Pictou Advocate sports

Packy McFarland: A true Xaverian in so many ways

When the shock of golf icon Tiger Woods’ car crash in Los Angeles settled in my mind last week, I was thinking of another car accident involving an athlete — one that occurred a long time ago and much closer to home. It was the fall of 1956. I was an 18-year-old freshman arriving on...

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‘Scotch doubles’ was a fun format

Though I’m well into my 67th year of writing for newspapers, I’ve always preserved time for a hobby. Nowadays — and for the past 20 years — fantasy hockey and baseball leagues have engulfed my enthusiasm in my spare time. Playing general manager, making draft picks and proposing trades with friendly and not-so-friendly foes, turns...

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Pictou Advocate sports

Two wartime years with New Glasgow

When I was a kid — some 200 pounds lighter than now — everybody knew the mailman. He was that friendly guy who walked every street, in every neighbourhood, on every day of the week but Sunday, and visited every door to put letters in the mailbox. He even had time to stop and chat...

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Pictou Advocate sports

When Dobson chose school over hockey

Prior to the National Hockey League doubling from six to 12 franchises in 1967, professional organizations gobbled up young prospects in an archaic fashion that existed since young men first began wearing ice skates and carrying wooden sticks to frozen neighbourhood rivers and ponds. Scouts and bird-dog watchers prowled hockey rinks wherever the sport was...

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Pictou Advocate sports

The NHL goalie who didn’t come to town

Behind the scenes, in the manager’s office at New Glasgow Stadium, a potent coup for the New Glasgow Rangers and their Pictou County fans appeared imminent. Being present during negotiations, I was convinced the necessary elements were in place to have a pretentious signing by the local Nova Scotia Senior Hockey League club. A goaltender,...

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Pictou Advocate sports

Both father and son shone in their roles

The difference between the “almost right word” and the “right word” is really a large matter. It’s especially true when writing is your profession and passion. I can’t, however, take credit for piecing together those 16 words. That advice came from 19th century American writer and humorist Mark Twain, creator of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry...

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Pictou Advocate sports

‘Showing us what really matters’

I think I’ve always been inspired by expressions of love, of life, of things we’ve achieved and savoured in this world. But it seems to come with aging. The older you get, the more you appreciate the experiences you’ve had. It’s happening to me more frequently, often when I’m not expecting it. The other day,...

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Pictou Advocate sports

Flash: the lesson has been learned

I had an English teacher at New Glasgow High School who used to tell me that a day without learning something is a day lost. I’ve tried to live by her advice ever since. Just this past week, while I was researching for a column I hope to write during the holiday season, I got...

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Pictou Advocate sports

For two prospects, it was game over

It’s often been said that luck and fate are the same thing. For two young hockey players who grew up in New Glasgow’s south end — a quarter of a century apart — it was clearly fate that intervened in their lives and dreams. In both cases, it ended their chances of having professional careers,...

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Pictou Advocate sports

Rating Nova Scotia’s 10 best NHL players

Editor’s Note: This column has been modified from the original due to a couple of factual errors. I gave myself something to occupy my free time during the holidays and it had nothing to do with a pandemic, a massive shooting or a discarded American president. I decided to make a personal ranking of the...

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