Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ok, so part of the Cre Comm program that I'm in is Journalism. I am strongly leaning towards this being my major. As a potential Journalist, I'm a little proud to announce my first published articles. I had two in this week's Projector (RRC's campus paper.) The first one is a piece I wrote for a "streeter" assignment. That's where my Journalism instructor sends us out into the streets to find a story and come back and write it. We have one hour and 50 minutes to complete the assignment. I ran like hell down to Portage Place and back to get this one.


By Dan Vadeboncoeur
310 words

People working in and around Portage Place are reacting with both sadness and resignation to the news that McNally Robinson Booksellers will be closing the doors of its downtown location and relocating to a much larger Polo Park store next spring.
For Hentie Jordaan, native of South Africa and employee at the Portage Place location for five months, it means a longer trip to work and fewer anecdotes for his family back home. “I will miss the interesting people that come in here,” he says.
As well, Jordaan believes that many customers will not follow the store to its new location. “Many of our regular customers have physical disabilities and are in wheelchairs. It may not be convenient for them to make the trip to Polo Park.”
However, as an employee of the store, he understands the reasoning behind the move. “It makes sense from a business perspective,” says Jordaan. “Right now we don’t have a music section to speak of. The new location will have much more room for us to make more specialized sections.”
To some, the news comes as a shock. “I knew that they were opening up a new store in Polo Park,” says David, who declined to give his last name. He works at the Foot Locker next door to McNally and worked at Polo Park as well. David is a regular McNally customer and isn’t likely to visit its replacement, which according to several mall employees will most likely a Coles. “I think that (McNally Robinson) is a much better store, with a better selection of magazines,” he says. “I live closer to the Grant Park location, so I’ll just go there.”
The downtown location will close its doors on April 1, 2008 and on the same day the Polo Park store will open up in the space that is currently occupied by SportChek.

I got the coveted spiderman sticker for that one. It was a good story so I submitted it to the paper. This next one is a story I was assigned by the sports editor of the Projector. I want to be a sports writer, so I thought I'd try my hand at covering the school teams.


By Dan Vadeboncoeur
396 words

Some key returning players, a determination to win and some unwavering fan support will all be contributing factors to all four of our RRC Rebels sports teams making a repeat appearance in the CPAC championships according to Ryan Ratushniak, Manager of Athletics and Recreation Services for Red River College.
Last season the men’s and women’s volleyball and basketball teams all made it to the finals, with the women’s volleyball team winning the CPAC (Central Plains Athletic Conference) Championship. Ratushniak says that it’s a good possibility that they could do it again.
“Our women’s volleyball team will be motivated to repeat as CPAC Champions, and all of the other teams will be hungry for the CPAC Championship banner after being so close last year,” he says.
Not bad for a sports program that’s only starting its third year after a 20 year hiatus and must play against 6 other highly competitive teams.
The volleyball teams are in somewhat of a rebuilding year, having lost several players to graduation. However of the returning players, most are in the starting lineup.
Players like Chris Morrisette, a 6’ 7” second year Business Administration student who is looking forward to a successful year for the men’s volleyball team. “We have good strong players in every position,” he says. “There are 3 or 4 new players who look really good.”
As far as basketball goes, Ratushniak feels that these may be two of our strongest teams yet. “Our men’s basketball team could compete at the university league level,” he says. High praise considering that most universities have a much bigger student base than Red River does.
A huge motivating factor for all the sports team’s this year will be the fans. All 8 home games for each team will be played in the North Gym at the Notre Dame campus, and admission is free for all RRC students. Ratushniak is looking forward to a good turnout this season. “We had great fan support last year and we would love to see that again this year,” he says.
Another way fans can show their support is by coming out to the first Rebels Revolution social which will be held on Saturday, September 29, 2007 in the South Gym. Tickets are available at the Ox (Notre Dame Campus) or by contacting Ratushniak at 632-3030. All proceeds will go towards the RRC Rebels Scholarship fund.

So that's it. I just wanted to share with all of you who aren't RRC students just what exactly I'm doing in this program. I am having a great time with this and I plan on writing more articles for the Projector throughout the year.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Don't go jumping off any bridges yet, Oilers fans!

Seeing as how I meant to post this last week, training camp is definitely underway throughout the NHL. I thought it would be a good time for me to reflect on the past year in hockey and in particular on my favorite team: the Edmonton Oilers.

I tell you, this time last year I was on top of the world. My team had just gone to game seven of the Stanley Cup finals. We had come this close to hockey greatness. A lot of people I know would have been extremely disapointed to have come that close and failed. Not I, because I was extremely optimistic about the season to come.

You have to understand that at the time, the Oilers' offense was being called "the most talented offensive corps in the NHL," by many hockey analysts. Everyone gave them a good chance of going deep into the playoffs again. Players like Ales Hemsky, Fernando Pisani and Jarret Stoll were going to have career seasons, according to these so-called "experts". Never mind Chris Pronger. "Who needs him?" I thought. We had star rookie Ladislav Smid, and grizzled veterans Jason Smith and Steve Staios. Our blue line was just fine. The only thing we needed was a good puck-moving defenseman, but I was sure that Kevin Lowe would be able to land one before the trade deadline. It was going to be an awesome year!!!

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Over the next year I would see my Oilers get off to a slow start, then fail to make any headway in the extremely competitive Northwest Division. They hovered around the eighth playoff spot for most of the season. They never seemed to get going despite decent goaltending from Dwayne Roloson and the phenomenal play of Ryan Smyth.

Then came Trade Deadline Day, the second worst day in Oiler's franchise history. Ryan Smyth traded to the Islanders! I sat there at my work computer, stunned, when I found out about the trade. Like all Oilers fans out there, I was PISSED! I could not believe it. I came up with all kinds of rationalizations for the trade. I believed that Smyth would come back to the Oilers in the off season, much like Doug Weight and Mark Recchi had after winning the Stanley Cup with Carolina. I basically was in denial.

That trade would start the almost comedic series of events that became the disastrous end of the season for the Copper and Blue. Two wins in the last twenty games. Almost every one of their starting players injured at some point. By the end of the season it looked like thay were starting training camp early, they had so many rookies on the team.

But all that is behind us now. It's time to start a new season, and boy does my team look shitty. I know that it's hard for any Oilers fan to be optimistic at this point, but Kevin Lowe did manage to sign a big name defenseman. And, after a foiled attempt to poach Thomas Vanek from the Sabres, Lowe stole us a decent first line winger in Dustin Penner. Don't get me wrong, we still need a few more pieces before we can contend for Stanley again. That's what I'd really like to talk about today. Because any good feelings that Oiler fans have about the upcoming campaign can be summed up into one word: Prospects.

1. Sam Gagner - this kid had an awesome Super Series, won the gold for Team Canada in the World Juniors last year and is looking good in training camp, having hooked up with Hemsky for all three goals scored during the Joey Moss cup this past weekend. He may actually crack the big squad right out of Junior, and that kind of thing usually only happens for the Crosbys and Ovechkins of the world.

2.Andrew Cogliano - WOTS is that this guy is fast, like Teemu Selanne fast. Or Pavel Bure fast, if you will. He also captured gold at the WJC last year and has now forsaken his last two years at Michigan State to turn pro. Let's hope he's ready for the big leagues.

3. Rob Schremp - this american-born centre tore up the OHL during his final year with the London Knights, but had a so-so season in the AHL last year. You probably remember him, he was the guy who pulled that crazy "puck on the blade of his stick" move during a charity shootout last pre-season. This guy's got skills and he has been a late cut in the last two training camps for the Oilers. I'm pretty sure he will make it this year. He's just got to work on his defensive game a bit.

That's all I will get into for now, I've already gone on for too long. The good news is that the future is bright for the Edmonton Oilers. The bad news is that it isn't likely to gel this year. I refer to it as the "three year plan." Year two is about to begin.