I first met David Brook about a decade ago when I started going to his dad Avi’s wonderful butcher shop on Westminster Avenue in Côte Saint-Luc. A smart young man, he had a love for sports and the law.
David recently graduated from law school, so it is reasonable to suggest that one day he might become one terrific player agent. I will have to introduce him to Allan Walsh, a man who grew up in Chomedey and CSL and is now one of the best agents in the business. Jonathan Drouin of the Habs is one of his clients.
So what does a guy like David want to do with his summer? Exend his passion for ball hockey to kids who are itching to be active with all COVID-19 safety standards in place. Welcome to Brook’s Ball Hockey Boot Camp for children between the ages five to 11. They will be separated into two divisions based on age. The Tuesday session (3:30 pm to 5 pm) will be for children between the ages five to seven and the Thursday session ( 3:30 pm to 5 pm) is intended for children between the ages eight to 11. It begins on Tuesday July 7 and concludes on August 27.
“I have been playing competitive ball hockey for more than eight years, and I consider it my favourite hobby,” David says. “Over the years, I have noticed that not only do I and my teammates adore the game, but my nephews have come to adore it as well. Often they attend my games early enough so they can shoot around, and my nephew Mason even had his most recent birthday party at our local ball hockey rink Le Rinque, located off Decarie, near the Orange Julep.
Le Rinque only recently reopened, making it essentially the only indoor sport complex accessible during this pandemic. “COVID-19 has cost many children a summer of sport and fun and this program’s mission is to provide the children with a fun, engaging and safe environment to improve their ball hockey skills and connect/ re-connect with new and old friends.,” said David.
Before I share with you a report by Douglas Gelevan of CBC about pools reopening this summer, I wish to reiterate my position on the subject. I am very uncomfortable with all of this.
Our own Parkhaven Pool will reopen with very strict guidelines. As for pools in condo and apartment buildings, especially outdoor ones, I am not confident that these entities can properly keep everyone safe. This issue will be discussed at our public council meeting on Monday night, May 25.
"We want to find a way to make sure summer feels like summer this year," said Lucie Roy, the president of the Association des responsables aquatiques du Québec, which manages public swimming areas in the province.
The association recently conducted a poll of 224 of its members, which include various cities, towns and schools with pools, across 109 municipalities and found 73 per cent feel positive they will be able to open their public pools and beaches this summer.
Roy says many managers are still targeting their regular window of the week of June 24 to July 1.
But even if public health gives the green light for community pools and beaches to open, the final decision will ultimately fall to each individual municipality, school board or manager, Roy said, because they are footing the bill and are the ones who need to justify the operational costs.
It's estimated that opening with limited access to adhere to new physical-distancing guidelines would reduce the number of people in the water by 70 per cent.
And still, the poll found the main concern among managers is how they will operate their facilities safely.
Roy says the ARAQ is currently working on a three-phase plan.
Phase one includes opening up the sites so a small number of employees can prepare them. Phase two would be teaching staff how to execute their jobs while respecting new physical-distancing guidelines. Phase three would be the opening up to the public for aqua activities without contact.
Roy says the time frame needed to open an outdoor pool is around three to four weeks.
What the science says
Microbiologist and public health consultant Vicky Huppé says the risk for transmitting COVID-19 through water is relatively low, and adding chlorine to the water reduces the risk even further.
She says the biggest risk at a public swimming area won't come from the water, but rather from contact with other swimmers. Practicing physical distancing while in the water should limit the risk of transmission in the same way it does on dry land.
As for beaches, Huppé said more studies are needed before she can draw any firm conclusions.
But she feels that even if a person diagnosed with COVID-19 were to take a swim and secrete the virus through their skin into the water, the risk of transmission would be low because the virus would be diluted into such a large volume of water.
Good news for athletes, bad news for young kids?
The CEO of Sport Québec, Alain Deschamps says this all adds up to good news for athletes who use pools for training.
"So far, the municipalities are telling us that it should be OK [to swim]. The issue is, how do you put your bathing suit on? Do you have access to the lockers, toilets and whatnot?" said Deschamps.
Deschamps believes creating a safe area to change and shower is doable but the outlook is not so positive, however, for children who want to use the pools just for fun.
"That's going to be a big, big issue."
Deschamps said it will be tougher to enforce physical-distancing rules in areas specifically for kids, therefore many municipalities don't think those zones can be opened up safely.
He says parents should expect kid-friendly play areas to be shuttered all summer long.
With files from Radio-Canada's Jean-Patrick Balleux
It will be a busy weekend for author and former Montreal West town councillor Andrew Caddell. He will be in Montreal promoting his book The Goal: Stories about Our National Passion on CTV Montreal with Mutsumi Takahashi on Friday at noon, and then will be signing books on Saturday afternoon at Bonder Bookstore on Westminster in Montreal West, then off to The Samuel Moskovitch Arena on Mackle Road in Côte Saint-Luc that evening for more signing and selling. The book, which features stories from former Montreal Gazette writer Dave Stubbs, has received great reviews and reached the top 100 on Amazon winter sports books last year.
It features 14 true short stories about hockey and life, from the title story, "The Goal" about Andrew's trials as a 10 year old goalie on the outdoor rinks in Montreal West, to a touching story aout his great-aunt and her idol, "The Gentleman," Jean Béliveau. There is hockey history about Montreal Maroons fans who supported the Boston Bruins when the Maroons folded in the 1930s, women's hockey, the Habs-Leafs rivalry, and the longest ever NHL game, in 1936, which Andrew's dad, "Pip" Caddell attended.
The book was originally self-published and launched in 2015, but picked up by Rock's Mills Press in Oakville last year and expanded, with colour photos and four new stories. I heartily recommend it. Andrew is now retired from the department of Global Affairs in Ottawa, but is busy: along with the book, he writes a weekly column on politics in the "Hill Times," and is partnering with an Australian company in emergency services technology for municipalities, QITCanada. He has plans to move back to Montreal in 2019.
The 2018 Wiffle ball season concluded recently at Singerman Park in Côte Saint-Luc
Wiffle ball is a variation of the sport of baseball designed for indoor or outdoor play in confined areas. The game is played using a perforated, light-weight, resilient plastic ball and a long, typically yellow, plastic bat. Organizers of the local Wiffle ball league want to construct an actual stadium modeled around the old Jarry Park, the original home of the Expos. See photo below.
Mark Rabinovitch, a cardiologist practicing at Clinique MedicElle, told me that he started playing Wiffle ball with a group of friends from Côte Saint-Luc’s and the Montreal General Hospital around 1999. “We played our games at Macdonald Park, and when we heard about a Wiffle ball tournament in the US, a group of us went to South Bend, Indiana to compete,” he says. “We were outclassed, but had a memorable time. Our love for Wiffle ball led us to hearing about another aficionado in Jericho, Vermont, who built a Wiffle ball field named Little Fenway. We made about three trips to Little Fenway and that site has grown to include Little Wrigley and Little Field of Dreams.”
About three years ago, Harold Cammy from our Parks and Recreation Department invited the group to start playing at Kirwan Park. They now have a pool of about 25 players and compete with teams of five to eight on each side, every Sunday morning from May until the end of September. Singerman Park serves as their base. Players range in age from nine to their late 70s. There are three father and sons players and daughters have played, too. “The games are fun and not too competitive,” Rabinovitch says.
Our council has allocated funds for a dedicated Wiffle ball field at Singerman Park. Rabinovitch and his group want to call it Expos Park at CSL Yards as a homage to the Expos and Camden Yards. City Council has yet to discuss the name and I am told this will be placed on an upcoming agenda.
“Wiffle ball is a game I used to play in the country with my cousins and neighbors, including kids of all ages and our parents,” noted Dr. Rabinovitch. “That is one of the attractions - it doesn't require any expensive equipment or special talent to go out and have fun together.
I love baseball, but as we all know, a softball can hurt, if you're hit. The wiffle ball is a plastic ball, with several holes, designed to throw curve balls, and other tricks. That's all Wiffle ball requires - a plastic bat and ball. A friend of mine even sent me an algorithm, showing how injuries from a wiffleb all are almost nonexistent.”
I must admit I have not seen any games yet. But next season I will make it a point of doing so, perhaps even offering to step in as a pinch hitter.
David Birnbaum, MNA for D’Arcy-McGee and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education and to the Minister responsible for Higher Education, and Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein today announced up to $1 million in funding from the provincial government for the upgrade of the Samuel Moskovitch Arena. The funds are designated for major modifications to the arena’s refrigeration system.
‘’This major investment by our government in a treasured and important Côte Saint-Luc facility is excellent news,” Mr. Birnbaum noted. “The numerous benefits associated with regular exercise, physical activity and leisure are obvious, and I’m pleased that our citizens will be assured of a first-class upgraded infrastructure that fully responds to their needs. This grant clearly demonstrates the importance our government places on healthy and safe physical activity.”
Mayor Brownstein and David Birnbaum.
Mayor Brownstein noted that he is pleased with this further example of effective collaboration between the provincial and municipal sectors. “This upgrade is important to our community, to our families who use the arena for a host of sports and recreation activities. We’re proud of our extensive parks and recreation programs, and pleased to have a valuable partnership with our provincial government in strengthening that offer.”
“Thanks to this grant, Quebec’s regions are benefitting from quality arenas and curling clubs. By prolonging the lifespan of our sporting infrastructures, we allow the population to access these modern and safe facilities to practice sports,” said Education, Recreation and Sports Minister Sébastien Proulx.
This project is among the 27 across Quebec that received funding, for a total investment of $17 million.
Well before I became a city councillor in Côte Saint-Luc more than nine years ago I was involved with the annual golf tournament. I believe my association as the emcee of their awards luncheon goes back at least 25 years. Originally, it was a Seniors Golf Outing and the event always attracted good numbers. When I was elected, I began co-chairing the program with Councillor Sam Goldbloom.
Over the years we saw attendance begin to drop. Last year, we had only 42 golfers register. We knew it was time to either cancel the event or recharge the batteries. Sam and I opted for the latter and thanks to the spectacular assistance of Harold Cammy and Alvin Fishman at our Parks and Recreation Department the revival began. We renamed the event the Côte Saint-Luc Golf Classic and made it available to people of all ages. Work on the 2014 event began during a cold winter day when we sat down with Harold and Alvin and drew up a plan to attract foursomes. Together we obtained a title sponsors in Gravel Auto Group, which has a successful dealership on Decarie. Harold and Alvin signed up a few other sponsors, including Casey Cameron from Techsport Inc. "Why not have a celebrity honourary chairman?" I asked, thinking out loud that legendary jazz pianist and CSL resident Oliver Jones would be a good choice. Thanks to our Chief Librarian Janine West and her husband Jim, Jones agreed. He was part of a foursome with the West's and one of their close friends.
With Oliver Jones, Jim West and Sam Goldbloom,
When all was said and done, a total of 83 golfers registered. It rained the day before, but as I awoke on Tuesday, July 8 the weather was gorgeous and precipitation was only called for later in the day. This was also a day, once again, to showcase Meadowbrook Golf Course and how beautiful this large greenspace is. For the first time a foursome from Les Amis de Meadowbrook took part and that was wonderful. They lobby and hold meetings throughout the year, but what better thing to do than spend time on the very land they wish to preserve. We all golfed on the back nine. I was part of a foursome with Goldbloom, Police Station 9 Commander Marc Cournoyer and Officer Martin Bourgeois. Louis-Philippe Gravel, director of sales at Gravel Auto Decarie, was on hand as well.
Officer Martin Bourgeois, Sam Goldbloom, Commander Marc Cournoyer and myself.
This represents my only golf game of the year, so only when I near the final hole do I find my swing comes around. But this is a great day out and for only $27 a person where else can you find a better bargain.
This little groundhog was right next to the 17th hole.
The golf game is only half the fun. Afterwards everyone convened at our Aquatic and Community Centre for a very enjoyable luncheon coordinated by the team of Cammy and Fishman and their devoted committee: Toby Goldner-Shulman, Faygie Block, Dina Ancel, Naomi Jacobson, Fran Rosen-Miller, Kathy Nasr, Elaine Libman and Maurice Giobbi, Everyone was greeted with some wine and cheese, a few hor d'oeuvres and then a nice buffet of party sandwiches and salads.
Mayor Anthony Housefather provided opening remarks and then helped hand out the trophies.
Sidney Margles, my loyal constituent from District 2 and man about town.
Closest to the pin on the 16th hole went to Patti Heller for the women and Ivan Kolti for the men. Longest drive at the 17th hole also went to Heller for the women while Steven Wise captured the men's side.
There was a wide array of doorprizes handed out. This included a set of golf irons and a golf bag (valued at $400) from Play It Again Sports on Decarie and a one week scholarship at the TSPA Tennis Academy (valued at $270). Gravel Auto donated a slew of prizes, as did Bench, Bugatti, Pharmaprix Cavendish, CSL Bagel, J & R Kosher, CSL Kosher, Massa Greek Grill, Rockaberry Monkland, The Snowdon Deli, the Range Golf Academy and many more. This was a testament to the tireless efforts of Fishman. Thanks to five year old Jeremy Nashen, who came on stage with his dad - City Councillor Glenn J. Nashen - to help choose the winners. We know Jeremy is honest because his grandfather George lamented later that he did not win anything.
Three generations of Nashens: Glenn, my pal Jeremy and George.
Harold Cammy the Caterer then had one more suprise up his sleeve. On the eve of Oliver Jones' 80th birthday, out came a huge cake designed like a piano. Oliver, who earlier addressed the crowd, was clearly touched. Everyone got a chance to taste this delicious dessert, as well as yogurt cups donated by Yeh! Yogurt at Quartier Cavendish.
We also wish to thank Michael Johnson, club manager at Meadowbrook and his staff. It was a great day to be sure.
Thanks to all. It was a great day. I can't wait until our 36th (Double Chai) event next summer!
Gathering around Oliver Jones' birthday cake with members of council and staff.
The 35th annual Côte Saint-Luc Golf Classic, set for Tuesday, July 8 at Meadowbrook, promises to be a good one. I am co-chairing the event once again with Councillor Sam Goldbloom. After less than 50 golfers participated last year, Sam and I set out to pump up the volume. Thanks to phenomenal staff support from Harold Cammy and Alvin Fishman, we will now have the highest number of players and prizes collected and registered over the past five years.
We also have a superb sponsor in Gravel Auto, which will make a brand new car available, and legendary jazz pianist Oliver Jones as our honourary chair. He will also be part of a foursome.
This is also an excellent opportunity to remind people what precious greenspace we have at Meadowbrook. Some members of Les Amis de Meadowbrook will even golf with us this year.
Foursome tee off early and we will all gather at the Aquatic and Community Centre for an awards banquet at 1 p.m.
I have received a number of inquiries re the status of the Rembrandt Park tennis courts, for which I worked long and hard over the years to obtain a much needed facelift to the tune of $167,000. Preliminary work began last fall, but we needed to wait for nice weather to arrive this spring (and it was late) to finish the job.
As Eric Ibey, the city's coordinator of Urban Development and our point man on the project explains, there are reasons for the delays. Notably, the late spring caused all contractors to be backed up this year which means everyone is running behind.
Here is Eric's update:
Surfacing: This requires one more coat and two days to cure after the final coat.
Fencing: This is lined up fornext Wednesday. The company hired will be repairing the holes as well as fixing the bottom of the fence along the perimeter of both courts. That should represent two days of work.
New Lighting: The final wiring has been installed.
If all goes well people should be playing tennis byMay 30 or 31. Let's just hope the weather is cooperative and the stars align.
There is nothing like a bunch of trophies, towels with the logo of Canada and pizza to celebrate the end of another successful house league campaign for the Côte Saint-Luc Minor Hockey Association. Victor Waisgrus and his team set up shop at the Aquatic and Community Centre. There was a power point presentation, featuring photos of the young players in their team uniforms.
I joined Mayor Anthony Housefather and Councillors Mitchell Brownstein, Allan J. Levine (whose dossiers include hockey), Ruth Kovac and Dida Berku at the short and sweet banquet. See the picture below of us with some of the kids. On this night the Canadiens were beginninh their playoff series against the Boston Bruins so everyone wanted to get home to catch the game.
A couple of years ago I was delighted to learn that former NHL defenceman Igor Kravchuk was a constituent of mine in Côte Saint-Luc District 2. A few days ago I had a chance to meet another one of my constituents, Matt Cudzinowski, who has a pretty exciting job with the Montreal Canadiens.
When I was introduced, I knew his distinct name sounded familiar. Sure enough, he had done some on air work for TSN 690 Radio. Matt enjoyed two major internships with the Stockton Thunder of the East Coast Hockey League and the NHL's Detroit Red Wings. He signed on as the coordinator of media and public relations for Golf Canada in Oakville, Ontario. before returning to Montreal and joining the Canadiens on January 30 2013.
Presently, Matt is the coordinator for HabsTV and Editorial. He serves as a writer for the impressive canadiens.com website and CANADIENS Magazine. "I cover the team both at home and on the road as part of a team of writers for our website," he says. "I also write feature stories for every issue of CANADIENS Magazine and I am also responsible for translation work, as well."
A dream job indeed for any hockey fan! No doubt some interesting stories to share if we bring back to speak at Bialik High School in the heart of District 2.