Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week, they discuss the ongoing Phoenix Coyotes saga, hockey fans in the Greater Toronto Area, P-Diddy's son Justin Combs and Toronto FC.
Dave Naylor, TSN: My thumb is down to the NHL for the ongoing saga that is the future of the Phoenix Coyotes which is now in its 37th month. Here we are at the end of the NHL season and there are still votes and court motions, rumours and posturing. Which makes you wonder, has the NHL ever heard of a deadline? That's how deals happen - or not - when all parties know where the finish line is. Instead this sorry tale of professional sports welfare has become hockey's answer to the never ending story.
James Mirtle, The Globe and Mail: We do not get to say this nearly enough so my thumb is up to hockey fans in the Greater Toronto Area. In a city where anything less than the big leagues often gets left behind, the crowds came out in big numbers and supported minor league hockey and the Calder Cup with two straight sell-outs for the Toronto Marlies this week. Not only did those at Ricoh Coliseum for Games 3 and 4 set franchise attendance records, they were louder and rowdier than many of the far bigger gatherings at the Air Canada Centre for the Toronto Maple Leafs this season. Even though, as is usually the case with the Leafs, the crowd went home disappointed.
Dave Feschuk, Toronto Star: My thumb is up to Justin Combs for earning a football scholarship to UCLA. There's been a chorus of critics saying Combs should give the scholarship back because his daddy, P-Diddy, is rich. But that's just nonsense. The scholarship isn't based on financial need. It's based on Justin's ability as a defensive back and an 81% student. That his father is worth an estimated half a billion dollars is irrelevant. There's a good reason why smart, rich folks like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates don't raise entitled, trust-fund brats. They want what every parent, rich or poor, wants: to see their children make their own way in the world. Good on Justin for beginning to make his.
James Cybulski, TSN Radio 1050: My thumb is down to Toronto FC. Five years ago, the most diverse city on the planet was the most fertile land in MLS, establishing itself as the city with the best fans in the league and a place the stars wanted to shine. But mismanagement has turned TFC into a soccer wasteland. Less than a year and a half ago, TFC had a thorough search to find Aron Winter to be the man to get the franchise on track, but he was fired this week, replaced by Paul Mariner. That makes it seven coaches in five years! They go through coaches the way Alex Rodriguez goes through girlfriends...or the way the NHL goes through prospective buyers for the Phoenix Coyotes. You couldn't find a ticket at BMO Field a couple of years ago. Now this once model franchise has become a model of incompetence.