspan told reporters Friday that the reason was that several days after they had subpoenaed an important witness, he died under suspicious circumstances. “This is a rather bizarre turn of events,” the courtroom veteran of 40 years said. “I can never recall ever being involved in a case where a subpoena is served on a witness and they’re possibly murdered or potentially a suicide.” The police investigation into the man’s death impacts on the trial and so it has been adjourned to give police time to determine the cause of death, he said. Joseph Neuberger, Rinella’s lawyer, said the witness was found burned in a vehicle in the Eganville area, about 110 kilometres northwest of Ottawa. Although police have ruled out foul play, “there needs to be more investigation to make that determination,” he said. Eganville is where Petraitis now lives with his new wife. While neither lawyer named the deceased, Ontario Provincial Police have confirmed that the burned remains of Robert Verch, 41, were found in a Toyota Highlander on a road in North Algoma Wilberforce Township — not far from Eganville — on Feb. 10. The vehicle was completely destroyed by fire. “At this time foul play is not suspected and the investigation is ongoing,” Det.Insp. Guy Faucher told the Star Friday. He said a coroner’s examination could take several months. He would not comment on the fact that Verch was reported by the Eganville Leader to have suffered burns and smoke inhalation when his hunting camp took fire five days before the fatal car fire and that he was treated and released from hospital as a result. Debbie Christinck, a reporter for the Leader, said locals are puzzled by the death of the father of five. “He was a real devoted dad. He was the kind of dad who would rent out our hockey arena to come with his family,” come not at “the eleventh hour” but last fall with McGuinty’s original announcement. Takhar’s challenge came after the opposition parties spent the last two days since the Legislature returned from its Christmas break hammering the government over untendered contracts at regional health agencies before the new policies against such deals took effect. Takhar’s letter noted that “online posting of expense claim information enhances transparency, helps maintain public confidence in public officials, and acts as a deterrent to inappropriate expense claims.” The NDP said the Liberals could boost transparency by no longer interfering politically with freedom-of-information requests, as was charged in last summer’s Ontario Lottery scandal leading to the firing of chief executive Kelly McDougald, as well as giving Ontario Ombudsman André Marin power to investigate municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals, and make hospitals subject to freedom-of-information legislation.
Canadian Olympic officials lower medal expectations Jim Buyers
VANCOUVER—Canada is unlikely to pass the Americans and finish on top of the medal count at the 2010 Winter Olympics, officials conceded Friday. While they set the goal to “Own the Podium” and come out on top in total medals won at the Vancouver/Whistler Games, the head of the Canadian Olympic Committee noted the Americans are way out in front as the Games near the halfway point. “They have a ten medal lead on us,” said Chris Rudge, the COC’s chief executive officer. “They’re doing very, very well. “It’s going to be tough.” As of 5 p.m. Friday, the U.S. had 20 medals: six gold, six silver and eight bronze. Canada was 11 back with seven medals: three gold, three silver and one bronze. That was good for a tie with France for fourth place, one back of Norway’s eight medals and four back of Germany’s 11. Rudge told the Star he thinks Germany is “a little bit behind” where the COC thought they’d be at this stage, “but the Americans are way ahead.” The COC appears to be paving the way for a reduction in expectations through the Own the Podium program. But they also say Canada should have a strong finishing kick, with perhaps 9 to 11 medals in the next five to six days. Speed skating and short-track speed skating look like especially good bets for medals. “It’s a little too early to say we are far behind,” said Rudge. In 2002, Canada won 17 medals at the Salt Lake City Games for fourth place in the medal standings. In Turin four years ago, the Canadians captured 24 medals and came third in total medals won. The Americans won 25 medals in Turin to finish second, behind only Germany with 29. COC officials have said they expect this year’s total to be significantly higher than in Turin, perhaps as high as 30. The Vancouver Sun newspaper predicted a stunning 39 medals, a prediction that has virtually no chance of coming true. Canada won just five medals in Calgary at the 1988 Winter Games
Argos new coaching staff includes a couple familiar faces Daniel Girard Sports Reporter
This time last year, during a news conference at a downtown bar held to honour O’Shea and a pair of other Toronto Argonauts who were ending their careers with the team, the allstar linebacker said: “Despite what all of you might have thought, I am not retiring.” Like the other honourees that day, safety Chris Hardy and centre Chad Folk, O’Shea didn’t play in 2009, although he never formally announced his retirement. But on Friday, the 39-year-old Milton resident was named the Argonauts special teams coordinator, one of eight assistant coaches announced by new head coach Jim Barker. “I don’t know that I have to retire to take this job, do I?” said O’Shea, who played 16 seasons in the CFL, 12 with Toronto, where he won three Grey Cups. “I’ll have to figure that out. But you won’t see me in a jersey trying to do anything fancy out there.” All joking aside, O’Shea said that after playing for so long for a proud franchise, it “didn’t sit well with me” to finish his playing career going 4-14 in 2008. The 3-15 record of the Argos last season made him feel some responsibility to help turn things around, he said. “If I can be part of the staff that returns this team to a championship, I’ll be very happy,” said O’Shea, who for the past year was selling orthopedic equipment to hospitals. “I think there is a part of me that believes I owe something to this franchise,” said the linebacker and special teams standout who made 1,151 defensive tackles, second all-time in the CFL to 1,241 by Willie Pless.
Tiger Apologises in a press conference
Tiger woods hugs his mother after talking on the presconference
Now, however, I must return to rehab seclusion and listen obediently to a whole bunch of other guys talking about all the nookie they’ve had, which makes me kind of wistful and, well, horny.” Doug Ferguson Associated Press PVANCOUVER-Why is this man telling me these things? We’ve barely ever even met. He shouldn’t be speaking so to a stranger. And I don’t believe hardly a word of it either. My mother didn’t raise a dope. Who’s he trying to dupe? Like that part about not getting to play by different rules than other people. Of course he gets to play by different rules. That’s one privilege enjoyed by famous people, sometime even when they break the law, although this fellow committed no criminal offence. He may have trashed the vows of marriage, as most people at least superficially accept them, but surely that’s a matter between husband and wife, unless the betrayed spouse is demanding a public mea culpa. He’s in the dog house where adulterous hounds often end up except, in his case, it’s a fancier pad with a big tab daily room rate and custodians of the joint have pathologized the libido to the extent of branding such behaviour an addiction, no doubt with a 12-step self-help program to follow before graduating. “Hello, my name is Tiger and I haven’t cheated on my wife in four months.” I was wrong, he said. I was foolish, he said. I was caught, he didn’t say. “I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behaviour I engaged in.” To these ears, it came out thusly: “I am deeply sorry for shagging a string of bar hostesses and porn starlets and bimbos, most of whom – did you notice? – were big-haired blondes with cantilevered boobs and not a one black like me, or even half-Asian like me. I’m really regretful that so many, at least the dozen you’ve all heard about (wink, wink) weren’t able to keep their mouths shut after rubbing up against my putter. And I’m sorry to the point of semi-disclosure that my activities have cost multimillions in endorsements lost, though I’m still the richest quasi-athlete (this is golf, after all) on the planet, just don’t for a minute suggest I’m being vengeful by staging this non-press conference on the very day of a tournament scheduled by my first-to-bail sponsor. “This is merely a coincidence because, while I’ve been out of that ridiculous sex addiction rehab hangout for a while, this was the only open space on my agenda to formally show my face before a hand-selected group of my very bestest buddies on the sports media planet, and by the way I would like to thank them for being so complicit in my phony image and never writing or telecasting what they’ve known all along.
Meghan Agosta the new face of Canadian women’s hockey Paul Hunter
VANCOUVER–There are three roads into the tiny hamlet of Ruthven in southwestern Ontario. Whichever you take, you can’t arrive without knowing you’re at the home of hockey Olympian Meghan Agosta. In less than a week, it will likely be time to update the welcoming billboards. They’re a little understated, the townsfolk noting that their favourite daughter was a gold medal winner at the Turin Games as part of the women’s hockey team. Not only may Agosta win another gold on the ice here Thursday, in the process the 23-year-old will have established herself as one of the top players in the game and, quite possibly, the new face of Canadian women’s hockey.
“Indeed, excuse me while I give some of them a hug, but first I have to kiss my mom, who taught me everything I know about Buddhism, most of which, of course, I’ve forgotten or ignored because following those articles of self-discipline – exercising restraint and stuff – is hard for a famous person. “See, trouble found me. Plus, if I were being honest, which I’m not, I’d remind everyone again that filthy rich and phenomenally exceptional athletes occupy a special place in the moral firmament – and the VIP lounges, where it’s pretty much anything goes. So what’s a handsome and rich and secretly (if not so secretly) sexual adventurer supposed to do – say thanks, but no thanks, I’m married with children and if The War Department (my wife Elin) learns about this, maybe by checking my voice mail and BlackBerry, she might threaten divorce and get some bigbrain lawyer to draw up a new post-nup agreement. “But don’t you people go blaming Elin for any of this. The woman is a saint and I am really, really still in love with her and really, really sexually attracted to her, no matter what any of those leg-overs might have told media slimeballs. She never hit me with a golf club that Thanksgiving night before I totalled my Escalade. And I’ve never hit her either. ‘There has never been an episode of domestic violence in our marriage, ever. Elin has shown enormous grace and poise throughout this ordeal. Elin deserves praise, not blame.’ “The rest of you, however, and especially those aggressive paparazzi, should be disembowelled. Shame on you for chasing my kids and my mom, even stalking my 2 1/2-year old daughter at her nursery school. Can you see the smoke coming out of my ears? Hoo-boy, I’m angry. What do you mean this was to be expected as a part of the fame package when my infidelity is Page One all over the planet and I’ve gone into hiding. “Sorry, where was I? Oh yes, apologizing to my sponsors and my employees and all the kids who looked up to me as a role model, which was how my dad groomed me since I was 2 years old and swinging clubs with Bob Hope, who’s still dead. And have I mentioned the scholarships that I fund, the one with my dad’s name on it because he was my hero but he’s dead, too, and, see, I have issues. But I still am a nice guy under all those layers of pretence. ‘Character and decency are what really count.’ “But let’s get down to the short strokes now. I will get out on the golf circuit again, maybe later this year, at which juncture fans will start watching the sport again. I will save golf from, uh, myself. “Now, however, I must return to rehab seclusion and listen obediently to a whole bunch of other guys talking about all the nookie they’ve had, which makes me kind of wistful and, well, horny.”
Three games into the tournament, with a semifinal set for Monday against Finland, Agosta already has eight goals and 12 points to lead in both categories. She has tied the record for goals in one Olympic tournament, equalling fellow Canadian Danielle Goyette’s high watermark in 1998. It’s been a remarkable evolution, from a chance to go to the Games at Turin, to Canada’s go-to scorer at Vancouver. “Last Olympics, she didn’t get a ton of ice time. She was a young kid and it was her first
“Anyone who was breathing wanted her,” says Mercyhurst coach Mike Sisti, as he recalled the recruiting process that eventually brought Agosta to his campus as a criminal justice major. time,” says veteran teammate Gillian Apps. “Now she’s kind of exploded on to the world stage. She’s a phenomenal hockey player.” While she is becoming a bigger name at this Olympics, Agosta’s talent — the quick acceleration, the dead-eye accurate shot — created a buzz before she began in integrating into the national women’s team in 2004. The female Sidney Crosby she was sometimes called – even wearing the same No. 87 sometimes to commemorate the birth year she shares with the Kid — and the scouts took notice.
Meghan Agosta one of the prime pieces of Canada’s offensive juggernaut.
GTHL fight club shocks parents who urge crackdown Robert Cribb Reporter
Jon Montgomery slides into gold
Jon Montgomery proudly displays the Canadian flag after winning gold in the Olympic men’s skeleton competition.
Randy Starkman and Kevin McGran
WHISTLER, B.C.—It took an athlete with the Maple Leaf tattooed on his heart to seize a gold medal in the mountains for Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Just two hours after gold-medal favourite Mellisa Hollingworth suffered a crushing fifth-place finish, Jon Montgomery of Russell, Man., made like a red-headed rocket to pull off a thrilling come from behind victory in men’s skeleton Friday night at the Whistler Sliding Centre. A fast-talking auto auctioneer who counts former hockey great Theo Fleury as his hero, Montgomery delivered a clutch performance to win Canada’s first medal in Whistler and salvage what had been a disappointing day for Canada up until then. The men’s alpine team fell short of the medals in a super-G. “I never lost my confidence,” Montgomery said. “There were moments where it looked like I wouldn’t win. But like the turtle and hare, slow and steady I won the race. Unbelievable. Couldn’t ask for a better scenario. It hasn’t completely set in yet.” Montgomery had trailed Martins Dukurs of Latvia by 18/100ths of a second heading into the final run and had been asked if he’d be conservative to preserve the silver medal. “No chance to win if I do so,” he said. Montgomery was pretty much flawless in that final run, putting himself in the centre of the track and picking up speed all the way
down to finish with a four-run total of 3:29.73. It was then up to Dukurs, the reigning World Cup champion. He was in first most of the way down, but then began to lose control and time. As he got closer to the finish, it looked like he might not hold the lead. When Dukurs crossed the line in second, the bearded Montgomery began to shout and punch his fist several times into the air as the crowd at the finish went wild. Cowbells rang incessantly and Canadian flags waved proudly as an impromptu rendition of O Canada rang out among the fans. “He deserves it,” said teammate Jeff Pain. “He slid unbelievable. He was great. Trained well, prepared well. To see anybody on the podium wearing a maple leaf is a proud, proud moment. I’m speechless. Jon and I are fierce competitors, we push each other. He’s younger and stronger and better. He’s a great slider. He’s got a lot to learn and higher places to reach.” Montgomery got a Maple Leaf tattooed on his chest when he was in Grade 11. His mother took him to get it. He went back a year later and got the word “Canada” tattooed on top of it. “Growing up, my father was a Canadian history teacher,” Montgomery said. “He was definitely a very patriotic Canadian and that rubbed off on me. I was always a very proud Canadian and wanted to emblazon it on my chest to let everybody know that. And certainly if I was ever found dead in a ditch, they’d know which country to send me home to.”
Montgomery, the top hope for medal on the men’s skeleton side, was not worried about expectations entering the Games. “It’s a matter of whether you want to look at it as support or a pressure to perform,” he said. “In my case, I don’t think you’d think any less of me should I not get gold on the day of the Games. I think most people will credit you with having tried and representing your country to the best of your ability, regardless of the results. As opposed to people will hate me and think I’m a moron and never talk to me again if I don’t perform today.” Mike Douglas of Toronto was seventh heading into the third heat Friday, but he never got to race. He was officially disqualified because he failed to take the covers off his runners in time. His sled was supposed to be in Parc Ferme, the start area, 45 minutes before race time. Montgomery was a world silver medallist two years ago and won a World Cup on this Olympic track last year, but this had been a spotty season for him. There was a victory in Cesana, Italy, but a lot of indifferent results as well. Like his hockey hero Fleury, the personable Montgomery hung tough. “Theo was always a big inspiration because of his stature, being so small and having such great success in the NHL, arguably one of the best players of his time. He led you to believe if you want it bad enough, you can get it.”
Young hockey players in Toronto are engaging in a uniquely dangerous pre-game workout: Locker-room boxing. Disturbing video recently shot inside the dressing room of 15-year-old Vaughan Panthers reveals testosterone-fuelled teens hammering each other with punches to the head. Despite an avowed crackdown on locker-room boxing by the Greater Toronto Hockey League nearly three years ago, the practice continues as many parents call for a more vigorous response from the league. Wearing hockey gloves and helmets, several Panther players organized structured fights in the centre of the dressing room as teammates – and coaches – watched the proceedings, some capturing the moment on cellphone cameras. In one skirmish that unfolds like a scene from the film Fight Club, a teen is clocked so hard to the head he stumbles backward and braces himself against a wall to regain his balance. Head bowed for several seconds, he appears shaken. Rather than any league-imposed punishment against the players or the club, it was the coach of the team, Dave Castellani, who imposed justice on himself and five players involved in the melees: A one-game suspension. That’s not nearly sufficient, say some minor hockey parents who have watched the videos They’re calling on the league to respond to such incidents – which some call widespread in hockey locker rooms – with hefty suspensions and make disciplinary records of coaches public. “These kids are being beaten and the coaches are standing there watching this,” says Liana Seibezzi, who has a son on the team. “I’m sorry, but as a mother, I pay a lot of money and I expect my kids to be protected in the change rooms. We pay thousands of dollars for this and they’re supposed to be supervised.” Seibezzi complained to the Greater Toronto Hockey League in a letter saying, “The head coach of this team and an assistant coach were both seen on the video and chose to do nothing to stop the locker boxing. Since these men are adults and team officials, it would have been expected for them to take some action.” A response letter from league executive director Scott Oakman says the incident was investigated but, as a matter of policy, “we do not publicly disclose suspensions issued to team officials and players. I can tell you all of those registered individuals involved were held accountable for the indiscretions involved in this particular situation.” Team coach Castellani and his assistant coach are both seen momentarily in the videos Castellani calls the incident “a life lesson for me.” “When I walked in the room I saw what they were doing, I said, `Guys, stop.’ They kind of backed off.” He says he left the room to meet a parent outside, then started hearing more yelling and screaming less than a minute later. So he sent in the team’s assistant coach to check on them. “He looked and came out and said, ‘They’re still going at it.’ “ Castellani says he didn’t realize how serious the incident was until he saw the videos and did online research on the phenomenon of locker-room boxing. “I wish we had been more educated about this term `locker-room boxing’ because I would have been more forceful at the time than I was. I thought they were just horsing around. ... I didn’t realize how serious it could have been.” Asked about the length of his self-imposed suspension, Castellani said: “The GTHL felt the actions I was taking and did take were a good approach as a punishment and, at the same time, an educational tool. They were happy with that.” Toros Assadourian, president of the Panthers, said the organization has communicated the seriousness of the issue to its players. “Thank God no one was hurt,” he said. “In our eyes, it was a road to injury and inappropriate behaviour.” But the punishment doesn’t fit the offence, said Seibezzi’s husband Dave. “They say it’s been taken care of, but how could it be taken care of if (the coach) is still behind the bench? I don’t think one game is enough when you’re watching kids box with gloves on.” Vito Valela, whose 15-year-old plays for a competing team, says teens across the city have been watching the video. “What bothers me is that the kids are impressed by it and it’s like it’s acceptable behaviour. My son showed it to me and said, `Look at something cool.’ This is sanctioned violence. There’s no guidance being given here.” Fight nights in Canada’s minor hockey locker rooms aren’t new. In 2007, league president John Gardner wrote a column for thestar.com about “locker boxing” as “a new form of violence” that had found its way into amateur hockey. “If it is proven that a coach knew (about) locker boxing and did nothing to put an end to it, that individual would be best to submit his resignation before the League gets the information,” he wrote. In an interview, Gardner said he was satisfied with the Panthers’ handling of the matter. “Every situation has to be dealt with separately. I think the way it was handled and the message indicated that this would never be tolerated again.”
Raptors come back to defeat Wizards Take a look at his (Bargnani’s) blocked shots over the last whatever number of games. He’s got a consecutive streak going now that ranks right up with some of the best players in the league right now Doug Smith Sports Reporter For four minutes the switch turned on, the intensity appeared, the game was won. All it took was that span of exceptional fourth quarter defence—when Andrea Bargnani blocked shots like he thought he was some imitation of Bill Russell and the other Raptors hawked the ball like they seldom do—for Toronto to subdue the Washington Wizards 109-104 before a wildly enthusiastic gathering of 19,149 at the Air Canada Centre. All the good stuff they had been saving, little tweaks to their defence they were holding for the time would be in the balance, paid off as the Raptors won for the second straight without the presence of injured allstar Chris Bosh. “We went small and every timeout we tried to give them a different look,” said coach Jay Triano. “We finally hit ‘em with a trap that we had been sitting on; we finally hit them with switches, which we had been sitting and waiting on.
I think it was the last (5:40) they only scored four points.” In that time, the Raptors turned into defensive demons and no one more so than Bargnani, who finished with 18 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots. Providing excellent help defence in the paint, he swatted away three Wizards attempts during a 3:19 stretch late in the fourth when Toronto went from down nine to up five. “Andrea was huge, he had three blocked shots in that time, he was there to help in drives … we played with a lot of aggression,” said Triano. “Take a look at his (Bargnani’s) blocked shots over the last whatever number of games. He’s got a consecutive streak going now that ranks right up with some of the best players in the league right now.” Bargnani has been credited with at least one blocked shot in 13 of Toronto’s last 14 games and four against the Wizards was one off his season high. But the most important aspect of the ones Saturday night were that they came when the game was ultimately decided. “You watch the games that we’ve played well in this stretch and he’s always got his hand on a couple of shots and he saves it for the end,” said Triano. “He’s very, very attentive to where the ball is late in games.” The Raptors were without an injured Bosh for a second straight night and his absence was sorely felt on the offensive end. Without the anchor – and the guy they
could throw the ball to in late-clock situations to get some kind of good shot – the Raptors seemed disoriented at times. But when Triano went to a small lineup late in the game – Jarrett Jack, Jose Calderon, Hedo Turkoglu, Antoine Wright and Bargnani – they finally got some consistent offence. “Without Chris, where you can give (the ball) to him and you can make cuts off him and you know that he’s going to create stuff, we have to create without the basketball,” said Triano. “We have to move and set screens and roll hard to the basket. “We were able to spread the floor when we went small. Jarrett came in and was able to turn the corner; Jose had been turning the corner and hitting the jump shots on the baseline, Turk was able to turn the corner “(And) if you help off of Andrea, he’s going to hurt you with the three.” Jack was particularly effective in the fourth quarter, scoring 11 of his team high 23 points in the final 6 1-2 minutes, including six vital free throws. Turkoglu, who shed his mask early in the game and found his rhythm when he did, had 16 points, six rebounds and five assists, including a huge offensive rebound, put-back basket and subsequent free throw that put Toronto ahead for good with just over three minutes remaining.
Raptors’ Jarrett Jack goes to the net while being guarded by Washington Wizards’ Mike James during the first half at the Air Canada Centre.
Published on Aug 29, 2011