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  Sat, March 15, 2003



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Hitmen growing as a team



By BRET HART -- For SLAM! Wrestling

  First off, I want to congratulate the Calgary Hitmen on their great performance this past week when they defeated the nation's No. 2-ranked Red Deer Rebels, ensuring themselves a playoff spot for the sixth year in a row.

In my humble opinion, it's tough to compare this team to the one that started out at the beginning of the season.

Coach Richard Kromm and GM Kelly Kisio have done a great job of making adjustments throughout the season but I do believe they'll pay off in the long run.

I've always understood the real hockey season starts at playoff time and the Hitmen have always managed to surprise their fans by digging deep and bringing out the magic that's been with the team since its inception.

In particular, I've been most impressed with Brandon Segal and Fredrik Sjostrom, who have both come into their own late in the season.

My guess is we'll be playing the Red Deer Rebels in the first round of the playoffs.

The Hitmen have nothing to lose and I have no doubt after watching them beat the Rebels in a critical game Wednesday night, this Hitmen team has what it takes to upset the defending Memorial Cup champions.

On another topic, I'm getting a lot of comments about my recent haircut -- blame Tie Domi.

On a recent trip to Toronto, he practically wrestled me into his barber's chair.

I took one look at Tie's head and looked for the nearest exit but I relented when the barber assured me it wouldn't be the same haircut as Tie's. So there went my trademark ponytail of more than 20 years.

I thought it might be interesting to see what kind of money I could get for it on eBay.

Judging by the TV ads for Wrestlemania, it looks like I'm one of a diminishing number of wrestlers who actually has a hair left on his head.

I can't help but notice nobody has any hair anymore. I think it would be interesting to have a battle royal ladder match with a toupee hung from a string.

Can you imagine Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Goldberg, Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels and now even the chrome-domed Rock all fighting and clawing their way up that ladder for a hairpiece?

Last week, I put in a call to my pal Daniel Igali, who is recovering from having a vertebrae fused in his neck. He sounded very confident and is hoping he'll be able to compete in the world amateur wrestling championships in New York City in the fall.

Speaking of wrestlers with bad necks, I would like to take this opportunity to wish Angle a full recovery from a similar injury as Igali's.

Angle was the best thing to happen to the WWE in a long time.

Since a few years ago when concussion injuries forced me into retirement, I've felt it was a less than spectacular ending to a great career.

I can't help but have great empathy for another pal of mine, Doug (Killer) Gilmour. I know it was a heartbreak to all hockey fans to see him crawl off the ice at the 'Dome on Thursday night.

Hopefully this gritty scrapper will recover and light the way for the Maple Leafs in their quest for the Stanley Cup.

One last personal note.

As a Flames fan, I want to commend Dave Lowry, who returned from a stint in Saint John midway through the season.

In my opinion, his heartfelt determination and leadership made a difference and I only wish they'd brought him back a lot sooner.

More on Bret Hart




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