Thursday, 16 May 2013

Time to bang the drum for Alberta's disabled



Perhaps the easy thing to do as we gather around the water cooler is to talk about the new downtown arena deal. It is the biggest story of the day, by an icing call and more.
It would also be the easy thing to do.
But, maybe starting today, some Albertans with disabilities cannot do the easy thing anymore. I am talking about people with disabilities that need to start speaking up against provincial government cutbacks.
I am one of them. And I know I have to do better.
Now over the half century mark, and with cerebral palsy, I really haven’t been a very strong advocate for my fellow brothers and sisters with disabilities.
I have gone on with my life, have been integrated in the workforce, and live in my own home in the community with services.
I am responsible for my own care and have the chance to control it.
I need to do more for others, and realize many people with disabilities are not as fortunate as I am.
There was protest Wednesday afternoon in front of the legislature from family members and people with developmental disabilities over $42 million in cuts.
They had signs and made statements because, sadly, nobody else does.
I am dating myself when I speak of the Alberta Committee of Disabled Groups of Disabled People, formed in the 1970’s. They were grass roots and were very vocal when news stories of provincial cuts to people with disabilities hit the headlines.
They are still around, known as Alberta Committee of Citizens with Disabilities.
GARY MCPHERSON
Why haven’t we heard them bang the drum on this?
The Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities was struck in 1987, a direct tangible result from the Rick Hansen Man In Motion World Tour coming to Alberta.
What is their position on the PDD cuts? Are they planning a statement?
When Gary McPherson passed away three years ago the disabled community lost a powerful voice.
To my mind, we need a leader; we need someone, some group, to speak up to government and create meaningful discussions so all Albertans with disabilities can live with independence and dignity.
We need an unified voice.
Let’s start building that today before the provincial government does more damage.
Ideas? camtait@telus.net is my email.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Today's Timely Tune - (UPDATED STORY: 8:45 P.M. May 15


(We love news. We love music. We try to put them together to make a point.)

Photograph: SHAUGHN BUTTS, Edmonton Journal


There's a demonstration this afternoon about the government's $42 million cuts to programs supporting Albertans with disabilities.
Here is the Edmonton Journal's website story.


And here's the Timely Tune


If you have another suggestion for a song please email camtait@telus.net

Cam 'n Eggs - Order No. 3: Dreams of laughter


 The shadows of dreams crawl in so many unsuspecting places, only to come to life, creating new journeys and opportunities.

Like Tuesday night, just after 7 p.m.
Along the west wall, silver-like in color, eight people paced up and down.
In their minds they went over every word, every sentence, every pause as
 many times as they could.
 And above the crowd noise, they played the joyous sound of people laughing. It would be music to the
 ears, and sound waves to their ultimate goal.
 When their name was called it was, absolutely, show time.
 For the past several weeks young amateur comics have been flocking to Rick Bronson’s Comic Strip in West Edmonton Mall.
 The Funniest Person With a Day Job has been running for the past several weeks. The second semi-final was held Tuesday night.

Contestants were …

•car jockey DANNY MARTINELLO

•J.P. FOURNIER Alberta Blue Cross Customer Service

•pastor DAN TAYLOR

•Former book store manager LIAM CRESWICH

•Blackberry Rep KEN HICKS

•waiter DAVID DEMPSEY

•waitress CLAIRE BELFORD

•warehouse laborer BRETT McCRINDLE

The winner takes home $1,000 cash, and the coveted spot to be the opening act for a concert series in
 the fall at the Comic Strip.
 Contestants are given tickets to family members and friends to laugh, cheer and lend support.
 The more noise the better. Because contestants are judged on several categories, but the biggest is crowd reaction. CTV News co-anchor Daryl McIntyre has been behind the judges table since the contest began April 9.
 He was joined Tuesday evening by Chris Durham from the Radio and Television Arts program at NAIT,
Carol Anne Devaney
 Carole Anne Devaney from Global Television wasp also a judge and the owner himself,
 owner himself, Rick Bronson.
RICK BRONSON
 The competition is sponsored in partly K-97 and Terry Evans of the Terry, Bill and Steve show was a very entertaining MC.
 In the end, three — Taylor, Dempsey and McGrindle — moved next week’s finals against Sterling Scott, Brandon Franson and Matt Lebucki  ... where dream of one will come true.


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Today's Timely Tune - May 14 - The downtown arena and ...

(We like news. We like music. Hopefully, they make sense!)


Yet, another arena story from the Edmonton Journal's Gordon Kent about Wednesday's special meeting...

LOOK, MOM! NO INK STAINS


...and the timely tune

Cam 'n Eggs: Bryn tells us why Randy Carlyle is grumpy


 For those of us lucky to have Bryn Griffiths in our lives, we know how much he enjoys sitting back in his chair, folding his right leg across the other, tilting his head back and telling a story.
We enjoy it, too.
Bryn Griffiths

That’s what happened Monday afternoon when Bryn shared a few hours.  A seasoned broadcaster — television and radio — Bryn also worked as press secretary for the Winnipeg Jets in the early 1990’s.
He was responsible for the team’s travel. He did the same job for the Edmonton Oilers in the mid-1990's.
The topic came up in light of the Boston Bruins’ travel challenges Sunday night in Toronto. After losing Game 6 to the Maple Leafs, the Bruins had to overnight in Toronto because of a malfunction with their charter aircraft.
Picture of the Bruin aircraft found on Google Images
Bryn said flight crews start preparing the aircraft to leave just as the third period starts. He says when he was with the Oilers the rule of thumb was 45 minutes: the amount of time between the end of the game and when the team departed for the airport by bus.
“So, if you can’t go because of mechanical trouble, the team would get word from the flight crew by the end of the game so they can make other arrangements,” says Bryn.
That’s when press secretaries really make their money. They have to find hotel rooms for an entourage  of 50 … at 11 p.m. at night.
The Bruins ended up leaving for Boston at 9 a.m. Monday, some nine hours after the Maple Leafs had landed in Boston — 10 hours before game time.
Didn’t hurt them. The Bruins clawed back from a 4-1 third period funk to pull off a 5-4 win in overtime to win Game 7.
Bryn tells the story of when he was the Jets and they could not travel one night. And no hotels.
“We ended up staying the whole night at the airport,” says Bryn.
There were a lot of unhappy people that night, but guess who was the grumpiest.
“Randy Carlyle,” Bryn smirks, talking about the former Winnipeg Jet, now head coach of the Maple Leafs.
Chances are, though, not as grumpy as this morning, following Toronto’s collapse.
Randy Carlyle with the Jets

(Bryn Griffiths is now an account manager for Capital FM and K-97. Follow him on Twitter @BrynMightyMouth)

Monday, 13 May 2013

Topical Timely Tune - May 13

(Editor's note: We love news. We love music. We're going to try to combine both.)

The provincial government announced Monday it will introduce legislation to force a four-year labour deal for teachers.

PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR THE EDMONTON JOURNAL STORY





Today's Tune ...

Cam and Eggs, Order No. 1: (CORRECTED) Will Edmonton Oil King head coach Derek Laxdal walk down the long hallway again?

(This post ran Monday with incorrect information about the contracts of Edmonton Oil King coaches. Read Journal sportswriter Evan Daum's story from Tuesday's paper!)


There’s a hallway in the bowels of Rexall Place, just up a slight ramp from the Edmonton Oil King dressing room, that leads to a dimly lit room on your right hand side. Sportswriters gather for post-game interviews from head coaches.
After a win, coaches strut in the room with an extra stride in their step. After a loss, the long hallway can be almost endless for a coach, each footstep echoing off the wall at almost a deafening volume.
Oil King coach Derek Laxdal knows the feeling.  After every game in Edmonton of the Western Hockey League championship series, he has walked down that hallway to answer questions from reporters.
DEREK LAXDAL

The coach will probably walk down the hallway very soon  — perhaps this week, even — just past the interview room for a meeting in the office of Bob Green, Oil Kings general manager.
There will be a lot for Laxdal and Green to discuss following  a 5-1 loss to the Portland Winterhawks in Game 6 of the WHL championship series. The Winterhawks won the best-of-seven series 4-2, ending the Oil King’s rein of defending champions.
 Green will have questions:
•what went wrong with the Oil King’s powerplay which could not be ignited, and didn’t score a single goal in 31 chances over the series — and, perhaps most importantly, surrendered two short-handed goals on a four-minute powerplay in Sunday’s first period;
•where was the intensity Sunday, after that terrific Game 5 Friday in Portland — a hockey fan’s dream to watch — that saw the Oil Kings give it all they had, and pull a 3-2 overtime win out of the fire to force Game 6? Sure, the Oil Kings outshot Portland 27-24 Sunday, but the Edmonton just didn’t seem to have it. Was the tank empty … and, why?
•Henrik Samuelsson took an undisciplined slashing penalty in the last 90 seconds of Game 4, which didn’t allow Edmonton a chance to pull their goalie for an extra attacker in a 2-1 hockey game. Was Samuelsson’s penalty or an isolated instance? Or was that exchange Laxdal and Samuelsson had after the game a sign of a bigger issue?
•captain Griffin Reinhart and veteran Trevor Cheek were injured. What did that take away from the team?
BOB GREEN

And others will probably be asked, including why the Oil Kings are not making a repeat performance in the MasterCard Memorial Cup later this week in Saskatoon.
Laxdal will have to answer to the GM and also address questions about the future, namely his. (Here's the information I had wrong) My sources say Laxdal is at the end of his three-year deal so his answers to The Boss will no doubt hinge on whether or not he wants to return to the Oil Kings.
He has had success in Edmonton: two appearances to the WHL championship final in three seasons and one championship.
But could there be a pro job calling Laxdal’s name, perhaps even with the Edmonton Oilers as an assistant?
And let’s not forget Laxdal’s assistant Steve Hamilton, also at the end of a three-year deal. Hamilton is head coach material, absolutely.

Derek Laxdal has walked down that long, narrow — sometimes haunting — countless times. Only time if he will continue to do so.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

In The Nic of Time — Chapter 2: Cartoons soothe reality


A little over two months ago my grandson Nicholas found the cartoon show Phineas and Ferb when he was going through a very challenging period of his 10-year-old life.
The show gave him great solace.
Nic asked his grandmother — my wife Joan — to PVR every episode, which she did. We began watching Phineas and Ferb back to back, and within days, Joan and I could sing the show’s theme song, word for word.
Phineas and Ferb is a delightful show about two brothers who finding interesting, and fun, things to do on their summer vacation. They build things and take wild adventures — showing the magic of a powerful mind and its of the imagination.

The show has a wonderfully, zany sub-plot with Doctor Heinz Doofenshmirtz — my favorite character because of his all-over-the-map personality — and his nemesis Perry the Platypus, who always foils the good doctor’s somewhat off-the-wall evil plan.
The Dr.: A personal fave

At the end of every episode, somehow, the plots collide  and erase the antics of Phineas and Ferb, much to the disappointment of their sister Candace just before she is about to show their mother what the brothers have done.
The show is deep-rooted with music, good music.
Nic re-watches many episodes, but there’s one he watches over and over. He especially re-winds a song Candace sings to her mother, and Nic watched it countless times last week.
Joan and I paid close attention to Nic in the last few days, with Mother’s Day approaching. We knew it might be difficult since his mother passed away in early March.
Our grandson Nicholas
Nic has been very strong. He has handled the situation with courage and only a few times has he openly cried in front of us.
But on Friday, as he was watching Candace sing, tears were in his eyes.
“I wish,” he said, not letting his emotions take control, “Mommy could hear this song.”
I know, Nic, she does.  

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Game 6 on Mother's Day: Let's hope Edmonton Oil King fans celebrate both


If you watched Game 5 of the Western Hockey League championship series Friday night, chances are you just might be unwinding right now.
Wow: what a hockey game, packed with skill, excitement, action … and, if you are an Edmonton Oil King fan, great celebration. Forward Michael St. Croix scored in the first overtime period to give Edmonton a 3-2 win over the Portland Winterhawks, giving the Oil Kings another day. Portland still leads the best-of-seven series 3-2, but St. Croix helped force Game 6 which faces off Sunday at Rexall Place when the clock reaches 4 p.m.
And, if you wattched Friday’s game from Portland on SHAW TV or on whl.ca, you may have heard a comment from broadcaster Peter Loubardias.
I sure did. He made sense, absolutely, when he challenged Edmonton hockey fans to get out and enjoy Game 6.
Because it seems Edmonton fans have not embraced the Oil Kings defending their WHL championship series this spring. Let’s have a look:
•10,947 fans in Portland at the Rose Garden for Game 5 Friday
• 8,400 fans were at Rexall Place for Game 4 Wednesday in Edmonton
•8,513 were at Game 3 Tuesday at Rexall Place
(Source: whl.ca)
Questioning why Edmonton hasn’t fully supported the Oil Kings defending their WHL crown is, certainly, worth debate.
They are providing entertaining hockey. And, one would think, putting an entertaining product on the ice does more than billboards, bus ads, radio and television spots.
Yet, it hasn’t.
Although the Edmonton Oilers did not make the playoffs, there was a lot of hockey played since January. Funny how that happens when a labor dispute holds a season hostage.
Are we hockeyed out in Edmonton? Are we disappointed the Oilers, who had so much promise going into the season, fell by the wayside?
Or, sadly, are we starting to take the new success of major junior hockey in Edmonton for granted?
Surely, we’re not.
Friday’s game was a fabulous example of young men putting it all on the line: skill, determination, blood, sweat, tears — whatever it takes — to be champions.
Game 6 will have all of that and more.
We all should embrace and celebrate the journey the Edmonton Oil Kings are on — especially on such a meaningful Sunday as Mother’s Day.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Sharing the Mother's Day Experience


I am a very last-minute guy.
So, for many years I would call my mother on the Friday before Mother’s Day and asked what she would like — or, where she would like to go for brunch.
I got the same answer every year until 2008 when she passed away.
“Just be nice to me for the entire day,” she said. (I thought I was always nice to her.)
“I don’t need anything. And come to our place for brunch. What would you like me to make you?”

MY MOM

That was my Mom: always thinking of others, even on a day that was hers.
So there’s no doubt Mom would be thrilled with the idea from Changing Together — a Centre for Immigrant Women. The  Edmonton-based agency that helps new immigrant women get settled in Alberta’s capital city.
“By giving to our organization they can share the experience with another Mother and help someone in need,” says vice-chair Changing Together’s vice-chair Karen Sigurdson.
Here’s the drill: choose something your mom might think would really help someone and give it to Changing Together in you're her name.
Need some suggestions? Thought you would never ask.
A press release sent out earlier this week include:
$25          = A cab ride to safety for a woman and her children from an abusive family situation
$50          = A workshop on first aid or cooking nutritious family meals in Edmonton
$100          = English and computer training to increase confidence and employability
$250         = Crisis intervention, counselling, advocacy and court assistance
$500+ = Comprehensive education and family services programs for Edmonton immigrant women.
The most popular gift has been $100 from people. That will pay for computer, language or settlement training for someone.
Karen says the idea for the campaign came from a friend of hers who works at the Youth Emergency Shelter. The original idea was “Adopt A Mom” which was a perfect fit for Mother’s Day.
Visit the Changing Together website and look for the Click To Donate button and follow the instructions. Or, you can call Karen at 780-242-8559.
Sunday is all about remembering Mom. Karen remembers the proudest gift she gave her mother on Mother’s Day: ticket’s to see Little Women at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton.
“My sister and I took my Mom. It felt great to share a common experience,” she says in an e-mail.
Just like the Mother’s Day idea for Changing Together.



Tuesday, 7 May 2013

A downtown arena hero could be lurking. Who will it be?


It really should feel like Christmas Eve in Edmonton. But of course it doesn’t because the mercury got up to 31 degrees Monday.
But I don’t sense any excitement as we hang up our shorts and T-shirts this evening. Because May 8, 2013 could go down as one of the biggest days in Edmonton’s history when city council gives the final green light for the new downtown arena.
The operative word here is could.
I think the arena deal is far from over. And although we have been told to uncork certain adult beverages on May 8 as the day Edmonton finally tumbles over the monumental hump, I’ll just stick to coffee, thank you.
I am afraid the entire project is still very much at risk. I also think it could be turned into an election hot potato when Edmontionians go to the polls in the fall.
Oh, sure: if the missing $55 million for the project somehow appeared the vote would be a no-brainer. But without it how can we expect city councilors to move forward?
We can’t. If they did they wouldn’t be acting responsibility.
Over the several years we he seen the two parties involved, city council and Edmonton Oiler owner Daryl Katz, jostle for positioning. Both parties have shown leadership and vision for the city.
On the other hand, both parties have remained steadfast in their position and do not want to move anymore.
It’s all part of negotiations.
But at this crucial point, when the future of Edmonton’s image could very be reflected in a negative light if the project is lost forever, someone has a golden opportunity to be the savior here.
Both the city and the Katz Group could make a last-second concession. And who knows if that isn’t being discussed now, or perhaps later Tuesday evening? Maybe a deal maker is …
Or could that be the provincial government, who has repeatedly said there will not be any provincial funding?
Someone has to make a significant step forward to move the downtown arena deal ahead.
If not, I fear we’re going to continue the process of wheels spinning and, sadly, loose the opportunity of Edmonton being on even ground as a great Canadian city.
Yet, heroes manifest themselves every day.
Only time will tell if Edmonton will have one walking down an Edmonton street in May — rather than a chimney in December.

Monday, 6 May 2013

A green folder with a chart? In my bathroom at home? You're kidding? Right?


Green doesn’t go very will with the color schemes in my bathroom.
But now I have a green folder in my washroom. And what’s worse is what in it — causing one to seriously ask if Alberta Health Services is running scared?
Perhaps more to the point: the provincial government’s health arm, apparently, believes all Albertans with people with disabilities do not have — and should not have — much control in their own care.
And we’re supposedly living in 2013 with progressive thinking?
I have cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair. I need assistance with my morning shower, getting onto a bath chair and adjusting the temperature of the water.
Here’s where the green folder enters the equation … and the bathroom. Alberta Health Services has implemented a new program: the person helping me with my shower must check the water temperature three times.
There’s a chart in the green folder and now must be initialed by the staff member after checking the shower temperature.
I seem to have lost the ability to do so myself, despite my 50 plus years of experience, and despite AHS officials not having the class to ask me if I can do so.
But hark! Something like that would take too much time, wouldn’t it? So AHS has decided to deem all people with disabilities in the same boat — tubs, you see, would be too small — and declare all of us mentally unfit to judge our own bath or shower water.
What if I come home next winter after being outside on a cold, stormy night and I am cold — and want a nice hot shower to warm up? Nobody can determine but me the warmth of the water that will warm me up except ... me.
I am insulted thinking that individual right now seems to be running down my shower drain.
I resent my own home, the very place I own with money I have worked for over 30 years, being turned into a mini-institution. Not even a single millimeter.
Over the decades, people with disabilities have fought blood, sweat and tears to live in the community and take risks, rather than co-habituating in the stoic walls of nursing homes and extended care centres.
I am fearful this new initiative — and I’m being kind, here — might be just the beginning of AHS taking more control. What’s next? Signs in our condo’s lobby stating visiting hours are over at 9 p.m.?
We have to ask ourselves why? Why is this happening now?
A good friend made an interesting point Sunday: something probably happened with community care that was handed over to a lawyer who let legal jargon over rule common sense and first-hand experience. AHS had to act, do something — and their new charting system fit the knee jerk reaction perfectly.
I am not, by any means, dismissing the seriousness of the scalding water.   Jeannie Wilson died in 2004 when she suffered burns in a bath tub as a resident living in the Jubilee Nursing Home in Edmonton.
Words cannot describe such a loss. 
I strongly suggest testing water temperatures for people who cannot do it for themselves is mandatory. Absolutely.
But it is fundamentally wrong for Alberta Health Services to march into private homes of mentally alert people and arbitrarily make such intrusive changes. 
It begs the question: how much is Alberta Health Services is, and why are they spraying innocent people with cold water? 

Friday, 3 May 2013

In the Nic of Time: Chapter One — Tears in the stands

OUR GRANDSON, NICHOLAS
There would come a time, I kept telling myself, when I would write the incredible story I saw unfold on the morning of March 3. I just didn’t when that time would surface.When I looked at the calendar and realized this marks the two-month mark of since it happened, I knew it was time.Winter had a solid bite on Edmonton March 3 — a Sunday. Our family gathered for an early morning hockey game at Kenilworth Arena to watch our grandson Nicholas play. 
Number  seven. Centre. Goal scorer. On the way to Kenilworth Arena — an old community barn, oozing with character nestled in southeast Edmonton — Nicholas told his father Darren he was going to score a goal that day for his mom. We had some concerns if Nic would even play that morning. But when he went to bed the night before and tucked his hockey stick and puck under his blanket, we knew he would be in the line-up.
It could have been easy for Nic not to play. Understandable, too: on March 2 his mother passed  away after a six-year cancer battle. Nic, 10, was at her hospital side when she died.
NICHOLAS AND HIS MOM ANNA MAI IN DECEMBER
He said he wanted to play the very next day.
Nic had many family vmembers in the Kennilworth stands cheering him on.      
Midway through the second period he had the puck in front of the net and picked the right hand corner for his second goal of the game.
Many of us watching had tears in our eyes: it was bittersweet of sadness and jubilation. Nic was so excited when he threw both hockey gloves in the air before taking the following faceoff.
After the game, Nic’s coach Shaye Ganam closed the dressing room door to have a private meeting. Shaye told the team about Nic’s mom.
On his way out of the rink, Shaye stopped and we shook hands. I asked how Nic was.
After our team meeting I asked Nic if he wanted to say anything,” said Shaye, who is a broadcaster for Global TV Edmonton.
Nic got up and said, ‘When you say goodnight to your Mom, give her an extra hug — because I don’t have on anymore.”
Two goals and a profound statement.
It may have been two months ago, but it will remain with me the rest of my days.

SIMPLY PUT, MY HERO

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

An open letter to Don Cherry


Dear Mr. Cherry:
You seem … unhappy.
You seem … impatient.
You seem … like you’ve had enough.
....DON CHERRY
So could this be your last playoffs, and even your last season being on Coach’s Corner?
I bring this to your attention following your show Wednesday night on Hockey Night In Canada, during the first intermission of the Boston Bruin-Toronto Maple Leaf game.
You poured more fuel on the controversy you evoked Saturday night when you said women reporters do not belong in the dressing room by re-affirming your position.
You seemed frustrated with your co-host Ron MacLean, and, at one point snapped: “Do your job here. Let’s go.”
Coach’s Corner was obviously tight for time at the end of the segment. You were hoping to talk about Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding. When MacLean explained you were out of time, you had an exasperated look on your face.
And just before the camera switched off, you said:
“This is ridiculous. Watch what comes on after.”
Hmmm.
I am wondering, in all honesty, if you are getting tired: tired of the grind of every Saturday coming up with something new to say? Tired of … doing the same thing?
You’ve entertained millions of viewers since you first started with 1981 with CBC.
Some love your stuff.
Others … well, they disagree. And your latest controversy on female reporters has certainly awoke people, in and of the game, who aren’t your fans.
But there’s something else very apparent to me.
Especially after Wednesday’s show.
It seemed like work for you. I know, I know: part of the show is to create some friction between you and MacLean. It wouldn’t be as entertaining if the two of you smiled at each other for seven minutes and agreed with one another.
We expect controversy from you.
But I see a deeper level of something from you. I can’t put my finger on it but I really sense something.
Over the years, I have had the pleasure of meeting you and sharing time with you.
The one thing I have always been struck with is what a proud man you are; someone who calls your own number, and creates your own destiny.
I know how much it would hurt you if the powers at be at CBC made the decision for you to go.
This is something you don’t already know.
We all come to a crossroad in life when it’s time to move on. Perhaps you are at that point.
If this is, indeed, your last season, you have earned the right to end things — not for network executives, producers, advertisers or viewers.
But for yourself.
Sincerely,
Cam 

 `

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

"We'll get you a seat. No, problem."


I saw several Edmonton Oiler games this season — and I want to say an extra special thanks to the staff at Rexall Place for helping me do so.
See, I have cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair. I used to get help to walk up two flights of stairs to the press box as an Edmonton Journal reporter.
Someone would graciously bring my wheelchair up the stairs for me.
But then 9/11 happened in New York. After that Northlands staff thought it might not be a good idea for me to sit in the press box.
THE VIEW FROM THE PRESS BOX
I agree with them: if there was an evacuation, getting me down would be quite the issue.
We agreed for me to watch games from the wheelchair section. But there’s a small problem: I have a press pass — not a ticket for a spot in the wheelchair section.
But the kindness of others always made things so easy.
When I arrived the Oilers’ ticket office at Rexall Place called the Northlands staff when I was at the games.
Then, just after the puck was dropped, I check into the Northlands desk on the north side of Rexall Place.
A Northlands supervisor called all ushers at all four wheelchair sections to see if there’s any openings. Then the supervisor walked me over and makes sure I get settled.
Even when all four sections are full, Northlands staff asked people to slide over and help make room.
They always, always do.
It’s very kind.
ONE OF MANY HELPFUL NORTHLANDS STAFF
But I am not the only one that benefits from this kindness. I know of many friends who are in wheelchairs are given tickets to games from other friends.
But those tickets are not in the wheelchair section. The Northlands staff seem to always make things happen.

And they need to know how much it is appreciated.
•No doubt Northlands staff will be doing much of the same tonight when the Edmonton Oil Kings and Calgary Hitmen tangle tonight. Game 7. Battle of Alberta. It doesn’t get much better than that.
•And since we are talking about Northlands staff: we are remember Guy Ouelette,  who passed away last away at age 82.  Several years ago Mr. Ouelette was an usher for Northlands with a regular post not too far from the Oiler dressing room.  I will never forgot his engaging smile, warm handshake whenever I saw him, with the same greeting: “Hello, Cam, my friend. How are you?”