Episode 19: NHL Draft Lottery reaction with TSN’s Brent Wallace

In this week’s episode Cameron and Eddie are joined by TSN’s Brent Wallace to discuss the draft lottery, the hall of fame selections, Daniel Alfredsson and much more!

5 Best first round picks in Senators’ history

Earlier this week we posted an article outlining the worst five first round picks in team history to get all the bad vibes out of the way early in lottery week. With the lottery rapidly approaching it is now time to put as many good vibes as possible into the Sens world, hoping we can sway the hockey gods to reward Sens’ fans for our recent suffering. Without waiting any longer, let’s get right into the top five! 

5. Alexei Yashin 

While the relationship between Yashin and the Senators went VERY sour towards the end of his time with the team, there is no denying he was the most dominant offensive threat in the early days of the organization. The Sens selected Yashin with the second overall pick of the 1992 draft and his rookie season did not disappoint. He posted 30 goals and 79 points in his 83 game rookie season. Yashin was near or at the top of the team in scoring every season in Ottawa. When things went sour and he was finally traded the team got back Zdeno Chara and the pick that would become Jason Spezza. Fans may not love him, but Yashin was a huge pick for this team. 

4. Chris Phillips 

Phillips was selected first overall by the Sens in the 1996 Draft. He would go on to become a pillar of the organization for over a decade. Phillips played 17 seasons in the NHL all with the Senators and never played a single game in the AHL. From day one he was a steadying presence on the team’s blueline and it is impossible to ask for much more value than a franchise leader in games played from a first round pick. Phillips is one of the team’s best first round picks in its history. 

3. Marian Hossa 

The 12th overall pick of the 1997 draft was a home run for the Senators. He quickly became a fan favourite in his seven seasons with the team. He surpassed 25 goals five times with the Senators and was a key contributor to the dominant Senators teams of the early 2000s’. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but a contract dispute resulted in the fan favourite being traded by the Sens. The trade would bring in a very polarizing figure to Sens fans, the all-star Dany Heatley. Even though he was traded by the Sens early in his career, the now hall of famer is one of the team’s best first round picks.

2. Jason Spezza 

As mentioned earlier, Spezza was drafted with the first round pick acquired in the Yashin trade. Spezza was drafted second overall in the 2001 NHL Draft by the Sens. Spezza would go on to play 11 seasons for the Senators, where he was the first line center on the best teams in franchise history. Spezza is arguably the greatest center the team has ever had and was a truly dominant force during the ‘pizza line’ days with Alfredsson and Heatley. Unfortunately pressure from fans and the media lead to Spezza requesting a trade from the Sens, however there is no denying how much he meant to the team during his time in Ottawa. 

1. Erik Karlsson 

Arguably the most talented player to ever play for the Senators, nobody else deserves the number one spot on this list more than Karlsson. Karlsson was selected 15th overall by the team in the 2008 draft and the rest is history. Karlsson won two Norris trophies with the team, and deserved a third in the season he was a point per game player with 82 points. Karlsson set the record for most points in a season by a Swedish defensemen, was the first defenseman since Paul Coffey (1985-86) to finish top five in league scoring, and the first defenseman since Bobby Orr in 1974-75 to lead the league in assists. Karlsson provided fans with so many amazing memories, moments and highlights during his time in Ottawa it is hard to put into words how incredible he was on the ice. One can only imagine how much BETTER he could possibly have been if he never met Matt Cooke. Karlsson is without a doubt the best first round pick in team history and one of the best Sens players period. Hopefully the team will be adding some more players to this list in this year’s draft!  

A call to arms

Coming this fall its time for all Canadian players to shine

A fan’s thoughts on the Ottawa Aces Elite Tryout

On April 23rd a call to arms was issued to all Canadian athletes looking to pursue a career in Rugby League. It is now known that ten full time contracts are on offer in the elite level tryout.

As some of you will know remember the Toronto Wolfpack followed this route signing a number of players and eventually letting them go. Citing visa issues as the reason for letting them leave till eventually the clubs only Canadian player left the club at the end of the 2018. Eventually rejoining the Wolfpack in early 2020 after stipulations were added by the Superleague clubs about how a small salary cap waiver could be used.

Eric Perez has stated that apart from the first four months of the year, the Ottawa Aces will be based here in Canada full time.

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CEBL announces return to play in July

Header: https://www.theprogress.com/sports/canadian-elite-basketball-league-expands-to-ottawa/

The Canadian Elite Basketball League will be having their second season. On June 25th, the league announced that they will be returning to play as the 7 team league will be heading to St.Catherines, Ontario for a tournament-style season called the CEBL Summer Series. 

Training camps will start July 15 with tip-off on Saturday, July 25. The Series will have teams face off against each other once in a round-robin style play, the team with the worst record will be eliminated after the round-robin while the remaining six teams will be seeded. All playoff games will be single elimination with the top two teams having a bye to the semi-finals while the third and sixth along with the fourth and fifth will play in the QuarterFinals with the Championship game being held August 9.

This isn’t the ideal first season for the Ottawa Blackjacks, but talking to the Blackjacks President Micheal Cvitkkovic about the Summer Series and how the league got there stating “We (CEBL) have been working for many weeks closely with medial and public health officials to put into place protocols that will maximize the health and safety of players, coaches and staff.” 

 I also had a chance to speak with CEBL Commissioner Mike Morreale about the league starting up. He was very optimistic about the Summer league and when asked how long it took to come to the agreement he stated “it was about eight weeks from discussion to finalize it.” Also asked about the USports decision to cancel all fall sports and if it had an impact on the decision he stated “USports decision didn’t have an impact but this could be the only time USports athletes have a chance to play basketball this year” 

CBC Sports is going to have a huge impact on the success of the CEBL Summer Series and while talking to Commissioner Morreale, he stated that there is going to be some more information released over the next couple of weeks about the broadcasting of the Summer Series. 

Over the next month, more information about the Summer Series will be released including the game schedule for all teams so we will stay tuned to see when the Blackjacks tip-off for the first time.

Thank you for reading! You can follow me on twitter at Shane_Ryan97 for all your CEBL news! 

Top 5 Worst first-round draft picks in Senators’ History

The week that Sens fans have been waiting for since October has finally arrived. The NHL 2020 Draft Lottery will be taking place on Friday and the Ottawa Senators have 3 first-round picks, 2 of them sitting currently at 2nd and 3rd. Sens fans will be hoping to at least remain in that position so they have the best chances at drafting a possible franchise turning player(s). The keyword here is possible as the Senators like every other organization has a history of drafting busts. So without further ado here are the Top 5 worst first-round draft picks in Sens history:

5. Jakub Klepiš

16th overall draft pick Jakub Klepis, selected by the Ottawa ...

Jakub Klepiš was drafted 16th overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. However, before ever stepping on the ice for the Senators, he was dealt to the Sabres for Vaclav Varada. On an interesting side note, he was traded from the Sabres to the Capitals without ever stepping on the ice for Buffalo. Vaclav Varada only ended up playing 117 games with the Sens, finishing with 39 points so it’s fair to say that this pick was a big bust. 

4. Mathieu Chouinard

Mathieu Chouinard, pick, Ottawa Senators. News Photo - Getty Images

Mathieu Chouinard was drafted twice by the Senators, yet never played a single NHL game for the Senators. This goaltender was drafted 15th overall in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. However, he was unable to reach a contract agreement with the Senators in 2000 and opted back into the 2000 Draft where the Senators drafted him 45th overall in the 2nd round. By choosing to draft Chouinard in the first round, the Senators missed out on notable players such as Simon Gagne and Scott Gomez

3. Brian Lee

Brian Lee of the Ottawa Senators skates during warm-ups prior to ...

Brian Lee was drafted 9th overall in the 2005 NHL Draft. This was the year lost to the lockout so draft order was determined by a lottery. The Sens were actually good during this time period and were basically gifted the 9th overall pick. Instead of drafting Marc Staal like most analysts thought they would, the team decided to draft Brian Lee instead, also passing on some kid from Slovenia you may have heard of named Anze Kopitar. This was clearly the wrong decision as Lee would play a total of 167 games with the Sens in his career and Kopitar would score over 60 points in 2006-07 and very well could have helped the Sens win a Stanley Cup

2. Curtis Lazar

Curtis Lazar of the Ottawa Senators plays against the Buffalo ...

Curtis Lazar, heading into the 2013 NHL Draft, was being compared to forwards Milan Lucic and Mike Fisher. He was coming off a couple stellar showings at the international level winning gold at both the 2011 Canada Winter Games and the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. All of this including the comparisons made the Ottawa Senators very excited and happy to select Lazar 17th overall. From there it all went downhill. His first two seasons in Ottawa were not bad, finishing with 15 points in the first season and 20 points in the second season. However, Sens fans believed that Lazar should have been spending that time developing in the AHL instead of rushing into the NHL. Management didn’t listen until they were finally forced to send Lazar down after he earned 1 point in 33 games in the 2016-17 season. A player in his 3rd season in the NHL who was compared to Lucic and Fisher earning only 1 point in 33 games was not a good sign and that ended up to be his key downfall as at that seasons’ trade deadline he was traded to the Calgary Flames for Jyrki Jokipakka, a player who played 3 games for the Sens, and a second round pick (Alex Formenton). Curtis Lazar is the prime example of how to not manage a player’s development and Sens fans are never too quick to remind management about this failure of a first-round draft pick. 

  1. Alexandre Daigle 
Center Alexandre Daigle of the Ottawa Senators. Mandatory Credit ...

This was the most obvious selection for the whole article. Alex Daigle was THE prospect heading into the 1993 NHL Draft. It got to the point that the Senators were accused of tanking on purpose to be able to draft Daigle. This was a main reason why the NHL later introduced the lottery system. Daigle was such a high ranked prospect that the Quebec Nordiques reportedly offered the Sens star players such as Owen Nolan, Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, and draft picks but the Sens turned them down. Ottawa ended up drafting Daigle first overall ahead of Chris Pronger. After a stellar rookie season, Daigle’s play kept decreasing and he eventually ended up on the 4th line. He was frequently criticized for lack of effort and motivation. Daigle was eventually traded away in 1997 and will go down as one of the biggest busts in all of sports history. 

This concludes my top 5 worst first-round draft picks in Sens history and hopefully, none of this year’s draft picks will ever pop up on a list like this. C

Union, League, Club and Fans / Le syndicat, la ligue, notre club et les partisans

La version française suit la version anglaise.

If you missed the news, there is now a Players’ Association (PA) for professional Canadian footballers. Ottawa fans are familiar with this reality, after going through the quite difficult standing-up of the USLPA last year. We all realize there is a long road ahead for the union in its relationship with the CanPL.

The Professional Footballers Association Canada (PFACan) was officially stood this past February. It is the first formal union for both male and female elite players in the country, although it is currently focused on representing CanPL players at this time. This is a development which, honestly, was to be expected, although the PFACan accelerated its plans due to the pandemic, and the related announcement by the CanPL of a wage deferral, as reported by JJ Adams from The Province.

PFACan Board Meeting via Zoom. Credit: PFACan’s Twitter

The importance of PAs in professional sports

Unions/PAs in professional sports are important. Most major professional players in the world have some sort of PA.  In North America, we are notably familiar with the likes of the NHLPA, the NBPA, the NFLPA, the MLBPA, the CFLPA, and the MLSPA. It goes without saying that all the PAs above were deeply involved in the return to play in the pandemic conditions.

In the football/soccer world, there are also multiple PAs/unions, which are collaborating under the FIFPRO umbrella organization, FIFPRO consists of 65 national member PAs, across all continents. For example, the MLSPA is a member of FIFPRO, as is the English Professional Footballers’Association (the ‘grandfather of PAs’, established in 1907), the French Union nationale des footballeurs professionnels, the Spanish Asociación de Futbolistas Espanoles and others.  There is no doubt in our mind that, eventually, PFACan will be a member of FIFPRO (and is reportedly already receiving their support). 

Current Member Unions of FIFPRO. Credit: FIFPRO.org

In Canada, we also have AthletesCAN, the association representing national teams athletes. AthletesCAN collaborates with professional PAs in North America, and with FIFPRO, and with the World Athlete Association. There will likely be collaboration between AthletesCAN and PFACan.

Although the majority of discussions on PAs have been around salaries and benefits, especially during job actions in North American sports, PAs are critical beyond salaries issues. They are essential for health and safety issues (highlighted by the current pandemic), mental health, training conditions, contractual and transfer issues, players’ image rights and marketing, education and post-career opportunities, raising the profile of the women’s game, and even helping players in need.

In short, their impact is felt all across the game and the industry, which make them, in our opinion, major actors of change benefitting the overall the sports industry.

In the Canadian football/soccer context, with a new league, with non-millionaires players, a PA is needed not only to look after the players (which is their fundamental role), but also to be an integral part of the growth of the game in the country. The traditional PAs impact on the sport business can definitely be something positive for the game in Canada.

Relationship with the CanPL

The CanPL appears very reticent to recognize the PFACan, but we think this is absolutely required, and will be done voluntarily. All across the world, players are unionized, and Canada cannot be an exception.

The initial messaging from the CanPL have been to the effect that the players are lucky to be even playing in this new league. In fact, the league is not wrong, as it need to be prudent through its first years, to ensure it establishes itself with a strong base, and avoids living the fate of previous professional soccer leagues in Canada.

However, a sound relationship between the league and the players is absolutely primordial. There was some positive dialogue between both entities in discussing the return to play protocols. However, it seems the formal recognition issue of the PFACan by the league remains a tense point.

The PFACan has shown their goodwill, by saying publically that they have delayed any discussions related to collective bargaining, as the league, in its second year, is dealing with both establishing itself and managing the major effects of the pandemic on the entire sports industry. The pandemic has negatively affected overal revenues, including those coming from ticketing, merchandise sales, broadcast and sponsorship.

However, the league cannot, in our opinion, remain silent on the PA. As we often say in the business world, if your most important asset is the human resources, the league has to come forward and ensure that it is true. In fact, in a sports league, where the product is, essentially, its athletes. In fact, we are of the opinion that an early recognition of the union by the CanPL would prove that the league shows a level of maturity that is beyond its age.

Hopefully the league will recognize PFACan voluntarily, and will not force the PA to seek a complex legal recognition across multiple provincial jurisdictions. In Canada, workers have the right to unionize and engage in collective bargaining. And the league may well have recognized players as workers if they truly requested the Government of Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy for them (it’s unclear if this was requested for league/team employees AND for players). Additionally, the league has reportedly requested up to $15M in governmental assistance.

Ottawa and PFACan

Atlético Ottawa will definitely follows the league’s lead through this issue. This said, it must be noted that the larger Atléti family is no stranger to dealing with PAs. As mentioned above, Spain has an active footballers’ union, the Asociación de Futbolistas Espanoles (AFE). There is also a Mexican PA – Asociación Mexicana de Futbolistas –founded in 2017 which technically covers Ottawa’s cousin club players from Club Atlético de San Luis, which plays in Liga MX.

The Spanish Futbol industry has seen numerous job actions in the last 20 years. Those actions were linked to tax increases, revenue sharing, guaranteed wages and others. Interestingly, the most recent job action in Spain was this season, when female players in Liga Iberdrola/Primera División Femenina went on strike, mainly over pay, minimum wage and working conditions. Club Atlético de Madrid is no stranger to this, as it has a well-established women’s section.  Female players in Spain are represented by the AFE, demonstrating the potential a union could eventually have for all pro players of all levels and gender in Canada.

We do not know if Atlético Ottawa’s CEO Fernando López dealt with the AFE when he was employed by Atlético de Madrid. But it must also be said that Lopez was a player before following the management avenue. He played in the Atlético de Madrid Academy system and for Levante U.D, notably in lower tiers.

So, in the end, we have to presume that Ottléti’s CEO is very familiar with the role of PAs, and in fact, this may be a very good asset to the league in its dealing with the nascent PFACan.

A proposition: Engage the Fans

As of now, and although social media is only a microcosm of reality, it clearly appears that the PFACan has a lot of support from the CanPL fans.

A major past criticism of PAs has been the lack of consideration for the fans, especially during North American sports job actions. This perception has evolved, after a realization that job actions have traditionally opposed millionaire players against multi-millionaire/billionaire owners, mostly about a better revenue sharing of the sports’ profits. 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has even argued in an essay published in Are Players’ Unions Good for Professional Sports, that owners care about fans, whereas the players’ unions do not.

As such, we think that PFACan should, after it ensures that it is recognized by the league, and even Canada Soccer, work on a fan engagement strategy.

Technology offers a fantastic opportunity for direct athlete-to-fan engagement. This is not a traditional PA role, but certainly one which could be explored by PFACan. Beyond conventional assistance with player rights management and marketing, the nascent fan engagement discipline within the sports industry (discussed here) provides an exploitable opportunity for PFACan.

The National Basketball Players’ Association (NBPA) is notably at the forefront of PA-driven fan engagement, with the goal of linking players with the fan more directly. Technology and the ongoing pandemic offered the NBPA an opportunity to connect its players to the fans on a ‘personal level’ through the use of the CoStar platform, a partnership which was officialised in early May 2020.

CoStar Fan Cast experience with NBA star JaVale McGee. Credit: Newswire.com

In conclusion, we judge that a PA for Canadian soccer is good. Although we understand the league’s careful approach – motivated by its need to ensure a sustainable future – it’s clear that PFACan is here to stay, and offers a clear opportunity for the Canadian soccer industry to engage in meaningful discussions with its players. The Atléti factor could also be positive for the CanPL, as the club  – and its Mexican cousin – dealt with unions in the past, and it could bring its experience to the CanPL, in order to engage in this well-needed meaningful discussion. It is also our opinion that PFACan could reinvent the way PAs engage the fans, without taking too much from the league. 

Si vous avez manqué la nouvelle, il y a maintenant une association des joueurs (AJ) pour le football/soccer canadien. Les partisans d’Ottawa sont familiers avec cette réalité, ayant vécu l’arrivée difficile de la USLPA l’an dernier. Nous savons très bien que la route sera difficile pour le syndicat dans ses relations avec la PLCan.

L’Association des footballeurs professionnels – Canada (PFACan, traduction libre) a été officialisée en février dernier. C’est le premier syndicat pour les joueurs élites masculins et féminins au pays, bien que son focus reste présentement sur la représentation des joueurs en PLCan présentement. C’est un développement qui était attendu, bien que la PFACan ait accéléré ses plans en raison de la pandémie, et l’annonce par la PLCan du report des salaires, tel qu’il fut rapporté par JJ Adams de The Province.

Réunion du conseil via Zoom, PFACan. Crédit: Twitter de PFACan

L’importance des associations de joueurs dans le sport professionnel

Les syndicats/associations de joueurs (AJ) sont importantes. La plupart des ligues professionnelles sur le globe ont une AJ. En Amérique du nord, nous sommes évidemment familiers avec l’AJLNH, la NBPA, la NFLPA, la MLBPA, la CFLPA et la MLSPA. Il va sans dire que toutes les AJ ci-haut ont été impliquées dans le retour au jeu dans les conditions de la pandémie.

Dans le monde du soccer, il y a également plusieurs AJ, qui collaborent ensemble sous l’égide de la FIFPRO, elle-même étant constituée de 65 AJ membres sur tous les continents.  Par exemple, la MLSPA est un membre de FIFPRO, tout comme la Professional Footballers’Association anglaise (l’ancêtre des AJ, fondée en 1907), l’Union nationale des footballeurs professionnels française, l’Asociación de Futbolistas Espanoles d’Espagne et bien d’autres. Nous n’avons aucun doute qu’éventuellement, la PFACan deviendra membre de FIFPRO (la PFACan recevrait du soutien de FIFPRO, selon certains rapports).

Syndicats membres de FIFPRO. Crédit: FIFPRO.org

Au Canada, il y a également AthlètesCAN, l’association des athlètes des équipes nationales canadiennes. Représentant des droits des athlètes au Canada, AthlètesCAN travaille en collaboration avec les associations des joueurs professionnels en Amérique du Nord, et avec la FIFPRO, et avec la World Athlete Association.  Il y aura très probablement collaboration entre AthlètesCAN et la PFACan.

Bien que la plupart des discussions sur les AJ portent sur les salaires et les bénéfices, spécialement lors de moyen de pression dans les sports nord-américains, les AJ sont essentielles pour bien d’autres questions. Elles sont essentielles pour les questions de santé et sécurité (notamment mis en valeur par la pandémie courante), la santé mentale, les conditions d’entraînement, les questions contractuelles et de transfert, le marketing et la gestion de l’image des athlètes, l’éducation et les opportunités de carrière après le sport, la mise en valeur des ligues féminines, et même l’aide aux joueurs dans le besoin.

En gros, leur impact est senti sur toute l’industrie, ce qui en fait, selon nous, des acteurs majeurs de changement, au bénéfice de toute l’industrie sportive.

Dans le contexte du soccer canadien, avec une ligue très jeune, des joueurs loin d’être millionnaires, il y a un besoin pour une AJ, afin de prendre soin des joueurs (leur rôle fondamental), mais aussi de faire partie intégrale de la croissance du sport au Canada. L’impact traditionnel des AJ sur l’industrie sportive peut clairement amener beaucoup de positif pour le soccer canadien.

Les relations avec la PLCan

La PLCan semble très réticente à reconnaître la PFACan, mais nous croyons que c’est une nécessité, et que ce sera fait de façon volontaire. À travers le monde, les joueurs se sont syndiqués, et le Canada ne peut être une exception.

Les signes initiaux de la PLCan portaient sur le fait que les joueurs sont chanceux de jouer dans cette nouvelle ligue. Et en fait, la PLCan n’a pas tout à fait tort, comme elle se doit d’être prudente en ce début d’existence, afin de s’assurer d’établir de bonnes bases et de ne pas subir le sort des anciennes ligues de soccer professionnelles au Canada.

Ceci dit, des relations cordiales entre la ligue et les joueurs sont nécessaires. Il y a eu dialogue positive entre les deux entités au sujet du retour au jeu et des protocoles associés. Toutefois, il demeure que la question de la reconnaissance formelle de la PFACan demeure un point d’achoppement.

L’AJ a démontré sa bonne volonté en mentionnant publiquement qu’ils avaient retardé toute discussion au sujet d’une convention collective, notant que la ligue vieille de seulement deux ans essaie de s’établir tout en gérant les effets de la pandémie sur l’industrie du sport toute entière. Celle-ci, en effet, affecte négativement les revenus, incluant ceux de la billeterie, de la vente de marchandies, de diffusion et de commandites.

Toutefois, la ligue ne peut, selon nous, demeurer silencieuse à propos de l’AJ. Comme il est souvent mentionné dans le milieu des affaires, les atouts les plus importants étant les ressources humaines, la ligue se doit d’être transparente et de s’assurer que cet adage est respecté. Dans une ligue sportive, il faut le dire, les produits sont les athlètes. Nous croyons fermement qu’une reconnaissance du syndicat par la PLCan prouverait que la ligue montre un niveau de maturité plus élevé que son ancienneté.

Nous espérons que la ligue procédera à une reconnaissance volontaire de PFACan, et ne forcera pas l’AJ à forcer une reconnaissance légale complexe dans différentes juridictions provinciales. Au Canada, les travailleurs ont le droit de se syndiquer et de négocier une convention collective. Et la ligue pourrait avoir reconnu les joueurs comme employés si elle a demandé la subvention salariale d’urgence du Canada pour ceux-ci (il n’est pas confirmé que cette subvention fut demandée pour les employés de la ligue/équipes ET pour les joueurs). De plus, la ligue aurait potentiellement demandé de l’aide gouvernementale de près de 15M$.

Ottawa et la PFACan

Atlético Ottawa va définitivement suivre la ligue dans ce dossier. Ceci dit, nous devons noter que la grande famille d’Atléti n’est pas étrangère aux syndicats et aux AJ. Tel que mentionné ci-haut, l’Espagne possède un syndicat de joueurs, l’Asociación de Futbolistas Espanoles (AFE). De plus, il y a aussi une AJ mexicaine, l’Asociación Mexicana de Futbolistas, qui, créé en 2017, représente les joueurs du club cousin des Ottaviens, le Club Atlético de San Luis, jouant en LigaMX.

L’industrie du football espagnol a vécu plusieurs moyens de pressions dans les derniers 20 ans. Ces moyens étaient notamment liés à des hausses de taxes, au partage des revenus, aux revenus garantis, et autres. Notons également que les derniers moyens de pression en Espagne datent de cette année, alors que les joueuses féminines de la Liga Iberdrola/Primera División Femenina ont fait la grève, notamment pour des questions salariales, de revenu minimum, et de conditions de travail. Le Club Atlético de Madrid comprend évidemment une section féminine bien établie. Les joueuses espagnoles sont représentées par l’AFE, démontrant le potentiel qu’un syndicat pourrait avoir sur tous les joueurs pro au Canada, à tous les niveaux et genres.

Nous ignorons si le PDG d’Atlético Ottawa, Fernando López, a eu a discuter avec l’AFE lors qu’il travaillait directement pour Atlético de Madrid. Mais nous notons que M. López était un joueur avant de devenir un gestionnaire, ayant joué dans le système d’Atlético de Madrid, et pour Levante U.D, dans les divisions inférieures.

Nous devons donc assumer que le PDG d’Ottléti est familiers avec le rôle des AJ, et pourrait même être tout un atout pour la ligue afin d’établir une relation avec la PFACan.

Une proposition : Engager les fans

Présentement, et bien que les médias sociaux ne sont qu’un microcosme de la réalité, nous pouvons dire qu’il y a un fort soutien envers la PFACan de la part des fans de la PLCan.

Une critique notable des AJ dans le passé a été leur manque de considération envers les fans, notamment lors de moyens de pression dans les sports nord-américains. Cette perception a évolué, avec la réalisation que ces moyens de pression ont traditionnellement opposé des joueurs millionnaires à des propriétaires également millionnaires ou même milliardaires, et ont souvent porté sur un partage des revenus plus égalitaires.

Le commissaire de la NFL, Roger Goodell, a même avancé dans un essai publié dans Are Players’ Unions Good for Professional Sports, que les propriétaires pensent aux fans alors que les AJ n’en tiennent pas compte.

Nous croyons que la PFACan devrait, après s’être assuré qu’elle est reconnue par la ligue et même Soccer Canada, développer une stratégie ‘d’expérience-client’.

La technologie offre une opportunité fantastique pour l’engagement fans-joueurs d façon plus directe. Ce n’est pas un rôle traditionnel des AJ, mais certainement un rôle qui pourrait être envisagé par la PFACan. Au-delà de l’aide habituelle aux joueurs en termes de gestion et de marketing des droits et de l’image, la discipline naissante de ‘l’expérience-client (discutée ici) ouvre une belle opportunité pour la PFACan.

L’association nationale des joueurs de basketball (NBPA) est notamment à l’avant-garde d’une telle initiative. Le but de l’expérience-client menée par une AJ est pour les joueurs de rejoindre les fans de façon plus directe. La technologie et la pandémie en cours ont offert l’opportunité à la NBPA de connecter ses joueurs avec les fans d’une façon plus personnelle, en utilisant la plateforme CoStar, un partenariat officialisé au début mai 2020.

Le joueur de basketball JaVale McGee est l’hôte d’une expérience Fan Cast sur CoStar. Crédit: Newswire.com

En conclusion, nous jugeons qu’une AJ pour le soccer canadien est un bon développement. Bien que nous comprenions l’approche prudente de la ligue, motivée par son besoin d’assurer un futur durable, il est clair que la PFACan est ici pour rester, et offre l’opportunité pour l’industrie du soccer de s’engager dans des discussions importantes avec ses joueurs. Le facteur Atléti pourrait aussi aider la PLCan, comme le club – et son cousin mexicains – ont eu à parler avec les syndicats respectifs dans le passé, et pourrait partager son expérience avec la PLCan, afin d’ouvrir les discussions franches et nécessaires entre les deux parties. Nous sommes aussi de l’opinion que la PFACan pourrait réinventer la manière avec laquelle les AJ engagent les partisans, sans voler la vedette à la ligue.

Episode 18: The Return of Sports

In this week’s episode Cameron and Eddie discuss the various formats leagues are taking for their return to play formats!

Ottawa 67’s Acquire Steven LaFrome from Battalion

The Ottawa 67’s and North Bay Battalion agreed to a deal on Monday that sent Steven LaFrome to Ottawa in exchange for one of the 67’s fourth-round draft picks in 2021. 

LaFrome spent the 2019-20 season with the Hamilton Kilty B’s of the GOJHL, tallying 56 points in 50 games. LaFrome is six-foot-tall and will give the 67’s some size upfront. 

“Steven is an intelligent playmaker who is coming off a successful season with the Hamilton Kilty B’s organization. Steven’s size and skill complements our existing group of forwards,” said 67’s General Manager, James Boyd.

Boyd isn’t the only member of the 67’s staff who is excited to have LaFrome on the team for the 2020-21 season.

“I flat out just love LaForme. Average sized, and extremely strong play making forward with high end vision.  For what Steven might lack in foot speed, his ability to control the puck, the pace of play, and his patience under pressure, helps to create time and space in tight situations for both himself and his teammates. His success at 16 in Jr. B was no surprise,” said 67’s scout, Tristan Whitley.

Here is what 67’s fans can expect to see with LaFrome as told by Kilty B’s assistant GM, Mike Dukeshire. 

“Steven is a great kid with great work ethic both on and off the ice and brought a great attitude and compete level into the dressing room and got along great with his teammates and team staff. On the ice Steven is a very consistent two-way forward with great creative instincts in the offensive zone, he sees the ice well and opens up lanes and attacks the seams off the wall. With his unique vision and awareness in the offensive zone he tends to open ice for his line mates that usually lead to scoring opportunities,” said Dukeshire. 

There is no guarantee that LaFrome will be wearing the barber pole when the 2020-21 season kicks off at some point in the fall/winter, but the 67’s will now have options at the forward position. This move will also likely free up Alec Belanger to move back to defence, making the 67’s defensive core that much stronger. 

This was just the first move of the 67’s offseason, and there will be more to come for sure. All things told, the 67’s got themselves a nice pick-up for the low cost of a fourth round pick, of which they still have two more of. 

 For more 67’s content, be sure to follow me on Twitter @613Frankie

2019-20 Senators’ forward report card

Photo by Sean Kilpatrick CP

The 2019-20 season was cut short for the Senators. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t re-visit how the team performed this past year. It was well established going into the season that there would be a lot of losing with the main goal being to win the draft lottery. With that said, this article will breakdown and grade the team’s forwards performance this past season. 

The “A” team: 

Brady Tkachuk

Thankfully this year Tkachuk has some company in the A grade as he was the only one to receive this grade in last year’s report card. Tkachuk essentially posted identical numbers to his rookie season (22 goals and 45 points in 71 games as a rookie, 21 goals and 44 points in 71 games this year). His quality of teammates was also considerably lower this year than it was last year. For this reason, Tkachuk earns back to back As.

Connor Brown

Connor Brown who was acquired by the sens in the Cody Ceci trade was a nice surprise this season. He set a career-high in points with 43 and very well could have set one in goals too as he was only four back with 11 games remaining. For these reasons Brown also earns an A and hopefully will be back with the team next year. 

Honourable mention: Jean-Gabriel Pageau would have also received an A if he was still on the roster. 

The B’s:

Anthony Duclair 

Duclair was arguably the team’s best forward from a scoring standpoint. The problem was his consistency. He started the year on fire, but a long dry spell in the middle of the season is why he only receives a B. Hopefully he receives a contract offer from the team this off-season (whenever that might be) and we get to see more of Duclair from the first half of the season. If that is the case it’s very likely he gets a boost up to the A’s next year.

Duclair is the lone player to receive a B, as Ennis and Namestnikov both would have but they were also traded at the deadline. 

The C’s: 

Chris Tierney 

Tierney did not experience as much offensive success with the team as he did last year. That was expected though, as most of the offensive drivers from last season are gone. The reason Tierney finds himself with a C is more for his all-around game. While he did play in almost all situations for the team, special teams did not improve with him seeing an increased role. Tierney played a lot of PK time this year, and that unit was actually worse statistically than it was last year. So, Tierney gets a C. 

Drake Batherson 

Batherson’s AHL season would receive an A without a doubt. However, he didn’t carry over as much of that production to the NHL as fans would’ve liked. He was only able to tally three goals and 10 points in 23 games with the Sens. This would put him on a 35 point pace for an 82 game season. The problem was his offensive skill was only shown in spurts and was not consistent. Hopefully with more experience and higher-quality teammates, we can see Batherson’s development really turn the corner next year. 

Artem Anisimov 

After surprisingly being acquired for Zach Smith, Anisimov was able to provide some depth scoring but is clearly not the same player he used to be. Anisimov looked slow for the majority of the year and struggled with injuries. He was still able to tally 15 goals in only 49 games and hopefully provided some veteran leadership to the young players on the team. 

Nick Paul

Paul struggled with consistency this year, but showed enough potential to give fans hope. Considering that many had started to write Paul off at the start of the year, the fact that he was able to play 56 games and tally 20 points is impressive. Paul earns a C with the potential to earn a bigger role with the team next year. 

Bobby Ryan

Ryan was a tough player to slot into this report card. He clearly struggled to start the year and was not very productive on the ice. However, after dealing with his addiction issues and entering the league’s rehab program, when he returned he was a man on a mission. Combining his return plus battle off the ice, that would obviously receive an A. However, from just a hockey standpoint his season as a whole receives a C, but this one will have an asterisk beside it for sure. 

The D’s: 

Colin White 

White had one of the most disappointing season’s of any of the team’s forwards this year. After getting a big contract last off-season, maybe the pressure of that got to him as he did not look like the same player at all. It appeared as if he was lacking confidence with the puck on the ice and was playing scared to make a mistake. Hopefully, he can turn things around next season as he still has plenty of potential, but for now, he gets a D. 

Scott Sabourin 

Sabourin was a feel-good story through training camp and the start of the season. Not only was it a good story, but at the start of the year he was a great pest and made the game more fun to watch with his hits, fights, and chirping. However, after he suffered that gruesome injury against the Bruins that aspect of his game seemed to disappear when he returned and no longer provided much value to the team on the ice. For this reason, he also receives a D.

Scott Sabourin Stock Pictures, Royalty-free Photos & Images ...

Jean-Christophe Beaudin

Beaudin could arguably deserve a C considering that most fans didn’t even know who he was to start the season and he somehow found his way into 22 games for the team this year. The reason he gets a D is he tallied a total of ONE point in those 22 games and wasn’t Patrice Bergeron Jr. defensively to compensate for that.  

Filip Chlapik

Chlapik was a player who I had relatively high hopes for after multiple productive seasons in the AHL. However, Chalpik failed to make the roster out of camp and then was only able to produce six points in 31 games with the big club. He did however, prove to be an effective forechecker and can hopefully still provide value to the team in some capacity going forward. 


Mikkel Boedker

After being acquired in what is arguably the most lopsided trade in Sens history, Boedker isn’t doing the organization any favours to make this trade look better. Boedker was a healthy scratch in more games than not the season, and given the quality of the roster that isn’t exactly a good look for Boedker. In the 20 games he did crack the lineup for, he tallied a whopping two goals and four points… so ya there’s not really much else that needs to be said. 

Logan Brown

Fans have had high expectations for the 6’6” center ever since the team selected him 11th overall in the 2016 draft. Brown had another productive season in the AHL but once again failed to translate that productivity to the NHL. In what was now the fourth season since the team drafted Brown, it is concerning that he still only found his way into 23 games this season. There were complaints from him at the start of the season that it wasn’t fair that the team sent him down to start the season. However, when the team gave him games in the NHL he tallied a whole one goal and eight points with the team in those 23 games. With the quality of centers in this year’s draft and the ample picks the Sens have, Brown needs to get it together fast before he no longer has a spot in the organization’s plans. 

This season was a developmental one that many fans anticipated a lot of losses, and that’s exactly what they got. This is reflected by the majority of players grading lower than a B. The future is still looking bright for the team at least. Stay tuned for the defence and goalie report cards coming soon.

Ottawa Blackjacks finalize 2020 roster with 4 additions, including the Scrubb brothers

Canada beats New Zealand in overtime in World Cup exhibition ...

Since March 11th the world hasn’t been normal. The coronavirus has changed the world in many different ways. One of the biggest changes has been having no live sporting events, and with that, the Ottawa Blackjacks have missed out on what could have been a historic inaugural season, but that season might have to wait a while. It may have to wait until life slowly gets back to normal, but many would say it’s worth the wait. 

With all of the extra time given to build the Ottawa Blackjacks roster, the team has come across some steals. One of those steals this off-season would be the group of local products brought in. It may help that Dave Smart is the general manager but some of these moves have been no brainers, similar to the ones made on Thursday. To finish building the 2020 Ottawa Blackjacks roster the team announced the final 4 names on the roster, UOttawa alum Johnny Berhanemeskel, Carleton products Tommy and Phil Scrubb along with Kaza Kajami Keane, another guard out of Carleton. 

Berhanemeskel earns CIS men's basketball MVP - Sportsnet.ca

To keep the train of local talented players going, bringing in Ottawa native and Ottawa Gee-Gee product Johnny Berhanemeskel was an easy decision for GM Dave Smart. Sure, Smart has had his troubles coaching against him but, the 27-year-old brings some big-time energy to this Blackjacks team. After 5 years of eligibility at UOttawa and being named the CIS MVP in 2015, Berhanemeskel was off to pursue professional opportunities, and since leaving Ottawa and now having the chance to come back to play for the Blackjacks, he’s travelled the world in pro leagues. Going into year six of his professional career, the 6 foot 1 guard has played on teams in Spain, Germany, Estonia France and Greece, playing a total of 241 professional games. Within the 241 days spent on the court, he’s done a great job in leading teams to victories, recently averaging over 12 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2 assists in 24 minutes. With all said and done, having another Ottawa native brought onto the team and one with the kind of experience he has, Berhanemeskel is a solid pickup by the Blackjacks and will play out to be a star player for the team.  

Canada beats New Zealand in overtime in World Cup exhibition ...

Berhanemeskel will be a game-changer for the Blackjacks but how can you forget about the Scrubb brothers when talking about local talent. Tommy and Phil grew up in the  Vancouver area, but with the success story, they have from their Carleton days they have become local enough. The two of them each have themselves 5 national titles from their Carleton careers, but between the two, Phil has got to have the most eye-popping resume. The 27-year-old guard has had nearly 6 years of professional experience which gives the Blackjacks an advantage in that department. What got him to the pro level is where it becomes interesting. In the 5 years at Carleton, Phil played in 105 games, averaging over 16 points in 26 minutes. Those numbers earned him 3 CIS Most Outstanding Player awards, 4 All Canadian, 2014 CIS Athlete of the Year, 2-time CIS Tournament MVP and when he launched his college career he was named the 2011 CIS rookie of the year. All in all, Phil Scrubb will look to improve the Blackjacks as much as he possibly can, but having his brother Thomas will only help him do so. Thomas, being one year older than Phil doesn’t quite have the same list of acknowledgments but has also put a great career together. The 5-time National Champion from Carleton started his pro career in Finland, but to add to his career he even played on teams in France, Italy and Germany. Overseas he’s played over 200 games, averaging over 11 points and using his 6-foot-six height to get nearly 6 rebounds in 27.2 minutes. As a forward, Scrubb and Jean Pierre Charles will light it up as the two Canadians look to have fresh starts in the Nation’s Capital. 

Three Former Ravens Playing in World Cup | Carleton Newsroom

Now both of the Scrubb brothers are great additions for the Ottawa Blackjacks, and to add to the long list of former Ravens, the team also brought in guard Kaza Kajami-Keane. Kajami-Keane, a 6-foot-2 guard didn’t only play for Carleton in University. The Ajax native actually made a name for himself by playing division one basketball for NCAA schools Cleveland State University and Illinois State University, where he scored 3 points and had 2 assists in 17 minutes in 99 games, where he had 29 starts. The days down south and up with Carleton, as mentioned, made a name for himself where he was even seen by NBA teams, getting on with his hometown Toronto Raptors’ G-League team, The 905 Raptors. With the Raptors he started 7 of the 43 games played, averaging a total 6.5 points, 4 assists, and 2 rebounds in 19.8 minutes. The two seasons he played in the NBA G-League were huge for the rest of his career, getting signed by teams in Germany and the Netherlands. In those leagues, he played in over 100 games, but he is more than excited to be back in Canada and back in Ottawa. 

Kaza Kajami-Keane of Ajax is stepping up with Canadian basketball ...

He looks back at his Carleton days and into the future commenting, “Ottawa is a great city. Ever since moving to Ottawa in 2015, I fell in love with it. The organization is run by great people and coached by a legend. I am excited to be back and looking forward to a great season.”

Of course, the Ottawa Blackjacks roster was already looking good with big-name players like Jean Pierre Charles and Eric Kibi but after Thursday’s additions, the team is looking like a championship-winning team. For more on the Ottawa Blackjacks and all of your professional sports teams in Ottawa, keep all eyes on the 613 Sports Blog for all the news you need. If you want to see more from myself, Jordan Zlomislic you can follow my twitter at @JordanZlomislic where I post all of my updates.