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THE MOJ: Canuck negativity, NFL hype and more in the busy world of B.C. sports

It’s a great time of year to be a sports fan
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Vancouver Canucks’ Brock Boeser tosses a stick into the crowd after being named the first star of the game after Vancouver defeated the Dallas Stars during an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Sometimes there’s so much going on that we just want to cover it all, so on these occasions we will offer up a little ‘Sports Potpourri” for your enjoyment.

Unless the free-agent signing of Northeastern University’s Aidan McDonough rocks your world, you know the Vancouver Canucks season is officially a washout when most of the activity on social media revolves around The Athletic’s Thomas Drance and his coverage of the hockey club.

Drance has taken a firm stand in how he would like to see the Canucks get out of the mess they are in: namely, by trying to accrue as much draft capital and salary cap space as possible.

Drance wasn’t a fan of the Canucks re-signing Andrei Kuzmenko to a two-year deal at $5.5 million per year as he would have liked to have seen Kuzmenko traded at the deadline in exchange for draft picks while at the same time clearing up some cap space.

I wholeheartedly agree with Drance’s feelings on the subject and don’t understand why he’s taking so much flak from Canuck fans.

Yet Drance continues to take heat for calling it the way he sees it – and props to him for not backing down despite Kuzmenko’s success this season.

Those people on social media calling him ‘negative’ are probably a little too young to remember The Province’s Tony Gallagher or CKNW’s Neil Macrae in their prime. Drance’s writings pale in comparison.

*****

It’s a great time of year if you are a sports fan.

The NHL playoff race is winding down and the same holds true for the NBA.

The World Baseball Classic has that sports fans buzzing and golf is doing just fine with Scottie Scheffler winning The Players Championship just weeks before The Masters.

Throw in some NCAA March Madness and it’s a smorgasbord of activity for sports junkies.

Yet when it comes to the North American landscape, it’s a sport that is NOT being played that still manages to dominate the headlines on both sides of the border.

Even though National Football League training camps are months away, there is never an ‘off-season’ when it comes to the NFL.

Whether it’s the NFL Scouting Combine, the subsequent draft, trades or free agency, ‘The Shield’ always manages to be front and center.

A perfect example was the recent trade between the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers in which the Bears gave up the first overall pick in the draft to the Panthers in exchange for a package of draft picks and wide receiver D.J. Moore.

TSN Sportscentre led off its sportscasts with news of the trade – given us a much-needed break from all the Maple Leaf and Raptor propaganda – but also demonstrating just how big the NFL is even in Canada by knocking off the Toronto teams as the lead story.

With names like Jimmy Garappolo, Tremaine Edmunds, Darren Waller and possibly Aaron Rodgers changing teams, the NFL will continue to dominate the headlines through the draft on April 27th.

*****

The B.C. Lions have made yet another commitment to getting fans from around the province to attend games by announcing this week that they are launching a six-game season bus-and-ticket package for fans from Vancouver Island and the Interior.

The package includes tickets for five Saturday games and one Sunday game all of which feature 4 pm kickoffs.

This comes on the heels of last year’s successful bus-and-ticket packages for the Western Semi-Final Playoff game versus Calgary.

With most packages ranging from $170 to $500, it’s obvious that this isn’t going to be big money maker for the Lions but what it does do is allow fans from all parts of the province to feel invested in the team.

It’s just another example of Lions owner Amar Doman and his front office led by Lions President Duane Vienneau trying to connect with football fans in this province.

*****

I have to give out some props to my old friend Rob Fai.

The former TSN 1040 host and play-by-play voice of the Vancouver Canadians is doing fill-in work on the Corus Radio Network but it’s his wrestling promotion that is his real passion.

NEW – National Extreme Wrestling – has sold out it’s next card at The Commodore on Friday, March 24 with just over 900 tickets being accounted for.

Growing up as a fan of All-Star Wrestling in the 70’s with the likes Gene Kiniski, The Brute and Dutch Savage, it’s great to see a local, independent circuit do so well.

Fai’s extensive resume can now include ‘wrestling promoter’ as well.

Veteran B.C. sports personality Bob “the Moj” Marjanovich writes twice weekly for Black Press Media. And check out his weekly podcast every Monday at Today in B.C. or your local Black Press Media website.

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PODCAST: Talking to Richmond’s Troy Stecher, former Canuck-turned Calgary Flame

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