One thing I’ve been blessed to see over the course of my life is how a circumstance of inclusion helps both parties, and to a degree few people seem to understand.
The life of Joey Moss makes everyone even tangentially related feel good, and so it should. So often when hearing his story, though, people consider the great life that hockey and football seem to have provided for him, while understating just how valuable his daily presence was to others. What most see is someone simply getting to spend time with a pro team, when a line from the piece Mark Spector wrote after Moss’s passing more accurately sums up the immediate relationships at play:
“In the heartless world that pro sports can be, Joey became the goat in the horse barn, putting an arm around a player that had just been released, assuring him better days lie ahead, and leaving an impression that no coach, GM or teammate possibly could.”
“The goat in the horse barn” is nothing but a compliment, as it’s a very real thing (seriously, google “comfort goats” — it’s amazing).
So let me frame what I’ve seen and learned given my somewhat-unique experience around those in roles like the ones Joey Moss held.
I’ve been in dressing rooms my whole life, first with my Dad’s teams and then in my own career both playing and coaching. It’s not at all uncommon for a team to employ a helper of sorts. These helpers maintain a variety of titles and duties depending on their age and capabilities, and almost all of whom are beloved if they have any run of time at all with the team. Some of these people are physically disabled, some intellectually; some are just kids, and some are seniors. But make no mistake: There’s a lot of work to be done to keep a pro hockey team clicking along at max capacity, and these are the people who help them get from 99 per cent to 100.
I also have a brother who’s active in the disability community and has been his whole life. Being from Kelowna, B.C. – a good-size town but not exactly a metropolis – meant that growing up I was a full-time member of wheelchair basketball teams, and a participant on numerous other wheelchair teams, given finding enough people between a reasonable age range with comparable limitations can be tough without a huge population to draw from.
I was around when the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL got my brother involved, and heard numerous stories of team experiences that have been provided to those within the disability community.
I’ve seen the benefits to both parties here in the immediate, from the person getting the opportunity (the value of the confidence and sense of purpose is immeasurable), to the team getting the help, both tangible and emotional.
It’s the value of that “emotional” part I don’t think many teams fully understand or even appreciate, given it’s rarely anywhere near the focus of often stressful in-season days.
It wasn’t until I took my role with the Marlies that I was really able to step back and process the true value someone like Joey Moss would’ve provided, and that’s because we had Pistol Pete Flagler. Sportsnet featured the Marlies’ locker-room attendant a couple years back:
You can follow Pistol on Instagram here.
Pete has a very real job working with the team, but he also moonlights in a kind of voluntary advisory role. One day Pete had me set up a laptop so he could go through the shifts of a Marlies centreman to help find him more ice time. He regularly campaigned to Kyle Dubas and Sheldon Keefe for more opportunity for his favourite players, which included a group of … basically everyone who was nice to him, which was pretty much everyone (extra love here for Connor Brown, Justin Holl and Rich Clune). He even addressed the full team on multiple occasions, and when he did he could wipe away tension in a way no player or coach ever could.
He earned his jewelry:
Here’s the thing with a pro hockey locker room. With the exception of those who’ve made it to the highest level and have long-term deals and no-move clauses, almost every day and every interaction is vaguely competitive. It’s exhausting. The players are trying to climb past the players beside them with their performance on the ice.
But part of being put in good positions with linemates and ice time to do that means impressing upon staff on a daily basis that they deserve the best opportunities, which means for those more-unestablished players, even the most random conversations matter. Players aside, coaches have to juggle giving direction with keeping players happy, and how they do that is judged by the players and other around them. The evaluation rarely stops for anyone.
To go with that, every day exists in the shadow of the previous game. Players who underperformed are held to vaguely higher standards whether that’s spoken or not. There’s handwringing over team shortcomings. And if the team lost (or is generally losing a lot), the strain of each day becomes immense. Blame is just floating around, looking to land on the most inactive of the team members in the room.
Having someone like Pistol Pete, or Joey Moss, or anyone who exists somewhat outside that competitive ecosystem creates the opportunity for everyone to talk to without pressure. In the midst of the darkest times, there’s a ray of light. And if you’re ever so misfortunate as to be stuck in a cave at night, you’ll come to see just how much you can appreciate a single candle.
So while I know Joey and Pistol and their cohorts benefit from their roles, I know the players and staff benefit, too — and I don’t think either side realizes how much. When the medical staff has that ray of light around, that candle, they’re often put in better mental frames to do their job, and that trickles down to those they work on. The coaches benefit, the extended staff and management benefits — even if just in small amounts. But those small bits, for everyone, accumulated, can have a profound effect on a locker room. I believe the whole of the operation makes larger gains than any one person may feel them.
For those teams in development leagues, these relationships also provide younger players an opportunity to learn about compassion and kindness.
If there are teams out there not offering a role like this up to someone from their community, they’re missing out. Missing out on making someone’s life better, but also missing out on helping their team grow, both on the ice and off. Guys like Joey and Pistol Pete are proof of the impact that can be made in those jobs, and in turn, the positive effect that can be had on so many people.
Fantasy: Start, Sit, Stash, Quit – Week 12 – theScore
SSSQ is a weekly look at under-the-radar fantasy players to consider starting and potential busts you should leave on your bench. We also identify breakout candidates to stash on your roster and players you can safely cut.
Cam Newton, Patriots
After missing time following a COVID-19 diagnosis and taking a couple of games to settle back into the offense, Newton has emerged as the QB10 based on fantasy points per game over the last month.
He’s also coming off his second 300-plus-yard passing effort as a Patriot after benefitting from the Texans’ defense and its lack of resistance. Fortunately for Cam, the Cardinals are nearly just as generous, offering the eighth-most favorable matchup for fantasy quarterbacks this season.
Continue to start Newton as a low-end QB1 in Week 12.
Boone’s projection: 241 passing yards, one passing TD, 38 rushing yards, one rushing TD
Other QBs to start
- Derek Carr at Falcons
- Taysom Hill at Broncos
- Tom Brady vs. Chiefs
Kareem Hunt, Browns
Hunt has averaged 15.8 fantasy points per game in PPR formats during the six contests he’s shared the backfield with Chubb, compared to 13.6 without him.
On Sunday, Cleveland’s rushing attack will be in one of its best spots of the year as 6.5-point favorites versus a Jaguars team starting Mike Glennon. The Browns shouldn’t struggle to control this game, and they’ll also take advantage of Jacksonville’s bottom-five defense against opposing fantasy backs.
Both Chubb and Hunt can be started as top-12 options at running back this week.
Boone’s projection: 83 rushing yards, 29 receiving yards, TD
Other RBs to start
- Wayne Gallman at Bengals
- Jonathan Taylor vs. Titans
- David Montgomery at Packers
Justin Jefferson, Vikings
Adam Thielen was placed on the COVID-19/Reserve list earlier this week, but at the time of this writing, we still don’t know whether he tested positive or was identified as a close contact.
We’re waiting for more information on Thielen’s Week 12 status. In the meantime, Jefferson has become a fantasy must-start no matter who’s in the lineup around him.
Since Week 3 when he became a full-time player, Jefferson is averaging the seventh-most fantasy points among receivers, right behind Thielen.
The Panthers don’t offer the best matchup, but they’ve given up 75-plus yards to five different wideouts over their last five games. Jefferson is about to make that six.
Boone’s projection: 107 receiving yards, TD
Other WRs to start
- D.J. Moore at Vikings
- Chris Godwin/Mike Evans/Antonio Brown vs. Chiefs
- DeVante Parker at Jets
Austin Hooper, Browns
Hooper has dealt with heavy winds and rain over his last two games since returning to the lineup in Week 10. That’s put a damper on the Browns’ passing attack, but there are still positives to be gleaned from Hooper’s performances.
The tight end has resumed his role as the team’s full-time starter, seeing five targets last week. If he gets better weather conditions, Hooper is sure to deliver against a Jaguars defense that’s allowing the third-most fantasy points to tight ends.
Even though he hasn’t played like it yet, Hooper can be treated as a TE1 in a year when plenty of fantasy managers are still looking for stable options at the position.
Boone’s projection: 59 receiving yards, TD
Other TEs to start
- Evan Engram at Bengals
- Mike Gesicki at Jets
- Robert Tonyan vs. Bears
Ryan Tannehill, Titans
Since becoming the Titans’ starter, Tannehill has struggled against the Colts while posting passing yards totals of 182 and 147 – the most recent coming in a loss two weeks ago.
That’s not surprising, as the Colts present the third-most difficult matchup for fantasy passers, behind only the Steelers and Rams.
Better days are ahead for Tannehill, with the Browns, Jaguars, and Lions on the schedule over Tennessee’s next three games. But he should remain on your bench for one more week.
Boone’s projection: 176 passing yards, TD, INT, nine rushing yards
Other QBs to sit
- Ben Roethlisberger vs. Ravens
- Jared Goff vs. 49ers
- Kirk Couins vs. Panthers
Melvin Gordon, Broncos
Gordon posted his best stat line in over a month last week, putting up 84 yards and two touchdowns against a Dolphins defense missing linemen. But don’t be fooled.
Though chasing those points and putting him back in your lineup may be enticing, his situation hasn’t changed. In his previous three outings, Gordon was held to 46 yards from scrimmage or fewer with no trips to the end zone.
The Saints’ defense is also one the league’s stingiest against fantasy backs and perhaps the biggest reason to shy away from Broncos ball carriers on Sunday.
With Phillip Lindsay siphoning touches and capping his ceiling, Gordon is more of a risky RB3 in Week 12.
Boone’s projection: 43 rushing yards, nine receiving yards
Other RBs to sit
- Leonard Fournette vs. Chiefs
- Darrell Henderson/Malcolm Brown/Cam Akers vs. 49ers
- Frank Gore vs. Dolphins
Tyler Boyd/Tee Higgins, Bengals
We’re in wait-and-see mode with the Bengals’ talented receiving duo following Joe Burrow‘s season-ending injury.
That’s bad news for Boyd and Higgins, who have operated as WR2s in recent weeks, and they’ll now fall into the risky WR3 range. Though big games are still possible, inconsistency and a lack of scoring opportunities are the new reality in Burrow’s absence.
Boone’s projection for Boyd: 56 receiving yards
Boone’s projection for Higgins: 45 receiving yards
Other WRs to sit
- D.J. Chark vs. Browns
- Jerry Jeudy vs. Saints
- Travis Fulgham vs. Seahawks
Jimmy Graham, Bears
Before getting too excited about a possible revenge game for Graham against the Packers, it’s important to acknowledge his situation.
Graham is a touchdown-dependent fantasy option, and he’s topped 35 receiving yards only twice this year, scoring once over his past five games.
Meanwhile, the Packers present the fourth-most difficult matchup for fantasy tight ends in 2020. We might see the Bears go out of their way to get Graham a red zone target or two, but there’s likely a streaming option with more upside on your waiver wire.
Boone’s projection: 31 receiving yards
Other TEs to sit
- Jared Cook at Broncos
- Trey Burton vs. Titans
- Jordan Reed at Rams
Andy Isabella, Cardinals
Larry Fitzgerald will be sidelined for Week 12 and maybe longer after testing positive for COVID-19. And while we wish the veteran a speedy recovery, his absence opens the door for Isabella (1% rostered) to finally see increased playing time.
The Cardinals have yet to unleash their second-round pick from 2019, holding him to 50% or less of their snaps in every game this year.
Gabriel Davis, Bills
In the three games Brown has missed, Davis has produced stat lines of 4-81-0, 5-58-0, and 1-11-0 while playing at least 70% of the snaps in each contest. In fact, the 21-year-old has put up 55-plus yards and/or a touchdown in five of his 10 appearances.
If Brown’s ankle injury lingers, Davis could be a sneaky add for the stretch run in one of the league’s best offenses.
Marquise Brown, Ravens
Even with Jackson healthy, Brown has been a major disappointment this season. The 2019 first-round pick hasn’t posted double-digit fantasy points since Week 5, and he’s recorded just six catches for 55 yards and one touchdown over his last four outings.
He can’t be trusted in your lineup, and there are surely better waiver-wire options.
Kalen Ballage, Chargers
Ballage (68% rostered) was banged up in last week’s game and re-aggravated his lower-leg injury in practice on Thursday. His Week 12 availability is now in doubt after a couple of solid outings as the Chargers’ lead back.
With Austin Ekeler nearing a return, Ballage can be dropped for the next hot waiver-wire back who might be thrust into a bigger role. Potential candidates include Brian Hill (Todd Gurley missed practice Wednesday and Thursday), Samaje Perine (Giovani Bernard is trying to clear the concussion protocol), or Ballage’s teammates Troymaine Pope and Joshua Kelley (potential fill-ins if Ekeler isn’t ready yet).
‘There’s got to be natural grass’: Richard Peddie on the Rogers Centre’s future and past – Toronto Star
Longtime sports industry executive Richard Peddie, who was president of the Rogers Centre (then SkyDome) between 1989 and 1994, said it was clear almost from the time it was built that it was on the wrong side of history.
“I walked into (Baltimore’s) Camden Yards for the first time and went ‘oh, s—.’ SkyDome was really the last of the big multi-purpose stadiums that were built,” Peddie said Friday after a report that Rogers, which also owns the Blue Jays, might knock down the stadium and build a new ballpark as part of a major downtown redevelopment.
The stadium’s revenue took a big hit, he said, once the Air Canada Centre — now Scotiabank Arena — was built.
“We had to do a forecast just before I left. The biggest risk — which we noted in the forecast — was the possibility of a real arena being built, and that’s exactly what happened,” said Peddie, who was also CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment from 1996 to 2011.
Peddie added that the idea of building a new stadium on the existing parcel of land simply isn’t practical.
“There’s no way you could do it on the same site, because it would mean the team needing to play somewhere else for three or four years. You’d need to keep this open while you built somewhere else,” said Peddie, noting that the land is still owned by the federal government. “Rogers has a lease which says the land is being used for a sports stadium. They can’t just change it by themselves.”
He also had a few suggestions for what a new stadium should look like.
“There’s got to be natural grass. It should be an open-air stadium which you can cover up, rather than a domed stadium where you can roll the roof back. It should be smaller. And wearing my progressive hat, there shouldn’t be money from any level of government going towards this. Pro sports team owners are very wealthy people. A lot of them are billionaires, who have seen their franchise values increase by a lot.”
The Most Exciting Canadian Sports Markets To Bet On In 2020
What is more exciting than watching your favourite team play. The anticipation of win and the excitement of gameplay is one of the reasons why sports fans are so enthusiastic onto only during the game itself but in the lead up to games, in-between seasons and pretty much in general.
Placing a bet on your favourite sport can make things a lot more interesting, and many people choose to be on the outcome of different sporting markets, either in person or via online gaming methods. Online casino bonuses can help you enhance your gameplay when betting on the different sports markets in Canada.
The Best Sports Markets in Canada to Use Casino Bonuses On
So when it comes to choosing the best sports markets to bet on in Canada, it is safe to say there is a wide variety of sports that offer you an exciting option when it comes to sports betting. When you think of Canada, most people automatically think of Hockey. And while this can be a thrilling option when it comes to placing your best, many other sports open up the market and offer you different betting options.
The Western Hockey League boasts some of the best players in North America. With some of the best in their field, this market can offer you some of the best options when it comes to betting on live and upcoming matches. One of the defining characteristics of hockey is its unpredictability meaning you never know what will happen. This is what makes it one of the most exciting betting markets in Canada.
King of The Cage
Featuring some of the best up and coming MMA fighters before they hit the UFC, betting on this market will give you the chance to see some of the best new fighters in their sport. As such, the outcome can be anyone’s match, meaning you get one of the best markets to bet on when choosing to bet on King of The Cage matches.
Esports or electronic sports is becoming an increasingly popular form of entertainment. The winner of the most recent 2019 championship took home a whopping $2.5 million in prize money. Betting on esports is simple. All you need to do is to open a sportsbook account and deposit money, and you can benefit from some huge pay-outs associated with the esports betting markets.
Soccer is one of the most popular sports worldwide. With so many different leagues and tournaments around the world along with the MLS and CFL, the possibilities are endless when it comes to choosing new and different sports markets to place your bets on. From homegrown matches to far-flung teams and the upcoming 2022 Fifa World Cup, soccer remains a fascinating and popular market for sports bets along with one of the worlds most beloved sports.
Choosing The Most Exciting Canadian Sports Betting Markets
With so many options to choose from placing a bet has never been easier. Many Canadian betting sites offer different markets for Canadian teams and across the world. Whether you are placing a bet on your favorite team or looking for a new sport to follow or market to explore, have a look around before you place your bet to see what the market can offer to make your sports experience more thrilling and satisfying to watch.
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