The Last Word

BILL LANKHOF -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:09 AM ET

Hockey is dying.

Now that we've got your attention: It's not happening today, not tomorrow, but some day we could be watching Kabaddi Night In Canada and worrying about the office sumo pool, not to mention demanding royal commissions into the state of our national sport -- soccer.

"One day hockey may no longer be Canada's national sport." So says Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies. Good thing lynching is against the law. In Canada, dissing hockey ranks right up there with the other usual mortal sins.

But Jedwab, a demographer, says the group's polls show there is no common sport that unites Canadians in all regions.

The changing face of Canadian sport, Jedwab says, is mainly a result of immigration patterns. The role of Canada's visible minorities in pro sports will be examined at the ACS's national symposium June 27 at McGill.

"You find baseball and curling is doing well in the Maritimes, football is doing well in Quebec, and basketball and soccer are doing well in Ontario. In the Prairies, it's curling by far, and in B.C., it's still hockey," Jedwab says.

"A lot of communities that are arriving here, the sports they are interested in are not always the ones that are traditional to Canada."

Ping pong, anyone?

Ricky Williams confidential

Birthplace: Hemphill, Tex. (In his next lifetime)

Favorite artist: Smokey Robinson

Fairy tale hero: Dopey

Favorite cartoon: Buzz Lightyear

Favorite entree: Chicken pot pie

Favorite dessert: Heavenly hash ice cream

Hobby: He has fathered three children by three separate women and is expecting a fourth child, his second with his fiance. So, you figure it out.

Any similarities between this bio and the official Argonauts version is purely accidental. And, remember, don't believe everything you read.

THE SEX FILES

Ukrainian soccer coach Oleg Blokhin has levied a no-sex edict on his players for the World Cup.

Finally, our suspicions have been confirmed: There really is a rule in soccer that officially bans scoring.

PUNCHING IN

The first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers, wide receiver Santonio Holmes, was arrested for disorderly conduct at a hotel in Miami Beach, Fla. It doesn't do much for his budding NFL career but the good news is that it makes him CFL eligible.

BITS 'N' BITES

Edmonton versus Carolina for the Stanley Cup. We can see this going over about as big in the U.S. television market as the popular outdoor show Fly Fishing the World. Both of them draw flies ... The Kiwanis boys and girls club is host of a Golf-A-Thon June 12 at the Seaton Golf Club in Pickering. Participants must collect a minimum of $500 in pledges to participate. Players can golf all day with breakfast, lunch and dinner provided. Information call 416-925-2243 ex. 25 or send an email to cnobes@believeinkids.ca ... Headline at profootballtalk.com, on Williams signing with the Argonauts: "O Cannabis" ... Doug Gilmour says it would be "an honour" if he were elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame later this month but I'm not sure if it's the turn for guys whose last name starts with "G" to get in ... The Alouettes have condemned the Argos for signing Williams. We can sum up Toronto's defence in two words: "Lawrence Phillips."

OUT-OF-TOWNERS

Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, on petulant Terrell Owens conducting a youth football camp next week: "Should be a great camp. Every evening the boys will sit around the campfire in T.O.'s driveway, each listening to his own iPod and bitching about the counselors and the marshmallows."

Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer allegedly was involved in a road rage incident after another vehicle struck his grey Honda. Says Greg Cote of the Miami Herald: "A team spokesman expressed shock, mostly over the fact that any NFL quarterback is driving a grey Honda."


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