Saturday, February 07, 2009

Fronts: About that whole community outreach thing

No wonder the Kingston Frontenacs keep talking about what an ambassador Peter Stevens was in the community, even though they traded him.
" 'I actually want to be a nurse,' said Stevens, sporting a swollen set of knuckles on his right hand, a souvenir courtesy a fight in a game last weekend against Niagara. 'I like helping people, so that's what I want to do when hockey's over with.' "
Barrie Examiner
A hockey player going into nursing makes a lot of sense, given the difficulty of attracting men to the profession. This article is a nice epilogue to the Springer Frontenacs' hilarious and sad appearance before Kingston city council this week. Stevens was invoked as an example of the organization's community outreach, even though he's no longer on the team and his character was instilled first by Mr. and Mrs. Stevens. The Fronts Talk-ers also made note that in terms on appeasing ticked-off fans, owner Doug Springer's team and the U.S. firm which runs the Kingston Ratepayer Centre apparently had the puck bounce over their sticks, again.

One fan claimed that a portion of the east-end stands and concourse (behind the goal Kingston shoots at in the first and third periods) was roped off for a private party. This kept regular customers — paying customers — from getting to their seats.

Meantime, after the 4-3 loss to the Oshawa Generals (who, post-John Tavares, are playing out the string with an almost all-rookie team), there was supposed to be an open skate where children could skate with the players. That went well, until, according to one fan, none of the players materialized.

This would be easy to shrug off if the win and loss totals in Kingston's 10-31-9 record were reversed. It is not the case when they have lost 80% of their games, the charity point for overtime and shootout losses notwithstanding. It hints at what others who are on the ground in Kingston, most notably Kinger's TVCogeco compatriots and regular radio guests Tim Cunningham and Mark Potter, have been saying about the anger toward the owner of the city's OHL team.

Pete Stevens, as 20-year-old overager, deserved a chance to play in the post-season in his final year of junior hockey. It's a little rich to see the adults trade on the young man's integrity after he's gone, especially when based on deed and P.R. flops, they fall short in this area themselves. It invalidates everything that Springer says about having a first-class operation. It's just baffling, since by most accounts the Springers operate with integrity in all their other businesses.

The point is the owner of the 10-win team which plays in a $43-million arena which the city's business and political movers and shakers wanted (and got) in the worst way, needs to start considering optics. How many times does this site need to say perception is reality. This being Canada and a small city, people probably are too quick to scream, "Elitism!" but you have to know how to play ball when your team doesn't play hockey particularly well.

Meantime, good for Peter Stevens. There is no intention to say why can't everyone be like him, since no one is perfect. It is no surprise he's earned a following in Barrie, and the noble profession of nursing should be happy to have him. Far be it to wonder if having played in Kingston for two-plus seasons helped cultivate a compassion for the stricken and enfeebled.

(The Fronts are in Ottawa on Sunday to play the Soixante-Septs. Yes, I will be there. Meantime, James DeLory of the Oshawa Generals, keep your head up.)

Lover/Fighter; Barrie Colts bruiser Peter Stevens is a menace on the ice. He's also a terribly nice guy off it (Ian Shantz, Barrie Examiner)
Verbal sparring with Stevens (Ian Shantz, Barrie Examiner)
Type rest of the post here

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