Charlie Hodge

Hodge: On fires, floods and hockey

Kelowna - It’s been a pretty whacked out spring and summer weather wise

By Charlie Hodge

September? Really?

Where did July and August go?

Like many I have been either significantly slowed down for weeks now while working outside, or forced to stay indoors, due to the smoke which has enveloped us. While I love the heat, I must admit to having found its ongoing intensity more than I can handle for long.

It’s been a pretty whacked out spring and summer weather wise. Not just here but all around the world.

The spin has started.

That’s the downward spin—as in the one we have been warned for decades would arrive if we did not stop screwing with the environment. As clearly witnessed these past few months on a global scale when you fight Mother Nature, you lose.

In Texas and Louisiana we are witnessing horrendous destruction by hurricanes while floods ravage India, forest fires destroy millions of acres of forest in our province and elsewhere. It seems whatever is not dying from intense heat is drowning in torrential water.

Okanagan residents have never struggled from such flooding as we had this year and the last six weeks of intense heat with zero rain has caused chaos for many—from yards and gardens dried up to heat stroke and fires.

If this year’s extreme nature conditions are not proof that global warming is very real I’m not sure what it takes to convince folks.

So it is shocking when we hear one of the most powerful leaders in the world state that his nation no longer intends to honour environmental protection commitments.

While forgotten in the haze of even more bizarre actions and comments the past few weeks, Yankee President Trump’s snubbing of international agreements on carbon reduction and other environmental measures has huge future ramifications—as potentially dangerous as the wars he seems determined to start. These are, indeed, dangerous times.

The insanity now running the United States must end soon if there is to be any hope of helping get Earth’s environmental course spinning in the right direction.

•••

On a positive note the arrival of September means an increase in hockey activity. The upcoming season promises to be an interesting year, however one question needs answering soon.

Why has no one signed Jaromir Jagr? Why hasn’t one of at least 10 clubs who could use his skills not signed the amazing player before he gives up on the NHL and signs with a European league.

Jagr is an elite player and though 45 years of age he is still one of the fittest players in the league.

It would be a shame for the NHL to lose such a star. It is not only insulting but extremely stupid marketing to not have North American fans watch him reach the 2,000 point mark in his career. Only Wayne Gretzky has surpassed that mark.

Currently Jagr sits at 1,914 points just 86 points short of the magic number. That total includes 765 goals and 1,149 assists, 609 power play points and 135 game winning goals. His total points makes him the second highest producer in the history of the game, third in goals, and fifth all time in assists during his 27 seasons.

Jagr has won 12 NHL trophies including five league scoring championships and two Stanley Cups.

And he says he is far from done. Jagr seriously intends to play for another five years.

He easily could. Not only is he one of the fittest players in the world, but now considered a respected leader off and on the ice and a great mentor for younger players. That’s a far cry from the brash, spoiled, playboy kid with a mullet and huge smile that broke into the NHL in 1990. (He played junior hockey at age 12). Last season the 6’3 230 pound winger notched only 46 points in 82 games but that was enough to finish fifth in Florida’s team scoring.

A free agent, Florida says it will not sign the veteran this year.

His 46 points would have placed him as the number two scorer last year in Phoenix, Colorado, and this year on the expansion Vegas club. His total would have found him third overall in Vancouver, New Jersey, Montreal, LA, Detroit, and Carolina.

His skills could certainly assist several teams in making the playoffs and a couple more teams in becoming serious Stanley Cup contenders. His leadership would assist young teams rebuilding and fill rinks such as Vegas and Vancouver which have little entertainment factor on the rosters.

If nothing else, the league owes Mr. Jagr the opportunity to finish his amazing career in the superstar fashion in which he has always played.

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