Hockey Headlines

Saturday, 31 October 2009

TBC: Just One Goal!

Teebz's Book Club has seen a number of excellent books in its time since I started reviewing them. And I'm proud to say that after twenty-seven book reviews, I have only received one email on how to fix TBC. It wasn't actually a complaint email, but, instead, a suggestion email. The suggestion was to feature a few children's books on the list so that parents could start having their children read books on the subject of hockey at an earlier age than adolescence. I gave it some thought, and TBC is proud to present the first of what I hope to be many children's books on hockey for your children to enjoy. Today, Teebz's Book Club is proud to review Just One Goal!, written by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko, and published by Scholastic.

The man to left who appears to be extremely scared - appropriate for a Halloween entry no less - is Robert Munsch. Mr. Munsch has written over fifty books for children in his time, including such favorites as Love You Forever, Murmel Murmel Murmel, and The Paper Bag Princess. Here is his full bio, but I'm just going to run down some highlights. Born on June 11, 1945 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Mr. Munsch worked as a Jesuit priest in a daycare and an orphanage where he told his stories about his crazy characters to the children. After moving to Canada with his wife because the daycare lost its funding, Mr. and Mrs. Munsch worked at a lab preschool at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario. It was here that Mr. Munsch's boss convinced Robert to publish his stories, and Mud Puddle became Robert's first publication. Since that time, Robert lost his American citizenship, gained Canadian citizenship, and has become Canada's best-selling author. In 1988, Love You Forever was the best-selling children's book in both Canada and the USA, and is currently the best-selling children's book of all-time according to the New York Times. He and his wife still live in Guelph, Ontario today.

Michael Martchenko is one of Canada's premiere illustrators of children's books, and has worked extensively with Mr. Munsch. Mr. Martchenko was the art director at an advertising agency when he decided to go into illustrating books. From his home studio in Toronto, Ontario, Mr. Martchenko has worked with Mr. Munsch on such titles as The Paper Bag Princess, Andrew's Loose Tooth, and Alligator Baby. He has also written and illustrated his own books, including the largely popular Oonga Boonga. The one thing that makes Mr. Martchenko's illustrations so fun is that he routinely includes visual jokes in his works. If you read More Pies, look for Mr. Munsch and Mr. Martchenko at the bus stop!

Just One Goal! is the story of Ciara, a character based on Ciara Mapes. Miss Mapes is a young lady that Mr. Munsch met while spending time in Hay River, Northwest Territories. Our story starts with Ciara wanting to build a rink in her backyard rather than hauling all of her hockey gear across town to the local hockey rink. Unfortunately, nobody wants to help her build one on the river behind the house. Instead, she does what any resourceful young girl would do: she builds her own.

Due to her efforts, she gets a lot of help in building her rink, and it finally takes shape. Ciara allows all the kids from the neighbourhood to come to her rink to play, but she begins to realize that the team she is playing on never wins.

There are a number of humourous incidents in the book: a moose interrupts the game, a bear interrupts the game, and teenagers interrupt the game. With all the effort of making the rink and all the games that are played on the rink, the inevitable happens: spring arrives! Will Ciara ever win a game?

This 28-page book is perfect for children of any age, and is extremely easy to read with its large font and colourful illustrations. The story flows along very well, and should allow readers at the beginner's level to improve their reading skills as well. Ciara's story is heartwarming and charming, and Mr. Munsch's story will bring a smile to the face of both readers and audience alike. Just One Goal! is recommended for all youth readers, and deserves Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval for its fun story.

Until next time, Happy Halloween, and keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 30 October 2009

Contests And Auctions

October 30 is known as "Devil's Night" or "Mischief Night" in some parts of the world. I prefer just to call it "October 30", but that's my prerogative. In any case, HBIC is going to bring you a few opportunities to win some stuff. Some of it will be free. Others are auctions. All of them will have something to do with hockey. Actually, I may bid on one of the auction items simply because I think the items are fairly cool. Of course, I won't tell you which one. After all, I want to win it. However, let's take at some of these contests and auctions that could get you some cool hockey-related stuff.

  • The Pepsi Cheer Contest is on-going, and they have narrowed the choices down to three finalists. By voting, you can win yourself a replica Team Canada jersey autographed by the team or a Pepsi Cheer Package. Free stuff is awesome, right? The three finalists are all pretty good, and it will be interesting to see one of these adopted as the official Canadian cheer for the World Junior Team in Saskatchewan. Congratulations to the three finalists, and good luck to those that vote!
  • The AHL's Albany River Rats are holding an auction for last season's dressing room nameplates! If you're an Albany River Rats fan, this might be a good way to pick up a piece of merchandise that is legitimately one-of-a-kind. I think it would be kind of funny to own the Cory Quirk nameplate. Because it would be Quirk-y. I'll be here all week; don't forget to tip your waitress!
  • The AHL's Manchester Monarchs have a variety of things up on their auction page. There are lots of jerseys from former Monarchs like Teddy Purcell, Jonathan Quick, Davis Drewiske, and Brian Boyle amongst the items. And all seem to be reasonably priced. If you're a Los Angeles Kings or Monarchs fan, here's a good way to pick up something unique.
  • The AHL's Providence Bruins have a game-worn jersey page online, and you can pick up a variety of jerseys that they have worn. Personally, I think the specialty jerseys might be a tad overpriced, but the jerseys with no nameplates are extremely affordable at $75. This might be the best deal online for real AHL jerseys. While I was a little disappointed that they didn't have sizing information available, you can inquire about the jersey you may be interested in by contacting the Bruins via email by clicking here.
  • The AHL's Worcester Sharks also have an online game-worn jersey page, but this one seems a little expensive. Unless, of course, you are trying to get your hands on Claude Lemieux's AHL uniform and you have close to $1000 to part with. Then it might be worth your while. I'm skipping over this one, kids.
  • As you may be aware, I am currently running a contest regarding the Maple Leafs' struggles this season. If the Maple Leafs can somehow exceed their point total from last season of 81, I'll raffle off a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey. If they do not, the Maple Leafs jersey will be used for another contest, and we'll all have a good chuckle at the boasting that Brian Burke did before this season. There are 72 games remaining. They have a total of four points in their first 10 appearances this season. Extrapolating that over 82 games, the Leafs are on pace for a whopping 33 points this season. My guess? They end up with about 64 points this season.
  • The Montreal Canadiens are selling their inventory of game-worn centennial jerseys online. They have a wide-range of sizes and versions of the jerseys worn, so take a good look. I like that they have reduced the pricing on the jerseys that were prepared but not worn in a game. However, I still think $350 is a bit ridiculous.
  • Speaking of the Canadiens, I will be holding a contest as we near their big Centennial Game against the Boston Bruins on Friday, December 4. The prize? A chance for someone to win Canadiens Legends, written by Mike Leonetti. This book retails for about $50, so this is one contest you'll want to enter if you want a gorgeous coffee table book.
  • And you're feeling up for it, the ECHL's Bakersfield Condors are holding their "King of Pop" tribute night in honour of the late Michael Jackson tonight, and the auction for the jerseys happens after the game. I doubt that you'll see any of these jerseys sell for less than $500, but if you have the cash and want to help a good cause, the proceeds are going to help the Children's Miracle Network.
  • Some people haven't seen him in action yet, but Chris Chelios is certainly making a difference for the AHL's Chicago Wolves. He's played in three games, has recorded four assists, and is a team-best +6 in the plus/minus department. Still think he's too old?
  • Manny Legace was seen sporting a white helmet in the two games he's played, but he does have a large pink ribbon on the back that says "Mom" across it. The reason? Margaret Legace, seen here dropping the puck, is a nine-year breast cancer survivor. Kudos to Emmanuel Legace for honouring his mother, and having it be the most noticeable item on his helmet.
  • The Portland Pirates are going pink again in honour of breast cancer awareness. Jerseys will be auctioned off after the game tonight with the proceeds going to support the Maine Medical Center Cancer Institute's Breast Care Center. I'd like to see more pink on the Pirates' jerseys, but you can't fault them for donating auction proceeds, a portion of ticket sales, and a portion of the 50/50 ticket sales to the cause. Well done, Pirates!
So there's some fun stuff for October 30. Tomorrow will feature something for the little kids as Halloween really is for kids. Don't forget to check out the Seven Days of Scary from the last week as we made our way towards All Hallow's Eve, and if you're out at a Halloween party tonight, please remember not to drink and drive.

Until next time, keep your ghoulish and ghastly sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Seven Days Of Scary - One

Here we are. This is the last night of the scariest stuff I could dig up in the world of hockey. All of the stuff presented today will be the best representative that I could find in terms of the most thunderous hits, the scariest uniforms, and the bloodiest fights. I'm even tacking on an extra special "scary stuff" area that didn't fit into any of the categories. If you have a queasy stomach, this area may not be for you. All in all, this will undoubtedly be the bloodiest entry that HBIC has ever put together. Without further adieu, I give you the final entry in the Seven Days of Scary, and HBIC's bloodiest entry thus far.

THUNDEROUS HIT

We have a triple-feature today! You would think that, after getting destroyed once by a player while cruising through the trolley tracks, you would probably keep your head up when playing against that player in the future, right? Here's Tie Domi with the Winnipeg Jets getting sent ass over tea kettle off a wicked Scott Stevens hip check. This won't be the last collision between these two.

Again, you'd think that Domi would learn from that, right? Well, here's Domi with the Maple Leafs playing against the Devils and Scott Stevens.

And just because we're featuring one of the most feared hitters in Scott Stevens tonight, here is Stevens eliminating Paul Kariya with a monsterous shoulder.

SCARY UNIFORM

I've talked about European teams before in terms of their outrageous advertising on their uniforms. I understand that they don't have million-dollar budgets like NHL teams do, so this option allows them to turn a profit while fielding a team. That's great, and I support the teams that do this without making the uniform look like a giant billboard.

Unfortunately, one such team is HC Asiago from the Serie A Hockey League in Italy. This is a team that has been in existence since 1937, and has boasted former NHL players in their lineup such as Mathieu Dandenault, Rico Fata, Greg Hawgood, Cliff Ronning, Doug Wickenheiser, and Stephane Quintal. However, their uniforms are bloody awful! The name of their team appears only on the hem of the jersey, not the chest like every other hockey team has done. There are at least seven individual advertisements on the uniform in that picture. And the stars just make it even more busy. I have a headache just from looking at them!

Honestly, this is one of the worst jerseys I have ever seen. And this is coming from a guy who loves the Islanders' Fisherman jersey!

BLOODY FIGHTS

Without a doubt, this is the bloodiest fight I have ever seen in the NHL. Boston's Zdeno Chara uses Chicago's David Koci as a punching bag. I'm almost certain that Koci needed a blood transfusion after his face exploded from Chara's haymakers.

MORE BLOOD THAN NECESSARY

Clint Malarchuk's gruesome neck injury. This is another angle found on YouTube. This is absolutely brutal. If the sight of blood makes you ill, please do not watch this.

And as bad as that was, linesman Pat Dapuzzo's injuries are simply horrific.

Here are Dapuzzo's comments on what happened, compliments of the Fanhouse:
"When Steve Downie was checked by Fedor Tyutin and we became entangled along the boards, Downie's leg whipped around and his skate blade cut my nose off. There was a hole in my face. I was on all fours and was bleeding badly. I thought I had lost my eye. Other than that, I don't remember much about the immediate impact of the skate hitting my face. I was later diagnosed with a concussion from the collision, after they sent me to a trauma center in Camden, New Jersey.

"When I saw three fights had simultaneously broken out between the Rangers and the Flyers after Tyutin hit Downie, I tried to break them up. I guess I was delusional, but I'm old-school -- always was and always will be. I know I was a mess, but my job was to monitor those altercations and end them. If you watch the tape, I actually shove (referee) Kelly Sutherland aside so I can try and do my job. I was thinking that if my mentor (former NHL linesman and supervisor) John D'Amico was looking down from heaven, he would have kicked my butt for not taking care of business.

"Jim Ramsey, the Rangers trainer, came on the ice and got me. He put a towel over my eyes. I could not see a thing from all the blood. 'Rammer' brought me to the Flyers' trainers. Their doctors sewed my nose back on. It took more than 40 stitches. The doctors were alarmed because my left eye was drooping. They told me I could not go back on the ice because I could die. My face was fractured. That was when I realized this was more than just a brutal cut."
Both of these incidents are extremely scary. All my best wishes go out to Clint Malarchuk and Pat Dapuzzo. Those two men are still alive today thanks to some quick actions by training staff and medical personnel, and it's hard to watch that kind of stuff.

With that, the Seven Days of Scary are over. Tomorrow, since you made it this far, I'll have a special post that you will certainly be interested in. Halloween is all about giving stuff away, and there will be opportunities to get some free stuff from HBIC.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Seven Days Of Scary - Two

Today is the second last day of the Seven Days of Scary. It has been a good look at some frightening hits, some bone-chilling uniforms, and some downright bone-rattling fights. In regards to the Link Gaetz fight that was posted yesterday, did you know that "The Missing Link" was actually drafted 40th overall in the second round by the Minnesota North Stars? Their reasoning was that he would be Mike Modano's personal bodyguard much like Dave Semenko was with Wayne Gretzky. For all his talent on the ice, Link just did some stupid things off the ice, and this led to him playing only a handful of games in various leagues across North America. The last that HBIC heard, he was pushing 300 lbs. and no longer playing hockey. He was an absolute terror during his playing days, though. And with that, here is more Seven Days of Scary.

THUNDEROUS HIT

There's an area on the ice that are called the "trolley tracks". It's an area on or just inside the blueline where moving laterally can get you killed. Players caught in the "trolley tracks" usually end up with a splitting headache due to another player hammering them. David Booth of the Florida Panthers gets caught in the trolley tracks, and forgets to look both ways as he crosses the tracks. Philadelphia's Mike Richards is the train that catches him sleeping. And puts him into a deep sleep.

SCARY UNIFORM

I'm all for teams designing jerseys for a one-time use in the efforts to help charities. Teams will normally auction off the jerseys after their selected game and donate the money to the efforts of that charity. It's a great way to raise money, but sometimes these teams need to step back and say "shouldn't we do more".

Case in point? The AHL's San Antonio Rampage honoured the Boy Scouts of America with a jersey on April 4, 2009. If it weren't for the writing in the circle around the logo, would you even know this is to benefit the Boy Scouts? It looks more like a beer league Quebec Nordiques-themed jersey. This is simply a horrid design.

BLOODY FIGHTS

A couple more heavyweights square off today. Anaheim's Stu Grimson - aptly nicknamed "The Grim Reaper" - squares off with Ryan Vandenbussche. It appears that Grimson gains the edge as Vandenbussche takes some abuse early in the fight. Check out the ice and the back of Grimson's jersey at the end of the fight, though. Someone could mistake this for a crime scene.

One more day, and the seven days of scary will be up! I'm still recovering from that lethal hit that Richards threw on Booth. Yikes!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Seven Days Of Scary - Three

The Seven Days of Scary continues today, and this article could simply be about last night's Toronto Maple Leafs-Anaheim Ducks game. Toronto won for the first time this season, and Anaheim looked like they had no clue what the object of the game was. Officially, the Leafs are now 79 points away from beating their point total from last year. As you may have read on this very site, if they get more than 81 points this season, I'll raffle off one of these. They have 73 games remaining. Mathematically, it is easily possible, but realism says differently. Keep your eyes on the Leafs, kids. It could mean a new Maple Leafs jersey for someone if they can pull off the seemingly impossible. Here is Three of our Seven Days of Scary.

THUNDEROUS HIT

Last year's Western Conference Final is still a bit of a sore subject with Red Wings fans. Niklas Kronwall seeks and destroys Chicago's Martin Havlat, leaving Havlat out cold on the ice. And most likely seeing stars. Was it worth a five-minute major and a game misconduct?

SCARY UNIFORM

Hockey jerseys are supposed to evoke fear and intimidation in the opposing team. The logo is supposed to be fierce and aggressive. The jersey colours are supposed to be bold. When you mix those elements together, you usually come up with a great looking uniform. The AHL Cleveland Barons from their first incarnation were opposite of both of these.

The logo looks like Mr. Moneybags' skinny, shaven brother. Mr. Moneybags is not fierce or aggressive. And while the jersey colours are great together, they don't invoke a lot of fear. It's just blue and white. So there is your un-scary Halloween hockey costume: the Cleveland Barons.

BLOODY FIGHTS

This fight doesn't have a lot of blood spillage in it, but two legitimate heavyweights in Minnesota's Link Gaetz and Detroit's Joey Kocur throw bombs at one another. It is widely known in hockey circles that Joey Kocur threw the hardest punches out of all the enforcers during his time in the NHL. Gaetz's face is slightly cut at the end of this, but watch the power that Kocur throws his punches with. Very scary.

We have two days of scary stuff to go. Keep your eyes on this site as we progress towards Halloween. All Hallow's Eve will have a special post, and October 30 will feature something unique as well!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Seven Days Of Scary - Four

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Four Days of Scary Stuff. Both of these bring about fear. Granted, the latter doesn't really signify the end of the world as we know it, but HBIC has never claimed to be of biblical proportions either. Here is Day Four of the Seven Days of Scary. Enjoy!

THUNDEROUS HIT

This one is fresh off the ice. Rob Scuderi of the Los Angeles Kings absolutely low-bridges Jason Chimera of the Columbus Blue Jackets in last night's game, and Chimera comes up dazed, confused, and bloodied.

SCARY UNIFORM

I'm all for charities getting a boost because of a hockey team's promotional jersey, but there's just some uniforms that don't fit the bill. Case in point? Princeton's men's hockey team donned "pink" uniforms to help support awareness for breast cancer research last season. The only problem? They weren't all that pink. Why do teams say they are going to support something when all they do is add a band of pink tape to their uniforms?

You're better than this, Princeton. Or at least I thought you were. Horrible.

BLOODY FIGHTS

Back in the 1980s, fights were at an all-time high. 1989-90 had its fair share of scraps, and this one features Kris King of the New York Rangers, journeyman Yvon Corriveau of the Washington Capitals, and a pint of Corriveau's blood.

We have three days of scary stuff to go. Keep your eyes on this site as we progress towards Halloween. All Hallow's Eve will have a special post!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Seven Days Of Scary - Five

Counting backwards, we're on Day Five of the Seven Days of Scary. Of course, that means another shuddering hit, an additional scary costume, and some blood courtesy of fisticuffs. Days Seven and Six saw a couple of huge hits courtesy of Willie Mitchell and Dion Phaneuf. There were a couple of "scary" uniforms worn by ECH Munich and the Soviet Union teams. And we saw fights that ended with Jay Harrison and Mel Angelstad wearing more blood than they should be. We're going to continue this today, but remember that this isn't a ranking system. It's just seven days of Halloween fun. With that, here is five.

THUNDEROUS HIT

1995 NHL Finals. Detroit vs. New Jersey. Lurking on the ice is one of the NHL's premiere predators in terms of bone-crushing hits. And Slava Kozlov falls victim to Scott Stevens' hunt.

SCARY UNIFORM

I've always been a fan of Canada's hockey jerseys since Hockey Canada took over the program. The red-and-white jerseys with the Hockey Canada logo have always been reinforced by the Canadian style of play: hard forecheck, finishing checks, and scoring lots of goals.

The only jersey I haven't been that fond of was the black alternate jersey that Team Canada wore. Black has no place on the Canadian flag, nor should it be used as a primary colour on the jersey. Yes, I know that Hockey Canada's logo has black in it, and that's fine. That represents the business known as Hockey Canada. The rest of the jersey, however, represents the country.

In saying this, Hockey Canada announced yesterday that the team will be going green for one tournament game in the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championships "in honour of Saskatchewan’s love affair with the CFL’s Roughriders and as a salute to the province".

Really? Are you serious? The alternate jersey they are to wear will now be green? Hockey Canada can't be that hard up for cash that it has to sell itself out to the province of Saskatchewan. These look like practice jerseys! For an institution to sell its soul - literally and figuratively - that easily is downright scary.

BLOODY FIGHTS

Middle-weight bout from 2007: Doug Janik of the Tampa Bay Lightning squares off with Craig Adams of the Carolina Hurricanes. This one ends with lots of plasma on the ice.


We'll have another set of these tomorrow, and every day up to October 31. Nothing like a little mayhem leading up to Halloween!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Seven Days Of Scary - Six

Yesterday, we saw the start of the Seven Days of Scary, and we're continuing today in looking at vicious hits, eyebrow-raising uniforms, and fights that the Red Cross would endorse in terms of blood donation. Today, we push forward with a few more examples. With Halloween approaching, these seven days of scary hockey stuff will show the "dark side" of hockey. Let me just say, as I did yesterday, that this is not a ranking system, but simply seven days of hits, uniforms, and fights. Here is six.

THUNDEROUS HIT

The year is 2006. The hitter is Dion Phaneuf. The victim is Denis Hamel. The result? Pain and suffering.

SCARY UNIFORM

The uniform today is all about intimidation. The Soviet Union were a well-oiled hockey machine, destroying nations in international play. The man who tended to the Soviet goal was Vladislav Tretiak, and this picture of him smiling is bittersweet. I have never seen Tretiak smiling when he was in uniform, so that's the sweet part. The bitter part is that when he wasn't smiling, he was the most dominant goaltender in the world. If you want the definition of scary, the Big Red Machine was it.

BLOODY FIGHTS

Mel Angelstad of the Manitoba Moose and Paul Kruse of the Chicago Wolves throw haymakers at one another. These two teams had a serious hatred for one another in the old IHL.


We'll have another set of these tomorrow, and every day up to October 31. Nothing like a little mayhem leading up to Halloween!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 23 October 2009

Seven Days Of Scary - Seven

With Halloween a short seven days away, HBIC is going to run the "Seven Days of Scary" which will highlight thunderous hits, scary uniforms, and bloody fights. Each day, this blog will feature one big hit via video, one promotional jersey not yet seen on this site, and one fight where someone springs a leak and leaves himself and/or others covered in hemoglobin. This is not a ranking system in any way in terms of what you see; rather, it is simply seven days of a collection of stuff that may make you shudder, laugh, or get queasy depending on what you like and don't like. Today, Friday, October 23 will be the start, and we'll run through next Friday, October 30. Here we go.

THUNDEROUS HIT

From just a few days ago, Willie Mitchell of the Vancouver Canucks absolutely destroys Jonathan Toews.

SCARY UNIFORM

ECH Munich is a team that plays in the German Elite League (DEL). Germans, as you may know, love Oktoberfest. Heck, hockey fans can relate since beer and hockey go together like stick and puck. But what doesn't go together is Oktoberfest and hockey.

Here is ECH Munich in their Oktoberfest-inspired uniforms. Yes, the breezers are even made to look like lederhosen. Honestly, I appreciate the idea of celebrating a German tradition, but these uniforms are a little scary.

BLOODY FIGHTS

From earlier this month, Milan Lucic ends what Jay Harrison started. And ends it with some blood spatter.


There's your first examples, kids. We'll have another set of these tomorrow, and every day up to October 31.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Best No-Goal Ever?

I'm not one to make "Goal of the Year" videos. I don't have the technical know-how in terms of splicing video and linking clips together and all that stuff. I tend to leave that kind of work to the experts because it usually turns out pretty good when they do it. After watching the Vancouver Canucks-Edmonton Oilers game the other night, I was certain that there might be a "Goal of the Year" candidate after seeing Kyle Wellwood's amazing end-to-end rush. After all, Mr. Wellwood hasn't been known for this speed or agility, especially after being criticized for being too heavy in training camp a couple of years ago with Toronto.

Well, after shedding most of the baby fat for muscle, this is the Kyle Wellwood that Toronto thought they were getting. Check out this play by Wellwood at the end of the game.

Here's the question: does Kyle Wellwood's goal count for nothing but some highlight reel fodder? Or is it worthy of being on a "Goal of the Year" list even though the goal was waved off? What do you think readers: keep it or wave it off?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Red Line Report

If there is one thing that rarely gets noticed by fans, it has to be the red center ice lines that are painted on to the ice. While the ice-makers in each arena only have twelve inches to work with on their canvas, the red lines are often a place of amazing creativity and artistry. Most professional rinks have their red lines painted on below the surface, while some amateur rinks still use paper that is frozen between the sheets of ice. Thanks to Uni Watch Blog's Paul Lukas, there should be a new appreciation for the artwork in the red paint from this point on.

Paul wrote a fantastic article today on the red lines found in hockey.

"As most of you know, I’ve been trying to compile a visual catalog of hockey red line designs. It’s an interesting project, because the blue lines are always solid blue, but red line styles are all over the map. It’s sort of a stealth design element on the sports landscape.

"How did we end up with such a multiplicity of red line designs? A hint comes from reader Matthew Clement, who recently sent me the following note:

'The red lines were originally broken up with white in order to differentiate the red line from the blue line on black and white TVs. Perhaps this is common knowledge, but I only figured it out last year when Montreal played in Colorado and the local sports station broadcast the second period in black-and-white as a tribute to the old days of hockey.'
"I had never thought about that, but it makes perfect sense. Interestingly, now that we live in a color TV world, some red lines have gone back to solid red. You can see that in some of the photos linked in the following alphabetical list of arenas, which features all of the current NHL rinks along with some minor league and college facilities. I’ve tried to show current designs as much as possible, although I probably missed the mark in a few cases. And that’s fine — I’m mostly interested in showing the range of red line possibilities, past and present."

Now before we get to some of the designs, here's what the NHL rulebook says regarding the center ice lines:
"There shall also be a line, twelve inches (12") in width and red in color, drawn completely across the rink in center ice, parallel with the goal lines and continued vertically up the side of the boards, known as the 'CENTER LINE'. This line shall contain regular interval markings of a uniform distinctive design, which will readily distinguish it from the two blue lines, the outer edges of which must be continuous. (Paint code PMS 186.)"
If you want to see all the examples that Paul has up at Uni Watch, I suggest clicking over to his blog. There are a number of arenas that have been outlined, and he's presented a healthy list of NHL, AHL, ECHL, and NCAA rinks. I'm here to add a few more that I found interesting, as well as some of red lines from the past.
Some pretty interesting designs, right? While it's neat to see some of the designs that have gone into the red lines, there are probably still a hundred more ideas that have yet to be seen on a red line. As we see new and innovative ice-makers plying their trades in arenas across the globe, there should be more interesting designs seen in the near future!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Another PhotoBlog

I have a pile of photos sitting in the old online photo album, and I've decided to put together a random sampling of images that I have yet to use for any purpose. Basically, these are images that people have sent to me that haven't been used in a story yet, but may get that opportunity before their end days. In any case, rather than just holding on to these gems, I want to put them out for you, the reader, to feast upon. Some are interesting, some are wacky, and others are just randomness. Without further adieu, let's dive into the shoebox of photos I have been hoarding underneath my bed this blog.

  • We'll start with this tidbit about Dustin Tokarski's inspirational message on the back plate of his mask. The full story can be found on the AHL website. Essentially, it means that if you get knocked down, get right back up. The "8" and the "9" come from his birth year: 1989.
  • Uniform cameos happen when a player appears in a specific uniform for a short period of time. Normally, this occurs when a player is traded to a new team and then leaves in the off-season as a free agent. It also happens when a player is traded right before he retires. Such was the case with Bobby Hull who suited up for the Whalers in 1979 after being traded from the Winnipeg Jets to the Hartford franchise. Hull appeared in nine games with the Whalers before calling it a career.
  • Celebrities are often invited to drop pucks for ceremonial faceoffs at hockey games. The faceoffs, of course, mean little to the game besides some added fanfare, but 1984 offered an amazing celebrity puck drop. Michael Jackson was touring the country on his Victory Tour concert tour. 1984 was the year that his album Thriller dominated the Grammy Awards. As his tour passed through Vancouver in November, Michael Jackson was invited to the Pacific Coliseum to drop the puck as the Canucks hosted the Penguins on November 16, 1984. Pictured with the King of Pop is Canucks legend Stan Smyl and Penguins legend Mario Lemieux. The Canucks defeated the Penguins that night by a 7-6 score, by the way.
  • Speaking of the Penguins, I like their new jewelry. Gorgeous design, and the addition of the teams they beat will help make this Stanley Cup victory all that more memorable.
  • Here's something rarely seen in the WHA days: Gordie Howe on the bench as a member of the Houston Aeros.
  • How 1970s is this photo? That picture looks like it was taken in someone's basement. The WHA's Chicago Cougars are clearly holding a press conference, but that wood paneling in the background needs to go.
  • A reader sent me a link to this photo of former Winnipeg Jets captain Troy Murray. Those are still one of my favorite jerseys of all-time.
  • Speaking of former Jets, here's a shot of Joe Daley with the Buffalo Sabres. Daley owns and operates a sports card business in Winnipeg. I recommend checking it out if you ever happen to pass through the town. Hearing him talk about old-time hockey while browsing through some of his stuff is like being in a mini-museum!
  • We have an interesting last name from the world of hockey. James Van Der Gulik is currently playing for the Abbotsford Heat in the AHL. If you notice, the "Der" portion of his name is smaller than the rest of his name. This is strange because he didn't have that distinction made while he was with the Calgary Flames, the Quad City Flames, or while in the NCAA with Boston University. I'm not sure what prompted the change, but Mr. Van Der Gulik's name is certainly unique in the world of hockey.
  • The University of Denver offered up some nice throwback jerseys in a recent game. I have to say that, in most cases with hockey uniforms, less is more. Keep it simple, kids. It almost always looks better.
  • Last, but not least, here are the San Antonio Spurs Rampage from last season. That's Brian Boucher in net with his Spurs-themed jersey in honour of the city's NBA franchise. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: cross-sport promotions are dumb. I can't stand them. This one is an absolute failure.
Ok, that's all I have time for today. Work is bogging me down with actual work, so I have to get cracking on that. If you have comments on the photos, please put them in the comment section! I will reply!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Speaking To Genius

The image to the left may not seem very hockey-centric, but it most certainly is. That's why we're here today. The gentleman on the right in the picture is named Matt. Matt contacted me regarding the article I wrote on the Preston Rivulettes entitled Linking To Genius. He had some nice things to say about the article which I appreciated, but Matt's grandmother was most impressed. Matt's grandmother, seated on the left in the picture, is named Ruth Collins, née Dargel, and she was one of the Rivulettes in the 1930s! Matt put me in contact with her, and we had an hour-long conversation last week. On behalf of HBIC, I am extremely honoured and proud to bring to you Ruth Dargel's story, and her legacy with the Rivulettes.

When we began talking, and it was immediately clear that Miss Dargel was proud to be a Rivulette. While she was too young to be around during the formation of the Preston Rivulettes, Ruth Dargel joined the team in 1937 at the tender age of 15. Amazingly, she didn't get her break because of her hockey talents. Instead, she was a recruit for the softball team!

Miss Dargel's father coached a Waterloo softball team that featured the up-and-coming athlete. Ruth was tossing the ball around when a man approached her father asking if she was interested in playing on a better team at a higher level. Knowing that her daughter, as athletically-gifted as she was, needed a bigger challenge, Mr. and Mrs. Dargel decided to allow Ruth to make the trek to Kitchener to play for the Seagrams softball team. In order to do so, however, she needed to get a temporary work permit to allow her to work in the Seagrams Distillery in Kitchener, Ontario at age 14 in 1936. Her job? Cleaning bottles. The summer months were all about playing softball when the ladies weren't at work, and this is where her association with the Rivulettes began.

While their softball feats were not as widely recognized as their hockey prowess, the Preston Rivulettes softball team was equally impressive in terms of their talent. The women would work at the Seagrams Distillery during the day, and then play softball in the evenings and on weekends to big crowds. If that image isn't straight out of the Hollywood movie A League of Their Own, then it's certainly one for a female version of Field of Dreams.

With the winter months nearly on the region, Ruth was anxious to hit the ice. Earlier in her childhood, she had been a very good speed skater, and took up hockey as a hobby and way to practice skating when her dad built a rink in the backyard for her brother to play on. Ruth's speed and skating ability made her a great skater, but her brother and his friends refused to allow her to play in games with them because of the rather large speed skate blades on her feet. Her brother begged her dad to get her some hockey skates so that there wasn't this fear of blades any longer, and he finally gave in. With the smaller blades, cornering was much easier now, and Ruth's talents with the puck started developing rapidly.

"My brother and his friends wouldn't let me play with them on the rink," Ruth informed me. "They were afraid of my skates. But once I got on those hockey skates, let me tell you, hockey was a lot easier."

Because of her annual rite of winter out on the backyard rink, Ruth was a fairly good hockey player by the time she joined the Preston Springs softball team. Her mother had mentioned to the Seagrams people that her daughter could play hockey. Knowing that the softball ladies played hockey in the winter, the Seagrams' coaches put Ruth Dargel on the Preston team at age 15. Her skating abilities allowed her to keep up with some of the older ladies on the ice, and her decent stick-handling and puck moving abilities that she had learned on her own backyard rink began to shine through. Ruth Dargel was made part of the Rivulettes for the 1937-38 season.

While the Rivulettes already had an impressive history behind them by the time 1938 rolled around, Ruth Dargel was added to the amazing history that these women were writing. They were Ontario Champions a number of times by the time Miss Dargel joined the team, having won seven championships by 1937.

The highly-decorated team began traveling more extensively as the stories of their records gained strength throughout Canada. Unlike the teams of today who are sponsored while traveling, the ladies paid for all their travels out of their own pockets, and normally traveled by car. Their trips to Edmonton, Winnipeg, and northern Ontario took them through some of the most harrowing winter weather - snow, ice, frigid temperatures - just to play hockey against the prairie teams.

In 1939, the Rivulettes were invited to Prince Edward Island to play against the best women's team from PEI for the Dominion Championship, and stayed in the same hotel that King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stayed in during their royal tour in the summer of 1939. Pretty impressive for an amateur women's team, right?

"The hotel was a dump," Ruth recalled. "It was really run-down. I'm surprised that the King and Queen stayed there during their visit."

The ladies didn't let their old-fashioned hotel ruin their trip, however. According to Ruth, the ladies bunked like current hockey players do: the same teammates would bunk on the road together when the traveled. Ruth bunked with teammate Violet Hall on the road.

The game between the PEI Islanders and the Preston Rivulettes in 1939-40 was for the Dominion Championship - female amateur hockey's Stanley Cup at the time. The Rivulettes, having won five straight Dominion Championships, were the favorites coming in. The Saturday night game between the two teams saw Preston Springs take a 1-0 lead in the series with a 4-2 victory.

Game Two on Sunday saw Ruth Dargel, now a 17 year-old forward with the Rivulettes, shine in the spotlight of the biggest game of the year. The Rivulettes jumped out to a 3-0 lead through two periods on goals by Hilda Ranscombe and a pair from Gladys Pitcher. At 3:10 of the third period, Vimy Jones fired a high shot past Nellie Ranscombe after a scrum around the net to bring the Islanders closer at 3-1.

Our star, Ruth Dargel, scored her first goal of the game off a rebound in the third period. Islanders' goaltender Myrtle McDonald made a couple of fine saves before Dargel buried the puck from in front of the net to increase the Rivulettes lead to 4-1. Hilda Ranscombe netted her second of the game to increase the score to 5-1 before Marm Schmuck tapped in a Hilda Ranscombe feed at the side of the net to make it 6-1.

Dargel's second goal of the game sealed the deal as she stripped an Islanders player of the puck and skated in alone against McDonald. Dargel fired the puck over McDonald's shoulder as she broke in on the goalie, and the Rivulettes earned the win, and their sixth consecutive Dominion Championship, with a 7-1 victory. Dargel, seen here on the right with goaltender Nellie Ramscombe, celebrated her third championship in as many seasons.

With the outbreak of World War I, a European exhibition trip to play some of the men's teams in Europe was cancelled. Because of the war-time measures put into place, changes to the Preston Rivulettes were inevitable.

Many of the women were married or soon-to-be married, and Miss Dargel was no different. She met a young man who was in the Canadian Air Force, and they were soon married. Because of his work, the newly-named Ruth Collins traveled to many new places, eventually ending up in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan at the Air Force base. Her love of hockey didn't die in Preston Springs, though. Through some efforts with the people on the base, Mrs. Collins formed a loose team in Moose Jaw and they played regularly on the base against one another and against local teams.

It wasn't until the late-1940s, after three children were added to the Collins' family, that Ruth hung up the skates in terms of her playing days. She still has her old skates, and still used them to ice skate in the winter when she could well into her septuagenarian years. That, to me, is absolutely amazing!

Before I sign off, I do have a couple of people to thank. I want to thank Matt for allowing to get in touch with his grandmother. Matt was the driving force behind this story in terms of having me tell it, and, without him, this never would have come to reality. Thank you, Matt. I am truly grateful for the opportunity you gave me to speak to your grandmother.

I also want to thank Miss Ruth Collins. Miss Collins, your story is not only impressive to hear, but it is inspiring. You are literally a living part of hockey history, and I truly believe that your inclusion into the Hockey Hall of Fame should be highlighted even more than what I have done. I will be following up your story in the weeks to come with some of the contacts you provided to me, and I will contact you with the updates. Thank you for taking the time to speak to me about your experiences, and it is an absolute honour and privilege to be able to tell your story to the world. Thank you!

Just before I close off this section of amazing hockey history, here are the Preston Springs Rivulettes from 1938, shortly before competing for their eighth straight Ontario Association Championship. The blond-haired lass on the extreme left in the second row is Miss Dargel at the age of 16. This is the team that would essentially compete until their disbanding in 1940.

Here is another newspaper clipping regarding the Rivulettes' amazing run in regards to their unfathomable record of 350-2-3. And here is a great newspaper article from the Cambridge Times in 1991 that gives an excellent overview of the Rivulettes' successes.

Hockey history is pretty darned cool, isn't it?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Wholesale Changes

For teams that decided last season that major changes were needed after failing to capture hockey's biggest prize, it comes as no surprise that teams who did a roster overhaul are struggling. Where wholesale changes were made, teams need to time to develop that chemistry and trust between players. When free agents are brought in, chemistry and trust need to be forged between former enemies, and that process takes time. All the talent that is amassed can't rush this process either. In fact, when more and more changes are made, chemistry is always the biggest factor when it comes to how a team works together.

While I'm not suggesting that a handful of free agents will disrupt a winning team entirely, there are numerous examples of how a major free agent signing can negatively affect a team despite the talent level of the player being brought in. And in this season's NHL, we have numerous examples of top-tier players being brought in as free agents and those teams that signed them suffering.

As an example, the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Francois Beauchemin and Mike Komisarek to bolster their blueline, entrenching them in the top-four of their defensive corps. Garnet Exelby was acquired via a trade, and it was though that the Leafs would be greatly improved with each players individual contributions as defensive defencemen.

The problem is that their defensive partners have to get used to playing with these new free agents. If they don't have time to develop that chemistry, there will be a lot of hesitation, confusion, and goals-against. Obviously, that will result in more losses than wins.

If you think about some of the better teams, they have defensive pairings that have played together for a long time. The Anaheim Ducks featured Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger. The Pittsburgh Penguins featured Sergei Gonchar and Brooks Orpik. The Boston Bruins featured Zdeno Chara and Dennis Wideman. In all of those cases, the players have been paired together for more than one season. And each team has seen better success than the previous season. Why? Defensively, these players know each other's strengths and weaknesses.

The more a defensive pairing plays together, the more complementary they are in their abilities. Being a defenceman myself, I see this all the time. I play a more defensive game when paired with an offensive talent, and we complement each other nicely. Do you know why the Montreal Canadiens of the 1950s were so good? They had little turnover in their roster. They played together, and they knew each other. Do you know why the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s were so good? They had little turnover in their roster. They were together for 200+ days per year. That's how trust in one another and chemistry amongst your teammates is forged.

In looking at the standings thus far this season, those teams who made wholesale chanes - bringing in more than two defencemen to their top-six defence corps - are struggling:

  • Toronto: three new defencemen - winless in eight games.
  • Montreal: three new defencemen - four points in seven games.
  • Vancouver: three new defencemen* - six points in seven games.
  • Tampa Bay: four new defencemen - six points in seven games.
  • Anaheim: three new defencemen - seven points in seven games.
*Vancouver's Sami Salo is out for an extended period, forcing a new player into the top-six.

Of all of those teams, Anaheim, Vancouver, and Montreal were expected to push for a playoff spot, yet they sit 12th, 13th, and 13th in their conferences respectively. Tampa Bay is 10th in the Eastern Conference, and Toronto is the worst team statistically in the NHL thus far this season.

It takes time to build chemistry and trust, and these teams are still working on that. There's no doubt that they can still make the playoffs, and that's the good news. But if they don't start developing some chemistry and trust between their top defensive players, it could be a long season for the goalies behind them and the fans in the stands.

There aren't many businesses that can replace half of their top employees without seeing a dip in production. NHL franchises are the same way. Replacing three of six men who you rely on night-in and night-out will almost certainly guarantee some growing pains.

You would think that general managers would see the risk in this tactic, but the NHL is a "what have you done for me lately" business in most cases. In this case, that tactic almost guarantees that your team will struggle.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

More Theoren Fleury

The CBC's The Fifth Estate followed up George Stroumboulopoulos' interview on The Hour with an in-depth interview last night. Bob McKeown did an excellent job in his examination of "The Code" earlier this year, and he really put everything in perspective by asking the probing questions. I have nothing by the utmost respect for Mr. McKeown's interview style and the work he does for The Fifth Estate, so I was looking forward to this interview as much as I was afraid to hear some of the details he was about to present. Needless to say, this story may not be suitable for children due to some of the issues that McKeown examines.

The 45-minute interview involves not only Theoren Fleury, but Sheldon Kennedy, writer Tim Francis, Rangers GM Glen Sather, and his wife Jennifer. The interview is tough to watch at times because Fleury's story comes so honestly and so easily in terms of seeing his addictions, his fragile emotional state, and his deeply hidden secrets. I've watched the interview twice, and it's difficult to see a man who once was on top of the world, then traveled to the depths of hell, but managed to fight his way back.

I won't lie: this interview really shows an honest, genuine side of Fleury. He's talks openly about his battles, his addictions, his defeats, and his overcoming all of the despair he had in his life. This might be one of the best interviews I have seen ever, and that's not just in hockey. I mean, it is one of the best I have ever seen about any topic. Bob McKeown deserves some praise for this interview, and Theoren Fleury pulls no punches when asked the tough questions.

Here is the link to the entire story, including the full 45-minute video. The timeline on the entire story is here, and is comprehensive in its building of the chronological sequence.

Let me know what you think. Again, do you respect Fleury any more than what you knew of him after seeing this type of serious examination of him?

I just want to apologize to Matt and Ruth right now. I am having some issues in downloading the photos you sent. It has nothing to do with the pictures themselves, but my Gmail account is giving me some trouble in downloading them. Once I have that resolved, I'll post your story immediately. Honestly, I am very excited about this story, and I really wanted to have it up and posted today. I apologize.

To my readers, I apologize for not having Matt and Ruth's amazing interview posted today, but those pictures make the interview that much more incredible, and they are a vital part of the story. As I stated above, I'll post that as soon as Google tells me why their service won't let me download the pictures.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 16 October 2009

Theoren Fleury On The Hour

When I'm home early enough at night, I always catch The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos on CBC. He always has excellent guests on, and his interviews are better than most cut-and-dry, standard questions-and-answers. His interview with Gary Bettman last season wasn't confrontational by any means, but it certainly laid some groundwork in seeing inside the NHL Commissioner's mind. On Wednesday evening, George featured Theoren Fleury as one of his guests. Normally, Theo would be an excellent guest simply based upon his hockey experiences, but with Fleury's new book out and the allegations of sexual abuse involving Graham James, I was glued to the television for this interview.

Thanks to a great YouTuber, Theoren Fleury's interview is available to watch. The interview is broken into two clips that are approximately ten minutes in length, but it is an extremely good interview. I'll post the two videos here, and open up some discussion below.


First, I want to be clear about something: I'm not here to debate whether the allegations against Graham James are true or not. I'm not a judge or jury, and everything will sort itself out if Theoren Fleury decides to go ahead and press charges. As was seen in the case involving Sheldon Kennedy, Graham James got what he deserved for the atrocities he committed in that situation, and now Fleury has a chance to put those demons to bed.

Secondly, I don't want to hear any sorts of character assassination on Theoren Fleury. He wrote the book, he played the game of hockey in a way that only Theo Fleury can, and he is the man sitting in the chair with George today.

My question is this: knowing all that we know about Fleury today - with all his successes and battles - do you respect him more now as a person than you did when he was his feisty self in the NHL? Let me know in the comments. And, if you like, I'd like to hear your thoughts on the interview as well.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Your ECHL Promotional Jersey Schedule

With the 2009-10 season getting underway for the twenty ECHL teams tonight, I thought it might be a good idea to post the schedules for the promotional nights that each team is having, focusing specifically on the promotional hockey jersey nights. The ECHL prides itself on being affordable, family-oriented hockey action, and there have been a number of excellent players who have graduated to higher levels of hockey from this league. What makes this league special, however, are the promotional jerseys. All sorts of causes and charities are highlighted throughout the hockey season with a special jersey, and we'll look at these below.

Alaska Aces

After emailing the Alaska Aces today, they responded by saying that they had not yet finalized the promotion schedule. With it being opening night tonight, that strikes me as slightly odd. They can't even confirm the promotions they are holding in the month of October?

Bakersfield Condors

The Condors have their entire promotional schedule online. I think the toilet plunger giveaway on February 20 is entirely interesting. Hopefully, the Condors won't be close to missing the playoffs on that night. Otherwise, someone may get the wrong idea about that promotion.
Charlotte Checkers

The Checkers have their promotional schedule online. There are a number of zoo-sponsored and Coke-sponsored nights throughout the year. Lots of promotions going on, and I have to commend Charlotte for holding Family Day every Sunday where they play a game. Bringing in the younger fans will only lead them to becoming adult fans.
  • November 13: "Friday the 13th" game. I'm not sure what this entails, but they may be planning something similar to what Las Vegas did a few seasons ago.
  • November 21: Junior Achievement night featuring special blue jerseys to be auctioned off.
  • December 18: "Cheesy Christmas Sweater" night. Hopefully, this includes the team.
  • January 22: "Race Night" featuring racing-themed jerseys to be auctioned off.
  • February 7: "Wear Your Favorite Team's Jersey" night. Should be interesting.
  • March 13: "Pink in the Rink" featuring pink jerseys to be auctioned off.
Cincinnati Cyclones

The Cyclones have their promotional schedule online, but it is far less descriptive than what I would have imagined. Either way, though, there are few promotions that would be worth the ticket price, including two Bobblehead Nights, Kids Jersey T-shirt Night, and Fan Appreciation Night.
  • November 6: throwback night. I assume that Cincy will be wearing some sort of throwback to the earlier days of Cincinnati hockey.
  • January 16: "Camo Night" featuring military-themed jerseys.
  • February 20: "Pink in the Rink". Hopefully, the Cyclones will take to the ice in pink jerseys. Again, the lack of detail makes it hard to know what the actual plan is.
  • March 17: "St. Patrick's Day". Green-themed jerseys?
Elmira Jackals

The Elmira Jackals have their promotion... no, they don't. So I can't give you any updates as to the important games that may be coming up, especially those that involve new jerseys.

Florida Everblades

The Florida Everblades have their promotional schedule up, and it is little more detailed than some of the others. I appreciate that. However, the views are by month only, and you have to click on a specific day to get more information. At least it is detailed, though. The also have season-long promotional information. Good stuff from the 'Blades. The one thing I did notice is that they aren't using many promotional jerseys. There are a couple, however.
  • November 13: Military Night featuring the Everblades in camouflage jerseys that will be auctioned off.
  • February 20: Pink in the Rink featuring pink jerseys on the players.
Gwinnett Gladiators

The Gwinnett Gladiators have their promo schedule up on their site, and it has excellent details on it. There are a lot of promotional days on the schedule, but none of them speak of any sort of promotional jerseys. I'll take a shot in the dark at one of these days since the Gladiators have worn specific promo jerseys before.
  • February 12-14: Pink in the Rink weekend. I'm almost certain the Gladiators will be wearing pink jerseys at some point on this weekend.
Idaho Steelheads

The Steelheads have a unique promotional schedule on their website. It lists the promotions based upon how you buy your tickets. If you choose a Wednesday night game, you can see what promotions are being offered exclusively on Wednesdays. They also have ticket promotions and the promotions that are offered at every home game regardless of what day you go. What they seem to be missing, however, is the season's giveaway schedule. They only have three promotional giveaways planned thus far, so I recommend checking back if you're interested in seeing the Steelheads live.

Johnstown Chiefs

The Chiefs have their promotional schedule posted on their site. It seems a little barren. There are only a few promotions that they seem to be having this season. Fortunately for us, there is a mention of one promotional jersey.
  • November 11: Camouflage jersey and auction for Veteran's Day.
Kalamazoo Wings
The Kalamazoo Wings have their promotional schedule up, but there's little in the way of promotional jersey nights. They do have specific nights for coloured ice, though, so that should be interesting. From the schedule, orange, pink, and green ice will all make an appearance this season in Kalamazoo.

Las Vegas Wranglers

The Las Vegas Wranglers are one of the most active teams when it comes to promotional nights. They have their schedule online, and it is packed with info. They are giving away photo frames, reusable shopping bags, and what sounds like a cooler bag amongst other promotions all season long. If you've followed this blog for long enough, you know the Wranglers love breaking out the promotional jerseys as well. As of right now, however, there are only two jerseys mentioned.
Ontario Reign

The Ontario Reign have their promo schedule online. The Reign appear to be giving some of the more established promotional jersey-wearing teams a run for their money. Rather than just talking about the jersey they plan on wearing, they actually include the picture! Let's take a look at these promo jerseys.
  • October 31: "Go Green for Halloween" featuring the Reign in green-themed jerseys that will be available for auction.
  • November 21: "Humane Society Night" featuring jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game with funds going to support the San Bernardino Valley Humane Society.
  • December 18: "Kings Affiliate Night" featuring jerseys that will reflect the Reign's association with the NHL L.A. Kings. The auction goes to support Jr. Reign Youth Hockey.
  • January 30: "Red Cross Night" featuring Red Cross-themed jerseys. Auction funds go to support the American Red Cross Inland Empire Chapter.
  • February 20: "Pink in the Rink" featuring pink Reign jerseys. All proceeds will help benefit the Stater Bros. Charities and Inland Women Fighting Cancer.
  • March 20: Post-game jersey auction to benefit the University of La Verne.
Reading Royals

The Reading Royals have their giveaway schedule online, but I couldn't find anything in their promotional section about promotional jerseys they may be wearing. I assume that the Royals will break out one or two promo jerseys this season to correspond with holidays and/or giveaways, but nothing on their site seems to indicate that they have plans for something like that.

South Carolina Stingrays

The Stingrays have a similar promotional webpage to that of the Florida Everblades. The difference? The Stingrays don't have any promotional jersey info on their schedule. There are games where they possibly could break out a promotional jersey, but it doesn't say if they will. Hopefully, they do because it would be a shame if the ECHL defending champs decided to forgo any sort of fun this season.

Stockton Thunder

The Thunder have their promotional schedule up, and it looks a heckuva lot like South Carolina's webpage. There are a pile of promotions that are happening in Thunder Country this season, and a few of them include new promotional jerseys.
Toledo Walleye

The Walleye have their promo schedule online, and there are some interesting promotions going on in Toledo, Ohio. "Cowbells n' Country" night sees fans receive a cowbell as the giveaway. Let's hope that Bruce Dickinson isn't near Toledo that night. There are a couple of promotional jerseys that the Walleye will break out this season, though.
  • January 23: Tuxedo Jersey Night features the Walleye in tuxedo-style jerseys. There will be an auction after the game for these jerseys!
  • March 5: Pink in the Rink night will feature pink Walleye jerseys that will go up for auction after the game.
Trenton Devils

The Trenton Devils have their promotion schedule posted, but it seems they have no desire to attract fans to games with anything but hot dogs, autograph sessions, and magnetic schedules. I get that Lou Lamoriello runs a tight ship up in New Jersey, but the Devils could at least try to have a little fun during the season. The Devils seem to be the opposite of minor-pro hockey based upon their promo schedule.

Utah Grizzlies

The Grizzlies are using the same promotion schedule template as some of the other ECHL teams. There are a number of promotions that the Grizzlies are running this season, and a few of them involve a promotional jersey.
  • October 24: Pink in the Rink night with pink jerseys to bring awareness for the battle against breast cancer. Pink jerseys will be auctioned off after the game.
  • December 4: Third Jersey Night where the Grizzlies will unveil their new alternate jersey based on the style of their NHL affiliate, the New York Islanders.
  • December 5: "Angel's Hands" night. The Grizzlies will be wearing special jerseys that night, and the proceeds from the jersey auction after the game will benefit the Angel's Hands Foundation.
  • January 23: "Guns N' Hoses" night. No word on whether a special jersey will be worn to honour the men and women of the fire and police departments, but other teams have done it. Here's hoping Utah does the same.
  • March 12: Third jersey auction. The Islanders-inspired alternate jerseys go up for auction with the proceeds going to St. Jude's Children's Hospital.
Victoria Salmon Kings

The Salmon Kings posted their sche... yeah, that didn't happen. You would think that with the season upon these teams, they would have their promotions and gameday events planned and confirmed, right? I get that there might be the occasional "TBA" or "TBD" game in there, but to not have anything? How does this happen?

Wheeling Nailers

The Wheeling Nailers have their promotion schedule posted, but it says nothing of any new threads. I'll go ahead and assume that the team is wearing pink for Pink in the Rink on November 28. I'll assume that Organ Donation Awareness Night on March 6, 2010 and Red Cross Night on March 20, 2010 will have special jerseys made up for those events. However, I simply cannot confirm based upon that schedule.

So there are all the major ECHL promotions that involve some sort of new jersey that I could find. Again, if you live near an ECHL franchise, most teams have a deal on family packs of tickets, and many are on nights where the kids take home something cool like a bobblehead or a poster or a magnet. Head on down to your local ECHL rink, and take in some hockey!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!