Primary navigation

The Neutral Zone

On Tuesdays at 11 a.m. Eastern, Brock Richardson and his panel of sports experts engage in a lively roundtable discussion about Parasports and professional sports news and newsmakers.

The Neutral Zone

On Tuesdays at 11 a.m. Eastern, Brock Richardson and his panel of sports experts engage in a lively roundtable discussion about Parasports and professional sports news and newsmakers.

November 8, 2022

Announcer:
Are you ready? Let's go. From AMI Central, now circling in the neutral zone. Here's a pitch on the way. 36 yards to the wind. This. Here comes a big chance, shot. Is. The Neutral Zone. This is as good as it gets. Now here's your host, two-time Paralympian Brock Richardson.

Brock Richardson:
What's going on? It's time for another edition of the Neutral Zone. I am indeed your host, Brock Richardson. And right now alongside me is Cam Jenkins. Before we introduce Cam Jenkins, I'm just going to let you know that Claire Buchanan is a bit under the weather today, so she'll be joining us a bit later on, but she was busy at the Cruisers Cup and so her voice is a little bit suspect, shall we say. And so we're giving her a bit of a break and not making her do a whole 54 minute podcast. Hello Cameron, how are you?

Cameron Jenkins:
I'm doing okay Brock. Yeah, it was a pretty good weekend, with lots of sports going on. Wasn't able to make the Cruisers Cup, unfortunately, but I hear it was good and I heard you were there watching at least a game.

Brock Richardson:
I did. I watched two games. I watched one of Josh's and one of Claire's. Yeah, so it was a good, I always love the Cruisers Cup. It's a well put on event and always good to see everybody and watch some really high-level para ice hockey because that's what you get to see. So we'll do the post-celebration of the Cruisers Cup in a bit. But I wanted to get off the top of the show.
For those of you that may not know about the story of Mitchell Miller, let me tell you the story. So back in 2016, he was convicted at the age of 15 for racially abusing and bullying his then developmentally disabled classmate, Isaiah Miller-Crothers. Let me correct that. Isaiah Meyer-Crothers is his name and the Boston Bruins gave him a minor league deal, but then they rescinded his minor league deal due to the fact that the NHL and some of the Boston Bruins did not agree with this decision. Cameron, I'll let you go two places here. One, what were your thoughts of the story itself? And secondly, are you surprised with the rescinded of the contract?

Cameron Jenkins:
No, I'm not surprised at the rescinding of the contract whatsoever. There was a lot of backlash when it came to this, when people found out that basically, Boston was putting their team first by signing this good player rather than what is morally correct. And I'm glad that they did rescind it, but it wasn't until there was so much pushback that they ended up rescinding it. And the thing is that it's the moral conversation of does everybody deserve a second chance? And I would say in a lot of cases, yes.
However, from all the reports that I've heard, he has not shown any remorse whatsoever and he has not reached out to the family specifically to apologize to them. So it is just been a PR fiasco for the Boston Bruins. And yeah, it's going to be really interesting moving forward to see what happens because Gary Bettman didn't even okay it. He says that he's not going to be playing in the NHL. In fact, I forget who reported on that, but Bettman said that as well. So it's almost like Boston had to say no where you've got to rescind the contract because you're not even going to be able to play.

Brock Richardson:
Yes, and I think that's true. Gary Bettman did sort of walk the line of at this point he's not welcome in the NHL, the Boston Bruins would have to show us all kinds of evidence that would show that this individual's better for it and done the right things. And I think due to the PR fiasco as you put it, I think this was too much too quickly for Boston and I'm not even sure that they would've been able to prove the things that they would've had to prove. Given what you pointed out as it doesn't even seem that he's remorseful of the situation. It's sort of one of those things. I'm going to make fun of myself for a second because I totally forgot that I was on camera as I was talking. I went to go itch my face and realized halfway through, I'm like, oh yeah, you're on camera. Anyway, as I figure myself out, it's time to get into our headlines for this week

Announcer:
Neutral Zone headlines.

Cameron Jenkins:
The Houston Astros win the 2022 World Series. Also, Jeremy Pena is the World Series MVP. This season Pena has won the American League championship series MVP plus a gold glove as the best shortstop in the American League in our World Series championship. I also like the fact that Dusty Baker has finally won a World Series as well, because this is the first world series that he has been able to get in his illustrious career.

Brock Richardson:
Awesome, congratulations to them from me as well. Late last week, the Brooklyn Nets and Steve Nash, Canadian coach mutually agreed to part ways. The story began to get a bit weird. Shortly after it was announced that suspended Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka has emerged as the likely candidate for the next coach as the Nets. Udoka is currently suspended by only the Boston Celtics for violating sexual misconduct policy. Let me tell you one thing, the Brooklyn Nets are in a world of hurt with all that's going on with Kyrie Irving and all of that. And now their coach. I don't know why you would even engage in Mr. Udoka as being your coach, but hey, to each their own, I guess.

Cameron Jenkins:
Toronto Blue Jay's first baseman, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has won his first gold glove at first base. This award is given for exceptional play at his position. It's really nice to see Vladi get a gold glove. I know a lot of people were concerned about his glove, I guess more so being a third baseman than a first baseman. But he has worked really hard on his defence and he's been rewarded by getting a gold glove this year.

Brock Richardson:
Those are your headlines for this week. Let's go back to our Twitter poll questions, as we often do at this time of the program with rumours circulating, do you think Serena Williams will make a return to tennis? 80% of you said yes and 20% of you said no. And this week's question is, are you happy with this year's World Series champion? Your answer is yes or no. You can cast your votes at our Twitter handles coming at you right now

Announcer:
And welcome back to the Neutral Zone AMI broadcast booth. And we are set to get this ball game underway, the first pitch brought to you by Brock Richardson's Twitter account @neutralzonebr, first pitch strike. And hey gang, why not strike up a Twitter chat with Claire Buchanan from the Neutral Zone? Find her @neutralzonecb Now there's a swing and a chopper out to second base right at Claire. She picks up the ball, throws it over to first base for a routine out and fans, there is nothing routine about connecting with Cam and Josh from the Neutral Zone @neutralzonecamj and @jwatson200. Now that's a winning combination and this [inaudible 00:08:42] interlude is brought to you by AMI Audio on Twitter, get in touch with the Neutral Zone, type in @AMIaudio.

Brock Richardson:
So we were supposed to have [Rhonda Gohari 00:08:52] join us and we had some technical challenges with her. And so what we're going to do now is we're going to, well I'm going to tell you a little bit about the November 12th event and that is that they are going to be inducting some individuals into the Hall of Fame. But one of the big notes from an AMI perspective, two big notes. Number one is that Kelly McDonald who has MCed for a long, long time with them is not going to be MCing. And yours truly, myself, will be MCing the event on Saturday. So I'm really looking forward to that, doing that and taking over for Kelly. I know Kelly has done a lot for the organization as a whole and it'll be fun to be a part of it. And I know that Cameron, you have been a part of one or two Ontario blind sports. We can't exactly remember how many, but at least one or two. And I want your thoughts as to the event and your take on what we've done at OBSA.

Cameron Jenkins:
It's been enough phenomenal awards ceremony. I remember the first year going, I think maybe that was our first live that we ever did.

Brock Richardson:
It was.

Cameron Jenkins:
It was, okay. Yeah, that's what I thought. So I remember everybody's eyes were super big, the size of a dinner plate, wondering what we're doing. A lot of us were new to this type of thing and not sure if we could talk enough to be able to get through it, but staff at AMI, I think Jeff was there that time and Andy was there and they were kind of working things from the background as I remember and getting interviews for us and we were talking away and it just felt so natural to do it. And it was so nice to see so many athletes that have put in so much work over the years get to be part of the Ontario Blind Sports Hall of Fame and hearing some of their stories and what they've accomplished throughout their sporting life is just fantastic.

Brock Richardson:
Yeah, it is. And it's really a wonderful event. Last time they did an in-person event, it was 2019 and Kelly had asked me at that point, would I do 50/50 with him because at that point he was considering not renewing it and he was hopeful that I would get offered to take it over and I did and it was fun and really enjoyed it. But now I will not have my mentor alongside me this time around I'll be doing it solo and so be a bit fun. But one of my favourite parts of the event itself is that they do, in addition to the Hall of Fame inductees, they do something that's called a balloon game. So they bring a bunch of balloons with different prizes in it and it's almost as if you're gone to a circus.
And I don't mean that to be disrespectful, I mean it to be totally respectful where they bring a bunch of balloons and you get them for $20 and the main prize in the past has been Blue Jay's home opener tickets and inside each balloon is a number that correlates with a prize on this big table and you get the number and then you go to the table and all the while you're waiting in line, you have no idea what your prize is. So you're like, did I get the main prize or did I get, what did I get? Because it doesn't say on the number, it just literally says the number. So it's fun and you get to be social as well. And George-

Cameron Jenkins:
Is there a mad dash for those balloons? I remember the balloons, I remember popping them to try to find out what you got. Or there was a number associated, but was there a mad dash and elbows up in the air for trying to get more than one balloon or?

Brock Richardson:
Yes, as it gets closer to the last bunch, people are like, "No, I want another one, I want another one, I want another one." And as MC-

Cameron Jenkins:
That's what I thought.

Brock Richardson:
As MC this year-

Claire Buchanan:
Does it feel like a Black Friday? Little rush to...

Cameron Jenkins:
Little elbow?

Brock Richardson:
I've never-

Cameron Jenkins:
Trying to get those Blue Jay tickets?

Brock Richardson:
I've never done a Black Friday, but I would imagine that yes, Claire, it would be something similar. I know Claire, you're going to be in attendance at the accessible media ink table. What are you looking forward to as you embark on this event for the first time?

Speaker 6:
This will be my first time there and I always love a good excuse to dress up nice and fancy and go out and have a nice dinner and hang out with the buddies. So I'm excited to hang out with you guys. But yeah, it's cool to hear stories from you guys about like the balloon thing. I'm pumped for that. And it's pretty cool hearing that you guys did your first live show at the event and I don't think I've ever been to an event that had a Hall of Fame induction. So as an athlete myself, I think that's just going to be really cool to showcase athletes and all the success that they've had in their athletic careers.

Brock Richardson:
Yes, I agree.

Cameron Jenkins:
I think they have a... What do you call? A silent auction too, don't they?

Brock Richardson:
Yes, and I have it on a good authority this year that they're doing it as a QR code where you use your phone to bid. So they're going all technology on us, which is kind of cool. And the thing that I remember about doing the Hall of Fame with Kelly was that I remember listening to people's credits as an athlete and the stuff that they've gone through, and I remember thinking to myself, okay, I've gone to a Paralympic Games but I haven't done half of what they've done. So it's the stories that we get to hear and talk about.
And plus there's good food. And [George Koroku 00:15:30], who is usually the DJ, is going to return again this year. And he did, well, his girlfriend did my wedding and so I know that he's able to do a good job with that as well. So lots of good stuff coming and it's going to be fun, but we'll see how things go. And I'll tell you guys this, that everything I've learned, if I do a good job, I'm taking the credit. If I do a bad job, I'm pointing directly at Kelly and saying, "That's my mentor, it's his fault." So we'll see how the night goes. But yeah, it'll be a good time. And yeah, Claire, your voice is not where it normally is.

Claire Buchanan:
Here it is.

Brock Richardson:
Not where it normally is. And we saw each other on the weekend and I was teasing her a little bit about her voice and she was standing beside me and I was teasing her and she said, "Okay, I got to go dress up for the game and get ready." And I said, "Okay, have a good game, Claire." And she walked away and said something, I don't even remember what exactly she said, but yeah.

Cameron Jenkins:
It's probably something that she can't repeat.

Brock Richardson:
She still-

Claire Buchanan:
Yeah, it might not be radio and TV appropriate.

Brock Richardson:
She's still here, so couldn't have been that bad. She likes to tease. And that's the great thing about this team is that we like to tease each other and it's good. But Claire, it's good that you're toughing it out us for a little bit.

Cameron Jenkins:
So I just want to ask you real quick, how did you lose your voice? Were you yelling not at all the players to get going, to sludge quicker?

Claire Buchanan:
I wish. I woke up Friday morning, first day of the tournament and it was a lot worse than it is now. But yeah, I woke up with no voice and going right into a tournament having six games ahead of me. So it was a fun weekend, but I take a lot of pride in the level of communication that I bring to my game and I just was not able to access that part of my game. So I did as much as I could and tried to rest my voice as much as possible. But of course, at a tournament like that you really want to say hi to everybody that you haven't seen, especially with recently the pandemic and stuff, some people you haven't seen for a couple of years now and... All worth it though.

Brock Richardson:
Yeah, for sure. Josh will be joining us in a bit to talk about his Cruisers Cup experience as well. But Claire, before we talk about how things went for you, I know you're now playing on a different team and I'm curious to find out from you what that transition's like. You've been a part of the Cruisers for a long time and you made a switch, from what I understand, to make the commute a bit easier for you. But can you talk a little bit about the switch and what it's like to break away from what I perceive as all that you've known and then going another team?

Claire Buchanan:
You put it perfectly. I've been a Cruiser through and through since the age of 12 and I've played wheelchair basketball and sledge hockey and done track and field with that organization and they've obviously given me so much and I'm very grateful and thankful that I was able to represent the Cruisers for that long. But yeah, like you said, being a mom and travelling and also playing hockey, it just made a little more sense to be closer to my family and resources for childcare during practices and it just makes it easier also for my family to come out and watch me play now. So yeah, there're multiple reasons and there's not an ounce of bad blood with me and the Cruisers. Like I said, I'm very thankful and I will always show up and still watch some sledge hockey games of theirs as well and look forward to seeing them in London. But I'm excited and to be a Steelhawk and play for Durham.

Brock Richardson:
So let's talk about something that's going to be a bit unique, and I know it hasn't started yet, but this is going to be happening. Your son and you will be eventually playing on the same team. As a parent, what is that like? I know it hasn't happened yet, but the prospect of playing with your kid, which I know was a lot of the, at least part of it, reason of moving over there as well.

Claire Buchanan:
Dash loves being at the arena and loves watching me play and he's actually home with me today with the strike going on. Thankfully the kids are back in school tomorrow, but yeah, I am pumped to get his butt in a sled and get him on the ice and push him around a little bit.

Brock Richardson:
Yeah, the cutest pictures that I've seen of Dash with the jersey on is the fact that he's worn your jersey with your last name on the back, which is really cool. And I think that's cool. And then the thing about bocce is we've never really had a jersey per se that we can put our names on the back, but I would love that if my nephews or nieces had my name on the back, but it just didn't sort of lend itself to do that in bocce. So very cool to see that he's going to be getting in a sledge. Is there any kind of timeframe as to when we might see this take place?

Claire Buchanan:
Oh well this weekend we actually have a game, so it's not a practice weekend, so it'll be another couple weeks, but they have the sleds available and there's a couple other tiny little kids on the ice already. So yeah, I'm looking forward to it and I'm sure he is too. I don't know if he's into sports yet, but he wants to be on that ice with me and checking out the sleds and stuff. So yeah, it'll be exciting.

Brock Richardson:
We're going to have to... You know what we're going to have to do, I will say this on the air. When he gets in the sledge, I would like him to come on our podcast and I would like him to tell us as a kid what it was like to get in a sledge and play para ice hockey. So when it happens, we're going to do that. Because I know he likes the idea of putting on the headsets and things like that, so love that.

Claire Buchanan:
Oh yeah, he is eager to play around with this setup. He's done pretty well with keeping his hands off of it, but he wants to play around, that's for sure.

Brock Richardson:
Yeah.

Cameron Jenkins:
Nice. And then obviously with the Durham, they allow both able-bodied and para people to play on the same team.

Claire Buchanan:
Yes. So Durham is one of the organizations that has a good group of able bodied players that help grow the game and support sledge hockey and make it so that the community of disabled athletes in Durham are able to get on the ice and play sledge hockey.

Brock Richardson:
Without putting either of you in a corner on this, but something just sort of dawned in my mind, do you guys think that the reason the Cruisers don't do that is based on numbers? Or do you think it goes a bit deeper? And if it goes a bit deeper then say what you're comfortable saying on the deeper level. But Cameron, I'm going to start with you on this one and just kind of give me your thoughts.

Cameron Jenkins:
Yeah, I know that originally when the Cruisers didn't have a lot of people back in the eighties. I was going to say 1800s, we all know it wasn't the 1800s, but in the 1980s when I started, there was only about maybe six or seven of us. So I know two of the founding members, Scott Little and [Dennis Charbonneau 00:24:26], their brothers used to play on the team so we could end up having a game, but within... We're lucky to be in the Peel region because we have such a good population base and there's a lot of disabled people here. So that's why the Cruisers, in my opinion, went to just disabled because this sport was made so disabled people can enjoy a sport or play a sport. Saying that, in a smaller community I remember just outside of Barrie, I forget the name of that team, hopefully, one of you or Claire, maybe you could help me out with the name that's just outside Barrie.
They had a team and they came together as a community because there was only one disabled person there. So they ended up getting some able-bodied people to play. And when you're a community coming together and there aren't a lot of disabled people, I have absolutely no problem whatsoever if there's able-bodied and disabled people playing together. And I think in cities that do have a good size population base, my opinion is that the sledge hockey, it is for disabled people to play. So if you have a big population base, then I would also go with that of just disabled people. But if it's a smaller community, I think both, because that way it's inclusion and disabled people can play and that's what you want them to do at the end of the day.

Claire Buchanan:
Yeah, you touched on it really well that in smaller communities there just isn't one, the exposure and awareness that the sport exists and having able-bodied athletes there to really round out the teams helps out. So, yeah, it's a good question. I'd be interested to really ask the people at the cruisers and on the board. They've been around for quite some time. I think the cruisers started in the late eighties around when I was born. So...

Cameron Jenkins:
Thanks Claire.

Claire Buchanan:
That's just-

Cameron Jenkins:
Just making me feel well old.

Brock Richardson:
She also made-

Claire Buchanan:
I think they started in '87 and was born in '87. But yeah, it's a good question. It just might have been something that they started out with and just there hasn't been kind of this push or even need to change that because like you said, it's a giant organization and there's a ton of athletes and not just sledge hockey. They have a ton of athletes in wheelchair basketball and track and field and bocce so yeah.

Cameron Jenkins:
Yeah, and just the hockey teams alone isn't there like four or five teams?

Claire Buchanan:
Yeah. They got an A division, two C division teams and a juniors program and I think an open program as well.

Cameron Jenkins:
So there you go. So there's like five and it's all disabled people. So yeah, if you've got the population base to be able to have just disabled people, I'm all for it.

Brock Richardson:
Can I just say before we continue this conversation, we love the critters here at The Neutral Zone. I am in absolutely no way knocking the organization in one way, shape, form. I just wanted to have a little bit of a conversation because I sat up there in that horrible accessible section, which we'll chat about when we get to chat about the actual event. But I sat up in the horrible accessible section and I was sitting there and I thought about one of the reasons Claire moved and I started thinking, okay, the commute's better check. That's good. We can accept that and move on. Two is that she wants to play with her son. And I started to think, what if there are other people that want to do that very same thing? Now as I look at the cruisers, we discuss five teams, are the numbers there to do it?
I'm thinking probably not because you have five teams-

Cameron Jenkins:
[inaudible 00:02:46].

Brock Richardson:
Which means you need five coaches plus assistants, plus... The numbers just get bigger and bigger real quick when you're recruiters. So I do get it and I understand it, but again it's just one of those things that popped in my mind. I was thinking, you know what, let's see what they say and yeah.
Claire, let's talk about your event. Before we talk about it I'm going to say that I came for Josh's game Saturday afternoon and my wife and I were walking over to the venue and we heard a voice that resembled one Claire Buchanan, but she knew it more than I did, my wife that is, and I said, "That was Claire?" And she said, "Yeah it was." And I said, "Oh boy, I don't know how Monday's going to go for Claire but we'll see how this works." And we found out that Claire had a game in that afternoon and we stayed and the one thing Claire said was, "Oh yeah, we lost by a bunch against Buffalo. So temper your expectations." I think was the words you used. And then you guys went and had a wonderful game, which was highly entertaining to watch. But let's go back to the beginning of the event. Let's run through your round robin first and then we'll get into the playoffs and all that.

Claire Buchanan:
Yeah, absolutely. So there was three teams in our division including us. So we played Buffalo and a team from Montreal. So we played both of them twice, which is why we had two games on Friday and two games on Saturday leading into the playoffs. So right out of the bag we played Montreal and then played Buffalo. And like I told you it was a little bit of a beating. [inaudible 00:04:47] little surprised us a little bit. The very, very quick and agile team and you can tell that they put in the work and practice a lot together. They just find each other really easily. So yeah, Buffalo ended up beating us 6-1 in our first game against them and yeah leading into Saturday I... Having people watch the second game of Buffalo, I was like, "Oh this might not be as tight as a game as you are looking to watch when you go to a hockey tournament."
But like you said, it was an exciting one. We ended up winning 3-1 and scoring the winning goal in the last few minutes of the third period. So the round robin was a ton of fun and kudos to the Montreal team. They are a very young team and had a few women in there that are looking to put in the effort to try to crack the women's roster for the national team including their goalie, so. I know it was a very tough weekend for her, but so proud to see the next generation just working so hard and I hope that those individuals just don't give up and just keep getting better because I'm excited not only to see them next year but in what, two months, three months at the London tournament. So we'll probably see the same teams again in London and yeah, it'll be exciting.

Brock Richardson:
All right, Josh is also joining us now. Hello Josh, how are you?

Josh Watson:
Hello. Hello. Not too bad, not too bad. It's been a bit of an interesting afternoon. I was expecting to be here before now, but apologize for being late but it was definitely worth it. So hopefully we can still have a good discussion.

Brock Richardson:
100%. Claire, anything else on your tournament that you shall add to this conversation?

Claire Buchanan:
Yeah, I'll just add that we ended up playing Buffalo again and in the final game and they ran away with the gold medal 3-1. So again we were still able to keep it to a tight game and it showed that each day we kind of got more and more comfortable with each other and me being with a new team, I've only had what? Maybe three or four practices with them as well. So it's nice to have a tournament under our belts and see how we actually play as a full team and outside of practices. So looking forward to the London tournament so we can gel even more and see if we can turn that silver into a gold in our next tournament.

Brock Richardson:
Yes. And you know what? When you're with a new team there's some kinks you got to work out and some, I'm wearing a different uniform, all kinds of different things. I've never...

Claire Buchanan:
Yeah everyone was bugging me because they were like, we definitely tell who Claire is. She's the only one with red gloves on the ice.

Josh Watson:
Yeah, it was much easier to spot.

Claire Buchanan:
Used to having a-

Cameron Jenkins:
Cruisers red.

Claire Buchanan:
Yeah, it's went from donning the red and white with the Cruisers to black and blue now. So I got to get some either black or blue gloves. So...

Cameron Jenkins:
Well Claire.

Claire Buchanan:
Easy to point me out [inaudible 00:08:08].

Brock Richardson:
I might have a pair if you need them.

Claire Buchanan:
Thanks.

Cameron Jenkins:
Well Claire, like I think we sit in the group chat because we have a group chat and we chit and chat there sometimes and as long as you're not playing the Cruisers I'll be cheering for you, like anybody else. But once you play against those Cruisers, I just can't cheer for you.

Claire Buchanan:
Well see that's another thing. I was really hoping that the Cruisers would somehow put a team into the B division because I think that they would do very well in the B division and I think they have the players to be able to put in a team and yeah, it's new team, new division and it's exciting. I'm really enjoying it.

Brock Richardson:
Yes, for the listener out there, just this gives you a total idea of how long Claire has been with the Cruisers up until now. I came into the venue, before seeing Claire in her car and my wife said to me, "Oh I wonder if Claire has a game today." And I said, without even skipping a beat, I'm like, "Check when the all blacks have a game." And she's looking and she's like, "They don't have a game." And I'm like, "Oh well then I guess we're not watching Claire." And then it dawned on me, I'm like, "Oh yeah, there's been a switch here. Right." And then-

Claire Buchanan:
[inaudible 00:09:24] the switch to be honest with you.

Brock Richardson:
Yeah, it was just so different. And I was sitting up in the stands in that horrible accessible section, which I keep teasing and I'll talk about it in just a second. And somebody that I recognized that I worked with at Voices for Ability said... Because I said to the person with me, I said, "Oh Claire's number 10." And this voice that I recognized but not really said, "Oh that's who number 10 is. I've been watching them all weekend and I could not figure it out." And that was Tyler Markham who did one of the shows for Voices for Ability back in the day and he said, "Thank you for filling in the puzzle." Claire, if this makes you feel good, he thought you were a junior on the team, so this is...

Cameron Jenkins:
What?

Claire Buchanan:
Rolling short jokes out.

Brock Richardson:
Oh Tyler.

Claire Buchanan:
Okay.

Cameron Jenkins:
Yeah.

Claire Buchanan:
Hey I will take that.

Brock Richardson:
Yeah.

Josh Watson:
Funny thing there Brock. I actually grew up with Tyler back home so we know each other quite well and it's rather humorous to think that he would say something like that.

Brock Richardson:
Yeah.

Claire Buchanan:
I mean it does make sense. There's a good majority of this Durham Steelhawks are guys that are very close to six foot tall. So in comparison on the ice, I can see where he got that from.

Brock Richardson:
Yeah. And so to do a transition into the next individual who played the Cruiser's cup, I will tell you that it was really great to see Josh play. I've seen Josh play a handful of times and that is when I noticed that the accessible seating is God-awful at that Susan Fennell arena. And I'll tell you that it's almost as if you're in a jail cell. So follow me on this one.

Cameron Jenkins:
Wow.

Brock Richardson:
It's got bars across and it goes a bar, an opening about three or four inches, another bar, an opening three or four inches, another bar, and then the top bar is right in your eye line, literally right in your eye line. So for me, you've got to pull yourself forward, lean over and say, "Okay, where am I? What's happening?" Because as someone who's visually impaired, you need to figure out where your eyes are looking and what's going on. It is a god-awful section. And Steve Sermon, who is one of the Cruiser's athletes, said all they have to do is take out the top bar and it would just be wonderful. And I said they'd probably tell you that it's some structural issue that they couldn't dig up the-

Josh Watson:
Or safety.

Brock Richardson:
Or safety, yeah.

Josh Watson:
Yeah.

Brock Richardson:
But it's just an awful...

Claire Buchanan:
I mean not more safe than those tiny hallways into the dressing rooms.

Josh Watson:
Yeah. With the switch back corners? Yeah, those are fun.

Cameron Jenkins:
Oh that's right because that's at the Susan Fennell complex.

Josh Watson:
Exactly.

Cameron Jenkins:
I forgot about that. I was-

Josh Watson:
I've flipped over many a hockey bag trying to get into those dressing rooms.

Cameron Jenkins:
Yeah. For sure, because I was thinking that it was Iceland, so I was thinking, oh you can watch him from behind the glass if you wanted to as well, but they don't have that there.

Josh Watson:
Well there's a few spots like rink one does have a raised seating area for accessible seating, but it is right down at ice level so-

Brock Richardson:
And-

Josh Watson:
...it depends on what you want. If you want a view of the entire ice surface, you're better off being up above. But yeah, they have designed that wonderful safety barrier, that's just perfect for a child to climb over and for us not to be able to see.

Brock Richardson:
Yeah, yeah. And even that corner, the corner you speak of, it's a long way down the ice as somebody who has a visual impairment and even so being at the top, you can see a little bit better. But that corner, I understand the idea that, "Oh, this looks really good." But it's not practical in my mind when you have a visual impairment. But I digress. So we came-

Cameron Jenkins:
Well actually the only other thing I want to mention is maybe we should get our coach, Ken Hall, to maybe talk to the people at the Susan Fennell complex so they can start to make those adjustments or I'm sure I live in Brampton, maybe I could reach out to Patrick Brown, I'm not sure if he's accessible or not and have a chat with him and maybe we can get that rink to be a bit more accessible.

Brock Richardson:
Try-

Josh Watson:
The funny thing is they've already adjusted rink one to be friendly for sledge hockey. They just haven't thought of visual sight lines unfortunately

Cameron Jenkins:
For actual people that are watching.

Josh Watson:
But they have made some changes, if you noticed the dasher boards and things like that. And even the benches are actually skateable benches so to speak.

Cameron Jenkins:
So they've done it for the players but not the viewers.

Josh Watson:
I'm not sure I would actually be able to skate on and off that bench, but it is theoretically possible.

Cameron Jenkins:
So they've made it accessible. So they've made it accessible for the players but not necessarily for the viewers.

Josh Watson:
Right, exactly.

Claire Buchanan:
Yeah, I was going to say that maybe they haven't thought of the people watching the hockey and were only having the athletes in mind.

Brock Richardson:
Yeah.

Josh Watson:
Which granted it's a start, but yeah, there's more that could be done.

Brock Richardson:
Cameron, to your point about getting in touch with Patrick Brown. Do me a favour, try Patrick.Brown@brampton.ca, see where that gets you. I have no idea. I'm just throwing emails at the wall.

Cameron Jenkins:
That might be... I'm sure if I Googled his name, his email will come up or something.

Josh Watson:
Oh, I'm sure he has a wonderful bio up on the city's-

Claire Buchanan:
Oh Absolutely.

Josh Watson:
...website.

Brock Richardson:
Yeah and-

Josh Watson:
All of the wonderful things he's done.

Cameron Jenkins:
And he just got reelected too, so I don't know how [inaudible 00:15:29] he would be to fixing some things. Maybe that's going to be more of an election promise four years from now. So who knows?

Brock Richardson:
This is the election portion of The Neutral Zone. Welcome everybody, and we hope you enjoy. Josh, you played a few games over the weekend and I have them-

Josh Watson:
Played, attempted to play. You know [inaudible 00:15:53].

Brock Richardson:
I have some thoughts, but I will let you tell us about your event. So the floor is yours.

Josh Watson:
Thank you. Thank you. Well we had a good weekend under the circumstances. We had a lot of new players this season, at least three or four that I can think of. And honestly, we overall did pretty well considering that. I will say we did end up with a record of no wins, two losses in one time, but over the course of the weekend I only had, let me think now, eight goals scored against me. In theory that sounds really good. The part of the story I haven't shared yet is that seven of those goals came in our last game against Montreal.
That was a little humbling to say the least.

Cameron Jenkins:
For sure.

Josh Watson:
But we had two really good games, one against a team from Markham, the Islanders, very good team. We played them very, very tough. Just neither team could find a way to score, unfortunately. And in the second game we ended up losing 1-0 to Elmvale again, a very good club. They have a long history in our league and very, very good people, really great sports. But they happened to squeeze one past me that I wish I had back. But that's the life of a Goal Tender, unfortunately. The team against Montreal was always strong. They play very well as Claire alluded to. The team that was their open team is probably their weakest players, if I can use that term in quotation marks because they are still quite a good team. And unfortunately, we all collectively as a team had a bad game.
I went to some other pucks and had them bounce off my glove right to an opponent who put it into an open net. I had pucks that went in just outside of my reach. I had pucks where I thought I was doing the right thing by playing a puck into a corner only to play it to an opponent who then passed it across to his teammate who put it into an open side. So, it was that kind of a day. But you know what, I'm proud of the way the team tried to play. We have a lot to work on, myself included, and I will never ask a teammate to work on something that I'm not willing to work on. We have some communication issues we have to work out starting with me and you know what, we're going to be better. We're going to grow and we're going to get better and by the end of the season we will not be the same team. So all in all, it was a great weekend to learn.

Brock Richardson:
Now we've got just under 10 minutes left in this show and this is the part of the show where I'm going to give Cruisers a lot of credit and if this is still not the case or this is not the case anymore, as I try to spit that out in English, then one of you let me know. But the best of my knowledge is that the Cruiser's sports still do not allow push sledge athletes, correct?

Josh Watson:
No, they actually do. Our junior team does have one individual, a fellow named Carter who does play with his dad as a pusher. So that particular rule has been altered when the circumstance warrants. Having said that, the rule is that if the person is able to propel themselves at all, then they are expected to do so.

Brock Richardson:
Okay.

Josh Watson:
In Carter's case, he has severe cp so he, as I understand it, is not able to coordinate to push himself. So that is why we have him using a pusher. But generally speaking, we try not to have pushers.

Brock Richardson:
Okay. Dusty and I, and I'm going to go with the generally because I know Carter personally and I'm really glad that they made that amendment because he loves hockey and he wanted the fast action sport. I love that they did this, however-

Josh Watson:
And you know what? He's really good at it.

Brock Richardson:
Yeah.

Josh Watson:
Considering his ability, he is good at it.

Brock Richardson:
Yes. However-

Josh Watson:
I watched him over the weekend.

Brock Richardson:
I was watching one Josh Watson's game against Montreal and-

Josh Watson:
I know it's coming.

Brock Richardson:
The pusher of the individual who I'm sure needs the pushing, there is no denying of-

Josh Watson:
Mm.

Brock Richardson:
Okay, Josh says mm, but I'm going to go with, I'm sure they need pushing because that's why they would be in a push sledge allegedly. But that pusher was involved in more on the action than I think he probably should have been. He was involved in a two-on-one with another athlete. And I'm thinking to myself, isn't the rule still that you're supposed to be behind the play and not leading the charge. There was just things that I didn't like about it and I have to be honest and say to you guys that, I get it and in a Carter situation, I understand it, but those pushers have a way, Josh Watson of putting their feet right in places that make it really hard to make a save. And they do that intentionally. And I don't care what anybody says.

Josh Watson:
And that's exactly why we teach our players that you are not allowed to take out the pusher. But if you get between the sled and the pusher, that is perfectly legal.

Cameron Jenkins:
Yeah, I remember these conversations.

Josh Watson:
And if that pusher just happens to hit the deck, well then, sorry.

Cameron Jenkins:
The pusher is part of the sledge.

Josh Watson:
Pusher is part of the player.

Cameron Jenkins:
And Josh, correct me if I'm wrong, I believe it used to be that the pusher couldn't go any faster than the slowest person on their team.

Josh Watson:
That is the letter of the law-

Cameron Jenkins:
I got it, but-

Josh Watson:
...but much like the T-boning penalty, we know how often it gets called.

Claire Buchanan:
Yeah.

Cameron Jenkins:
I just wanted to let that... For the listeners to know that that is what-

Josh Watson:
No. That's good context for sure.

Cameron Jenkins:
Yeah for a bit of context. So a two-on-one, I don't think really a pusher should be a part of that because I'm-

Josh Watson:
Well, and imagine my chagrin when the person being pushed actually scored on me. Yeah.

Brock Richardson:
Yeah. And see I wasn't when you said that, and thank you Cameron for the context because I didn't want to say that I thought that that was the rule because I thought if the pusher was involved in a two-on-one and wasn't supposed to be, my goodness, maybe the referee would make some kind of a call if that was the case. Because a two-on-one isn't even remotely close to being what you just described. And I just, I don't know man. It's...

Josh Watson:
I love our referees, they volunteer their time for the most part. They do get a little bit of a payment for doing the work, but most of the time they are Ontario Minor Hockey Association referees, and this is probably the only time of year that they actually do referee sledge and so God bless them. But there are so many areas that they could improve.

Cameron Jenkins:
Oh yeah. Those referees that you're talking about, Josh, they don't know. And then somebody does do a T-one or whatever it is and then it's like, oh, the poor disabled person, we don't want to call a penalty on them. And that's the attitude that they take, in my opinion. Call the penalties. We're playing hockey. If we weren't able to play it, we wouldn't be out there. Call it.

Josh Watson:
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Brock Richardson:
It's-

Claire Buchanan:
Yeah. It's frustrating.

Brock Richardson:
It's para ice hockey. Everyone has a disability, so if the narrative is well, they have a... That's a cop-out in my opinion, to be like, well-

Claire Buchanan:
We-

Brock Richardson:
That's just nonsense. Go ahead, Claire.

Claire Buchanan:
Yeah, we've experienced something similar in the women's game. We've gone to play games and it be all women on the ice and the refs are calling boarding penalties and thinking that it's a non-contact sport because when you look at the women's game and the standup game there, technically it's not a contact sport.

Josh Watson:
Yeah.

Claire Buchanan:
But it's very different in sledge hockey-

Cameron Jenkins:
Okay, I was going to say.

Claire Buchanan:
...it's full contact sport for the women. And it's just, it's wild. We lay a good clean hit and you end up in the box and you're like, we're just go out and trying to play hockey here it's...

Brock Richardson:
Josh is in a no contact division and there's more contact than no contact that occurs. That is where I will leave that discussion. Totally.

Josh Watson:
Full contact [inaudible 00:25:53].

Brock Richardson:
That is the end of our show. For this week. I would like to thank Cam Jenkins, Claire Buchanan, and Josh Watson. I'd also like to thank our technical producer, Mark Capello, our manager of AMI-audio is Andy Frank. Tune in next week because you just never know what happens when you enter The Neutral Zone. Have a great week. Be safe. Be well.