Thursday, 16 August 2018

The Hockey Show - Episode 308

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back with its continuing Summer of Interviews series! This one will be much shorter than usual at the request of the interviewee and his busy schedule, but I simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to speak with this distinguished gentleman! Beans and I will also go over what has been a busy summer of signings, moves, and news that we've been neglecting with the amazing people we've featured on the show up to this point. It's going to be one of the busier shows of the summer, so settle in and get ready for another jam-packed episode of The Hockey Show!

I was lucky enough to speak with a legend of the hockey community in Mr. Barry Melrose about his involvement in the new Sparrowhawk Pictures film Ahockalypse! The Hockey Show was lucky enough to get about twelve minutes with Mr. Melrose during his media sweep that included about 100 interviews yesterday, so I want to thank Mr. Melrose for his time! Also on the show tonight, Beans and I will go over everything happening everywhere as there have been a ton of player signings and moves in the KHL, the Krefeld Pinguine played their first exhibition match, U SPORTS has all sorts of news coming out, the Canadian pro women's league will feature a Manitoba Bisons player next season, and we'll even try to squeeze in some additional local hockey news from that rink we have downtown. It's a busy show tonight at 5:30pm CT!

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

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

Tonight, Barry Melrose wins Zombie Kill of the Week while Beans and I discuss what's happening in Russia, Germany, the Canadian university hockey scene, the NHL, and more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the UMFM.com web stream!

PODCAST:August 16, 2018: Episode 308

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Manual Labour

Let's be honest: Facebook is a bit of a clown show right now with all the bumbling they've been doing and the garbage they've been involved with over the last few years. From messing with timelines to giving away user data to analytic companies to aiding a foreign entity in influencing an election, Facebook's reputation isn't doing so well. Because of their track record, they've been working overtime to fix these issues as well as their reputation, but it's going to take another hit today after the email I received recently.

Here is said email in its entirety.
Facebook has recently made significant changes to their platform. One of those changes includes removing the ability for third party applications, like IFTTT, to publish status messages, link posts, and photos on your behalf to your personal Facebook profile.

The following three Facebook actions will be removed from IFTTT starting today, along with any Applets that used them:

Create a status message
Create a link post
Upload a photo from URL

While it’s unfortunate to see some of your favorite Applets removed, we support Facebook’s decisions to evolve their platform in the way they best see fit.

Thank you for your understanding.
The IFTTT Team
For those that aren't familiar with IFTTT, the acronym stands for "If This Then That" as the image at the top shows. It is a service that HBIC uses to post information to various social media platforms when a new post is added to the blog. Basically, it made posting updates convenient for me so I didn't have to paste links and write up descriptions all over the place. That is, at least until now since Facebook has disabled the ability for IFTTT to post my articles on my Facebook timeline as of August 2.

If you're looking for hockey content on my Facebook page, I'm afraid it's few and far between right now... which goes to show how often I check my Facebook page. In the future, new posts will be posted manually there for people who read my stuff from that site. It's unfortunate that this has to be the case with Facebook, but they sort of did it to themselves. The only problem is that I'm paying for their incompetence.

We'll get the Facebook feed rolling again, folks. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

I Wanna Take Part

I often get taken to task by my co-workers who see me, the lone IT guy in a massive region, sitting in his office "doing nothing" while they slave away in their jobs. I take this good-natured ribbing because I happen to be able to multi-task fairly efficiently, but I often come in earlier or stay later on days where I can so that I get more done in the hope that I don't have to work harder down the line. It never truly works out as I planned, but one can hope, right? Today, though, there may be hope as one New Zealand company is throwing conservative work standards into a tizzy with their novel idea!

According to a report in The Guardian, "Two-hundred-and-forty staff at Perpetual Guardian, a company which manages trusts, wills and estate planning, trialled a four-day working week over March and April, working four, eight-hour days but getting paid for five."
The experiment run by Perpetual Guardian founder Andrew Barnes saw the following results:
Jarrod Haar, professor of human resource management at Auckland University of Technology, found job and life satisfaction increased on all levels across the home and work front, with employees performing better in their jobs and enjoying them more than before the experiment.

Work-life balance, which reflected how well respondents felt they could successfully manage their work and non-work roles, increased by 24 percentage points.

In November last year just over half (54%) of staff felt they could effectively balance their work and home commitments, while after the trial this number jumped to 78%.

Staff stress levels decreased by 7 percentage points across the board as a result of the trial, while stimulation, commitment and a sense of empowerment at work all improved significantly, with overall life satisfaction increasing by 5 percentage points.
Hi, where do I apply? This idea that Andrew Barnes has sounds absolutely incredible, and it seems to go back to the idea of working smarter, not harder. I totally subscribe to the idea of working smarter, so this makes too much sense to me. At a previous place of employment, I tried to get them to institute a ten-hour four-day work week for my department so that everyone got an extra day off. That was met with both laughter and every way one can pronounce the word "no", so I'm glad to see someone actually put the idea into practice and get tangible results back from the experiment!

Perhaps what encourages me even more to explore this idea was this section from the article.
Helen Delaney, a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland Business School, said employees’ motivation and commitment to work increased because they were included in the planning of the experiment, and played a key role in designing how the four-day week would be managed so as not to negatively impact productivity.

“Employees designed a number of innovations and initiatives to work in a more productive and efficient manner, from automating manual processes to reducing or eliminating non-work-related internet usage,” said Delaney.
If you're going to let me, the employee, design my work week for efficiency and productivity, you've already sold me on the idea. Having the policies and procedures dictated to me from someone who has a very vague idea what I do in my daily routine frustrates me to no end, so having me including in the planning phase to maximize my efficiency lights me up. That's the kind of input that I want my employer to seek when looking for ways to be more productive, so this entire experiment appeals to me in a big way.

I get that most employers want the five-day work week to continue as it's currently designed to offer holidays and other benefits based on the hours worked by employees. I'd counter with the fact that two weeks of holidays rarely scratches the surface for most people when it comes to time they need for themselves, and the idea that "weekends are enough" is laughable to me. When 78% of 240 people feel they can effectively manage their home and work commitments better with an extra day off per week, I'm very sure that the end result is happier, more productive staff which is good for business. Sure, there are likely less sick days used, less health-related benefits sought, and less mistakes made due to a number of factors - complacency, monotony, fatigue, etc. - but the bottom line is that happier staff are more productive staff because they feel valued by their employer, especially when they're involved in making the workplace better. That's just simple psychology.

I know that, for me, I am afforded a lot of freedom in my role thanks to my travel schedule and the requirements of my position. My supervisor and manager are great people who understand the importance of work-life balance as well, and they've allowed me time to pursue things that interest me. There are certainly deadlines and goals that have to be met in my position, but the fact that I meet these requirements regularly has allowed me some greater freedom than being chained to a desk. Don't get me wrong: I love my job thanks to the freedoms I have in it. I'm grateful for these freedoms, but it could be enhanced even further with an additional day off per week. The amount of non-work stuff I could get done with that extra day would be too numerous to count.

I'd love to see this implemented in a North American workplace where it seems more and more employees are living to work just to pay bills and keep a roof over their heads. How great would one extra day off per week be for the psyches of the employees who take part in this experiment? I would assume there would be a major upswing in their productivity and efficiency, not to mention a far happier outlook on life, and that's great for business. If there is a business willing to try this in North America, I would hope that there are credible and legitimate studies done on the results because I suspect that the prison of five-day work weeks the majority of us are stuck in would crumble.

The only question left to ask: which company is willing to try it out?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 13 August 2018

Finally Paired Together

In what seemed like a pairing that would be an obvious connection, the ECHL Orlando Solar Bears and NHL Tampa Bay Lightning have entered a three-year affiliation agreement! The Solar Bears, who previously were the ECHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs, saw that affiliation agreement expire and Toronto turn to the expansion Newfoundland Growlers as their ECHL affiliate. Tampa Bay was affiliated with the Adirondack Thunder last season, but with NHL teams wanting minor-league players closer to their home bases for call-ups, the opportunity to affiliate with the Orlando Solar Bears makes too much sense.

The Solar Bears are owned and operated by the Orlando Magic and the DeVos Family and play their games at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. Amalie Arena, where the Lightning play, is a mere 90 minutes away by car as opposed to the plane flight between Adirondack and Tampa. Where this affiliation kind of veers off course is that the Lightning has the Syracuse Crunch as their AHL affiliate, and they are a flight away from Tampa but a mere two-and-a-half hours by car away from Adirondack. However, the proximity of the Lightning to their ECHL players will provide greater insight as to player development and player promotion as the Lightning identify players they want on their roster in the future.

"We are thrilled to be able to announce our new affiliation with the Lightning," Solar Bears president Chris Heller said in the release. "This relationship will not only aid in our on-ice performance, but will also help strengthen the profile of ice hockey throughout Central Florida."

While I imagine the relationship with the Lightning will indeed help the Solar Bears' on-ice performance, it's not like they were an afterthought in the Maple Leafs' eyes. I imagine this affiliation with the Lightning will continue to help the Solar Bears maintain a high level of hockey while the partnership between the two teams should hopefully improve hockey's presence throughout the panhandle. It's hard to believe that these two teams hadn't been affiliated after the Solar Bears' founding in 2012, but that's how it went with the Solar Bears being affiliated with both the Minnesota Wild and the Toronto Maple Leafs up until now.

With the Solar Bears having made the playoffs in four of the their six seasons, there's hope that the success can continue with Tampa Bay overseeing the personnel. The Thunder finished atop the North Division last season with a 41-24-3-4 record, good for seventh-best in the ECHL. They lost in the third round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs to the Florida Everblades with four of the five games being decided by one goal, so the Lightning are expecting that success to remain in place with perhaps a few players making the jump to their AHL affiliate in Syracuse.

While I await for the announcements that the Chicago Wolves and Chicago Blackhawks have finally become affiliates or for the Brampton Beast and Toronto Maple Leafs to strike an affiliation accord, the news that the Orlando Solar Bears and Tampa Bay Lightning have finally gotten together warms my heart like the Florida sun. It just never should have taken this long.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Great Start In Germany

It's just about time to swing into hockey season over in Europe, and one German team will have my eyes on it all season long! The Krefeld Pinguine took to the ice today in a friendly exhibition match against Cologne with a new head coach in Brandon Reid behind the bench and some new recruits to the team under his guidance. Krefeld wasn't a great team last season as they finished 14th out of 14 teams, so there was some hope that the new coach and the new players brought to the Pinguine may change the team's fortunes. If their season is anything like today's result, I think the move to bring Brandon to Krefeld will prove to be rather genius!

For a team that won just 11 games while scoring 141 goals in 52 contests last season, today saw the Penguine score 5% of their total goal output from last season today! The Pinguine downed the Kölner Haie, better known in English as the Cologne Sharks, by a 7-4 score! It was a game that saw lots of special teams work on both sides of the puck, but the Pinguine appear to be headed in the right direction with today's result.

Before I start planning a parade route through Krefeld, I know it's only one meaningless exhibition game at this point. But let's be honest here when we're talking about an eleven-win team that any victories this early in the season over a superior opponent should excite the masses of Pinguine fans. Some of the new guys scored. Some of the returning players scored. And at the final horn, the Pinguine, who were 1-1 against the sixth-best DEL team last season, scored seven goals on a team that didn't surrender seven goals in one game all last season. Again, no one is booking town square for a DEL Championship celebration just yet, but it's something to build from when one considers just how poorly last season went for the Pinguine.

Brandon went back to his coaching roots and brought over a few players who found success in the Metal Ligaen in Denmark, and these players made an impact today. Phillip Bruggisser, who played for the Esbjerg Energy last season in Denmark, scored a power-play goal just three minutes into the game and assisted on a second-power-play goal at the six-minute mark. Kirill Kabanov, who played for Brandon with Aalborg last season, also assisted on the power-play goal at the sixth minute, and Martin Lefebvre, who was a Pirate last season after spending time at UQTR, assisted on the Pinguine goal at the 30th minute and added one of his own at the 32-minute mark. Being able to recruit and sign players from the Metal Ligaen where Brandon has had some great looks at good players appears to be a wise move on Krefeld's part.

As stated above, Krefeld got on the board early - a signature move by teams coached by Reid - as Bruggisser made Cologne pay on the power-play with his shot to the far corner of the net off a rebound from a Jordan Caron shot put the Pinguine up 1-0 just three minutes into the game. They'd take advantage of another power-play opportunity three minutes later when long-time Pinguine Daniel Pietta found the back of the net off a Bruggisser pass to put the visitors up 2-0. The Sharks would battle back, though, when former Pinguine Pascal Zerressen's shot found its way through a crowd in front of Krefeld netminder Dimitri Pätzold and elude the goalie to make it 2-1 in the tenth minute. Three minutes after that, the Sharks would use a power-play of their own to tie the game when Steve Pinizzotto deflected a point shot past Pätzold to make it 2-2!

And then everything stopped as the fire alarm at Kölnarena 2 went off! After a short delay, the teams and fans were able to return to the rink to continue this contest, but it isn't often that a period ends with a fire alarm sounding. I've seen teams catch fire metaphorically or play fire-wagon hockey colloquially, but rarely does one ever hear a fire alarm go off during a game!

In the 30th minute, Greger Hanson pulled away from the crowd of players, skated in alone, and went high on netminder Gustaf Wesslau to put the Pinguine out in front by a 3-2 score. With the game being an exhibition game, Cologne decided to make a goaltending change as Hannibal Weitzmann replaced Wesslau in the 31st minute. Two minutes and two shots later, Martin Lefebvre converted a gorgeous pass from Pietta into a goal on Weitzmann's third shot he faced, and Krefeld was up 4-2. It didn't end there for the Sharks, though, as the Pinguine would get one more goal while on the power-play in the 38th minute. James Bettauer ripped a shot past Weitzmann, and his power-play marker would send the Pinguine to the locker room up 5-2!

As a footnote to the above paragraph, Swedish-born Greger Hanson is an absolutely fascinating case of player moves. He spent four years at Northern Michigan University in the NCAA from 2007-11 before embarking on a professional hockey career that has seen him play for 15 teams in five leagues over the last seven seasons. In 2013-14, Hanson played in the Central Hockey League with both the Wichita Thunder and Allen Americans along with a four-game stint in the ECHL with the Greenville Road Warriors. In 2014-15, he suited up for both the Cincinnati Cyclones and the Americans in the ECHL after the ECHL absorbed the CHL teams before jumping to the AHL to play with the Oklahoma City Barons and the Worcester Sharks. 2015-16 saw him back in Allen before call-ups to the AHL's San Jose Barracuda and Utica Comets. 2016-17 had Hanson mostly in Allen, but he had cups of coffee with four AHL teams in the San Diego Gulls, the Chicago Wolves, the Binghamton Senators, and the Charlotte Checkers. Last season saw Hanson start in Utah with the Grizzlies before a brief stint with the San Diego Gulls before finally packing his bags, flying to Krefeld, and ending the season with the Pinguine. Have bags, will travel? It seems to be a nomadic life for Greger Hanson over the last few years.

Footnotes aside, the Cologne Sharks needed to find some goals quickly, and they got an early one from their sniper. Steve Pinizzotto struck again on the power-play as he cashed in a rebound off a Tobias Viklund shot to cut the lead to 5-3 in the 46th minute. With the goaltender out and the extra attacked on to make it 6-on-4 advantage in the 57th minute, Cologne pulled within one goal when Jason Akeson found the back of the net to make it 5-4. Cologne would continue to press, but the final minute saw Patrick Seifert score into the unguarded cage to make it 6-4. After a skirmish which resulted in another Krefeld power-play, Chad Costello put another puck into the empty net for the power-play goal with seconds to play to give the Krefeld Pinguine the 7-4 final!

The Pinguine will have a week to reflect on their efforts and to correct any mistakes that Coach Reid may have seen before they battle the Iserlohn Rooster on Friday. There will be occasional updates on HBIC and The Hockey Show all season long on the Pinguine, so make sure you find these places if you're trying to keep up with Brandon Reid's new team!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Rapid City Bisons?

The Rapid City Rush aren't a team that is prolific in the hockey circuit, but they are one of the seven teams that the ECHL absorbed into its membership once the Central Hockey League folded. The Rush have yet to qualify for the Kelly Cup Playoffs in any of their three seasons in the ECHL to date, but there's hope a few players that played directly north of Rapid City, South Dakota can help the Rush earn their first playoff berth. As it stands, the Rapid City Rush could rebrand themselves as the Rapid City Bisons with the signing streak they're on!

First, we'll start with a re-signing. Back on February 27, the Rush went out and made a trade for former Manitoba Bisons forward Shaquille Merasty who was playing with the Wichita Thunder. At the time, the power forward had three goals and two assists in 20 games with the Thunder after putting up 74 points in 82 games during his U SPORTS career.

Flash forward to July 2, and #19 inked a new deal to return to the Rush for the upcoming ECHL season after the Thompson, Manitoba native posted two goals and five assists in eight games with the Rush! Merasty was injured for a portion of his time in Rapid City, but it seems the team liked what they saw from the big guy and offered a new contract to him which makes him Manitoba Bison #1 on the roster!

"One of the most important things about Shaq," Head Coach Daniel Tetrault said in a release, "is his willingness to shoot the puck. In Wichita, he managed 38 shots on goal in 20 games, but with us he racked up 42 in just 8. It shows me that once he got his playing time, he took advantage of it and tried to be a factor every night. I'm very excited to have him back."

Manitoba Bison #2 just finished his university career this past spring, and #26 in Manitoba will suit up for the Rush after signing with the ECHL club on August 7! Quintin Lisoway signed his first professional contract with the Rapid City Rush after posting 19 goals and 13 assists in 53 Canada West games, and that total included 11 goals in his senior year!

Lisoway kicked off his junior career with Brandon Wheat Kings where the Neepawa, Manitoba native spent parts of three seasons with the WHL club before getting a shot with the QMJHL's Acadie-Bathurst Titan for 20 games. After 22 goals and 29 assists in the CHL, Lisoway jumped at the opportunity to return home and suit up with the Bisons where he was a solid contributor in his two seasons in the brown-and-gold.

"What stood out to me most about Quintin is his leadership ability. He had a great junior career and put up great numbers in college, so it was a no-brainer to bring him on," Tetrault said of Lisoway in a release. "Quintin is a defense-first player up front, so we'll task him with shutting down the opposition's forwards, but in his college career, he found a scoring touch, so we'll put him in all situations. I'm very excited to see what he brings to the team in Training Camp."

You'd think the Rush might have a pipeline into the University of Manitoba after signing two players because they went and added a third Bison on August 9 when they inked defenceman Blake Heinrich to a professional contract. The Cambridge, Minnesota native spent time in the USHL, WHL, and Canada West before being drafted by the Washington Capitals with the 144th-overall pick in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

Heinrich had a solid couple of seasons with the Bisons as he was a physical presence while chipping in five goals and six assists in 39 games while spending 59 minutes in the sin bin. With the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL, he used the longer schedule to accumulate 15 goals and 38 assists in 132 games while logging 171 penalty minutes. And his two seasons and a game with the USHL's Sioux City Muskateers saw Heinrich total ten goals and 27 assists in 85 contests where he was a physical force in amassing 227 penalty minutes. Heinrich won't light up the scoresheet, but he'll deliver timely goals and assists while administering a little old-school justice in his own zone.

"Similar to his former college teammate, Quintin Lisoway, who we announced earlier this week, Blake is a leader and a 200-foot hockey player," Tetrault remarked on his rookie defenseman in another release. "Coming from the WHL, I know Blake takes care of his own zone on the back-end, but exercises great hockey sense on when to join in offensively. Blake brings a great skill-set, a ton of youth, and a wealth of enthusiasm to this team, and I can't wait to see what he’s made of in Training Camp."

It's always a great story to hear that a former Bisons player has gone on to bigger rinks and brighter lights, but when three mini lion bots come tog... wait, that's a different thing. No, when three Manitoba Bisons find themselves on the same ECHL team, that's fantastic news for the players and a pretty big compliment for the program that head coach Mike Sirant is running.

We'll do regular Rapid City Rush updates on the The Hockey Show and on Bisons hockey broadcasts this season to keep everyone up-to-date on Shaq Merasty, Quintin Lisoway, Blake Heinrich, and the rest of the Rush as they battle through the ECHL season towards a playoff spot! Best of luck in South Dakota, gents, and do Manitoba proud!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 10 August 2018

Wisconsin Losing Its Stripes

There's probably never a wrong time to post this, but we're getting close to a number of sports kicking off their seasons at the high school and amateur levels so it's very topical that a report out of Wisconsin came out today regarding a referee shortage hitting the sport of football in that state. What should alarm everyone reading this is that it is happening in every sport - hockey, football, soccer, basketball - where officials are being abused by coaches, players, and, most notably, parents and fans that these young officials are quitting the job of officiating. In most cases, they quit for good, and that's not a great outlook for sports that require officials to keep the games going. In saying this, let's have a discussion once more about the treatment of officials since I'm an official over the summer.

Let's start with the report from WKOW Channel 27 in Wisconsin.
As stated in the report, "more than 70% of refs quit the job within the first few years. Jameson says the 2-3 year mark is typically when most hang up their whistles." That's a particularly damning statistic when you think that seven of every ten registered officials quits after two or three years due to the largest factor being abuse of officials. Wisconsin football was the subject of this study, but hockey isn't getting off easy on this page. If you're keeping up with your statistics, officials in hockey quit at an alarming rate as well.

According to a 2012 report from the the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine entitled Violence in Canadian Amateur Hockey: The Experience of Referees in Ontario, the study found that more than 90% of the 632 referees who responded to the survey said they were recipients of aggression and anger. Around 46% said that referees are threatened by physical violence. Hockey Canada has approximately 30,000 officials registered to officiate minor hockey games every year, and they state that approximately 10,000 fail to return every year. In perhaps the scariest and most tragic of incidents in the last few years, a soccer referee in the US was killed when he threatened to eject a player from an adult-league soccer match in suburban Detroit in 2014.

Abuse of officials is a far more common incident of abuse than one may think. Verbal abuse and physical abuse are seen at far greater instances than ever in the past, and it begs the question as to where we, as a society, began to lose our common decency to plummet towards this inexcusable behaviour?

Look, I understand that one may get caught up in the moment, but being in the moment also requires a sense of understanding that there are still lines that cannot be crossed. NHL players, for an incensed as they can be, understand they cannot scream vulgarities at an official or touch an official without some sort of retribution coming their way. They're literally playing for glory and a pay cheque; you, in the stands, are simply making someone's day or life a little more difficult with the barrage of insults being hurled at them. And why? Because they missed a slash on the opposite side of the rink that your eight year-old barely noticed?

I'll refer to Adam Proteau's words from The Hockey News on November 28, 2013 when he wrote,
Let me speak directly to these cretins for a moment: Look, I know you think you're sticking up for your kid or a child you coach when you unload two lungs-full of air on an official. But you’re not doing anybody a scintilla of good. You're embarrassing yourself and your child and you're damaging someone who is officiating not for money or glory, but because they love the sport. You're demonstrating to everyone within earshot of your obscene squeals that the best way to address an injustice isn't by overcoming it, but by folding your arms across your chest, sticking out your bottom lip and reprehensibly shifting the blame to a person who doesn't play for either team. In short, you're hurting hockey much more than an official ever could. So either rein in your pathetic ranting or stand outside the arena and ask one of the other parents to provide Twitter play-by-play of the game you're obviously not emotionally mature enough to watch in person.

If the tone of this message seems overly harsh to you, I don't care. We've tried to go the polite route on this for years now. We've tried to connect with you by posting bluntly stated rules about your unacceptable behavior. But it's still continuing and the reasonable among us have to look at new, more effective methods to control braying and bleating from insensitive oafs whose selfishness knows no bounds. Some minor hockey associations already have parental codes of conduct as part of their programs. But if that's not enough, it's time for guerrilla war tactics on people who won't change their ways. For instance, maybe sane hockey parents have to start videotaping abusive fans and posting them online in social media forums for their employers to see. Maybe if more people faced repercussions beyond the hockey world for their actions within it, we'd force them to wise up, grow up and shut up. The choice for amateur hockey is clear: demand more restraint from all participants, or face a future where the number of officials shrinks every year until nobody wants to call a game and subject themselves to this garbage. Only by getting rude and in the face of people who get their kicks from being rude and in the faces of referees and linesmen will we do the right thing and push them out of a world they don't deserve to participate in. I'd rather have zebras making mistakes the ice than a herd of jackasses letting their mouths run amok in the stands.
I stand with Adam. I'm not suggesting to cause a confrontation with those who are overtly rude towards officials, but, as Adam suggested, it may be time to start making examples out of these people as the type of fan that your hockey organization doesn't need. Officials are there to help players get better by enforcing the rules and to keep games moving smoothly by ensuring that incidents don't spiral out of control. Parents and fans who launch a barrage of insults and verbal diarrhoea towards officials are counteracting both of those goals.

As an umpire, I have made mistakes. I will fully admit I'm not perfect, and to err is to be human. If I blow a call, so be it. I'm pretty sure you're not batting 1.000 all season, so let's compare success rates if you like. I guarantee I make wrong calls far less than players hit into outs. At the very worst, I have made umpiring calls based on not knowing a specific rule as well as I should have, and that's on me to be better an umpire. I am fully aware I'm not an encyclopedia of rules, but I'll do my best to mitigate the negative impacts that may be caused by my lack of knowing every line of the rule book. The one thing I don't need help with is your "interpretation" of the rules whether I make a bad call or I make an error on a rule. You're welcome to have a discussion with me as to what I saw or my understand and/or interpretation of the rules, but yelling like a buffoon about the mistake I made from the bench or stands will only result in my patience being worn thin.

I've taken my fair share of heckles, and I certainly can understand why some of these younger officials walk away from the game based on some of the stuff I've heard. Being on the other side of the coin and wearing the official's uniform, it has become very apparent that officials are doing the best they can and they rarely, if ever, are involved in the deciding plays that result in wins and losses. If you believe the officials are out to get you or your team, it might be time to look at why your team is under the microscope with the officials. Rarely do officials care one way or another who wins as long as everyone has fun and the rules are being followed. If you decide to make a mockery of the game, the other team, or the officials, chances are that your team will earn that special attention through reputation and word-of-mouth among the officials so that whatever mockery has happened doesn't occur again.

I'll say it here and now: I stand with any and all young officials across the sports spectrum. I will not let fans, parents, coaches, nor players disrespect you while I'm in attendance nor will I stand for third-party accounts of abuse of officials when I hear about them. Please speak to whomever oversees the sport in which you officiate if you feel like someone crossed the line between cheerful banter and hurtful comments. You never deserve the abuse received while doing your job in keeping the games going. It's important to remember that without you, there are no games. And we clearly need more passionate, good people like yourself than the vile, disgusting people who feel it's easier to chirp from the sidelines than it is to don the stripes.

Fans, parents, coaches, and players, I urge you to remember that these young officials want to keep the games going so that the next generation of players can possibly be the next wave of great officials. I was inspired by a couple of great umpires who took the time to talk with me about umpiring and why it's important as a player to get the perspective from their side of the game. I fully understand that perspective now, and I don't let a bad call or a wrong call affect me nearly as much as it did in my younger days. I encourage you and your kids to do the same when it comes to the officials in your chosen sport or your kids' chosen sports. These are good people doing a tough, thankless job, so even just a thank-you goes a long way for officials and their work.

In my position, I get to chat with catchers and pitchers most often, so I do develop some chemistry with the battery just as they understand why my strike zone is what it is. What I find more rewarding anything else is the conversations that don't pertain to baseball: how was your weekend, what's new, how's the season going. I respect the trust levels that I have with some catchers who discuss everything under the sun with me as they get ready between innings, and I generally enjoy that they know that they have my trust when it comes to them making jokes and comments in jest with me. While I would never tread on that trust to sway my decisions to affect an outcome, I truly believe they understand that I will be as fair and impartial as possible. All it took for these relationships to be built is a little conversation.

We're all human, folks. No one will remember that call that I screwed up in the bottom of the third inning on July 24, but people will remember that guy who went ballistic because a ball that was pitched for strike-one was a hair outside. It's just a game, folks. No one is going to the big leagues, and your child, as talented as he or she is, has a less-than-one-percent chance of making the millionaire pro athlete ranks. What will lower that percentage even more is having a parent who is disrespectful to officials because no college, university, junior, or professional team tolerates that kind of behaviour from its fans.

I'll refer you to this PSA put out by Hockey Canada as I end this article. Keep this in mind the next time you feel the urge to explode into a rage of obscenities and insults because the person in stripes did something you didn't like.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 9 August 2018

The Hockey Show - Episode 307

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back with its continuing Summer of Interviews series! We've met some amazing women who are doing remarkable things in their careers and lives, and today's guest is no exception. She's won a pile of medals on the international ball hockey circuit, she's got a ton of stuff going on in her personal life, and she's always going to be one of The Hockey Show's favorite guests because she's a highly-decorated Manitoban! To say I was excited to get to sit down with her is a major understatement!

I'm humbled, proud, honoured, and privileged that this amazing woman gave me an hour of her time. Earlier in the week, I recorded an interview with recently-retired Calgary Inferno netminder Delayne Brian! Delayne has had an outstanding career on the ice with the Inferno where she defended the net since 2013 when she was drafted, but she's also a monster in the nets for Team Canada on the international ball hockey circuit where she's won a number of gold medals and personal accolades! We'll hear about the Inferno, ball hockey, Wayne State, Robert Morris, her hero and greatest fan, and a ton more as we introduce you to one of Manitoba's best players ever to come out of this province in Delayne Brian!

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

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

Tonight, Teebz goes one-on-one with goaltender Delayne Brian as we learn about the Inferno, her success on the world stage, her crazy college years including the insanity at Wayne State, and much more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the UMFM.com web stream!

PODCAST: August 9, 2018: Episode 307
RESOURCES: International Street and Ball Hockey Federation

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Off To Balashikha!

The arena to the left is Balashikha Arena located in the city of Balashikha. You might be wondering why I'm writing an article on an obscure arena in the middle of Russia that has no KHL team, but they actually will have a KHL team as of today. The only problem? It won't be their own team. If you recall, I wrote an article on July 24 about Avangard Omsk possibly having to move due to foundation problems at Arena Omsk. Today, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Avangard Alexander Krylov made the announcement that Avangard Omsk will indeed move to Balashikha to start the 2018-19 KHL season.

The first thing you should know about this move is that Avangard Omsk will be moving some 2700 kilometers to the west! If you're a fan of the Omsk team and live in Omsk, that's a 35-hour drive one-way to see your team play at "home" this season! Balashikha is approximately 45 minutes to the east of Moscow, so this move takes Avangard Omsk entirely out of their fanbase's reaches unless one has the means for a three-hour flight to see Omsk play. Is this is a good move? Krylov addressed that in the press release put out today.
"For Moscow region, several factors say at once. Firstly, this is a large army of our fans living in Moscow - here and those who were born in Omsk, and those who were born in the capital, but thanks to family traditions are rooting for the 'Vanguard'. In Krasnoyarsk, too, love hockey, but fans of the 'Vanguard' there is extremely small. Secondly, the Balashikha Arena is an active stadium, everything is set up in all directions necessary for us, while the Platinum Arena has just been handed over and there, in fact, all processes need to be started from scratch. Third, logistics. We all figured, in case of moving to Krasnoyarsk, "Avangard" would become the fourth club for remoteness for all teams of the KHL. In Krasnoyarsk from Moscow to fly five hours, in addition, in this city, we could play only until the start of the playoffs, since March 2 there will begin the Universiade. There was another option with Mytischi, but there already holds its Euroleague matches the basketball club "Khimki". Given the very tight calendar of the KHL and other related issues related to the site, it is not possible to place two clubs from different sports in the 'Mytischi Arena'."
It seems that the Omsk club did their homework very well in researching their potential options regarding a temporary move. The fact that Krylov and the Board of Directors addressed processes and logistics as two of their main factors in determining the move makes it seem as though they're looking out not only for the team and its bottom line, but the players and staff who will be uprooted and moved temporarily. while it may not be the best option for the team's fans in Omsk, at least the Board of Directors gets full marks in ensuring that the team itself won't be hamstrung by any unforeseen circumstances.

There will be a noticeable difference in terms of fan support inside the arena depending on how many fans Omsk will attract. Arena Omsk is a 10,318-seat arena that usually fills up pretty quickly due to the popularity of the team in the city and region whereas Balashikha Arena only seats 6000 fans. There shouldn't be a discernible difference in arena noise, but losing 4000 seats per night does affect a team's bottom line. I'll have to keep an eye on Avangard Omsk's fiscal situation going forward, but they are one of the teams who is better off in the KHL compared to others.

If there is a plus to moving, it's that Balashikha Arena housed a KHL team for a couple of seasons in HC MVD. That club was merged into Dynamo Moscow in 2010, and a new Russian junior team run by the Dynamo club was founded in Balashikha. Having that KHL experience should help the arena staff ease the transition of the Omsk team into the building and make the process of running game nights fairly smooth as long as some of the arena staff have remained working at the rink. If not, they'll still have their junior hockey club experiences to fall back on, so it's not like Omsk is walking into a rink with zero experience in hosting a season of high-level hockey.

At the end of the day, 2700 kilometers is a long way to go to cheer for the Omsk team, but perhaps they'll attract some new fans from the Moscow region to join the "large army of fans living in Moscow" as Avangard fans. The best news is that Avangard Omsk is moving into a KHL arena while Arena Omsk is being repaired, and they'll be able to play out the season while the repairs continue. While the short-term plans may not be the best solution for fans in the Omsk region, the long-term plans of returning to Omsk and playing out the franchise's days there should be on solid ground once the foundation of Arena Omsk has been repaired.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

A Couple Of Coaching Changes

While the U SPORTS team in Calgary at the Hockey Canada Developmental Camp dropped its first game against Team Japan last night, there was some movement in the coaching ranks this morning as one team filled a vacancy while another finds itself needing a coach. Coaching changes at the Canadian university level isn't something new. After all, Mike Babcock and Barry Trotz both coached at that level before ascending to bright lights and bigger rinks. Today's announcements have one coach moving up the ladder in the hockey world while the other is making more of a lateral move that should pay dividends based on her recent successes behind the bench!

Let's start with the departure as this move seems to have come out of the blue. Late last week, the Lethbridge Pronghorns announced that men's hockey head coach Spiros Anastas had resigned his position with the team to pursue another coaching opportunity. It was a move that kind of flew under the radar since the Pronghorns haven't made a ton of noise in Canada West men's hockey for a while, and Anastas had only led the program to to 5-, 11-, 11-, and 9-win seasons over the four years while compiling a 36-68-8 record in that time.

Anastas, for his part, is a good coach and really had the Pronghorns looking like they may be on the verge of turning a corner with some solid play over the last few years as his record above indicates, and he's an outstanding student of the game. Anastas had joined the Pronghorns after serving as an assistant coach with the Grand Rapids Griffins in the American Hockey League, and his knowledge and tactics that he employed gave Lethbridge an instant boost in their play from what was seen on the ice.

Lethbridge, for those that may not be aware, have had their share of great coaches come through their ranks. Mike Babcock spent the 1993-94 season at the campus where he led the Pronghorns to a University Cup Championship, and more recently Bill Peters, now of the Calgary Flames, called the Lethbridge campus home from 2002-05 before moving up the ranks. I name those two men because it appears that Spiros Anastas might be the next coach you want to keep an eye on that once called the University of Lethbridge home.

It was announced today that Spiros Anastas will be the new head coach for ECHL's South Carolina Stingrays!
Anastas joins a great organization that is committed to winning as proven by their three Kelly Cup Championships in 1997, 2001, and 2009. Anastas replaces Ryan Warsofsky who was hired by the AHL's Charlotte Checkers as an assistant coach earlier this summer. The Stingrays went 47-16-7-1 last season to finish second in the South Division, but were unceremoniously swept out of the playoffs in the opening round by the surprising Orlando Solar Bears who finished 29 points back of the Stingrays.

This move should be seen as a positive for both Anastas and the Stingrays. Anastas gets back into pro hockey after running a Canadian university program like a professional organization, and the Stingrays get a coach whose dedication to his craft and players, his work ethic, and his knowledge of the game should see great things continue in Charleston, North Carolina. For the Pronghorns, it's a void that will be tough to fill, especially with the Pronghorns being the host team at this year's University Cup, so I'm sure they're looking for another coach at this moment who has pro experience and can continue to build on what Anastas was doing in Lethbridge.

As for the vacancy that was filled, this one carries all sorts of possibilities based on who filled the vacancy. On May 11, Kelly Paton, the former head coach of the Western Mustangs, accepted a role at the University of Wilfred Laurier as Manager of Women's Hockey Operations and Head Coach of the Golden Hawks. Paton had taken the Mustangs to an OUA title and to a U SPORTS National Championship Final, winning silver last season, and has helped U SPORTS earn a silver medal as an assistant coach with Canada's 2017 Winter Universiade team in Almaty, Kazakhstan. In her two seasons at the helm of the Mustangs, she posted a 39-19 record in the regular season and playoffs combined.

Needless to say, those are some big shoes to fill at Western University. So who did Western hire? Someone whose feet can fill those shoes and possibly more!
That's right: Candice Moxley, formerly an assistant coach with the Clarkson Cup-winning Markham Thunder, will assume the head coaching role at Western University this fall! Outside of her professional coaching experience, Moxley was responsible for some impressive success with the Division-3 NCAA State University College at Buffalo where she led the team to the playoffs in all five of her seasons behind the bench.

Moxley was a standout at Niagara University as a player before that NCAA program was scuttled, but she parlayed that success into a three-season stint in the Canadian professional women's league. Beyond that success, Moxley also played with Team Canada's national women's ball hockey squad in 2013, and helped Team Canada win silver at the 2014 World Inline Hockey Championships. In short, Moxley brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Western University bench, and they're pretty excited to have her coaching the Mustangs.

"We're thrilled to have Candice joining our team and continue the success that has established our program into one of the best in the nation," said Christine Stapleton, the director of Sport and Recreation Services at Western, told Mike DeBoer of The Gazette. "Candice has a phenomenal depth of experience from across North America, and we're excited to see her step in and lead our team."

If the strong get stronger, both the ECHL's South Carolina Stingrays and U SPORTS' Western Mustangs picked up some incredible talent to guide them through this coming season and beyond. Both Anastas and Moxley are incredible coaches, but they're also better people as they truly want to see their players succeed both on and off the ice. Those are the kinds of people I would want guiding my program moving forward, so I wish nothing but the best of luck to Spiros Anastas and his family as well as Candice Moxley and her family as they embark on new adventures this season!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 6 August 2018

The Colours Of The North (Stars)

Man, that's a sharp logo. I'm still in the camp that believes that the North Stars leaving Minnesota was a bad decision, but people make mistakes all the time so I'm not judging Norm Green's boneheaded decision to move the team. One of the things he did before the move was to retire the North Stars logo, and that alone should put him on hockey's list of people needing to have their heads checked. In any case, I've always wondered how the North Stars got their unique colour scheme. The Vikings, Twins and Gophers don't use the iconic green-and-gold, so whose idea was it to have the North Stars stand out in their uniforms?

Luckily, thanks to one of the best Twitter accounts around, we have an answer. I'm a huge fan of all the historic stuff that Vintage Minnesota Hockey puts out, and you should be following them at @VintageMNHockey if you're not. This was the tweet they put out today without the media attached.
I stripped the media off of the tweet because I wanted to post it below. Needless to say, there's an excellent explanation of how the North Stars got their colourful start in the NHL. The only difference? There was no yellow or gold in the original colour scheme!

Here's the newspaper article Vintage Minnesota Hockey attached on their tweet. I took the liberty of changing it from one long newspaper article into one that fits across this page a little nicer.

So Walter L. Bush Jr., president of the North Stars in 1967, made it clear that there were several colour combinations available to the team, but most were rejected due to their similarity to other "present and future NHL teams' colors and colors used by local teams." Bush also makes it clear they did not want to conflict with the Gophers, Twins, and Vikings.

I find it rather interesting that they opted not to go with specific colour schemes due to "future NHL teams". Could we have seen the North Stars in, say, yellow and blue like the St. Louis Blues? Perhaps orange and white like the Philadelphia Flyers? I'd love to know what other colour schemes they were considering based on their expansion brethren that joined the NHL with them in 1967. Knowing what they rejected might be more interesting than what they picked!

In any case, that's the story behind the Minnesota North Stars and their colours. That's a pretty cool little story for this holiday Monday in Canada, so get out and enjoy the rest of your day where ever you may be!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Hurricane-Style Destruction

Don Waddell, pictured to the left, is a hockey executive with a seemingly solid background when it comes to the different schools of hockey learning. He was a player, he moved into a management role, he has been a pro scout, and he's currently the man in charge of everything to do with the Carolina Hurricanes as president and general manager of the NHL team. For everything that Don Waddell has done, though, it seems his legacy in NHL management will be the destruction of NHL teams that had bright futures. While I get that some of the dismantling of teams has come because of owners not wanting to spend dollars on talented players, the fact that Don Waddell continually gets hired by NHL clubs with his track record makes me wonder how this happens.

In his most recent move, sniper Jeff Skinner was dealt to the Buffalo Sabres for what appears to be a prospect, some magic beans, and a partridge in a pear tree. While the prospect, Cliff Pu, may turn out to be a solid acquisition, the fact that Skinner waived his no-trade clause to leave Carolina - a team that challenged for a playoff spot last season right to the very end - has to be a warning flare to fans of the Hurricanes. There have been moves to remove long-time personnel, trades that seemingly diluted the talent pool, and decisions that makes one wonder if the Hurricanes - currently mired in the NHL's longest non-playoff drought - will ever return to the postseason.

I have no idea who the Hurricanes plan on marketing as their star this season, but Jordan Staal and Justin Williams might be the only names recognizable to the casual hockey fan. Victor Rask, Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, Valentin Zykov, and Andrei Svechnikov aren't exactly household names around any NHL fan's household at this moment, but they do hold potential. It's realizing that potential that will tasked to Rod Brind'Amour behind the bench, and I hope he can find a way to extract it. Otherwise, this might be a trying year.

I guess it comes down to not understanding why Noah Hanifin was dealt away, why Elias Lindholm was dealt away, why Jeff Skinner was dealt away, why Justin Faulk is apparently available for the right price, why Ron Francis was axed, and why Chuck Kaiton was so blatantly disrespected. I don't understand why Don Waddell is gutting what appeared to be an on-the-rise organization unless owner Tom Dundon is pulling the strings. If that's the case, Waddell should be looking at the hockey side in order to continue to rise, not reset and start over.

I could understand if Hanifin was dealt straight-up for Dougie Hamilton as those two players are similar in their approaches to the game, but the deal to move Lindholm for Micheal Ferland and Adam Fox screams "future", not "present". Fox appears to be heading towards a solid NHL future, but he's not there yet. Lindholm, meanwhile, is coming into his own and could have been a breakout star for the Hurricanes this season. We'll never know, unfortunately, because the contract squabble that Lindholm and Waddell got into meant his time with the North Carolina franchise was short. As it turned out, he'll wear the colours of the Flames for the next few seasons after signing a deal there shortly after being traded there.

As much as I like the Calvin de Haan signing and the Trevor van Riemsdyk re-signing to bolster the defence, the goaltending situation has to be addressed at some point since Scott Darling saw the wheels come off last season. Petr Mrazek, signed on July 1, can be a capable backup, but if reports from Detroit that he's a problem in the locker room surface combined with numbers that were less than admirable in Detroit and Philadelphia last season come to fruition again, the Hurricanes will need more than just life preserver to keep them afloat in that storm. Goaltending is the backbone of NHL teams, and the lack of consistent, dependable netminding is the easiest way to the draft lottery. Waddell should be aware of this from his time in Atlanta, but I digress.

You can make whatever case you want for Jeff Skinner being moved, but 24 goals, including 20 at even-strength, isn't being replaced this season by Cliff Pu and the bag of marbles that Waddell got back. And maybe Waddell is confident that Andrei Svechnikov can replace Skinner this season when it comes to scoring, but there remains a cautionary tale in Waddell's judge of talent when drafting Russians from the Barrie Colts. Alexander Burmistrov was admittedly not as good as Svechnikov was in junior hockey, but his drop-off in production at the NHL level was entirely noticeable. Unless Svechnikov, who I am not that familiar with as a player, is built differently than Burmistrov is - Svechnikov is an inch taller and six pounds heavier, FYI - I'm hoping he has a few other tricks up his sleeve that allow him to prosper.

I'm not entirely certain what the end goal is for Don Waddell and the Carolina Hurricanes, but they are honestly worse than they were last season on paper when they looked to push for a playoff spot at the end of the season. For the life of me, I don't understand the direction this team has moved in since owner Tom Dundon started calling the shots and GM Ron Francis was summarily dismissed from his job in favour of Waddell. I want to like the Hurricanes as a darkhorse team for the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but I can only see darkness where hope once lived.

Unless a number of things go right, it seems the Hurricanes might be lost at sea this season.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 4 August 2018

A Book Tour

This isn't a Teebz's Book Club entry, although it may soon be if I can get my hands on this book before October 30th. In any case, today's piece is more about the events surrounding the book to the right, namely Born Into It by author, actor, filmmaker, and Canadiens fan extraordinaire Jay Baruchel, and published by HarperCollins Canada. Jay is probably best known for his work in She's Out of My League, his voice work as Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon and its eventual sequels and TV show spin-off, and for being Seann William Scott's over-the-top best friend in the movie Goon. Jay's new book, as stated above, is due out October 30, and it's all about the ups and downs of being a die-hard Habs fan. After growing up in the Montreal neighbourhood of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, I'm going to say that Jay probably has a pretty good idea of what it's like to be a Canadiens fan.

From the HarperCollins page,
It's no secret that Jay Baruchel is a die-hard fan of the Montreal Canadiens. He talks about the team at every opportunity, wears their gear proudly in interviews and on the street, appeared in a series of videos promoting the team, and was once named honorary captain by owner Geoff Molson and Habs tough guy Chris Nilan. As he has said publicly, "I was raised both Catholic and Jewish, but really more than anything just a Habs fan."

In Born Into It, Baruchel's lifelong memories as a Canadiens' fan explode on the page in a collection of hilarious, heartfelt and nostalgic stories that draw on his childhood experiences as a homer living in Montreal and the enemy living in the Maple Leaf stronghold of Oshawa, Ontario. Knuckles drawn, and with the rouge, bleu et blanc emblazoned on just about every piece of clothing he owns, Baruchel shares all in the same spirit with which he laid his soul bare in his hugely popular Goon movies. Born Into It is a memoir unlike any other, and a book not to be missed.
Sounds pretty good, right? I'm not here to help sales of the book, but I'm thinking this will be a pretty funny look at the success and struggles of the Canadiens through the eyes of a guy who lives and breathes Les Habitants. In any case, the real reason I'm writing this piece is because you could potentially meet Jay Baruchel!

Jay will be going on a book tour to help promote the book, and that's where you come in! If you go to one of the events listed below or on the HarperCollins page, you can meet Jay and have your book signed by the hockey fan! Cool, right? Here are the dates:
  • November 6: Westminster Books, Fredericton, NB.
  • November 9: Indigo, St. John's, NFLD.
  • November 13: McNally Robinson, Winnipeg, MB.
  • November 16: Indigo, Oshawa, ON.
  • November 20: Indigo First Canadian Place, Toronto, ON.
If you glanced at the other dates, there might be a chance that Jay sticks around and autographs books, but it seems like he's there for an appearance more than anything. Somehow, he misses the west coast altogether on this initial run, but I'm hoping he'll get out to BC and Edmonton on a future trip. In any event, he'll be in my neck of the woods on Tuesday, November 13, so I've already cleared that evening and don't care what may be planned because I'll be going to see Jay speak and scribble in his books that night!

If you can't make it, I'll shamelessly plug that you should buy his book. Again, Teebz's Book Club is going to review this book, so if you want to wait for the review, that's fine too. Just make sure you support good Canadian authors whenever you can!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 3 August 2018

It's Really Happening

She was the first Olympian to win a medal at the University of Manitoba. She helped the Bisons women's hockey team to their third Canada West title and their first-ever U SPORTS National Championship. She's involved in the community, she's an incredible ambassador of her sport, and she's a joy to be around in almost all situations. Ladies and gentlemen, Venla Hovi will now be the first Manitoba Bisons player to become a professional hockey player after she registered for the draft in the Canadian professional women's league!

I already have a pretty good idea where she may end up, but the fact that we'll continue to see Venla Hovi playing among the best is a very good thing. There were times last year she seemed to be on another level when it came to her play, and now we'll see her elevate her play every week as a professional player!

As I stated on Twitter,
So if you see me sporting a jersey around the University of Manitoba with Hovi on the back that looks a little different than Finland's colours or the Bisons colours, you know why.

I know this decision wouldn't have come lightly from Venla after she had laid roots down in Winnipeg over the last few years. However, she has done this major move once in going from Tampere to Winnipeg, so moving to her new city where she'll play should be a little less crazy this time. She's smart, she's resourceful, and she's a great person, so finding accommodations and getting settled once she's drafted shouldn't be a problem at all.

Congratulations to Venla Hovi on this move, and I'm excited to see her ply her trade among names like Decker, Spooner, Rattray, and Poulin. The only thing I have to worry about is paying for a jersey!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 2 August 2018

The Hockey Show - Episode 306

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, continues with the Summer of Interviews, and we're joined by perhaps one of the most interesting people to ever put the skates on today. Her life and hockey playing days have taken her all over the map, but it's her everyday job that puts her into a category on her own as she may have one of the coolest jobs we've ever encountered here on the program. She recently brought home some hardware from Italy as she represented her home country of the United States of America in a hockey event, so let's get to meeting this amazing individual!

The Hockey Show is privileged and honoured to speak with 2018 World Inline Hockey Championship gold medallist Jetta Rackleff today after her success with Team USA in Italy! We'll speak with Jetta about being born in California and growing up in Oregon where she adopted hockey as her sport of choice despite being a star in a number of sports. We'll also get the skinny on moving across the country to go to school at the Rochester Institute of Technology and being a standout netminder for the Tigers, being drafted by the Brampton Thunder before being traded to the Boston Blades, earning a degree in chemical engineering, her long history with inline hockey, how she met her husband - a really cool story! - and more! Jetta's a pretty incredible woman, and we're happy to welcome her to The Hockey Show as a new friend of the show!

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

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

Tonight, Teebz and Beans introduce you to Jetta Rackleff and we learn about growing up on the left coast, playing inline hockey all her life, being a member of the Boston Blades, her future hockey and life plans, and much more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the UMFM.com web stream!

PODCAST: August 2, 2018: Episode 306
RESOURCES: Federation International de Roller Sports, Team USA Roller Sports

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

A Mess In Lethbridge

Every season in Canada West women's hockey, there's a hope that one of the bottom-four teams from the season previous will make a serious jump forward and push one of the top-four Canada west squads out of those spots. For a few years, there's been hope that either Regina or Mount Royal would take that next step, but with their play last season in which they dropped a pile of one-goal games it seemed the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns might be able to make the jump from non-playoff team to possible semifinalist. Today, though, it seems the bottom may fall out on the program as a group of player filed a formal complaint with the University over head coach Michelle Janus' behaviour of harassment towards them and the team.

Let me be upfront here: this is a serious accusation to make, and the University of Lethbridge has heard the complaint and ruled on it. Before we get to the ruling, if Janus' behaviour was indeed harassment, I'm not sure how this program moves forward if any of the players who were involved in the complaint are current players. Harassment is a very serious charge to make against a coach, and this might be something that cripples this team for the foreseeable future if players opt to play elsewhere or stop playing altogether.

Without going any further, let's take a look at a report filed by CTV Lethbridge's Dalton Finkbeiner on this developing story.
Wow. Simply wow. The two women in the video report above are Alannah Jensen, a fourth-year defender who previously played for the University of Ottawa GeeGees while Brittney Sawyer, shown as "Brittany", was a second-year forward who last played for the Pronghorns in 2015-16. As Brittney stated, there are eight women who have joined the complaint against Michelle Janus, up two from the previous six that were first reported. Needless to say, this is getting worse before it gets better.

In saying that, let's start at the beginning and work our way through the details.

A group of six players submitted 21 complaints dating back to 2015 regarding Janus' behaviour under the University of Lethbridge’s Harassment and Discrimination Policy on May 13, 2018 alleging that "Janus bullied players and allowed bullying to go on within the team, that she used playing time to threaten and intimidate players, that she shared confidential information without a player’s consent, and that she told a player “she had to do mandatory counselling” after attempting suicide instead of working with the player’s treatment doctors", according to a news report on Lethbridge News Now by Patrick Burles. Despite reporting these complaints on multiple occasions to University of Lethbridge Athletic Director Ken McInnes, it seems that nothing was done to change Janus' behaviour as the harassment continued for these players.

Before we continue, what exactly was McInnes doing when these players came to him with these complaints? If he simply sat on them or dismissed them without speaking with Janus about the complaints against her, he's very much part of the problem. In fact, with nothing perceptibly being done as far as the students are concerned, MacInnes not only condoned Janus' behaviour, but allowed it to continue while being acutely aware of the complaints against Janus. That alone should be enough to warrant a termination of MacInnes, but it seems that's not happening. How MacInnes is escaping this unscathed is a mystery to me.

With MacInnes doing nothing to address the problems found by these six women with regards to Janus, these six women went to the administration of the University of Lethbridge to file these complaints under the University's Harassment and Discrimination Policy. They did this quietly without the fanfare of press or media in order, it seems, to allow the University to resolve this complaint as the women were seeing a suspension or termination of Michelle Janus as the head coach. Clearly, the University treated this complaint as serious and began an investigation into the matters brought before them.

The subject of the investigation was outlined by Nick Kuhl in the Lethbridge Herald. He writes,
In documents obtained by The Herald, the complainants outline 21 different alleged incidents. They include claims the coach told a player “she had to do mandatory counselling” because of her conduct of attempting suicide, claims of allowing bullying with no punishments, and claims of a fine jar, where members of the team would pay between $2 and $20 if they broke a team rule – some involving personal lives and sexual history.

The players allege the coach uses playing time to threaten and intimidate players, was disrespectful to her own players, certain assistant coaches, the officials and other teams, and that she throws and breaks equipment and punches doors in order to intimidate her players.
Again, these seem like very serious matter to the point where they almost feel like hazing incidents, especially when it came to a player's personal life and/or sexual history. The bullying, the intimidation tactics, and the disrespect shown to the players would all be worthy of some sort of punishment or suspension, but the length of time combined with the number of incidents reported seem to indicate that Michelle Janus' job would be in question of the investigation found her guilty of these allegations.

On July 31, Lethbridge's Vice-President of Finance and Administration and interim Chief Human Resources Officer, Nancy Walker, responded to the players with the University's findings. She wrote,
"The conclusion relating to the harassment complaint was that the Policy on harassment has been violated. The investigation conclusion in regards to discrimination was that based on the balance of probabilities and findings of fact, the Policy on discrimination of different treatment on the basis of protected grounds has not been violated."
In short, the University of Lethbridge found that Janus' behaviours were indeed harassment under the guidelines of the University's policy, but did not amount to discrimination. Janus is guilty of harassment based on the 21 complaints filed by the players. So what are the repercussions of that finding?
"Specific steps the University will be taking include counselling for Coach Janus and more in-depth education and training through the Canadian Coaching Association of Canada and other relevant sources. A code of conduct will be created for the upcoming year to provide assistance to govern behaviour and formal monthly reports will be required to the Executive Director, Sport and Recreation Services and Vice-President (Finance and Administration) outlining the actions taken and the improvements in behaviour and culture. There will also be the formation of a Leadership Team, with representatives from student athletes, coach and assistant coach and a member from the University’s Athletics’ staff, with the goal to create a safe environment where each student athlete feels they can have a voice and the confidence that issues will be heard and addressed by all key stakeholders. The Associate Athletic Director will be working closely with Coach Janus on all of the initiatives to ensure the best experience possible for our student athletes. The Associate Athletic Director will be working closely with Coach Janus on all of the initiatives to ensure the best experience possible for our student athletes. The University recognizes your complaint and hopes that the path forward as outlined above addresses your concerns.”"
What you just heard there, folks, was a slap on the wrist.

Look, I think Michelle Janus, as a coach, has some deficiencies when it comes to tactics and strategy. Since taking over the program in 2015, the Pronghorns are the lowest-scoring team in Canada West in the last three seasons, they've had seasons where double-digit losing streaks have killed any hope of the playoffs, and her defensive system often leaves players caught way too deep in their own zone to counterattack. I believe she could use the "education and training through the Canadian Coaching Association of Canada and other relevant sources" if this was simply a "how do we get better" problem, but this punishment hardly fits the crime of harassment when one considers that players have quit playing hockey because of her actions.

Further to this, MacInnes, as stated above, and Janus are supposed to be there to assist these women during their university years by being sounding boards and people of trust, and that trust was not eroded, but completely destroyed by Janus' actions and MacInnes' apparent ignorance of a major problem under his watch. How can either of these people be trusted by their athletes any longer?

I do know that Human Resource Departments rarely act in good faith for the employees, and are often used more as blanket protection when it comes to company liability. In this case, it seems that Nancy Walker is looking out for the University of Lethbridge with regards to wrongful termination lawsuits more than she is looking out for the good of the students who pay her salary via tuition, the good of the University's women's hockey team which may be left in tatters, and the good of the University's reputation when it comes to attracting high-level academic and hockey talent.

As it stands right now, the message being sent to players, to fans, and to sponsors is that the University of Lethbridge considers harassment as a minor inconvenience rather than a significant problem when it comes to the mental health and well-being of its students. That is a major problem that even the most elementary of academics should be able to see. Instead, it seems the University can't even figure out the complaint itself.

"They're saying it was one player that made this complaint – there was six that filed this complaint," one of the six players told The Herald Wednesday on condition of anonymity. "There was only six girls brave enough to do it. We're hoping it makes a difference. We decided that it wasn't right and something needed to be done. Not just for ourselves but for future players as well wanting to come to the U of L. We want them to have a safe environment and a fun environment to play hockey. That's not what is being given at the moment. We want a change."

As a result, it appears the women who filed the complaint with the University aren't done there when it comes to pursuing change as they appear to be asking U SPORTS to review this case as well. U SPORTS has a very clear policy regarding harassment, and their Discipline Committee, in receipt of the Investigation Report by the Harassment Investigator, will assess and enforce what it believes is appropriate punishment to the Respondent if the Investigator finds harassment has been committed. One such punishment that U SPORTS holds is the removal of certain privileges up to and including expulsion or dismissal.

With the University of Lehtbridge already admitting that Janus is guilty of harassment by their own policy, is there any reason to believe that U SPORTS would find anything different? Perhaps the only question that remains to be answered is what will be the fallout from U SPORTS if they conduct their own investigation and present their own findings which may consider harassment to be far more serious of an allegation than what the University of Lethbridge does?

I'm sorry this happened to the Lethbridge Pronghorns women's hockey team, but I commend the women who stepped forward to demand change because whatever was happening behind closed doors sounds like it was awful. For the women who have quit the program and possibly quit hockey altogether, I beg you to please look at other Canada West programs. Losing great ambassadors for the game and intelligent, personable women from the game over Michelle Janus' actions is a tough pill to swallow for fans and broadcasters.

In the end, your safety and well-bring are most important, though. I do believe you in your complaint. Here's hoping you find the resolution you seek. For Michelle Janus, it's going to be tough to look to my left this season and have anything but contempt for what you've done to the Lethbridge Pronghorns program.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!