A few vacation things to mull over in the sports world

Here’s some School Vacation Week tids and bits as we get primed for the first full week of high school tournaments:

—- As the high school hockey regular season comes to a close and the state tournament in all divisions begins this week, we should note that it hasn’t been the same without receiving the nightly game score emails from late former Nashua and Manchester school athletics official George “Butch” Joseph. But his memory fittingly lives on.

His family a year ago, after his death in April, began the George Butch Joseph Foundation to provide scholarships to deserving athletes in Mancheser and Nashua. A one-pitch softball tournament held last spring raised some $8,000 for the foundation and the first two scholarships will be awarded this spring. This year’s tournament on May 11 at Gill Stadium and Wolfe Park in Manchester, and 100 percent of the proceeds go to the Foundation. At this year’s eight-team, double elimination event (the title game is at Gill) there will be concessions, raffles, a children’s tent with grab bags, and other attractions.

Joseph,who passed away from cancer at the age of 83, would email out hockey scores to coaches and media members all winter long, and did it for several seasons – even from his hospital bed. Getting those emails the night of games was a winter tradition. Just hasn’t been the same this year.

For more information about applying for this year’s scholarship, contact your high school guidance department. For more info on the tournament, contact Vinny Langella at 603-540-5029 or visit the George Butch Joseph Foundation on Facebook.

We miss you, Butch.

—–Congratulations to Campbell High School alum Caitlyn Calinan, who now runs cross country for Saint Anselm College where she is a freshman. Calinan was named as one of the American Red Cross’s “Everyday Heroes” and will receive the Youth Good Samaritan Award at the Grappone Center in Concord on Wednesday, April 17 – a year after she ran the Boston Marathon as the youngest registered female runner in the event’s rich history, raising more than $11,000 for the American Liver Foundation in honor of her now late grandfather, Wayne Gagne. Gagne, who was fighting liver disease, passed away this past December.

—- Many have paid tribute, and fittingly so, to the memory of late Boston Globe sporstwriter Nick Cafardo, who died suddenly Thursday of an embolism while at Red Sox spring training in Fort Meyers, Fla. Yours truly got to know Cafardo a bit during his days covering the the New England Patriots, during the Pete Carroll years and the first couple of seasons in the Belichick Era. Cafardo was one of the writers who was fairly confident late in the 2001 regular season that the Patriots had what it took to at least make it to the Super Bowl, and that they would be the eventual AFC champion. As usual, he was right. A really great guy, as most of you have probably read already, Cafardo will certainly be missed in Red Sox and Major League circles for years to come.

—-It doesn’t appear as if Merrimack’s Tim Schaller is having the same success – or being used in the same way – with the Vancouver Canucks as he was with the Boston Bruins as a fourth liner. Schaller has played in just 36 games thus far, with no goals, five assists and seven penalty minutes. He did get 11 shifts the other night against Arizona,which was his first game since Feb. 4. He was a healthy scratch for a remarkable seven straight games at one point, and it’s been surmised by some around the league that he’s viewed as nothing more than an emergency depth option for the Canucks, who at last look were 26-27-8 and five or six points out of a playoff spot. Let’s hope things change for Schaller out west, because he certainly proved with the Bruins that he can be a valuable player when used correctly.

—-Alvirne High School did itself proud the other night in honoring the 1994 Class L champion girls basketball team, introducing the players and coach Ken Johnson to the crowd Friday night as if they were starting in that night’s game vs. Portsmouth. The dinner the previous night at the school’s own restaurant, Checkers, was a great way for the 1994 players to talk to the current Bronco team, which just ended a tough 4-14 season but graduates just one senior, has some athletes, and just needs to develop a winning culture. Thus that contact the other night can be invaluable.

Meanwhile, Johnson, never at a loss for words, had one more message: “For a moment in time, I was blessed to have been a part of the lives of those remarkably gifted girls, now powerful young women who in every aspect are worthy of emulation both then and now,” he said in an email. “Individually and collectively they have enriched my life in the most positive way forever.”

It clearly was a remarkable feat back in 1994 that left a lasting impression.

—- Back to hockey. There are nine high school hockey teams, either solo or co-ops, in the area (boys and girls combined), and eight of them will be in their respective tournaments this week. Can’t ever remember the number being that high. Good news for the sport locally, that’s for sure.

—-Good grief, someone created a monster. Nashua High School South varsity baseball coach James Gaj now has a blog on the Baseball Coaches Association of New Hampshire web site (bcanh.com) entitled “Extra Innings With Gaj – A different side to the baseball coaching world”.

Oh, it’s different all right. Interesting, but different. Check it out, but don’t shoot the messenger here.

Tom King may be reached at 594-1251, or@Telegraph_TomK.tking@nashuatelegraph.com