December is such a busy time of year, especially when the Olympics are now just weeks away. Keeping up with all of the sports news is a tall order for anyone.
That's why we have Hockey This and That: these are some stories that are capturing my attention right now...
Markus Naslund: Sportman of the Year
Being a big fan of Markus Naslund I was happy to read this New York Post article written by Larry Brooks naming Naslund Sportman of the Year. Throughout the end of Naslund's time in Vancouver I was often furious with the way fans and media treated the Canucks highest scorer of all time (346 goals- 756 points). Naslund's work on the ice revived Vancouver's passion for Canucks hockey. His work off the ice helped change lives.
The above photo is from Mesh Galleria at hockeyandhighheels.com. Please visit the gallery for more now! Mesh Galleria
Free Preview: Centre Ice on Shaw!!!
Having access to more games for the next few days has me re thinking my weekend schedule! VancouverHockey fans...if we are hit with the snow that's supposed to fall, well, what a great excuse to OD on NHL hockey this weekend!
"I don't really care," she said. "Let's talk about Hockey."
"I don't think anybody really watches Tiger Woods any more."
New Years Day isn't far away Dan is the Man and he'll make the ice so Fenway Park will look really nice
Yes, my Winter Classic Poem is kind of lame, but the event is far from it. The third Winter Classic features the Philadelphia Flyers vs. The Boston Bruins playing an outdoor game at Fenway Park on January 1st, 2010. And World famous ice maker, Dan Craig arrives in Boston today to get started on the rink. Here's the story at NHL.com
Hockey Night in Canada online viewers have a new toy to play with: control your game view by way of 360 degree camera technology and a few mouse clicks. CBC Sports and HNIC teamed up with Immersive Media Corp. to create an exciting perk for watching NHL hockey online.
From Immersive's press release...
Immersive Media Corp. (www.immersivemedia.com), the world leader in immersive, interactive video experiences, today announced its live, streaming video technology will be used by Hockey Night in Canada at the Bell Centre for the Boston Bruins-Montreal Canadiens game. The All-Access Camera will give online users at CBCSports.ca one of the best seats in the house for a uniquely individual viewing experience.
Making its debut on CBCSports.ca/hockey for the landmark game is Hockey Night in Canada All-Access presented by Chevrolet. This live, interactive feature provides users with a virtual, in-arena, customized viewing experience. The view of the game can be controlled by users with just a click of their mouse. Hockey Night in Canada All Access presented by Chevrolet will be available for select CBC's HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA broadcasts throughout the remainder of the season.
And about the camera...
Immersive Media Corp. is the pioneer and leading provider of 360degree, interactive video experiences. Its one-of-a-kind geodesic camera and full production services - including rental equipment, training, filming, postproduction and distribution options - create high-resolution, immersive video for a variety of uses. From mapping and exploration to monitoring and surveillance to branding and entertainment, Immersive Media customers and agents produce the deepest, most engaging video experiences possible.
Unfortunately yours truly was not present in front of a computer during Friday night's 100th Anniversary game (Habs and Bruins) at Bell Centre in Montreal. But I have read some good reviews about it in cyber space. It sounds like fans are having some fun with it, and at the same time so surprised the CBC pulled something like this out of its bag of tricks!
Is it just me or is anyone else tired of hearing about upper and lower body injuries in hockey? Seems to me that before this season, the designation of upper and lower body happened only during the playoffs when the teams searched for any possible edge on their opponents.
Forrmer Red Wing, Jiri Hudler, reeling from a hit
during the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs
But this year we hear it constantly, now, during the season. Why? If we see one of our favorite players hardly able to walk, we can assume it’s a leg injury. If they go over the ice dragging their arm, the problem could be a shoulder injury. Why can’t we, as fans, know what’s wrong so we have some idea when the player will be coming back?
After all an upper body injury could be anything from a hangnail to a paper cut to a dislocated shoulder or cracked rib. A lower body injury? An ingrown toenail? Blisters? Torn ACL? How can we know? What if you are like me and travel to see teams. Maybe there is a particular player you really want to see in action. Right before you are to leave you get the news of the dreaded “upper body” injury. Should you cancel the trip? Hope he’ll recover from whatever the malady is in time for the game you are attending?
Or am I being too harsh? Does non-reporting of injuries keep the players who have shoulder injuries from being slammed into the boards with a little extra gusto when they return to the lineup?
The Pittsburgh Penguins stated earlier this year that they would be willing to say what the player injuries are, but if they did, they put their players at a disadvantage because the other teams aren’t fessing up. I just don’t like surprises, good or bad. If a player is hurt, I’d like to know what the problem is so I can have some kind of feel for when he might play again. I just wonder why this is happening this year when it hasn’t before.
Injuries and More Injuries
Maybe I’m just noticing this lack of reporting because there have been so many major injuries to so many big name players. According to USA Today, more than 230 players have missed at least one game with injury. Some teams have been fielding, in essence, minor league teams because so many of the regular players are out. Cam Ward, Carolina goalie, suffered a horrible cut from a skate while broken arms and legs, torn up knees and assorted other major problems have kept a plethora of players out of lineups. Poor Ottawa goalie, Pascal Leclaire, was just sitting on the bench when a puck came out of nowhere, struck him in the face and fractured his cheekbone. And how about Florida goalie, Tomas Vokoun, who suffered the ultimate – a smack in the head from his own defenseman! Angry, that he’d let in a goal, Keith Ballard, swung his stick with a lot of force, meaning to hit the goal post. Unfortunately, Vokoun’s ear got in the way and he crumpled to the ice, bloodied and dazed. He was taken off the ice on a stretcher. Talk about a tough day at the office!
Hopefully, this won’t be reported as an “upper body” injury, since everyone in the hockey world saw what happened – but I won’t be surprised if it is.
Watching the Penguin's Sidney Crosby score another amazing goal the other night, evoked memories, not of Sid so much, but rather a forward line with as much flash and dash as any in the annals of Hockey. These three guys would create a crescendo of cheering and yelling as they stick-handled, passed and scored the "clutch" goal for another team victory.
Old time hockey gloves. photo: Lisa Ovens
You have probably never heard of them, unless your in your Sixties, lived in a small Ontario town and grew up lugging your duffle bag to the local ice-box. And by golly, it was an ice-box. No heaters in the old Port Colborne Arena on the shores of Lake Erie. No sir; which wasn't a bad thing for the kids who played hockey. The layers of clothing helped on the ice too, when one of those over-grown six foot defensemen whammed you into the boards.
But this old arena, with its steel girders blocking your view if you couldn't get a better seat, hosted some of the best hockey ever played.
There were only six NHL teams at the time and the caliber of players in our Senior and Intermediate teams was exceptional. So many of the NHL wannabees played in the AHL or senior teams on this side of the border, so we got to see some of the best action at the lowest price.
Speaking of the cost of a ticket, one of the off-ice challenges in those days was to be able to secure a pair of tickets to a Maple Leafs Game...90 miles down the highway. Many of our juvenile hockey peers did so: the tickets were the prize in a local Billiards room draw once a week !
But we digress... the memories we refer to at the beginning of this article are reserved for the Port Colborne Sailors Line of Mahoney, Katzman and Spence. The way this trio performed on the ice was an inspiration to all who saw them ...including many of the kids in the Bantam, Midget and Juvenile leagues throughout the area.
This is one example and there are thousands more across this great country, of why we develop the
best hockey players in the world.
The Vancouver Canucks put together a beautiful, glossy soft cover Yearbook that celebrates a very special year for Vancouver. Along with staff and player biographies, the publisher also included some Winter Olympics information and trivia. Afterall, the biggest International tournaments for men's and women's ice hockey will be taking place in the Canucks' barn; that spectacle will be a page in Canucks history. Let's hope we have some medal success for our favorite Canuck players!!
The Canucks 2009/10 Yearbook is available at Authentix, the Canucks team store at GM Place. It costs $10.00 and is definitely a keepsake and will make a great gift for the Canucklehead in your life. The paper stock is very high end for those into that sort of thing (okay...I'm guilty of that). It is a little advertisement heavy, but what isn't these days!
Another fabulous gift idea for the jewelry enthusiast in your life: A Canucks Fanbangle Bracelet.
Each FanBangle bracelet is hand-crafted with sterling silver and Swarovski crystal in your team's colors and anchored by an officially licensed team logo charm in sterling silver. The bracelet feels good on the wrist. It has weight and will add a little sparkle to your game night outfit.
Washington Capital’s Club Scarlet writer, Leslie (aka Hockey Mom from Musings of a Hockey Mom) teamed up with jewelry designer, Ann Carney and created FanBangles, offering sports fans a unique line of sports inspired jewelry that goes from hectic work day, to dinner, to ARENA with style!
The FanBangle is a great gift idea for the ladies who probably already own a team jersey, hat, scarf and tee. Don’t let their wrists be naked!!! Available in most NHL team colors.To order your Fanbangles, please visit the website...Fanbangles
Brendan Shanahan played a whopping 21 seasons in the NHL, and he had this to say...
"I would like to thank my family and all of the friends who have helped me achieve and maintain my childhood dream of playing in the National Hockey League. I am enormously grateful to all of my coaches and teammates I've had the privilege of learning from and playing along side of, throughout my career. While I always dreamed of playing in the NHL, I can't honestly say that I would have ever imagined that I'd be this fortunate and blessed. I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has helped me fulfill this dream."
Here's an interesting Shanahan statistic: he leads the league with 17 career Gordie Howe hat-tricks. That's pretty impressive stuff. Plus Shanahan is the only goal scorer to score over 600 goals and tally over 2000 penalty minutes. (total goals 656, points 1354). Shanahan is one of only 22 hockey players in the world who have won a Stanley Cup, and Olympic Gold Medal and a World Championship.
Teams Brendan played for...
New Jersey Devils
New York Rangers
Detroit Red Wings - won three Stanley Cups here- woot!
St. Louis Blues
Brendan Shanahan may have retired from the game, but the hockey world should hope he finds a position where he may offer some input and guidance to the National Hockey League or the NHL Player's Association or both.
During the2004/05 NHL Lockout he intstigated a summit with a prime directive calling for some desparately needed changes to the game. This event led to the forming of the Competition Committee and those changes being implemented, making the game what it is today.
Above all of that, Brendan Shanahan is a really funny guy :o)
Best of Luck, Shanny!
The above photo: The Brendan Shanahan card is a cut out hockey card from a box of Kraft Dinner. This was part a promotional series of hockey cards from "The 1998/99 Kraft Collection." My sweet Mom, Stella cut out the Shanahan card and gave it to me.
I’m not really sure why, but I LOVE Dancing with the Stars. Cheesy as it, and as many times as I say I’m not watching, it keeps pulling me back in - even this “season” when “stars” is used quite loosely. I’ve never even heard of some of these people. On top of all that, they change the rules all the time and add new dances at the drop of a top hat!
Craig Simpson and Jamie Sale, contestants Battle of the Blades
But I love the dancing, I love the costumes, I love watching how hard some of these people will work to perform a great dance, so there I am – watching again. Athletes seem to do exceptionally well on this show – with some exceptions – like Michael Irvin, who I thought would do better.
Then I heard about Battle of the Blades – basically Dancing with the Stars with hockey players! What a stroke of brilliance! The only problem is the program is carried only on CBC in Canada and most of us south of their border can’t watch it.
Battle of the Blades has taken some NHL tough guys and paired them with elegant figure skaters. Bob Probert, Tie Domi, Ken Daneyko, and Claude Lemieux don’t exactly evoke elegance when you remember them beating someone to a pulp. Throw in Glenn Anderson, Craig Simpson and (my personal favorite) Ron Duguay, and you’ve got a great show!
Claude Lemieux and Shae-Lynn Bourne, contestants, Battle of the Blades
Just because I haven’t seen it doesn’t mean I couldn’t love it. After all, I loved The Secret Lives of Hockey Wives or the U.S. version, MVP, when it made it to the Soap Network – but was short-lived.
One day this week, I heard one of my favorite hockey guys, E.J. Hradek, talking about Battle of the Blades and how good it is. E.J. was lobbying for the NHL Network to pick up the show here so Americans could see it. He thought it would draw an audience. I totally agree! Didn’t I say I love dancing (skating), costumes, and how hard these people will work to perform well? Not to mention that fact that although I love the NHL Network, repetition is its middle name. How many times a day can someone watch NHL on the Fly? Or the 1958 Stanley Cup series? Show us something fun like Battle of the Blades.
Who would you like to see skating with a real figure skater? Personally, I would like to see a different Lemieux – Mario! He would be wonderful dressed in pastels and paired with a petite little skater. How about Darren Pang? He even resembles a figure skater, Scott Hamilton. I can see John Vanbiesbrouck giving it a go or Pierre Larouche making for a fun performance. There are distinct possibilities here!
So, please, NHL Network, heed the advice of E.J. and show us Battle of the Blades – just don’t schedule it up against Dancing with the Stars!
They are down to the final three pairs on Battle of the Blades. For more information, please visit the official Battle of the Blades website.
Hey, wouldn’t it be cool to tune in to an NHL game and see the coaches dressed up in costumes? It would be so refreshing to see the men of hockey do something different, something shocking, or silly, like dress up in Halloween costumes for the end of October games. The rest of us working stiffs have to dress up in costumes for work, why should it be any different for these guys?
The following are some super costumes ideas for the bench bosses on the clock this Halloween....
Hurricanes vs. Flyers
Paul Maurice: Since his team leads the league in penalty minutes, Maurice and staff should dress up as NHL referees, complete with whistles so they can call penalties on themselves.
John Stevens adds a fake ‘stache and an apron, and voila, he’s the “No Soup for You guy” from Seinfeld. He can modify his character line and shout “No ice time for you!” and shake a soup ladle at the refs when necessary.
Oilers vs. Bruins
Pat Quinn will look fabulous dressed as a leprechaun. But one of those traditional leprechauns that closely follows the "code". Claude Julien: He could do a reasonable Don Cherry, non?
Thrashers vs. Senators
John Anderson: could dress up like a Thrashers fan. They appear to need more. Cory Clouston I would love to see the entire staff dressed as the Pierre McGuires! I want to see Clouston and crew, wearing bald heads and glasses with all of that monster McGuire enthusiasm we are exposed to every time we see Pierre on TSN.!! (Pierre is a former Sens assistant coach and pro scout. – dude knows his monsters, too)
Devils vs Lightning
Jaques Lemaire: He’s hockey’s wise old shaman...Obi Wan Kenobi. Screw the Force...It's now May the Trap be with you!!! Rick Tocchet Lightning owner,Oren Koules already gave Rick the Jigsaw costume from Saw 6...and it's scary. But not as scary as Paranormal Activity.
Sabres vs Islanders Lindy Ruff: Personally, I could see Lindy “Wastin’ away in Margarita Ville” decked out in holiday fun wear – tropical shirt, shorts, straw hat, a little zinc on the nose, and a salt rimmed cocktail glass as a prop. Go Lindy! Scott Gordon This is a group costume: the bench staff dressed like Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda from Sex and the City!!
Leafs vs. Canadiens
Ron Wilson might like to be the Invisible Man wrapped in bandages under a nice suit, bowler hat and spectacles. (Would be a dream costume should Wilson want to skip out on the occasional post game interview) Jacques Martin Hey...we need a Dracula, and Jacques fits the bill. Full marks given if he can keep his fangs in for an entire game!
Wild vs. Pittsburgh
Todd Richards Black T-shirt printed with the words "Mr. Playoff" That's all anyone needs to know. Dan Bylsma: Imagine Dan in a slightly ill fitting black wig, and a Penguins jersey. That’s right....he’s Mario Lemieux!
Panthers vs. St. Louis
Peter DeBoer: For one night only DeBoer is the head Chef of the Florida Panthers, big poofy hat and all. Mike Kitchen will loves this. Andy Murray and crew have the easiest costume idea, ever...the Blues Brothers. Just a bunch of groovin' Blues Brothers.
Stars vs. Predators
Marc Crawford His nickname is crow, and he will be the Scarecrow from Wizard of Oz. Watch the hay fly everytime Crow loses his temper!! Barry Trotz Barry Trotz plus shades and a tux equals Jack Nicholson. He will out-cool everyone in the place.
Ducks vs. Phoenix Randy Carlyle: Buzz Light Year...to the top of the standings and beyond!!! Dave Tippett: Also from Toy Story... Woody, the adorable cowboy doll.
Wings vs. Flames
Mike Babcock and friends will be rockin’ out dressed as the rock group Kiss. Arena DJ will add to the atmosphere by playing snippets from Detroit Rock City. Bonus points for sticking and flicking tongue out at the refs after lame calls.
Brent Sutter: He wears his Devil costume from last year, and convinces brother, Darryl to wear one too, in the GM box above. They both have to throw their pitch forks down in disgust everytime Pavel Datsyuk scores.
Although I spent most of the weekend watching the Alien movie franchise on AMC, I did take some hockey breaks. It can’t be acid for blood, humanoids and that bad ass flight engineer, Ellen Ripley running into that darn alien species all the time.
Canucks Above 500
Yes. This is good, now all the boys have to do is start winning some road games. Can’t do much about the injuries other than trick the call ups and the rest of the team into thinking they are like aliens that happen to have acid for blood.
Canucks: 11 games played, six wins, five losses, no overtime losses
The Real Reason Vancouver has the “No Fun City” nickname?
For those of you who watched the Toronto Maple Leafs lose to the Canucks on HNIC Saturday night, you may have noticed the large presence of Leafs fans in the Canucks home rink. Oh, the “blue for blood” aliens were loud that night. The truth is, Vancouver is home to many former Ontario residents, and the number of these Eastern ex-pats must increase every year. Perhaps it’s all of these Leaf lifers that brought the fun level down in Vancouver. It’s a theory...
Gary Bettman: The Ultimate Alien with Acid for Blood?
As a member of the National Hockey League Fan Association (yes there is one of those) I receive emails from time to time. This weekend the NHLFA had this to say....
The following note is being sent to the 30,000+ Members of the NHL Fans' Association.
Recently, many suggestions have been received from Members related to the activities the NHLFA should pursue in its attempt to have Gary Bettman removed as the commissioner of the NHL this season. One such suggestion is to coordinate a league-wide protest week that will rally fans attending games to hold signs calling for the dismissal of Bettman.
It’s free to be a member of the NHLFA. Perhaps president, Jim Boone needs to sign up thousands and thousands more hockey fans in order to have some influence over the NHL Board of Governors. He is looking for corporate sponsorship, too. The association has been around since 1998, and with a growing membership, it looks like they don’t intend to quit anytime soon.
Goalie Masks Far Cooler than the Alien’s Head
TSN.ca is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the goalie mask with an online vote. For those not in the know, Legendary Canadien’s goal tender, Jacques Plante made his own mask to protect his face. He was only allowed to wear it during the pre-season, and while practicing. On Nov. 1, 1959 his coach, Toe Blake had no choice but allow Plante to wear the mask during a game.
Check out the rest of the story and vote for your fave goalie mask here. The winner will be announce on Wed. Oct. 28th, so make that vote...you are running out of time...kind of like how Ripley always seems to be when she’s planning on blowing up multi billion dollar spaceships and inter galactic colonies!
After three years of disappointing soccer fans in Houston, David Beckham finally kept his date with us and made it to town. Houston is home to the two-time champions of Major League Soccer (MLS), the “Forever Orange” Houston Dynamo. Beckham led his team, the L.A. Galaxy, onto the field at Robertson Stadium at the University of Houston for a game that was important in the standings.
photo: Jan Snyder
The first season that Beckham was due to visit the Dynamo, he was on the injured list. The next season he had to serve a suspension and the only game left was the one against the Dynamo. His fans were crestfallen yet again, stood up twice by the beautiful Brit (who is newly-bearded, and a scruffy beard it is).
But on a lovely sunny day, the two teams met and the Beckham fans had their chance to see the hero of soccer live and in person.
I know – this is a hockey blog! But let me tell you that as a casual fan, I saw some similarities between the two sports. Believe me, I am the most casual fan and I don’t even pretend to know the rules or understand soccer or its history. However, my sister Kim, who lives in Pittsburgh, and her husband, Don, are Anglophiles and she is one of Beckham’s strongest supporters. After she came to town the first year he was due to arrive, she was let down, but vowed to return. In something of a serendipitous moment, Kim got sick last year as Becks got suspended. Neither of them made it to town!
The third time was the charm! Neither was sick, injured or suspended. Kim secured us fantastic seats in the eighth row right at midfield. Since Beckham is a midfielder, that was a no brainer on her part.
I know hockey fans are boisterous and fanatical, but soccer fans aren’t far behind, especially in the enthusiasm department. The 16,000 or so fans that jammed the stadium wore their orange proudly while two different sections sang, danced, banged on drums, unfurled gigantic flags and bounced at the slightest provocation.
photo: Jan Snyder
Finally – the moment arrived and Beckham ran onto the field. My sister was delighted, to say the least, as were the many others proudly wearing their #23 Galaxy jerseys.
Warm-ups also seemed similar to hockey – the players stretched, took some shots on the goalie, and bounced the soccer ball around. Hockey players often have a few players on the team who bounce a soccer ball around before games – another similarity.
After the ceremonial walk to the field with kids accompanying each team member, the anthem was sung and the game was on. (Aside: the stadium boasted a Canadian flag, I assume in support of the Toronto MLS franchise.)
Naturally, each sport has a goalie, but in soccer, he wears very little padding as he defends a huge net! Soccer goalies need to be free of equipment to make the gymnastic moves required of them – we saw quite a few from both sides. Hockey goalies are so weighted down by equipment that a fan doesn’t notice a lot of mobility.
There are defensemen, forwards and midfielders (I’m not sure what the distinction is between the forwards and midfielders) and everyone seems to run the entire length of the field often. So we know hockey players and soccer players are in great shape from all the running and skating!
The game began and I watched Beckham since he is the world’s best known soccer player, but my allegiance had to be with the home team Dynamo. One of the Dynamo players, midfielder Stuart Holden, visited my office about a year ago and I had the opportunity to meet him. He is quite a charming fellow and determined to preach the gospel of soccer to anyone who will listen. Turns out the two midfielders spent a good bit of the game close to each other, making it easy for me to watch both of the players that I knew.
For a few hours, they played and we watched. At almost the end of the game, there was still no score when what should happen? A fight! Aha, the hockey and soccer synergy reappears. One of the Dynamo players took exception to something Beckham did and did something back. Beckham shoved him and we quickly had a little melee. Push, shove, push, shove – the end result – Dynamo player Brian Ching got a “red” card, which got him tossed out of the game but also means he is out for the team’s next game. Beckham gota “yellow” card but wasn’t asked to leave the premises. In hockey parlance, Ching got a ten minute major and Beckham a two minute minor.
Even with the added minutes that are tacked on at the end of each soccer period, neither team scored and the game ended in a 0-0 tie. Here is where soccer could take a tip from hockey and have a shoot out. No more boring ties! Shoot outs are big fan favorites in hockey and here we could have seen Beckham attempt one of his “bending” kicks. But no, the teams exchanged pleasantries, some exchanged jerseys and Becks applauded the crowd and his many supporters. As he walked to the tunnel, he removed his jersey and tossed it to a fan, something hockey players do only once at the end of the season with the “shirts off our back” promotions.
Beckham did play the entire game, never leaving the field for a minute. The goalies on each team were impressive and one of the Dynamo players made a fantastic scissor kick stop to save a goal. The only bad thing that happened was that I forgot I was in Texas where the sun never seems to lose its brilliance. Without a hat, I got sunburned on my head, face, neck and hands! That would never happen at a hockey game! But Kim and I had fun, we can cross “Seeing David Beckham play soccer” off our bucket lists, and maybe through osmosis, I learned a little more about another sport.
Being a former advertising professional, I have been a fan of AMC's Mad Men since the very first episode. Who isn't fond of series star, John Hamm? His portrayal of ad exec, Don Draper rocks, yet he still manages to break free of that scotch swilling, skirt chasing character and do comedy on other shows like 30 Rockand Saturday Night Live.
But here's John in real life...he's a Blues Fan...Check out this cute promotional ad for the St. Louis Blues. (The Blues currently have seven points, 2wins, 2 losses, one OT loss in six games.)
To my hockey friends around the world, it is with great sadness to announce the passing of my mother, Stella, after a year long battle with cancer. Those of you who read my book had the opportunity to meet my mother at various points in the story, and know she was the best hockey fan on earth.
As a youngster, my mom became a hockey fan in the early Forties in Thunder Bay, Ontario. She shared stories with me about her earliest memories listening to Hockey Night in Canada on the living room radio with her big family (youngest of 18 children). As a young working woman, my mom purchased the family's first television in the Fifties so everyone could enjoy the game in a new way. Those years she cheered for the Toronto Maple Leafs but always said she had a soft spot in her heart for the Detroit Red Wings.
My mom moved to Vancouver, fell in love the city and then fell in love with my late father, Orville. When the Vancouver Canucks came into existence, well, mom adopted and then fell in love with them too. Sometimes my parents travelled down to Seattle to see the Seattle Totems play, as one of our relatives played defense for the team.
Some of my earliest memories in my life were of hockey. But they were not of my father and hockey, but of my mother reacting to the game. Mom was amazing: she could make dinner, keep track of us kids AND focus on the game all at the same time.
As an adult, watching hockey with my mom was the best, whether we were at a game, at her place, or phoning each other during the game. She was great for one line comments on the phone and then hanging up; like whenever Sami Salo scored from the point, mom would call me and say "Don't you just love it when Salo scores like that?" Then she'd chuckle and hang up. Alex Burrows became her favorite Canuck because one time she saw him greeting fans and signing autographs at a local grocery store, and thought he was such a polite, young man ( and so handsome, too!).
When we attended Canuck games together, mom liked to be there as early as possible, because she loved to walk the concourse and watch the arena fill up. My mom was barely five feet tall, and barely ninety pounds and I always held onto her tightly as we were swallowed up by the huge, raucous crowds on the concourse of GM Place during intermission. She rarely took me up on my offers for a ride home, and instead rode the Sky Train because she loved being with the fans, chatting and laughing about the game, win or lose.
My mom was my game buddy for the quadruple over time playoff game between the Dallas Stars and the Canucks in 2007. It was such a long night, but she waved her towel at every opportunity. It was such a interestiing experience that game, and I am so glad I spent it with her.
When I told mom I was going to write a book about hockey she said "Good for you, Lisa. If anyone can do it, you can!" My mom was very proud of me and the work I put into writing Hockey & High Heels, promoting it, working with NHL teams, and making hockeyandhighheels.com a fun place to be for hockey fans. Her love and support meant the world to me as I faced the challenges of being a woman trying to make hockey a more inviting place for other women.
Knowing her life long love of this great game helped me become a believer in what I am doing, and that is something I will never, ever forget about my mom Stella.
The dearest mother, the kindest friend,
One of the best whom God could lend,
Loving, thoughtful, gentle and true,
Always willing a kind act to do.
Also so good, unselfish and kind,
Few on this earth her equal we find,
Honourable and upright in all of her ways,
Loyal and true to the end of her days.
I don't know who wrote that, but that's my mom. So loving, so supporting, she was the best mommie a kid could ever hope to have.
Last week I went to the Canucks home opener, and it was a tough start for me. I was crying for my mom as soon as the Canadian National Anthem began. I was surrounded by good friends and they helped me through the first game without her. This season will be different: balancing the sadness and at the same time, creating new memories.
And learning how to know my mom in a new way... as my angel.
The Penguins did the banner-raising right, that’s for sure. I traveled to Pittsburgh to attend Opening Night for the Penguins and Rangers. “It was a dark and stormy night” to quote many bad writers, but the rain didn’t keep the fans from whooping it up, showing their enthusiasm for the start of the season.
Jen, Jim and I got there relatively early because we wanted to be sure to be in our seats and not miss a minute of any of the celebration. The first thing I noticed was what looked like draperies hanging around the scoreboard. The teams took their pre-game skate, the Zambonis did their thing, and then the celebration began. The Rangers left the ice, not to return until the drop of the puck, despite the fact that Coach Tortorelli was quoted in the papers as saying he wanted his team on the ice to see what they will be working towards. The Pens said later that “logistics” kept the Rangers off the ice during the ceremony.
What I thought were draperies fell to the ice and magically became a four-sided video screen where the audience was treated to a recap of the playoffs, culminating with Sidney Crosby taking the Cup to the other players. After that, the announcer said, “Ladies and gentlemen, the Stanley Cup!” The “draperies” fell from the top of the scoreboard to the ice, revealing Stanley in all his glory. What a breath taking sight! There it was, back after 17 long years, in Pittsburgh with the Pens.
They rolled out the red carpet and the first to grace it with his presence was none other than Mario Lemieux, freshly back from Toronto where he helped open the season with some of the other members of Team Canada. The other brass made their way to their places on the red carpet. Coach Dan Bylsma received a rousing ovation from the grateful fans.
From the other side of the ice, the Zamboni entrance opened and each member of the Penguins was introduced to wild cheers from the crowd. The newest Pens were “welcomed to Pittsburgh” and even though they hadn’t been members of the Cup-winning team, they were given big kudos as well.
Max Talbot, who scored two goals in Game Seven of the Finals, had shoulder surgery and won’t be playing until mid-November. But he still “dressed” for the game and when he was announced, the crowd went wild! Max did so many good things in the playoffs and the fans fondly remembered every one – from the goals to the big fight against the Flyers. The only ones who got as much applause as Max did were Crosby, Malkin and Fleury. There was plenty of love and good will to go around to everyone! Even though I watched almost every game from the comfort of my living room in Texas, it was nice to be able to cheer and let the boys know how much I appreciated all their hard work.
The players were asked to move to the other side of the ice where the Cup and some other trophies were placed on tables. As the team gathered around to watch, the banner was raised to the rafters, much to everyone’s delight. But then, the 2008-09 season officially ended and a new one began.
The game started and the team looked pretty much in control on their way to beating the Rangers to end a terrific night for the fans and players.
The team traveled on to Long Island after the game. We traveled back to Mellon Arena on Saturday night, just as the puck was dropping against the Islanders. We were back to get a “Snaphot with Stanley”. The line was very long, but everyone was in a good mood and anxious for their turn with the trophy.
As the never-ending line of jersey-clad fans snaked though the concourse of the Arena, we were able to see a TV occasionally and listen to the game on cell phones. Just as we reached the entrance to the ice, the Pens tied the game and we saw the most exciting part on the Jumbotron as we stood in line. When we were only about four turns away from ours, someone from the Pens took Jim’s camera to make sure he knew how to use it. He took a photo of just the Cup, then about three of us surrounding it.
All in the Family! Jan Snyder, her daughter and son in law, Jen and Jim
No matter how many times I see the Stanley Cup, it’s always a thrill – and this time especially because it was “ours” for this year. To see the excitement on Jen and Jim’s faces was special too, since this was the first time they had seen Stanley up close and personal. We watched overtime and the shootout from Pens Station, the Penguins store. The Pens took their record to 2-0 when Letang and Crosby scored in the shootout.
The next day, Jen cropped the photos and we went to Ritz Camera to have the picture printed on nice photo paper. I brought my copy home with me to show everyone.
Just as there is no crying in baseball, there is no biting in hockey.
As if the Pens/Flyers rivalry isn’t heated enough already, in the first game of the season between these two teams, we have “Bite Gate”.
With just seconds left in the game, the Broad Street bully’s captain, Mike Richards, took a run at Fleury, to which the Pens’ defensemen objected – vehemently. Kris Letang and Scott (the hairy one) Hartnell slammed each other to the ice and a wrestling match ensued. Shortly thereafter, Letang skated off, holding his injured finger.
After the game Letang just said, “Ask him what he did, he knows.” He wouldn’t accuse him of biting his ring finger, but just implied it. Hartnell’s lame response was that Letang was giving him a face wash a lot of things were going on as they rolled around on the ice. But he didn’t think he’d bitten him.
What’s next? Will we see an ear bitten off during a game, a la a Mike Tyson boxing match? Will Letang need a tetanus shot? I love a good rivalry and there is no doubt both teams were up for this game. The game itself was really exciting, lots of scoring on both sides (and one that the Flyers scored for the Pens). Emery and Fleury were both good and Pronger held Crosby to no points. But let’s leave the biting out of it! I know the Flyers are bullies, but this is even beyond what I thought they were capable of doing.
There will be no discipline for Hartnell from the League. After a conference call with Colin Campbell, Hartnell was found “innocent.” How about looking at Letang’s finger? That should provide all the needed evidence.
Kris, in the immortal words of Shane Falco in one of my favorite movies, “The Replacements” –
“Pain heals, chicks dig scars, but glory lasts forever.” You’ll have a scarred finger for chicks to dig, and the glory of last year’s Stanley cup will last forever.
Beating the Flyers in the remaining five games this season will be the best revenge.
Now that the NHL Pre-season is winding down, I will share an idea for next year. If the NHL follows this idea, they just might move up in the pro sports food chain.
Several years ago I wrote a piece for my book about a pre-season hockey festival I cooked up while lying around the house. In my opinion, the pre-season is an under utilized sales and marketing season for the NHL. Unfortunately Lisa’s Fantasy Pre- Season Hockey Festival ended up on the cutting room floor during the editing stage (except for the hockey film festival segment).
It’s been four NHL pre-seasons since I wrote the bit, and I am still convinced it’s a good idea, because the NHL has yet to make some noise during what should be considered a prime marketing season. And wouldn’t it be sweet to silence the yearly parade of critics complaining about too many pre season games, the games don’t mean anything blah blah blah. Here it is. A condensed version that is...
My idea was pretty simple: each NHL division picks one city to host a tournament involving the division teams. Perhaps the team selected could be the team that’s hurting the most for ticket sales and general public interest. A good example of this might be the Pacific Division, with the Phoenix Coyotes hosting the Kings, Sharks, Ducks, and Stars.
It could be one week long, using the weekends to throw parties, events and promotions mixed in with games held over the entire week. In my fantasy pre season festival, the pre-season tournament games tickets only cost $19.99 each, because in order to attract new fans, the tickets need to be cheap. In my festival new and casual fans would have the opportunity to learn about their home team’s rivals and will have the opportunity to experience a mini season of rivalry, fights, winners, losers and one champion all within nine days. What a way to hook’em in for the regular season, eh?
The host team could offer great deals on regular season ticket packages that are only valid if purchased during the pre- season festival. The four visiting teams could also use this festival to offer special deals and promotions to their fans at home. The tournament itself can still be like the way the pre-season is now: prospects and invited players will still be showcasing their talent and fighting for roster spots. Coaching staff will still be testing and evaluating players’ fitness and conditioning levels. This stuff will just have a “festival” back drop, and it would play out over a nine day period of time. Plus everyone would meet me as I signed their copy of Hockey & High Heels because the league bought hundreds of them to give away (remember this is MY fantasy pre-season festival – haha!).
The host city will be in charge of planning events and publicity stunts to attract media and public attention. This is where the Hockey Film Festival came into my idea. The host team partners up with a movie theatre that will show a variety of hockey films over the nine days. Both the theatre and the hockey team could invite local sponsors to host a film night with prize give aways. Hockey Festivals in the United States could really push showings of the movie Miracle: the one win that almost all Americans identify as the most important sports moment of their nation’s history. Other event ideas I had...a celebrity dunk tank, General Manager’s Pancake Breakfast, a formal charity evening event perhaps centering around a fashion show, a casino night or a roast, any of those would do, but there has to be a “red carpet” paparazzi and fan filled extravaganza preceding the event.
Speaking of fans, fans of the visiting teams would make the trek to the host city. Partnerships would be established with hotels, restaurants, tour operators etc offering special deals. Travelling hockey fans are the best of the bunch: they add colour and fun to the event. I caught quite a few Memorial Cup games when it was held in Vancouver two years ago. That was fun. All kinds of jerseys and fanatics in the crowd made the games extra special.
I really believe the NHL should consider something like this for next season. It’s a way to shake up the current schedule. It’s a way to shorten the pre-season without affecting the usual hockey operations activities at this time of year. It’s a way to welcome new fans to the game, and a way for committed fans to celebrate their passion.
Until this happens, it will be forever known as Lisa’s Fantasy Pre-Season Hockey Festival. Come on, NHL...don’t let me have all the fun!
Photo: Jobing.com Arena, home of the Phoenix Coyotes
Hello, again, hockey friends! Several months have passed since we last talked that lovely night in June when the Pens beat the Wings and brought the Stanley Cup back to Pittsburgh. How was your summer?
Mine was one of diet and exercise (damn, those playoff donuts!) with the goal to lose 15 pounds by the time the season started. Just days away, I’m down 14, so I feel good about that.
I enjoyed Wimbledon and the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, made it to a couple of baseball games and lots of concerts, including Kid Rock, Def Leppard, Nickleback, and Creed. But mostly, I missed hockey. Watching the guys have their turns with the Cup was fun, but nothing takes the place of the game.
Just last week, I developed a red, angry, itchy rash on both arms. Turns out that my cat, Mario LaMew, must have walked through some poison ivy plants, escaping without incident himself, but then I picked him up and the nasty stuff got all over me. Since I’m allergic to almost everything outside, I know I didn’t touch any poison ivy plants.
But even “scratchin’ like a hound” won’t keep me from boarding a plane on Thursday to be in Pittsburgh for Opening Night! How great it will be to see the Stanley Cup banner raised in Mellon Arena? What fun to see Stanley at the game. And of course, the play itself will be great as the Pens take on the rival New York Rangers.
The next night, through the auspices of my daughter and son-in-law (Jen and Jim), I’ll get to be in on their picture with the Stanley Cup as we celebrate its return to the city after 17 long years. We’ve missed you, Stanley, welcome home!
The somewhat new look New York Rangers will be led into town by their fiery coach, John Tortorella. He’ll bring with him the always loveable Sean Avery, a new addition tough guy, Donald Brashear, and scoring threat Marian Gaborik. Avery is nursing a knee injury but hopes to play in the ‘burg.
Unfortunately, Crosby left a pre-season game in Columbus the other night with a groin injury and didn’t make the trip to Detroit for the last pre-season game. Hopefully by Friday night, he’ll be ready as will all the others. We’ll miss the guys who have left since last year, including Rob Scuderi, Petr Sikora and Hal Gill, but we’ll trudge along without them and wish them well in their new surroundings.
There will be plenty of challenges this season, just like always. The Pens will now have to face Chris Pronger several times both in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. New faces in new places are popping up everywhere – we’ll see what impact they have on their new teams.
So it’s almost time…I’m ready, are you? Our sport is back and all’s right with the world.
As a Canuck fan and I am pleased to have defenseman Mathieu Schneider join the home team. I am hoping he’s the answer to our puck moving, quarterback on the point questions. Plus he’s a Stanley Cup winner (Canadiens 1993) and lord knows the Canucks need Cup luck!
Schneider split his time last season between the Atlanta Thrashers and the Montreal Canadiens, so he should find the Canucks a nice change considering they are secure with their ownership unlike the Thrashers, and well, our type of drama is different than the Habs.
Schneider was born in New York, New York 40 years ago. He’s played 1264 NHL games over a nineteen year career with 212 goals and 513 assists. As far as the playoffs go, Schneider has recorded 10 goals and 43 assists in 111 playoff games. That’s 1264 games with eight different teams. It’s his stint with the Maple Leafs that caught my attention.
There is more to Mathieu Schneider than his blue line skills.
Not long after Schneider signed with the Canucks, I was rummaging through my hockey swag collection and I came across a twelve year old recipe calendar from Kraft. My mom had given it to me a few years ago when she was downsizing her swag. The stand up calendar is called...
Kraft Kitchens & NHL Moms Recipes
And guess who’s on the last page? That’s right; Aline, Mathieu Schneider’s mom contributed a recipe, and a little hockey mom advice. Aline is posing in her son’s hockey sweater, along with 17 other NHL moms on the front cover.
Now that we’ve covered Mathieu’s career stats, I am sure everyone is dying to know about the recipe. It will make a great snack for Canucks fans over the coming season. Though, you need to like popcorn.
3 Star Popcorn Treats
(According to Kraft it’s “a perfect snack for those on the go kids.”)
Prep. Time: 15 min. Microwave time: 2-3 min.
Ingredients (metric conversion included)
8 cups (2L) popped popcorn
3 cups (750 mL) Post Shreddies
¼ cup (50 mL) butter
¾ cup (175 mL) Kraft Smooth Peanut Butter
1pkg (250 g) miniature marshmallows
Toss popcorn and cereal together. Set aside.
Microwave on medium power butter and peanut butter in a large microwavable bowl for one minute.
Add marshmallows; microwave on medium for another minute or until the marshmallows puff; stir until blended.
Add cereal mixture to bowl, stirring well to mix. Using moistened hands, form into small balls. Makes about 18 balls.
The good people at Kraft also listed the nutritional facts on the Hockey Mom recipes. Here are stats on Aline’s 3Star Popcorn Treats...
Per serving (one ball)
180 calories, 4.3 grams of protein, 8.2 grams of fat, 24.1 gram carbohydrates, 1.8 grams dietary fibre. A good source of Thiamine
People who know me know that cooking food doesn’t really hold my interest. So When Mathieu Schneider scores his fifth goal for the Canucks during the 2000/10 NHL season, I will make his mom’s recipe. How’s that for incentive, Schneids????
Now we just need a Jerome Iginla story, and I'll blend in his mom's recipe. Standing by for Iggy News...
I think Head Coach Mike Babcock will like the new Team Canada Hockey Jersey design; it’s so very Red Wing! At least that’s the first thing I thought when I saw it...this new look screams Detroit Red Wings, and there isn’t anything wrong with that.
The red & white, basic stripes, logo in the middle look should put Babcock completely at ease over the next six months as he tackles his extra curricular 2010 Olympic duties away from the mighty Red Wings organization. Some might say this jersey is simplicity at it’s finest.
Team Canada’s new Maple Leaf logo is actually loaded with design, but it’s understated in its presentation: within the border you’ll find images of the Thunderbird (magical, powerful) the Eagle (great strength, courage and leadership), the Ocra (traveler, guardian, symbol of good) the Beaver (creative, artistic, determination), and what appears to be a Moose (meaning: really freakin' big!), all drawn in First Nations style of art, along with smaller maple leaves representing gold medal wins in hockey. There you have it: a little Canadian hockey history and Canadian Aboriginal culture on display.
In other Team Canada news...A Women's International tournament will get underway in Vancouver Monday August 31st to Sunday September 6th 2009. It's the Hockey Canada Cup, with Team USA, Team Sweden, Team Finland and Team Canada facing off at General Motors Place. This event will give everyone a taste of what it's going to be like in just under six months when the 2010 Olympics arrive. Between the four countries, we will be seeing the best female players in the world, and tickets start at only CDN$10.00!!! And we'll get to see the new jerseys in action. For more tournament info, please click here
Icejerseys.com have the new look in stock, along with several other Team Canada looks, and other International jerseys, hats and tees. Plus they also have some hot deals going on other apparel. Check it out...any time is a good time to stock the closet with hockey!!!