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Mully: Mair was 'absolute legend' playing hockey in Johnstown

A Pennsylvania ceremony honouring the local hockey player will be aired online on Friday
The Johnstown Tomahawks are honouring Timmins hockey legend Jim Mair at a game on Jan. 26.

Well, I was informed late last week that NAHLTV will indeed be including the on-ice pregame honouring Jim Mair on Jan. 26 as part of its coverage. Cool!

I have also heard from one of the gentlemen organizing the event and he is very excited about Jim attending. One of the things he wanted to make clear to me was that Jim was (is) an absolute legend in Johnstown and that he endeared himself to fans from his first shift in 1966. He has also shared some fantastic old and new articles from the sports pages. I'm ever grateful for that.

The other day when the Jet and I were discussing the Eastern League, we got on the topic of my uncle Hugh Mulryan. Hugh left Canada to become a pro hockey referee in the '60s. He was based in Knoxville, which had a team. He would, however, do games throughout the league. Now I was only a toddler back then and Jimmy was 20, so I wouldn't know Jim Mair or vice versa. So the name Mair would not click with my uncle, nor Mulryan to Jim.

But lo and behold we figured out that my uncle did indeed refereed games Jim played in.

One clue was a snowstorm in Nashville, but the clincher was a story relayed to me by Carlo Cattarello. Carlo had told me that Hugh was the first official to do a three-man system (a ref and two linesmen). The previous system was two-man (two referees). Jimmy then told me that when he was first with Johnstown it was the two-man system, but later became three-man while still playing there. We both thought that it was cool that my uncle was doing Jim's games. Small world, made smaller by hockey.

Jim and I will sit down soon as I hope to write about the many EHL players who called Timmins home.

The Alberta Junior Hockey League was shocked to learn that the Blackfalds Bulldogs, Brooks Bandits, Okotoks Oilers, Sherwood Park Crusaders and Spruce Grove Saints are leaving the league at season's end to join the independent British Columbia Hockey League. This means those five teams will not be eligible for the Centennial Cup next year. The BCHL does not send a team to the cup as they are not sanctioned by Hockey Canada. I'll fill you in more as I learn more about the future of Junior A out west.

As someone who has had experience with the NCAA this whole portal /transfer stuff baffles me. The NCAA has always had this skewed view of what "professional" means to them. An amateur association that is basically overseeing now-paid athletes.

I laugh when I think that friends with NCAA hockey teams could not give me items for auction at the World U17s because it was deemed an event where professionals (ie, major junior players paid a pittance) were taking part. I was lucky enough to have some items donated personally to me that I could then donate on my behalf for auction.

Look I think athletes should share in the wealth college programs make on their backs. It just appears to me the pendulum has not only swung too far but made a loop.

The transfer process ... it ain't what it used to be.

I'll have some exciting news about the Mac's potential designation as a historical site in an article soon.

The Majors U15's were in Oakville this past weekend at the Oakville Winter Classic Tournament. Twelve teams participated. Despite not picking up a win the plucky U15's were very competitive. A 1-0 loss and 4-2 loss saw the club on the verge of a 2-2 record with a little luck.

The U18's were at the Steve Richey Memorial Tournament in Peterborough this past weekend as well. Thirty-five teams were vying for a championship in a very impressive field.

The Majors were 1-3  but played well against some top-tier competition. Sudbury was 2-2, New Liskeard was 1-3, Kap 0-4 and North Bay 0-2-2.

The Majors will use the experience in their quest to finish atop the league.

I'm not a Bills fan, but I've got to admit I was heartbroken to see them lose to Kansas City.

But being in playoff mode for two months just to get into the playoffs and a rash of key injuries proved to be too much. Well that and ... you know ... the curse

Later skater.

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