Author Archives: fromareportersnotebook

About fromareportersnotebook

Former reporter and city editor at The Tribune, Welland, On. Active in various community groups and initiatives, married with two grown children, interested in roses specifically and gardening in general. A collection of previously-written columns was published in book form in the fall of 2013 and is available by contacting the writer at: It sells for $20.

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Who Will Win The Championship?

By Wayne Redshaw

   For the fourth consecutive year the State of Florida will have a team competing in the Stanley Cup finals.

    The past three years the Tampa Bay Lightning have gone to the finals winning in 2020 and 2021 and then losing to the Colorado Avalanche in six games last year.

   Now, the Florida Panthers are the latest Sunshine State NHL club to qualify for the finals. They barely qualified for the post-season making it on the final day of the regular season thanks to some outside help from the lowly Chicago Black Hawks who knocked off Pittsburgh In their season finale on the road thus eliminating the Penguins from the playoff picture.\

  The Panthers have definitely taken advantage of the situation and played a giant-killer’s role in the process, knocking off top-ranked Boston Bruins in seven games in the first round. Then they sent the Toronto Maple Leafs packing in the second round allowing them to book times at their favourite golf courses after five games. And the Panthers were not done. They dispatched the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference finals in four straight to reach the finals.

  So what is the secret that Florida-based teams have been so successful to reach the finals four years in a row? Is there something extra in the water they drink that makes them excel in the playoffs? Or is it sunshine (solar power) that the players take in during the regular season that  provides them with extra energy come playoff time?

  Maybe both the water and the sunshine are some ingredients that have propelled the two clubs all the way to the finals. However, there are other factors. And the big one or the key one in my opinion is goaltending.

  First,  Andre Vasilevskiy was the x-factor for the Lightning to make it to the finals three years in a row. Granted, the Lightning  had some top guns, especially up front but at the back end Vasilevskiy was there to foil the enemy. He made those clutch saves when he was called upon.

  The same can be said about Sergei Bobrovsky. Other than the outstanding play of Matthew Tkachuk, Bobrovsky has been the backbone of the Panthers in the playoffs so far.

   Surprisingly, Bobrovsky didn’t start the first three games of the first round against the Bruins. Instead, it was Alex Lyon. But since Bobrovsky took over the controls he has kept the Panthers in contention.

  Now we head into the finals with the Panthers opening the Cup Finals on the road against Vegas Golden Knights. For both teams, it will be their second appearance in the finals. The last time Florida was in the finals was 1996 when they were swept by Colorado in four games while the Knights lost to Washington Capitals in five games during the 2018 final.

  Thus, this will be a first-time ever no matter who wins. This puts me on the hot seat as in the previous three rounds I predicted the Panthers and Knights to lose in all three rounds. No wonder my prediction record this year is a dismal 6-8 heading into the finals. That means I can’t break even no matter who I pick.

  So here we go. I am picking the Knights to win but it will be a close and entertaining series, one that should go six games.

 So why the Golden Knights? My heart tells me to go with the underdogs, the Panthers as they have been the underdogs for all the previous series but have delivered. But my hockey sense tells me Vegas is the better team overall with four balanced forward lines led by the likes of Jack Eichel, Mark Stone, Jonathan Marchessault and Chandler Stephenson. They also have good depth, especially on the blueline with Alex Pietrangelo, Alec Martinez and Brayden McNabb.

   If there’s one department that the Panthers have the edge, it’s between the pipes with Bobrovsky. Now I’m not saying the Knights’ Adin Hill hasn’t played well. He has. But Bobrovsky is the No. 1 reason the Panthers have gone this far. He’s made the key saves when called upon. He will have to continue his red-hot performance to give Florida a chance of winning it all.

  And the Panthers will be heard from and make it an entertaining series. Tkachuk  has enjoyed a successful playoff run so far with nine goals and 12 assists. He has a good supporting cast in Sam Bennett, Sam Reinhardt, Anthony Duclair, Aleksander Barkov, Carter Verhaeghe and defencemen Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour.

  Special teams could play an important role. So the Panthers’ Radko Gudas must stop taking some dumb penalties like he has in the previous rounds or the Panthers will pay for it. Vegas has a potent power-play.

Prediction:  Golden Knights in six.

(Wayne Redshaw covered the NHL for over 40 seasons and was named a Life Member of the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association in 1987.)

Niagara College Marks Pride Month With The Raising Of The Progress Pride Flag

On June 1, Niagara College raised the Progressive Pride Flag in honour of Pride Month. At the Welland campus, from left: NC student and President of the Rainbow Knights Bruin Pol, Vice-President International Sean Coote, Workplace Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Specialist Brooke Pasco and NCSAC President, Dipal Patel. /Supplied photo

Niagara College proudly raised the Progress Pride flag Thursday, June 1, at both the Welland Campus and the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake in recognition of Pride Month.

Speaking at the flag raising ceremony at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, Pam Skinner, Senior Vice President, College Operations, highlighted the College’s commitment to creating a safe and inclusive environment for all.

“Our NC community is one where all are welcomed and where respect for each other is of the utmost importance,” said Skinner. “Your presence this morning is a strong signal of support for fellow colleagues and students and Niagara College’s 2SLGBTQIA+ community. It represents a great stride by our whole community to bolster the strong culture of inclusion and belonging that is so central to our NC identity.”

This spring, Niagara College launched its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Blueprint which represents the College’s shared commitment to accessibility, equity and inclusion where all members of the College’s diverse community are engaged, valued and supported.

NC’s Vice-President, International, Sean Coote referenced the importance of the EDI Blueprint in connection with Pride Month at the Welland Campus flag raising ceremony.

“Recently, the College launched our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Blueprint, which is guiding our continuous commitment and actions to ensure a learning environment and workplace that is respectful, inclusive, and welcoming for all,” said Coote. “Raising the Progress Pride Flag is an example of our commitment to creating a more equitable, diverse and inclusive College.”

Last year, Niagara College adopted the Progress Pride Flag to better represent the College’s inclusive environment. 

The Progress flag features the “traditional” rainbow colours, and black and brown stripes, which represent those lost to HIV/AIDS and those currently living with AIDS as well as the inclusion of pink, light blue and white which pay homage to the Transgender Pride flag.

Representatives from the Niagara College Student Administrative Council (NCSAC) and the Rainbow Knights – a club comprised of both 2SLGBTQIA+ and allies dedicated to promoting acceptance at Niagara College – also participated in the flag raising.

During his remarks, Coote also noted that the NC Rainbow Knights were recently awarded the Outstanding School/Gay-Straight Alliance Award from Pride Niagara at the 2023 Niagara UNITY Awards celebration. This award is given to an academic institution or student-run group that focuses on supporting the young members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community of Niagara.

“Flying the Progress Pride flag at both NC campuses for the month of June highlights the College’s commitment to creating an inclusive community for everyone,” said Dipal Patel, NCSAC President. “Not only does the flag acknowledge the hardships members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community face, but it also celebrates their achievements and reminds NC students that we are part of a supportive and welcoming community.”

Niagara College will continue the recognition and celebration of Pride Month through various events and activities throughout June. The NC Recruitment team will also be out in the community at various Pride events including Pride Niagara’s 10th annual Pride in the Park on June 3 and Fort Erie Pride on June 24.

Attribution: Niagara College media release

Funeral Route Finalized For Captain Craig Bowman; Portion Of King Street To Be Temporarily Closed

WELLAND – Captain Craig Bowman’s final alarm funeral route is mapped and scheduled for Tuesday, May 30, beginning at Welland Fire Headquarters at 400 East Main Street and concluding at the Welland Main Arena at 501 King Street.

The route will travel down East Main Street to north on Prince Charles Drive before heading down First Avenue and Fitch Street and looping back south on Prince Charles Drive to Ontario Road and north on King Street to the Arena.

Police cruisers will lead the motorcade, and Captain Bowman will receive a formal salute from all firefighters in the city at each station. At the King Street firehall, an honour guard, pallbearers, pipe and drum, and a few selected uniformed members will slow march and pipe Captain Bowman’s pumper and the family’s limo to the Arena. King Street will be lined with uniformed personnel, and there will be a large Canadian flag hanging across King Street, between Welland’s two aerial trucks, and the pumper will pass under it as formal recognition of Captain Bowman’s service to his community and country.

Police cruisers will escort the pumper truck with Captain Bowman’s casket for the length of the route. King Street, from Seventh Street to Third Street, will be closed as the procession travels through the route. However, access to the hospital is available, and local businesses know about the procession.

“This Full Honour Funeral is a very public display; it is as much about Captain Bowman as it is about supporting his family and the firefighters through this challenging time,” said Fire Chief Adam Eckhart. “From my experiences, togetherness and showing of support helps everyone, and we know our emergency services family and the community will be with us. It is truly an incredible send-off for our friend and colleague.”

All Welland Fire on-duty staff will attend the funeral, and the Cities of St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Port Colborne, and Thorold are sending a truck and staff to fill Welland’s fire halls and answer any calls during the service.

The funeral service at the Arena commences at 1 p.m. It includes formal ceremonial features such as piping and a bugle, a family flag presentation, the last alarm bell, and the last alarm radio call to Captain Bowman. Over 1,000 attendees are expected, including firefighters from Buffalo, Toronto, the GTA, and Niagara.

Attribution: City of Welland media release

Flags At Half Staff In Remembrance Of Capt. Craig Bowman

It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to Captain Craig Bowman, who passed away this weekend after a determined fight with an occupational illness. Please keep “Opie” and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Captain Bowman started his fire service journey in Thorold and joined the Welland Fire Department as a full-time firefighter in 2002. Rising to the rank of Captain, he was a natural leader and built many strong relationships, always looking out for others. Even as he fearlessly fought cancer, he focused on protecting others from the risks of the unrelenting illness. He was kind and caring and turned strangers into friends everywhere he went.

Welland Fire will proudly honour Captain Bowman, with a visitation scheduled for Monday, May 29, and service on Tuesday, May 30.

Although not yet recognized as a Line of Duty Death (LODD), Welland Fire plans to hold a full LODD service and funeral.

Flags have been lowered at all City facilities and will remain at half staff until May 31 to honour and remember Captain Bowman.

For complete funeral information please visit:

Attribution: Welland Fire media release

Heritage Lives: Memories Of The Cross Street Pool

‘The former aqueduct served 40 years as a swimming pool where thousands of Wellanders learned to swim.’

By Terry Hughes

Recent media reports indicate that change may be coming to the Civic Centre and one of those changes indicate a water attraction or display. Would it not be appropriate if that change would focus on the Cross Street Pool?  And why would that be a good idea? How about historical ones. It served as an aqueduct for 75 years. According to the late Dr. Roberta Styran who was president of the Canadian Canal Society, it was considered an engineering wonder in its day here in Canada. As the photo taken in 1870 shows, vessels of different types sailed through the structure over the Welland River. It took five years cutting and shaping eighteen thousand limestone blocks weighing nearly two tons each to construct.

 The former aqueduct served 40 years as a swimming pool where thousands of Wellanders learned to swim. The attraction of competitive swimming was popular as noted by the crowds leaning on the fence to see who would be the winner. Like his brother who won many trophies before the Second World War, Gord Sykes would develop swimmers from our community like John Dudas and John “Wheaties” Reid who would go on and play for the Hamilton Tiger Cats, Ian Grey, Clarence Shook, Elma Beckett and Bev Gardner who were some of his pupils. Later, Rose and Steve Smith would develop their swim club here before the St. George Pool was built. Because it was the only municipal pool for so many years, the number of swimmers attending both the wading and “big pool” along with morning swimming lessons was unbelievable! Here looking at the third photo, we see the deep end and catwalk under the supervision of a lifeguard in the mid-fifties!

A typical summer day for us 10-year-olds would include: gathering up a towel, putting on your swimsuit, t-shirt and old footwear and with others in the neighbourhood of Wallace Avenue walk to the pool for lessons in the morning, run home and return after lunch for the afternoon swim. The walk to and from the pool took us along the Welland River on a wooded path from Dorothy Street to check out the water creatures we would plan on scaring on our way home. Little did we know but the river was an open sewer where all of the city waste was dumped. A total of nearly fifty outlets served this purpose before construction of the waste plant in the late fifties.

The limited number of clothes each of us wore could be either hidden in a secret place or packed into one bag for a nickel and handed off to the person in the orange building in exchange for a numbered disc to be used later to redeem your clothes. A race through the showers and foot bath allowed you to enter the swimming pool steps along each wall and down to the edge of the water.

  The area in the centre was covered in grass and housed the lifeguard’s chair, siren and surfboard to make rescues before the catwalk was put in place. A white clock along with rules for the pool stood at the top near the pump house. This spot was a good place to warm yourself, shaking off the “shivers” and looking up at the sky for clouds that created atomic explosions or a ghostly face!  During the early afternoon, the siren would wail and everyone had to get out of the pool to check for any bodies who had drowned. It would serve as a time to test the water for chlorine and acidic readings and be hand fed because the sun and swimmers absorbed these chemicals at a faster rate than the chlorinating machine. No one ever drowned in the pool although someone died of sunstroke and after the pool had closed for the year a fatality happened  because of a fall onto the dam at the deep end.

As time passed, it became apparent my sport was to swim by achieving awards offered by the Red Cross. Our instructor at the Junior level was Jane Duff for whom I had a crush as a 10-year- old. She had an athletic figure, short brown hair and a great smile. Later, I learned that she was an excellent student at WHVS and would only see her after she married and was spotted pushing a baby buggy by the pool. 

Our Intermediate instructor was Lee Maus. She was a tough gal who did not put up with any nonsense but her efforts produced results. She would later take over the Senior and Life Saving classes. Frank Doan, a handsome, tall tanned blonde-haired guy taught swimming to the Senior and Life Saving candidates. Overall, our courses were six weeks long and had few if any failures in these classes. This achievement was an indicator of how well Wellanders learned to swim and I am unaware if any of these people had ever perished in the canal or pools.   

The evening normally belonged to the older crowd who would put on great displays of giant waves of water off the diving board soaking the onlookers on the tops of the walls. Guys like Ken Onda, Bill and Gordy Schabel would use a technique called a tuck where as you entered the dive off the board, you would roll up into a ball at impact with the water sending a huge splash on the crowds along the fence. One fellow who I only knew as Stan with a golden tan, would climb the fence in his bare feet, balance himself and do a beautiful “jack knife” dive into the pool at the halfway point which was about six feet deep!  

The last photo shows the pool site in its present state. There is no signage indicating its importance except a plaque hidden under the platform extending over the wall along the canal. Storyboards should be used here to share the story of its history. In 1983 this structure was being developed as a historical monument by the federal government but was halted by the incoming Conservatives after the 1984 election. It’s time to finish the job! 

I would like to close with a letter from a person who has something special to say about the pool and its role in the community in its heyday:  

To Whom It May Concern,

One of the more prominent memories of Welland in my early years was the enjoyment derived from a day at the pool. This was not only a learning experience of swimming but of meeting those of diverse backgrounds and cultures all coming together, a virtual United Nations. A lesson for life and true representation of the city of Welland never to be forgotten, 

I would suggest a plaque be mounted in a prominent position on the site with a photograph showing the youth of Welland enjoying their time in the sun.

Thank you, 

 Roger Boyer,  36 Connaught Ave., Welland

Next Column:  The Agrarian Heritage of Fonthill  

(Terry Hughes is a Wellander who is passionate about heritage, history and model railroading. His opinion column, Heritage Lives, appears on the blog once or twice monthly.)