Go Cup crazy

Its history certainly isn’t as legendary as Lord Stanley’s silver mug. But to the four teams involved in the chase for the Dudley Hewitt Cup here this week, the importance of that trophy currently overshadows any thoughts of lifting the holy grail of hockey.
Can the Wellington Dukes complete a spectacular run and carry home the crown? Can the North Bay Skyhawks ride a four-line attack and a two-goalie system all the way to Charlottetown, P.E.I. and the Royal Bank Cup national finals?
Can the Thunder Bay KC Bulldogs find some scoring depth to stay close in a tournament where they are the decided underdogs?
Can the excitable hometown crowd transfer their abundance of supportive energy to push the Borderland Thunder on to glory?
That last question is one only you—the Thunder faithful—can help in determining.
There shouldn’t be an empty seat (or place to stand) in the Ice for Kids Arena when the Thunder take to the ice. If there is, an inquiry should be launched, not made.
You won’t see better hockey in these parts until at least 2005, when Fort Frances hopefully will host the all-0ntario high school showdown, or even beyond that.
While a team may give a community its identity, a boisterous band of merry followers populating the seats can give the team its own identity.
Spirited (but well-behaved, mind you) spectators can make the experience of a visiting team akin to walking into the den of a famished lion wearing a porterhouse steak pullover.
So come one, come all ye of Thunder loyalty. Rocking the rafters just might allow Borderland to raise another championship banner into them.
• • •
As three series in the first round of the NHL playoffs inconveniently decided to stretch to their full seven-game limit (which were held last night), I sit here in a quandary about what to do with my second-round playoff predictions.
Only two of the four pairings had been set in stone as of my deadline yesterday while the other two could be comprised of any of six different match-ups.
With a current record of 3-2, I could end up as much as three games over .500 or two game under the break even point by the time the second round kicks into gear Thursday night.
So, with as much brevity and as little complexity as possible, I offer you the following mish-mash of playoff fortune-telling, although I caution that my crystal ball may end up needing an overhaul.
Give me Dallas over Anaheim in six. Jean-Sebastien Giguere was superhuman against Detroit, but he’ll have to be beyond supernatural to outperform Marty Turco.
In my upset special, take Tampa Bay over New Jersey in seven. The Devils don’t have near the scoring potential that Washington had, and Martin St. Louis has been the best player this side of Doug Weight in the playoffs so far.
As for the other possible match-ups, it’s a series of coin flips.
Take Colorado over Vancouver in six or Colorado over St. Louis in five, depending on which team advances. If the Wild survive the Avalanche, it will be Vancouver over Minnesota in six, but the Wild men can shut down St. Louis in seven.
Are you still following me?
Ottawa seems poised for a run at the Cup after sinking the Islanders, and can beat Philadelphia in seven. But if Toronto fended off the Flyers’ advances last night, they own the Senators in the playoffs until proven otherwise, so I’ve got to go with the Leafs in six.
I guess I’m back on the unemployment line, eh boss?
• • •
With another Fort Frances Women’s Volleyball League season put to bed, local court enthusiasts are trying to turn the community’s attention to a proposed mixed league this summer.
Organizer Connie Cuthbertson said the planned league, which has not yet been determined whether it will be indoor or outdoor, would provide a good avenue of recreation for those who love the sport, especially students coming home from university for the summer.
With no men’s league in the community at present, the thought is that if enough male participants join the mixed league, the numbers will serve to motivate the men to create their own indoor league this fall.
Cuthbertson said if enough interest exists in starting a mixed league, the next step is to take the list of participants to the town’s recreation department and try to form the structure for a full-fledged league.
Those interested in joining the league can contact Cuthbertson after May 2 at 274-9224.
• • •
Fort Frances Sportsmen’s Club president Blair Beadow wants to let all who fancy themselves as modern-day Robin Hoods know that the club’s archery range once again is open for the year.
The range is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 7-9 p.m., weather permitting. In archery language, that means unless there’s something resembling a hurricane blowing through the area, it’s game on.
The club will be hosting its archery “fun shoot” on May 10 from 10-3 p.m., and will have its major competition of the year Aug. 17.
• • •
Attention anglers: the Walleye Wisdom Fishing Forum will be held May 15 at 6 p.m. at the Back Alley Bar (Emo Inn).
Scheduled presenters include Mark Martin of Twin Lake, Mich., who has more than $200,000 (U.S.) in career earnings as a professional; Antioch, Ill. resident Mike Gofron, the 1999 Professional Walleye Tour Angler of the Year; Mark Brumbaugh from Arcanum, Ohio, who has 12 top-10 finishes in 61 PWT appearances; and Times contributor Gordon “Doc” Pyzer, fishing editor for Outdoor Canada magazine and field editor for In-Fisherman magazine.
Admission is $10, with advance tickets available only (seating is limited so buy early). A bundle of door prizes also will be given away at the seminar.
For tickets and information, call 274-4934.

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