The National Hockey League presented the Hockey Hall of Fame with a totally unexpected $3-million gift at the right time.
"It was a Christmas gift from the NHL," said Jeff Denomme, president and CEO of the Hall. "We originally owed the NHL $5.3 million and we paid down $2.5 million.
"At Christmas time we were notified the NHL Board of Governors forgave us the rest of the loan. It was a great gesture."
The generous gift encouraged Denomme and his board to carry on with their plans to pursue the finding of a home for the Hall's archives.
The Hall joined the City of Toronto and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. in the plans to rebuild the Lakeshore Lions Arena at a cost of about $35 million.
"The building will be owned by the City of Toronto, the Leafs will have 25,000 square feet and guaranteed ice time as the anchor tenant, while we will have 18,000 square feet for our purposes," Denomme said.
The agile president of the Hall and his associates also expanded their relationship with the International Ice Hockey Federation.
"We have become the official photographers of major international hockey events," Denomme said. "We now shoot the junior world championship and we will also be the official photographers of this year's world hockey championship in Halifax and Quebec City.
The Hockey Hall of Fame has come a long way since leaving the CNE grounds.
OCAA STANDOUT ATHLETES
Volleyball and basketball stars were selected as players and teams of the week by the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association. On the individual side, Helena Stronks was the pick of the selectors because her stellar play helped the Redeemer women's volleyball team to get above .500 this season, while Matthew Marjanski of the Algonquin Thunder was the choice among male athletes.
As for the team selections, Nipissing Lakers women's volleyball knocked off the top-ranked Mohawk Mountaineers 25-22, 18-25, 25-27, 225-21 and 25-11. The Lakers also whitewashed the Sault Cougars 3-0 with Laura Hudson and Stephanie Hancock leading the way.
To change the pace, the Algoma Thunderbirds men's basketball team was selected team of the week, hitting over 58% of their shots.
The Thunderbirds clobbered the St.Clair Saints 85-51, with Robbie Green sinking 26 points.
On the ski slopes at Devils Glen, Maria Henderson of George Brown College finished first in both the giant slalom and the slalom, while Geoff Anderson of Georgian placed first in the giant slalom, and Kayvon Fetamizadeh of Georgian finished first in the slalom.
However, the overall winner of the gold medal was Scott Russell of Georgian, who finished second in the giant slalom and fourth in the slalom. Anderson captured the silver and Scott Walker of Georgian won the bronze.
Last August, "Hustle For A Cure" was created in memory of Hockey Hall of Famer John D'Amico, one of the NHL's greatest linesmen, who passed away from blood cancer. His son, Angelo D'Amico, decided to honour the memory of his father and help children and adults to battle blood cancer. Angelo organized the first "Let's Blow The Whistle On Blood Cancers" skate-a-thon, which will be held at the Ricoh Coliseum on Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Blood cancers have affected several NHLers, including Mario Lemieux, Saku Koivu, Jason Blake and John D'Amico. For further info, call Angelo D'Amico (416-988-7388), Cecile de Bretan (416-788-5580) or Lorna Warwick at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (416-670-3692) ... The International Sports Journalists Association (AIPS) will hold its 71st Annual Congress May 21-25 in Beijing. The attending journalists from various corners of the globe will have an opportunity to see some of the 2008 Olympic facilities ... Pat MacAdam wrote a fascinating book about Canada's unwanted 1948 Olympic hockey team -- the RCAF Flyers -- which skated away from Switzerland with the gold medal. The book Gold Medal "Misfits" was published by Manor House, and Barbara Ann Scott King, the legendary Canadian figure skating and Olympic champion, wrote the foreword ... The Toronto Maple Leafs of the Intercounty Baseball League will celebrate their 40th anniversary in May with a Baseball Forum and Gala at the Airport Westin Hotel. Six baseball Hall of Famers, including Ferguson Jenkins, Gaylord Perry and Bob Feller, will join Luis Tiant. For tickets call: 416-631-2600.