Friday, 14 September 2018

Looking Good, UNB!

After writing stories about the demise of the University of North Dakota women's hockey program and the merging of the Vanke Rays and Kunlun Red Star teams, it actually feels great to write about a Canadian school adding a women's hockey program to make the sport stronger for women everywhere. The above women from the University of New Brunswick are wearing their brand-new uniforms for this season after the program was resurrected after a cost-cutting move some ten years ago. In fact, it took a former player's challenge through the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission to get the team back, but now that they're within weeks of their first official game, the Varsity Reds are back! And the ladies look good in the black-and-red, even if I believe there should be stripes on the socks. Nonetheless, these ladies open their pre-season schedule tomorrow, so uniforms were definitely needed this week!

Sarah Hilworth will guide the Varsity Reds this season as head coach. The former University of Alberta Panda won a CIS National Championship in 2010 before joining the Pandas as an assistant coach, and had moved onto Olds College in Alberta where she helped launched their women's hockey program in the ACAC. From what Hilworth has experienced in the year of getting to this stage, it sounds like it's been nothing but positive from the get-go.

"The university has shown a lot of positivity in terms of what they are giving us as a program," Hilworth told AUS' Monty Mosher. "It shows they are dedicated. The administration that was there during those past decisions are all gone. It's a new administration that has our back 100 per cent. They are making sure we understand that as a team. I've had nothing but a positive experience and that's really good. Everybody at the university, and in the community, are genuinely excited for this program being back. They see it as an integral part of our community in terms of building positive role models for females in the greater Fredericton area."

Hilworth may have already snagged a team MVP when she recruited Kendra Woodland last season who played on Canada's U18 team for the 2018 world championships in Russia. Woodland was supposed to attend the University of North Dakota, but those plans were dashed when UND slashed that program from existence in the budgetary shortfall. Woodland suited up with the midget tier 1 Thompson Zone Blazers boys' team last season, and she may be able to use that experience in a highly-competitive AUS conference.

"Kendra is an exceptional student-athlete who brings high-end talent to UNB," Hilworth stated to Kamloops This Week. "We're very excited that a player of Kendra's calibre has chosen to stay in Canada to continue to develop her skills as a goalie and to show her commitment to grow our league as a competitive choice for highly touted recruits in Canada."

Officially, defender Paige Grenier from Olds, Alberta was the first recruit brought on by Hilworth as the coach went back to her roots, but there will be a few Manitobans who will suit up as Varsity Reds this season. Defender Amanda Desrochers, who played with the Winnipeg Avros and attended Westwood Collegiate, will don the Varsity Reds jersey, and she'll be joined by Morden, Manitoba's Sage McElroy-Scott, a former Pembina Valley Hawks forward. McElroy-Scott was a prolific scorer in the MFMHL with the Hawks, and she'll be counted on for offence while Desrochers brings a solid defensive game as a stopper to Fredericton. As a note, Ashley Stratton was the first recruit Hilworth made from the Maritime provinces as the Newfoundland-born forward was playing as a 17 year-old on the U19 team at the Ontario Hockey Academy.

In looking at the team roster, there are some fantastic offensive players, some great defenders, and the goaltending should be solid. Hilworth did a great job in recruiting across the country as well as she brought in six Alberta-born players, five each from BC and New Brunswick, three from Ontario, two from Manitoba, and one each from Newfoundland and Saskatchewan. By position, the goaltenders are made up of two British Columbia-born players and a New Brunswick-born player. The defence has four Alberta-born players, a Manitoban, a BC-born player, and a Saskatchewan-born player. The forward group consists of four players from New Brunswick, three from Ontario, two each from BC and Alberta, and one each from Manitoba and Newfoundland.

Mark your calendars, folks, because October 13 sees the UNB Varsity Reds play their first regular-season game against the Mount Allison Mounties - officially their first AUS game since 2008. It's been a long time since we've seen UNB women's hockey, so get out to the Aitken Centre and cheer on Canada's newest team to the U SPORTS family in the UNB Varsity Reds!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 13 September 2018

The Hockey Show - Episode 312

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back tonight with not one, not two, but three guests in-studio! It's very rare that we have multiple guests in, but tonight's show - Season Six's final show of The Hockey Show - is one of our annual shows where we have some fun. Tonight, we meet the kids! The rookies for the University of Manitoba's women's hockey team join Beans and I in the studio as we learn all about them, their careers, their hopes and dreams and aspirations as Bisons, and more!

From left to right in that photo, Beans and I will welcome defender Chloe Snaith, forward Kaitlyn Chatyrbok, and goaltender Erin Fargey to the program! Chloe is a former member of the MFMHL's Central Plains Capitals where she patrolled the blue line. Kaitlyn played both forward and defence in her hockey days, but she was recruited as a forward from the CSSHL's St. Mary's Academy Flames. Erin tended nets in her home province of Alberta where she suited up for the CSSHL's Northern Alberta Xtreme. Beans and I will put them through the ringer tonight as we learn all about the newest Bisons. Everything will be discussed - why they chose the University of Manitoba, seeing former teammates on other Canada West etams, superstitions, hockey idols, and more! You'll want to tune into tonight's program if you're a fan of the reigning U SPORTS National Champions as we meet the three newest Bisons who are embarking on their Canada West careers!

"I know Chloe/Katie/Erin! 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 sit down with Chloe Snaith, Kaitlyn Chatyrbok, and Erin Fargey to find out how the first week of school is going, how joining a championship squad is going, and a pile of other stuff only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the UMFM.com web stream!

PODCAST: September 13, 2018: Episode 312
RESOURCES: Erin Fargey's mask from Friedesigns

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

From Raiders To Big Green

You'd think that a program who just finished second in the nation in women's hockey would do everything they could to lock up the woman in charge of the hockey operations, bit it seems that Colgate may have missed the memo on that. Regardless of how or why it happened, former Director of Women's Hockey Operations for Colgate University Krista Patronick is, as of today, officially the Director of Women's Hockey Operations for Dartmouth University! With head coach Laura Schuler at the helm and Krista now looking after the business side of the collegiate game, Dartmouth should see an upward tick in their standings after posting 5-19-3 overall record last season that included a 3-16-3 conference mark.

It wasn't a good season for Dartmouth last year as the team went winless in their final seven games and managed just two ties in the month of February. Similarly, the Big Green didn't get off to the greatest start as they managed just three wins - two of which were in-conference - in the ten games before the calendar flipped to 2018. Things did get better in the second half of the season which saw the Big Green only blown out by the eventual NCAA champion Clarkson Golden Knights, but the Big Green's rather anemic offence that saw them score just 37 goals in 27 games needs to improve in a big hurry.

The Big Green often started slow, found themselves in a hole early, and then couldn't dig out of it. The team went 0-13-0 when they trailed after one period, but were a solid 3-1-0 when they led after the first period. If the Big Green are going to change their course for this season, getting ahead early would be a good start. When they scored the first goal, they were a respectable 3-3-2, but if the opposition scored first, the Big Green were a dismal 2-16-1. In other words, this team doesn't pull off comebacks often.

Like Krista's last team, the Big Green have a Winnipeg-born player on their roster as Tess Bracken, the former Balmoral Hall Blazer, will skate for them this season. Tess was a big part of the team's offence last season as she led the Big Green in goals with eight while posting a career high in points with 12. In fact, Bracken all scored all three goals for Dartmouth in a 3-2 come-from-behind win over Brown on January 26 for her first NCAA hat trick! Interim head coach Joe Marsh said of Bracken's performance on the night, "The most obvious note about tonight was Tess' hat trick. That was huge. She's a very skilled kid."

Overall, Krista's work begins today and I'm certain she's going to help Dartmouth find their way back to the NCAA's upper echelon of elite teams. She'll have her work cut out for her after Dartmouth was picked to finish 11th in the 2018-19 ECAC Hockey Preseason Women's Coaches Poll released by the ECAC today as well. What Krista will be doing at Dartmouth will be virtually the same role as she had at Colgate where she coordinated all team travel logistics and day-to-day operations while coordinating and distributing of all team video, communicating with the players and staff, and developing a social media plan.

Team Canada head coach Laura Schuler, who returns to the bench for the Big Green this season, seems excited to bring Krista into the Dartmouth family. "I'm very excited to welcome Krista to Dartmouth. I'm looking forward to her assistance with branding our program, elevating our social media, and managing our video operations," Schuler said in the release. "She played a key role in Colgate's success last season and she will bring a lot of knowledge and experience to our staff."

Congratulations to Krista Patronick, former GM of the Boston Blades and a guest of The Hockey Show, on her new position with Dartmouth women's hockey! I'm already excited for the first official game of the season when Dartmouth travels to Harvard on October 19! Go get 'em, Big Green!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

More Earth-Shattering News

Steve Yzerman, the man who has built the Tampa Bay Lightning into a perennial Stanley Cup favorite over the last number of years, shocked the hockey world today in announcing that he was stepping down from his role as the General Manager of the Lightning. In hearing his reason why he's making the change, I can't blame him, but it's still hard to fathom that the man who turned a floundering franchise in 2010 into one of the model organizations - from the NHL club right through to the minor-legaue affiliations - won't be in charge of the Lightning's hockey operations any longer as he stepped down from the GM role and into a "Senior Advisor" role.

In his place, the Lightning have promoted Julien BriseBois from Assistant General Manager to the GM role, and that's a solid replacement for Yzerman. BriseBois is seen as a sharp hockey mind with an eye for details, and with his contract expiring next summer there would have been many teams keen on interviewing BriseBois for their GM positions. His work with the Syracuse Crunch have made turned them back into a solid AHL franchise on the ice after the AHL affiliation moved from the Norfolk Admirals to Syracuse. Three teams that BriseBois has overseen have made it to the Calder Cup since taking the role eight years ago, and winning the AHL's top trophy with the Admirals in 2012 when his player moves saw the Admirals rattle off an AHL-record 28-game winning streak. In other words, the Lightning and its affiliates are still in good hands.

It's still shocking, though, to see a man who was so passionate about his team and his job take a step back. The reason, though, is one that any parent or partner can certainly empathize with as Yzerman made the tough decision to spend more time at home in Detroit with his family. The weekly flights to and from Detroit were starting to wear on the former Red Wings sniper, and Julien BriseBois was almost certainly gone come next summer. Having had BriseBois see Yzerman's vision through over the last eight years, Yzerman was in no position to prevent him from moving to greener pastures if the opportunity arose nor would it surprise anyone of BriseBois explored those options. He had earned it. Instead, Yzerman once again did what his hockey-playing career may be defined by: he knew it was time for change.

"I'm doing what I think is the right thing," Yzerman told reporters on Tuesday. "I believe I've done that. In that sense it made it an easier decision. It's what's right for the Tampa Bay Lightning and what's right for me personally and professionally."

Like he did under the tutelage of Scotty Bowman, Yzerman went from being the centrepiece of the Red Wings offence to a better two-way player. In the end, the handful of Stanley Cup rings can be attributed to the team's success, but would the Red Wings have reached that pinnacle without Yzerman transitioning to a more complete, 200-foot player who worked as hard as or, perhaps, even harder in his own zone than he did in the offensive zone? Would the Red Wings have been as complete as they were without that complete, 200-foot game from one of their most cerebral centermen?

The 53 year-old Yzerman leaves the Lightning on solid footing. In his eight seasons with the club, the Lightning made five playoff appearances, three trips to the conference final, and an appearance in the 2015 Stanley Cup final. While the ultimate goal of bringing the franchise's second Stanley Cup parade to the Tampa-St. Petersburg area has yet to be realized, Yzerman reassured reporters, fans, and the Lightning together that he was "100 per cent committed" to the Lightning for 2018-19.

"We got to Game Six of the Finals and we've gotten to three Game Sevens of the conference finals," Yzerman stated. "So hopefully it's this year. If not this year, beyond."

Whatever Steve Yzerman plans to do following this season is anyone's guess. There were reports that he may be looking to replace Ken Holland in Detroit, but Holland recently signed a new two-year deal to keep him in place. There are reports he may take a year off and just be a family man with the time he's now acquired. Regardless of what he plans to do in the future, there's no doubt that Steve Yzerman has the ability to call his next shot thanks to the legacy he's left in Tampa Bay. He's well-respected not only in NHL hockey circles, but on the international stage as well, and he's certainly still young enough to do any job for any team on the planet. The Lightning, under Julien BriseBois, will still be competitive thanks to the framework that Steve Yzerman built.

This isn't a story of sadness. It's a story of greatness. Its author, Steve Yzerman, has shown his greatness on the ice as a player, in the front office as a general manager, and in the Yzerman household as a husband and father. If you want to know about Steve Yzerman's future, there is one thing that is certain: it's as bright as any future has ever been.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 10 September 2018

Blockbuster To Start Camp

I'd like to make the joke that this image was Max Pacioretty waving good-bye to the Montreal Canadiens' faithful fans after Marc Bergevin continued to destroy the foundation on which this team was built, but that wouldn't be true. Instead, I'll just focus on the fact that Marc Bergevin continually has made baffling moves as the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, and another one happened overnight when he traded captain and sniper Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights. Say what you want about the Golden Knights and how losing James Neal would affect their scoring, but the Golden Knights have replaced him with a younger, possibly hungrier scorer through Montreal bumbling in how they handled Max Pacioretty's contract negotiations and the player himself.

Officially, the Montreal Canadiens dealt Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights for forward Tomas Tatar, prospect winger/centerman Nick Suzuki, and a 2019 second-round pick. Yes, the Canadiens had already worked out a deal with the Los Angeles Kings at the deadline last season, but Pacioretty invoked his no-trade clause after Los Angeles wasn't willing to negotiate an extension with the player. The result was that it put the Canadiens in an unenviable position in knowing they had tried to deal their star away while the player was able to prevent that from happening.
Look, if the writing wasn't on the wall for Pacioretty after the failed Los Angeles trade, he had to know that something was up as the summer progressed with little traction being made on an extension in Montreal. That being said, Pacioretty did the PR campaign well: he stated he never asked to be traded, he loved being a Canadien, his heart was in Montreal, or some twist of all three of those messages. Literally, Pacioretty said everything he was supposed to say as a veteran, as a leader, and as the captain of the Montreal Canadiens. He seemed prepared to go into camp and do everything asked of him by the Montreal brass.

That all changed after George McPhee and Marc Bergevin had a late-night phone conversation.

If you're the Vegas Golden Knights, you're slowly putting things together without Nate Schmidt but with Max Pacioretty on the roster. Paul Stastny now has a legitimate sniper with which he can be paired, and that should allow William Karlsson to do his thing on the second line just as effectively with Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault once more. Adding Pacioretty moves a 29 year-old goal scorer into 31 year-old James Neal's spot on the roster, but Vegas is getting a proven leader who play the power forward role as effectively as Neal as his stats show.

Pacioretty has scored 226 goals in 626 NHL games for a rate of 0.36 goals-per-game. Neal has notched 263 goals in 703 games for a rate of 0.37 goals-per-game. Given that Neal has played with some elite centermen in his time - Evgeni Malkin, Brad Richards, Mike Ribeiro - compared to the centerman that have played with Pacioretty - David Desharnais, Tomas Plekanec, Alex Galchenyuk - there's a good chance that we may see an uptick in Pacioretty's production when both men's careers are over. Pacioretty has scored more points-per-game (0.72) compared to Neal (0.70) over that same time, so perhaps we shouldn't be solely focused on just the goal-socring of Pacioretty as he sits just 10 career assists behind James Neal despite Neal playing 77 more games that Pacioretty.

On the flip side, Montreal just game up their best goal scorer since 2011-12 by a large margin for what amounts to a career restart in Tatar, a solid junior-hockey playmaker in Suzuki, and a bag of magic beans in the second-round pick. Pacioretty had outscored every other Canadiens player since 2011-12, and led second-place Brenden Gallagher by nearly 100 goals over that same span. Just looking at the last two seasons, no player scored more goals or more points than Pacioretty. The closest player in goals? Paul Byron who has shown consistency in finding the back of the net, but was still ten goals back of Pacioretty over the last two seasons. The next closest player in points? Alex Galchenyuk with 95 points, and he's now playing for the Arizona Coyotes.

Look, there's no easy way to say this, but the Montreal Canadiens are going to struggle to score goals this season after trading away their top two point producers over the span of the last two seasons. Brenden Gallagher has an outstanding campaign last year, but that productivity seems highly unlikely to continue. Byron, as stated above, has found some consistency and Jonathan Drouin appears to be settling into his role, but there's a couple of major pieces of the scoring puzzle gone for the Montreal Canadiens because of some terrible mismanagement by the front office and coaching staff.

If Jack Hughes is looking at possible places to play next season, he may want to start brushing up on his French. At this point, I'm not sure there will be a team who is worse than this in the NHL this season. And that's saying something with the likes of Ottawa and Carolina purging their rosters.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 9 September 2018

KHL Board Remains Unchanged

Gennady Timchenko, pictured to the left, has been the man in the big chair at the end of the table for the KHL Board of Directors since 2012. Timchenko is a billionaire businessman who oversees various Russian businesses including gas company Novatek and petrochemical producer Sibur Holding. It should also be noted that he is a very close friend of Vladimir Putin, and he currently serves as the president of the SKA St. Petersburg club. Needless to say, Timchenko's business ties, his personal relationship with the man running Russia, and his stake in the KHL's most powerful club have all led to to his unanimously re-election as President of the Board of Directors of the KHL today.

Political ties aside, Timchenko has overseen the expansion of the KHL to Finland and China with Jokerit (a team of which Timchenko owns a portion) and Kunlun Red Star making good progress as additions to the league. The KHL's marketing and reach has expanded in the country and into Europe as games will be played in neutral sites such as Zurich and Vienna. He has lobbied for Russian players to return home to Russia to play hockey, including the likes of Pavel Datsyuk, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Nail Yakupov. He has successfully watched the KHL All-Star Game grow from a best-vs-best for just the men to include both the junior Russian league and the women's league. In short, Timchenko has been a vital part of the KHL's success over the last few years.

Timchenko isn't your usual Russian oligarch, though. He was born in Armenia in 1952 as the son of a Soviet military officer, and he grew up in Ukraine and East Germany. In 1976 after graduating from Leningrad Mechanical University with a degree in Enginieering, Timchenko began working at Izhorsk Plants which built nuclear power reactors in St. Petersburg. His aspirations continued to push him higher and, after eight years at Izhorsk, he joined the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Trade where he became deputy head of Kirishineftekhimexport, a state exporter of oil products to the West in 1988, at the age of 36. With his connections within government growing, Timchenko began investing in companies with partners, and his massive wealth grow for the next thirty years as he bought, sold, and absorbed various businesses under his watch. Some of the lesser-known business ventures for Timchenko include growing apples and producing bottled water in Russia.

Closer to home, Timchenko is leading the way in building what he has claimed will be the largest hockey facility in the world. According to reports, the new arena will have a capacity of 22,500 - some 1300 seats bigger than the Bell Centre in Montreal - and it should put St. Petersburg in the running to host the 2023 IIHF Men's World Hockey Championship. The cost for this little endeavour by Timchenko will set him back by about 20 billion rubles ($295 million USD), hardly scraping the estimated $18.1 billion USD he's figured to be worth. This comes just two years after Timchenko saw a project through to completion for SKA St. Petersburg's training facility in the Nevskiy District of the city.

Needless to say, there was a significant SKA St. Petersburg/CSKA Moscow flavor to the recent 2018 Russian Olympic team entry at the Pyeongchang Olympics, and with NHL players not participating the Russian squad found a way to win gold after not medalling since 2002. The reaction back home was excitement among Putin and his peers - Timchenko included - as they erased the memory of the failure in Sochi with this squad, and subsequently let the world know that Russian hockey was back atop the Olympic mountain. While it remains to be seen if this "progress" will continue once the rest of the world has their NHL players back on their squads, there was no shortage of celebration for Russian hockey after Pyeongchang's Olympiad was over.

Timchenko's reign as the President of the Board has looked favourably upon him thus far.

Today's meeting where Timchenko was re-elected as the President was highlighted by more money being invested in players as additional insurance will be provided for the life and health of hockey players. There will be ongoing monetary support for the development of children's and youth hockey programs through the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, and the KHL will continue to provide assistance of some sort to hockey veterans of the Federation. The KHL also committed to funding additional anti-doping measures for the 2018-19 season which should please the IIHF and the IOC immensely. The Board of directors also discussed changes regarding the distribution of TV monies among member clubs. There was no description of what these changes would be made and which teams would be affected, but one would hope that the teams who need an injection of cash are getting the help they require to stay afloat.

Among some of the bigger events discussed among the Directors included the Sledge Hockey Continent Cup which will be played in Sochi in May 2019, the KHL World Games featuring KHL teams playing in Vienna and Zurich, and the 2019 Week of Hockey Stars to be held in Nizhnekamsk, Kazan, and Almetyevsk. Also added into the discussion was the finalized version of the KHL Referees Electronic Medical Portal, an online portal of the officials where the health status of KHL referees can be contained with access to quickly monitor and analyze the results of KHL referees' examinations.

In other words, Timchenko and the Board of Directors seem to have this KHL thing rolling.

Whatever the case may be, the KHL is on better footing than it was when Alexander Medvedev was running the show. While there are still concerns that must be addressed, Timchenko's leadership at the top of Russia's hockey league has been noticeable. And while the US still holds sanctions against him and his businesses, it seems that business has never been stronger under him in the KHL as it is now.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Goaltending Woes For Ak Bars Kazan

The netminder to the left? That's Alexander Sharychenkov. That photo was from last season while with Dymano Moscow as Sharychenkov is the new starting netminder this season for Ak Bars Kazan after Emil Garipov's rather horrendous start to the season. In fact, Garipov was removed from the roster before Kazan's second game of the season after that ridiculously bad opening night, and Sharychenkov took his starting spot. With Sharychenkov now backstopping Kazan, would the reigning Gagarin Cup champions find their way?

Well, the second game of their season saw Sharychenkov backstop Kazan to a 2-0 win over Dinamo Minsk in which Sharychenkov stopped all 25 shots he faced. Kazan moved on to Kazakhstan with their 1-1-0 record to face Barys Astana in their third game today, and it seems that all the good that Sharychenkov had shown in the second game was erased with one shot today. Take a look.
Hoo boy. That shooter was Kevin Dallman, and he unloaded that slapshot from the center-ice red line that Sharychenkov simply whiffed on. It's not like that was a knuckle-puck or a bouncing puck. Sharychenkov simply missed the puck entirely with his glove. And being out in front of the blue paint as far as he was, it's hard to fathom how he could miss it that badly.

The good news for Ak Bars Kazan is that they were leading 3-1 at the time of Dallman's goal. Anton Lander would score with 1:09 remaining to put Kazan up 4-2, but things got a little tense when Darren Dietz's second goal of the game with 33 seconds to play pulled Astana within one. Thankfully for Kazan, Sharychenkov shut the door for the final half-minute as Kazan and their new netminder escaped with their second-straight wins on the season.

I'm not sure what physical testing is done during training camp for KHL players, but Ak Bars Kazan may want to start instituting some sort of eye exam for its netminders after seeing the performances of Garipov and Sharychenkov this early in the season.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 7 September 2018

Former Jet Now A Growler

Adam Pardy, the former Winnipeg Jets defenceman most notably remembered for having his helmet stolen by an inebriated fan in Chicago, decided to return home this summer as his short career in the Swedish Elite League is now over. The native of Bonavista, Newfoundland will take his trade to St. John's, Newfoundland as the big defender signed a deal to play with the ECHL's Newfoundland Growlers for the 2018-19 season!

You have to wonder how the former NHL rearguard went from Winnipeg to Edmonton on waivers before being signed by the Nashville Predators in 2016-17 to help stabilize their defence only to find himself in just eleven games with Frolunda HC last season. While Pardy was never a top-flight defender on any of the teams he played for, he certainly held his own for periods of time where he was a serviceable defender. Regardless of how he got to Newfoundland, the veteran of 342 NHL games will certainly be expected to bring some solid defence with his as the Growlers kick off their inaugural season.

It won't be Pardy's first tour in the ECHL as he spent 41 games with the Las Vegas Wranglers in 2005-06 where he scored one goal and added 11 assists in that time. There weren't a lot of players who ascending the ranks out of the ECHL from that Wranglers team, but Tyler Sloan had a short cup of coffee in the show while Mike McKenna was the goaltender of record in 25 games before he went on to a solid career bouncing around the AHL. Outside of those two players, Adam Pardy was the best of the bunch from that season when it comes to NHL experience under the coaching of Glen Gulutzan.

Pardy will report to head coach and former NHL player Ryane Clowe as the Growlers prepare for October 12th when they face off against the Florida Everblades at Mile One Centre in the team's first-ever game. I don't believe that Pardy should be given the captaincy right off the bat simply due to his experience, but I suspect Pardy will be involved in the leadership group that Clowe employs on a nightly basis.

Whatever happens this season with the Growlers, it appears they'll have one of the more experienced defenders patrolling the blue line for them. That's never a bad thing when talking about a brand-new team needing a dose of leadership and experience in their inaugural season.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 6 September 2018

The Hockey Show - Episode 311

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns tonight with just half our normal number of hosts as Teebz will be in-studio, but Beans is tending to matters not related to hockey. In saying that, school is back in, the University of Manitoba hallways should be busy once again, and Teebz is going to continue with the Summer of Interviews series as he has another guest joining him via phone! With autumn technically still here for another three weeks, we're going to squeeze in at least another two interviews before summer is out! Tonight's guest is a heckuva hockey player, an amazing human being, and a person who blazed trails since she was a tyke!

Ladies and gentlemen, The Hockey Show is proud, honoured, privileged, and humbled to welcome Megan Myers of the Worcester Blades to the program this evening! Megan has taken the unconventional route to professional women's hockey as she was born in the hockey hotbed of Las Vegas, Nevada where they had exactly zero elite women's teams as she grew up! Megan found places to play and develop her game, though, and she eventually landed a spot on the roster for the Utica College Pioneers where she became one of the greatest scorers in the school's history as well as turning heads across the NCAA landscape. From there, Megan was drafted by the Boston Blades who have since moved to Worcester, and we'll hear all about her epic hockey journey tonight on the show at 5:30pm CT! Make sure you tune in to hear all that Megan has done in her life and career!

"I know Megan! 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 Worcester Blades forward Megan Myers as we learn about growing up in Sin City, moving cross-country to Utica College, getting drafted by the Boston Blades, settling in Worcester, and more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the UMFM.com web stream!

PODCAST: September 6, 2018: Episode 311

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

A Legend On Film

It's rare to see documentaries being made about people who are still adding to their legacies, but one goaltender deserves the length of film that the producers of his documentary are committing to the project. Making Coco: The Grant Fuhr Story is all about the netminder who backstopped the Edmonton Oilers to four Stanley Cups during their dynasty years in the 1980s before stories of substance abuse came out in the early 1990s, a prolonged suspension as a result, and trade away from Edmonton to Toronto that ended the netminder's run in the Alberta capital. Produced by Score G Production Films, Adam Scorgie's company, and directed by Don Metz, Making Coco: The Grant Fuhr Story looks like one amazing documentary.

Here is the trailer for the film, and I'll discuss more below.
Having seen Adam Scorgie's other hockey film, Ice Guardians, and how powerful the message was in that film, I can already tell you that I'm excited to see this film when it is released. Making Coco: The Grant Fuhr Story not only looks highly-informative and entertaining, you can see the emotional side of the film coming out in the trailer with Grant Fuhr's eyes welled up with tears. All I can say is that if Making Coco is as good as Ice Guardians is, Adam Scorgie might be hockey's version of Ken Burns.

Grant Fuhr broke into the NHL on October 14, 1981 against the Winnipeg Jets, and he began an ascent to greatness that few have followed. Four Stanley Cups in five years is one heckuvan achievement, but Fuhr's lone Vezina Trophy during that time makes little sense based on how good he was in keeping Wayne Gretzky and the high-octane Oilers moving down the ice away from his net.

Regardless, from 1981-82 until 1988-89, Fuhr averaged 49 games played per season, posting an average of 26 wins, 13 losses, and 6 ties - a winning percentage of .711! There aren't many goaltenders who have posted that winning percentage in one season, let alone eight seasons in a row, but Grant Fuhr certainly did. If you want some additional numbers to marvel at, Fuhr posted 36 assists over those eight seasons including a career-high 14 helpers in 1983-84 in which he outscored teammate Pat Conacher and finished three points back of Dave Semenko! Not bad at all!

Why am I writing about this movie? Well, it was announced that the Calgary International Film Festival would show Making Coco: The Grant Fuhr Story on its closing weekend with the film's world premiere screening on September 29 at 7:30pm MT at Eau Claire Cinema #5 in Calgary on the final Saturday of the festival! Following the movie's showing, there will be extended Q&A session with Grant Fuhr, director Don Metz, and producer Adam Scorgie! How cool is that?

The only problem? Tickets to the premiere and the Q&A are already sold out!

Congratulations to Adam Scorgie, Don Metz, Grant and Lisa Fuhr, and everyone who was involved with Making Coco: The Grant Fuhr Story on selling out the premiere! I'm excited to see the film when it finally hits a theatre near me, so find a theatre near you and grab a ticket to see Making Coco: The Grant Fuhr Story!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Two Decades

It's hard to believe that the place I call home on Thursday nights is turning twenty years-old today. CJUM-FM, 101.5 on your FM dial in Winnipeg, officially went on the air at 6pm CT on this very day two decades ago, so this year will be a pretty big year in terms of achieving a milestone. There have been many changes throughout the years, but one thing that has been constant since they allowed me to speak on the radio as the host of The Hockey Show is Pledge-O-Rama, and it's probably a good idea to start thinking about that event as we enter September.

As you can see, ther ehave been various logos used over the years since I've been a part of the radio station, and each one has a special meaning based on its year of usage. There's the 15th anniversary logo at the very right when the station celebrated the anniversary of its founding five years ago. The logo second from the left is the one used on the UMFM app (available in the App Store or the Google Play Store). The third logo from the left shows our Manitoba roots and our attachment to the province. Next to that one is our "Faculty of Sound" logo that we playfully use as recognition for our contributions at the University of Manitoba campus. Next to the Faculty of Sound was last year's Pledge-O-Rama logo, and that brings you back to the 15th anniversary logo.

The Hockey Show, in its infancy, was a mere 30-minute show. Beans and I would come on, blab about hockey, and it would seem that we were done before we had even made a point or introduced our main topic. Thanks to a few changes to the shows before us, we were able to negotiate another half-hour to be added to our show as we moved to a full hour, and we've done some pretty fun excursions that have seen us participate in Hockey Day in Canada in Kenora, Ontario, see the Bruins Alumni play in Shilo, Manitoba, spend a day at the Sami Jo Small Hockey School, and a few other crazy outings.

We've run some fantastic contests with our annual Survivor: NHL Playoffs contest being a major highlight for Beans and I. The exit interviews are the best part, and hearing some of the funny, witty, well thought-out exit interviews that entrants have delivered over the years is some of the best radio for which we could ever wish. It's unscripted, it's real, and it's fantastic. We'll do another run for this year's NHL Playoffs, so make sure you're listening for your chance to enter!

Perhaps what I've enjoyed the most are the interviews we've done and the relationships we've developed over the years. Brandon Reid and Jessica Scott-Reid are always a favorite interview in the summer, and it's been an honour to watch both Brandon's career and Jessica's career take them to places where new friends and adventures have been found and shared with us. Women's hockey players like Fielding Montgomery, Melissa Wronzberg, Jetta Rackleff, Candice Styles, Toni Ross, Krista Patronick, and Mikayla Ogrodniczuk have given us some amazing chats, and former NHL players such as Ted Irvine, Theoren Fleury, Adam Graves, Colton Teubert, Josh Green, and Brian McGrattan were interviews I cherish due to these guys being my idols growing up.

There have been the guys from Letterkenny who have been more than generous with their time, and I owe them an infinite amount of gratitude for the great interviews they brought to the show. Dylan Playfair, Tyler Johnston, Nathan Dales, and Jared Keeso have delivered some of the best moments on the show, and I will forever be in their debts for their contributions. Some of the other people involved in TV and film we've been privileged to speak with include Barry Melrose and Adam Scorgie. We've had local radio celebrities Tom McGouran, Brody Jackson, and Samantha Stevens on the show, and we've been honoured to welcome ESPN's Paul Lukas and renowned artist Rob Ullman to the program in terms of covering all our media!

We try to keep up with the local scene, and we're proud to feature a lot of Manitoba talent on our show. Among the many Manitobans we've been proud to feature, we're always going to give up time on our show for the Bisons women's hockey team, your reigning U SPORTS National Champions. We've also been proud to have Janelle Kohanchuk, Sami Jo Small, Taylor Woods, Mark Taraschuk, Delayne Brian, Kristen Campbell, and Halli Krzyzaniak on the show as we try to feature as many great Manitoban players as we can because this province produces some incredible talent!

I guess what I'm saying is that The Hockey Show is just one show on this amazing station that features over 80 shows like this every week that touches all people, all communities, and all music tastes. Not every show will appeal to every person, and that's ok. Diversity and inclusion are two founding principles for any community, and the UMFM community - its hosts, its staff, its volunteers, and its listeners - make up one heckuva community over the last two decades of being on Winnipeg's airwaves.

This is one of the many reasons why Pledge-O-Rama - UMFM's annual funding drive - is so important to the station. Without the continued support of the community both within Winnipeg and outside the city's borders, shows like ours wouldn't have the freedom to venture to places like Kenora, Shilo, or down the street to Wayne Fleming Arena. Donations to the station have allowed us to embark on exciting projects such as replacing and upgrading our transmission tower from analog to digital broadcasting, enabling the station to buy mobile broadcasting units that allow us to broadcast almost anywhere without the need for satellite trucks or SUVs full of radio transmission equipment, and making key repairs and upgrades to the audio equipment based at the station.

The donation is tax deductible if you want to score yourself a sweet tax return or you can opt for the station-branded gear that we'll be giving away for your generous contribution. There are amounts we look for, but I'll be very honest in saying that UMFM doesn't waste a lot of money due to budgetary reasons, and we can stretch a $5 donation farther than most would believe. If you like what we do on The Hockey Show, please keep us in your thoughts when Pledge-O-Rama kicks off in October. We can't do what we do without your support!

Happy 20th anniversary, UMFM! Thanks for letting us blab about hockey on your airwaves, and let's hope that you'll still be around in another 20 years!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 3 September 2018

Scorch Your Taste Buds

I'll be honest: my long weekend saw me out in the garden on Saturday as the vegetables were abundant. I decided to expand my hot pepper roster this year after some excellent success with jalapeno peppers last year, and I was out picking Tabasco peppers, Hungarian hot wax peppers, dragon's breath peppers, and dragon's claw peppers along with my standard jalapeno peppers. In amassing enough to fill two large freezer bags, I needed something to do with them. Yes, I know they can be frozen, but I wanted to use them as soon as I could in order to preserve their freshness and the crisp, harsh pain of that capsaicin.

It was a video on YouTube that I found that had three simple recipes for hot peppers in turning them into stuff I love to use around the kitchen. I decided to make my own hot sauce and my own chili flakes based on the steps in this video, and I have to credit Lee Kalpakis and A Little Help for these recipes. Here is Lee and her recipes for your use!
As I said above, I made my own hot sauce, and just two days into the hot sauce mixture I can tell you it's already liquid fire. I used nothing but jalapeno, Tabasco, and Huganrian hot wax peppers, and it's scorching. It's deliciously good, but I've decided to let it stand for the full seven days. My only complaint? I wish it were a little thicker, but perhaps that thickening will come as the mixture stands longer. I'll keep you posted on that.

The red pepper flakes are also incredibly good, and this mixture combines all of the hot peppers above plus a couple of yellow bell peppers and red bell peppers each. Again, I am very impressed by how hot this mixture turned out, and my pizza may set off fire alarms with these pepper flakes sprinkled on it.

I tip my cap to Lee Kalpakis because these recipes, as she demonstrated, are incredibly easy and the results are fantastic. There should be another harvesting of peppers in a week or so, and I may try doing the chili oil. I don't believe I have much use for it, though, so I may just do more hot sauce because I tend to use that stuff in all sorts of meals.

If you have any additional ideas for using these peppers, leave your ideas in the comments!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Integrity Of The Game

There was some major news that came out of the NHL today as Vegas Golden Knights defenceman Nate Schmidt was suspended for 20 games for violating the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. Based on the reaction from Nate Schmidt, I'd say that this finding wasn't expected as he is claiming innocence, and I'm starting to believe his claims that he didn't take any banned substances to his knowledge. That being said, the suspension must be upheld based on the findings for the integrity of the game, and I assume that Schmidt and the Golden Knights, while unhappy with this decision, understand that these values on the amount of any banned substance in the bloodstream aren't just a slippery slope that one can overlook due to "environmental contamination".

I understand and believe that Nate Schmidt was only taking supplements provided by the Vegas Golden Knights this summer. There is absolutely no doubt about this in my mind as Nate Schmidt seems like the kind of guy who wouldn't risk suspension due to his love of the game. This could possibly fall on the shoulders of the Golden Knights who were instructing Schmidt of the supplements he should be taking, but if Schmidt didn't receive his supplements directly from the team, the Golden Knights also come up innocent when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs. If Schmidt was going to a store to acquire his supplements, he has to know that he runs the risk of there being some possible contamination along the lines as drug manufacturers do their best to keep everything in line, but mishaps do occasionally happen.

Here's where I draw the line. I will not label Schmidt a cheater or a drug user or any other name that implies he's using performance-enhancing drugs. What I will say is that Nate Schmidt, like any other athlete, has to know what he's putting into his body at all times, and the fact that he was caught with some contaminant in his supplements is no different than when Nicklas Backstrom tested positive for pseudoephedrine at the 2014 Sochi Olympics despite his using Zyrtec-D for several years for his allergies. There's a limit to the amount of certain drugs one can ingest, and Schmidt unknowingly had ingested one of the banned substances beyond a level deemed acceptable by the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.

Case closed. No exceptions.

This isn't some arbitrary scale the moves based on the amounts found in one's system. It's a cut-and-dry system to prevent players who want to use performance-enhancing drugs to gain an edge from having an unfair advantage compared to the rest of the field. And while Schmidt's tested amount was equivalent to "a pinch of salt in an Olympic-sized swimming pool" over the limit, it's still over the limit set out in the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.

If a driver blows 0.081% on a breath analysis test, that driver is still charged with impaired driving despite him or her legally being just 1/1000th of a percentage point over the limit or, measured more easily, 1 milligram of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood as per the Canadian Criminal Code. It doesn't matter if one blows 0.081% or 0.100% or more, the result is the same charges are levied against the driver despite there being significant changes to the driver's behaviour and judgement as the number increases. It's a penalty no matter what amount over the driver is, though, and the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program views infractions over its limits the same way. And yes, I'm aware that drivers with anything above 0.000% can still be charged with a crime, but drivers at lower BACs are dealt with under provincial and territorial traffic acts. For the purpose of the illustration above in the paragraph, I simply needed the 0.080% limit.

Back on topic, if I'm Nate Schmidt and I had purchased these supplements on my own, I'd immediately be looking for a different brand who sells this specific supplement. Clearly, the cross-contamination with another supplement or drug has cost Schmidt 20 games this season and pile of money, and I'm pretty sure he's not looking to be victimized twice by the same mistake. If the supplements came from the Golden Knights, the team should be investigating its supply chain and figuring out how to proceed in the future so it's not keeping one of their best players off the ice for a quarter of the season.

In the end, Nate Schmidt was unlucky. He rolled the dice in taking supplements prescribed for him by the Golden Knights, and he got burned when the supplements came back dirty. That's the risk that one takes when looking for supplements, and the sheer number of supplement recalls in the United States alone should put supplement users on high alert for possible contamination. I suspect that Schmidt will be far more wary in the future when it comes to his supplements, but this is one of those "lesson learned" moments when it comes to being an elite athlete.

The integrity of the game is the most important part of this lesson. If the NHL let Nate Schmidt's findings slide due to the minute amount over the limit that he was, at what point is there a cutoff for an amount over the limit? The answer is emphatically zero amount over the limit, and that's what Nate Schmidt will sit for twenty games to start the season.

Lesson learned.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 1 September 2018

One-Sided Rematch

In what is one of the better traditions that the KHL has, the first regular season game of the new season sees one game played between the two Gagarin Cup finalists from the prior year. It's almost like the league takes a short pause for summer before throwing the teams back into the water at the same place they were a year ago in terms of the matches. Today marked the kickoff for the 2018-19 KHL season, so Ak Bars Kazan had the privilege of travelling to meet SKA St. Petersburg in Game One of the new season. If you recall, Ak Bars Kazan won the Gagarin Cup last season, but both teams have gone through some roster changes over the summer, so would the same result be found on this day?

Without giving too much away, it was not a good night for Emil Garipov.

Just 3:50 into the game, Patrick Hersley opened the scoring for SKA when he beat Garipov on what appeared to be a fairly routine one-timer from the point.
Hersley officially becomes the first goal-scorer of the season with Pavel Datsyuk and Nikita Gusev picking up the helpers on that marker. St. Petersburg was out in front 1-0. FYI, that won't be the last time you read the names Datsyuk or Gusev in this article.

Ak Bars would find the equalizer 7:24 into the second period when Albert Yarullin beat Magnus Hellberg on a big rebound after stopping Vladislav Kara on a nice feed from Rob Klinkhammer.
However, the walls would start to cave in on Kazan minutes later when SKA went on the power-play and Garipov surrendered another goal that looked to be a fairly routine save.
Nikita Gusev's shot through the wickets of Garipov at 9:54 while on the power-play put SKA back in front by a 2-1 score. Datsyuk picked up his second helper of the game on that goal, and St. Petersburg was only getting started.

At 13:41, another former NHL player strikes for SKA off a face-off win in the offensive zone.
Viktor Tikhonov wired the one-timer home through traffic off the perfect face-off win from Ilya Kablukov, and it was 3-1 for St. Petersburg.

Tikhonov and Kablukov would combine forces on another goal at the 4:38 mark of the third period, and this one seemed like Garipov probably should have made the save, but even the referee missed the goal.
I don't know if the referee is wearing an earpiece that allows some control room to let him know that was a goal, but seeing him blow down the play during the middle of action and signal a goal was a little weird to me. In any case, it was Kablukov's shot that eluded Garipov and rang off the middle post for the goal, and Tikhonov picked up his second point of the night with the helper.

SKA would continue to pile on after Alexander Barabanov stripped Alexei Popatov of the puck in the corner, and his centering pass found Nikolai Prokhorkin at the face-off dot for another one-timer goal at 13:13.
If there's one thing that Winnipeg Jets and Boston Bruins fans know all too well, it's opposition goals going in off Paul Postma, and Postma was back to his old tricks here as Prokhorkin's shot appears to deflect in off the big defender's skate past Garipov. In Postma's defence, Garipov has to get the pads wider down on the ice, but the end result of this Prokhorkin goal was a 5-1 lead for SKA St. Petersburg.

Finally, the goal you've all been waiting for as Nail Yakupov, the former first-overall pick in the NHL, scored in his return to the KHL on what appears to be another routine save for Garipov.
Yakupov's goal with 2:57 to play was set up by Patrick Hersley, and it would round out the scoring as SKA St. Petersburg took the opening game of the season by a 6-1 score.

Let's be honest: Ak Bars Kazan needed a better effort from everyone, but Emil Garipov allowing six goals on 21 shots is rather embarrassing for the netminder, especially when you consider how some of those goals got through him and by him. His .714 save percentage won't cut it in a Russian beer league, let alone the best hockey league in Russia, so I'm sure that Kazan will demand more from him as the season progresses after seeing how great he was in last year's Gagarin Cup Playoffs. Newcomer Justin Azevedo was held off the scoresheet and limited to just two shots in the game by SKA while Jiri Sekac and Danis Zaripov were a combined -2 with zero shots recorded. Ouch.

SKA has to be happy as their big guns came to play tonight, and they made Magnus Hellberg's start an easy one in allowing just 13 Kazan shots. Datsyuk, Tikhonov, Kablukov, Hersley, and Gusev all had two-point nights, and last year's best team in the regular season are off to a flying start once more.

The rest of the league settles in this week as the KHL regular season has begun. Who will end up atop the standings and as favorites for the Gagarin Cup? We'll see how this season plays out in Russia, Finland, Latvia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Slovakia, and China as the KHL teams begin their quest for immortality!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!