Niagara Gazette

April 25, 2014

Mroziak: Notes from the sports desk

BY MICHAEL MROZIAK
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Some brief thoughts and notes from the editor’s desk...

• You cannot blame local sports officials if they’ve collectively joined in a verse of “rain, rain, go away.”

After arriving at Ransomville Speedway late Thursday morning to take some photos of the track, I was glad to wear boots.

The track itself was fine and being worked on. It was the grass outside the grandstands where I got soggy reminders of the very snowy winter giving way to April showers. 

As you can imagine, track personnel are keeping their fingers crossed as rain is in the forecast for their scheduled opener tonight, the ‘Test, Tune & Time’ event. 

Rain played a significant role last year in frustrating many of the spring and summer leagues throughout Niagara County and the Ransomville season was no exception. 

The team I suspect is most worried about the possibility of another wet summer is the Niagara Power. Last year heavy rains disrupted the collegiate baseball team’s schedule and on some occasions one day’s rain could cost them at least two home games. That’s because no tarp was kept over the infield at Sal Maglie Stadium.

Now that the Niagara Falls School District has opened its nice new athletic complex, the question is how committed the school district or city are to maintaining the stadium.

You can certainly understand the school district’s position, not wanting to spend unnecessarily. At the same time, you have to feel for Power owner Cal Kern, who has made clear he’d like to keep his team playing there. Here’s hoping all sides can work something out.

In the meantime, Kern — a man well-known for his Christian faith — might be praying for a little help with the weather.

• I’m praying, too, but my prayers are for a few less overtimes in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. As a fan, they’re fun and exciting. As an editor, they’re a nightmare when there are press deadlines to be met.

• While most of Western New York amateur hockey is already thinking ahead to next season with spring tryouts, Youngstown’s Ryan Stayner is still on the ice seeking a championship. Stayner, a gritty forward in his final year of junior hockey, is a member of the Junior-B level St. Catharines (Ont.) Falcons in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. 

The Falcons took Game One of the Sutherland Cup series on Wednesday night, defeating Caledonia 7-2 on the road. Game Two is tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Jack Gatecliff Arena in St. Catharines.

If you are a hard core hockey fan who has never seen a GOJHL game, do yourself a favor and go. It’s surprisingly good quality. Having a local player involved in a championship run is also worth the short trip across the bridges.