Former Calgarian finds Island golf paradise

BILLY POWERS

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

Golf is life to Calgarian Mike Loftus, and it would appear that's going to be the case for a long, long time.

"I think I've gone full circle, Billy," Loftus said from his new home on Vancouver Island this week. "I started working on a golf course, and I'm back to my roots doing it again."

Loftus is one of four brothers as sired by Buddy, a Calgary pro at both the Regal (nee: Elks) and Calgary Country Club, and Loftus recently decided golf sales was not his bag and invested bigtime in the Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville, B.C., just north of Nanaimo.

"My good (Calgary) friend Paul McCracken is the owner of this must-see 18-hole track, and when he asked me to manage the place not only did I take the offer but I sunk some money in so I'm a minority partner in what I hope will be a profit-making project in the future."

Loftus has for years been a salesman for golf products in Alberta but says this is "totally different in that it's all about service to the players who pay the freight. And for my first year in the business, I'm more than happy in that while tourism dollars are down, Morningstar is ahead of last year's numbers. And it can only get better because we are open 12 months a year."

To say the Loftus brothers -- Mike, Robert, Pat and Jimmy -- were golf oriented from the git-go, I must tell you Michael's middle name is Chip, Jimmy's is Tee, Pat's is Regal and Robert's is Par. In fact, Par was the name of the last Canadian to win the Canadian Open, Par Fletcher. And the year Fletcher won it, he lost the Alberta Open to Buddy Loftus.

Back to school

How's this for classmates at Monklands High in Quebec City: Former Calgary Stampeders centre Bazil Bark, hockey official Wayne Monday and major league umpire Jim McKean.

Bark, who owns the Stamps store at McMahon and seven Inter Sport stores in Alberta, played 13 seasons in the CFL, including eight here.

Monday became a World Hockey Association referee and an NHL linesman. Today, he's on the staff of the NHL's St. Louis Blues.

As for McKean, he was a quarterback-turned-kicker for both the Montreal Alouettes and Saskatchewan Roughriders before becoming a baseball umpire for 25 years.

Their teachers would be proud, I'm sure.

Cooler heads prevailed

While this is not trying to give anyone any ideas with regard to open alcohol rules at McMahon, I give you a story from Edmonton. Six Stamps fan went up for the second game of the annual home-and-home and engineered a plan to sneak their beer into Commonwealth Stadium.

They lined up six in a row with the last guy carrying a huge cooler, which was duly noted by the custodians. The first five were quickly ushered through, as the 'gendarmes' awaited the cooler holder. In the cooler, they found one sandwich, and the holder said: "I like my sandwiches cold." Meanwhile, his five buddies had loaded their pockets with the necessary 'pops' needed to get through the game. I love it when a plan comes together.

Until next week.


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