Sideline Passes

Friday night’s Borderland Thun-der hockey game here against the Thunder Bay KC Bulldogs highlighted how suddenly serious injury can rear its ugly head.
Bulldogs goalie and Fort Frances native Blake Carlson was involved in a collision with players in front of the net, and fell to the ice during the second period as the Thunder scored to take a 4-3 lead.
He then was accidentally piled into and knocked unconscious after receiving a knee to his neck.
The joyful atmosphere in the Ice for Kids Arena turned to concern after it was evident Carlson, who ended up face down on the ice, wasn’t getting up in any hurry.
His lack of movement had people in the stands fearing the worst. Cases of hockey players paralyzed during games have been rare, yet still are always painfully shocking when they happen.
Thankfully, Carlson escaped with a concussion and a slight neck injury. But the incident made me reflect how one’s safety can be so quickly compromised in hockey—and how that thought is lost on many of today’s players.
Certainly, Carlson had no control over his fate Friday night. He simply was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and not by choice. But in so many other situations, players disregard their own safety for no justifiable reason, specifically when it comes to their on-ice gear.
I’ve seen far too many players in minor hockey and at the junior level wear equipment improperly, thus increasing their vulnerability to getting hurt.
Chin straps not done up tightly, and the wearing of gloves that don’t protect the entire forearm, are just two examples of young players unnecessarily walking the injury tightrope.
One good bodycheck or slash could mean the end of a player’s season, career, or even their life, if he or she isn’t properly outfitted for the rough-and-tumble environment of the hockey world.
Much of the onus for young players making poor choices when it comes to their equipment falls to today’s high-profile hockey players.
Loose chin straps are as plentiful as face-offs in the typical NHL game. Overly short gloves can be found everywhere. Several players sport helmets that, while light and airy, provide minimal protection against impact.
Young players tend to copy their athletic heroes. But while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, in this case, flattery will get them nowhere—except perhaps into the back of an ambulance.
It’s important to remember comfort isn’t everything—safety is.
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Christin Thomson continued her fine play in her freshman season with the St. John’s Red Storm women’s golf team.
The Fort Frances native gained her second top-10 finish of the NCAA season by finishing tied for ninth at the Rutgers Invitational in Piscataway, N.J. last weekend.
Thomson shot rounds of 78 and 85 for an 18-over total of 163 to help the Red Storm take third place at the tournament—its best finish of the season.
A two-day total of 661 left the St. John’s crew—in their first year of existence—only two strokes behind the tournament champion Georgetown Hoyas.
The Red Storm conclude their fall schedule this weekend in Reston, Va. at the Georgetown Hoya Classic.
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If you are planning any sporting events, or have some sports-related information or scores, feel free to call me at 274-5373 ext. 237 or by e-mail at

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