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Kronson LeipsicBy HARVEY ROSEN

Ken Kronson, z’l, left a legacy of altruistic volunteerism, giving of himself time and time again.


Oh, he had a very strong supporting cast, of course. Kronson and his friends founded the YMHA Sportsman’s Dinner back in the early 70s. He chaired the dinner for about 40 years, playing a key role on the committee until his untimely passing in February of 2017.
From its inception to the current day, the Rady JCC Dinner has raised over seven million dollars -thanks in large part to Kronson, after whom the event has been re-named
 
I recently received a notice from Ernie Nairn, Kenny’s main sidekick over the years, that it is time to get down to business and inform members of our community that it is due time to share the following information with our readership. To wit:
“Dinner Committee is now accepting nominations for the Annual Jewish Athlete of the Year Award to be presented at the 46th Annual Rady JCC Sports Dinner.
“The dinner will feature as Guest Speaker, New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning, on Monday,  June 18, 2018 at the RBC Convention Centre.
“Athletes, their coaches or family members can nominate the individual. Please provide a summary of the nominee’s accomplishments over the past 12 to 18 months, and at what level they competed - either the high school, university, provincial, national or international level. Please include all contact information and a phone number.
“Nominations can be dropped off, mailed or emailed  to the ‘Jewish Athlete of the Year Nominations Committee’ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to the attention of Tracey Bastiaanssen, at the Rady JCC Community Centre, 123 Doncaster Street, Winnipeg, MB R3N 2V3.
“Nominations can also be emailed directly to . All nominations must be received by Sunday, April 15, 2018.”

Now a note from the sports guy: I am often asked by athletes themselves, coaches, friends, or family how their kin may participate in the competition. It’s easy. Just follow the directions. The problem is, however, a reluctance on the part of athletes who are either too bashful or tardy and miss the deadline. It’s called procrastination. Good luck!                                         
             
Slowly, but surely, forward BRENDAN LEIPSIC is beginning to make his presence known. It wasn’t always that way when he was with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League, when pro hockey scouts followed him around both home and away ranking the now 23-year-old as an early draft pick who appeared to have a skill set that would eventually lead to employment under the big top.
The pesky winger, who plays an explosive grinding game, has in the past demonstrated that he is also a sniper deluxe at the junior level. To wit: In his third of four years with the aforementioned outfit he won the league scoring title when he potted 49 goals and added 71 assists for 120 points. One didn’t have to be a mathematical wizard to conclude that he would be in demand in most circles.
Oh, by the way, part-time Jet Nic Petan who was his linemate on that glorious occasion, now spends most of his days across the hall at our arena with the Manitoba Moose. The latter, along with Brendan, give or take an inch, both stand at approximately 5’ 9” and tip the scales at 170 lbs.
What’s the point? As we all know, hockey for the most part is dominated by skaters who are economy-sized and are paid to throw their weight around. Oh, and they love to pump iron and eat Wheaties too - which generally implies that both of the above have to become more well-rounded players.
And they also have to be patient. As the army motto goes: “ They also serve who stand and wait.” And why do I stress that point? On occasion, I speak with hockey scouts and when I ask them what the chances are of my two subjects making the grade permanently, they offer: “Size is always a factor. They were both playmakers and snipers in the WHL, but this is a much different game.”

If you’re a supporter of underdogs, as I am, you must have been somewhat pleased that Leipsic, the Jewish kid from Winnipeg, just at the trading deadline, was sent to the Vancouver Canucks by the expansion Los Vegas Golden Knights for Philip Holm, a 26-year-old Swedish defenceman ,who stands 6’ 1”, and in 2016-17 won a gold medal with Team Sweden. The latter, disappointed - I’m sure, was then sent to the AHL to do his thing with Utica.
With Vegas, Brendan was struggling in the scoring department, producing only two goals and 11 assists in 44 games; hence he was deemed expendable. And he had been a scratch in four of the past five games. Nothing will destroy an individual’s confidence more than being benched. I recall commiserating with Petan when he was sitting out games for the Jets as well.
General Manager George McPhee stated on a team telecast that “We wanted to give Leipsic an opportunity with another NHL team and wished him all the best in Vancouver. It certainly wasn’t from lack of trying on his part.”
Well, being in the right place and at the right time is also very important in any line of work and, in the early going, Brendan, who was playing on the third or fourth line with the expansion club, wasn’t getting sufficient ice time to shine at what he did best as a Winterhawk.

As luck would have it, the Canucks’ management decided in the early going to put him on the number one line with a pair of pearls: Right winger Brock Boeser, 21, a 6’ 1” skater drafted at #23 in the 2015 NHL Draft. In 62 games thus far, he has 29 goals and 26 assists. Boeser also represented the Canucks on the all star team this season, which is no small accomplishment. Not to mention he leads his team in goals and total points.
Toss in Bo Horvat at centre and you have a trio that may shine from time to time in the production department on a fairly regular basis. In fact, Leipsic appeared to be making the most of his opportunity in the early going. He was described as “a good fit on the club’s top line, tacking on some additional speed, skill, and grit.”  Leipsic already contributed six points in the early going with the company he was now keeping.
Another commentator expressed that “There was some chemistry flowing on that line, but the question is will it be a long-term fit or not.”
Well, you never have to look for trouble; it will surely find you from time to time.
On March 5th, Boeser left the game in the third period after attempting to hip check Islander forward Cal Clutterbuck, but got the worst of it, crashing into an open bench door in a 4-3 overtime victory over New York.
And the news wasn’t very good because the young superstar is, in all likelihood, out for the season, since the Canucks are too far back in the pack to participate in post-season play.
The following day, after having been removed from the ice on a stretcher, it was reported that Boeser’s season was indeed over. The injury was described as “a soft tissue injury and a small non structural displaced fracture in the lower back.”
Hopefully, next season, the trio will once again be joined together again and burn up the league. And Leipsic won’t lose the loot he may have earned with the miracle on ice expansion team in Las Vegas where life is always a gamble