Dustin Pollack

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Dustin Pollack is a blogger for Yahoo! Sports

  • Kevin Dineen coached the women's Olympic hockey team to gold in Sochi. (The Canadian Press)In the latter stages of his NHL career, Kevin Dineen always kept a notebook by his side.

    The forward, who played 18 seasons with five different pro teams from 1984-2003, knew he wanted to stay involved in the game post-retirement and the notebook – where he’d jot down drills, faceoff plays and various strategies – perhaps best represented the coaching career he seemed destined for and would eventually gravitate toward.

    It’s no surprise considering his father’s history behind the bench. Bill Dineen coached for 15 years in the WHA, AHL and NHL and when Kevin and his four brothers were growing up they’d often go down to the rink and watch their dad run through practices with the Houston Aeros.

    “Those were pretty formative years for me,” Dineen recalled in a recent phone interview from Toronto.

    Decades later the 50-year-old and second youngest of the five boys has a lengthy coaching resume he can point to and just last week he was named the head coach of Canada’s men’s under-18 team.

    Read More »from Kevin Dineen is ready to build off his Olympic success with the Canadian men’s U-18 team
  • Jerome Williams is in his first year as head coach for the Findlay Prep Pilots. (RM Imaging)TORONTO – When Jerome Williams was asked in front of a small host of reporters recently if this was where he expected to be nearly a decade after retiring from the NBA, the man better known as ‘The Junkyard Dog’ just smiled and shook his head.

    Coaching high school basketball was never a part of his post-NBA career plan, but nevertheless that’s where the 40-year-old Williams finds himself now – leading the Findlay Prep Pilots from the sidelines.

    “I definitely have a lot of fun here because it involves a lot of things that come naturally [including] community service [and] giving back,” Williams said after Findlay Prep, based out of Henderson, Nev., defeated Bill Crothers Secondary in the first JYD Classic earlier this month at the Air Canada Centre. “Obviously this isn’t a triple-figure job, this is just for the love of the game and that’s why I’m here.”

    Justin Jackson, a sophomore small forward for the Pilots who hails from Scarborough, Ont., says he’s enjoying having someone like

    Read More »from Former Raptor Jerome Williams leads Findlay Prep basketball program on and off the court
  • Justin Jackson hoping to become Canada’s next big NCAA basketball star

    TORONTO – Dillon Brooks (left) and Justin Jackson (right) took to the court at the ACC last weekend. (RM Imaging)Justin Jackson isn’t old enough to remember much about the Vince Carter era in Toronto.

    He was only a toddler when Carter put together one of the most memorable performances in NBA All-Star Weekend Dunk Contest history in 2000 and then led the Raptors to within a basket of the Eastern Conference finals a year later.

    However, the moments – arguably the two biggest in franchise history – continue to live on today via the Internet and the 17-year-old Jackson says he’s watched all the famous clips.  Though he never saw either of them play as Raptors, he still considers Carter and Tracy McGrady, who was a key part of the Toronto organization for three seasons in the late 1990s and early 2000s, to be two of the biggest influences on his career thus far.

    “I used to watch YouTube highlights of Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady and they were a deadly combination,” Jackson said in front of a small media contingent in Toronto last weekend. “I used to watch those videos because I think I

    Read More »from Justin Jackson hoping to become Canada’s next big NCAA basketball star
  • Graham and Jamie Wise leading Ryerson men’s hockey team to historic season

    Graham Wise is in his eighth season as head coach of the Ryerson Rams. (Photo Courtesty Winston Chow)Graham Wise can’t say he’s entirely surprised.

    Had you told the head coach of Ryerson University’s men’s hockey team in September that his team would be in a race for first place in the OUA West division with only a handful of games remaining in the regular season, “I would have said, ‘sure we’ll take it,” Wise said in a recent phone interview. “I don’t think it was a goal that was out of reach.”

    However, he understands why his team’s success – they’re currently in third place in the OUA West division, two points behind first place Western – has likely come as a surprise to a few people around the CIS.

    It wasn’t long ago that Ryerson was a perennial basement dweller in the OUA standings.

    Between 2002-2012 the Rams combined for an abysmal 56-195-16-2 record and the team won fewer than five games in five of those seasons.

    Wise came on board after the 2005-2006 season, leaving York University where he spent 19 years as the head coach and won 13 division titles, two OUA championships and

    Read More »from Graham and Jamie Wise leading Ryerson men’s hockey team to historic season
  • Lightning forward Steven Stamkos continuing to work toward pre-Olympic return

    Steven Stamkos broke his right tibia on November 11th. (The Canadian Press)The feeling of helplessness is what’s bothered Steven Stamkos most over the last two months. Knowing that no matter how many hours he puts into rehabbing his right leg, healing takes time.

    He’s never been through this type of injury recovery process before in his career and although he doesn’t want to make his situation seem more serious than it is, “obviously [it’s] nothing compared to what other people go through in their lives,” he said in a recent phone interview, the last two months haven’t been easy for the 23-year-old.

    It was during a mid-November matinee game against the Boston Bruins that the Tampa Bay Lightning star forward crashed into his own net, his right leg slamming into the post before snapping backwards awkwardly.

    The result: a broken tibia, an injury that would require surgery and leave his Olympic status in doubt.

    “I remember being on the ice knowing something was extremely wrong with the leg and thinking ‘why now? This is probably the best I’ve played in my

    Read More »from Lightning forward Steven Stamkos continuing to work toward pre-Olympic return
  • Huntington Prep basketball team adjusting to life without Andrew Wiggins

    Rob Fulford has been the head coach at Huntington Prep since 2009. (Getty Images)When asked to describe the atmosphere around the Huntington Prep basketball team last season, head coach Rob Fulford's answer is short and to the point, yet not all that surprising.

    “It was definitely a circus,” Fulford said in a recent interview, referring specifically his team’s experience on the road.

    Sold out gyms, a heavy media presence at games, one-hour autograph sessions. A bit more attention than one might expect for a high school team.

    However, the West Virginia school was home to Canadian phenom Andrew Wiggins and Fulford, who says he’s never experienced that type of buzz around a team before, knows most, if not all the interest around his group came from fans and media who just wanted to catch a glimpse of the budding hoops star before he ventured off to the NCAA.

    “Certainly Andrew was rock star status,” Fulford said of the 18-year-old. “I think that was one of the things for us last year, the guys had to adjust to that . . . I thought the kids handled themselves well, but

    Read More »from Huntington Prep basketball team adjusting to life without Andrew Wiggins
  • Windsor Lancers’ dynasty a product of coach Chantal Vallee’s patience, commitment

    Chantal Vallee (left) and fifth-year player Jessica Clemencon (right). (The Canadian PressWhere most coaches would have likely seen a program with little to offer, Chantal Vallee saw an opportunity.

    When the Montreal native took over the Windsor Lancers women’s basketball team in 2005 she had hopes of transforming one of the worst programs in the country – they’d never competed in the CIS national championships and had only compiled a small handful of winning seasons – into a national champion.

    It seemed like a lofty goal at the time, especially for a 30-year-old who’d never been a head coach above the high school level, but eight years later the Lancers are a budding university basketball dynasty and Vallee is still at the helm.

    “Looking back [on what we’ve done] it makes me realize how privileged I am,” she said in a recent phone interview.

    Vallee came to Windsor with a five-year championship plan and an educational background in sport to go along with it. She graduated McGill University with a master’s degree in sports psychology and had done research on what it takes to

    Read More »from Windsor Lancers’ dynasty a product of coach Chantal Vallee’s patience, commitment
  • Vasek Pospisil climbed more than 100 spots in the world rankings in 2013. (Getty Images)Vasek Pospisil doesn’t consider himself to be much of a spender.

    He earned more than $600,000 in prize money on the ATP Tour this year, jumping from no. 140 to no. 32 in the world singles rankings. Yet a week after wrapping up his breakthrough season he isn’t really thinking about the financial side of his success.

    Well, other than the fact that he plans to spend a small part of the prize money on a new Mac computer.

    “I’ve had mine for the last six years or something and it’s fallen apart completely,” Pospisil said on a season-ending conference call earlier this week.

    “I’ll probably spend a lot of it on my family and parents who’ve helped me since I was a little kid. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my dad and them.”

    He’s right.

    When Vasek was 12 years old he and his mother Mila picked up and moved from Vernon, British Columbia to an apartment in Vancouver – about four and a half hours away – so he could pursue his tennis dreams on a more full-time basis with Vadim

    Read More »from Vasek Pospisil sets his eyes on 2014 after a breakthrough tennis season on the ATP Tour
  • Eugenie Bouchard has become Canada’s biggest women’s tennis star

    Eugenie Bouchard recently wrapped up her first full season on the WTA circuit. (CP)In less than a year Westmount, Que., native Eugenie Bouchard has gone from being a relatively unknown talent – especially outside Canada – to one of the top young stars in women’s tennis.

    The 19-year-old recently wrapped up her first full season on the WTA circuit and though she didn’t come away with any tournament titles, she was able to climb 115 spots in the world rankings to no. 32, where she currently sits.

    Her meteoric rise up the tennis ranks is a story that should seem somewhat familiar to Canadian tennis fans.

    It was less than three years ago that Milos Raonic received plenty of attention for his unexpected run at the Australian Open. Raonic, ranked 152nd at the time, won three qualifying matches to get into the main draw and advanced all the way to the round of 16 before being knocked off by David Ferrer. That performance catapulted him 60 spots in the ATP rankings and by the end of 2011 he’d become the 31st ranked men's player in the world.

    Bouchard hasn’t put together that

    Read More »from Eugenie Bouchard has become Canada’s biggest women’s tennis star
  • Mark McMorris, 19, will be one of Canada's medal favourites in Sochi. (Getty Images)Mark McMorris admits the comparisons can get a little repetitive, but he understands that being measured against Shaun White is only a testament to how far he’s come thus far in his career.

    Ever since the 19-year-old Canadian competed at the Winter X Games in January and captured his second of back-to-back gold medals in slopestyle – a discipline in which riders take to a course of rails and jumps and try to land big-air tricks – by outperforming the legendary White and a host of others, he’s been pinned as the biggest obstacle standing between the red-headed American and two more Olympic golds.

    White, of course, is the sport’s biggest name having won 13 gold medals at the Winter X Games – five in slopestyle – and two at the Olympics over the course of his career.

    His stature within the sport combined with the fact that slopestyle has been added to the Olympic schedule for the first time and it’s no wonder that talks of a Canadian-American snowboard showdown are beginning to ramp up

    Read More »from Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris will attempt to take down Shaun White en route to Sochi Olympic gold

Pagination

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