Happy New Year!

With my last column of the year, I will see the future without any fear.

To this end, I go on a dare and make 10 predictions in 2022 with much loving care.

Although the chances are high there are no guarantees these forecasts will all fly.

More grief for the Leafs:

The Toronto Maple Leafs will qualify for the NHL post-season but their streak will continue of not winning a playoff series in 18 years (since 2004). Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews will tell the media “It’s sad to see it end the way it did. This is a feeling we’ve experienced six years in a row since I have been here. Maybe, next year will be lucky number seven.”

Lightning strikes with a three-peat:

Not one, not two but three Stanley Cups in a row for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Jon Cooper of Prince George will become just the fifth head coach in NHL history to win three consecutive Stanley Cups joining Toe Blake, Punch Imlach, Scotty Bowman, and Al Arbour. When the 54-year-old Cooper is asked if he has now reached the pinnacle of his coaching career, his response will be “I hope not.”

Playoff tickets on sale:

Yes, after a five-year drought the Prince George Cougars will return to the playoffs come the spring of 2022. (The Cougars are currently holding down the 8th and final playoff berth in the Western Conference). In fact, all five B.C. Division teams in the WHL will advance to the post-season, leaving the Tri-City Americans and Spokane Chiefs from the U.S. Division on the outside looking in.

World Juniors back on:

The World Junior Hockey Championship, canceled on Tuesday of this week, will return in July. An older, wiser Connor Bedard, who will be just turning 17, will break his own Canadian record (shared with five others: Mario Lemieux, Simon Gagné, Brayden Schenn, Taylor Raddysh, and Maxime Comtois) of four goals in a game by scoring five times in a lopsided victory over Germany.

The virus takes a back seat to women’s curling:

Unlike 2020, the World Women’s Curling Championship will go ahead in Prince George from March 19th to 27th. COVID-19 will not be gone by then, but the virus will not stop the best female curlers around the globe from competing or Canada from winning.

One for the ages (half-a-century):

7-time Super Bowl champ Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and former PG Cougars defenceman Zdeno Chara of the New York Islanders, both 44, will announce their intention to play until they are 50. Chara, who is nearly five months older than Brady, has the inside track to get there first.

The Lakers add much-needed experience:

Saying they need a little more moxie, the LA Lakers will sign Andre Iguodala (about to turn 38) of the Golden State Warriors once he becomes a free agent in the summer. This will give the Lakers the three oldest players in the NBA (Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James the others).

Show me the money:

CFL Players in Toronto, Hamilton, and Ottawa will get a raise of a whopping 65 cents an hour tomorrow (Saturday, January 1st, 2022). That’s the day the Ontario minimum wage gets an increase from $14.35 an hour to $15.00.

Patience is preached:

The Jacksonville Jaguars will double their win total from two in 2021 to four in 2022 and then declare their long-term plan is right on target.

The Pack is Back:

The Green Bay Packers will win the Super Bowl. Shortly after, MVP Aaron Rodgers will announce he wants a trade to a team in Florida because in that state you can live a normal life whether you are vaccinated or not.

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Cariboo Cougars U-18 head coach Tyler Brough, who is also the president of the PG Cougars Alumni Association, is this week’s guest on the Cat Scan podcast.

During the episode, he discussed a number of topics including:

  • Up and down the first half of the season for the Cariboo Cougars
  • Living up to lofty expectations.
  • Challenges of playing/coaching during a pandemic
  • Getting more PG Cougars Alumni out at major community events
  • Balancing/work/coaching and family

 

FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers says he won’t take long after the season to decide his plans for 2022. So will he ask Joe Rogan?

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

Former Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo’s claim that fired coach Urban Meyer kicked him was a lie. The truth is Lambo tried to kick Meyer, but, as usual, missed wide right.

*Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg

Santa Claus didn’t visit the Jacksonville Jaguars this year. For some reason, the reindeer couldn’t touch down.

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/

There’ll never be another John Madden. Who else will leave behind a legacy of six-legged turkeys, All-Star teams with no quarterbacks, and short sleeve shirts in 20-degree weather?

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

In Case You Missed It:

The IIHF has canceled the World Junior Hockey Championship. Russia’s Matvei Michkov and Canada’s Connor Bedard showed some brilliance, but the Omicron variant skated away with a shutout.

*Western Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

Hartley Miller is the news and sports director/supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. He also is the radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars’ home games. Hartley has been on the Prince George airwaves since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes)