Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Hockey Show - Episode 256

The Hockey Show is back on the UMFM radio frequency tonight, and we're going to bring a potpourri-style of a show tonight as we go through a number of stories from around the hockey world. First, though, we have a returning guest who has a unique perspective on some of the major stories from the hockey world this summer. He's still involved in a way with the stories, but he's not as directly involved as he once was. We'll get his viewpoints on the major stories before breaking into a number of cool stories from around the hockey spectrum in the second-half of The Hockey Show!

The Hockey Show is proud to welcome back former head coach of the CWHL's Brampton Thunder, Mr. Tyler Fines! Tyler is now the head coach for the Etobicoke Dolphins Midget 'AA'​ Hockey team in Ontario where he is responsible for the development of 2000-, '01-, and '02-aged female hockey players and the promotion of these players to the PWHL, NCAA, and CIS ranks. Tyler's work in this midget hockey league will see him working with some Chinese-Canadian athletes as well as being able to offer unique insights into the CWHL expansion to China this summer. We're excited to have Tyler back on the show, and we'll try to squeeze as much information out of him as we can!

On the second-half of The Hockey Show, we'll take a look at a couple of stories the CBC ran this week about three First Nations women heading south to play hockey at a prestigious Boston-based hockey school, the Sagkeeng Oldtimers team made up of residential school survivors who will now have a place at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, and the struggles a women's league in Kenora is having in getting ice-time. We'll also touch on the Sudbury Wolves looking sharp, Hockey Canada's U18 women's team kicking off play against Team USA in a three-game set in Lake Placid, New York, and the Aalborg Pirates are back on the ice and winning games so we'll update everyone on how Brandon Reid and his team are doing! There's lots to chat about tonight, so make sure you tune in!

How can you listen to the show, you ask? We suggest that you download the UMFM app on your phone or tablet. It's the easiest and 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!

If you prefer social media, we try to remain up-to-speed there as well! 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 chat with Tyler Fines about a new job and the CWHL before bringing up up-and-coming stars, Hall-of-Famers, beer-leaguers, Wolves, Canadian women, and Pirates only on The Hockey Show found on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM app!

PODCAST: August 17, 2017: Episode 256

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

TBC: Changing The Game

As we're all aware, there will be a new addition to the NHL schedule this year for all thirty teams as the Vegas Golden Knights join the league. The NHL has expanded a number of times through its own decisions or via merger, so I thought it would be a good idea to get into another book. Teebz's Book Club is proud to review Changing The Game: A History of NHL Expansion, written by Stephen Laroche and published by ECW Press. If you're into cool facts and interesting stories, Mr. Laroche's book will take you through every expansion team from the start of the NHL right through to the addition of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild with all sorts of incredible detail on each addition to the NHL's fraternity.

It seems Mr. Laroche is very good at staying behind the lens as opposed to being in front of it as I couldn't find an image of him! Nonetheless, from the back cover of the book, "A seasoned hockey historian, Stephen Laroche has a distinct passion and deep appreciation for many aspects of the sport's history. The editor of Beckett Hockey and Beckett Basketball, he is former trading card company executive. He lives in Belleville, Ontario, with his wife, Michelle, and stepdaughter Guenevere."

Changing The Game doesn't just highlight the moments of each NHL team's founding. Instead, it takes you through the founding of each team and the first year of the team's existence before highlighting some key players from that year. There is a lot of amazing information contained within these synopses of the teams, and the research done on the players is top-notch. Needless to say, Changing The Game is thorough and detailed.

There are sections for every NHL team, and there are even small sections that deal with the WHA and the business side of the merger with the NHL. The one thing that Changing The Game doesn't cover, however, are relocations. There are no chapters on the New Jersey Devils, the Dallas Stars, the Arizona Coyotes, the Colorado Avalanche, the Carolina Hurricanes, or the new edition of the Winnipeg Jets. There are mentions in the sections of each of the teams from where they were located on how the team moved, but relocations are not included in Changing The Game. This book looks only at the various expansions done by the NHL.

There are some great examples of history in Changing The Game that may have been forgotten over the years. I know I've forgotten some of the information Mr. Laroche introduces in his book, and there's a pile of information that I learned with the work done by Mr. Laroche. For example, I had no idea there were so many cities looking to get in on the 1967 NHL expansion. Mr. Laroche writes,
Team owners were finally convinced by William M. Jennings that to head off a catastrophe, they needed to double their membership to 12 teams. Clarence Campbell announced these intentions in March 1965. Some of the cities deemed acceptable or potential sites for new clubs included Vancouver, San Francisco-Oakland, Los Angeles and St. Louis. Less than a year later, the NHL was presented with 14 different applications - five from Los Angeles, two from Pittsburgh and one each from Philadelphia, San Francisco-Oakland, Baltimore, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Buffalo and Vancouver.
It's hard to believe, but the Philadelphia Flyers may not exist today had the applicants from Baltimore been better organized with their application. Of course, six of those cities were successful, and we'd see both Buffalo and Vancouver get teams a few years after that 1967 expansion year. I'd be interested in seeing what happened with the other unsuccessful applicants who weren't awarded teams, but that may be another book altogether!

Whether you're just getting into the game or have deep knowledge of the inner workings of hockey, Changing The Game has something for all fans. Newer fans could use Changing The Game as a textbook on how the teams got started while those who have followed the game for years may find some new facts to complement the depth of their current knowledge. Changing The Game is an incredible book of facts on the beginnings of all the current NHL teams. Because of the research and information contained within the covers, Changing The Game absolutely deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

You can find Changing The Game at all major bookstores and libraries. I would recommend purchasing the book, though, and keeping it handy as a reference book when it comes to the amount of information stored on its pages.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Sudbury Goes Old-School

There are certain elements of a hockey jersey that make them look like old-time hockey sweaters. They usually include things like the hem stripes, the sleeve stripes, and a traditional V-neck-type collar. Anything else might be team-specific, but those are the generic "old-time" features of a hockey jersey that make the jerseys timeless as they are for the Canadiens, Blackhawks, Rangers, and Red Wings. Junior hockey clubs seem less inclined to make sweeping changes unless necessary, so there are still some timeless jerseys seen in the CHL as well. One team that decided to move away from the traditional sweater look was the Sudbury Wolves when Reebok got involved a decade ago, but it seems that Sudbury is going backs to its roots with yesterday's changes and it might be the best jersey unveiling this summer!

Let's start with the old look that the Wolves introduced seven years ago as modeled by Owen Lalonde.
First off, you already probably know that I hate the vertical apron straps on these jerseys, and it makes the logos and captaincy designations worn on the front of the jerseys look absolutely ridiculous as seen on Marcus Foligno to the right. His alternate captain's "A" is basically in the middle of the jersey at this point! In past years with the apron strings, the Wolves applied the captaincy marks over the vertical piping, but both looks are absolutely ridiculous. The shoulder yoke simply extends to the wrist, eliminating sleeve stripes, and the hem stripes are non-existent. Basically, this was "Reebok design" to a tee, and I was never a fan of it.

Let's jump seven years ahead to present time where the Wolves will wear the following this upcoming season.
Now that's more like it! While the uniform clearly is still modern with today's lightweight fabrics and the slimmer cuts, the traditional elements have returned to make the Sudbury Wolves look more like a hockey team and less like an aggressive Chopped Canada team. There are great stripes that use the secondary colours well, there are traditional shoulder yokes that really makes the colours pop, and the logo is now the focal point for the eyes when looking at the jersey. This is what hockey is supposed to look like, and the Wolves are looking fantastic!

"The new look is really a fresh design, with a clean look that salutes some of the more successful seasons of the organization wearing the blue and whites," Andrew Dale, VP of Marketing & Development, told reporters at the press conference. "Launching a new jersey designs is one of the most fun aspects of working in sports and marketing. We consulted with key stakeholders to get their opinions; from alumni and players to fans volunteers and as an organization we felt the timing was right to signal a change in the new era of Wolves' Hockey. The jersey change is a symbol of what this edition Wolves organization believes – respect for the past, our history and tradition but a firm grasp of a fresh clean and bright future."

That past is one that is hasn't seen a ton of winning, but going back to the team's heady days where they looked great isn't a bad thing. As seen on Marc Staal, there are a few differences due to the modern jersey template, but the style elements have returned. Sudbury's play on the ice needs to be improved as much as their jerseys have as they currently hold the OHL's longest championship drought and the third-longest drought in the Canadian Hockey League. They've only been to the OHL's J. Ross Robertson Cup Final twice, and lost both times in their 45 years of being in the OHL. However, they do develop serious NHL talent as they have sent 77 players to the NHL including the likes of Mike Fisher, Mike Peca, Dave and Dale Hunter, Pat Verbeek, and the aforementioned Staal and Foligno.

So what do the players think? "When we got a sneak peak at them in the spring before leaving for the summer with some of the guys, we were stoked to see this change," Reagan O'Grady told reporters. "I think that this small change reflects the feelings that Wolves Hockey matters and that people are excited about what's going on at the arena. This year there is just a completely different feeling going into the season and that's exciting."

If you look good, you feel good. That may translate into more on-ice success for the Wolves this year, but they're already light years ahead in the fashion department for the changes seen here today. I never really had the Sudbury Wolves among my favorite teams, but these changes have brought the hockey look back to Sudbury, and that's a great look for the upcoming season!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 14 August 2017

Meet The Kids

With autumn rolling in like a locomotive on what seems like an already-short summer, Hockey Canada is gearing up for another big season of hockey. Yes, there's that little tournament known as the Olympics that they'll participate in and they always have teams for the World junior Championship and the IIHF Men's Hockey Championship, but there are other segments of the population that get to represent Canada on the world's stage as well. After spending eight days in Calgary, Hockey Canada has pared down its roster of invites from the U-18 camp to 24 women who will wear the maple leaf in a three-game set against Team USA beginning August 17 in Lake Placid, New York!

"We want to congratulate all 42 players who took part in the selection camp, and thank our staff for a phenomenal week. As we expected, these young women showed up ready to work hard both on and off the ice, and they made our decision very difficult," said Delaney Collins, head coach of Canada's National Women's Under-18 Team. "Congratulations to the 24 players who were selected to play in Lake Placid; you've earned this opportunity, and we’re excited to work with you and continue to see you develop over this upcoming series."

While Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan will have the most representation on the team in terms of which provinces the girls call home, the roster is made up of a unique mix of players. Four players are returning silver medalists from the 2017 IIHF U18 Women's World Championship, and five played in the 2016 three-game summer series against the United States. I'll denote these players on the roster below so you can see who the returning "veterans" are, but there are some other interesting notes from the development camp that just finished.

First, Logan Angers of the St. Mary's Academy Flames in Winnipeg had an outstanding camp statistically, but was not chosen as one of the goaltenders. Her stats line of 30 saves on 31 shots, a 0.64 GAA, and a .968 save percentage in three appearances would have led me to believe that she made the cut, but she was victimized for her only goal-against in the final intra-squad squad in overtime to give Canada-Black a win over Angers' Canada-Red team. I'm not saying this is the reason why she was cut, but her stats were arguably as good or better than the three goalies selected. That's not to say that any of the goalies who were selected don't deserve the honour, but it goes to show just how close the competition is when it comes to picking the right players for this opportunity.

Second, it seems this team is built not for this three-game series, but the eventual goal of capturing the gold medal at the 2018 IIHF U18 Women's World Championship in Dmitrov, Russia. I have no issue with this future planning at all, but I would like to see Canada lock in on the majority of players they want for that tournament. As Hockey Canada's press release states, "Hockey Canada scouts, along with the team's coaching staff and general manager, will continue to evaluate players with their provincial and club teams during the 2017-18 season, including at the 2017 National Women's Under-18 Championship in Quebec City". That means that players like Angers or any of the other women sent home could be back to play with the team in Russia if they continue to see their stocks rise. I believe that they have a good idea of who they want on that squad, but you just don't want to mess with chemistry too much as the tournament approaches.

After saying all that, here are the 24 women who will represent Canada later this week in the three-game set.

The ladies will begin their quest to gold this Thursday against the US U18 women's team in Lake Placid followed by Game Two on Friday and Game Three on Sunday. The overall results of this three-game series with the American women isn't focused on winning or losing, but developing a squad that's ready for Russia. If the end is a gold medal, I'm ok with the means if we lose all three games despite playing hard. After all, the big dance happens in Russia in January.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 13 August 2017

TBC: Body Check

Teebz's Book Club has a pile of books that need their spines cracked, but I'm slowly working through this pile. With summer being more than busy for me, it's hard to just grab a seat and plow through two hundred pages of a book. That being said, I do try when the time allows for it and today was one of those days. Teebz's Book Club is proud to review Body Check, written by Matt Christopher and published by Little, Brown and Company. This book is aimed at younger readers as Brent Mullen and his Badgers teammates look to improve on a .500 record the year before. However, it seems the team's strategy changes with the addition of a new assistant coach and his son, and this leaves Brent questioning his desire to play on the team!

Matt Christopher authored more than one hundred novels and three hundred short stories in his life. Born in Bath, Pennsylvania, Christopher was an outstanding athlete in his youth, but his interest in writing began around the age of 14. He would see his first story published at the age of 24 in a detective magazine. After graduating from high school, Christopher played professional baseball for the Smith Falls Beavers in Ontario before he was cut after he couldn't make contact. Christopher would return home to New York before a knee injury reduced his sporting endeavors entirely. He married Catherine "Cay" M. Krupa on July 13, 1940, and worked at the National Cash Register in Ithaca, New York until he retired in 1963. Upon retiring, Christopher took up his passion for writing after having had 15 books already published. Unfortunately for readers, Christopher died September 20, 1997 in Charlotte, North Carolina after complications arose in surgery for a non-malignant brain tumor at the age of 80. He won the annual Milner Award as "the author whose books are most liked by the children of Atlanta, Georgia". When asked why he wrote sports books for children, Christopher answered, "Sports have made it possible for me to meet many new people with all sorts of life stories, on and off the field, and these are grist for this writer's mill."

In reading Body Check, I felt a little out of my element with some of the explanations of terms that Matt Christopher works into the story. While I get that not all youth readers may know what a power-play is, I struggled when Christopher continually used the term "flip shot" when he really meant "wrist shot". It literally tripped me up a couple of times as I read through, so just be prepared that if you award this book to your younger player you may have to explain a term of two that isn't in the parlance of hockey.

That being said, the story contained within the covers of Body Check is one that most parents and players will struggle with or have struggled with as young players get older. While the Badgers seemingly haven't had a big season with a lot of wins recently, Brent is fairly content with the job that Coach Maxwell is doing as the Badgers' head coach. He has seen his older brother, Lee, become one of the best players at his high school, and he learned under Coach Maxwell. However, a new addition to the team in the form of Vic Seabrook and his father and former player, Mr. Seabrook, have a different attitude towards winning that Brent doesn't like.

Brent and the Badgers had been using speed and skill to win games under Coach Maxwell, but it seemed that Coach Seabrook wanted players to resort to doing anything possible to win, and that included playing dirty. Brent found himself at a crossroads as he knew that type of play wasn't right nor did he want to play that way, but he also questioned whether or not Coach Seabrook's methods accomplished more.
The kind of hockey that Coach Seabrook was teaching went against everything he believed - and not only about sports but life in general. Rules were there to be followed. He was certain of that.

But then a scary thought came to him.

Could it be that Coach Seabrook was right? That what made some players winners and others losers was that winners knew when to cheat and get away with it? Maybe that was what it was all about, and Coach Maxwell had it wrong. Maybe Lee was wrong too... after all, Lee might be a few years older than Brent, but he was basically still a kid himself.

Brent wished he could be sure.

And he wondered, too, if the way Coach Seabrook taught hockey was the way it was supposed to be played. If so, could he play that way?

Did he even want to?
And that's the struggle that Brent goes through in the book. Despite Mr. Seabrook's insistence that this is how hockey is played and that "sometimes accidents happen", Brent and several of the Badgers players struggle with this new outlook while Brent's best friend, Cam, embraces the "winning" mentality. With a game coming up against the undefeated Cyclones, will this new style of play hurt the Badgers? Will they be able to defeat the Cyclones? Will Brent finish the season as a Badger? All of these questions are answered in Body Check!

There are some strong lessons in Body Check that shouldn't be overlooked. The importance of learning important fundamentals and playing the game the right way as opposed to cheating and intimidation of an opponent is the main theme, but questions of right vs. wrong will enter the story at times, friendships will be tested, and apologies will be given and accepted through the 137-page novel. Mr. Christopher does a great job in bringing these tough moral questions to the forefront in his writing, and they are lessons that every parent should have with their young player at some point. Because of these lessons, Body Check will get the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

Find Body Check at your local bookstore or library in the young readers section, and let your young all-star work through the entire series of Matt Christopher books!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

A Good Man Gone

The hockey world, and the world in general, lost an incredible man today as it was announced that Bryan Murray passed on after a long battle with colon cancer at the age of 74. Murray was a very unique individual whose sharp mind and ever sharper retorts to questions were appreciated by all. The courage he showed in his battle with colon cancer not only showed his inextinguishable human spirit, but showed that Murray would not let cancer slow him down. Losing a man like Bryan Murray today seems a little unfair considering all he did for the game of hockey, the players and personnel he met and gave chances to regarding their dreams, and the countless fans who had experiences with him. He will be missed.

For the last three years, Murray had been battling Stage 4 colon cancer, and he told TSN's Michael Farber in 2014 that there was not going to be a last-minute victory in this battle.
"The word is we'll keep doing chemo and, hopefully, reduce the tumors and the effect and I'll get some time out of that," Murray said. "There is no cure for me at this point."
As per the report linked above, "According to doctors the cancer had been living in Murray's body for seven to 10 years before it was caught."
"The frustrating part – and I've said this to several doctors since then – is, 'How come there were no signs?'" Murray, 71, asked. "When you hear that you've had cancer for possibly up to 10 years and there were no signs... obviously, because of the Stage 4, it had moved through my body."
Murray didn't let the anger or frustration of his situation get the better of him, though. As he stated,
"Let's go to extra overtime and keep playing like the game we played against the Islanders many years ago and we went to four overtime periods," Murray said. "Let's just keep it going as long as we can, be as healthy as we can for that time, and enjoy what we have as we do it."
And that's what Bryan Murray should be remembered for: his never-give-up, turn-a-frown-upside-down attitude that saw accumulate a ton of successes in his hockey career. This is a man who earned 620 NHL coaching wins - 10th-place all-time - and has won both a Jack Adams Award and an NHL Executive of the Year Award. He's won a Memorial Cup with the Regina Pats, the CJHL's Centennial Cup with the Rockland Nationals, and has been inducted into the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame. The man's reputation in hockey was succinctly summed up by his long-time friend and Nashville Predators GM David Poile when, last season, he said of Murray,
"Players always have good things to say about Bryan," Poile said. "He knew how to communicate with players. Sometimes it was his sense of humour, his sarcasm, but he just knew how to get through to them and in response they played for him. He knew how to motivate players."
There might be no greater compliment one can give a coach than what Poile said of Murray. But it wasn't his coaching legacy that Bryan was most proud of as he was often fondly remembered as a loving husband, devoted father, doting grandfather, and loyal friend. Bryan's connection to everyone he met, to his friends, and to his family was vitally important to him, and he would often do whatever he could to put those people he cared for ahead of himself.
"I can't say enough about Bryan," said longtime Senator Mike Fisher. "He was always so good to me and when it came time to move me he could have traded me anywhere, but he wanted (wife and country music star Carrie underwood) and I to be together and he was able to make a deal with David (Poile) to get me to Nashville.

"That's just the kind of guy he was. He always thought about you as more than just a player. He wanted what was best for you as a person."
In hearing that, I'd hope that more people would strive to be like Bryan Murray. There are far too many who worry about the bottom line or where the team is in the standings who lose perspective of everything that goes on outside of hockey. The fact that he did all he could to accommodate Mike Fisher's request to move to Nashville to be closer to his wife shows you that it's not always about winning and losing. Sometimes, it's about the people, and Bryan Murray never forgot that aspect whether he was making deals in the GM chair, handing out instructions as a coach, or simply providing sound advice to those that asked.

The world lost a good man today. Rest in peace, Bryan Murray. You're a legend in this game called "life".

Until next time, raise your sticks high in honour of Mr. Murray!

Friday, 11 August 2017

Food For Thought

As much as I love hockey, I have a variety of other interests. They vary across a number of different skill sets, and I wouldn't say I'm a master at any of them despite my enjoyment in practicing these skills. From gardening to DIY repairs to softball, these interests occasionally intersect as it is tonight on the ol' blog where I will allow you a glimpse behind the curtain to tell you that I love cooking. Get me into the kitchen with some good ingredients, and I'm as happy as a clam. Tonight, I had some time to myself, so I decided to bring a few things in from the garden and get to work.

I've been thinking about adding a non-hockey piece in random spots going forward because I am involved with so many things. I happen to enjoy making good food. Yes, one can head to a restaurant and enjoy any sort of food one happens to desire, but it's a skill to be able to bring that taste home and recreate it whenever you want - for example, a late-night snack after a night out. I feel very comfortable in the kitchen and I love trying new recipes, so I think I'll incorporate a foodie post occasionally. If you like this idea, let me know in the comments below.

I happen to love pasta, and there's nothing better than a good sauce for pasta. It's one of those things that will either take pasta to a new level or wreck it completely, I find. An overbearing sauce causes the pasta to lose its flavors while a poorly-seasoned, watery sauce destroys any hope of enjoyment. I, for one, hope that my sauce tonight is good, but the real test will come next week when I taste it on pasta. In short, I spent my Friday night with four basic ingredients, a pot, a spatula, and some good scents. I'm not a chef by trade, but I think most people can master this basic, but oh-so-good, sauce.

This recipe comes from Marcella Hazan who may have changed how North Americans cook Italian food. I have made it a number of times in the past, and it always comes out rich and delicious due to the amount of butter used in the sauce. But don't fear that if you want to recreate this recipe - everything works well together!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of tomatoes with juice, peeled
  • 5 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 onion, cut in half and peeled
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. Combine the tomatoes, their juices, the butter, and the onion halves in a saucepan. Add a pinch or two of salt. DON'T OVER-SALT!
  2. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with a spoon. Add salt as needed.
  3. In Marcella's recipe, she recommends discarding the onion, but I like it in there. Wait until the onion becomes translucent and, as above, use a spoon to cut the onion pieces into smaller chunks. When all is said and done, this recipe makes enough sauce for a pound of pasta.
Pretty easy, right? You can still discard the onion, but I think the sauce tastes better with the onion left in. You might not be big on onions and want it gone, and that's fine. I usually dress it up with a little oregano and Italian seasoning just to give it that stronger Italian flavor that I like. Dress it up however you prefer, but I've found that it makes a great pizza sauce as well if you enjoy making homemade pizza. In short, this easy-to-make and versatile sauce can be used for a number of things, and I hope it works as well for you as it does for me.

Again, if you like the idea of a non-hockey post on HBIC occasionally, toss me a comment below. I'm always up for some interaction, and good cooking and sports can usually bring people together fairly quickly. Bon appetit, folks!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 10 August 2017

The Hockey Show - Episode 255

The Hockey Show returns to the airwaves and internet tonight with one of the shows with which we have the most fun. Every year, we seem to end up with odds and ends in our Shwag Bag that we don't really have any contests for, so we do our annual Prize Bag Purge before the school year starts so we can start fresh in September with a new batch of prizes to be won. Tonight, you have a chance to win stuff if you call in and play the game show we like to call "Pick Your Poison"!

Before we get to that, though, there's a very special day happening today across Canada. It's Children's Miracle Treat Day again at Dairy Queen, and I'm posting this all on my own accord because I really believe in this cause. If you aren't aware, net proceeds from every Dairy Queen Blizzard treat sold at participating Dairy Queen locations will be donated to your local Children's Miracle Network member hospitals. Every day, nearly 5000 children enter a Children's Miracle Network member hospital for treatment. Help participating Dairy Queen restaurants help local kids by purchasing a Blizzard Treat today on Thursday, August 10. That includes the Winnipeg Children's Hospital, so get out there and enjoy some ice cream to help kids across this great province get the treatments they need and deserve.

As for the "Pick Your Poison" game, I will honestly say that the name of the game is far worse than anything we have to offer. There are no Whammys as seen to the right with Press Your Luck either... unless you happen to choose a Toronto Maple Leafs prize pack. It's a very simple game - pick a number and you win the corresponding prize under that number if you can answer a fairly simple trivia question. And by "fairly simple", Beans and I guarantee that you can't get these questions wrong. In fact, I'm not sure these trivia questions are even trivia. Most don't have wrong answers.

In saying that, if you want to win some free gear, call us at (204) 269-UMFM. That's 204-269-8636 for those with no letters on their phone's keypad. Phone lines will open at 5:35pm sharp, and we'll give away everything in the Shwag Bag tonight! Oh, and we'll also talk a little hockey as well as we chat about Eddie Olczyk's battle with colon cancer, Hockey Canada's efforts in Russia and at the U-18 women's camp, a new Bisons women's hockey recruit, the Dallas Stars taking a stand in Texas, and Cam Cole's article in the National Post about kids who play hockey year-round. Lots of chatter and laughs will be heard tonight, so tune in and win!

Maybe you're asking how you can listen to the show because you're just discovering it and you wanna win some gear! That's great, and thanks for listening! We suggest that you download the UMFM app on your phone or tablet. It's the easiest and 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!

If you prefer social media, we try to remain up-to-speed there as well! 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 empty out the Shwag Bag, eat some ice cream to help kids, chat some hockey, work in a little TV chatter, and more only on The Hockey Show found on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM app!

PODCAST: August 10, 2017: Episode 255

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

The First Olympian

He has played for a number of NHL teams and he's already represented Canada as part of the Spengler Cup team, so I'm not sure how a player like Mason Raymond would even be in the discussion of players who may not make the Canadian Olympic squad. He still has great wheels that he uses to find and create space, and that's something that will come in very handy on the larger Olympic ice surface. What some people may forget, though, is that Raymond has a pretty gifted set of hands that led Vancouver to drafting him in at 51st-overall in the second round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Today, he put those mitts on display that should end all talk of him being left off the roster.

In the third-place game at the Sochi Open hockey tournament, Canada met Metallurg Magnitogorsk for the right to claim the bronze medal. Raymond, who already had one goal in this game, decided to up the stakes at 15:59 with a pretty sneaky move that resulted in the second Canadian goal on the night.
Raymond decided to use the lacrosse-style goal we've seen on a number of occasions to slip the puck in top-shelf over a kneeling Vasily Koshechkin to put Canada up 2-1. For me, it's hard to believe that Koshechkin would leave that corner open knowing that Canada has some former NHL players out on the ice, but the veteran of over 500 KHL regular season and playoff games didn't cover off the post entirely and Raymond made him pay. On top of that, there were some whispers that Koshechkin might be one of the three netminders Russia takes to the Olympics, so this highlight probably isn't one that Koshechkin will be sending the Russian selection committee.

I'm gonna say that Raymond's performance in Sochi at this preseason tournament might have officially booked his ticket to South Korea. While Canada fell a little short in its goal in Sochi, Raymond put the team on his back in the bronze-medal game to help Canada to the 2-1 victory, and his six points in five games at last season's Spengler Cup shows that he can skate among the best international players out there.

Former Manitoba Moose forward Mason Raymond is my first lock for Pyeongchang!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Looking For A New Ride?

I'm not sure that anyone would visit websites like AutoTrader and search for a zamboni. No reasonable person would drive a zamboni as their everyday vehicle unless... no, there's really no "unless" situation. I don't know how often used zamboni machines are bought and sold, but it seems like there would be a very small, very niche market for these products. If you have the financial means and one becomes available that was used by a fairly recognizable hockey team, maybe you want to jump at the opportunity?

If the answer is "maybe" or better, you might want to check this eBay offering. According to the eBay listing, the Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky - once home to the AHL's Kentucky Thoroughblades and the ECHL's Lexington Men O' War - is selling their zamboni that once resurfaced the ice for both teams. The cost for this piece of hockey lore? A cool $25,000.

The description is pretty amazing to read. The zamboni apparently has 1483 hours of operation under its hood, and it runs on propane or natural gas. They're selling it with four new tires, five sharp blades, and five dull blades. I'm not sure why one would want five dull blades, but to each their own.

The conditions are as follows:
Used: An item that has been used previously. The item may have some signs of cosmetic wear, but is fully operational and functions as intended. This item may be a floor model or store return that has been used. See the seller's listing for full details and description of any imperfections.
Those imperfections? "Some surface rust on driver side of tank" is the only wear-and-tear listed by the seller, lexingtoncenter. Honestly, in looking at the pictures, I can't say that the description is wrong as there are no visible dents or scratches, and it appears to be completely free of rust.

There was one thing on this listing that cracked me up, though. It's a fairly straight-forward, no-nonsense listing for a zamboni, but I think the payment options might be a little limited.
Um, I don't know about you, but how many people or businesses have a PayPal account with twenty-five grand sitting around in it, but lexingtoncenter would prefer if you could use PayPal if you're the winning bidder.

I don't think this zamboni will sell quickly.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 7 August 2017

What Part Didn't You Understand?

Today, it seems there was some serious backlash over the NHL announcing that all contracted players, including those on two-way deals in the minor leagues, will not be eligible to play in the Olympics. Apparently, this was some unknown news to many outlets as the reporting on this seemed to be aghast at this news. This confuses me because the NHL made it fairly clear a few weeks ago that any player under contract with the NHL would not be going to the Olympics. Did I miss a memo somewhere?

"A decision has been made that all players under NHL contract will be subject to similar treatment," Daly said in today's press conference.

The clarification, it seems, is that players in North America will not be granted leave for the Olympics if they are under contract to an NHL team. Those players in Europe who are under contract with an NHL team will not be subject to these NHL restrictions mostly because those players cannot be recalled at a moment's notice, so that would be why they can go. This also opens up the option for junior-aged players and players in the NCAA if the CHL and the NCAA decide that players from those respective leagues can go.

While this probably won't hurt Canada all that much, it does throw a major monkey wrench into the plans of Hockey USA. Players such as last season's leading scorer Kenny Agostino, defenceman T.J. Brennan, and goaltender Troy Grosenick are now ineligible to play in Pyeongchang where all three probably would have played large roles with Team USA. Instead, Hockey USA will have to dig a little deeper to fill out its twenty-five man roster.

Again, while I get how this weakens the American team's roster, I fail to see how this is news. The NHL was fairly clear in its initial statements of how no NHL players would go to the Olympics. There was some uncertainty over minor-league players, but it seemed pretty clear to me that players who could be recalled probably shouldn't go either. Logically, there could be a few of those players who make NHL rosters out of training camp as well. In summary, why would the NHL allow any player who is under contract at any level go if he could be recalled at any moment's notice?

I have no clue how people missed these details originally. We spoke about how players on two-way deals wouldn't be going on The Hockey Show last week. No one called in to tell us how wrong we were or how we should wait for the NHL to rule on minor-league players. I thought it was fairly clear that if a player signed a deal of any kind with an NHL team that he would be ineligible.

Well, the NHL cleared that up quickly - if you can't be recalled, you can go.

Would the Jets be cool if Jack Roslovic went to South Korea for a couple of weeks if Bryan Little got hurt while he was gone? I'm not saying that Roslovic would be the first player recalled, but the Jets may need a scoring centerman, and Roslovic fits that bill. Outside of Roslovic, do they recall Chase De Leo and hope for the best? I can't see the Jets doing anything like this when they could have had Roslovic. This is why the players signed to NHL deals aren't going.

If you want better players at the Olympics, blame your local NHL team's owner. The owners are the ones driving the bus on the "no Olympics" push this season, so take aim at them. Don't blame Gary Bettman or Bill Daly or the players for giving us a Super Spengler Cup this year. Just cheer on the players who pull on your country's sweater and enjoy the ride they take you on in South Korea.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

What Are These Leggings?

Sunday night, to many people, is Game of Thrones night. I am not one of those people. I haven't watched any full episode and I honestly don't plan on doing so. Of the many that do, though, is USA Hockey player and Olympian Hilary Knight. Miss Knight took to social media prior to the start of the Game of Thrones episode last night to show her preparation for the show in the image to the left, and I immediately noticed something that I've never seen before. If you look closely, there appears to be a laptop to Miss Knight's right and she's wearing some rather thick leggings that almost look like hockey pants. I was a little shocked that Miss Knight would "armor up" for the show, so I began looking into these "NormaTec"-branded leggings that she is wearing in the photo.

The NormaTec website is flashy with photos of athletes and blocks of propaganda about the device being sold. But what is it? What is NormaTec, and what are these leggings? What do they do?

According to the website,
NormaTec is the leader in rapid recovery—our systems give a competitive edge to the world's elite athletes, coaches, and trainers. Our goal is to establish recovery as an integral part of every athlete's training, and we feel NormaTec systems are the best way to accomplish that. The NormaTec PULSE Recovery Systems are dynamic compression devices designed for recovery and rehab. All of our systems use NormaTec's patented PULSE technology to help athletes recover faster between trainings and after performance.

Our systems include a control unit and attachments which go on the legs, arms, or hips. They use compressed air to massage your limbs, mobilize fluid, and speed recovery with our patented NormaTec Pulse Massage Pattern. When you use our systems, you will first experience a pre-inflate cycle, during which the connected attachments are molded to your exact body shape. The session will then begin by compressing your feet, hands, or upper quad (depending on which attachment you are using). Similar to the kneading and stroking done during a massage, each segment of the attachment will first compress in a pulsing manner and then release. This will repeat for each segment of the attachment as the compression pattern works its way up your limb.
Interesting, to say the least. It appears as though Miss Knight is using the "PULSE Leg and Hip Recovery System" as seen to the right as she watches Game of Thrones. In looking through the NormaTec site, there's no mention of Miss Knight's name nor USA Hockey's involvement, so this may very well be her own system. It appears that there are a lot of endurance athletes - triathletes, cyclists, and marathoners - who are using this and have associated their names with the product. As I've stated in product examinations before, it doesn't matter whose name is associated to the product unless there's some benefit. The question must be asked: does the science behind the NormaTec product show benefits for the athlete?

There are four studies linked on the website via pubmed.gov that all point to peristaltic pulse dynamic compression (PPDC) being beneficial, but I wanted some third-party reviews just to corroborate the findings on the pubmed site. The first one that jumped out at me was on Lower Extremity Review that found "that peristaltic pulse compression of the lower extremities may provide a means of enhancing the rheological properties of the lower extremities without resorting to extreme temperatures, expensive body work, or stretching." It should be noted that the author, Dr. William A Sands, works for the US Olympic Committee and NormaTec had donated several devices of which he was free to use at his discretion as long as he upheld the standards set forth by the USOC and the IOC. He writes,
I was largely free to explore these devices and their use with athletes. However, my work with any technology or methodology was and is constrained by the fact that any device I investigated could do no harm, had to function within existing USOC and IOC rules, and had to result in large effects. Sport scientists are bound ethically and pragmatically by a high regard for the time and effort of their athletes. High-performance athletes have enormous demands on their time; they simply cannot, and usually will not, take part as a research volunteer unless there are direct benefits to them. In short, I could not simply study something that was of academic interest to me; the study had to exhibit a large probability of performance and recovery enhancements.
I'd say that getting a nod of approval from the United States Olympic Committee is a good sign, but it seems that Dr. Sands has been involved in most of the studies relating to the PPDC. In knowing that the medical evidence may be influenced by one man's opinion, I decided to go to the sources that have the names of the best athletes on the NormaTec site - namely, runners and cyclists.

Alex Hutchinson wrote an article on the Runner's World blog back in February 2014 about the NormaTec science. His article was prompted much in the same that mine was when he saw a tweet from Alex Hall that showed Hall using the NormaTec leggings. This sparked Hutchinson's curiosity about the claims made by NormaTec, so he went looking for answers. He writes,
Still, popularity aside, I'd never been able to figure out whether anyone had actually tested the device to see if it works -- until a friend recently forwarded me this study from the International Journal of Sports Medicine, published last November by researchers at Massey University in New Zealand. They took 10 volunteers and put them through a bout of "damaging" eccentric exercise (3 x 100 eccentric leg contractions) then monitored their recovery at 24, 48, and 72 hours using blood samples (to look for markers of muscle damage) and tests of strength and power. Each subject went through this process twice, one with the NormaTec immediately after plus again at 24 and 48 hours, and once without it.
And the results of that medical piece, also found on the pubmed site?
Nevertheless, it is important to note that IPC may have an impact on different types of exercise. Therefore, further research is necessary to investigate the potential role of IPC to expedite muscle recovery by focusing on finding an optimal pulse pressure, pulse time, duration and frequency of its application as well as investigating the effect IPC has on other modes of strenuous activity.

In other words, "We didn't find anything but maybe someone else will." That seems like a reasonable conclusion. Personally, I suspect that there's a pretty big placebo component going on here, but it's also clear that "proving" the benefits of recovery protocols is much trickier than people suspected when they first started trying to study things like ice baths and compression. It's very hard to quantify and measure the phenomenon of "feeling good." I will say this, though: if I was going to spend $1,750 on one of these suckers, it would be nice if it produced a measurable benefit.
Ouch. That's not the kind of review one wants from a running-centric blog when one's product is aimed at recovery for runners. In all fairness, though, that's just one medical publication. There are a number of studies out there that say it is beneficial. Are there other studies that cast doubt on the product?

Actually, yes. Shane Nicolas Draper's thesis at Cleveland State University entitled Effects of Intermittent Pneumatic Compression on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) in Long Distance Runners concluded that, "Although the test subjects recovered one day earlier when using the NT device (Day 4) compared to the control (Day 5), this difference was not significant." Again, not good results for those that use these devices in endurance sports, and one could say that Miss Knight plays an endurance sport with the number of times she's on the ice.

If the only benefits seen are in flexibility, I'm not saying that isn't important for a high-level hockey player such as Hilary Knight. In fact, increased flexibility in the hips and legs would prevent more injuries that are commonly seen in hockey, and that's important as she'll be on the ice more often than off it with these treatments. As an example, Martin Brodeur was a yoga enthusiast, and he played relatively injury-free throughout his career.

However, the science seems to be unproven in NormaTec regarding recovery benefits. With prices ranging between $1495 and $2545 for the NormaTec, however, this seems like a hefty price tag to gain more flexibility when there are certainly more time-tested and inexpensive alternatives such as yoga and stretching.

Let me be clear: I'm not saying NormaTec doesn't work for athletes. Every athlete has his or her own preferences for rest and recovery. For Hilary Knight, that involves the NormaTec peristaltic pulse dynamic compression system that she can afford. For weekend warriors like you and I, that price tag may prove that it might be better just to find a yoga studio or daily stretching routine that works for you. Unfortunately for marathon runners, cyclists, and triathletes, the science just doesn't pan out for muscle recovery.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 5 August 2017

You Know, Support The Team!

I was relaxing after a long day out in the sun coaching softball, and I happened across an old episode of Seinfeld. David Puddy, played by Patrick Warburton, had a small part in the episode, but it got me thinking about how much of a fan of the New Jersey Devils hat David Puddy was. The characters in Seinfeld often went to Knicks games or Mets games, and George Costanza worked for the Yankees. Rarely was hockey mentioned, but it got its own episode in "The Face Painter" in 1995. This is the episode where Jerry receives NY Rangers playoff tickets from Alec Berg and forgets to thank him, but the name of the episode comes from Puddy's over-the-top face painting in his support of the Devils.

The whole ordeal starts with Jerry noticing Alec Berg sitting behind the glass at the Rangers game. He and Elaine are sitting in the coffee shop when he sees Berg and begins chatting with him about his TV appearance. Berg makes reference that they are season tickets and he is unable to go to the game, offering them instead to Jerry.
Elaine: Hey, isn't that Alec Berg?
Jerry: Yep, Alec Berg. He's got a good 'John Houseman' name. Alec Beeerg.
Mr. Beeerg.
Elaine: I can't stand him, he is so pretentious.
Jerry: John Houseman?
Elaine: No, Alec Berg.
Alec (approaching): Elaine!
Elaine: Hi!
Alec: Hi, how are you? Jerry.
Jerry: Hi, Alec.
Alec: Did you hear about Gary Fogel?
Jerry: Yeah.
Alec: You gonna go to the funeral on Friday?
Jerry: Yeah, hey did I see you on TV at the Ranger game? Were those your seats
right behind the glass?
Alec: Those are them, yeah. Season tickets. Uh, you know, unfortunately I
can't go tonight, so they're available if you'd like to use them.
Jerry: Oh, I'd love to, are you sure?
Alec: Absolutely, you just call my secretary, she'll arrange everything.
Jerry: Gee thanks! Thanks a lot!
Alec: It's my pleasure. Be good. (Walking away, he stops abruptly) You know,
I actually might not use them on Friday either so I'll let you know.
Jerry: Alright, thanks again.
Elaine: Thank you very much.
Jerry: Really, thank you.
That's how Jerry and Elaine get access to the tickets. We find out that George can't go due to a date, and Kramer is entirely in for the game. Elaine asks if she can bring David Puddy, and Jerry is fine with the arrangement. We'll pick up the scene there.
You already know that this whole thing with being a die-hard Devils fan is going to be a running theme, and Puddy is all over the Rangers and their fans at the game.
Puddy: You're dead, Messier! We're gonna get you, Messier!
Fan #1: Will you sit down?
Puddy: Hey man, I'm just trying to support the team.
Elaine: Will you sit down? You're disturbing everybody. Sit down!
Puddy: Oh yeah, because you're a Ranger fan and you know I'm messing with their
heads.
Just then the Devils score a goal and Puddy is back up, banging the glass.
Puddy: Go Devils!!
Again, we move to the next scene, and Puddy is reveling in the Devils' win that night. He nearly gets hit by a car, and his reaction leaves the passenger shaken.
Of course, the priest is shaken to his core, Jerry waits until the last possible moment to thank Alec Berg for the tickets causing he, Puddy, and Kramer to sit in the nosebleeds with a specific request, and Elaine almost breaks up with Puddy for being a face painter.

All in all, it might not be in the top-20 of Seinfeld episodes of all-time, but it's the only one that even mentioned hockey as a theme. It's pretty funny to think that David Puddy is a Devils fan, but that's part of the character's background. Personally, I would have loved to have seen more hockey on the sitcom, but everything for the show has already been written.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 4 August 2017

Granato Claims His Post

USA Hockey announced today that their US men's Olympic hockey team will be coached by current NCAA Wisconsin Badgers coach Tony Granato. Granato is an interesting choice as he has a pile of NHL coaching experience both as a head coach and as an assistant coach, and he put together a solid 20-15-1 record with Wisconsin last season. You have to wonder, looking at the image to the left, what Granato will be able to squeeze out of a mostly-AHL roster after having the opportunity to coach players like Joe Sakic, Sidney Crosby, and Pavel Datsyuk where their natural talents carried a lot of play rather than having to teach those moments. Whatever the end results are, I do like USA Hockey's choice here for the man behind the bench in South Korea.

Granato put together a solid 102-78-17 in two opportunities with the Colorado Avalanche including going 72-33-17 from 2002-04 when the Avalanche won the division title and finished as the runner-up. He did have a pair of solid teams with Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Milan Hejduk, Alex Tanguay, and Rob Blake at his disposal, so it's not like he didn't have a pile of talent with which to work.

After winning the division title in 2002-03 by one point over the Vancouver Canucks, the Avalanche promptly went out and lost in seven games to the Minnesota Wild in the opening round. While the following year saw Vancouver win the division by a point, Granato had his team eliminate the Dallas Stars in five games before bowing out of the playoffs in six games at the hands of the San Jose Sharks.

Granato's coaching experience didn't end there. He served as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins for five seasons in which the Penguins never finished with less than 101 points before jumping over the bench of the Detroit Red Wings for the last two seasons. He served as an assistant coach on the 2014 US Olympic team where the team finished fourth. There's no doubt that Granato is looking to claim that medal that his team missed out on in Sochi. The challenge before him, however, will be building a team strong enough to compete for a medal without the assistance of any NHL players.

"There are a lot of attractive players," Granato said at the press conference on Friday. "Unless you analyzed the pool, you wouldn't know the calibre of guys that are out there that can help us contend for a medal."

Granato's staff includes former Olympians Chris Chelios and Scott Young, former Sabres head coach Ron Rolston, and former Capitals assistant coach and current Yale Bulldogs head coach Keith Allain. There's a ton of great experience behind this bench to help Granato, and that should help the team in the long run when it comes to both selecting players and organizing them on the ice.

For the five men mentioned above, along with GM Jim Johannson and Director of Player Personnel Ben Smith, will get their only real evalution opportunity this fall when thirty American players playing professionally in Europe will get a chance to impress the brain trust at the Deutschland Cup in Germany. There will be a handful of AHL players taken into consideration as well such as Steve Moses, Chris Conner, and Troy Grosenick. In the end, twenty-five players will be selected by Usa Hockey to go, and all will have been handpicked by this seven-man team.

As stated above, I do like the selection of Tony Granato as the head coach. He has experience, he's been there before, and he has a good staff surrounding him as Hockey USA gets set for the first Olympics since 1998 where NHL players won't have an impact. The climb up the mountain to the medal podium will still be difficult for the American squad, but they have a solid group of leaders on the bench. Tony Granato just has to put it all together.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

The Hockey Show - Episode 254

The Hockey Show will have one common theme tonight as we didn't talk about this topic last week when we probably should have. Instead, we're going for a full Hockey Canada-based show tonight as we look at a number of announcements and information that Hockey Canada has put out over the last couple of weeks regarding the Olympics, the Hockey Canada Summer Showcase, and the World Junior Summer Showcase. I'll be honest when I say that I think that hockey players need a few months away from the rink to pursue other ventures, but Hockey Canada is gearing up for another year of championships in the month of August!

Teebz and Beans will sit down tonight and muddle through the Team Canada Olympic hopefuls as they try to make sense of who should be there, who will probably there, and who may be longshots to make this Olympic team. There are a lot of former NHL players over in Europe who could provide the necessary spark to this team as well as a pile of AHL players who should be called upon if necessary, so we'll see what kind of team we can create if the two hosts were Sean Burke and Martin Brodeur. We'll also talk about the U Sports women's players who were invited to Calgary for Hockey Canada's Summer Showcase, and we'll touch on the World Junior Summer Showcase that's ongoing as we speak. It's a full Hockey Canada show today, so join us for all the discussion!

Maybe you're asking how you can listen to the show because you're just discovering it! That's great, and thanks for listening! We suggest that you download the UMFM app on your phone or tablet. It's the easiest and 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!

If you prefer social media, we try to remain up-to-speed there as well! 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 Canadians in Europe, Canadians in Russia, Canadians in North America, Canadian women, Canadian teenagers, Canadian Olympic chances and more only on The Hockey Show found on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM app!

PODCAST: August 3, 2017: Episode 254

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Canada's Brightest

There's a bit of a double-entendre in that title since we're talking about Canada's brightest students and brightest hockey stars. Hockey Canada invited 21 U Sports women's hockey players to Calgary for Hockey Canada's Summer Showcase from August 5 through August 13, and it's literally a who's who of Canadian university women's hockey. A lot of the invited women have played in a Universiade Games or two, and it's expected that the bulk of these 21 women will represent Canada at the 2019 Universiade Games in Krasnoyarsk, Russia from March 2 through March 12. Without further delay, though, let's see who Hockey Canada invited!

U SPORTS All-Stars Roster

  • F Kelty Apperson, St. Thomas
  • F Mélodie Bouchard, Ottawa
  • F Sarah Bujold, St. Francis Xavier
  • F Claudia Dubois, Concordia
  • F Lyndsay Kirkham, Western
  • F Krystin Lawrence, Windsor
  • F Kaitlin Lowy, Guelph
  • F Jaycee Magwood, Regina
  • F Alex Poznikoff, Alberta
  • F Cassandra Vilgrain, UBC
  • F Katryne Villeneuve, Moncton
  • F Kaitlin Willoughby, Saskatchewan
  • D Alexandra Anderson, Manitoba
  • D Cristine Chao, Toronto
  • D Zosia Davis, Nipissing
  • D Lindsay Donovan, St. Francis Xavier
  • D Caroll-Ann Gagné, Concordia
  • D Kelly Murray, UBC
  • D Bryanna Neuwald, Ottawa
  • G Tricia Deguire, McGill
  • G Lindsay Post, Alberta
  • G Amelia Boughn, UBC
While I certainly haven't seen some of these players enough to make educated scouting reports on them, I can tell you that the Canada West Conference is well-represented by some rather outstanding athletes. Some of these athletes have already graduated - Lindsey Post and Kelly Murray, for example - but there's no reason they shouldn't remain on Hockey Canada's radar. Both Post and Murray were outstanding U Sports players, and I suspect we'll be hearing their names come this winter once the CWHL schedule gets rolling.

There are two CWUAA players who will graduate at the end of this 2017-18 season, and they are Saskatchewan's Kaitlin Willoughby and UBC's Cassandra Vilgrain. Both players are outstanding scoring threats for their respective teams, and both have shown enough to convince me that the possibility of playing at a higher level is possible. Willoughby led the Huskies in goals with 11 and points with 21 while Vilgrain led UBC in assists with 19 and points with 27 while finishing second in CWUAA scoring this season. If both of these players elect to register for the CWHL draft next summer, I have a feeling they'll find no difficulty in being selected.

That leaves the four players of Regina's Jaycee Magwood, Alberta's Alex Poznikoff, UBC's Amelia Boughn, and Manitoba's Alex Anderson as the three athletes from Canada West who could wear the red-and-white for Canada in 2019 in Krasnoyarsk.

Magwood's inclusion should be a no-brainer as she led the Cougars in every major offensive category last season - goals, assists, points, power-play goals, shorthanded goals, game-winning goals, and shots! To say the Cougars' offence ran through Magwood would be selling Jaycee short on how important she was to the Cougars' attack. Magwood looks like she'll be a fixture on Hockey Canada's radar for some time as she continues to lead the Cougars moving forward!

Like Magwood, Alberta's Alex Poznikoff was Alberta's leader in goals, assists, and points, but she was also a leader on and off the ice for a young Pandas squad. Her offensive output helped the Pandas to the CWUAA Finals and propelled them to the U Sports National Championship. Poznikoff's smaller stature and incredible speed make her nearly impossible to knock off the puck, and she can turn that speed on at the drop of a hat. Her incredible acceleration was key to her pulling away from defenders at times, and she has soft hands and a bag full of moves when it comes to scoring goals. Her vision off the wing showed off her great setup skills as well, proving the Poznikoff has all the tools to keep her in Hockey Canada's programs moving forward.

UBC's Amelia Boughn was perhaps the best story of last season as the UBC netminder stole the show in leading UBC to the best record in Canada West. She was often the best player on the ice for UBC despite their scoring prowess as she kept the puck out the net so the UBC offence could skate it back down the ice. The former Cornell product won 14 games for UBC last season while posting an incredible 1.72 GAA, leading UBC to the CWUAA title and a U Sports National Championship bronze medal. Boughn's abilities should keep her in the Hockey Canada program for the foreseeable future.

Finally, Manitoba's Alexandra Anderson is the third player who could venture off to Russia in her fifth year of eligibility. The Manitoba rearguard finished second in conference scoring by a defenceman with 18 points, trailing only Kelly Murray of UBC by two points. Anderson has shown amazing growth in her first three years with the Bisons, and she's trusted by the coaching staff in all situations. She's a shooting threat on the power-play with her bomb from the point, she regularly skates the puck out of her own zone while under pressure, and she finds openings in the offensive zone where she threads passes to teammates. In short, Anderson has given Hockey Canada every reason to notice her.

In addition to the eight players above, there were four more Canada West players invited to the Summer Showcase as Manitoba's Alanna Sharman, Erica Rieder, and Lauryn Keen and UBC's Alexa Ranahan were also invited from Canada West, but all four players are unable to attend due to prior commitments and/or rehabbing of injuries. Also unable to attend are Guelph's Katherine Bailey, St. Mary's Breanna Lanceleve, and Montreal's Alexandra Labelle and Jessica Cormier. The addition of these players would have made this U Sports All-Star Team very impressive with the firepower they'd bring, but the squad listed above should still be a very competitive team when it comes to their play over the eight days. The U Sports All-Star Team will be coached by Laurentian's Stacey Colarossi, with Moncton's Marc-Andre Cote and UBC's Graham Thomas serving as assistants.

I have to say that I'm already getting excited for another fantastic season of U Sports women's hockey as students and players are getting close to returning to their respective schools. Bisons women's hockey will hit road in early September with a couple of preseason games against Jaycee Magwood and the Regina Cougars in a pair of neutral site preseason games. I do have to admit that the game in Virden, Manitoba probably will be anything but "neutral" as Virden is Bisons center Karissa Kirkup's hometown, but we'll see if a few Cougars fans venture east to even out the cheering sections. In any case, U Sports hockey is almost back!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 31 July 2017

Beyond Its Normal Borders

Having witnessed a few of these over the course of time, the KHL usually enjoys holding their annual All-Star weekend in a major Russian city. There are many reasons for this, among them the facility is usually modern, the crowds are large, and there's a good chance a TV crew will be on-hand to cover the game's action. We've seen the game played in Moscow, Sochi, and, most recently, in Ufa, but it seems that the KHL All-Star Game will once again include one of the cities outside its Russian borders as Astana, Kazakhstan joins Riga, Latvia and Bratislava, Slovkia as the non-Russian cities to host the game. To say this is a big move may be understating how large an opportunity this is for Astana and the entire Kazakhstani region.

The above logo is the logo for the 2018 KHL All-Star weekend which will once again not only include the KHL's biggest stars and best players, but will also bring back the Youth Hockey League and the Women's Hockey League for another weekend of hockey action for all people of all ages and genders. The logo, designed with traditional Kazakh ornamentation and the blue and yellow colours of the national flag, is representative of not only the strong support of the Barys Astana team, but the growing hockey population in Kazakhstan as a whole.

Kazakhstani citizen and current Barys Astana forward Nigel Dawes stated, "I am very glad the KHL chose Astana as the venue for next year's Week of Hockey Stars. The city deserves the honor and so do the supporters, as they are among the best hockey fans in the entire League. It will be a great opportunity for people from different countries to come and visit the beautiful city of Astana and to experience the incredible positive emotions in our new ice palace. There are not many arenas as good as the one built in the Kazakhstan capital, and I hope that once again I will be chosen to participate in this wonderful festival of hockey."

While jerseys have yet to be unveiled, I'd expect the blue and yellow colours to be two of the four jerseys introduced with a white and possibly a black jersey for the remaining two teams. This would seemingly give enough contract among the teams to prevent any confusion while the four All-Star squads battle for the right to call themselves "champions". I think there's opportunities to accent each jersey with the four colours as well, but it will depend on design as to how those accents are applied. From an educated guess, though, I'm thinking those are the four colours used.

Dynamo Moscow defenceman Ilya Nikulin was quick to point out the amazing city and the modern arena as reason to be excited, saying,
"I was really pleased when I heard that Astana had won the right to stage the All-Star Game. The packed schedule in the Championship means we usually only see these cities from the windows of the team bus, but even then it is impossible not to notice how beautiful and modern a city is Astana. This, plus their superb stadium, means they have the two main ingredients needed for a memorable festival. Kazakhstan is a Republic whose people love their hockey and are keen to attend the games. Astana is sure to try to create something unexpected for the fans and guests - I've no doubt there will be surprises. Each year, the All-Star Game introduces something novel and innovative, and the 2018 event will be no exception. Perhaps the surprises will have some connection with Kazakhstan culture, but in any case, I'm sure it will be interesting. Astana has all that’s needed to stage the best All-Star Game of all, and if I am selected, it will be a pleasure to take part in it."
All in all, I'm excited for Astana to be hosting the tenth edition of the KHL "Week of Hockey Stars" - their name, not mine - this January. It will be a while before players are selected and teams are divvied up, but the city and its fans should be revved up for this game when it finally arrives. I'm hoping a strong Astana contingent is represented with names like Dawes, Kevin Dallman, and Roman Savchenko who both play for Barys and represent Kazakhstan as citizens. Nothing lends to immediate growth as the validation of one's countrymen as stars, and the inclusion of these players should help bump a few more kids into hockey in Kazakhstan if they play in the game.

While the KHL isn't necessarily in the "grow the game" business, having the KHL All-Star Game in Astana may be very beneficial for hockey growth in Asia. With China heavily invested in getting its teams ready for the 2022 Beijing Olympics, this could be the shot in the arm that the Kazakhstan team needs if it wants to get back to the biggest stage in hockey.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Why We Should Celebrate Steadman

The woman pictured to the left might be one of the brightest coaches in the Canada West conference, and certainly one of the few in U Sports women's hockey across this great land. Sarah Hodges coaches the University of Regina Cougars women's program and always has competitive teams, even in years where she's rebuilding the program with younger women. It's one of the reasons we like seeing her team come to town because she always seems to ice a team that will give it's last breath to succeed under Miss Hodges.

On the other hand, it's a bit disheartening to see her, Michelle Janus, and Danielle Goyette as the only three women's coaches in a conference of eight teams. Further to this, the numbers don't get much better when looking across the nation at the other three U Sports conferences nor does it get any better in the United States when it comes to the examination of women being coaches of any kind in team sports as The Atlantic's Linda Flanagan reported two days ago. Her examination of this topic is excellent, and I'll relate this back to hockey down below after we talk a little about the lack of women as coaches at all levels of team sports.

Miss Flanagan uses a very poignant off the start of the article to make the point that she drives home throughout the article. She wrote,
"Moriarty estimated that as many as 20 coaches guided her various sports teams before college. What united all her head coaches, across sports, was gender: All were male."
This isn't some exception to the rule when it comes to team sports and women's sports. Men are being hired as coaches for women's teams, and it was pointed out in one rather poorly-written article that there are no women coaching women's teams in one professional hockey league. Rather than asking the question of why, the writer of the linked article used a quote from Michigan softball coach Carol Hutchings that read, "You can't want to be something there isn't." I believe that statement of there not being "something" to be a lie, and Miss Flanagan's research into this subject proves that while the jobs are certainly there, there are a number of factors that continually hold women back from coaching positions.

Title IX was supposed to bring equality for women's sports to the forefront in American universities as more women athletes would be able to pursue their sporting aspirations with the law. Miss Flanagan, however, points out that Title IX was a boon for women athletes, but was the cause for women coaches to see a massive drop in their numbers.
"Much attention and worry has been devoted to the decline of female coaches at the collegiate level since Title IX was passed in 1972. This landmark legislation prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in all educational programs that receive federal funds, and its passage compelled colleges to ramp up the number of athletic teams for girls to stay on par with what they offered boys. While nudging a record number of girls into athletics, Title IX also contributed to an unexpected and steady drop in the number of female collegiate coaches of women's teams, from 90 percent in 1972 to 43 percent in 2014. In response to Title IX, many colleges combined male and female athletic departments, which in turn often meant that men now oversaw women's teams; the law also meant pay parity for women's-team coaches, the now-lucrative salaries attracting male coaches to female sports. These phenomena, among others, pushed women out of college coaching."
Nearly half of the coaches who were running women's programs in the NCAA were replaced by men in 42 years. That's a massive drop in the number of women coaches, and it's a trend that has yet to reverse itself.

Now you may be saying, "Well, let's get more women coaching at the grassroots level and that will change." That's a very simplistic view of the problem, but it would be a good place to start in terms of developing coaches who could possibly move up. However, Miss Flanagan's research shows that the grassroots movement is the very epitome of the problem.
"What's gained scant notice is the even greater scarcity of women coaches in youth sports organizations and secondary schools. According to a 2015 survey conducted by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, one of the few national organizations that carries out research on youth sports, only 27 percent of the more than 6.5 million adults who coach youth teams up to age 14 are women. Scarce data of any kind is collected on coaches, but a 2014 report on high-school coaches in Minnesota found a similar discrepancy: Across the state, just 21 percent of high-school head coaches, and 28 percent of assistant coaches, were women. The same study found that 42 percent of girls' teams, 2 percent of boys' teams, and 21 percent of co-ed teams were headed by a woman. As for assistant coaches, the numbers were similarly small, except the all-boys' teams had no female assistant coaches at all. Enormous numbers of children experience this imbalance in athletic role models: The Aspen Institute's Project Play surmises that up to 57 percent of kids ages 6 to 12 play team sports annually, even if it's just one season a year."
It's as simple as this: if women aren't coaching at the grassroots level, they aren't going to be hired by reputable programs as coaches with no coaching experience. The numbers that Miss Flanagan found are astounding as they are unbelievable, but they are numbers that are overlooked all the time. Head down to your local soccer fields and do a brief survey on all the coaches. I would guess the coaches in minor soccer regardless of the age of the players are predominantly, if not entirely, men.

Now you may be wondering if there's some sort of sexism playing a role in having men assume coaching roles for children's team sports, and that may be true when it came to the turn of the century when, in quoting Miss Hutchings, something wasn't there. There were no major women's sports, and there was generally just the Olympics where only the best women athletes represented their countries in a handful of sports. However, Title IX should have spawned more high-level female coaches than what we see today, especially in hockey, and Miss Flanagan examines this point as well. She writes,
"Why so relatively few women decide to coach for high-school or youth sports teams is unclear. After all, thousands of girls who grew up playing sports under Title IX are qualified to coach, and many are parents themselves. But the management of such teams, all of it volunteer, typically splits along gender lines. According to a 2009 study by the sociologists Michael Messner and Suzel Bozada-Deas, men typically coach, and women typically serve as 'team moms,' organizing the snack schedule, managing logistics, and collecting money for coaches' gifts, among other administrative work. In the researchers' view, this imbalance stems from 'institutional gender regimes' that divide the work between men and women based on traditional roles. The well-documented gender gap in confidence may also be part of the answer. And some mothers who might otherwise enjoy leading their child's athletic team are vetoed by their offspring."
In reading this, I see this delegation of jobs far too often to deny the plausibility that typical gender lines don't exist. Both men and women play sports at high levels today, and even beer-league parents have enough knowledge of the game to coach children's sports. Instead, there seems to be a "management" role given to mothers while fathers take the higher profile position of coach. I get that we're still less than 100 years out from World War II when we asked women to man the factories and build amazing things, but the progress seen in the last 50 years among equality should have found its way into some progressive homes by now.

If there aren't any women coaching any sports, why would women strive to be like those role models and mentors? This has been proven by science and statistics that, as Miss Flanagan points out, women who are coached by men are less likely to pursue coaching positions.
"Naturally, the lack of female coaches also signals to girls that coaching is not a career option that's open to them. If the overwhelming majority of coaches they encounter are men, young women would logically conclude that sports and coaching are better left to the males. And the research bears that out: Girls who were coached by men were less likely to pursue coaching careers than those led by women. 'When you only see men in positions of power, you conclude 'sports are not for me',' said Nicole LaVoi, the co-director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota."
I don't know how much clearer these facts are when it comes to getting women involved in coaching the games they enjoy playing and watching. And this isn't some study where the results are invisible to the naked eye or the ignorant mind. One just needs to look around and see that there are very few women's coaches at high levels or the grassroots levels. If it isn't obvious, I'm not certain you watch sports.

That being said, if one does watch sports and there are women coaching, there are certainly differences in the way men and women coach in terms of messages, style, and overall aesthetics. That's not to say there aren't men who are exceptional women's coaches, but men generally run teams in a far more "top-down, 'command and control' style," as per a 2013 symposium at Harvard Business School on women leaders cited by Miss Flanagan. According to the same symposium's findings, "women have a 'more participative, androgynous, and transformational leadership style'" which, to me, would be much more beneficial when it comes to the developing minds and bodies of children and adolescents. In reading this, I have to say that I have begun reviewing my own coaching style because I tend to lean towards the top-down view. Is that because I've learned that behavior from my previous coaches in sports? Is that some sort of style I've developed? Either way, this has made me step back and take a really good look at how I coach other people.

Miss Flanagan presses on after noting these differences in coaching to look at the effects of coaching on athletes. She writes,
"Risa Isard, the senior program associate at the Aspen Sports & Society Program, wonders if the scarcity of female coaches at younger levels helps explain why girls still trail the number of boys who start and continue playing — even though more girls play sports today than ever before. By age 14, girls drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys, just at the time when girls stop speaking up and asserting themselves. And non-participation has a health consequence: Compared to girls who play sports, inactive females have worse grades, graduate from high school at lower rates, and are more likely to become pregnant. 'Girls respond well to female coaches, and good coaches keep kids in sports,' Isard said. Thus, the shortage of female coaches has a potential health consequence for those girls who connect better to fellow females, and who opt out or quit when women coaches are absent."
If that's not the best reason for encouraging women to pursue coaching, then I'm not sure what is. Having women participate in sports is one thing, but when you see that women who don't participate in sports literally are worse off than their sports-playing counterparts, one would think that we'd be recruiting women to coach every sport that is played yet the research shows that isn't happening at the grassroots levels nor are we seeing it at the higher levels such as the NCAA. If one isn't cultivating and growing the number of women in coaching from the grassroots levels and helping them ascend to higher levels of coaching, where do we find female coaches who can mentor and teach our next up-and-coming women?

Here's the point in all of this. I took a ton of heat over a tweet when Kelley Steadman decided to call it a career in professional women's hockey. I wrote,
There were a number of complaints about the lack of female coaches in the American professional women's league as I pointed out at the top of this article, and I decided to send out that tweet on July 6 as a wake-up call. Would it be great to see Kelley Steadman on the ice and scoring goals? Absolutely. Take nothing away from her accomplishments and achievements in her two seasons of professional women's hockey. She's an outstanding player and a phenomenal athlete who deserves every bit of recognition and praise sent her way for what she accomplished in hockey. Her retirement took a good player off the ice, but the short-sighted view on the state of women's hockey - perhaps even women's sports - is why I sent out that tweet.

Kelley Steadman's impact on hockey will be much greater as a high-level coach on one of the premiere NCAA teams than what she did on the ice. She has an incredible hockey mind, she sees and plays the game at a high level, and she's joining an excellent program at Mercyhurst where she'll influence generations of women's hockey players as they move through the program. If she decides to leave and move to a new program at some point, that too will benefit women's hockey much more than she's being given credit for and her work at hockey schools as a coach can and will inspire girls and young women to continue to pursue their dreams.

I don't know if Kelley Steadman had been coached by men throughout her hockey career. I know that Hockey Canada has made it a point to try and put women in charge of the women's program, starting with Melody Davidson and, most recently, with Laura Schuler at the helm. Schuler spent time as a player in the NCAA at Northeastern University under Don MacLeod who helped build that program into a powerhouse throughout the 1980s and 1990s before moving to the University of Toronto where she played under Karen Hughes. She played with Team Canada under Melody Davidson and Shannon Miller, culminating in a silver medal at the Nagano Olympics. Once she retired from the game after being cut from the 2002 Canadian squad, Schuler decided to get into coaching. This article from The Globe & Mail in April 2016 speaks about Schuler's experience and influences in terms of getting into coaching.
More doors were opening for female coaches when Schuler was cut from the 2002 Olympic squad. She established a women’s hockey program at University of Massachusetts-Boston before heading to her alma mater Northeastern, where she coached for five seasons.

Wanting experience in a top NCAA women's program, she joined Miller at Minnesota-Duluth in 2008 as an assistant. The Bulldogs had just won their fourth national championship.

"To be mentored," Schuler said. "It was a tremendous opportunity to be able to go and see how an elite program was run. Just to see the insides of it and how Shannon ran things."

Minnesota-Duluth jettisoned the Bulldogs' all-female coaching staff at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season.

"Obviously that was a tough situation to be in," Schuler said. "To see a whole staff go is always tough, especially when they're all females."

Schuler, who was Canada’s assistant coach at the 2015 world championship, hopes her ascension to head coach this year sends a more inspiring message to women in the profession.

Schuler counts Miller and Melody Davidson as significant influences on her coaching career.
Having two strong female coaches helped Laura Schuler follow her dreams and head back to the Olympics as a coach. Without Davidson and Miller mentoring Laura and showing her the ropes, would we even be talking about her as Canada's bench boss? The statistics presented above by Miss Flanagan say that it would be unlikely, and part of the reason she followed her dreams once her playing career was over was directly because of Melody Davidson.
"She was part of that staff that released me and I'll never forget how she treated everybody," Schuler said. "She treated everybody fairly and made everybody feel so important.

"I knew those were things I wanted to be as I moved forward in my coaching career. When the two of us sit down and start talking hockey, for me, it's the best thing ever."

That's why it's important for Kelley Steadman to become a great coach after making her decision to walk away from the game. It's not about how many goals she scores or how many points she accumulates. She can reach many generations of women as a coach who might be the next greatest player. Even if Kelley doesn't get a generational player to work with in her time at Mercyhurst or wherever her path takes her, her influence over thousands of young players will be felt throughout the women's hockey world. She's now a coach, a mentor, a teacher, and a counselor to many women who may one day represent their countries on the biggest stages.

Al Pacino's Lt. Col Frank Slade said of Chris O'Donnell's Charlie Simms character in Scent of a Woman, "Let him continue on his journey. You hold this boy's future in your hands, committee. It's a valuable future. Believe me. Don't destroy it. Protect it. Embrace it. It's gonna make you proud one day, I promise you."

He may well have been describing Kelley Steadman's future as a coach because all I see on the horizon is greatness. Putting exceptional people behind the bench is just as important as putting exceptional people on the bench, and it's something everyone who has never played the game should remember. Without great coaches and great mentors, we'd never see the next exceptional player. That's why the sky's the limit for Kelley Steadman in her new role.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!