Be kind to yourself, and others as well Follow the rules, be considerate, and wear your mask

‘Twas the column before Christmas, and a plea to dear old Santa Claus,

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/12/2021 (452 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

‘Twas the column before Christmas, and a plea to dear old Santa Claus,

That the NHL resumes after a brief holiday pause;

COVID protocols have quickly filled, leaving team rosters quite bare,

As the pandemic delivers us another variant scare;

15,000 fans can no longer nestle all snug in their seats,

While munching on Jets dogs and other savoury treats;

Omicron wreaking havoc on the everyone’s big plans,

How soon will we be able to return to the stands?

Flippant remarks about testing from Jets goalie Hellebuyck,

Leave the science to experts, just stop the darn puck;

It’s understandable the restrictions may seem like a pain,

But short-term loss hopefully leads to long-term gain;

Fifty games postponed, more than 140 players on ice,

2021 is going out naughty, not nice;

Copp and Vesalainen and a Jets staff member have been added to the list,

It remains to be seen how many more will be missed;

McDavid and Matthews were set for an epic Olympic duel,

But Bettman pulled the plug, citing a CBA rule;

Material disruption to the schedule, he said,

A decision we expected, but one we still dread;

Best-on-best will have to wait for at least four more years,

Resurrect the World Cup of Hockey? I’m all ears;

At least the CFL got a full season in,

And the mighty Blue & Gold did nothing but win;

Back-to-back champs, their Cup runneth Grey,

An impressive bunch led by Walters, Miller and O’Shea;

From Bighill and Jefferson to Demski and Harris,

Jeffcoat and Bryant and don’t you dare forget about Collaros;

So many are free agents, a subject of some concern,

Expect the majority back, a three-peat they yearn;

Edmonton already tried to lure Winnipeg’s bench boss out west,

But loyalty won the day, and we’ve retained the brightest and best;

After nary a case during a season to be praised,

Some Bombers got COVID since the Cup has been raised;

Now the focus shifts to a winter of potential change,

Another down to drive up scoring is no longer out of range;

Attracting a younger fresh audience should be key,

If the storied old league wants long-term viability;

Bob Irving retired, creating a massive radio hole,

The big question: Who will take over the play-by-play role?

The Winter Olympics begin in February, all participants in a bubble,

The hope, like Tokyo last summer, is to keep out all trouble;

China’s shameful human rights record should not be ignored,

It’s why they should be boycotted, many have implored.

Two dozen medals for Canada at the Tokyo Games,

The women’s soccer team kicked butt and took names;

De Grasse and Warner, so incredible on the track,

Our country’s sporting future is bright, there’s no turning back;

Jen Jones won the curling trials, downing Prairie rival Fleury,

The 2014 gold medallist heads to Beijing in a hurry (hard);

There’s no stopping this decorated team when it comes to the pebble,

Another shiny souvenir seems all but inevitable;

The Goldeyes finally came home after a season-and-a-half away,

A new Shaw Park lease means Forney’s crew is here to stay;

There’s nothing like root, root, rooting for the home team,

A normal 2022 season? Dare to dream;

The Elmwood Giants won their fourth straight title on the field,

Their Manitoba Junior Baseball League dynasty is sealed;

The Winnipeg Ice are the hottest team in town,

On top of the CHL rankings, there’s no reason to frown;

Led by talented skaters such as Lambos, Geekie and Savoie,

Could a Memorial Cup be in their future? Oh boy!

Aaron Cockerill continues to tee it up on the European tour,

May the big paydays increase, the missed cuts become fewer;

Tiger returned to the course, son Charlie delivering the goods,

The future looks bright for the next generation of Woods;

In tennis, teens with Canadian ties made quite a racket,

In an incredible U.S. Open final, Fernandez and Raducanu proved they can hack it;

Down at Canada Life Centre there arose such a clatter,

An emergency news conference to discuss a most important matter;

Paul Maurice had resigned, his high-stakes job no longer fun,

And just like that a one-of-a-kind coach was done;

A better person and communicator you’d be hard-pressed to find,

The smartest person in the room has a great hockey mind;

But when the passion is gone and the team is no longer able,

It’s time for a fresh voice to bring something new to the table;

Dave Lowry is now tasked with getting them back into the race,

To stay long-term, actions must speak louder than words in this case;

“Now, Wheeler! Now, Stastny! Now, Ehlers and Scheifele!

On, Connor! On, Morrissey! On, Dubois and Schmitty!

To the top of the standings! To the top of the wall!

Now score away! Score away! Score away, all!”

When it comes to young players, the prospect pool is quite deep,

Draft picks Perfetti, Lucius, Torgersson and Chibrikov are at the World Juniors to compete;

Hopefully the annual teen tourney can proceed as planned,

And give hockey fans a festive treat across this great land;

As we go through the holidays and look forward to a New Year,

I wanted to share a few words I thought you should hear;

Be kind to yourself, and to others as well,

This is a tough time for all; for many it’s pure hell;

Sports is an important distraction, one than can bring us all together,

As we’ve done in the past, this latest storm we can weather;

At the risk of being preachy, allow me one more simple ask,

Follow the rules, be considerate, and wear your damn mask;

And so allow me to exclaim, as I briefly head out of sight,


Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.


Updated on Thursday, December 23, 2021 6:07 PM CST: Fixes typo.

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