To The Pointwith Boris Bozic
Commentary, Opinions, Thoughts and Discussion on Current Events, Politics and The Mortgage Industry

0 Comments The Business of Sports – And the Fallout

Article written by on the 12 Apr 2016 in Current Events,Hockey,Sports

Every day we hear about athletes earning, or about to earn, mega millions for service rendered. It’s so common today that most sports fans speak of contract values or the terms of a player contract long before individual performance. There was a time when the only discussion would be about goals, assists and team standings.  Today that’s secondary to the economics of sports. Sports have changed dramatically over the last 20 years.

From my perspective I can’t think of anything more contemptuous of fan base than a league which has a salary cap. The unintended consequences of a salary cap are being felt by many professionals sport leagues, of which the NHL (National Hockey League) is one. The NHL just finished its regular season, and not one team in Canada will compete for hockey’s Holy Grail, the Stanley Cup. However, at least three of the seven Canadian teams probably could have qualified if they were free to spend at will. Based on published reports I have come across, Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto have the financial wherewithal to buy talent. Yet the current NHL collective barging agreement precludes them for doing so. In essence the CBA was negotiated to ensure parity amongst all the teams, and to ensure that all franchises would be profitable. So if you’re a fan of the Canucks, Canadians, or Maple Leafs you should be willing set aside your passion and allegiance to your team for a higher and nobler aspiration. Like the profitability of team playing hockey in the Arizona desert or the Lone Star State. How sporting is it that for your team to get better, and maybe one day challenge for the Stanley Cup, you first have to gut your team, and try to lose. Today it’s about shedding player contracts and drafting kids, that’s code for cheap labour. Today teams are built to lose, and then wish upon a star that one day they will come out stronger on the other side. Of course there’s no guarantee that “tanking” works. Just ask the poor fans of the Edmonton Oilers. The NHL is not alone in this. Have a look at the Philadelphia 76′s of the NBA, (National Basketball Association). Their record this year is 10 wins, against 70 loses, as of writing this post. Last year their record was 18 wins versus 64 loses. A record this poor has to be intentional, because there’s no other explanation for this level of ineptitude. Frankly, the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) has more integrity than many of the Main Street sports leagues. The WWE at least is open and admits that the results are predetermined. 

My passion for hockey has waned over the years. That has a lot do with the fact that my childhood idols, the Toronto Maple Leafs, have been abysmal for decades. When I do pay attention I’m floored by (more…)

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1 Comments Game 7: You Gotta Be Kidding

Article written by on the 15 May 2013 in Canada,Current Events,Hockey,Ontario,Personal,Sports

One of the byproducts of getting older is perspective.  Gone are the days of being emotionally invested in a professional sports franchise.  What happens on the ice, the court, the diamond or football field will not alter my life one iota. Irrespective of what happens during a game the same responsibilities await me the next morning.  I don’t get worked up over million dollar athletes who get to extend their childhoods by playing a game for a living.  But I must confess that the historical meltdown by the Toronto Maple Leafs Monday night brought back memories for me.  It’s been a long time since I yelled at the TV, wondering if my flat screen TV was going to be functional by the end of the game.

“Maybe I should start watching Dr. Phil. I suspect some Leaf fans might be making an appearance on the show.”

Alas, sanity prevailed.  As soon as the game came to an end I went back to being my dispassionate self as it relates to the local hockey “heroes”.  I’ve long since stopped being an apologist for the Leafs.  Don’t get me wrong, I go to games but I go more so for the experience.  So now when people, usually those who reside in other parts of the country say to me, “Leaf suck”, my answer is, “agreed”. That usually stops the conversation. Now, there was no stopping the conversation about the Leafs colossal collapse Monday night.  Leaf nation is stunned,  numb and frankly I worry about some being suicidal.   Everyone in Toronto is talking about the Leafs blowing a three goal lead with only ten minutes to play in the seventh and deciding game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins.  The analysis by the sports media is, and will continue to be, unrelenting.  This is way too much fun for them.  One radio station found a creative way torture Leafs fan by interviewing a statistician who calculated the probability of the Leafs winning that game from a historical context.  Kid you not, the stat’s geek looked at every game seven played in the NHL since 1918 to determine the probability of the Leafs winning the game.  For example, when the Leafs made it 3-1, based on history the probability of the Leafs winning was 95%, when the score was 4-1 it was 98%.  I laughed out loud in the car when I heard this.  This exercise was nothing more than plunging the knife a little deeper.  Poor Leaf fans, maybe the team should change the saying The Passion That Unites Us All to The Therapy That Unites Us All.

The only impressive thing about the game was the press conference with Leaf coach Randy Carlyle following the game. To have to face the media and answer questions why he and his team failed so spectacularly cannot be easy.  Like in business a leader’s character is measured by how they deal with adversity.  A hockey coach is the leader of the team.  Most teams take on the coach’s personality, and if that holds true for the Leafs it will serve the players well.  Carlyle made no excuses.  Someone in the media asked if the officiating worked against his team and he refused to be drawn into that debate, he simply said his team ran out of gas.  He was calm, leveled headed and waited until there were no more questions to be answered.  I couldn’t help but admire the dignity and accountability he exhibited under the most trying of circumstances.

So now that the Leafs have gone down in the hockey chocking history, I’ll have to change my TV viewing habits.  Maybe I should start watching Dr. Phil.  I suspect some Leaf fans might be making an appearance on the show.

Until next time

Cheers

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0 Comments Courage – NHL “You Can Play”

Article written by on the 08 Mar 2012 in Hockey,Sports

Courage – that’sNHL Sexual Orientation a word often used to describe hockey players.  When I think of NHL hockey players the following words come to mind – grace, sandpaper, skill, grinder, speed, aggression, artistry and violence.  As fans we’ve come to accept and cherish the juxtaposition that is hockey.  We cheer the poetic grace of a magnificent goal and yet we’re equally comfortable getting out of our seats to witness two players attempting to rearrange each others face with their fists.  Hockey fans are a different breed and at times the sport resembles no other.  Two teams can be engaged in a brutal seven game playoff series,  (we’re not familiar with that in Toronto) and when it’s over both teams will line up at center ice to shake hands.  No other team sport does that.  To me that’s what makes the game and players special.  We can now add other words to describe NHL hockey players – social conscious.

You may have heard by now that NHL players filmed a PSA (Public Service Announcement) entitled “You Can Play”.  If you haven’t heard about it, the PSA is about creating a level playing field in hockey, regardless of sexual orientation.    The man behind the PSA is Patrick Burke, a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers and the son of Brian Burke, general manager for the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Patrick and Brian are honoring Brendan Burke, who was openly gay and tragically killed in an auto accident at the age of 21.  The Burke’s lost a family member, and now they turned to their extended family for help, professional hockey players.

I was blown away when I first saw the PSA.  To have some of the biggest names in the sport supporting the cause and lending their voice to the issue is an act of courage.  No other sport has come close to doing anything like this and they probably never will. I could never see the NFL, NBA or MLB doing this.  Those athletes just aren’t wired the way hockey players are.  There are some nasty and tough players in the NFL.  They’re rip your head off tough – but tough enough to say it doesn’t matter if you’re gay, you’re still my team mate?  I just can’t see it.  Which is probably what caused the ‘wow’ factor for me when I first saw the PSA.  Of all sports only hockey players would do this.

If I take part in a hockey pool next year I will pick the following players, Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks, Brian Boyle  of the New York Rangers, Matt Moulson of the New York Islanders, Joffery Lupol of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers, Daniel Alferdson of the Ottawa Senators, Scott Hartnel of the Philadelphia Flyers, Corey Perry  of the Anaheim Ducks, Andy Greene of the New Jersey Devils, Dion Phaneuf of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Henrik Lundqist of the New York Rangers. 

These guys are tough, and they’ve got courage.  If you want proof, watch the video.

Until next time.

Cheers.

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0 Comments 72 Summit Series, John Lennon and 9/11

Article written by on the 08 Sep 2011 in Hockey,World Events

 There are historical events that take place in everyone’s lifetime which are seared in our memory.  Every generation has their moment.  I thought about what historical events do I remember vividly as we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  Three events immediately came to mind…

’72 Summit Series

The 72 Summit Series.  Canada versus Russia…. good versus evil… democracy versus communism.  This was more than a hockey series.   I was 12 years old back in 72.  Like the rest of the country I so desperately wanted the good guys to win.  Back then I didn’t get political nuances, all that mattered to me was that my heroes were playing against this team from far away.  I remember when the series moved to Moscow for the final four games, my first thought was, oh-oh, school’s going to get in the way of me being able to watch the games.

All the games would be broadcast in the afternoon.  I really didn’t get differences in time zones back then.  Alas, there was no need to worry.  My grade 7 teacher wheeled a TV into the classroom, and there we watched game five, six and seven.  Then the unthinkable happened.  After game 7 our teacher reminded us that were going on a field trip, and unfortunately we wouldn’t be able to watch the eighth and deciding game.  Clearly she was joking, and I believed that up until the moment I was getting on a school bus to go on the field trip.  I was furious, I couldn’t believe we would miss the deciding game because we were going to a nature preserve, to look at plants and bugs.  As game time approached I made a decision, I had to find a way to watch the game.  When we drove up in the school bus I noticed there was a building on the property.  I decided to have a look.  The building was empty and I went for a walk about until I found a room that looked like a cafeteria.  I walked in, and is if my prayers were answered, there was a TV.  I went to turn it on, promising god that if the TV worked I would be really good.  He heard my prayers, its minutes to game time.  Then my teacher walked in…arms folded across her chest…she asked me, “and what do you think you’re doing Mr. Bozic”.  Back then I didn’t understand rhetorical questions, was so I answered “I’m watching the game”.  She gave me mypaul henderson winning goal marching orders but I responded with, “I can look at bugs and plants any day of the week, but this hockey game is history”.  She walked out and I thought this game better be worth it because my old man is going to kill me.  You see back then you didn’t defy teachers, at least not in our house.  As I contemplated that my life will probably end in four hours, I figured that’s what would happen when I get home from school, my teacher and fellow classmates walked into the room.  We all sat there together and watched this amazing hockey game. When Paul Henderson scored the winning goal, with less than a minute to go in the game, the room went nuts. I remember walking up to my teacher and hugging her, and to say thank you.  I remember her looking down on me, with a smile on her face, and she said, “you were right”.  Some teachers are amazing.

John Lennon

I remember the night John Lennon was murdered because I just started working at a radio station.  Many moons ago I worked on air, and my first gig was an overnight jock at a radio station in Orillia, CFOR.  During my 45 minutes of training, I was told keep an eye on the news wire.  It’s a service radio stations subscribed too, and the newsmen would use the copy to read on air. So there I am, a rookie announcer, all by myself at the station, nervous as hell and the wire service is going crazy.   I heard some beeping coming from the wire service machine, so I figured something big must be happening. I walked into the newsroom, I looked at the  copy which was being printed, and there it read, BULLETIN…JOHN LENNON GUN-DOWNED IN NEW YORK.   Holy &@!?…what do I do now?  So I went into the music library and pulled out every Beatles album the station had.  I played Beatles music for rest of my shift, and went on the air every 15 minutes with updates about John Lennon’s murder.  There was no protocol to follow so I winged it.  Thankfully the program director was on side the next day, and I’m sure all my listeners that night – the overnight gas station attendant and the two cab drivers – appreciated the music.

9/11

I was supposed to be on a plane on 9/11.  I was at the Fairmont Hotel at the Vancouver airport on the morning of 9/11.  I had a plane to catch back to Toronto.  I woke up that morning, made some coffee, and started to read the newspaper.  I’m reading yesterday’s news so I’m completely oblivious to what’s going on.  I then get a phone call from my cousin, who lives in Vancouver, and he asks me if I’m watching the news?  I said no, and he said turn it on, I think we’re at war.  I thought what the hell? Did he fall out of bed and bump his head?  Okay, I’ll play along.  I turned the TV on, and I watched in stunned disbelief for about twenty minutes.  For some reason a voice in my head said, “get away from the airport”.  I packed up my clothes and made my way to my cousins place.  I had to stay there for 5 days before I could get a flight out.  I’ve never wanted to come home so badly.  I just wanted to be around family and friends.  It’s been 10 years since 9/11, and our world changed dramatically that day.  Especially for the 27 Canadian families who lost loved one’s on 9/11.

Godspeed.

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0 Comments The Man Gets It…

Article written by on the 21 Jun 2011 in Canada,Hockey,Sports

My work requires that I travel a fair bit, and during my travels I’ve spotted numerous celebrities at the airport. I’ve never had the compulsion or desire to walk up to them and engage them in conversation. They do what they do, and I do what I do.  Besides, I think it’s a Canadian thing to be respectful of other people’s privacy, and we allow them to be.  But there’s something about Donald S. Cherry (aka Grapes) that makes the rational part your brain freeze, and a voice in your head says go over and say hello. So, that’s exactly what I did.  I was at the Vancouver airport walking to the gate to catch a flight to Toronto. In the corner of my eye I spotted Grapes talking to few people and they were getting their pictures taken with him. I’ve seen Grapes in airports many times, and I’ve always find myself walking over to say hello. This time was no different. With the one exception that after I shook his hand, and told him I was fan of his work on Coaches Corner, he said thank you very much and would like a picture. Ah, yeah, sure. So out comes my Blackberry, and another man standing close to Grapes says I’ll take the picture.

After the man took the picture and was handing my blackberry back to me, I realized it was Ron Maclean who took the picture.

I think the uniqueness of Grapes is that people view him has the every day man.  He came from a humble background, and there’s nothing pretentious about him. He’s always honest and speaks straight from the gut. At times that offends people but his attitude is too bad, deal with it. That’s so refreshing. Today it’s all about carefully crafted messages, and god forbid if you’re not politically correct. I admire the fact that he puts it out there, and let’s the chips fall where they may.

What’s also interesting is that this is the same man who will shed a tear on national television when honoring our brave men and women in the armed forces who sacrificed their lives for Canada. I’ve seen him choke-up on many occasions on Coaches Corner.  His reaction is sincere and that’s why he connects with the viewer.

By the time Grapes made it to the gate to catch his flight, I would say at least 100 people stopped him to get their pictures taken with him. Not once did he say no. He smiled, he shook hands and he gave his famous pose for every picture, the thumbs up. The man gets it, and so did Dominion Lending Centres.

Until next time.

Cheers

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0 Comments Like a Kick in the Stomach

Article written by on the 16 Jun 2011 in Canada,Current Events,Hockey,Sports

I suspect this is how Vancouver Canuck fans are feeling today. The feeling comes from the realization that the journey is over before you had chance to reach the destination. It’s the feeling you get when something is taken from you which was so close. That something is the memory of your favorite team winning the Stanley Cup.

I have no allegiance to either the Vancouver Canucks or the Boston Bruins. I have no emotional attachment to either team but I have many friends and colleagues who do. I lived in Vancouver for eight years, and I call tell you that Canuck fans are as passionate as they come. I had a chance to witness that passion thanks to Debbie and Grant Thomas, owners of TMG and close friends of mine. They graciously invited me to be their guest for game five and seven. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity because being from Toronto a Stanley Cup final is fantasy. The only pre-condition Grant made was that I must wear a Canuck jersey to the game. Being a Leaf fan that was difficult to do but the picture is proof positive that I’m no idiot. Let’s see, wear the jersey and go to the game. Don’t wear the jersey, watch the game on TV. Woohoo, Go Canucks Go!

Just wearing a jersey doesn’t make you a fan. I went to the game as a casual observer, and what a spectacle it was. The capacity crowd in the arena last night, as well as the legion of Canuck fans watching on TV, there was nothing casual about their emotional attachment to the game. That’s why Canuck fans are feeling empty today. They’re all spent. You can only go from euphoria to nail biting to bitter disappointment for so long, and now it’s over. I feel for my friends and colleagues who are big Canuck fans. But the important thing is your team gave it a good shot and they provided you with so much excitement.

Ah, that’s a bunch of bullshit!  This isn’t play day where everyone gets a ribbon for participating. This is professional sports where the only thing that matters is winning. Losing sucks! But what’s worse for real Canuck fans they now have to deal with the embarrassment of a city coming unglued after defeat. Smashed windows, violence, burning cars, tear gas, flash bombs have nothing to with hockey. Yet now that’s the story, what a shame.

Until next time,

Cheers

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