It’s been awhile since I’ve entered the blogosphere. What’s that? You hadn’t noticed?
Why, you ungrateful, uncaring … I mean, gee, that’s unfortunate.
Anyway, I got bogged down with the puck-palace debate the last couple of weeks. If it wasn’t one thing, it was another.
I’ve pretty much banned mention of the arena issue from my column the rest of the year. It’s what happens when you write about something 10 days straight.
But this isn’t my column. It’s my blog. Ergo, one last kick at the can.
I’ve been meaning to report this for some time. It’s a quote from Coun. Bruce Williamson on the night the puck palace was approved.
For the most part, it was an uneventful meeting as it was evident early on how the vote was going to go. Tension, there wasn’t. Minds were already made up.
With little or no chance of moving someone from their entrenched position, councillor debate was pretty blah. That said, Greg Washuta provided an OK anti-arena rant.
But let’s get back to Williamson.
Up until he spoke, there had been a strong, passionate pro-arena sentiment expressed. The gallery was packed with arena supporters, and a number of Niagara IceDog players had arrived, sporting their practice jerseys.
Knowing he was about to speak against the arena and possibly incur the wrath of the many gathered proponents, Williamson prefaced his remarks, thusly: “I hope the IceDogs don’t have their goon here tonight.”
I laughed out loud. Guffawed, in fact. It quickly dawned on me, though, that I was alone. Those in the gallery remained stone-faced. Tough crowd.
Cheer up, Bruce, it was a funny utterance. Still, you might want to wear a disguise next time you go to an IceDog game.
Channel-surfing last Saturday night, I stopped at the IceDog game on Cogeco. Saw the ceremonial opening faceoff. Taking part were a number of St. Catharines city councillors and Mayor Brian McMullan. They were being thanked in front of an adoring audience for agreeing to spend up to $50 million for a new IceDog playpen. This struck me as weird. We’re not talking a ground-breaking or a ribbon-cutting here. It was essentially a ceremony to pay homage to those voting in favour of a somewhat controversial expenditure.
So, what’s next? Since council voted this week to provide an hour of free parking at the new parking garage, will a bunch of councillors gather at the entrance gate on the first day of operation to acknowledge horn-beeping from appreciative motorists? Or the next time council votes to turn down, however temporarily, a condo project in a traditional low-density area, will members appear the following weekend at a barbecue in the grateful neighbourhood and be feted with hot dogs slathered in gourmet mustard?
The puck-dropping ceremony was made even odder by the attendance of councillors Len Stack and Dawn Dodge.
A couple of weeks ago, Stack was virulently opposed to spending that kind of cash of a new rink and saw fit to make his views known publicly in a news release. Scholars in heiroglyphics are trying to decipher the reasons why he changed his mind. As for Dodge, she declared a conflict of interest at the meeting because a family member works for the IceDogs and she’s a member of CUPE. The family-member reasoning makes sense; the CUPE excuse is ridiculous. Whatever. She didn’t vote. Yet, she shows up to acknowledge the love of Saturday night’s fawning crowd. Consider this one of those cases where if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry.
OK, one last nugget from Saturday night’s broadcast. The boys in the booth between periods noted that earlier in the week IceDog coach Marty Williamson called out his players “in the paper.” Cogeco then put two long quotes from “the paper” on the TV screen. More talk about what was in “the paper” ensued.
Hey, guys, they were quotes from The Standard. Common courtesy in the media is that you identify the source of the information on which you are basing your commentary, particularly when you splash that information on the screen.
Let’s be charitable and call it an unintentional oversight.