The following statement from Liberal whip Rodger Cuzner was greeted with a standing ovation from both Liberals and Conservatives yesterday.
Mr. Speaker, the air around the city of Hamilton is charged with excitement today in anticipation of the return of the great one. Relax, my Conservative friends, I do not mean Sheila Copps, rather the great one himself, Wayne Gretzky. In a move that is driven by his great passion for hockey and his deep belief in the potential of southern Ontario, Jim Balsillie is once again trying to bring the NHL to its senses and a team to the region. Now, being a lifelong Toronto Maple Leafs fan, I really understand the jokes that are coming, such as, if southern Ontario gets an NHL team, then Toronto will want one, too. I think the potential of regional rivalries in a battle of Ontario with a third combatant is great stuff. I appreciate the league’s valiant attempt to grow a fan base in the Arizona desert, but the experiment has been scorched. It is time the NHL recognized the huge potential that exists in southern Ontario and the opportunity to bring into its fold one of this country’s most progressive and successful entrepreneurs in Jim Balsillie. I really hope that this transaction is allowed to go forward.
The other thing we can all agree on? That our Olympic athletes should be wrapped at all times in seal skin.