Thursday, 20 September 2018

The Hockey Show - Episode 313

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns to the airwaves tonight with Episode #1 of Season #7! The fact that we've gone this long is rather remarkable considering the goofiness we tend to incorporate into the show, but we're thankful our fans, GM Jared, Program Director Mike, and all of our many guests who have given us a chance to chat some hockey, learn about people in and around the game, and partake in some of the fun we incorporate into the show. It's been one heckuva ride so far, so let's kick off Season Seven with another fun show!

Where does one start with all the hockey action going on around us? We'll look at the new deals for Blake Wheeler, Josh Morrissey, Darnell Nurse, Sam Reinhart, and Tyler Seguin and try to figure out which of these players will give their respective teams the most bang for the dollars spent. We'll talk about the Jets new Aviator jerseys and why Teebz thinks someone from True North Sports and Entertainment owes the Johnstown Jets an apology. The Jets have started the preseason and there were games in China, so we'll chat about those as well. We'll discuss the Bisons playing the last few preseason games they have on the weekend. The Brandon Wheat Kings start their WHL season tomorrow, the DEL season is underway, the KHL season is rolling, and we'll get everyone set for Pledge-O-Rama which happens in October! It's another busy show tonight, so join us at 5:30pm CT!

"How can I listen?" you ask. Well, the easiest way is for you to download the UMFM app on your phone or tablet. It's literally the most convenient way to listen to any of UMFM's great shows any time of the day, so go get it! Just follow this link on your iDevice or this link for your Android device and get the UMFM app! It's never been easier to tune into The Hockey Show or UMFM! Download the UMFM app today, and don't miss any of our great programming or shows! Of course, you can do the radio thing at the 101.5 frequency on the FM dial and you can always listen online via the UMFM website as well!

If you prefer social media, we try to remain up-to-speed there! Email all show questions and comments to hockeyshow@umfm.com! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show.

Tonight, Teebz and Beans look at contracts, jerseys, the first week of preseason, the Bisons and Wheaties near the starts of their seasons, DEL and KHL results, and more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the UMFM.com web stream!

PODCAST: September 20, 2018: Episode 313

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Super (Rich) Seguin

I'm not sure who is on the social media team for the Dallas Stars, but it might be time to give them a ton of credit for some rather awesome stuff they do. Recently, they posted a pretty incredible announcement that felt nothing like an announcement until you got to the end. I don't know how much work went into this animation, but let's just say that the brains behind this latest animation should probably get a nomination from the Academy of Motion Pictures for an animated short!

Here's the animated announcement that they posted last week.
That's pretty awesome, right? The whole Super Mario Bros. animation is pretty solid to start with, but to drop the eight-year, $78.8 million news at the end is pure genius. Add in the Jim Nill-esque character and the Victor E. Green-esque character, and this animation deserves some sort of award if the Oscars don't come calling.

I'm off to umpire on a rather chilly evening, so take care of yourselves tonight. As of right now, Tyler Seguin is off the market, the Stars have their number-one centerman for the next eight years, and all is right in Dallas, it seems. Not bad at all, Stars social media team. Not bad at all.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 17 September 2018

California In 2020

The AHL announced today that the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic will finally find its way to California in a couple of years as the Ontario Reign will host the mid-season event at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California on January 26 and 27, 2020! The AHL's expansion to California has seen some bumps in the road with some of its markets, but the Ontario Reign have been one of the success stories for the league as they continually find themselves near the top of the league in attendance. Granting the game to the Reign seemed inevitable, and it appears that time has come in 2020 when the league could be flush with talent if there's a lockout in the NHL.

If there is any concern about people possibly not showing up for the game, I'd say you may be mistaken. In the 34 home games that Ontario played last season, they saw 274,300 fans cross through the turnstiles for an average of 8,068 per game - sixth-best in the AHL. If there are NHL players who are filling out AHL rosters in 2020, I'd expect the Citizens Business Bank Arena to be sold out for the AHL All-Star Classic.

If the lockout does happen, we could see the same phenomenon as we saw in 2012 when the NHL took the year off. Players like Ryan Johansen, Jeff Skinner, Brayden Schenn, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins all found themselves playing hockey in the AHL as teams sent eligible players down to the farm as opposed to letting them sign in Europe. In 2004 when the NHL locked out its players, there was a major influx of talent sent to the AHL as players such as Jason Spezza, Eric Staal, Michael Cammalleri, and Patrice Bergeron all found themselves riding the bus in the AHL. The added talent to the AHL saw attendance numbers spike in those cities, and there will certainly be some added flair to the All-Star Game if another work stoppage occurs.

The Reign certainly made an immediate splash in the southern California market in 2015-16 when the Manchester Monarchs were moved to Ontario by the Los Angeles Kings. Ontario would win the newly-formed Pacific Division with a 44–19–4–1 and they would advanced to the AHL Conference Finals before being eliminated by the Lake Erie Monsters. Thanks to the Los Angeles Kings continually signing veteran players, the Reign have been able to play at a high level with the Kings' top-end talent developing there. They have yet to post less than 36 wins in any season, and have made the playoffs all three seasons. The Reign have also consistently been near the top of the attendance stats for the last three seasons, and there's no reason to believe that trend will change this season or the next.

"Ontario has welcomed the AHL into its community with open arms, and we are very excited to bring our celebration of hockey's best young talent to southern California with our first All-Star Classic on the west coast," American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews stated in the announcement today. "We look forward to working with the Reign organization over the next 16 months to put together a world-class event."

As it has been done in past years, the AHL All-Star Skills Competition will go on Sunday, January 26. The AHL Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony will happen on Monday, January 27 with the 2020 AHL All-Star Challenge taking place Monday evening. The actual All-Star Classic logo along with all the other accoutrements that happen that weekend will be announced at a later date as the event nears.

If you're planning a trip to California in January 2020, you might want to see if you can get down to Ontario for the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic! It should be a great game regardless of whether the NHL is playing or not!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 16 September 2018

No. Just No.

There was hope in the air when the Winnipeg Jets announced that they would be introducing an alternate jersey for the 2018-19 season. We've seen the Jets break out their heritage jerseys, and they sold like hotcakes as fans clamored for hitching the wagon of memories from the old team to the new franchise that rolled into town. The only catch was the jersey was white so the Jets rarely wore the jerseys at home in front of their fans. Referencing that hope again, there were some who hoped for a blue version of one of the old Jets jerseys, but the Jets went in a completely different direction in their unveiling of the new third jersey.

Without further adieu, here is the new alternate jersey.
Excuse me when I say this, but SERIOUSLY?!? That's the BEST you could do? Look past the "Adizero" buzzwords and the classic design (what does that even mean?) and the '90s-inspired striping. Where is the iconic logo? Why are we exploring wordmarks?!?

I'm not certain where the current iteration of the Jets lost their way, but the term "wordmark" actually is defined as "a distinct text-only typographic treatment of the name of a company, institution, or product name used for purposes of identification and branding." The Jets posted the various apparent wordmarks used by prior versions of the Jets, and it appears the current Jets brain-trust doesn't know the difference between a logo and wordmark.
As you can see, there are various examples posted, but there needs to be some clarification. The first image from 1972 is a logo - it is not a "text-only typographic treatment" of the Winnipeg Jets hockey franchise. The second image is a wordmark, and it was used on the Jets' 1972-73 uniform. However, by 1973, the Jets had introduced the third image as their logo for all their branding including on the chests of the jerseys - again, not a wordmark and it wasn't introduced in 1974 as the current Jets posted. In 1990, the Jets redesigned their logo - still not a wordmark - with the updated version that players like Teemu Selanne and Phil Housley wore. Calling those logos "wordmarks" is a rather egregious error, and I'm surprised that the Jets would allow something like that to be published.

And that brings me to from where it seems this "Aviator jersey" idea actually spawned. For those that are unaware, there was once an old league that played on the east coast called the Eastern Hockey League. The EHL played games in various east coast cities from 1933 until 1973, and featured teams like the Charlotte Checkers, the Hershey B'ars, the Springfield Indians, the Clinton Comets, and the not-so-coincidentally-named Johnstown Jets. It is this final team where it seems that the Winnipeg Jets grabbed a pile of inspiration because it almost looks like they copied a jersey thread for thread that the Johnstown team wore at one point.

As you can see, the 1958-59 Johnston Jets look remarkably similar to the new alternate jersey for the Winnipeg Jets. REMARKABLY.
That photo was supplied by Bob Artese and Mike Piskuric to the fantastic Eastern Hockey League webpage. Yes, the wordmark has been changed on the new Winnipeg alternates, but the striping is an exact match and it appears the lighter colour worn by the Johnstown Jets has been replicated by the Winnipeg Jets. I'm not going to accuse the Winnipeg Jets of making an exact copy of a defunct minor-league team's jerseys, but they do astoundingly alike. Like nearly identical. Almost the same. Like they could be mistaken for one another accidentally if one wasn't paying attention.

Of course, it could just be me. I like hockey history, and I particularly like the images of the old days such as this picture of Dick Roberge accepting an award. Here you can see his jersey in full splendor with the thick arm and hem stripes, lack of a coloured shoulder yoke, the contrasting pants, and socks with the thick stripe on them just like the new Winnipeg Jets alternate uniform has thick arm and hem stripes, lack of a coloured shoulder yoke, contrasting pants, and socks with the thick stripe on them. Wait, were the current Jets honouring past Winnipeg Jets uniforms? I feel like they may be honouring a team with whom they have zero ties. Then again, maybe it's just me who is reading too deeply into the newly-introduced uniform. Or not. You're free to decide.

I'm not impressed. I won't be adding one of these uniforms to my collection any time soon unless the Jets announce that they're leaving. Even then, this alternate Johnstown Winnipeg Jets jersey probably won't end up with the rest of my threads. While I held out hope for a blue version of the Heritage Game jersey, it seems that the Winnipeg Jets went with a different heritage jersey altogether as they reached into the EHL and brought an old jersey into the future.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Amazing Mental Health Initiative

If there's one type of initiative I can get behind and support, it's the work done to better the mental health of people today. We hear about how people are struggle to cope with the mental illnesses that affect them, and there seemingly are more and more people who are admitting that they suffer from some kind of mental illness every day. Michael Landsberg of TSN uses the hashtag "#sicknotweak" all the time in his tweets, and I think it's a profoundly powerful message in a very simple statement. Today, it was announced that there's a new mental initiative being started specifically for hockey goaltenders by a guy who knows all too well about the realities of battling mental illness while wearing a mask.

Justin Goldman, the founder and owner of The Goalie Guild, a "nonprofit foundation that educates, inspires, and supports hockey goalies and goalie coaches", introduced another resource for goalies in Lift the Mask. He posted a letter to the site explaining why he was starting this initiative, but there was one paragraph that stood out to me. He writes,
"Due to the lofty pressures we face on and off the ice, goalies are prone to a slew of mental illnesses. Many of us struggle with fear, performance anxiety, and various obsessive compulsive disorders. The very nature of the position can even shape us into emotionless and detached beings. As if riding this endless wave of melancholy isn't mentally taxing enough, goalies still have to fight this outdated stigma of being labeled as 'weird' or 'strange' by others. Many hockey coaches and parents still lack a solid understanding of what goalies truly go through, so instead of getting the help we need, we're often left to our own devices or expected to figure it out on our own. This is not only unrealistic, it's oftentimes unhealthy."
Having heard the message that Mikayla Ogrodniczuk delivered on The Hockey Show about her friend Laura Taylor who took her own life with very few people knowing about the battles she was fighting internally and by experiencing the loss of my good friend in Brad Drake without knowing he was struggling, the "figure it out" part of Mr. Goldman's statement hit home.

Yes, everyone who has been in a hockey locker room with a goaltender has probably made the joke that goalies are weird with their superstitions and their routines. If the saying, "there's a grain of truth in every joke" is actually true, some of our friends and teammates may actually be struggling with their own mental illnesses despite laughing along with us. It is under this masking of the truth with laughter where the struggle is real for some.

Lift the Mask is pledging to help anyone who may want help through its website by putting those seeking help in contact "with a trained mental health provider through the [Anxiety and Depression Association of America]'s public listings. This service is 100% free of charge and can be done anonymously. Once you've taken this step, The Goalie Guild is committed to working with you to remove any financial barriers by covering the cost of your first consultation, chat, or visit with a professional (up to $100 USD)." That's an amazing pledge to the readers of The Goalie Guild, and Justin Goldman deserves major kudos for making that kind of commitment to his readers. Well done, sir!

There have been some high-profile stories presented through various mediums already, and I feel fortunate to have read Clint Malarchuk's story in his book The Crazy Game. The fact that Clint Malarchuk found the strength to present his story as he did is a testament to his resolve, but his story is a sobering look at one man's battle with mental illness. Corey Hirsch, Robin Lehner, and Ben Meisner have all written about their struggles with mental illness as well, and these stories are linked on the Lift the Mask page.

Perhaps what is most important is that Mr. Goldman has found himself some excellent ambassadors who are willing to help with the Lift the Mask initiative and help those who are seeking help to find the help that they need. One of those ambassadors is Kelsey Neumann, formerly of the Buffalo Beauts and currently a member of Les Canadiennes de Montreal, and it's pretty great to see a female ambassador that can assist any female goaltenders who may be looking for someone with whom to speak.
As I stated above, I support the initiatives that work to better the mental health of people today. We hear about the struggles that people face on a daily basis, but we never consider how heavily they actually weigh on us. For as much as medical science has done in helping us obtain a better understanding of how these mental illnesses may manifest, it seems the one resource we all can provide without a medical degree is the interaction of talking and listening. Lift the Mask is an excellent resource if you want to talk to someone anonymously who is willing to listen and wants to make sure that you're not overwhelmed or giving up.

As Justin Goldman stated, "Knowing that a partnership with the ADAA might help even one member of the goalie brotherhood is all the motivation I need to do whatever it takes turn this idea into a reality." That's good enough for me to promote Lift the Mask as well.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!