Friday 5 March 2010

For The Sake Of Clarity

There is nothing more that I want than to clarify my stance on this NHL-Winnipeg rumour after getting emails and finding myself linked to various message boards. I admit that I was simply reporting rumours, and that's what needs to be clarified. I am, for all intents and purposes, not saying, nor was I ever saying, that the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers are definitely on their way to Winnipeg. In fact, let me be clear about what I'm saying: I'd rather have the Moose here with no speculation than to have the carrot dangled in front of this city's nose every time some NHL team runs into financial trouble. And that's where I stand today. The rumours won't die, and I added to that fire by speaking about them, but I am a loyal Manitoba Moose supporter. And I apologize if my semi-sarcastic comments caused a wildfire of support to a rumour.

Here's what I officially know about this rumour coming to truth: very little. In fact, there are so many conspiracy theorists out there right now in Winnipeg who have been brainwashed by this rumour that I'm starting to think they could film The Manchurian Candidate as a real-life drama. For all the digging I've done on this, all I keep finding are holes to China. That should tell you something on the validity of these rumours alone.

The reason I posted the info about a possible Gary Bettman sighting in Winnipeg is due to a radio personality's story. This gentleman, who shall remained unnamed, reported it on the radio station to which I was tuned, and it intrigued me. I won't lie about that.

However, in this day and age of mass media and TMZ-style camera phone photographers, there was not one single photo of Gary Bettman out in public in Winnipeg. I'm not saying that Bettman is an A-list celebrity, but this city would consider him one if he showed up here. That would be strike one against the rumour.

Secondly, everyone - including team owners, players, team management, reporters, fans, bloggers, my parents, some guy in Tim Hortons, my beer league teammates, co-workers, a Blockbuster Video employee, my brother, his friends, a homeless guy behind my workplace, my mechanic, the guy working the 7-11 counter - EVERYONE thinks that this rumour is nothing more than a lark. As the guy in Tim Hortons said, "If you believe that, you have rocks in your head". And he's right. The fact that rumours are being passed over the radio airwaves by a major radio station, though, is just enough for people to buy the Kool-Aid.

Did I buy the Kool-Aid? Well, you can say what you want, but those holes to Shanghai and Beijing tell me that the rumours hold no water. I have been adamant that Winnipeg is not an NHL city. I was not a fan of the NHL exhibition game this past year that featured two non-NHL Playoff teams at NHL prices. I was not a fan of a Toronto Star story that spoke about Winnipeg getting an NHL team. A politician hung his political hat on bringing back the NHL, and it pretty much caused me to not vote for him. And there are a ton of excellent reasons why having the NHL wouldn't work in Winnipeg right now. Except the Ikea reason. That's happening.

In any case, this blog is meant to generate discussion amongst hockey fans. I'm not a reporter by any means, and I have never claimed to be one. To be honest, the people who are reporters do a very good job covering the hockey scene in Winnipeg with the Manitoba Moose, some of the minor hockey teams, and the occasional major hockey events. Without the reporters who are assigned to the hockey beat, the local hockey scene simply wouldn't exist very well. That's a major credit to these reporters, and I thank them for their upstanding and honest reporting of hockey matters in Winnipeg.

On Wednesday, I wrote,

"That Thrashers-to-Winnipeg rumour just will not go away. It's been killed by every hockey prognosticator across North America, but there were reports of Gary Bettman being in Winnipeg today. The press conference is scheduled for tomorrow at MTS Centre, and there seems to be a very strange ambiance at MTS Centre tonight amongst a few key Moose people. Something is definitely up, kids. And it sounds like this might be the best-kept secret in the industry right now."
The strange ambiance? That was the Moose playing a dud of a game against the Worcester Sharks. No one can be happy when your team plays as poorly as the Moose did on Wednesday night after playing one of its better games all season on Tuesday, and that's entirely understandable. So in terms of something being up, I can assure you it was nothing to do with the NHL. That "best-kept secret" was nothing more than speculation.

Combined with the rumours from earlier in the day, I posted that speculation in the hopes of generating some discussion. I got a couple of emails and a comment on that entry, and that's what I expected. The majority of people didn't believe it, and I'm glad that happened.

Trade deadline day in the NHL was pretty weak on Wednesday in terms of teams building for a playoff run, so I added some conversation fodder at the end. Was it wrong for me to do so? No, not necessarily. However, I realize now that I was fueling more insanity than conversation, so I feel a responsibility to apologize to my readers. That was not my intention, and, as the saying goes, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".

So to you, readers, I make this commitment: until there is a formal press conference in Winnipeg regarding the NHL placing a team within the city's limits, you will not read one word about an NHL team moving here. I will stick to my guns and assert that Winnipeg is not an NHL city in my view, and I will stand firmly behind the Manitoba Moose. They are great value for your hard-earned dollars and cents, and I truly believe that Winnipeg is a great AHL city. I apologize for trying to generate conversation, and I admit that my efforts to get conversation about this topic failed miserably.

Let it be known that I am officially laying this rumour to rest on this blog. In Mark Chipman and the Manitoba Moose I trust. Especially since it's the best hockey we have in town.

In the meantime, I am looking forward to the games against the Rockford IceHogs next weekend, and I'll be listening to CJOB this weekend as the Moose battle the Grand Rapids Griffins. Get your tickets to see the IceHogs, Winnipeggers. You can welcome back Nick Boynton, and see the future of the Chicago Blackhawks when they come to town.

Back to your regularly-scheduled programming. And GO MOOSE GO!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


PK said...

"I apologize for trying to generate conversation, and I admit that my efforts to get conversation about this topic failed miserably..."

Don't many respects, you got the conversation, albeit not the desired one, but never apologize.

You're blog has much more credibility and substance than many other "credible" (looking at a place in Bristol, CT.)...and for you to apologize for an idea and comments on this is just not acceptable.

I admire your stance on being credible and reliable for information, but you are not the press (but, in in all honesty, would you want that job?) People are so quick for the instant gratification of speculation that almost ANY story reported in ANY medium, must be taken with a grain of salt.

"And I apologize if my semi-sarcastic comments caused a wildfire of support to a rumour"... You're a proud Canadian, and I truly believe that this is a trait well ingrained into the Canadian humor gene...again, I really don't see a reason to apologize...You've got to give yourself this: if THAT many people took what you said as fact...then your writings DO have substance, however...I do understand that you do not want to feed (or be fed) false information that has no foundation...much like the Islanders Coliseum...

I applaud you for all your charitable work, and I wouldn't really take any of this still write an enjoyably intelligent sports blog that reads better than most Sports Illustrated, SPORT, or Hockey News articles out there...

Teebz said...

Thanks, PK.

Again, I have a responsibility to the Moose as I do some work for them, and I felt the apology was necessary under the circumstances.

However, I appreciate your kind words, and I will uphold my end of the bargain by continuing to write articles that generate conversation. There will be one posted today... along with the one that is sitting as a draft from Saturday. ;o)