Time flies when you’re having fun

They say time flies when you’re having fun. Your faithful correspondent can identify with that axiom. It was 35 years ago this May that I hired on at the Advocate and joined a team of lovely and talented journalists, a group that changed faces many, many times but always remained a team.

They say time flies when you’re having fun.

Your faithful correspondent can identify with that axiom.

It was 35 years ago this May that I hired on at the Advocate and joined a team of lovely and talented journalists, a group that changed faces many, many times but always remained a team.

And now it’s time that I take my leave like so many before me. This is one of the final pieces I will pen for the Advocate before officially packing it in after cranking out one last Rebels game story Friday night.

It’s been a great run, one that has stretched over 34 years and a large chunk of change, and yet one that seemingly started not nearly that long ago. It seems like just yesterday, or the day before, or … well, you get my drift.

Memories? There are many, of course.

My first beat of regularity was following the junior A Rustlers, a responsibility that took me west on three occasions as the AJHL championship squad took on the B.C. champs for the right to then meet the Manitoba-Saskatchewan winner and represent Western Canada in a national championship final.

There were trips to Penticton, Richmond and Vernon, the 1989 series with Richmond being the last games the Rustlers played before the franchise died.

The series with the Richmond Sockeyes was the most memorable of the three. The highly-favoured Sockeyes featured several former major junior skaters, including defenceman Matt Hervey who went on to play in the NHL with Winnipeg, Boston and Tampa Bay. The Richmond squad took the first two games of the best-of-seven set at home, with Sockeye fans tossing golf balls at the Red Deer bench near the end of Game 2.

The series then moved to the Red Deer Arena, with Advocate sports columnist Jack Wilson — prior to Game 3 — suggesting that Rustlers fans return the favour and welcome with Sockeyes with not fresh salmon, but canned salmon. The Richmond coaching staff and players were not impressed, but got the last laugh when the visitors finally prevailed in seven games — the final five being more than just a tad physical — and went on to capture the national championship.

Other events that will never be forgotten by yours truly include the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, during which I watched Karen Percy — who had Innisfail ties — win a downhill ski bronze, the 1990 world figure skating championships in Halifax where Caroline’s Kurt Browning won his second of three consecutive world titles, and several Battles of Alberta between the Oilers and Flames.

Additional events of note that I was blessed with the privilege of covering include the 1994 Centennial Cup tournament won by the host Olds Grizzlys, the Brier that same year at the Centrium and the two Scotties Tournament of Hearts shows hosted by Red Deer.

In 1992 the Red Deer Rebels entered the picture and quickly became the biggest sports story in town. The club made the WHL playoffs as an expansion side, then experienced numerous dips and dives before winning the Memorial Cup in 2001 at Regina.

Covering the Rebels for Central Alberta’s newspaper has been a great honour and without doubt the most enjoyable of my many responsibilities over the years.

But time is up and life goes on. My replacement at the sports desk will surely continue to provide readers with in-depth coverage of the WHL squad as well as the oodles of sports teams and athletes that are worthy of recognition.

Again, its been a great run. Thirty five years, or very nearly, is indeed a long time. And yet it isn’t. Not when you’re having fun.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Advocate file photo)
Lacombe man to apply to withdraw manslaughter guilty plea

Tyler John Campbell wants to change plea after judge rejected seven-year sentence

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine being prepared at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the University of Toronto campus in Mississauga, Ont., on Thursday, May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
Canada to get two million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses as provinces expand rollouts

OTTAWA — Canada is scheduled to receive two million doses of the… Continue reading

Members of the Sipekne'katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
U.N. committee to consider racism complaint of N.S. Mi’kmaq fishers against Ottawa

HALIFAX — A United Nations committee on racial discrimination is asking the… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Canada's chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Tam warns that full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Canada’s chief public health officer reminded Canadians on Saturday that even those… Continue reading

In this image taken from video by the FDNY, pedestrians hurry away from the scene of a shooting in Times Square, Saturday, May 8, 2021, in New York. New York City police say three innocent bystanders including a 4-year-old girl who was toy shopping have been shot in Times Square and officers are looking for suspects. All the victims are expected to recover. (FDNY via AP)
NYPD officer: 4-year-old shooting victim ‘didn’t even cry’

NEW YORK — A 4-year-old girl who was shot in the leg… Continue reading

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh listens to a question as he speaks with reporters on Parliament Hill, Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in Ottawa. Singh says he believes there's a connection between anti-mask and anti-lockdown protests and far-right extremism. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Jagmeet Singh says link exists between anti-maskers and far-right extremism

OTTAWA — Federal New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh is the latest… Continue reading

Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at LifeLabs after being logged upon receipt at the company's lab, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Iqaluit elders home evacuated after staff member tests positive for COVID-19

IQALUIT, Nunavut — An elders home in Iqaluit was evacuated on the… Continue reading

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Boost in near-term funds, risk should lure more social-finance investors, Hussen says

OTTAWA — Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen says he expects changes to… Continue reading

Justice Minister David Lametti responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, Friday May 7, 2021. Canada's justice and heritage ministers will be recalled to justify a change to the Broadcasting Act that critics warn could erode the rights of individuals users who upload content to social media. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Heritage committee to seek answers from ministers on C-10 changes

OTTAWA — Canada’s justice and heritage ministers will be recalled to justify… Continue reading

Young people line up for COVID-19 vaccines at Downsview Arena in Toronto on Monday, May 10, 2021. Ontario has just opened up vaccines for 18+ in high risk areas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Vaccine rollouts expand, but COVID-19 caseloads still high in some provinces

There were signs of hope that Ontario and Quebec are making progress… Continue reading

Pharmacist Barbara Violo shows off a vile of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine after providing doses to customers at the Junction Chemist in Toronto on Friday, March 12, 2021. Ontario will likely mix and match COVID-19 vaccine doses in light of uncertain future supply of all the shots approved for use in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Ontario likely to mix 1st and 2nd vaccine doses amid lack of AstraZeneca supply

TORONTO — Ontario will likely mix and match COVID-19 vaccine doses in… Continue reading

Pumpjacks pump crude oil near Halkirk, Alta., June 20, 2007 .A flurry of stock sale financings by oil and gas producers in Canada has sparked optimism among investors that the stalled drilling industry will soon go back to work. But analysts warn that’s not likely to happen this year, THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
Ensign Energy Services reports $43.6M Q1 loss, revenue down 43 per cent from year ago

CALGARY — Ensign Energy Services Inc. reported a loss attributable to common… Continue reading

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex speaks at "Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World" in Inglewood, Calif. on May 2, 2021, left, and Oprah Winfrey appears at the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Jan. 7, 2018. Winfrey and Prince Harry are teaming up for a series that will delve into mental health issues and feature segments from athletes and stars like Lady Gaga and Glenn Close. The streaming service Apple TV+ plus announced Monday that the multi-part documentary series “The Me You Can’t See” will debut on May 21. (AP Photo)
Oprah, Prince Harry reunite for Apple TV+ mental health show

LOS ANGELES — Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry are teaming up for… Continue reading

Most Read