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What if there's no hockey?

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Published June 7, 2008

With the Youngstown SteelHounds no longer playing in the Central Hockey League, the 2008-09 season at the Chevrolet Centre is up in the air. If the SteelHounds can't find another league quickly, there will be 32 dates between October and March that will be open — unless arena manager Eric Ryan can work his magic and fill them.

Ryan was a concert promoter in Struthers before Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams and other city officials decided that he was the answer to the city's prayers for the Chevrolet Centre to become a goldmine.

Is it unfair to put the entire burden on Ryan? Perhaps.

So, in a display of community spirit, here are a few suggestions on how to fill the open dates:

1.  "Dancing with the skanks." This event has the potential of being as successful as Dancing with the Stars. With the economic recession, Youngstown's hookers are barely making a living. They deserve a break. The city should invite them to participate in a dance contest, with current and former public officials, such as former employees of the Ohio Attorney General's Office, serving as their partners. As the case of former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer showed, officeholders have a way with ladies of the night.

2. "Cage fighting." The popularity of the television series suggests that the Youngstown events would be a hit — because of what they would entail. Given the desire of the city's gangbangers to settle their scores with real bullets on the streets of the community, they would be invited to participate in a shootout at the center. Of course, the arena would be enclosed by bullet-proof glass to protect the spectators. The gangbangers would be placed inside the enclosure all at the same time, and would be given a signal to start shooting. The last man standing — if there is one — would be declared the winner of that round. Given the number of gun-toting criminals in the city, there would have to be several rounds, before the ultimate winner is declared. The prize: his criminal record would be wiped clean.

3. "Regional World Poker Tournament contests." This region's gambling roots run deep, thanks to the Mafia, and there is no reason that Valley residents who grew up as numbers runners or rolling the dice in alleyway, or even playing poker and blackjack during casino nights hosted by Catholic churches should be deprived of showing off their skills. The local tournaments would have to be sanctioned by the WPT.

4. "Polka, polka, polka." Enough said.

These are just a few of the events that would attract thousands of area residents to downtown Youngstown.

There must other suggestions out there that would help Eric Ryan as he tries to fill the 32 dates. Send them in.



1jmanhere(1 comment)posted 7 years, 11 months ago

Really mature comments/solutions coming from a person and organization that is supposed to be a caretaker of the community.

The above editorial really speaks of the maturity and integrity of the Vindicator.

Yes, this area is dying, but to have the most vocal media element of the area espousing vulgar alternatives in this pathetic manner is a gross violation of their civic duty.

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2Jon(27 comments)posted 7 years, 11 months ago

Bertram, you are an absolute terrible writer. My only interest in reading your column is to find out just how bad your column is each particular week (which I guess is good for the Vindicator; I still see the ad displays). Time to do something about Bertram Vindy, he's an embarrassment.

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3sallyrrah(3 comments)posted 7 years, 11 months ago

I can't believe that Bertram is seen as such a valid editorial voice in the valley. He clearly will never see anything positive here; so why doesn't he just move to greener pastures?

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4Tugboat(759 comments)posted 7 years, 11 months ago

Interesting that if Leno or Letterman made this a routine on late night TV, everyone around here would think it was funny.

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5hotwings(41 comments)posted 7 years, 11 months ago

Anti-Youngstown writer writing for the anti-Youngstown newspaper. It's pathetic these people make their living off the city.

Take your self-loathing elsewhere. It's time for a change. I will not support the Vindy. We need a new "paper" in this town.

Bertram should be fired for such crass writing.

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6MADMIKE(3 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

I really don't understand deSouza's obsession with ragging on everything about this Valley. Years ago, his sarcasm may have been meant to help get politicians to do better. Obviously, this is no longer the case. I would tell Bertram to go find a job at another paper, but nobody wants him. It is amazing that the Vindicator has held onto him for this long. The Sunday column is predictable. DeSouza takes every opportunity to bring up Jim Trafficant. His editorial on June 15 was completely about Trafficant.

Hey readers, toss a coin in the air for next week's Sunday column. Head's he mentions Jim Trafficant, tails Marc Dann.

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