May 27, 2018
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Keep second-graders home for AHL games

By Ernie Clark, BDN Staff


Touching on some topics while watching the snow melt.

—— Parents of some of the more than 3,600 young pupils from southern Maine schools who attended Tuesday’s second annual School Day hockey game between the Portland Pirates and Worcester Sharks at the Cumberland County Civic Center are upset with the fighting that went on during the American Hockey League contest that resulted in the ejection of four players.

Their complaints have resulted in some school administrators reconsidering sending their kids to the School Day event if it’s held again next year, and at least one principal making a school counselor available to any child upset by the violence.

Pirates coach Kevin Dineen has since apologized for not telling his players before the game to tone down the physical play, something he apparently did before the first School Day game a year ago.

The argument can be made that it’s not Dineen’s job to tone down his team, only to win the game, though obviously part of the School Day field trip experience is an effort on the part of the Pirates to build their fan base.

My thought? If you don’t want your second-grader to be exposed to violence, probably you shouldn’t send him to a professional hockey game where fighting — for better or worse — is part of the package.

How about having a couple of players visit your school instead.

UMaine needs to speed up AD search

—— In reading the update on the University of Maine athletic director vacancy in Wednesday’s BDN, I was struck by the apparent lack of urgency concerning the matter. Perhaps that’s an endorsement of interim AD Steve Abbott, but as long as the term “interim” is attached to his job title there’s a sense of uncertainty to it all, which can’t help fundraising efforts and other responsibilities crucial to overseeing the department.

Meanwhile, nearly every varsity team on the Orono campus is struggling — which also can’t be good for fundraising, not to mention morale.

According to plans outlined in the article, by the time a permanent athletic director is named it will have been more than a year since Blake James left for the University of Miami last August.

Incoming UMaine President Paul Ferguson should have a major role in the hiring, but the notion the process can’t begin until after he takes over the job in July and that a search committee couldn’t be formulated and begin preliminary work in the meantime seems like time wasted.

I’m fairly certain a private entity in a similar state of flux might not get away with such deliberate speed, lest it be put out of business completely.

Ainge made bad moves

—— I’ve concluded Danny Ainge’s recent trading spree has moved the Boston Celtics further away from contending for the 2011 NBA championship.

Kendrick Perkins, at 6-foot-10, 280 pounds, provided a physical presence in the middle. Try as he might, newcomer Nenad Krstic is no Perkins on the defensive end of the court.

Perhaps the team’s recent inconsistency will abate when Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo catch their second winds.

But having to rely on an aging Shaquille O’Neal staying healthy and playing 25 minutes a game in the playoffs when he’s barely played during the regular season — albeit perhaps by design — is a tenuous limb on which to pin hopes for Banner 18.

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