Tuesday, Nov. 18 — Tait’s 8


•What’s the first sign the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton is getting fired up? Why, it’s the media gingerbread house competition and it was held Monday. A total of 29 teams cut, pasted and, best of all, tasted. The real winners are the people, 65,000 this year, who will get a Christmas meal who otherwise wouldn’t. And also tied for first place are Edmontonians who, once again, will make this happen.

•Good morning to you, Iris Evans. The former MLA and cabinet minister is the keynote speaker to the Alberta School Board Association’s meeting Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the Westin.

•It’s National Addictions Awareness Week. It could be a new beginning for someone you know, or, even — more exciting — for you. All the best to everyone part of this week.

•Bruce Bowie is perhaps known the most in the morning where he navigates the 630 CHED Morning News.  But tonight he’ll be front and centre — Bruce will be leading a Christian worship this evening at Hope Mission. He volunteers to speak one night a month at Hope Mission.

•It could be a bitter sweet Tuesday for Shawn Ewasiuk  over there at the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities. Sean is leaving his position as the council’s director for a new role with Alberta Energy.

•Way to go, Edmonton Little Aces! The group that shares the game of tennis with young kids has teamed up with Canadian Tire Jumpstart, the Edmonton Public School Board and  Kids in Motion to give a tennis program to more than  300 Grade 4 and 5 students. A total of eight schools from low income neighbourhoods have been will be taught tennis skills — and, there was a friendly competition Monday at the Kinsmen Sports Centre.

•The Edmonton Sun’s Annual Auction is on now until Friday with close to $1 million worth of merchandise. Sun advertisers put some of their products on the block so there will be some great deals. For more info visit edmontonsun.com

•And just wondering about the current Edmonton Oiler current situation: has the team learn how to hate — really hate — losing?


Tait’s 8 — Eight tid bits to help get you through the day

• Curtis Lazar will play his first professional hockey game Thursday night for the Ottawa Senators against the Edmonton Oilers. Curtis spent four years in Edmonton playing junior for the Oil Kings and is a great young man. He told Sun Media Wednesday he was planning to visit his billet family during his stay. Edmonton Sun hockey writer Brian Swane summed things up best: “Curtis might be thee nicest kid EVER,” says Brian.

Curtis hasn’t scored his first NHL goal. Wouldn’t it be … ?

• There’s a special recognition event Thursday at the DoubleTree by Hilton West Edmonton to honor Silvio Dobri who is retiring as a board member of the GoodHearts Transplant Foundation.  The group helps transplant patients in need of financial help. Silvio has done wonderful work for the group since becoming a transplant survivor several years ago.

• The big roast for 630 CHED’s Bryan Hall was last night at River  Cree.  So if he sounds a little fuzzy on the big 630 Morning News Thursday he has good reason. We’re not saying Bryan’s old, but we hear he was a waiter at the Last Supper.

• Wayne Lee and friends are hosting their annual Empowering Edmonton event Monday with all funds going to the Cerebral Palsy Association of Alberta. It’s a day of great stories shared by incredible people. Visit.empoweringalberta.com for more details.

• We’re sending best wishes to Oiler president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe and Don Metz of Aquila Productions. Both men recently had brief hospital stays. Both men, however, are fighters and will be back on their roads real soon.

• Mrs. Tait and I reflected earlier this week on celebrating 19 years of marriage. There are many things which have contributed to our happiness, including, of course, having two remote controls of the television.

• There’s a great — absolutely terrific — picture Mark Scholz shared on his Facebook page. Mark’s father Fred is visiting from Newfoundland and Mark snapped a shot of Fred having his nose squeezed by young Henry Scholz, Mark’s nine-month-old son.

• Canadians responded like never before on Remembrance Day in Ottawa in record numbers. We showed out appreciation and gratitude. And, I think, we’ll continue to do so in future years.











Details on an Oiler game with Tait for the ATCO Edmonton Sun Christmas Charity Auction

When it comes to attending Edmonton Oiler home games, I’m a very lucky guy. That’s what I want to share with someone  … and that could be you.

But, here’s the best part of it all: you will be contributing to the ATCO Edmonton Sun Christmas Charity Auction. Funds raised will be divided four ways between the Christmas Bureau, United Way, the Sign of Hope and the Stollery Children’s Hospital.

So here’s how it works: I have cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair. When I applied for my press pass for the 1979-1980 season — the Oilers’ first NHL campaign — the team’s public relations department asked if I needed another pass for someone to give me a little help at the game. I thanked them very much and now, 35 years later, I still have two passes.

In the late 1990’s, my friend Scott McKeeen came to an Oiler game with me. Scott must have enjoyed himself: the next morning he asked if we could auction my assistant’s pass away for, ironically, United Way. We did. Over the next 15 years, I’ve shared my assistant’s pass with many charity auctions.

Let me give you a run through of the evening.

We’ll meet two hours before game time at the Game Day Office on the north side of Rexall Place. Then we go downstairs and I will show you around the media facilities.

Back on the elevator we go to the fourth floor and head to the media dinning room for a buffet dinner. We’ll run into guys like John, Jason, Tommy and Randy who will tell you outrageous stories about me.

But  don’t believe them.

Well, not all of them.

We’ll eat and enjoy — and I sincerely mean this — butterscotch or chocolate pudding for desert.

We’ll head back downstairs to watch warm-up. On the way, guys like Dan, Al, Steve and Farmer will tell you more stories about me.

Again, please use discretion.

After warm-up we’ll go to our seats in a wheelchair section behind one of the nets, right in row 19. Very good seats.

Following the game, we make a visit to the Oiler dressing room and listen to player interviews. I often get ideas for a column or blog from listening and observing after games.

Our final stop of the evening is around a corner, and down a long hallway into the press conference room where Dallas Eakins addresses the media.

It’s something I never get tired of, and I love sharing it with hockey fans.

If you’re a die-hard hockey fan or enjoy seeing  how things unfold behind the scenes, this could be for you. 


You can bid on it right up until Thursday until 7 p.m 

I would like to clarify a few things.

• this is for ONE person only

• minimum age is 16 years old

• since we are members of the working media we must remain as objective as we can so, respectfully, I ask you do not wear an Oiler jersey or cap.

If you have any further questions, fire me an email to cam.tait@sunmedia.ca.

I am so blessed to be able to have a great working relationship with the Oilers.

And in the spirit of Christmas, I’d like to share it with you.

July 9: Chapter II: Nobody asked me but …


wash7.jpg  Every day on the way to work I drive down Whyte Ave. and see the northeast corner on Gateway Blvd.
And there’s a building the. A red brick building, in fact.

And it’s a washroom. Good idea, for a variety of reasons.

But let’s give the folks who need to pause for the cause a little privacy.

Because when you’re driving by there’s a big window, if I’m not mistaken — and, you can see right inside.

So let’s put it out there on a first poll. (We have another a little later.)




The Happy Couple....10 years, already!

The Happy Couple….10 years, already!

•Back on the Mother’s Day weekend, Nicole Turenne shared a question with me, and I haven’t told anyone. But today I will. Nicole, the communications and marketing manager for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, said she and Corey Graham had been dating for 10 years. Nichole wondered if, maybe, one day Corey might propose marriage. A Tuesday Facebook post was pure joy: Corey Nichole are engaged! It’s been quite a few months for Corey, play-by-play man on TSN 1260 who calls Edmonton Oil King games, including the big Memorial Cup win. See, Nicole: patience is a virtue.


•And speaking of patience — did you see the line-up on the Whitemud Freeway about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, all the backed up all the way from the Rainbow Valley bridge, all the way 91 St. eastbound? That’s what a four-car pile-up will do during rush hour. If you were one of those folks, in a hot vehicle, and no air conditioning, send us a tweet or email and let us know how you survived.


Truc drivin' Norton

Truc drivin’ Norton

•My old buddy Ross Norton popped by for a visit Tuesday to talk Canadian Paraplegic Association, wheelchair basketball and all kinds of stuff. Ross saved the best for last, though. On his way out he asked if I would like to see his truck. Sure glad I did.

It was a green 1957 Chevy. Nice!





•The Angels Anonymous Connection is having a big fundraiser Saturday night at the Fantasyland Hotel. But, that’s all I’m going to tell you. All the details about the wonderful work Angels Anonymous does will be in the Tait on 8 column in Thursday’s Edmonton Sun.




•Big new six-year deal between the Edmonton Oilers and the Corus Entertainment. Sounds like another  good poll question so let’s fire that up.




1297519698495_ORIGINAL•City councilor Scott McKeen is sharing his time with Meals on Wheels Thursday and is challenging other citizens to do the same. Great cause. And Scott knows a few things about food: he wrote restaurant reviews a few years back in the Edmonton Journal. He’ll do a great job. If you want to get involved with Meals on Wheels, call 780-429-2020.



Share your good news, good works, celebrations — heck, even Uncle Elmer’s birthday party — with the Tait on 8 blog.












If you had to predict a headline Friday, what would it be?

...Taylor Hall

…Taylor Hall

A little after 5 p.m. Thursday, the Katz Group issued a press release announcing a press conference Friday morning at the Westin Hotel.

A major announcement is expected.

...Bob Nicholson

…Bob Nicholson

So imagine this: you write headlines for The  Edmonton Sun and edmontonsun.com.  You’re waiting for the story to come in, and you want to get it on the page as soon as you can.

If you guess what the story is, you can write the headline and have it already to go.719px-WC-2014-Brasil.svg (1)

So peer into your crystal ball and take a stab at what Friday’s headline will be.

Slice No. 1 – Toast with Tait — Oil King fans … where are they?



I had to look at the number again. And again. I realized the four figures on Western Hockey League website would not change, despite how often I looked at them. So I guess we’ll have to accept it. But, understand it? I don’t — and perhaps it begs a nagging question: what do Edmonton hockey fans want? The Edmonton Oil Kings were in a barn burner Tuesday night at Rexall Place: they came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Portland Winterhawks in Game 3 of the championship series. The Oil Kings have climbed right back in the best-of-seven series — winning their first game – and trail the Winterhawks 2-1. Those are good numbers.


But here’s the figure I don’t understrand: 6,799. Let’s look at it again. Six thousand, seven hundred and ninety-nine. That’s how many fans were at the game. A playoff game. A championship playoff game. A playoff game against the Winterhawks who have played the Oil Kings in the last two championship finals, setting up the rubber match for this year. The Oil Kings won the WHL championship two years ago and Portland won it last spring. And there were 6,799 fans there.


Interesting, isn’t it? The last time the Edmonton Oilers had a playoff home date was (I think I had hair back then) was 2006. Certainly, they have struggled. The Oil Kings are owned by the Oilers and there has been fan unrest. We have to ask the question: are fans not going because they’re mad at the Oilers for their performance? Or, has hockey fans in Edmonton resigned to the fact playoff hockey in Edmonton, especially in May, doesn’t exist? Or, … you tell me.


The Oil Kings deserve the support of Edmonton. They are a success story, making three championship series in a row. And this year is a little more special because the Oil Kings weren’t supposed to contend for a championship.


Game 4 goes tonight at 7 p.m. Six thousand, seven hundred and ninety-nine? Edmonton can do better. Playoff hockey at Rexall Place in May doesn’t always involve the Oilers. And as soon as we accept that, and start supporting the Oil Kings, the better sports town Edmonton will be.