Edmonton Journal from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on January 16, 1996 · 27
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Edmonton Journal from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada · 27

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Issue Date:
Tuesday, January 16, 1996
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L A. DOU Stats PagoD4-5 WeatherD6 EDITOR: Wayne Morlarty, 429-5303 lEUVItlON i iTiii'i i ITS Ml D JL NORM COWLEY Journal Sports Writer Edmonton Coaching successful hot key teams has been a way of life for Dave Sicil-iano for more than 20 years. Now coaching is his life. By becoming the first head coach of the Edmonton Ice, the Western Hockey League expansion team which begins play next winter, Sicil-iano (pronounced Sis-lee-an-o) is taking a huge gamble. He's leaving the comfort and security of a well-paying general manager's position with the City of Thunder Bay and will try to live exclusively off hockey. "It's something I've always wanted to do but, this time, the timing is better," said Siciliano, 49, who signed a two-year contract. "My kids are now 19 and 22 and attending university. "Comfort sometimes doesn't breed risk," he added. "Probably, the longer I stayed In my position, the longer I stayed in Thunder Bay. the chances of doing this would have been far more remote." Siciliano pointed out he hasn't just taken a leave of absence, which he unsuccessfully attempted to get. "I've cut the string," he said. "It's a big move but, if you're going to do it, you've got to jump in the water and see if you can swim." Siciliano has been tempted in the past by offers from the Red Deer Rebels as a WHL expansion franchise in 1992, Michigan Tech and the Italian national team. He has fielded inquiries from major junior teams in Ontario and from Mike Keenan regarding Chicago's farm team at Indianapolis in 1990. He has coached teams around Thunder Bay and received opportunities with national junior teams. He was the head coach for Canada's Undcr-18 team at the Phoenix Cup in Japan in 1991 after serving as n assistant conch for the team in '87, and was an assistant under Edmonton's Perry Pearn when Canada's national junior team won the gold medal at the D3 world championship. Ironically, Pearn was pencilled in to be the Ice's head conch until going to the Winnipeg Jets as an assistant conch. Ken Hitchcock, who was recently appointed as head coach of the Dallas Stars, was the other candidate team president Ed Chynoweth considered. Chynoweth was looking for a coach with a winning record and a knack for teaching. "We're an expansion franchise and I don't think we should kid ourselves," Chynoweth said. "It's not going to be easy. It's going to have to be somebody who has patience, someone who has worked with not as much talent as you might get in other situations and made it work. "Dave Siciliano just fit as close to that bill as anybody that we dealt with. He's just won at every level that he's coached." A perfect example of Siciliano's golden touch is what he did with a motley crew of bantam AAA players last season. He was told it was the city's poorest collection of bantam players in a long time and initial results bore it out but they went on to win the provincial championship. "Maybe it has a little Cinderella tinge to it," Siciliano admitted. "We beat Cumberland, which was 6-0 in the round-robin, in the final and we were behind 3-1 going into the third period. We scored three goals in the last six minutes ... They wrote off all these kids but, with a little bit of coaching and a little bit of development and the right system for them, they exceeded expectations." 4 ov 5 6 7 8 9 H 12 13 14 ' 1 I V 1 : 1 t . ; , .7- 1 " ... i volut, 56 7 8 91011129,14 fl! -- jfK 7 l. -a. f m m - ri - i I V H i . Thesport ( XL- ))U - "' p"r ' has come v :'-Y VI -- a 0ng way since f cS j .. : . frozen ponds 73 X" T7r" "siV -4 x i Ken Rowe File photo Costs of curling RAY TURCHANSKY Journal Curling Writer Edmonton The creature was first noticed in 1541 when it came slithering onto the ice near the Paisley Abbey in Scotland. It wasn't much to look at then. Just this human form, bundled in animal furs to ward off the weather, holding a few stones with which to do battle. In 1760 the creature migrated to Canada. It was the year after Gen. James Wolfe had defeated the French in Quebec and one of the regiments that had been commanded by Simon Fraser allowed his troops to melt down cannon balls and slide them in contest on the St. Charles River. Thus, the curler of the day wore army boots. The evolution of the curling creature continued in the 1950s, when the animal wore Siwash sweaters with the mandatory logo of curling brooms crossed over a curling rock knitted into the heavy wool. Straw brooms were a foot wide and curlers brought their own two rocks to each game, with colorful tassels dangling from the handles for individual identification. In the 1970s, corn brooms were only inches in width, sweaters were thinner and everybody wore plaid pants. Oh yes, completing the picture was a cigarette dangling from the corner of the mouth, to be followed by a beer in the hand as soon as the last stone had been cast. Curlers might still look that way had they not been led out of the fashion wilderness by the females of the species who were more courageous and wore colorful sweaters and slacks long before their male counterparts dared don anything that wasn't black or blue. Now the curler of the mid-1990s looks nothing like its ancestors of a mere generation ago. Changes have affected every aspect of the sport, from fashion and equipment to lifestyle and rules. Here's a rundown, with help from former Labatt Brier champ Kevin Martin. Jacket T $60-90 Shirt $50 Pants $45-50 Gloves $30 Shoes $100 (with steel slider) $370 Orthotics $100 Broom $30 (Fibreglas) $70 Stopwatch $15 1 THE RINK From frozen ponds and rivers, curling moved indoors the first covered rink in Canada was opened in Montreal in 1847 and a similar huge leap came with artificial ice in the 1950s. The result was the curlers didn't have to dress as warmly. THE CRY "Soop her up," was the call of the first skips, wanting a rock to be swept. "Up, up," was the bellow if brooms were to be raised. Now we hear the distinctive wail of Russ Howard: "HU-RAAYY. HU-RAAY HAARRD," often followed by: "RIGHT OFF." TOPS The heavy, usually white Siwash sweaters gave way to thinner sweaters by the 1970s as rinks became warmer. Then came the debate sweaters or jackets. Nylon shells were the rage in the 1980s. Now the movement has been to Gortex, the expensive moisture-resistant material, or a new fabric called Taslan. SHIRTS Flannels are tang gone. So are turtle-necks. Golf shirts are in. But not just any golf shirt; the shirt of choice is no longer a cotton-polyester blend, but 100 per cent cotton. BRACES Virtually unheard of until recently, support braces for the lower back and knees are often worn by curlers to support the two areas of the body that take the most abuse. A new knee brace featuring a magnet could be the way of the future. GLOVES Thick mitts were worn in the old days, often a leather covering over a woollen inner mitt Then came the skin-tight padded deerskin gloves of the 1970s. Now some curlers wear a black leather mitt. And many curlers no longer wear gloves at all, because buildings are warm and the push broom doesn't cause blisters like the com broom did. PANTS Pants went from baggy in the old days to polyester plaids in the 1 970s. Now most curlers wear a stretchy Visa material, while some prefer a track suit-type pant. Women generally wear the same type of slacks, although a small number prefer wool skirts. Said Martin: "Right now, everybody wears black pants. I think what you'll see in the future is colored pants, so you can wear teal pants if you have a little teal in your jacket." STOPWATCH A sign of the '80s, it's used to time shots, giving curlers an idea how keen the Ice is, and whether it speeds up or slows down during the course of a game. SHOES From overshoes, curlers went to high-cut felt boots with a slider on one foot. Then they used shoes with a slider on one foot and toe-rubber on the other. Low-cut curling shoes came along and curlers wore a "gripper" between shots. Now most curlers have a running shoe style, with a slider of thick Teflon rather than red brick or stainless steel. A big change is inside the shoes, where many curlers now wear orthotics, devices to adjust their foot action and thus take pressure off the knees and tower back. 11 12 13 15 Jason Lesmelster etanHInn onH Pnfln UkUIIWII IJJ HUM Willi Davison throwing. Bruce Edwards, The Journal Eastern Canadian teams use brushes with synthetic heads, while in Western Canada 70 per cent use horsehair. Synthetics come with a Fiberglass handle, so only the head has to be replaced. Advantages are durability and a lack of lost hairs to ruin shots; disadvantages are getting wet and an inability to remove frost Horse hair brushes have wooden handles. While only one company, Mid-Western, still makes com brooms, many curlers use a cut-down old com broom to slide with. THE ROCKS The days of curlers carting around their own two stones in wooden boxes gave way to clubs buying matched rocks. Around 1970, clubs went to plastic rather than steel handles. THE HACK Instead of cutting holes in the ice and sinking in hacks, most rinks now have raised hacks that sit on top of the surface. Being tried in some clubs across Canada is the single hack. THE RULES Games have gone from 12 ends to 10. Another change has been the free guard zone, introduced to Canada at the 1993 Brier. The first three rocks of each end lying between the hog line and house cannot be removed, causing many more rocks to be in play and the game to become one of thinking and finesse. Also, the introduction of time clocks in playdowns has shortened games. THE LIFESTYLE It's not coincidence that the Brier was sponsored by a tobacco company for 50 years and a beer company the last 1 5. Curlers still drink and smoke. But smoking has been banned at events like the Brier and competitive curlers admit the cashspiel money is too great for them to party like they used to. TELEVISION In 1 959, CBC televised the Brier final on a delayed basis. Two years later, it went live. This year it will televise 30 hours of curling, while TSN will carry 154 hours. TV is also responsible for the centre-line, the playoff system with sudden-death finals, cameras overhead and on a track alongside the ice, plus the wearing of microphones by competitors. The 1995 Brier final had an average audience of 1.2 million viewers on CBC with a reach of 3.5 million. Figures for the Scott Tournament of Hearts final were 1.1 million and 3.3 million, respectively. 8 9 10 THE BROOM From foot-wide straw brooms, the game went to inverted com brooms, and now to the push broom or brush. Ninety per cent of r La Dawn Funk 1 989 world Junior champ Rick MacWilliam, The Journal .cson Flleptioto Dave Siciliano Is a winner. He has been coaching or teaching since he served as a recreation leadership instructor at Confederation College In 1972. He later compiled a .722 winning percentage over seven seasons with the Thunder Bay Fryers, winning four United States Junior Hockey League regular-season titles plus Centennial Cup championships In 1989 and 1992. He was forced to quit coaching the team "because of the time commitment" after becoming general manager of the city's community services department in 1993. Decision day for Gretzky JIM MATHESON Journal Hockey Writer St Louis I Two blow-dried talking heads were on the tube here Sunday talk-' ing about Wayne Gretzky. ' They looked like they'd know more about Cindy Crawford and Richard Gere than 99, but everybody's tossing their, uh, expert opinion into the Gretzky-to-the-Blues story. "I hear Gretzky's name is already on the back of a Blues' jersey," said one of the TV types. "Yea, I hear the deal's done," said the other. Well, not quite. Commentary In New York Sunday night, they were saying it's only 90 per cent certain he'll be in St. Louis, down from 95 a week ago. Word is Gretzky has been overwhelmed by the trade buzz and will stay put with Janet and the kids in Los Angeles. Here in St. Louis, everybody's clamming up, even Brett Hull, who never met a mike he didn't like, except maybe his boss, Mike Keenan, from time to time. "I'm going to pull the Sergeant Schultz (TV show Hogan's Heroes) and say l know notmng, saia nun. Yea, sure. Same agent, Mike Barnett, as Gretzky. "We're like brothers," said 99 of Hull on an ESPN interview Sunday.. Wayne's fingerprints are on this trade story, even if he maybe back-doored it through the papers. He's got the hammer and it's a heavy one. Keenan, who had 99 on his Canada Cup teams, isn't saying a whole lot. If he doesn't get Gretzky, he's had reams of PR over it. "I'll have to investigate and see what they're up to," said Keenan last week. Get the phone records back a few weeks, will ya? Sunday in New York he changed his tune. "I've already said we're very interested and you can infer anything you want from that as long as it's positive." Guess, we'll find out today how Gretzky feels about the Kings when his people meet their people hey, that's how they talk in LA to see what road the NHL team wants to travel. If 99 hears it's the high road, then count Gretzky in. Please see GretzkyD3 HOCKEY NHL N.Y. Islanders 3 Tampa Bay 2 Vancouver 6 Boston 0 Philadelphia 6 Dallas 1 BASKETBALL NBA Milwaukee 98 New York 92 Chicago 116 Washington 109 Atlanta 96 Detroit 88 Minnesota 103 Sacramento 94 L.A. Lakers 96 Miami 88 Seattle 104 Golden State 95 New Jersey 108 Toronto 83 Dallas 119 Orlando 104 Houston 107 Utah 99 5:30 p.m., TSN American Hockey League all-star game from Hershey, Pa. 6:30 p.m., CFRN The Edmonton Oilers are in St. Louis to play the Blues at the Kiel Centre. X7 o

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