D’oh! If you can’t beat ’em, just join ’em

As most everyone knows by now, after last Saturday, Fort Frances will be forever known to Canadians as the only town in the country to have been founded by the Simpsons.
It all started when CBC correspondent Allen Abel, wrapping up a brief live interview with Sambo Fedoruk, captain of the 1952 Allan-Cup winning Fort Frances Canadians, noted our fair town was named for Lady Frances Simpson, who was passing through the area in 1830 with her husband, George, en route to Fort Garry (now Winnipeg).
It was then that Mr. Abel shared his observation with viewers from coast to coast to coast before throwing it back to “Hockey Day in Canada” host Ron MacLean.
Fortunately, Mr. MacLean saved some civic pride by referring to the successful Muskie hockey program, and noting Fort Frances was home to former NHL’ers Mike and Dave Allison. He also chatted briefly about the connection to International Falls, which has produced such NHL products as Neil Sheehy and Bob Mason, as well as former coach Kevin Constantine.
Alas, the quip about being the only town founded by the Simpsons no doubt is what stayed with most viewers. The damage, as they say, was done.
That’s too bad, because Dave Egan and the rest of the Fort Frances Minor Hockey Association board deserve hearty applause for staging, almost at the last minute, a successful jamboree involving all local players in conjunction with Saturday’s “Hockey Day in Canada” broadcast.
Even if Fort Frances didn’t get much air time, and a local question for Don Cherry of “Coach’s Corner” fame was axed due to technical problems, the players clearly loved the experience, the stands were packed at the start, and the opening ceremony featuring surviving members of the Canadians was classy.
In a phrase, our love of hockey came shining through here.
So what to do about the Simpsons’ label? Well, one could fire off an angry letter of protest to CBC, or abide by the old saying, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”
In a word: marketing.
We instead write to Matt Groening, creator of “The Simpsons,” and suggest an episode based on Homer travelling to Fort Frances to visit the town named after his great-great-great-granny.
One of her sons, the story would go, later leaves Winnipeg to enlist in the Civil War, winds up in Springfield after accidentally shooting his own general, and the rest is history.
While here, Homer could bring Mayor Witherspoon greetings from Mayor Quimby, then visit Fort St. Pierre, which collapses when he backs the family station wagon into the east wall.
Later, he could tour the Abitibi-Consolidated paper mill, accidentally bump a switch while reaching for a Canadian doughnut, and cause a chlorine leak—forcing the evacuation of the town.
And that’s not even mentioning a potential “incident” involving Homer and the original piano Lady Simpson had carted all the way to Fort Garry after quaffing a few “real” beers at Warp 9 or the R.L.
In the meantime, Bart and Lisa could be invited to compete in the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship. They can be seen catching monster fish out of beautiful Rainy Lake only to be disqualified for missing the weigh-in time because Bart forgot to set his watch to Central time.
Now that’s what you call publicity.
Dear Matt . . . .

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