by Gregg Drinnan
March 15, 2014 (ISN) – If you were wondering, the Tim Hortons Brier, the Canadian men’s curling championship that concluded last Sunday, drew 65,005 fans to the Interior Savings Centre in Kamloops. That was an average attendance of 2,955 per draw, when 4,000 was thought to be the break-even point.
This was the poorest-attended Brier since 1988 when attendance in Chicoutimi was 45,220. The one bright note in Kamloops was that Sunday’s championship game drew 5,238 fans. The Brier was last held in Kamloops in 1996. The attendance was 127,746. What happened this time? The buzz blames the price of tickets and the fact that TSN televised every draw and does a tremendous job of it. Based on the Brier attendance and the decline in junior hockey attendance across the country, I would suggest there is a trend here. Perhaps we can call it the Netflix Affect.
According to RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com, the top three reasons the Los Angeles Angels gave a salary bump to Mike Trout are: “3. He’s a good catch; 2. To avoid an arbitration herring; 1. Just for the halibut.” One more from Currie: “The South Florida police report and videos from Justin Bieber’s arrest have been released. Bieber tested positive for marijuana, Xanax and outright stupidity.” “The fact the (Buffalo) Bills in Toronto series is on hold and might be over says nothing about Toronto as an NFL city,” offers Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun. “What it says is this market has wise consumers: Way-overpriced junk packaged as something it wasn’t won’t sell anywhere and didn’t sell here.” And just how many markets could that be applied to in today’s sports world?
Somehow it was only fitting that the Florida Panthers held Tim Thomas Bobblehead Day last Sunday and Roberto Luongo was in goal for them. Thomas, of course, had been traded to the Dallas Stars following the arrival of Luongo. Considering that Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis and head coach John Tortorella each has four years left on his contract, it doesn’t seem likely that either one is on his way out of Vancouver. “At the Iditarod, where some say dogs are mistreated, Scott Janssen, known (seriously) as the ‘Mushing Mortician,’ had a rough day,” writes Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle. “He crashed his sled, hit his head on a stump, woke up, slipped on the ice while chasing a dog and broke his ankle. Do dogs snicker?”
After 12 Years a Slave won the Oscar for 2013’s best picture, Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong scribbled: “I had no idea anyone would make a movie about my first marriage.” After Movie 43 was honoured as the worst film of 2013 at the Razzie Awards, Vancouver radio and newspaper personality Torben Rolfsen noted: “They never should have made a sequel to the Jackie Robinson story.” Here’s Rolfsen, again: “Barack Obama has warned Vladimir Putin not to stir up anything else that requires his attention until after the NCAA basketball tournament.”
A couple of weeks ago, there were satellite pictures floating around that seemed to show the firing of a short-range missile by North Korea. “It was intended to be a long-range missile test,” Chong pointed out, “but officials say the elastic band launcher didn’t have enough torque.” After noting that the new word of the year for 2013 was “selfie,” Chong claims the leading candidate for new word of 2014 “is ‘twerking’ as in the Canucks’ power play isn’t twerking.” After playing Quebec in that third-place game at the Brier last Sunday, Manitoba skip Jeff Stoughton told Paul Wiecek of the Winnipeg Free Press: “It’s a game neither of us want to play, neither of us have any interest in, neither of us are focused out there at all.” The Quebec rink had played Saturday night and was there Sunday morning on minimal rest, what with having to deal with the ‘spring forward’ time change as well.
You may have heard that NASA has discovered another 715 planets. As Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald noted: “Commissioner Jim Delany is inviting 712 to join the Big Ten.” One more from Dickson: “Robert Griffin III declined a fan’s wedding invitation and instead sent an autographed photo of himself. Try that next time you’re invited to a wedding.” Receiver Eric Decker has left the Denver Broncos, and quarterback Peyton Manning, for Geno Smith and the New York Jets. Here’s football fan Christopher Campbell, in a post on the ESPN.com website: “Decker will miss Manning a lot, but Geno will miss Decker a lot more.”
“The Canucks blew a 3-0 third-period lead and lost 7-4 to the New York Islanders on Monday,” scribbles Ian Hamilton of the Regina Leader-Post. “You know things are bad in Vancouver when something like that happens and no one bothers to start a riot.” “Barbie, the world’s most famous doll, turned 55 on Sunday,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “She celebrated her big day at the beach, strutting her stuff alongside PED Ken.” During a men’s basketball game at UC Santa Barbara, a fan ran onto the court and confronted Hawaii coach Gib Arnold. As he told ESPN: “You can’t control crazy. That’s why they’re crazy.”
(Gregg Drinnan is a former sports editor of the Regina Leader-Post and the late Kamloops Daily News. He is at gdrinnan.blogspot.ca and twitter.com/gdrinnan. Keeping Score appears here on weekends, except when it doesn’t.)