mardi 27 décembre 2011

Cumberland Grads at Christmas time

As the colour commentator for the Grads, I get to see all of the Grads home games in Navan. Though the team has yet to find the kind of consistency necessary to make a push for the playoffs, certain players have stood out.

Fabian and Daniel Walsh have been bright spots for the team. The elder Fabian, an All-Star, leads the team in PTS with 37. The younger Daniel, in his second season, trails only by 4 pts having already eclipsed his totals from last year. He is quick to come to his brother’s or anyone else’s defense and doesn’t hesitate to fight when needed. However, he would be even more useful by punishing other teams with higher point production (he’s on a four game point streak right now).

After the departure of Kevin Tansey for college, Cumberland has relied heavily on future Colgate star Kevin Lough on the backend. His participation in the Junior A challenge in B.C. gave a national audience the chance to see his skills and the All-Star Challenge in Smiths Falls will reassure Colgate of their selection of Lough who is never out of position and always making a play.

The second overall pick in the summer’s draft, Marc Beckstead, was expected to shoulder a big part of the load when it came to the offensive side of things. Despite his 21 PTS (7G, 14A), he’s had a tough time finding real chemistry with his teammates and even sat in the press box for a game. Despite that, Beckstead, who had a strong showing for the Frontenacs during their camp, has been growing this season.

Second year defenseman Philippe Drouin has stepped up his play as the likely replacement for Lough as the team’s go-to guy. Unafraid of moving the puck forward, he is also solid on the backend where he will give a big check when possible. Lately, his pinching helped him pick up a nice goal in a 6-2 win over Ottawa. He has 5G and 19A this year to lead the D-core.

The Grads have certainly not been afraid of sticking up from each other, even with the early season departure of Jacob Lewis for his native Newfoundland. Racking up the second most PIM in the league, it’s a good thing the penalty kill has been good. The habit of taking penalties on the powerplay, which apexed with it occurring 3 times against Brockville one Sunday afternoon, didn’t help their PP% which is at 15.57% and gets the most opportunities in the league.

The team has to be pleased with goaltender Pat Martin who took the number one job from Robin Billingham early in the year. He’s kept the team in a lot of games, has a stellar .914 SV% and was named the CCHL goalie of the month in November.

As it stands, the Grads are 5 pts out of a playoff spot trailing both Kanata and Smiths Falls. Although they have managed to string a 4 and 3 game win streak together earlier in the year, they will have to put together consistently good efforts to move into the picture. Home games are always good fun, and there is always a chance that Sean Bamford scores twice – something he’s done on 3 separate Sunday afternoons.

Gloucester Rangers at Christmas time

As the main writer for the Gloucester Rangers website, I’ve had the chance to see the team play on a number of occasions so far this year (although I must admit I haven’t been going as often as I’d like). The season has surely not been unfolding the way the team would have thought while in training camp.

Back then, it was hoped that the loss of three players to the OHL and more to college and age would simply mean others would need to step up. After a couple weeks of decent play, the team began a winless streak that lasted for over a month. At one point, the team had 9 regulars out with injury or suspension. Each game saw different aspects improve, but a sustained 60 minute effort bringing it altogether was missing.

Then, a few players came back from injury, and things really started to come together. They started winning again and beating some of the big teams, like Carleton Place and Ottawa. All of a sudden, there were mentions of the playoff picture and catching up. The powerplay, which at one point was almost letting in more shorthanded goals than it was scoring, started to improve as did the penalty kill.

But a poorly planned party took attention - and a couple of players - away from the ice. Since then the team has yet to regain the form it had though certain players have made very positive impacts.

The team has essentially two types of players – veterans and rookies. While the veterans may be few in number, they have provided the bulk of the scoring with McMurtry, Cobbold and Verrin showing the best offensive numbers on the team. McMurtry, the team’s lone representative at this week’s All-Star Challenge, is on pace to shatter the 54 pts he got last year as he has 41 through the team’s first 40 games.

The rookies have been impressive and the team should hope to have some around for the coming years. Chad Millett, Daniele Disipio, Jacob Jammes and John Owen Stewart have created roles for themselves on the team. Alexandre Boivin has been the most impressive using his hands and wheels to put up 11G and 18 A for 29 PTS so far and was named the CCHL rookie of the month for November.

Thirty-nine players have donned a Ranger uniform so far this year. But it’s beginning to look like the team is coming together. The remaining 22 games should see improved results over the first half of the year as the rookies continue to gain confidence in their play. If Mathieu White plays all 22 games, he would pass Andrew Creppin for most games played for the Rangers. He’s currently at 155 and Creppin finished with 172. Then his younger brother, who the Rangers protected at this past summer’s draft, should step in and provide some help upfront in the coming years as his brother moves on.

lundi 17 octobre 2011

Fiesta has me Dreaming Again

It’s tough to tell people that you’ve done everything you wanted to do in life at age 23. Through a combination of luck, timing and resources, I’ve managed to accomplish everything I wanted to do.

One of those dreams was to take part in Fiesta – the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – where close to 600 balloons come together every fall to fly over the New Mexican dawn. I had dreamed about it since childhood when I would wait up all night to see my mom get home with pictures from a colleague who had been or when the first images I ever saw on the Internet were the listing of shapes to attend that year’s event.

As the calendar turned to 2011, I realized that I was running out of chances to see the event in its full glory. With ballooning slowly on the decline and potentially having a full-time job and obligations to care about in future years, I understood that 2011 might be my best chance to go. After spending the summer at a variety of different ballooning events, the momentum pushed me to buy a ticket to ABQ as soon as I could clear my schedule.

With days to go, I got worried about what type of experience might be in store and what would come of me afterwards. After all, it was some faraway dream when I thought about it before and it would soon become reality. As my feet hit the ground, my worries disappeared as friends took me in and treated me like their honoured guest.

On the first Saturday of the event, I got into Hal Cooper’s Uptuit basket and launched into a sky of balloons over the Rio Grande. It was indeed everything I had dreamed about for so long. I was elated as we flew, landed, launched again before coming to a rest in a community where we were well received by excited children and their just-as-joyful parents.

For the next 8 days, I got caught up in the magic of Fiesta with the flying, food and fireworks that went with it. Hours before the last flight, I drove new friends to the airport as they took the long journey home and I panicked, if only for a bit. It was almost over and then I would return to my more-permanent reality track including school, years of work then eventually retirement.

It was later that night, while chatting with other new friends, that an advertisement for a financial institution popped up on the television, explaining that it was time to dream again. Dream again.

Two of my great-grandparents lived to four times my current age. There is time to dream again, to establish goals, to celebrate possibilities and create fascinating realities. Now is the time to rebuild ideas of far-off places and opportunities to use my creativity in limitless ways.

When I was seven years old, I knew I would make it to be part of Fiesta. But I didn’t know when it would be and how I would fit into it. Now I can dream of my next Fiesta: a long-term goal which will push the limits of my possible to achieve and will be filled with colourful and uplifting sights once there and along the way.

dimanche 12 juin 2011

Compounded Essay: small states and the development of the 200 mile EEZ at UNCLOS III

The goal of the compounded essay is to shrink all the work I did in one term into a page.

The 200 mile EEZ arising from UNCLOS III was the result of small states coming together to create a new international norm by focusing on the issue utilizing their limited material capabilities in order to assert their sovereignty. More importantly, they perceived themselves as system-affecting and thus temporarily changed their international statuses to achieve their goals.

Keohane’s definition of a small state as one “whose leaders consider that it can never, acting alone or in a small group, make a significant impact on the system”[1] will be useful here. These states tend to have one important industrial field and a small administration. This likely places them in the system-ineffectual to system-affecting camps to use Keohane and Thorhallsson’s terminology.[2][3]

By UNCLOS III, “Latin American disaffection with the three-mile rule was paralleled in other areas where underdeveloped states sought to protect their fishing grounds from the fishing fleets of the industrialized nations”[4] and “maritime delimitation was perceived as an “outstanding core issue.”[5] The United States and the Soviet Union had many interests and felt threatened by these expanding claims made by smaller states.[6] Committee II would formally proceed “by vote, but only after consensus, or least near-consensus”[7] was achieved. “After a survey of several limits, [Ambassador Pardo of Malta] suggested the establishment of a distance of 200 miles from the nearest coast as the outer limit of coastal state jurisdiction.”[8] This proposition, while initially contested by larger states eventually found the support of the Conference.

Despite the important number of issues to be debated, [9] small states focused on their core issues, such as this one, while trading-off less important ones. Whether the 200 mile EEZ was meant to become an international norm or not is debated in the literature. Regardless, it is an important case of small states helping to enact a well-respected international norm. It furthers research from Ingebritsen which asserts that small states can act as norm-developers and builders within international regimes.[10]

The next challenge is to protect small island states from destruction due to climate change. Though they have created an Alliance, it has yet to have an impact on the creation of a new norm. Part of the problem is that these states are micro-states with miniscule representation on the international scene. They are truly system-ineffective despite banding together.

[1] Robert Keohane, “Lilliputians’ Dilemmas: Small States in International Politics,” International Organization, 23 (2), p.296
[2] Baldur Thorhallsson, “Can Small States Choose Their Own Size? The Case of a Nordic State – Iceland,” p.121
[3] Robert Keohane, “Lilliputians’ Dilemmas: Small States in International Politics,” p.295-6
[4] Sayre Swaztrauber, The Three-Mile Limit of the Territorial Sea, p.180
[5] The Legal Determination of International Maritime Boundaries, p.94
[6] The Legal Determination of International Maritime Boundaries, p.82
[7] Robert Friedheim, Negotiating the New Ocean Regime, p.83
[8] R.P. Anand, Legal Regime of the Seabed and the Developing Countries, A.W. Sijthoff Publishing: New Delhi, 1976, p.170
[9] Robert Friedheim, Negotiating the New Ocean Regime, p.77
[10] Christine Ingebritsen, “Norm Entrepreneurs: Scandinavia’s Role in World Politics, » Cooperation and Conflict: Journal of the Nordic International Studies Association, 37 (1), 11-23

mercredi 4 mai 2011

Two Years Since Iceland

After all that has happened in the past year, it is strange to think that it has now been two full years since I returned from Iceland on the 29th of April 2009. So much has changed since then! Well, in many regards, very little has changed and I have made it so. After all, I had very ambitious dreams of returning to Europe but fate, biology or something else had its say and I now write from two floors below where this message was typed last year.

On the first anniversary, I lamented about how hard I had had to work between April 30th 2009 to April 29th 2010 and I looked out my window expecting the summer to be a breeze before an MA somewhere in Scandinavia. The summer turned out to be just as much work as the winter and the fall before that. I worked a 28 day stretch often working from 5 am to 10 pm with only time to eat on my way to the other job, but the weather was beautiful. I received confirmation of my acceptance to the University of Tromso a few days before receiving my diploma and then I assumed I had it all figured out. I would be in Norway in August and life would continue then.

But I underestimated Ottawa. When I finally had the time to breathe, right around my birthday in mid-July, I started to appreciate all that my region had to offer. A visit from Joel Fridfinnsson and Jon Finnson compounded with beautiful weather and sight-seeing brought Ottawa into a new light. The day they left, I packed everything away and had a terrible fever going to bed. I’ve described my feelings in those few days often, but it is difficult to express them without thinking about the paralyzing fear and dread that overcame me during those days. Thankfully my friends Maria and Zuzana took care of me in Stockholm.

After my trip to 6 cities in 6 days and 10 flights later, all I wanted was to be grounded in what I knew in Ottawa. But there was hope that I would now be able to do anything I wanted, and eventually go to school closer to home; there is something about this city which draws me here, which keeps me near. I applied to Carleton because it was still open and my friend Yannick told me to consider it, I would have a few allies there.

I am very grateful to be have just completed my first year as an MA student, learning everything from the study of multi-level governance to gender issues in IOs to food security in the North. As a TA, I have learned a lot as well about Marx and Mexican politics and the demise of Canada’s Marijuana Party due to a change in campaign finance laws. Yet, am I further ahead? After 8 more months, I have not spent much more time with my family, with my friends, I have learned a lot, but I have gained little ‘marketable’ experience to get a job. But I am starting to feel the same energy returning to me that I had before university and a desire to affect change.

This next year, I will start to make my transition away from the life of school that I’ve known since I was 4. Perhaps more trips like Vegas and Boston will be in order, but also places like Albuquerque (I want to do it this year, finally!) and Bratislava or Calgary. When the third anniversary needs describing, I must have a new story to tell and not continue to let life pass me by, another idle twenty-something wasting away in semi-suburbia.