Niagara Gazette

July 9, 2013

MROZIAK: Thoughts from the fairway...

By MICHAEL MROZIAK
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — For all the lamenting about the rain that in the past few weeks has cancelled sporting events including several Niagara Power ballgames, the wet weather was a blessing for the folks at Niagara Falls Country Club.

With the Porter Cup two weeks away the golf course, according to organizers, is lush and green with fairways, greens and even roughs in excellent shape.

As part of Tuesday's media preview day, Porter Cup organizers invited members of local media — the sports staff of the Niagara Gazette included — to play a round and see and feel the course firsthand. 

They were not kidding about the quality of the grounds. Barring a Sahara-like dry spell, the course should be ideal for what is billed as a rich pool of talent for this year's Porter Cup. 

I won't lie. Media day is as much a pleasure as it is business. If the course stays in the quality of shape as it was on our day out, the competitors should find it just as enjoyable.

It makes one want to cheer for another thunderstorm or two before tournament time. Just as long as it doesn't happen on the night of your family plans, or the baseball game you're scheduled to cover.

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In the interest of disclosure, my main occupation prior to this one was managing media relations for the Buffalo Junior Sabres, a Junior 'A' level (college prep, ages 16-20) team operated by members of the Sabres alumni. Under the leadership of Larry Playfair and Michael Peca (and previously Grant Ledyard), the team has produced several college-bound players, including one who was invited to this week's Sabres Development Camp, forward Tyler Gjurich.

Gjurich scored 53 goals last season, most of them in even-strength situations. He has verbally committed to the University of Maine beginning next semester.

His advancement is just one of many success stories coming from the Jr. Sabres, which announced this week it will play in the Ontario Junior Hockey League's first-ever outdoor game at Frontier Field in Rochester.

The team will begin its 2013-14 OJHL campaign in mid-September. If you consider yourself a true hockey fan, I strongly recommend you check them out. They are indeed one of the region's hidden sports gems.

Follow Niagara Gazette sports editor Michael Mroziak on Twitter at MrozGazette.