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The very best of 2013...
Some year huh. The Green Riders win the Grey Cup with the proper number of players on the field, the Blackhawks claim another Stanley Cup, the Vipers miss the playoffs, Miley Cyrus changes her look and I take home an iPad in a Bantam hockey tournament raffle.
The year flew by faster than Usain Bolt running the 100 and we witnessed some extraordinary athletes weaving their magic. Patrick Kane’s stickhandling video was awesome. Brandon Bollig’s stickhandling video was hilarious.
Twins Connor and Kellen Jones showed the college hockey world just how close they are when Connor asked the Quinnipiac Bobcats’ athletic director Jack McDonald if he could hold off with a plaque presenation for his 100th point until Kellen reached the same milestone.
Said Kellen, to the New Haven Register: “It’ll be an honour, but I want team success first. Everyone will notice at some point. There’s no reason to advertise.”
Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold offered: “They have this intangible about them. They make other people around them better. They’re all about winning. It’s hard to find those guys who just know how to win.”
The Jones boys pushed the Vipers to Royal Bank Cup titles in 2009 (Victoria) and 2010 (Dauphin, Man.).
It wouldn’t be my annual Christmas column without mentioning the late John Baldwin, who celebrated his 100th birthday in 2006. He was the sole surviving charter member of the Keller Golf Club in Minnesota.
He was quoted in the St. Paul Pioneer Press as saying he wasn’t playing much golf because of a sore back.
“When you get to 100, you get some problems,” he said.
His secret to a long life?
“Moderation in everything. I quit smoking when I was 82.”
Wish I could have met old Johnny, especially since I’m now playing the back nine as well.
Anyways, for your holday pleasure, SportsNet will debut the UFC’s 20th anniversary special at 1 p.m. Pacific on Christmas Day. The NBA doesn’t care about family traditions and will show five games that day. Your best bet would be the Heat versus the Lakers at 2 p.m. our time.
On Boxing Day, just about everybody I know will be watching Team Canada face Germany in the World Junior Hockey Championships. You can catch it live at 4 a.m. or PVR it if you know someone smart enough to do such a thing.
There are a zillion NCAA football Bowl tilts, ranging from the Chick-fil-A Bowl between Texas A&M and Duke to the GoDaddy Bowl featuring Ball State and Arkansas State. I like Texas A&M and Ball State by a touchdown each.
It is now time to present the best-of-the-year list. Before doing so, I have to thank my wonderful family and friends for reading my column each Sunday (I believe, including John Price, who used to just look at the pictures in the paper, the total is now up to around 39 readers).
We are blessed with health and happiness in the Mitchell family. My folks are going strong at 80, my daughter Kristi is a child psychologist in Calgary, my son Max bought his first car and will graduate from VSS this spring (about 75 years after I did) and my son Nick scored 70 goals in minor hockey last year but hates Grade 8 homework.
And as you move forward, please include Norm Amiel, Seb Gardner, Tom Williamson, Jeff Vyvyan and Haley McDougall in your prayers and positive thoughts.
Here are the best of 2013...
Gone But Not Forgotten: Bradley Haslam, Paul Westwell, Paul Whitehead, Stan Musial, Earl Weaver, Shawn Burr, Pat Summerall, Don James, Scott Winkler, Bum Phillips, Ken Norton, Dr. Jerry Buss, Tommy Morrison, Miller Barber, Ken Venturi, Joe Weider.
Viper of the Year: Mason Blacklock.
Best TV Sportscasters: Jay Onrait, Dan O’Toole, James Duthie, Squire Barnes.
Canuck of the Year: Henrik Sedin.
Rising Stars: Kevin Hill, Michael McNicholas, Blaine Caton, Demico Hannoun, Ryley Booth, Connor Glennon, Ryan Vest, Vasek Pospisil, John Garvie, Mitchell Pepper, Tye Kitman, Michael Rouault, Karson Patommel, Ben Hladik, Chase Larsen, Andy Hladik, Dylan Cleland, Zach Hyer, Jaxon Toth, AJ Jhajj, Noah Morrison, Justin Dorey, Connie Kapak, Kirsten Dodds, Zac Kronbauer, Carson DeBoer, Meredith Leverson, Zach Benn.
Best Steak: Blackened New York at Earls. HM: Ian Jensen’s barbecue rib eyes.
Best Pizza: Uncle Dave’s. HM: Boston Pizza.
Best Cheerleaders: Edmonton Oilers Octane, Seattle Sea Gals, B.C. Felions, Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Bucs.
Busts: Buffalo Sabres, Kate Upton, Houston Astros, Heidi Klum, Monica Bellucci, Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Texans, Orangeville Flyers (3-29-9), Charlotte Bobcats, Onion Lake Border Chiefs (1-20).
Sparrow of the Year: Dana (hubby Andrew Paris with the assist).
Best Wings: Longhorn Pub. HM: Dave’s at Rosters.
Best onion rings: Winfield Arena.
Best Creampuffs: My mom’s. HM: Okanagan Bakehouse.
Best Names in Sports: Lincoln Lane, Dryden Profeit, Flo Gallon, Brock Balson, Logan-Hill Phoenix, Chapperon Chillihitzia, Dexter Dancs, Kuup Peters, Golden Tate, Saylor Martian, Bo Horvat, Konrad Klimp, Paris Jackson, Wacey Rabbit, Cal Clutterbuck, Senate Patton, Sierra Quitiquit, Beanie Wells, Angus Reid, Wojtek Wolski, Madison Bowey, Blake Box, Braxton Bilous, Aspen Sterzer, Mike Zipp, Wesley Woodyard, Max Unger.
Best Smiles: Missy Peregrym, Robert Griffin III, Beatriz Recari, Hannah Storm, Jennifer Hedger, Jennifer Garner, Marion Mitchell, Jacqueline Cote, Alyssa Racine, Marissa Becker, Brooklyn Decker, Amanda Bedard, Tori Haller, Paul Rush, Scott Simpson, Sloane Bravener, Andrea Pow, Craig Ferguson, Stana Katic (Kate Beckett), Julia Mancuso, Curtis Lazar, Karlie Kloss, Grete Eliassen, Nicole Walker, Miranda Kerr, Lindsay Ellingson.
Best Legs: Usain Bolt, Christine Sinclair, Mia Hamm, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Hope Solo, Bob Powls, (Lean) Lena Dean, Natalie Gulbis, Denise Bourdon, Kevin Balfour, Wayne Hoover, Wayne Brown, Terry Lowe, Leryn Franco, Darrell Spencer, Maria Kirilenko, Edeen Ramsey.
Worst Legs: Steve Fitzpatrick, Dan Currie, Andy Doyle, Darin Mundy, Erwin Schuur, Dave (Spyder) Specht, Jeff Parker, Kevin Manke, Rob Bauml, Mike Kakoske, Lloyd Mitchell.