By Brian Stensaas
Folks - Some important news just in via an e-mail received by Russo from Jiggs McDonald’s daughter, who lives in Minnesota:
Canadian Tour Group Stranded in Bangkok, Thailand
Jiggs McDonald, former NHL announcer and Hockey Hall of Fame member, and his wife Marilyn and approximately 80 other Canadian citizens on a 30-day Asian tour are currently stranded in Bangkok due to the political unrest there. They are headed into their 4th extra day in the city, with no end in sight and the threat of violence growing around them.
The tour group was on the final day of their 30-day trip and was scheduled to fly out of Bangkok on Wednesday morning. The international airport was shut down on Tuesday due to political conflict in Thailand. An anti-government group (PAD) took over that airport as well as a smaller domestic one and is demanding the resignation of the country’s prime minister. They refuse to leave until he resigns.
The government has declared a state of emergency at both of Bangkok’s airports, giving them the right to intervene and oust the protesters, but the opposition group has declared that they will not leave and will “fight to the death.” A larger pro-government group of citizens has threatened to take to the streets to fight PAD. And there is talk of a potential coup or military intervention. In other words, every day that the conflict at the airport and in Bangkok continues, the threat of these Canadian citizens being caught up in a violent conflict grows.
Currently, there are no international flights operating out of the airport. There are some limited commercial and charter flights operating out of a Thai military base, but those arrangements have been coordinated with the Thai government. The Canadian tour company, Expo Cruises and Tours (Toronto) have been in touch with the Canadian Embassy, but have been given very little information about Canada’s plans to help its stranded citizens. There are estimates of approximately 1,000 Canadians in Thailand who were scheduled to be departing Bangkok, but cannot.
There are limited alternate travel options. For example, trains and buses do operate, but PAD has been known to interrupt these services during past conflicts as well. Currently, EXPO does not have a way to safely move all 80 of its tour group members out of the country without help from the Canadian government. And there are over 900 other Canadian citizens seeking a safe way out of the country before violence erupts.
Jiggs McDonald is originally from Ayr, Ontario and currently resides in Orillia, Ontario. He spent nearly forty years as an NHL play-by-play announcer. He called his 3,000th regular season game in November 2003, and is believed to have called the most NHL games of any broadcaster.
He began his career in Los Angeles in 1967, and then became the voice of the Atlanta Flames in 1972. Joining the NY Islanders in 1980, McDonald called Islander games for fifteen seasons, including three Stanley Cup campaigns.
He later handled play-by-play for both the Toronto Maple Leafs on television, and for the Florida Panthers on radio. While McDonald retired after the 2003–04 season, he has periodically come back to do fill-in work for Florida Panthers and NY Islanders announcers.
McDonald has covered three Winter Olympics for ABC and TNT. He was also named a Foster Hewitt Award winner in 1990 and is honored as a broadcaster at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
OK – as for today’s game – here we go:
After allowing all those chances to Tampa Bay in the middle part of the game, the Wild really came through big in the third period for a change, rather than being the victim.
Funny how it’s just one win, but afterward players and Jacque alike were talking about how this game could be huge for the team. And why not? All the jump from the third period is sure to carry over into tomorrow’s game at Nashville. And killing off that 5-on-3 at the end was electric.
Lemaire, by the way, not thrilled at all with the 12 minutes of penalties Mikko Koivu racked up. Though, Lemaire did say Koivu’s actions warrented the 10-minute misconduct. “Deserved” was, in part, exactly what he said.
The Wild locker room cleared out faster than I’ve ever seen today. By the time we got in, half the team had already undressed and was packed up. These home-and-away, back-to-back games will do that, I guess. Who knew someone would be in such a rush to get to Nashville?
Russo’s there already, so things get back to normal with him on patrol for tomorrow’s happenings.