Get well soon, Mike

As is the case in many industries, the media business revolves heavily around competition.
Reporters hate being scooped, and always want to try to better their rivals in the race to get the information to the public first.
The battle of one-upmanship sometimes can get nasty between radio, television, and newspaper personnel. I’ve seen it up close—they don’t use the term “media scrum” for nothing.
There’s some rugby players who probably would cringe at the punishing physical abuse dished out by reporters to each other as they crowd around a high-profile politician, entertainer, or athlete.
There’s a definite upside to working in the media in a smaller centre like Fort Frances. Little, if any, animosity exists between rival reporters. Sometimes, a spirit of co-operation even takes root to help each other get the job done.
It’s appreciated on both sides of the media fence.
That’s why I wanted to take the time this week to wish former Times sports writer and current B-93 FM staffer Mike Freeman all the best. Without getting into specifics out of respect to Mike, he is involved in a serious health battle right now.
He had surgery recently, but there’s no telling at this point if he’ll be able to adequately shake the effects of his illness so as to be able to return to work.
Mike did a fine job here manning the sports beat over about five years in the early ’90s. Since crossing back over to the radio world, he’s been heating up the airwaves at B-93 with his coverage of athletics on both sides of the border.
On top of his broadcast work, Mike’s been a fixture as the P.A. announcer at Borderland Thunder home games, and has been a big-time supporter of the Thunder, the Muskie athletic programs, and amateur sports in general in the area.
Sure, we still try and get out trade news or general sports information ahead of each other. That’s part of our business. But I know if I happen to miss a score or an athlete’s name when we’re both out covering an event, he’s always glad to share the information, and vice-versa.
On top of that, I’ve always considered him to be one of the good guys not only in the business, but in the community, period.
I’ve always believed the Big Guy Upstairs never throws anything more at us than He thinks we can handle. He obviously and rightfully thinks Mike is one strong character—considering all that’s happening in his life right now.
Don’t give up the fight, Mike, and keep on swinging. We’re all in your corner.
• • •
The local chapter of Easter Seals will host its annual “Skate with the Borderland Thunder” on Sunday at the Ice for Kids Arena, running from 2:45-4:30 p.m.
Registration forms for the event are available at Taggs or schools throughout the area.
For more information, contact Christa at 274-4489.
• • •
The Muskie cheerleading squad will host a fundraising tea and bake sale upstairs at La Place Rendez-Vous this Sunday (Nov. 9) from noon-3 p.m.
The team—led by new coaches Shana Calder, Corrina Fitzgerald, and Joelle Blanc—are aiming for the NorWOSSA championships Feb. 7 in Kenora, where they finished second last year, and the regionals the following week in Thunder Bay.
The Muskie cheer crew also may travel to Winnipeg for a warm-up event in December, although plans for that are unconfirmed as of right now.
• • •
Attention, all potential Emo Walleye Tournament participants.
The first $300 deposit of the tournament entry fee is due Nov. 15. That day is also the deadline for any first-time teams to enter the draw for the field for this spring’s third annual tournament, scheduled for the end of May.
Contact Colleen Vennechenko at 482-2171 for more information.
• • •
It was a rough ending to a difficult season but the Muskie ‘C’ football team will live on.
Sporting only four Grade 8 players and the rest in Grade 7, the team completed its winless season with a 70-12 defeat to the International Falls Broncos last month.
But the good news is that head coach Dean Bruyere is committed to coming back next season to help keep the team going, thereby ensuring the march towards a stable grassroots program for Muskie football continues.
• • •
Call it “The Fast and the Furious 3.”
Fort Frances native Rustyn Dolyny has suited up for his third-straight season with the UHL’s Muskegon Fury as he continues to chase his dream of a spot in the big league.
Dolyny only was signed three weeks ago by the Fury after trying out with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League.
Last season, Dolyny had 51 points in 61 games with Muskegon, and also spent time with the Lowell Loch Monsters of the AHL, where he registered nine points in 12 games before returning to the Fury for the post-season, where they lost in the second round to the Quad City Mallards.
The 26-year-old right-winger helped the Fury to the 2001 Colonial Cup championship—symbolic of UHL supremacy. He also has one of the catchier nicknames in hockey, which is mentioned on the Fury’s Web site—Rusto Bravissimo.
• • •
An area code change is in order for Barwick’s Brad Both, who led the now-defunct West Coast Hockey League last season with 438 penalty minutes and 22 majors in 63 games as a member of the Fresno Falcons.
The Falcons flew off to the revamped ECHL, but Both decided to spread his wings and join not only a new league but a new franchise, too.
The 24-year-old enforcer has brought his 6’2” and 220 pounds of toughness to the UHL’s expansion Richmond (Va.) RiverDogs, where he signed July 25.
Both spent his previous three seasons with the Falcons, helping lead them to the WCHL championship two years ago. He will be playing alongside a familiar face in that of RiverDogs’ defenceman Darren Wetherill, who also was on Fresno’s title-winning squad.
So far, Both has lived up to his reputation, collecting one assist while registering 31 penalty minutes in four games—although that total puts him one behind team leader Jay Murphy.
That assist came, ironically, against Dolyny and the Fury on Saturday night.
While Dolyny also scored his first of the season Saturday, Both and Co. had the last laugh in the two-game weekend series at Richmond, sweeping the Fury with 8-5 and 5-3 wins on Friday and Saturday night, respectively.
The surprising RiverDogs are a perfect 4-0 and tied for first place in the UHL’s Eastern Conference while the Fury are in a three-way tie for first in the Western Conference with a 3-2 mark.
• • •
Another local blader plying his puck trade elsewhere is former Quebec Nordiques and Calgary Flames forward Chris Lindberg.
The 36-year-old Olympic silver medalist with the 1992 Team Canada entry at the Winter Games in Albertville, France was the top scorer for Swiss ‘B’ League squad HC Ajoie last season.
But it still wasn’t good enough for his employers and the Fort Frances native was released afterwards.
He now has caught on with VSV Villach of the Austrian Bundesliga, where he has 10 points in his first nine games, including one game-winning goal.
Lindberg has been invited to play for Team Canada in several international tournaments over the years—and most likely will earn more invitations to do so given his experience at the international level.

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