Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Full day for News (sports, arts) Café

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News, sports and entertainment -- the Winnipeg Free Press News Café had it all on Wednesday.

Andy Maize and Josh Finlayson from the Skydiggers started things off on the downtown café's stage in the morning, playing a couple of songs from their new album, Northern Shore, and pontificating on the state of the music industry, some memorable and infamous shows in Winnipeg and their recent political work helping out at fundraisers for their friend and sometimes bandmate, NDP MP Andrew Cash.

The full band performs at the West End Cultural Centre on Saturday, the site of a 1995 show that ended just one song into their set because the weight of people bopping on the dance floor caused it to partially collapse into the basement of the old converted church.

Rick Hillier, former chief of defence staff of the Canadian Forces, stopped by the news café in the afternoon.

Even though he retired as Canada's top soldier 31/2 years ago, he was able provide an update on Canada's continuing role in Afghanistan and how Canadians soldiers have helped bring some sense of normalcy to Afghans.

He also reiterated his position that he is not interested in succeeding Prime Minister Stephen Harper or in becoming premier of his home province, Newfoundland and Labrador.

"I wouldn't put that on my family," he said.

Hillier was in town to speak at a Junior Achievement luncheon.

Two-time defending world men's figure skating champion Patrick Chan finished off the news café's day with an entertaining chat about gunning for gold in the 2014 Olympics, his demanding training schedule and his current fundraising tour to help his training.

He said he hasn't had much luck in attracting corporate sponsors so he's having to rely on friends, friends of friends and family.

He does have one corporate sponsor, McDonald's, for which he appeared in commercials that aired during the Vancouver Olympics. He said while the multinational chain isn't known for its low-calorie offerings, he and other athletes do eat there. They often start with a salad.

"But we often come back to the burgers. The salads don't taste as good as a Big Mac," he said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 24, 2012 B4

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