Juniors, MCA should learn from incident
By PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun
Kobe Bryant gets charged with sexual assault, but keeps playing during the legal process. Dany Heatley faces a charge of dangerous driving causing death, but he's on the verge of returning to the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers.
So should a Manitoba curler, accused of impaired driving, get tossed from a provincial championship?
We bring this up in the wake of 18-year-old Reid Fisher's arrest on the eve of the provincial junior championship in Swan River this week.
Fisher, who plays third for Ryan Coy's Valour Road foursome, was picked up Wednesday night after doing an in-turn into a ditch, or something like that.
Some 24 hours later, he got the royal broom.
You have to feel for the people who run the Manitoba Curling Association, who've never had to deal with something like this before.
But did they make the right decision?
On one hand, anybody facing a charge is innocent until proven guilty. That argument kind of slides through the rings when you hear Fisher admitting to having four or five drinks before getting behind the wheel.
He's also admitted to blowing over the legal limit.
The MCA says it has a no-drinking policy for the event, but that only covers on-site locations. Fisher did his imbibing away from the rink. And he is 18.
Participants also get a general directive to abide by reasonable conduct during the championship. Again, Fisher was on his own time when he pulled his brain cramp.
The MCA says Fisher's behaviour reflects negatively on the entire event: the community, the other players and the sponsors.
It reflects on Fisher, nobody else. And he'll pay the price for it.
Having said that, there's nothing wrong with holding somebody responsible for their actions.
Kobe Bryant and Dany Heatley are professional athletes, part of the huge business of sports. That's why they keep playing.
Our junior curlers are just that: juniors. Still learning, on and off the ice.
And this is one lesson that needs to be learned.
NHL DREAM: Hard to get too excited about the latest development in the dream to bring the NHL back to the 'Peg.
Deputy mayor Dan Vandal says an unnamed NHL team has contacted him to gauge the city's seriousness about bringing a team back here.
Vandal wouldn't say which team it was, but it's safe to say whoever it is can't have too much on the ball.
Since when do you contact a politician to get something done?
MAYBE THIS TIME: Speaking of making it back to the NHL, it'd be nice to see Jason Botterill stick with the Buffalo Sabres this time around.
If Botterill, 27, wants inspiration after slugging it out in the minors for the better part of six years, he only has to look at Sabres teammate Chris Taylor, who finally made it to the NHL at 32.
"That's a huge boost for a player like myself," Botterill said. "If he can make the transition. ... a player like me should be able to do the same thing."
THIS AND THAT: Interesting to see the CFL take a page from the NFL's book by establishing a competition committee to deal with issues like the salary cap and officiating. Only problem is, they can't afford to hire people to enforce the cap the way the NFL does ... Don't like the idea of an equalization draft being kicked around by CFL governors. Allowing bad teams to pick up players from the good teams every year penalizes success ... We shouldn't be surprised at new Calgary boss Matt Dunigan's daring, four-for-four swap with Ottawa the other day. The guy played the game the same way, remember? ... Did you know Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt was once cut by CFL coach-of-the-century Don Matthews?