Some year huh? The Astros win the World Series worth a $30 million bonus, the Oilers almost make the Stanley Cup final, the Toronto Argos take the Grey Cup worth $16K for each roster player, the Toronto FC rule Major League Soccer to share $275K and Vegas rolls in an NHL franchise for a measly $500K.
It wouldn’t be my 96th annual Christmas column without mentioning the late John Baldwin, who celebrated his 100th birthday in 2006.
He was the sole surviving member of the Keller Club in Minnesota. He was quoted by the St. Paul Pioneer Press as saying he wasn’t playing much golf because he had a sore back.
“When you get to 100, you get some problems,” he said. His secret to a long life? “Moderation in everything. I quit smoking when I was 82.”
Wish I had met Johnny especially now that I’m playing the back nine. It is now time to present the best-of-the-year list.
Before doing so, I have to thank my wonderful family and friends for still reading my stuff. Including Vernon Esso hockey great John (Wire) Price, who also curls these days, my readership total has reached a staggering 49. We are all blessed with decent health and happiness in the Mitchell family.
My wonderful folks are going strong at 80-something, my daughter Kristi is a children’s psychologist in Edmonton and married to a pretty nice lawyer, my oldest son, Max, is working hard and my youngest son, Nick, had to shut down his hockey career after a fourth concussion but is still smiling.
Here, then, are the best of 2017…
Gone But Not Forgotten: Blair Campbell, John Sharp, Moe Halat, Larry Walthers, Ron Corbett, Ken Brown, Martin Van de Leest, Jim Domokos, Ron Schwab, Hermann Quint, Vic Rantio, Ken Wadsworth, Seb Gardner, Justin Onufreiw, Aaron Lawrence, Roy Halladay, Terry Glenn, Y.A. Tittle, Jake LaMotta, Bryan Murray, Don Baylor, Darren Daulton, Dave Semenko, Frank Deford, Jim Bunning, Cortez Kennedy, Dan Rooney, Mike Illitch, Milt Schmidt.
Best TV Sportscasters: James Duthie, Squire Barnes, Jim Hughson, Ines Sainz, Evanka Osmak.
Canuck of the Year: Bo Horvat.
Rising Stars: Josh Prokop, Steven Jandric, Ty Taylor, Jack Judson, Jimmy Lambert, Brett Stapely, Brooke Henderson, Jordyn Cullum, Mackenzie Horst, Danny Aspenlieder, Laura Hall, Zac Benn, Meredith Levorson, Tyler Galenzoski, Ryan Vest, Hannah Bennison, Caden Doyle, Ben Hladik, Bradley Hladik, Levi Nicholas, Zac Hyer, Jagger Williamson, Matt Kowalski, Powell Connor, Jenna Fletcher, Conner Kozak, Matt Kreutz, Connie Kapak, Zack Smith, Charles Lemay, Matthew Reich, Caden Danbrook.
Best Steak: Blackened New York at Earls.
Best soup: Broccoli & Bacon at Kelly O’Bryans. Best Pizza: Uncle Dave’s. Best Cheerleaders: Tennessee Titans.
Busts: Surrey Knights (1-28-0-1) , Noureen Dewulf (Canuck G Ryan Miller’s wife), Ryan Lochte, Colin Kaepernick, Cleveland Browns, Golden Rockets (1-26-1-2).
Best Team Names: Onion Lake Border Chiefs, Frog Lake T-Birds, Fargo Force, Brampton Beast, Wheeling Nailers, Syracuse Crunch, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Biloxi Shuckers, Akron Rubberducks, Sioux City Musketeers.
Sparrow of the Year: Jim.
Best Wings: The Longhorn. Honourable mention: Wings.
Best onion rings: Winfield Arena.
Best creampuffs: My mom’s. Honourable mention: Okanagan Bakehouse.
Best Names in Sports: Brooke Pancake, Griffen Outhouse, Jesper Brett, Martin Frk, Jasper Fast, Boo Nieves, Shayne Gotishehere, Christian Cakebread, Tom Kuhnhackl, Mitch Marner, Alex DeBrincat, Ethan Bear, Nii Noi Tetteh, Boone Jenner, Nolan Zweep, Chris Klack, Brendan Budy, Ben Lovejoy, Rob Klinkhammer, Bastian Scheinsteiger, Lincoln Lane, Coco Crisp, Homer Bailey, Burke Badenhop, Chapperon Chillihitzia, Golden Tate, Bo Horvat, Cal Clutterbuck, Emre Can, Martin Montoya, Wacey Rabbit, Madison Bowey, Max Unger, Ricardo Lockette, Preston Sparklingeyes, Darnell Nurse, Mitch Meek.
Best Team Names in Sports: Onion Lake Border Chiefs, Frog Lake Thunderbirds, Sioux City Musketeers, Wheeling Nailers, Leigh Valley Iron Pigs, Akron Rubberducks, Biloxi Shuckers, Brampton Beast, Fargo Fog, Syracuse Crunch.
Best Smiles: Curtis Lazar, Stacy Pavlov, Taylor Swift, Drake, Kevin Bieksa, Meghan Mikkelson, Mary-Louise Parker, Natasha Staniszewski, Missy Peregrym, Hannah Storm, Jennifer Hedger, Jennifer Garner, Marion Mitchell, Brooklyn Decker, Anneke VanderVelde, Amanda Bedard, Paul Rush, Scott Simpson, Andrea Pow, Stana Katic, Karlie Kloss, Anita Black, Miranda Kerr, Zach Agar, Zayne Hanke, Makenna Hoffman, Lawrie Skolrood, Chad Pieper, Jesse Crowe.
Best Legs: Keyvan Mohktari, Usain Bolt, Jay Henry, Kevin Cleland, Dale McAllister, Christine Sinclair, Marie-Philip Poulin, Mia Hamm, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Hope Solo, Wayne Hoover, Gerry Geisbrecht, Ray Michelin, Edeen Ramsey, Kevin Balfour, Tom Ouchi.
Worst Legs: Glenn Jespersen, Gene Anderson, Steve Fitzpatrick, Moe Irving, Chris Fleming, Peter Francis, Russ Parr, Kevin Manke, Wayne Wicklund, Darin Mundy, Erwin Schuur, Dave (Spyder) Specht, Jeff Parker, Mike Kakoske, Lloyd Mitchell, Dave Hampton.
—-Kevin Mitchell is the sports editor and newsroom funnyman at the Vernon Morning Star.