Editor's Notebook

Editor's Notebook McGill University

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Home > McGill News > 2003 > Summer 2003 > Editor's Notebook

Editor's Notebook

Dogs, Ducks and Raptors

The dog days of summer arrived early this year. Or so I thought until I found out the origin of the term. Apparently the ancient Romans believed that Sirius, the "dog star," added to the heat of the sun when the two bodies were in conjunction. The resulting sultry weather, the dog days, was said to occur 20 days before and 20 days after the late-July conjunction.

So although the record-breaking temperatures in June produced the same torpor, they occurred too early to meet the official dog days criteria. In fact, we were barely finished with the hockey season. You know you're getting old if you remember when professional hockey was a sport played in winter.

Whatever the timing, this year's Stanley Cup finals generated extra excitement among alumni, especially members of late-'80s Redmen hockey teams. One of their own, Mike Babcock, BEd'86, was coach of the National Hockey League's Western Conference winner, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Babcock had been appointed to the post just over a year ago by Anaheim vice-president and general manager Bryan Murray, who some readers may remember as Director of Athletics at Macdonald Campus in the '70s.

Not since Lester Patrick with the New York Rangers in 1937 had a former Redmen player coached a Stanley Cup contender. What better excuse for a mini-reunion. Babcock was able to secure a fistful of tickets for Game 2 in New Jersey and with Department of Athletics Communications Officer Earl "The Pearl" Zukerman, BA'80, coordinating arrangements, a bunch of the boys got together to cheer on the Ducks and their coach. Now pilots, lawyers, dentists and such, they gathered from all over North America. The group included Mark Reade, BA'86, BCom'89, Paul Barber, BEng'86, MBA'90, Fraser Gamble, BEd'84, MA'86, Mike Bean, BA'86, Jay McMullan, DDS'84, Brent Bannerman, BA'90, BA'92, Mike Nelson, BCL'82, LLB'82, Joel Sitak, BA'90 and Gordon Brabant, MDCM'81.

Despite the loyal support, Babcock and the Ducks lost the series, but a great time was had by most nonetheless. And just about a week later, another McGill grad and former Redmen player was named coach in the big leagues, this time in basketball. Kevin O'Neill, BEd'79, will take over the struggling Toronto Raptors of the NBA. Most recently an assistant coach for the Detroit Pistons, and with an impressive record before that of turning around programs at the college level in the U.S., there are high hopes for O'Neill (known as "Mad Dog" in his McGill playing days) to plug the Raptors' leaky defence and help Vince Carter realize his potential as a franchise player.

We announced in the News some time ago that the Alumni Association staff and their fundraising and information systems colleagues, collectively known as Development and Alumni Relations (DAR), would be moving a few blocks south to downtown Peel Street into a building donated by the Bronfman family. Like any renovation project, this one ran into a few delays and workmen are still on the site, but packing up has now begun around Martlet House. Moving dates are a little fuzzy, but it's likely to happen in stages some time in August. Leading the charge downhill will be new DAR Vice-Principal Nancy Wells, who joins us from Stanford. You'll read a little bit about her in Newsbites, but we wanted to give her a chance to get to know McGill and her new boss, Principal Heather Munroe-Blum, before we press her too closely on her plans.

We at the News will be waving our colleagues off. The DAR communications team will be moving, too, but into a building across the street from our present spot at the corner of de la Montagne and Dr. Penfield. We needed a little more elbow room and there just wasn't any available at the Peel Street location. We've published our new address in the masthead in this issue, and we're told that telephone numbers and emails will remain the same. Stay in touch.

In the meantime, for those who plan to do nothing more than relax this summer, we offer some great suggestions for summer reading, whatever your taste. Try them, we guarantee you'll like them. Just don't get too fascinated and forget the sunscreen.

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