Perron pleased with turnout at Oilers skate

September 08 2014 07:07PM

The Edmonton Oilers had nearly 30 players and prospects on ice Monday for an informal skate at Millennium Place at Sherwood Park. The big turnout delighted veteran forward David Perron, who was among those on the ice.

"We've been done playing s...

Junior Krushelnyski scores rookie shot with Edmonton Oilers

September 08 2014 05:08PM

Old loyalties die hard. When Mike Krushelnyski’s boy Alex, who just finished four years at Colorado College, was looking for a shot at an NHL prospects tournament, he jumped at the chance to put on the same Edmonton Oilers jersey his dad wore when he won three Stanley Cups here in the 1980s. Alex, who plays left wing as his dad did here for much of his 290 Oilers games until he was traded to Los Angeles as part of the Wayne Gretzky blockbuster in 1988, had 101 points in 158 games for Colorado College. The five-foot-eleven, 173-pound forward was part of the list of college free-agents last spring but didn’t get signed.

Jury’s out on Edmonton Oilers defenceman Oscar Klefbom

September 08 2014 05:02PM

As National Hockey League test drives go, Oscar Klefbom’s 17 late-season Edmonton Oilers games last year was like pulling out of the car lot and going around the block a few times. No letting loose on the freeway, with the pedal to the floor. Not enough time for the coaching staff to be sold on whether Klefbom is ready to be an NHL blue-line regular, a top six guy this year, even if he partnered with Justin Schultz over the last month of play last season.

Oilers Announce Roster for 2014 Rookie Camp and Young Stars Classic

September 08 2014 10:31AM

The Edmonton Oilers announced today their roster for the 2014 Rookie Camp, which includes the 2014 Young Stars Classic Tournament, being held in Penticton, BC, from September 11-15th.

The Oilers Rookie Camp will open on Thursday, September 11t...

What We Learned: Let's not freak out about NHL camp tryout drama (Puck Daddy)

September 08 2014 07:45AM

( Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.) This is a thing that shouldn't have to be said, but apparently still needs saying, so here goes: NHL teams that invite NHL veterans to training camp with no actual guarantee of a contract is just good business. Pretty simple concept, really. If a team does this, it potentially improves them in some tangible way — often providing little more than team depth, but that in itself is obviously worth something — with the only cost to them being money. And even then, that's only if the invitee can beat out whatever other guys on the team might also be competing for a spot, usually at the bottom of a lineup. These facts are self-evident. If you invite a guy to camp without a contract, you are by definition guaranteeing him nothing but a chance to skate around in a few exhibition games and fill out the “NHL player” roster requirements for such without exposing your own players to a potential injury when some AHL goon geeked up on adrenaline and smelling salts decides to take a run at him from behind to “prove himself” to what he hopes will be his new NHL team. You are not offering him a job, you are not compromising anything. In fact, it's a good insurance policy for your own players (though perhaps a bit disingenuous to your fans, who have to pay through the nose for exhibition games featuring Sheldon Brookbank as their home team's No. 2 defenseman). And yet here were are, about a week and a half before training camps open, with people loudly complaining about two training camp invitations in particular. The first is the more controversial, with the Penguins having called up a former player for just about every half-decent team of the last five years or so, Dan Carcillo. From 2011 to today, Carcillo has had a remarkable journey, playing for four Stanley Cup finalists in the last four seasons: Philadelphia in 2010-11, Chicago in 2012-13, and both of them from last season thanks to a combined 57 games between Los Angeles and the Rangers. Has Carcillo been in any way responsible for these teams' successes in that time? Of course not. He has, in point of fact, been detrimental to them. But NHL teams look at that resume and say, “He must be doing something right,” because NHL teams often value the ability to simply be on good teams over the ability to actually contribute to them (this is lately known as “The Bolland Corollary,” but proved true time and again over the years). Carcillo being invited to Pittsburgh, of all places, seems particularly odious to some observers, who left their takes on the matter to sit on an early September sidewalk still-scorching from the long, hot August. As is often the case with the Battle of Pennsylvania, being a former Flyer is a nigh-unforgivable crime, but if Carcillo were a decent player (alas, he is not) then perhaps his sin of having collected a paycheck in the same commonwealth three years ago could be overlooked. But because literally all he's good for is boarding people and fighting — though less often than he once did; he has 12 over the past three seasons, after posting a combined 30 in 2009-10 and 2010-11 alone — this is seen as an affront to Penguindom, and all Mario Lemieux has ever stood for. It is, of course, not. Carcillo's chance of making the Penguins this season is minuscule, and probably non-existent if we're being honest. While third- and fourth-line depth has been an issue in Pittsburgh the last few years, the team took strides toward shoring that up this summer which were better than they should have reasonably expected. Carcillo might have pushed for a roster spot — very maybe — last season or the one before that, but now it would be truly shocking if he did so. And what's more, if there's a guy who gets beat for, say, the 13th forward spot by Dan Carcillo, of all the hockey players in the world, then that's not a guy you want on your team to begin with. Further, no one is going to argue that guys like Carcillo are even replacement-level players. Because they are not. If the need strikes, you could call up a good AHLer and expect better hockey than what they're going to provide, and assuredly that's what the Penguins will do. All Carcillo provides is “jam” or whatever coaching pablum is applied to relatively talentless players, and guys like that are available by the bushel. The handwringing over “What does this mean for Pittsburgh's philosophy?!” is silly. It means nothing. The other big invite that drew an unnecessary amount of fretting was Boston's decision on Friday to allow Ville Leino to come to camp. You know, “the” Ville Leino: That guy who suuucks and whose contract suuuucked, and the two were both so bad that he had to be bought out by Buffalo, a team that suuuuuuuuuuucks. You can see where people got upset. These worriers, in effect, got all worked up about was the fact that Leino never lived up to his deal. He, of course, was never going to. He signed for $4.5 million a season in 2011-12, back when $4.5 million a season wasn't a number reserved for borderline top-six wings and second-pairing defensemen. Back when saying, “$4.5 million,” actually meant what we still think it does today. What people forget is that when he signed that deal, it was only because Buffalo had just been bought by a billionaire, and they wanted to make a splash. Was it a sickening belly flop? You bet it was. Leino's salary went from $800,000 per year to $4.5 million (an increase of well over 500 percent), despite the fact that he'd never shown he could be much more than a third-line contributor at the best of times during the regular seasons, which is all he'd ever see in Buffalo anyway. His contributions with the Sabres over three seasons (10-36-46 points in 137 games) puts him in a points-per-60 range with Gregory Campbell and Chad Larose, which is bad, and clearly not worth the money. But at the same time, there are worse third- and fourth-line options than that in the league, and some of them are straight-up getting paid (Brian Boyle, Rene Bourque, and Shawn Horcoff actually had points-per-60 lower than that over the same period, though all faced more adverse situations than Leino). Thus, if you can have a Ville Leino on your team for, say, $700,000, that has the potential to be valuable. Especially for a team like Boston that's in a serious cap crunch, and frankly needs help on the wings. These, again, are nothing more than smart decisions from Rutherford and Peter Chiarelli, because both of their teams are right against the cap, and at worst these players will give them more options for a nominal fee. If the last few days have been any indication, both these guys could theoretically be signed to two-way deals (a la Corey Potter in Calgary or Steve Eminger in Boston) as well, giving the team flexibility to call up actual borderline NHL talent when the need arises, while not keeping them on the books until such time. These players, who have been around the league for years, can also help shepherd along both teams' burgeoning prospects and so on, if you believe in that stuff. The thing is, neither of these tryouts are likely to result in an NHL deal, but seeing if they might hurts neither team nor player. The only people who might walk away upset about it are the people who bought preseason tickets. And if you're doing that, you deserve to be disappointed in the first place. What We Learned Anaheim Ducks : Still cool to remember that the Ducks basically fund a high school hockey league in their area. But maybe their Hockey Day in Southern California should take place a little later in the season than “a week before training camps open.” Arizona Coyotes : It really does boggle the mind that the Coyotes let Radim Vrbata walk (to a division rival no less) when he was one of three or maybe four guaranteed 20-plus goal guys on the team. Of course, he tried that whole “playing elsewhere” thing before and it didn't work out for him, but where do those goals come from now? Boston Bruins : The Bruins have roughly a million NHL-ready defensemen on the roster, and will probably trade at least one of them. One who deserves to get a shot in the NHL — and it probably won't be with Boston — is David Warsofsky, an ultra-mobile undersized puck-mover who can put up decent numbers in the AHL. Buffalo Sabres : The Sabres power play is awful . This isn't news since it only went off at 14 percent last season, but this breakdown does not paint a pretty picture. They weren't unlucky, they were just ungood. Calgary Flames : Spread the news: Sam Bennett was in Ottawa when Sidney Crosby was arrested insofar as he was also working out in Colorado , and not actually in Ottawa. Carolina Hurricanes : Whoever wins the starting goaltender job in Raleigh this season will be expected to play 60 games this year . That means 22 games of Cam Ward! That means like 16 losses! Chicago Blackhawks : If you were wondering whether people know what “elite” means in the NHL today: Nope . Colorado Avalanche : Hmm.. Nathan MacKinnon is impressive , you say? I don't know guys. That might not be true. Columbus Blue Jackets : Not only do the Blue Jackets have a former Vezina winner in their crease for the foreseeable future, but they also have two very good prospects for the same position in the AHL. No fair. Dallas Stars : Jamie Benn says that the team getting Jim Nill basically made them make a total turnaround in a short period of time. Pretty hard to argue that any GM has done better over the last year and a half. Detroit Red Wings : Another tryout invitation : Raphael Diaz. That seems like a good fit, at least if Diaz accepts. Edmonton Oilers : Without playing a single game for Edmonton, Mark Fayne already has the team's “ worst contract .” Tough bounce. Florida Panthers : Aaron Ekblad thinks he'll make the Panthers next season , but what's a better idea? Giving him bottom-pairing minutes and power play time in the bigs or letting him play 25 a night in the OHL for another year? Los Angeles Kings : NHL.com ranked Drew Doughty as the best defenseman in the league . Hard to argue with, unless you're a PHWA voter; Doughty finished sixth in Norris voting this past season. Minnesota Wild : The Wild, for all the moving-in-the-right-direction they've done in the last year or so, still have a lot of problems . Even beyond the mess of a goaltending position, if you can believe that. Montreal Canadiens : C'mon Marty. Give it up . Nashville Predators, America's Favorite Hockey Team : James Neal thinks Derek Roy will have a good season with Nashville this year. He might also want to worry about himself, given that he didn't pack Evgeni Malkin when he moved. New Jersey Devils : It would take a little doing, I'd think, but Cory Schneider as a Vezina darkhorse is a very real proposition.

Gord Bamford wins top Canadian country music awards

September 07 2014 08:58PM


EDMONTON—Alberta’s Gord Bamford was crowned king of Canadian country music for a second year in a row Sunday and he says he’s now turning his sights south of the border.

After the veteran vocalist took home two top awards Sunday at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards show, he announced he has signed a deal with the American arm of Sony Music.

“I got turned down by every record label in Nashville probably two or three times until last week,” the 38-year-old told reporters.

“I’m just hoping I can be one of those guys to bust through so it paves the path for more Canadians because it needs to be done. So let’s take some good redneck Canadian country music over across the border and see if we can do good over there now.”

Bamford won Male Artist of the Year and Single of the Year for his slow-moving track “When Your Lips Are So Close.” The tune hit No. 1 on the country charts in just eight weeks.

City boy’s crash course in country music: Corey Mintz

Bamford also cleaned up at the CCMA awards last year winning five awards, including best album and single.

While he was born in Australia, Bamford told the Sunday crowd he was glad to be back home in Alberta, especially in the capital city, since he grew up “just down the road” in Lacombe.

Fellow Albertan Brett Kissell was poised to win big, having received the most award nominations with eight. The 24-year-old was shut out in the top categories, but did claim Video of the Year for the edgy “3-2-1.”

Jess Moskaluke, also 24, grabbed her first CCMA trophy for Female Artist of the Year. The pop-country lass from Langenburg, Sask., recently saw her single “Cheap Wine and Cigarettes” go gold.

“I’m loving every minute of this crazy ride,” said Moskaluke.

She credited her win to country music spreading its wings and allowing new and different types of sounds into the genre.

“It’s such a great time for country music right now ... I am here because I do such rock-pop-country music. And, had it not been for that spreading out and some of the bro-country that’s really been happening, I wouldn’t have had the gap that I had to let myself break through a little bit.”

Nova Scotia-based Dean Brody was given Album of the Year for Crop Circles, the same album that snagged a Juno back in March for country album of the year. He accepted the CCMA wearing his father’s dusty cowboy hat.

Brody said being back in Edmonton, where he once attended college and worked part-time at a Walmart, reminded him of how differently his life could have turned out if he had never taken a chance and sent some of his first songs off to record labels.

Country stalwart Johnny Reid claimed the Fans’ Choice award for the fifth time in the past six years.

Sibling-duo Small Town Pistols, Amanda and Tyler Wilkinson, who sang when they were younger with their father in The Wilkinsons, were honoured with Group of the Year. Amanda Wilkinson, seven months pregnant, joked on stage about being so excited she might go into labour.

“I think my kid’s gonna pop out,” she laughed.

The Rising Star award went to Tim Hicks, a 35-year-old country rocker from St. Catharines, Ont., who sported a ball cap instead of a Stetson.

He has amassed four Top 10 singles and even racked up two Juno nominations earlier this year, but Hicks said his success has been a long time coming.

He remembered one awful job he took before he made it big, singing on a moving double-decker bus. He turned green and his audience told him it was OK for him to sit down and stop playing.

“It took me 20 years to be a rising star but I don’t regret any of those gigs,” he said. “I can’t wait to go back home and share this with my friends and family and just continue this wild ride.”

Jim Prentice is next Alberta premier after winning PC leadership

September 06 2014 07:48PM


EDMONTON—Jim Prentice has won the Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership race and will soon be sworn in as Alberta’s 16th premier.

The 58-year-old former Calgary MP handily defeated former provincial cabinet ministers Ric McIver and Thomas Lukaszuk in a vote overshadowed by computer and phone foul-ups that left some members saying they were unable to cast a ballot.

Prentice takes over a PC government that has fallen sharply in the polls this year following the travel and spending controversies of former premier Alison Redford.

“The end of this leadership campaign represents a new beginning for Alberta,” Prentice told party members in a room at the Expo Convention Centre Saturday night, minutes after the vote totals were announced.

“Today we begin the work of restoring trust in government and making Albertans proud of the people who represent them and serve our province.”

Prentice captured almost 77 per cent of the votes cast, more than the 50 per cent plus one needed to avoid a run-off vote.

McIver, the member of the legislature for Calgary-Hays, took 12 per cent. Lukaszuk, the member for Edmonton-Castle Downs, collected 11 per cent.

Prentice now needs to gain a seat in the legislature and has already promised to call a byelection as soon as possible. The only vacant seat is the one that was held by Redford, although Neil Brown of Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill has offered to leave his seat so Prentice can run.

The next general election is slated for 2016.

Redford resigned as premier in March with a caucus revolt brewing over her leadership style and spending. She resigned her seat last month ahead of a damning auditor’s report examining her travel expenses.

Prentice had been the favourite from the time he announced his candidacy. Almost all members of the PC caucus announced their support for him. His campaign raised $1.8 million, more than double the $300,000 raised by Lukaszuk and $417,000 raised by McIver combined.

His pedigree is in federal politics. He served as minister of environment, aboriginal affairs and industry while in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government.

He quit politics in 2010 to take an executive position with CIBC. He has promised to refocus the Tory government and return integrity to it.

During the campaign, he pledged not to hike taxes or tinker with oil royalties. There will be an accelerated paydown of Alberta’s debt and a push to get new schools built.

Prentice has also promised a slimmed-down cabinet to reflect his government’s commitment to fiscal austerity.

He ran a campaign positioning himself as the outsider, untainted by Redford’s scandals

Prentice castigated Lukaszuk and McIver for sitting idly by in cabinet during the worst of Redford’s excesses.

Prentice has been pilloried in turn by Lukaszuk and McIver for giving away memberships to supporters. The party had asked all candidates to sell the memberships at $10 apiece. Lukaszuk and McIver labelled the actions underhanded and undemocratic.

It was the party’s third leadership vote in eight years, and the number of voters continued to decline. The party announced 23,000 votes in total.

In 2006, 97,000 voted in the first ballot in the campaign ultimately won by Ed Stelmach. In 2011, 59,000 voted on the first ballot in a race Redford eventually won.

This was the first time the PCs gave voters the option of voting online or by phone as well as casting a ballot in person.

It was a rocky process. Over Friday and Saturday, voters complained that they had not received the required 20-digit PIN. Others had a PIN but were disqualified due to home address mix-ups or for other reasons.

Still others reported facing long delays or not being able to gain access to the system at all.

TIFF 2014: Just like TV, only bigger

September 06 2014 03:12PM


It wasn’t so long ago that movie stars looked down on the TV world as the domain of Spellings and sitcoms. Now many actors do their most widely acclaimed (and widely seen) work in small-screen endeavours. Many cast members from much-cherished shows step into fresh roles at TIFF in the hopes of demonstrating their range — and perhaps restoring some of the luster that the movies ceded to another side of show business. Warning: TV show spoilers if you’re not caught up.

GAME OF THRONES

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

You know him as: the once-swaggering but since-humbled Jamie Lannister

You can see him at TIFF as: a cop who resorts to a drastic act in Second Chance, a Danish drama by Oscar-winner Susanne Bier

Natalie Dormer

You know her as: Margaery Tyrell, the crafty young widow of the deservedly poisoned King Joffrey

You can see her at TIFF as: a woman who runs with a fast crowd at Oxford in The Riot Club

Charles Dance

You know him as: Tywin, the imperious and now late head of the Lannister clan

You can see him at TIFF as: a British military commander who persecutes code-breaker and proto-computer-wiz Alan Turing in The Imitation Game

Kristofer Hivju

You know him as: the gruff Wildling warrior Tormund Giantsbane

You can see him at TIFF as: a red-bearded Swede in the Cannes hit Force Majeure

DOWNTON ABBEY

Dan Stevens

You know him as: local solicitor and reluctant Downton saviour Matthew Crawley

You can see him at TIFF as: a charismatic but potentially menacing visitor in the Midnight Madness entry The Guest

Laura Carmichael

You know her as: the oft-unlucky Edith Crawley, the second daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham.

You can see her at TIFF as: Henrietta in Sophie Barthes’ adaptation of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, which also stars recent Abbey visitor Paul Giamatti

Allen Leech

You know him as: chauffer turned Irish Republican fighter Tom Branson

You can see him at TIFF as: double agent John Cairncross in The Imitation Game.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY

Connie Britton

You know her as: Vivien Harmon, the woman who gets it on with a PVC-suited freak in the first season

You can see her at TIFF as: the older girlfriend of one of the squabbling siblings in This Is Where I Leave You

Lily Rabe

You know her as: Sister Mary Eunice in the second season, Asylum

You can see her at TIFF as: the sister of chess master Bobby Fischer in Pawn Sacrifice

Kathy Bates

You know her as: deadly socialite Delphine LaLaurie in the third season, Coven

You can see her at TIFF as: a school headmistress in Boychoir

MAD MEN

Jon Hamm

You know him as: suave but perpetually troubled ad-man Don Draper

You can see him at TIFF as: the patriarch of a problem-plagued Southern clan in The Sound and the Fury.

January Jones

You know her as: Don’s beautiful but volatile ex-wife Betty

You can see her at TIFF as: the concerned missus of Ethan Hawke as a drone-pilot operator in Good Kill

GLEE

Kevin McHale

You know him as: plucky fan fave Artie Abrams

You can see him at TIFF as: an inspirational music teacher in Boychoir

Harry Shum Jr.

You know him as: fleet-footed football player Mike Chang

You can see him at TIFF in: Revenge of the Green Dragon, an Asian-American crime saga exec-produced by Martin Scorsese

THE WIRE

Dominic West

You know him as: caustic and sometime-alcoholic detective Jimmy McNulty

You can see him at TIFF as: a flamboyant driving force in an LGBT group that allies itself with striking miners in Pride.

Idris Elba

You know him as: the cool and cunning Stringer Bell

You can see him at TIFF as: a Londoner whose wife appears to have experienced an immaculate conception in Second Coming

THE SOPRANOS

James Gandolfini

You know him as: the iconic New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano

You can see him at TIFF as: a Brooklynite with shady connections in The Drop, a crime drama that features the actor’s final performance before his fatal heart attack in 2013.

Tyson Barrie re-signs with Colorado, unaffected by Schultz’s riches (Puck Daddy)

September 04 2014 04:59PM

When Justin Schultz signed his one-year, $3.675-million deal with the Edmonton Oilers, there was much concern for Colorado Avalanche fans. How would this deal affect Tyson Barrie’s negotiation with the team, considering they were around the same age, had around the same stats and even shoot with the same hand?   Good news: Not much. Barrie inked a 2-year, $5.2-million deal as a restricted free agent on Thursday, good for a $2.6 million cap hit. There was some talk that Barrie’s deal could have been as high as a million dollars more than that hit; if that’s the case, then GM Greg Sherman got a bargain. Assuming he’s still the guy who does this stuff, and hasn’t been moved to the basement with his red stapler yet. Barrie played 18:33 per game over 64 games, posting 38 points and a plus-17. Without question, one of the reasons why the Avs’ defense played far ahead of what was promised on paper. Look no further than the impact his injury in Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals had on the team , after taking a knee-on-knee from the delightful Matt Cooke. Good contract for now. Two years from now, however, Barrie will be up again when Nathan MacKinnon goes RFA and Ryan O’Reilly goes UFA. Well, wherever Ryan O’Reilly is playing in two years. 

Taylor Hall sees puck possession, battling hard as keys to Edmonton Oilers success

September 03 2014 11:25AM

Edmonton Oilers winger Taylor Hall is a pedal-to-the-metal kind of guy, but he’s taking it a little slower coming into this season. “Last year for whatever reason, there were a lot of expectations coming in,” Hall said. “It seemed like the odds were a little bit stacked.”

MacKinnon: Edmonton Arena District will be like visit to Disneyland: Nicholson

September 02 2014 07:22PM

The former national hockey czar charged with bringing Oilers owner Daryl Katz’s vision to reality does not dial down his enthusiasm when talking about the Edmonton Arena District (EAD). “It will be like you’re going to Disneyland,” said Bob Nicholson, named vice-chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group in mid-June.

Blackhawks, Kings, Bruins and Penguins lead betting NHL betting odds (Puck Daddy)

September 02 2014 11:24AM

Looking at the latest Bovada betting odds for the NHL’s 2014-15 season, a few things are clear about wagering on the division champions.  1. The Metro Division might be the only one that could turn you a decent profit, provided the Pittsburgh Penguins stumble post-Bylsma and the New York Rangers don’t automatically ascend to the top spot. 2. The Tampa Bay Lightning and the St. Louis Blues are getting mad respect as contenders in the Atlantic and the Central, but the Bruins and Blackhawks are still top dogs.  3. Not only aren’t the New York Islanders ever on TV, but the odds-makers give the Edmonton Oilers a better shot at winning the Pacific than the Isles have in the Atlantic. 4. Based on those 11/2 odds for the Colorado Avalanche, Bovada's obviously on the Corsi bandwagon too.  Here are the latest odds from Bovada:

Widower goes back to university to study cancer that killed his wife

September 02 2014 09:55AM


EDMONTON—Powel Crosley was lost after his wife died of a rare form of ovarian cancer.

But he felt compelled to carry on her fight somehow against the disease and to help find a treatment for others — so he went back to school.

The 60-year-old man, whose long grey hair is often pulled back in a ponytail, stands out as the oldest student in most of his classes at the University of Alberta, where he has been enrolled as an undergrad student since 2010. At times, he has been mistaken for a professor.

It wasn’t easy for Crosley to sit in a classroom again. It had been decades since he studied geography in university and he’d already had a career in information technology. But he was determined to learn as much about cancer as possible. He took introductory courses in biochemistry and oncology. Then one of his profs asked him to do lab research alongside masters and doctoral students.

Recently, the science rookie was awarded $60,000 in grants to keep studying granulosa cell tumour of the ovary, otherwise known as GCT, which accounts for about 5 per cent of ovarian cancer cases.

Several photos of Crosley’s wife, Sladjana, pop up on his computer screen in the lab, where he will spend the next two years working on the project. She was the one with the brains, he says, a chemical engineer with years of science and lab experience, who pored over scientific literature on GCT during the 13 years she battled the disease.

“Her motto was: the answer lies in the lab,” says Crosley. “She was pretty persistent about things she believed in. And so I’m just basically completing her mission.

“I want to show that she was right.”

Crosley, originally from Buffalo, N.Y., says he was working for a consulting firm in Oak Ridge, Tenn., when a stunning brunette walked in for a job interview. He learned that Sladjana Milenkovic had first moved to his hometown from Serbia.

The two quickly bonded over their love of the Buffalo Bills football team. Then she floored Crosley with her intelligence and sketched some complex molecular diagrams on a white board. He hired her and couldn’t bring himself to erase her drawings for weeks.

They had their first date a few months later. Crosley knew she loved opera and, although he had never been before, happily bought tickets to Verdi’s La Traviata. Opera became their thing and, after they married and Sladjana took his last name, the couple travelled to see performances around the world.

In 1996, Sladjana went to hospital with abdominal pain. Doctors attributed it to gas and sent her home. Later they found a mass on one of her ovaries. They removed it and informed her she had GCT.

“They said it’s kind of a cancer, but not really. It almost never comes back and nobody ever dies of it, so we don’t have anything to worry about,” Crosley recalls.

“We thought everything was fine.”

Three years later, after the couple had moved to New Zealand, the GCT returned. It did so again and again, even after several major surgeries.

Crosley says that during her illness, his wife couldn’t find out much about the disease, so she established the Granulosa Cell Tumour Research Foundation and posted information on its website for others.

She also took part in various drug trials and, by making and selling jewelry, raised money to finance new research.

She died in 2009 at 58.

Crosley took over the foundation and began running marathons to keep fundraising going. He weighed options for schools so he could learn more about cancer and settled on Edmonton. He and his wife had visited the city before on business trips and liked it — even in the winter.

He also wanted to start over in a new place, one that didn’t have so many memories.

Mary Hitt, an associate professor of oncology at the university, was impressed by the mature student in her class who asked so many questions. When he approached her to talk about his ideas, she invited him to work in her lab.

He faced a steep learning curve but has proven himself, Hitt says. And he’s the only one there doing GCT research.

“It’s been an inspiration to other people in the lab, too, because of his dedication. He’s so motivated and really interested in what’s going on and interested in new therapies and trying out new things.”

Crosley’s project involves testing a new drug developed at the University of Illinois for use against other cancers. So far, he says, its results against GCT have been encouraging.

And he thinks not having a science background may actually be a good thing.

“Sometimes you get the answer by going against the flow or thinking of things in a different way.”

Jerry Greene: Predictions for the NFL season

August 31 2014 06:10AM

How do you feel about "spoilers?"

Edmonton Oilers 'buying a bit of time' with new Justin Schultz deal

August 29 2014 04:55PM

Chances are when Edmonton Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish was working on that one-year, $3.675-million contract with Justin Schultz’s agent, he didn’t hammer home his theory that the puck-moving defenceman has “Norris Trophy potential.”