Thursday, 21 June 2018

The Hockey Show - Episode 300

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back with a huge achievement as we have reached show #300! I'm not sure if Beans or myself ever expected to reach this milestone, but here we are as we've worked through six seasons of shows thus far! If you are interested, we have a limited supply of cake at the station if you want to come down and check out where we do our thing, but we've got a bunch of stuff to cover, so let's get to it!

What does one do for a monumental show like this? Well, Beans and I will talk hockey - I know, surprising, right? We're going to welcome Kyle from Toronto to join us on the show as we go over all the news from the past week. We'll chat about the Max Domi-Alex Galchenyuk trade, the Mike Hoffman deals, Pierre Dorion's insistence not to deal players to teams within his division, Gimli playing host to an MJHL game, the NHL Awards, the Canada West hockey schedules for the Bisons, and more!

We were going to do a highlight show of some of our favorite moments, but the hockey world doesn't seem to stop. We may still do a highlight show in the future, but Show #300 is going to be just as informative as every other show but with cake! Tune in tonight at 5:30pm CT for cake and news!

"So how can I hear this show?" you ask. Well, the easiest way is for you to download the UMFM app on your phone or tablet. It's literally 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! Of course, you can do the radio thing at the 101.5 frequency on the FM dial and you can always listen online via the UMFM website as well!

If you prefer social media, we try to remain up-to-speed there! Email all show questions and comments to! 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, Beans and I welcome Kyle to the show, we enjoy cake in honour of our 300th episode, and we talk all the hockey things that happened over the last week only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the web stream!

PODCAST: June 21, 2018: Episode 300

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

It's Banner Time

No, we're not talking about Bruce Banner of the Hulk, but one superpower of hockey got its schedule today. It took them until mid-June, but Canada West has finally released the schedules for the 2018-19 men's and women's hockey seasons, and there are some big dates that should be pointed out on one of the schedules. Yes, I'm going to talk about the Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team here, so settle in and get ready for some information. There's a lot happening this season, and it's time that I let you all in on a few secrets that the program and UMFM have been keeping close to their chests regarding this season's broadcasts.

First off, if you're in town or coming into town and want to see the Bisons men's hockey team play, please click here. If you're interested in seeing the defending U SPORTS women's hockey champions in the Bisons women's hockey team play, please click here. You catch all home games on UMFM's Second Stream and on Canada West TV while select home games can be heard on the radio at 101.5 FM!

Ok, so you have all the places to find the Bisons this season whether in person or from afar. That's going to be important when it comes to the women's team trying to defend their Canada West crown and the U SPORTS National Championship. The men are going to give it their all in trying to unseat one of Saskatchewan or the defending U SPORTS National men's hockey champion Alberta Golden Bears, but they'll have their work cut out for them.

Let's get to the schedule. You'll note which team is at home based on the clear notation of the home team below. If Bisons women's hockey is at home, then the men are on the road playing the same team. The opposition for that week is listed next. The dates and times is listed as well, and special notes about specific games are also listed.

Date/Time Bisons Team Opposition Notes
7PM 10/5
CalgaryBanner Raising Night
Girls' Hockey Day
2PM 10/6
7PM 10/12
Alberta Alumni Night
Minor Hockey Night
7PM 10/13
Alberta n/a
7PM 10/19
Regina n/a
2PM 10/20
Regina n/a
7PM 10/27
Mount RoyalSuper Spooky Saturday
2PM 10/28
Mount RoyalSunday Game!
Nov 2 & 3
Conf. ByeNo games scheduled
7PM 11/9
2PM 11/10
7PM 11/16
UBC n/a
1PM 11/17
UBC n/a
7PM 11/23
4PM 11/24
7PM 11/30
Calgary n/a
2PM 12/1
Calgary n/a
Dec. 7 to
Jan. 3
Holiday BreakNo regular season games scheduled
7PM 1/4
2PM 1/5
7PM 1/11
Mount Royal n/a
2PM 1/12
Mount Royal n/a
7PM 1/18
ReginaPride Night
Alumni Night
4PM 1/19
7PM 1/25
Lethbridge Bell Let's Talk
Winter Classic
2PM 1/26
Lethbridge n/a
7PM 2/1
2PM 2/2
UBCSenior Students Game
7PM 2/8
Saskatchewan n/a
2PM 2/9
Saskatchewan Senior Students Game
There's your entire schedule for Bisons hockey at Wayne Fleming Arena this season. If you're wondering how to catch the away games for either team, the only way that will happen right now is through Canada West TV because most of the other schools aren't awesome enough to feature radio and internet radio broadcasts like UMFM offers. And this is where the changes that I mentioned above come into play.

Starting this season, the UMFM broadcasts will be simulcast over the Canada West TV broadcasts! There will be some modifications, but all the graphic overlays and information present on Canada West TV will also be discussed on the radio broadcast. In its most basic of explanations, Canada West TV and UMFM will have the exact same broadcast going out over the respective mediums. This way, listeners on both mediums will get the knowledgeable information and reporting that UMFM provides on the radio broadcasts that was previously unavailable on the Canada West TV broadcasts. As you probably know, UMFM does a lot of work in getting stories about the players last season to ensure high-quality broadcasts, and the feedback received by Bisons Sports suggested that this was missing on the Canada West TV broadcasts.

In short, no matter how you tune into games for Bisons hockey, you're going to get a top-notch broadcast team with unparalleled knowledge, stories, and information about your Bisons athletes. That's the whole point of these broadcasts, right?

There are more changes and more fun being planned for the broadcasts this season, and future announcements will be made as to what these additional changes are. For now, expect another great season of Bisons hockey this winter as we get set to deliver all the great action via UMFM and Canada West TV!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 18 June 2018

Gonna Get Paid

There are a lot of words and phrases that can be used to describe NHL head coach Barry Trotz: dedicated, driven, meticulous, detail-oriented, Stanley Cup champion, and, as of today, free agent. Barry Trotz resigned his position despite having triggered a clause in this current contract that would have seen him extended by two seasons. The only problem is that Trotz' extension, had he accepted, still would have seen him as one of the lowest-paid coaches in the NHL. Instead, he opted to walk away from the Capitals and seek better compensation after leading Washington to the promised land.

Pierre Lebrun's tweet above sums up the situation with Barry Trotz quite nicely, so there really isn't anything that I need to expand upon except perhaps why he's seeking more money. As Pierre stated in his tweet, $1.8 million per season on that extension doesn't amount to anything close he could possibly get on the open market after leading the Capitals to the Stanley Cup.

As it stands, Toronto head coach Mike Babcock currently pulls in a cool $6.25 million per year, and he hasn't won a Cup since 2008. Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville is making $6 million annually, but he has three Stanley Cups to his name in Chicago. Montreal head coach Claude Julien makes $5 million annually, and his wins came with a far-superior Boston team compared to his current employer's team. With Trotz's successes in Washington, it's hard to see why he wouldn't command something in the same ballpark as the salaries of those listed above.

With Trotz being a free agent at this point, all the speculation has him going to Brooklyn where Lou Lamoriello could sign him to run the Islanders' bench just as Brendan Shanahan did with Mike Babcock. If that happens, it should make for an interesting summer for the Islanders as Andre Burakovsky could be on the block for the Capitals as well having Jay Beagle as a free agent. Both players were key cogs for Trotz with the Capitals this past season.

There are other destinations he could land as well if there is some movement in the NHL coaching ranks, but the only vacant head coaching job at time is with the Islanders unless Trotz renegotiates a deal with the Capitals. Regardless of where he lands, though, there is one absolute certainty: Barry Trotz is going to get paid!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 17 June 2018

One For One

I feel like Gary Bettman when he announces a trade at the NHL Entry Draft, but, ladies and gentlemen, we have a trade to announce as Montreal packaged up Alexander Galchenyuk and sent him off to the Arizona Coyotes for Max Domi in a straight one-for-one trade. While some will credit the Coyotes for picking up a talented centerman from the Canadiens where he was misused and often deployed as a winger, some are crediting the Canadiens for acquiring another tough-as-nails winger who can score to add to the likes of Gallagher and Shaw. Regardless of what one feels towards this trade, both players needed something to kick-start their careers once again, and this trade might be that catalyst.

My personal feelings on this trade is that it was dead-even for both the Coyotes and Canadiens. Arizona gets a skilled centerman whose usage in Montreal has been questioned since he arrived, and there's a chance for the Coyotes to re-establish Galchenyuk as the skilled, play-making centerman he showed infrequently under Claude Julien. Montreal gets another rugged-but-smallish winger whose tenacity and doggedness on the puck might have been overshadowed by his lack of production last season. In both cases, there's a lot of room for growth in both players.

What the Canadiens didn't need to do was trade away an underperforming, lack-of-confidence centerman as they are extremely thin down the middle when it comes to talent at the center position. Somehow, Galchenyuk needed to find a way out of Claude Julien's perceived doghouse, but he was never really given that chance. This will now put more pressure on the Canadiens' scouting staff as they hold the third-overall pick, and there will be an expectation that the Habs draft a prototypical centerman with that pick who has the potential to step into the lineup next season to fill the hole created by the Galchenyuk trade.

The Canadiens are getting a player who doesn't mind going to the front of the net, and often finds scoring chances from that area. Domi won't back away from playing in the high-traffic areas, and this was one of the weakest parts of the Canadiens' attack last season. He's also far more effective on the power-play than Galchenyuk ever was, and Montreal's 13th-best power-play shuld see an improvement with how Domi attacks the slot area with passes and with drives to the net while on the man-advantage.

The problem, to me, is that if the Canadiens use Domi as a centerman rather as a wing, they're asking for a ton of offensive trouble when it comes to generating offence. Domi, for all he's worth, needs to play alongside playmakers to be successful, and his finishing touch hasn't been anything like it was in junior hockey thus far in his NHL career. With Montreal possibly going with a Jonathan Drouin-Max Domi-Phillip Danault trio down the middle on their top three lines, that trio produces very little in the way of goals and could be the lowest-scoring trio of centerman on any NHL team this year. In other words, if the gamble to generate offence from the wing from Domi doesn't pay off and they move him to the middle, it could be a serious bust year for les bleus-blancs-et-rouges.

At the end of the day, two struggling young players get a chance to shed the tarnish they found in their previous homes with a fresh start in their home countries of origin. Galchenyuk will play center in Arizona, and should give the Coyotes another weapon to deploy behind the likes of Clayton Keller, Christian Dvorak, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Montreal will play Domi on the wing from everything being said, and that will help them if they push Domi to look to the middle of the ice more often for drives and passes. Whether or not that will happen will depend upon Claude Julien, but the Canadiens will get some added toughness along the wing if nothing else.

Who wins this trade? I'm going to say it's a wash at this time. The jury, however, is still out.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Neutral Site Game

The Manitoba Junior Hockey League released its schedule today, and there was one particular game that stood out to me based on the location of where the game is slated to be played. On October 27, the Virden Oil Capitals will meet the Selkirk Steelers in Gimli, Manitoba at the Gimli Recreation Center! I was a little surprised by this choice of a neutral site game as Gimli's population usually doubles to triples in the summer with the cottage folk, but remains fairly low when it comes to the winter. As much as I don't think Gimli would be a future location for the MJHL to expand into, the fact that the Steelers and Oil Capitals will play there should provide some insight as to what kind of crowd support the MJHL can get in the community.

As per the 2016 Canadian census, the permanent urban population of Gimli is 2246. That's not a figure that would indicate a large enough fanbase to support an MJHL team as Selkirk, the home team in this neutral site game, boasts an urban population of 10,278 as per the same census. Selkirk, for what it's worth, does fairly well with its attendance, but having 80% less people in town would hurt Gimli's chances at running a bigger operation in the MJHL. As a result, they do have the Gimli Vikings who play in the Keystone Junior Hockey League, a Junior "B" circuit in the province.

That being said, though, there's a great initiative here to push the game into potentially-interested communities and drive participation numbers up in said communities. As stated, Gimli is cottage country for many Manitobans over the summer, and that leaves very few permanent residents once the snow flies. Having some of the bigger teams in the MJHL play games in towns like Gimli should help push the game to new heights in those communities.

Selkirk is the closest MJHL team to Gimli, so it makes sense to have them as the home team. Getting last year's Turnbull Cup finalists in the Virden Oil Kings to meet them in Gimli bodes well for the play of the game as both teams should be competitive once again this season.

I think the MJHL taking a game to a neutral site is a smart idea. It shows the rest of the province the talent we're producing in Manitoba on the ice, and it showcases some great communities as potential future hosts for more games like this and, possibly, future teams for the MJHL. While Gimli may not fill a 10,000-seat arena, the fans are still as passionate as any other in this great province, and they'll be exemplary hosts for the Oil Capitals and Steelers in October!

If you have the means, make the trip north of Winnipeg and catch this game in a rather unique setting as Gimli, Manitoba hosts the MJHL on October 27, 2018!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 15 June 2018

1967, 2014, 2018

What are years in which the three Toronto professional hockey teams last won their respective league championship trophy? If this was Jeopardy!, that answer would be correct as the AHL's Toronto Marlies downed the Texas Stars in Game Seven by a 6-1 score on Thursday night to capture the Calder Cup! While this championship won't erase 1967 in most hockey fans' minds, it does bring more legitimacy to the work being put in at the AHL level by Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment in trying to build a championship roster at the NHL level. If you're a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the outlook is bright, but it still isn't guaranteed when it comes to erasing the ghosts of 1967.

If you're asking how 2014 factors into this, let's not forget that the Toronto Furies were the Clarkson Cup champions in that year. 1967 is, of course, the last time that the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup, and the Marlies added their names to AHL lore as they won the Calder Cup for the first time in their franchise history last night. If the Leafs could ever get their act together, the city of Toronto would be the most successful hockey city in Canada by a large margin. That, however, is a big "if".

Andreas Johnsson, who was named the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy winner as playoff MVP, and Mason Marchment each scored two goals while Carl Grundstrom and Ben Smith added single tallies in the game. Texas' Austin Fyten - brother of former Manitoba Bisons women's hockey captain Caitlin Fyten - scored the lone goal for the Stars. Garret Sparks recorded the win while Mike McKenna suffered the loss.

It's not the first time that a Maple Leafs affiliate has won the Calder Cup, but it has been a while since it happened. The one to do so? The New Brunswick Hawks way back in 1982. The Marlies, though, played in the 2011-12 Calder Cup Final, but were swept by the Norfolk Admirals. The St. John's Maple Leafs also played in a Calder Final, but they fell in seven games to the Adirondack Red Wings in 1991-92. There have been chances, but the Marlies finally ended the AHL drought this season after 36 years!

Andreas Johnsson, mentioned above, was on a different level than everyone last night. His speed and tenacity on the forecheck continually frustrated the Stars resulting in turnovers, and those turnovers was where Johnsson and linemates Miro Aaltonen and Carl Grundstrom went to work. Johnsson, a seventh-round pick in 2013 at #202 for the Maple Leafs, will almost assuredly be a regular in the NHL's blue-and-white next season after posting a point-per-game in the AHL this season and dominating when the stakes went higher in the Calder Cup Playoffs. He found some incredible chemistry with Grundstrom once he arrived in Toronto following his season with Frolunda, and the second-round pick in 2016 may push for a roster spot as well.

There will be questions as to who will lead the team next year with this season's leading scorer, Ben Smith, and the second-leading scorer in Johnsson potentially gone. Smith signed a deal with the German Elite League's Adler Mannheim hours following the victory, so there will be a significant chunk of the Marlies offence playing elsewhere next season.

Where one team suffers, though, another usually benefits, and the benefits will be seen close to home as Kyle Dubas - once the man responsible for building the Marlies - will now man the helm for the Maple Leafs. He has had first-hand experience watching this Marlies team develop, and that will spell good things for the Maple Leafs as replacements for high-priced free agents may be waiting in the wings. Dubas knows who would be closest to taking the next step, and that's a big benefit for the GM when it comes to finding available dollars for players like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander.

Perhaps what was most noticeable this series was the difference in styles of play between the two teams. The Western Conference champions seemed to use a more physical game similar to their NHL affiliate as the Stars won battles using size and physical play. The Marlies used more of an NHL Eastern Conference style where team speed was always on display in the games that they played. Game Seven was all about that speed, and combined with the skill assembled on the roster the Marlies skated to the large margin of victory.

It was an inspiring season from a Toronto professional men's hockey team for once. The Marlies got out of the gate early, played incredibly smart, skilled hockey all season long, and it culminated in a championship lap with the Calder Cup. They came close before, so this victory was all the more sweeter. Congratulations to the Toronto Marlies, your 2018 Calder Cup champions!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 14 June 2018

The Hockey Show - Episode 299

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns tonight with another big episode where we break down all the latest news, notes, and information coming out of hockey. This show might be a lot more serious than the craziness we've had over the last few weeks after a franchise-shattering story came out from one team and one man's extremely personal article about his struggles highlighted a number of problems league-wide for the NHL. Beans and I will go over these topics tonight, but we do have some business to conduct prior to hitting the big stories.

It was Teri, who had selected the Washington Capitals, versus John, who had selected the Vegas Golden Knights, in final round of the Survivor: NHL Playoffs contest, presented by Lay's and the Show Your Emotions contest, and Teri would emerge victorious! Teri becomes the first woman to win the contest, so that's pretty awesome. On her way to championship glory, Teri also defeated two-time reigning champion Tom, so she can also hang that accomplishment beside her brand-new Dallas Stars jersey! John, for making the making the final, will go home with a Bisons Sports gold t-shirt compliments of the University of Manitoba's Athletic Department! We'll talk to both finalists tonight on the show as we close-out the 2018 edition of Survivor: NHL Playoffs! A big thank you to all the competitors in this contest, and a huge thank you to Lay's for giving us a little extra emotion this postseason with your support!

As I was saying off the top, Beans and I have some serious issues to cover tonight. We're not going to shy away from the insanity happening in the nation's capital with the Senators, and we'll recap why the Senators might have had the worst season in NHL history when you consider all the stuff that has happened to that franchise this season. We'll also talk about the article written by former NHL defenceman Nick Boynton that appeared in The Players' Tribune about the struggles, depression, anxiety, and continued mental health battles he's dealing with due to concussions and head trauma after retiring from the NHL, and I highly recommend you read that article. We'll also discuss the recent lawsuit filed by former players of the University of North Dakota women's hockey team against the school for discrimination, some player signings and movement, and a pretty cool event happening in an ECHL city that may attract some attention! All this and possibly more happens tonight at 5:30pm CT!

"So how can I hear this show?" you ask. Well, the easiest way is for you to download the UMFM app on your phone or tablet. It's literally 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! Of course, you can do the radio thing at the 101.5 frequency on the FM dial and you can always listen online via the UMFM website as well!

If you prefer social media, we try to remain up-to-speed there! Email all show questions and comments to! 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, Beans and I hand out prizes, talk about the implosion of the Senators, discuss Nick Boynton's emotionally-raw article, chat about the UND lawsuit, banter over player moves, and more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the web stream!

PODCAST: June 14, 2018: Episode 299

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Fighting The Good Fight

The loss of the University of North Dakota's women's hockey team is still, at its best, tragic. Financial shortfalls in North Dakota forced the state-funded university to slash its budgets across the board, and it was noticeably felt through the UND Athletics Department when the entire women's hockey program was cut from existence along with men's and women's swimming. On Tuesday, however, eleven players with two-or-more years of eligibility remaining who were part of the program filed a discrimination lawsuit against the North Dakota University System in an effort to see UND reinstate the program in its entirety.

The 11 former players, as reported by Grand Fords Herald's Brad Elliott Schlossman, include Breanna Berndsen, Kristen Campbell, Charly Dahlquist, Taylor Flaherty, Ryleigh Houston, Anna Kilponen, Rebekah Kolstad, Sarah Lecavalier, Alyssa MacMillan, Annelise Rice, and Abbey Stanley.

They hired Dan Siegel who recently represented former University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey coach Shannon Miller in her discrimination lawsuit that saw her win the case and receive $3.74 million by a jury in March. While the cases differ, Siegel will argue discrimination once more as the lawsuit alleges that the university violated Title IX laws that prohibit women from being treated differently because of gender. As you may recall, men's hockey at UND wasn't touched by the cuts made by the Athletics Department.

Does this lawsuit have merit? I believe it does. And Siegel feels it would be in UND's best interest to come to a resolution before this case ever reaches a courtroom.

"I'm hoping UND would decide to take the right approach to this case and will agree to sit down and see if we can work it out," Siegel told Schlossman. "The sooner we work it out, the sooner the program could be put back to work and the less money UND will spend fighting the case and less money we will spend fighting the case. Hopefully, we can get an early resolution."

UND, of course, will have to weigh their options here as they have their lawyers examine the lawsuit with respect to Title IX laws. The law is pretty clear that "[n]o person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity," and the lawsuit filed by the eleven women is alleging, among other discrimination claims, that the university violated the Title IX laws by cutting the prominent program at the school. Again, I think they have merit on this claim.

It should be noted that two complaints that were filed by a UND student last year with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights were both dismissed with one case citing the financial difficulties faced by the school as a factor in the dismissal of the complaint.

"That will not affect our suit at all," Siegel told Schlossman. "The OCR complaints were based on different facts and different legal theories. They didn't pass on the particular claims that we're making in our case."

This case should be very interesting. If Siegel has indeed found a way to argue the Title IX laws that will bring hockey back to UND, that will a huge victory for women's hockey on the whole, but especially in the area where a once-proud franchise would be resurrected. If this lawsuit is dismissed, this might spell the end of UND women's hockey for some time. Clearly, the stakes are fairly high when it comes to these eleven women pushing for a return to the school they all originally planned on attending.

I'll keep an eye on this case because I was and still am a big UND women's hockey fan. Let's hope that a judge or jury finds merit in this lawsuit so we could potentially see UND Fighting Hawks women's hockey back on the ice by 2019-2020 at the very latest!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

TBC: Overtime

As promised, Teebz's Book club is making a triumphant return to HBIC as I want to clear a number of books off the bookcase that are begging to be read. I find that I do my best reading in the summer, but it's hard to find a moment of peace where I can plow through a couple hundred pages. The book featured to the left was hard to put down, making it easy to read from cover to cover. With that being said, Teebz's Book Club is proud to review Overtime, written by Chris Chelios and Kevin Allen and published by HarperCollins Publishers Limited. I'll be honest when I tell you that I had a very narrow view of who Chris Chelios was prior to reading this book. I'll be upfront in telling you that you learn a great deal about the man, his life, his career, and everything in between in Overtime!

I shouldn't need to introduce him, but Chris Chelios was a long-time NHL defenceman who suited up for the Montreal Canadiens, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Detroit Red Wings, and the Atlanta Thrashers. As per the dust jacket of the book, "Chelios spent 26 years in the NHL" and "was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013." He most recently was seen behind Team USA's bench at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Games, works regularly at his Detroit restaurant Cheli's Chili Bar, and spends as much time with his wife, Tracee, their four daughters, and the rest of his extended family.

Also from the dust jacket, "Kevin Allen has been USA Today's hockey writer since 1986 and is currently president of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. The author of several hockey bios, Allen lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Follow him on Twitter @kausatoday." He has written other hockey books such as Without Fear: The Greatest Goalies of All Time, Why is the Stanley Cup in Mario Lemieux's Pool?, and Mr. & Mrs. Hockey: A Tribute to the Sport's Greatest Couple.

When I first sat down with this book, I had some preconceived notions about Chris Chelios: do anything to win, wouldn't flinch in hurting an opponent, better to be on his team than against him, and a true vocal leader on all the teams for which he played. In Overtime, Chelios didn't really do much to change those notions, but he did provide perspective on them that gave me a greater understanding of why he was like this as a player.

For that that don't know, professional hockey was never a future occupation for teenaged Chris Chelios. As a forward, he was noticed playing in a beer league in San Diego after being cut by the NCAA's US International University by an Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League player named Bobby Parker who suggested that Chelios come north with him to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and suit up for the Canucks. It was there, under the tutelage of a coach named Larry Billows, that Chelios really found his stride as a defenceman despite having played forward all his life. His play in Moose Jaw led to him being recruited to the University of North Dakota before abruptly switching his NCAA commitment to the University of Wisconsin where he played under "Badger" Bob Johnson and Grant Stradbrook, the man who Chelios credits as being the reason why he made the NHL. I won't tell you what made him change his commitment - you'll have to read Overtime to find out!

There are great chapters about his time in Montreal, Chicago, and Detroit, the trades that moved him to Chicago and Detroit, and how through it all he has been more committed to his family thanks to the trades. There is one section during his trade to Chicago that I found rather interesting, and the passage goes as follows:
After going home for a good night's sleep, I was awakened by a call from Serge Savard.
"I guess you heard," I said.
"Heard what?" he asked.
"I was arrested yesterday," I said.
"That's okay," he said, "because I traded you last night."
"Where?" I asked.
"Chicago," he said.
That's when I realized that I had mixed emotions about the deal. I had spent seven fun seasons in Montreal and I was sad about leaving the Canadiens. I told Serge that.
"Well," he said, "I could have really [expletive] you and traded you to Winnipeg for Dale Hawerchuk!"
I'm not going to lie: I think my jaw hit the floor when I read that. Chris Chelios as a Winnipeg Jet? Dale Hawerchuk as a Montreal Canadien and a potential Stanley Cup champion in 1993? No Housley-to-Selanne? The NHL landscape would have changed dramatically had Winnipeg and Montreal made that deal. Of course, Serge Savard could have simply been taking a shot at the team that once employed him, but that's for him to answer. Either way, that could have been huge news!

Of course, there are chapters on the international play that Chelios was involved in, and he does an excellent job at explaining the unfortunate "trashed hotel room" in Nagano, the US's World Cup of Hockey victory in 1996, his Olympic experience in 1984, and his time at the Canada Cup. Through it all, we get to understand the psyche of Chris Chelios in how he simply was neither going to be outworked nor allow an opponent get the better of him. While some of his play would fall into the "dirty" category, it was quite common for that era of hockey so I can't really fault him. After all, as one of his chapters is titled, "Winning is a Habit".

It's amazing to read his thoughts on the coaches and management for whom he played. Legends such as Scotty Bowman, Mike Keenan, and Jacques Lemaire were some of his coaches, and you can tell he holds them in high respect. While family comes first, he also holds his friends to the same level of respect, talking admirably about people like Kid Rock, John Cusack, Michael Jordan, Tony Danza, John McEnroe, and Wayne Gretzky. Honestly, the more I read Overtime, the more apparent it became that Chris Chelios is a stand-up guy who would do anything for his friends and family, not to mention teammates and coaches who expected greatness out of him.

Overall, Overtime was a fantastic read that kept me wanting to read further. Learning about the ups and downs about Chris Chelios' life was something far more interesting than I would have probably given it credit if I was judging a book by its cover, and I'm very glad I didn't do that. For all appearances, he seems like a great guy with some incredible stories, a few heartbreaks, and a general zest for life. Overtime was a fantastic read, and it certainly deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

Find Overtime at your local bookstore or library today! Due to a few choice words in the story, I'd recommend this book for adolescents and up, but it would make for a great Father's Day gift this year!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 11 June 2018

Moving Upstairs

It was just last year on The Hockey Show where I joked with Sami Jo Small, goaltender for the Toronto Furies, about becoming the general manager of a Winnipeg-based professional women's hockey team. She enthusiastically played along, stating she would move back to her hometown to fill that role. Fast forward to June 11, 2018, and she didn't quite move home to Winnipeg, but she has accepted to fill the general manager vacancy for her adopted city's professional women's team as Sami Jo Small was named as the general manager of the Toronto Furies today! For a woman as accomplished and successful as she has been in hockey, this move to the front office seems only natural to me, and I think Sami is going to be an outstanding GM for the Furies!

There literally is nothing on the ice that Sami Jo Small hasn't done. She played with the Stanford Cardinal men's team, earning PAC-8 MVP honours, while attending college on track and field scholarship to throw the discus and javelin where she earned a mechanical engineering degree. She has attended three Olympic Games, winning gold in Nagano, Salt Lake City, and Turin. She is a five-time IIHF Women's World Championships gold medalist. She has twice earned the Directorate Award as Best Goalie at the World Championships in 1999 and 2000. She was a member of the 2014 Clarkson Cup champion Toronto Furies. She was the first professional women's hockey goaltender to accumulate 60 career wins, done against the Boston Blades on February 9, 2014, and currently holds the Canadian professional women's league's record for career starts and wins.

Honestly, her list of accomplishments above speaks for itself.

What makes this announcement hard to digest is that all of my favorite goalies seem to be hanging up the skates this season. Calgary's Delayne Brian made the announcement a few weeks ago that she was retiring. Swiss goaltender Florence Schelling was the next to announce that she was moving on from hockey. And now Sami Jo Small will most likely trade in the skates for a briefcase as she transitions to a life off the ice.

It's not easy being a fan of these sensational goalies right now.

I do see this move as a major positive for the Furies. After Nicole Letreille didn't have her contract renewed by the Furies for reasons unknown at this time, Small was the face of the Furies since 2011 after being claimed by the Furies when the Mississauga Chiefs were contracted at the end of the 2010 season. Small is also involved with her league's Player's Association, and has been a member of the lague's Board of Directors since the founding of the league. She knows the ins and outs of the league and its affairs, and that makes her an ideal candidate to be in some sort of management capacity.

Perhaps more than anything, Small knows the current players all too well, and has a generally amazing personality and drive that should make playing for her rather easy for players looking to break into the league via the draft or through free agency. She constantly wears the world's biggest smile, she might be the most positive and cheerful person I know, and she generally wants the best for every individual she encounters. While she'll have a salary cap in with which to build the Furies, don't be surprised if there are more than a few players asking if they can play for Sami.

There's no question that Sami Jo Small has some work to do in getting the Furies back on track. She has an outstanding goaltender with whom she worked alongside last season in Amanda Makela; solid defenders in Michelle Saunders, Sydney Kidd, Shannon Moulson, and Katie Gaskin; and, hard-working, skilled forwards in Carolyne Prevost, Jenna Dingeldein, Hayley Williams, and Emily Fulton. If they can add Canadian Olympians Natalie Spooner and Renata Fast back into the lineup and find a few solid picks plus a free agent or two, this Furies team could be vying for the Clarkson Cup, let alone just a playoff spot.

Sami Jo Small will be a large part of the talent attracted to Toronto this summer. She'll have her work cut out for her, but she's never been afraid to accept a challenge. Perhaps she can follow Inferno GM Kristen Hagg as another Clarkson Cup-winning player who successfully transferred to the front office? Or, more importantly, perhaps Small can become the first person to win the Clarkson Cup as both a player and a general manager?

Now that's a challenge that I can see Sami Jo Small accepting! Congratulations on the appointment, Sami, and I'm confident this will be the best move the Toronto Furies ever made!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Summer Hobby

I announced some time ago that my summer is going to be filled with more reading as I have a number of books to work through that are piling up on my bookcase. I'm actually quite excited to read these books as there are a number of tomes that should give me new insight on the game and players. What I do know before I even crack any spines on these books is that I need to average about one per week to make my way through all of them by the time that the regular season starts up again.

Among the many books that need reading are several biographies and autobiographies. I'm very excited for Overtime by Chris Chelios, Quinn by Dan Robson, and Father Bauer by Greg Oliver. I find the hockey biographies and autobiographies to encapsulate the mind as I get to know the players and people a little better than what I had known about them through the media. I'm looking forward to these books already!

There are a handful of other books that will give better insight on some interesting situations. Chill Factor by David Paitson and Craig Merz is all about the successful minor-hockey league team that kicked off a love of hockey in Columbus, Ohio. Bench Bosses by Matthew DiBiase is a look at a number of famous hockey coaches and their careers. Ice Time by Scott Russell is a cross-Canada tour of some of the devoted people who make the game of hockey so good. These stories should ignite the passion for the game in me over the summer.

I have a few other books to go through as well, so it's not like I've listed all of the literature above. I'm also open to suggestions if you have any. If there's one thing that we, as a society, does less in today's high-speed world, it's reading an old-fashioned book - turning pages between two solid covers while absorbing the words and ideas from those turning pages.

As it stands, one of the listed books is already being read, and I'll have that review posted this week. With the Calder Cup coming to an end, the NHL Draft about to take place, and NHL Free Agency on the horizon, there should be some solid free time on my part that I can fill with reading! Toss any book recommendations you have in the comments, and I'll see if I can locate the books in my local library or bookstore!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Fly Like An Eagle

The Colorado Eagles and Florida Everblades met in Game Seven of the Kelly Cup Final last night to determine who would be the ECHL champions for this season. The Eagles entered the game as the reigning Kelly Cup champions, so there was a lot on the line as they looked to defend their title. They also have the distinction of playing in their final ECHL game as the franchise is being elevated to the AHL level next season as the AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche. The Everblades won the Kelly Cup once before in 2011-12, so they were looking to write a new chapter into their history. Only one could prevail, and the lede photo and the title of this article should tell you who rose above the other in this Game Seven of the Kelly Cup Championship!

The Eagles, based in Loveland, Colorado, haven't been around the ECHL's membership for decades like some teams. They started in the Central Hockey League in 2003 where they won a CHL championship in 2004-05 and in 2006-07 before being accepted into the ECHL as an expansion team in 2011, winning the Kelly Cup last season for the first time. They were affiliated with the Winnipeg Jets from 2011-13, the Calgary Flames in the 2014-15 season, and have been affiliated with the Avalanche since 2016. There's your brief history on Colorado's brief history thus far!

This year's squad has shown that they're no stranger to adversity, winning the final two series of the playoffs in Game-Seven situations. They needed all seven games to oust the Fort Wayne Komets who tied the series after being down 3-2 with a 3-2 win on the road in Colorado before the Eagles closed out the series on home ice with a 4-3 win in overtime in Game Seven. That's about as close as a team can get to going home, but Ryan Olsen prevented that from happening as the defending champs moved on with his goal at 10:34 of the extra period on the power-play.

In the Kelly Cup Final, the Florida Everblades gave the Colorado Eagles everything they could handle. The Eagles found themselves in a 3-2 hole heading home on Wednesday where they laid down a 4-2 win on the strength of a pair of Michael Joly goals. It should have been a 4-1 win with Joly's second goal finding the empty net, but a late Florida goal made the game closer than it appeared. After surviving that game, they traveled back to Florida for Game Seven where it was winner-takes-all in the final ECHL game of the season!

"One game to win a championship," Eagles head coach Aaron Schneekloth told Loveland Reporter-Herald's Cris Tiller. "We'll take it."

A crowd of 7701 fans packed Florida's Germain Arena for the final game, and they were treated to an excellent game between two talented teams. The home crowd got into the game early when Spencer Smallman broke into the Colorado zone, curled towards the net, and unleashed a howitzer that beat Joe Cannata to put the Everblades up 1-0! Florida continued to play some dizzying hockey through the last half of the period and almost scored a second goal late during a goalmouth scramble, but they'd go to the intermission up 1-0 and leading 12-9 in shots!

The second period saw the two teams trade chances, but it would the Eagles who found the back of the net. Michael Joly picked off an errant pass and was off to the races from his own end. He went to the backhand and shelved a shot past Martin Ouellette with 5:41 remaining in the middle frame. It seemed as though the Everblades had taken the lead late in the period when Michael Kirkpatrick appeared to roof the puck behind Cannata just under the bar, but the goal was waved off by the official. The goal judge had signaled a goal, but it was determined that the knob of Cannata's stick was what everyone had seen, and the officials moved on. The two teams would fire nine shots apiece at the opposing goaltenders, but it was Colorado who scored the all-important tying goal to send this game into the second intermission at 1-1.

As a note, the ECHL does not use video replay for its officials, so, with there being a reason to check the tape in a Game Seven of the Kelly Cup Championship, the fact that there is no tape to check is rather astounding to me. In this day and age, professional hockey seems to have video replay everywhere, but the ECHL does not. As several of the players and coaches stated after the game, this needs to be rectified starting next season so that there are no debates over what is and isn't a good goal. I am in agreement, especially when it came to a play of this magnitude, but I digress.

The third period saw Florida get the break they needed when a three-on-one for Eagles was turned into a two-on-one the other way after Everblades defenceman Matt Mackenzie broke up a pass right on Ouellette's doorstep. Mackenzie threw the outlet pass up to Sam Warning who, with John McCarron, fed McCarron with a cross-ice pass, and McCarron's shot beat a sliding Cannata for the 2-1 lead at 6:15. The Eagles would respond five minutes later when Travis Barron picked off an unsuccessful clearing attempt by the Everblades, and he stepped into the face-off circle and zipped a shot past Ouellette on the short-side at 10:45 to knot this game up at 2-2.

Michael Joly, who was a key cog in the Eagles' offence this postseason, drew a holding penalty with his speed at the 14:53 mark when Derek Sheppard illegally slowed him up, but Joly made an almost-incomprehensible mistake less than a minute later. After being called for an offside while on the power-play, Joly slammed his stick so hard down onto the ice that he snapped the twig into two pieces. The officials would have none of that behavior and assessed him a slashing penalty for his indiscretion - a correct call by the rule book - and sent him off for two minutes, negating the Colorado power-play and eventually guaranteeing Florida a 42-second power-play at the end of Sheppard's time-out. Boneheaded? I'd say yes.

Joly, however, was bailed out by his teammates as they not only killed off the short power-play, but actually took the lead! Defenceman Gabriel Verpaelst fired a wrist shot from the left-side circle after receiving a pass as the trailer on a three-on-two, and Verpaelst's shorthanded goal at 17:31 silenced the stunned crowd at Germain Arena. According to Sean Star of the Loveland Reporter-Herald,
Verpaelst skated to center ice with his both hands on his head, falling to one knee in disbelief. He then turned around and rose to both feet, swarmed by his three other teammates on the ice for celebratory bear hug.
Not bad for a defenceman who was never drafted and has played for five different ECHL teams over the last four seasons! Joe Cannata held the Everblades off the scoresheet for the final 2:39 of the game, and the Eagles captured their second-straight Kelly Cup and, possibly, the last one in their history as they'll move to the AHL for next season. Michael Joly was named as the Most Valuable Player of the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs, racking up 29 points — 13 goals and 16 assists — in just 24 games, including four goals and five assists in the Kelly Cup Final.

The Eagles will go out as champions in the ECHL, and there will be a new Kelly Cup champion next season. It's been a great run for Colorado, but the real work begins as they move up a level to the AHL. Can they keep the magic rolling? We'll know next season! Congratulations to the 2018 ECHL Kelly Cup Champions in the Colorado Eagles!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 8 June 2018

Capital W

There have been a number of opportunities in the past where it was expected that the Washington Capitals would ascend to the apex of the NHL mountain. Led by Alexander Ovechkin, they won President's Trophies, they played incredible inspired offence, and they had great goaltending, but they always seemed to fall short for some reason. Most times, it was Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and the Pittsburgh Penguins, but 2018 saw the Capitals exorcise those demons en route to Washington's first-ever Stanley Cup victory!

As a Penguins fan, you never want to see one of your arch-rivals not only oust your team from the playoffs, but go on to win the sport's biggest prize, but I have to hand it to the Capitals as they seemed to get better with every round. They started slowly in the Columbus series before making a goaltender change that saw Holtby begin his incredible run. They outskated and overpowered the Penguins in their annual spring meeting. They outhit, wore down, and disrupted the Lightning at every turn. And then they out-Vegased the Vegas Golden Knights in forcing turnovers and scoring off those rushes. In every sense, the Capitals were the best team for the last three months.

Alex Ovechkin became the first Russian-born player to captain a Stanley Cup-winning team. The Capitals erased 43 years of "almost", "next year", and "so close" with their victory last night, and they saw Ovechkin win the Conn Smythe Trophy after he set the franchise record for goals in one postseason with 15.

"It's just like a dream," Ovechkin said.

The Capitals set a record for most roads wins in a postseason with ten. Each of their series wins came on the road, and they were a perfect 4-0 in those games. Lars Eller became the first Danish-born player to win the Stanley Cup, and he had a big goal last night as he scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal at 12:23 of the third period on a rebound past Marc-Andre Fleury to help the Capitals claim their spot among the champions.

"He was so far out I couldn't get in front of him, which is usually where the rebound comes," Eller told's Dan Rosen. "So I got behind him and the puck just squeaks through. Usually, Connolly shoots between the legs, and it was just at the right place at the right moment."

Here's Alex Ovechkin on winning the Stanley Cup.

I'm happy for Alex Ovechkin. He's long-suffered the catcalls of not being as good as Crosby to whom he is often compared due to Washington not having won a Stanley Cup. He's had to endure a decade of questions of "what went wrong" when the Capitals fell short. He's always been a professional in answering those questions and never ducking from them, so he earned the right to enjoy this victory after leading the Capitals to the promised land.

You have to wonder, though, if this would have been the end result had Ovechkin and the NHL players gone to the Olympics as Ovechkin had promised to do. We'll never know that answer nor is it important at this time, but it's always going to be one of those unanswered "what ifs" to which we'll never be privy.

In any case, my congratulations go out tonight to the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals who rightfully earned this Stanley Cup victory. A big shout-out to Manitoba's Barry Trotz who will hopefully bring the Silver Chalice back to the Keystone Province, and a stick-tap to Chandler Stevenson who stated that his celebration will take place in Humboldt, Saskatchewan.

The Washington Capitals: your 2018 Stanley Cup Champions!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 7 June 2018

The Hockey Show - Episode 298

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, officially has no drop-ins, surprise guests, or favorite people planned on tonight's show, and that might be a good thing as we have three weeks of news, facts, and figures to go over tonight! Honestly, we're pretty lucky on The Hockey Show to be able to feature amazing people such as Regan Boulton, Kennesha Miswaggon, Katie Bassett, Brandon Reid, and Jessica Scott-Reid, and the door will always be open for these incredible people when they want to drop by!

Before we get to the news from the last three weeks, let's remind everyone about who is left in the Survivor: NHL Playoffs contest sponsored by Lays and their Show Your Emotions contest!
As you can see, Teri is one win away from glory, and she may claim that glory tonight as the Capitals look to close out the series versus the Vegas Golden Knights and John! Tonight, we'll oust the San Jose Sharks, Winnipeg Jets, and Tampa Bay Lightning from Survivor: NHL Playoffs Island as we run those exit interviews with Jeff, Billy, and Dan!

From there, we have a ton of news to go over. Player movement, player signings, front office moves, new teams, and more will all be tackled tonight as we discuss the NHL, the KHL, the ECHL, and a couple of other tidbits of news from other leagues that may pique your interest. There is a lot to cover and possibly not enough time, but Beans and I will do our darnedest to get everything in on tonight's show at 5:30pm CT!

"So how can I hear this show?" you ask. Well, the easiest way is for you to download the UMFM app on your phone or tablet. It's literally 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! Of course, you can do the radio thing at the 101.5 frequency on the FM dial and you can always listen online via the UMFM website as well!

If you prefer social media, we try to remain up-to-speed there! Email all show questions and comments to! 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, we send three more contestants home from Survivor Island, go over a ton of news in several hockey leagues, and maybe even get you set up for a summer of interviews only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the web stream!

PODCAST: June 7, 2018: Episode 298

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Not My Day

Some days, everything just goes to hell. I don't know if I woke up on the wrong side of the bed or it's simply a comedy of errors lining up against me today, but Murphy of Murphy's Law would be proud of my day as everything that can go wrong has gone wrong. With that proclamation, I officially am calling it a day. That means there will be nothing more written here simply because I need some time to realign my life once more after everything went off the rails today.

Ok, yes, I am being a wee bit overdramatic. The few things I thought I had under control went awry today at work, so I'm going to reset myself, get a good night's sleep, and battle hard tomorrow. There's a big edition of The Hockey Show to broadcast, I need a better day for my own mental health, and it starts tonight with a good foundation of sleep and relaxing. You now know my plans.

I'll see everyone tomorrow for The Hockey Show. Let's hope things get back to normal over the next twelve hours or I may be very unhappy on the show.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

A Busy Summer Planned

I've been asked by a number of people if I'm taking the summer off with the Washington Capitals potentially finishing off the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday in the Stanley Cup Final. If you weren't aware, this is the sixth season of The Hockey Show, and we have not once taken a summer off. So if you believe that we're taking a summer off this season, you're wandering down the wrong path. Instead, Beans and I are going to ratchet up the show a few notches by catching up with a pile of our favorite guests and welcoming a few new friends as well!

First, we'll be welcoming back the three ladies shown above as Sami Jo Small, Toni Ross, and Fielding Montgomery will all return for a show! Sami Jo Small played with the Toronto Furies last season, Toni Ross was a member of the Calgary Inferno, and Fielding Montgomery was part of the Clarkson Cup-winning Markham Thunder! We have lots to discuss with them as we get caught up with these phenomenal women from the first time we had them on the show!

We'll meet some new guests who we hope will be repeat guests as well! Delayne Brian of the Calgary Inferno, Mikayla Ogrodniczuk of the UBC Thunderbirds, and the Bisons women's hockey rookies will all make an appearance this summer on the show, and we'll meet and learn about these incredible women. I'm excited to have both Delayne and Mikayla join us this summer, and the Bisons rookies are always a fun group with whom to chat.

There will be a couple of shows that we'll do live on-location as there are some big hockey things happening in and around the city this summer. There's a better-than-good possibility we'll feature more guests with The Hockey Show's attendance and presence at these events, and I'm sure we'll make a few new friends who won't mind being featured on the show!

Of course, there's always room for more fun as we will celebrate Show #300 in a few weeks, Beans may need some time off for a special moment, and we may squeeze in a few more big-name guests to join everyone above. If the articles on HBIC have seemed a little less-than-stellar lately, it's because I'm spending a lot of time getting things set for this summer. And I couldn't be more excited for not taking a summer off with all of these amazing people who will appear on the show!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 4 June 2018

Looking Sharp, Ladies!

While Justin Trudeau may be holding the Clarkson Cup in this photo opportunity, it's a big moment for the Markham Thunder as the players were invited to Parliament Hill by the Prime Minister following their Clarkson Cup championship this past season! They are officially the first professional women's hockey team to have been invited to meet the Prime Minister, and I'm hoping this won't be the last time we'll see this invitation extended nor will it be the last time the Thunder make an appearance with the sitting Prime Minister of Canada!

Along with Prime Minister Trudeau, Markham-Thornhill Member of Parliament Mary Ng was there to meet the team as she represents the region in the House of Commons. Ng was the first person to suggest bringing the Thunder to Ottawa for a meet-and-greet like some of the other championship teams in Canada receive, and some great people and companies worked to make this happen.

"I was shocked," Thunder general manager Chelsea Purcell told CBC's Devin Heroux. "I got a call [May 23] confirming it's going to happen. The team is so excited. Most are doing what they can to be there but it won't be possible for the entire team to attend with work and prior commitments."

As you can see above, though, the vast majority of the team was in Ottawa!

Via Rail came through and provided transportation from Markham to Ottawa for the team for free, and Lindsey Grigg, Markham's everyday #23, provided Prime Minister Trudeau with a Thunder jersey with his name and #23 on it. The Prime Minister, for his part, took his jacket off and donned the green Thunder jersey immediately.

"Prime Minister Trudeau has made professional equality a priority and it's great to know that mission extends to women's professional sports," Clarkson Cup MVP Erica Howe stated in a press release. "We have come so far over the past few seasons with the addition of full-time general managers, player compensation, and having our All-Star Games and Clarkson Cup Finals broadcasted across Canada. This trip today is another important milestone for our league."

Everything that Howe stated in the release is true, but it goes directly to what Purcell said as well. There were women who played for the Thunder that couldn't make the trip to Ottawa due to work and other commitments. The work factor is a major one considering that these women - professional hockey players - still have to hold down full-time jobs outside of hockey just to live - y'know, pay rent, buy groceries, pay bills, and other necessities.

While it's great to see Via Rail step up and the Prime Minister and an MP recognize the efforts of the women, there has to be more that league, sponsors, and fans can do to try and give these women the title of "pro hockey player" year-round. That means a decent living wage as well as opportunities for marketing and sponsorship deals so that all players can attend Parliament Hill when invited.

I get there are a number of factors of why this can't be done yet, but it's time for the league that overlooks the Thunder to start pushing a heavy marketing campaign where people should be told how good the players are. Something along the lines of "the best hockey you're not watching" would be a good start followed by doubling-down hard on a deal with one of the major sports networks to cover more games and have more coverage on sports highlight shows. I'm just spitballing here, but it seems like the Canadian pro women's league does very little outside their current markets to try and capture any of the imagination of potential fans.

Regardless of my thoughts on the subject, seeing the many faces of the Markham Thunder standing with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was a great start at putting women\s hockey on the map. The Thunder played outstanding hockey down the stretch to win the Clarkson Cup, upsetting les Canadiennes de Montreal and Kunlun Red Star, and they deserve some national recognition for their victory this season!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 3 June 2018

How Those Blades Work

Skates are legitimately what makes hockey different from a number of other sports. While figure skaters and speed skaters and ringette players all use skates as well, they're a specialized piece of equipment in sports. And while no one is saying you need to coat the skates in shoe polish like the California Golden Seals did as seen in the image, hockey players do some pretty amazing things on skates: cross-cuts, hard stops, skating backwards, and more! Have you ever thought about how skates actually work and the physics used to put blade on ice?

I wanted a good look at the physics that went into skating and how the blades and ice work together to make that happen, and I turned to YouTube's SmarterEveryDay to get that answer as the Cold Hard Science episode showing "The Physics of Skating on Ice" held the answers I was seeking!

The video is about ten minutes long, so settle in and enjoy! If you want to skip the figure skate physics, fast forward or jump to the 3:12 mark of the video.
Some of you may have rolled your eyes at the amount of figure skate chatter at the beginning of this video, but the physics of how figure skates work on the ice is still pretty interesting. If you've heard players or commentators talking about "working the edges" during a game, you now have a better sense of what they mean! And the speed skater stuff is simply mind-blowing to me. That's one sport I admittedly watch during the Olympics because of how precise those skaters have to be!

Full marks to SmarterEveryDay for this video! Hopefully, you have a better appreciation for how skates work on ice in the three different sports known for skates!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Road Trip Saturday

I'm not sure the veracity of the claim posted on the billboard, but I am out and about in rural Manitoba on a visit to the lovely town of Gretna, Manitoba! Gretna is a small community of just under 600 people that sits about a kilometer north of the Canada-US border and it about seven kilometers north of Neche, North Dakota which is my destination to pick up a UPS package today. While Neche is the goal, Gretna is the focus of today's article thanks to the town having one NHL player ever call the town home.

The man pictured to the right is Hal Winkler, and he was born on March 20, 1892 in the bustling village of Gretna, Manitoba. Winkler started his career in Manitoba in 1913 with the Winnipeg Winnipegs of the Manitoba Senior Hockey League where he played eight games, posting a 2-6-0 record. It wasn't the most auspicious of starts for the netminder, but it would be the first recorded history of Hal Winkler standing in the crease for any team.

Winkler would play five seasons in the Manitoba Senior League for three teams including the Winnipeg Ypres who make an appearance in the 1917-18 Allan Cup. Winkler played extremely well in the Allan Cup, going 3-1-0 with a 2.25 GAA, but it was the one loss that stung the most as the Ypres fell to the Kitchener Greenshirts in the Allan Cup Final.

Winkler would move to the Brandon Elks in the Manitoba Senior League for the next season before moving west to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan to join the Maple Leafs of the Western Canadian Hockey League in 1919-20. After that season, he'd move north to Saskatoon to join the Crescents. One season of rather poor Crescents hockey led him to being traded to the WCHL's Edmonton Eskimos following the 1920-21 season.

It was in Edmonton that Winkler would get his first taste of big-time hockey as the Eskimos were a solid team. In his first season with the team, the Eskimos would be backstopped by a 10-4-0 Hal Winkler with a 2.38 GAA en route to a first-place 15-9-0 season. The Eskimos would actually finish tied with the Regina Capitals at 14-9-1 atop the standings, so it was decided that the tie game between the two teams from the season would be replayed to determine who finished in first-place. Edmonton handily won the game by an 11-2 score, and they claimed the top spot in the WCHL. One week later, the Capitals exacted revenge in the WCHL final by winning the two-game total-goals series 3-2 after the teams played to a 1-1 tie in Game One and Regina won Game Two 2-1.

The 1922-23 WCHL season would see no tie-breakers needed as Edmonton was the class of the league once again with a 19-10-1 record that included Winkler's 17-10-1 season. The Eskimos would easily dispatch the Regina Capitals in this season to advance directly to the Stanley Cup Championship after the WCHL-PCHL playoff format was abandoned. The NHL champion would play the PCHL champion, pitting the NHL's Ottawa Senators against the PCHL's Vancouver Maroons, and it would the Ottawa Senators who advanced to meet the Edmonton Eskimos.

In a rather strange twist, the series between the Eskimos and Senators was played in Vancouver, marking this series as the last series in Stanley Cup history to be played entirely in a neutral site. Winkler would get the start for Edmonton across from Ottawa's Clint Benedict on March 29, 1923, and it appeared that this series was all about goaltending and defence. John Morrison put the Eskimos up 1-0 midway through the second period before Ottawa's Lionel Hitchman tied the game with seven minutes to play in the third period. In Game One of the Stanley Cup Championship, we'd need overtime, but it didn't last long as Cy Denneny found room past Winkler just two minutes into the extra period for the 2-1 Ottawa overtime win.

Game Two would be another low-scoring affair as just a single goal was scored. Harry "Punch" Broadbent notched a power-play marker 11:23 into the first period, and Clint Benedict and the Ottawa defence did the rest as the Senators withstood 68 shots to post the 1-0 shutout victory! Ottawa would win the Stanley Cup 2-0 in the best-of-three series, and they set a little history along the way as King Clancy became the only player to play all six positions on the ice in a Stanley Cup Championship after relieving netminder Clint Benedict in the second period after Benedict was whistled for a minor penalty and served it.

Despite falling the in the Stanley Cup Championship in 1923, the 1923-24 WCHL season was one to forget for the Edmonton Eskimos as they fell to the bottom of the standings with an 11-15-4 record. Hal Winkler was 9-13-4 on the season with a 2.50 GAA, but the Eskimos would miss the WCHL Championship.

The 1924-25 season saw the PCHL and WCHL merge after the PCHL collapsed, and the six-team league saw some movement as Hal Winkler was dealt to the Calgary Tigers on August 28, 1924 for cash. The Tigers roared through the six-team league to a 17-11-0 season with Winkler playing all 28 games. However, things would unravel in the WCHL Playoffs as the Tigers met the Victoria Cougars in the final, and the Tigers fell in the two-game total-goals series 1-1 and 2-0 to lose 3-1 on total goals. Once again, Winkler came up just short of going back to the Stanley Cup Championship.

The 1925-26 season saw the WCHL renamed as the Western Hockey League after the Regina Capitals relocated to Portland, Oregon to become the Portland Rosebuds. The Calgary Tigers, unfortunately, would be a non-factor in the WHL in this season as they and Hal Winkler posted 10-17-3 records to finish in fifth-place. That wouldn't be good enough to make the WHL Playoffs, but Winkler had a solid season in between the pipes. He finished fourth with a 2.70 GAA, but led the league in shutouts with six! And it would be that kind of solid goaltending that attracted the attention from one team in particular.

On October 27, 1926, Hal Winkler would be traded east as Calgary traded the netminder to the New York Rangers for cash, meaning that Winkler would now be an NHL goalie! His first game was against the Montreal Maroons on November 16, 1926 where he would post a 1-0 shutout! How about that for playing your first game in the show? Unfortunately, his career with the Rangers would be a very short one, however, as Winkler only appeared in eight games, posting a 3-4-1 record with a 1.87 GAA. The reason it was short? He was on the move again.

January 27, 1927 saw the New York Rangers trade the Gretna-born goalie to the Boston Bruins for $5000. It would be in Boston where Hal Winkler posted the best numbers of his short NHL career. For the remainder of the 1927 season, Winkler would go 12-9-2 with four shutouts and a 1.66 GAA, good enough to help the Bruins finish in second-place in the American Division with a 21-20-3 record.

Prior to the 1927 NHL Playoffs starting, news hit the NHL that the WHL had collapsed and folded, so the Stanley Cup Championship had no challenger from the west. Instead, the NHL Final would now be the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in history. Thanks to the ten-team divisional alignment that featured all the American teams in one division, it also meant that an American team would be guaranteed to play for the Stanley Cup in the final for the first time in history.

The division winners advanced to the semifinal series while the second-place and third-place teams played a two-game total goals series to advance to play the division winners. The Bruins and Winkler would meet the Chicago Blackhawks in this two-game series, and the Bruins won Game One 6-1 on March 29 before the two teams tied 4-4 on March 31. As a result of the 10-5 total of goals scored, the Bruins advanced to meet the New York Rangers in a two-game total-goals series with the winner advancing to the Stanley Cup Final.

The April 2 game saw Hal Winkler and Lorne Chabot match one another save for save through four periods as the game ended in a 0-0 tie. As obvious as that is, it would be Winkler's first shutout in the NHL playoffs. Game Two went on April 4, and the Bruins fell behind five minutes into the game when Bill Cook beat Winkler to put the Rangers up 1-0. However, three second-period goals by Jimmy "Sailor" Herbert, Lionel Hitchman, and Harry Oliver put the Bruins up 3-1, and that would be the final score as the Bruins advanced to the Stanley Cup Final with the 3-1 total-goals series victory!

The best-of-three Stanley Cup Final started in Boston on April 7, and both teams did their best in what can only be described as less-than-ideal ice conditions. The game would finish in a 0-0 tie after Frank Calder called the game with ice conditions in the second ten-minute overtime period basically resembling slush. Calder also determined that the series would be a best-of-five after this tie game, and if the two teams were tied in wins they'd share the Stanley Cup.

April 9 saw Game Two played in Boston again, and the Senators went on the offensive as King Clancy and Cy Denneny beat Winkler in the first period. Harry Oliver would make it a 2-1 game after poking the puck home with a mob of players on the doorstep with just over three minutes to play in the third period, but Denneny would score with seconds to play to ice the 3-1 win for the Ottawa Senators, giving them 1-0-1 series lead.

The series would shift to Ottawa for Game Three on April 11, and it appeared that the teams had shifted back into defensive-minded hockey. However, Jimmy Herbert sniped a goal past Alec Connell seven minutes into the game to give the Bruins the early 1-0 lead. Cy Denneny would find the equalizer with five minutes to play in the second period, and we'd have a scoreless third period to set up overtime! Neither team, though, would solve the goaltenders as this game ended 1-1 to push the series to 1-0-2 in favour of Ottawa. With the two ties, this series essentially became a best-of-three!

Game Four took place on April 13, and Ottawa head coach Dave Gill decided to make changes to his lineup as he inserted Frank Finnigan and Hec Kilrea into the starting lineup. Those moves proved wise as Finnigan and Cy Denneny both scored in the first period with Kilrea running general havoc all over the ice. Denneny would find the back of the net again in the third period, and things began to get out of control. Fights broke out all over the ice, the Ottawa police were called onto the ice to help keep the peace, and things began to settle down. Harry Oliver would put Boston on the board with two minutes to play, but an ugly butt-end to the face from Hooley Smith on Oliver ended Oliver's night, and Eddie Shore and Smith fought and were ejected.

In the end, Ottawa won the game 3-1 to win the Stanley Cup with a 2-0-2 record in the best-of-five series, but this game was marred by the late violence that included Boston's Billy Coutu attacking referee Jerry Laflamme before tackling alternate referee Billy Bell and setting off a bench-clearing brawl. Hal Winkler lost for the second time in a Stanley Cup Championship, but the fallout from the fisticuffs and brawling saw Coutu banned from the league for life, Hooley Smith was suspended for one-month from the start of the 1927-28 season, and Lionel Hitchman, George Boucher, and Jimmy Herbert were all fined for their parts in the melee.

The 1927-28 season saw that crazy downturn in scoring in the NHL where fifteen goalies posting eleven shutouts or more in the 44-game NHL season. One of those goalies? None other than Hal Winkler of the Boston Bruins who posted a 20-13-11 record with a 1.51 GAA and fifteen shutouts! That's a Boston Bruins record that still stands today, so Hal Winkler still has his name in the record books!

Boston finished atop the American Division with that 20-13-11 record, earning the very first Prince of Wales Trophy and a spot in the semifinals to await the winner of the New York Rangers-Pittsburgh Pirates two-game total-goals series. New York would advance, and the series between Boston and New York started on March 31 in New York where the two teams battled to a 1-1 tie. Game Two was played on April 3 in Boston with the winner of this game advancing thanks to the total-goals rule. Things did not go well for the Bruins as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Rangers, ending their playoffs after just two games.

The 1928-29 season saw things change in the Bruins' front office as Art Ross reduced his coaching and GM duties to just the general manager's duties. In doing so, he acquired Cy Denneny from the Ottawa Senators as player-coach, and promoted a new goaltender who was all sorts of good in Cecil "Tiny" Thompson. With the promotion of Thompson, Hal Winkler was sent to the American Hockey Association's Minneapolis Millers where he continued to play well for the Bruins' affiliate. They would finish second in the AHA in '28-29 with an 18-12-10 record, but fall 3-1 in a series against the third-place, crosstown rival St. Paul Saints that would see the Millers and Winkler start their summers early once again.

The PCHL's Seattle Eskimos would sign Winkler as a free agent on October 28, 1929, and he would help the team by posting a 15-13-8 record with nine shutouts and a 1.61 GAA. The Eskimos, however, would miss the playoffs, and Seattle would deal Winkler to the Boston Tigers of the Can-Am League on October 30, 1931 for cash. With Boston, Winkler would play just ten games, going 3-7-0 with a 3.15 GAA. The Tigers would miss the playoffs that season, and it would be the final time that Hal Winkler pulled on a jersey in a professional game as he would retire at the season's end.

Winkler would live out his days in Winnipeg, Manitoba until he passed away on May 29, 1956 at the age of 62. While he never actually got to win a Stanley Cup, the Boston Bruins did an incredible thing to honour Winkler. The Stanley Cup was redesigned in 1957, and Winkler's name was added to the 1929 Boston Bruins' Stanley Cup champion names despite him playing with Minneapolis for the whole season. While his name was added posthumously, Hal Winkler officially has his name on the Stanley Cup forever.

He's the only NHL player to have ever come from the small town of Gretna, but Hal Winkler holds a special place in hockey's rich history.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!