Monday, 25 September 2023

End Of The Line?

I'm not here to pass judgment on people who are working on making themselves better after being jerks in the past. Yes, there's a some prejudice that one may revert back to one's jerk-like behaviours, but the hope is that the person in question is showing positive growth so that those behaviours don't come back. Unforunately, it seems that Kevin Constantine learned nothing after having coached in Europe and Asia for the last few years as he's now being investigated by the WHL for an "incident" that occurred this past weekend. The head coach of the Wenatchee Wild made it two games into the new WHL season before being excused from the team while the investigation continues.

As per the WHL's statement issued this evening, "The Western Hockey League announced today, Kevin Constantine, Head Coach of the Wenatchee Wild, has been suspended pending an independent investigation into alleged violations of WHL Regulations and Policies." There were no references as to which regulations and/or policies that Constantine violated, but rest assured that it's never good when the league is investigating a head coach.

Wenatchee had two home games this season to begin their era in the WHL. They hosted Portland on Friday, defeating the Winterhawks by a 6-5 score in a game where they trailed 5-3 midway through the second period. They followed that effort up with a game on Saturday night that saw the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds defeat the Wild 3-2 with a goal scored with 33 seconds remaining in the third period. One could understand there may be some frustration over surrendering that late goal, but it seems Constantine went far beyond the realm of acceptable behaviour at some point this weekend. As a result of those actions, he's been sent home by the league.
"Constantine was suspended on Sunday after the WHL's independent reporting channel received a complaint regarding his conduct. Constantine is not permitted to have any contact with any member of the organization, including players, while the matter is being investigated.

"The WHL's independent Player Advisory Council is conducting an investigation into the allegations. The independent investigation began Sunday when the complaint was received. Upon completion of the investigation, the Player Advisory Council will provide a report to the WHL Commissioner who will then make a determination on any further disciplinary action."
Again, I'm not here to pass judgment on past behaviours, but if Constantine was verbally abusive towards anyone he shouldn't be allowed to continue in his role. He's a head coach of a WHL team, so he needs to be able to find ways to communicate with players effectively. If screaming at players until he's blue in the face is his only method, that's never going to work in today's day and age.

The problem is that this isn't an isolated incident where a guy simply lost his cool. In 2006, Constantine was suspended four games and fined $5000 for "inappropriate" actions following the a 5-0 preseason loss by the Everett Silvertips to the Tri-City Americans. Reportedly, "Constantine had his team take off their helmets, skates and gloves and eat their postgame meal at the Toyota Center with the rest of their equipment still on. They rode home on the team bus from Kennewick to Everett in their gear, and even players who had been scratched and did not play in that game put on their gear for the ride home." Frankly, that's a ridiculous punishment for playing poorly in a preseason game, and I'm glad Constantine was punished.

Times have obviously changed over the 17 years between that incident with the Silvertips and the one that occurred this past weekend, but society has also matured to understand the impact that negative experiences have on teenagers when it comes to mental health. Screaming at 17 year-olds for not playing hard is one thing, but understanding that every one of those players has had different experiences up to that point factors in when it comes to mental health and potential trauma each has experienced. That screaming session, however, might just be what triggers a negative outcome for one of those players, and no one is wanting to see anything like that.

As we saw with Mike Babcock, it's tough for leopards to change their spots when it comes to behaviours that have seen success in the past and have gotten these coaches rewarded in the past. I'm not here to defend either of Mike Babcock nor Kevin Constantine because this is one of those "fool me once" things where past misbehaviour is very likely to occur again because, as the saying goes, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks". In both of Babcock's and Constantine's cases, we're talking about men in their mid-60s who seemingly haven't learned a thing about changing with the times.

Again, I'm basing this off a screaming session where Constantine dressed down the entire team after losing a game. I could be very wrong about the situation that got him suspended, but this excerpt from Dan Rusanowsky's If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the San Jose Sharks Ice, Locker Room, and Press Box holds any water, this might be a recurrance of that poor behaviour.
As stated above, I could be completely off in what may have happened, and I suspect that it may be worse than how I'm portraying it to be with how quick the WHL moved to suspend Constantine. If it does turn out to be worse, the Wild will have no choice but to fire him. If that happens, that's likely the end of the line for Constantine when it comes to coaching.

I want to say that I'm surprised that this happened, but I think the surprise comes from knowing it could happen, trying to give Constantine a second chance, and then hearing it did happen. I want to believe that hockey is capable of transforming people who act like Neanderthals into functioning members of present society, but it seems that the learned behaviours of being a Neanderthal are to what people like Kevin Constantine regress in moments of stress.

Sometimes, you hope for the best, but you get the worst. Kevin Constantine may be the latter once the WHL investigation is concluded.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 24 September 2023

Her First Professional Goal

The reigning Canada West Player of the Year suited up for her first professional game today in the SDHL as former Mount Royal Cougars forward Tatum Amy donned the #20 jersey of Leksands IF. As we know from an article this week, Leksands was looking to continue to change the philosophy of the club moving forward this season with the addition of some key players - one of whom is Amy - who can play the game how head coach Jordan Colliton wants to see it played. More goals is certainly something that Colliton needs from her team, but they were in tough against a very good Djurgårdens club which had reloaded their roster for this season as well. Would we see some of the new players brought in make an impact in Leksands' opening game of the 2023-24 SDHL season?

One of those new players got Leksands on the board in the first period after they had fallen behind 1-0. Taylor Leech's long wrist shot from the right point was deflected in front, and the puck found its way high past Ida Boman to tie the game up before the intermission at 19:34. One of the new leaders scored the opening goal for Leksands, and it was a 1-1 game heading into the second period.

Good teams find a way to play the full sixty minutes of every game, and it seems that Leksands is still learning that fact as the second period didn't go well for them. Djurgårdens scored in the frame, but controlled the play for most of the 20-minute period as they looked every bit as confident in their game as they did last season. I'm sure Colliton will have some video segments they'll want to break down this week, but Leksands trailed 2-1 heading into the third period.

a coe Former Wisconsin Badgers forward Brette Pettet put Djurgårdens up 3-1 with a power-play goal before the five-minute mark of the third period, and this may have been a problem for Leksands last season when scoring was at a premium. Would we see a comeback from Leksands on this day or would they still be plagued with their offensive challenges?

You can officially mark 12:25 of the third period as a major milestone in Tatum Amy's career as she hit the scoreboard for Leksands!
The official scoring record will see Tatum Amy score on a pass from Agata Sarnovska which was started by Fanny Brolin, but that highlight marks the first professional goal scored by Amy in her career! If you watch the play once more, you'll see Amy get to the inside of the defender who was checking Brolin, and the forward who was backchecking made the mistake of letting Amy skate right into the crease with no check. A great feed from Sarnovska allowed Amy to chip the puck into the back of the net, and Amy's first professional goal is a memorable one!

Amy's goal also cut the deficit to 3-2 as Leksands pulled within a goal with just over seven-and-a-half minutes to play, but that's as close as Leksands would get as they simply couldn't find the equalizer. Leksands deserves some credit, though, as they outshot Djurgårdens 32-16 in this game, but it seems obvious that goaltender Emma Polusny has to be better if Leksands is going to have a chance at beating their opposition this season.

It's clear that two of the players that Colliton is relying on for more leadership and offence this season had an impact in today's game. Leech scored her first Swedish goal today, and Amy notched her first professional goal on a fantastic play from her line. They'll need both players to continue to contribute this week as Leksands hits the road for a game against Linköping on Tuesday before meeting SDE on Thursday. One loss isn't anything to freak out over, but there are some positives from this game on which Leksands can build.

Congratulations to Tatum Amy on her first professional goal that reminded me of her fantastic play while wearing a Cougars uniform! If her play in this game was a sign of her season, there will be a number of other goals off Amy's stick that will appear here on HBIC!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 23 September 2023

Technically Not A Military Tribute

When the new version of the Winnipeg Jets moved from Atlanta to the Manitoba capital, it was expected that the team would adopt the name "Jets". There have been countless people hoping that the team return to the heritage logo and jerseys, but the Jets have forged themselves a logo and look that calls upon the logo of the Royal Canadian Air Force - a group that owner Mark Chipman paid so that a variation of the RCAF logo could be used by the Jets. Since that logo debuted for the Jets, they honoured the military every year by wearing different versions of military looks prior to select games, but the Jets will wear the pictured military-themed jersey for three games this season to commemorate the RCAF's 100th anniversary being celebrated this season!

In honour of the Royal Canadian Air Force Centennial, the Jets presented "the Forty-Eight" jersey to their fans at their FanFest today. The jerseys honour the 1948 jerseys worn by the gold-medal winning RCAF Flyers who captured the Allan Cup in 1942 and won the 1948 Olympic gold medal at St. Moritz, Switzerland at the first Olympiad held since 1936 thanks to World War II.

"It is a great honour and privilege for True North and the Jets to be able to take part in celebrating the RCAF's centennial," said Mark Chipman said today. "We have been grateful to wear our pride and appreciation for our country's military, literally over our hearts and on our sleeves, over the past 12 years through the emblem of our Winnipeg Jets. We are humbled to further share our appreciation for the selfless service of the men and women working and fighting for our country through our RCAF Flyers inspired specialty jersey for the upcoming season."

The Jets have plans to wear the jerseys three times this season with the first date being Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation Night on Monday, December 4 when they host Carolina. That game serves as a kickoff for the RCAF's centennial celebrations for the military organization. The jerseys will be worn for two additional home games as well: Saturday, January 27 when the Jets host Toronto, and Monday, April 1 when the Jets host Los Angeles which marks the actual 100th anniversary of the RCAF.

Before people start losing their minds, this jersey technically isn't a military-tribute jersey as per the NHL. Practically, it certainly is as the Jets honour and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the RCAF, but, because they aren't being worn solely for warm-ups prior to games, they don't fall under the "tribute" jersey rule as the NHL outlawed the wearing of tribute jerseys during warm-ups this season moving forward. Does that make any sense? No, but that's the NHL for you.

The other thing that bothers me about these jerseys? True North Sports and Entertainment has used them before.
Some will say "those aren't exactly the same", and that would be a correct assessment. The new Forty-Eight jerseys are being made by Adidas while the Moose military tribute jerseys were made by CCM. That could account for the minor differences seen between the two jerseys, but there's no mistaking that the TNSE is using the same template for the new Forty-Eight jerseys. I get that recycling is admirable, but this is literally taking that idea to a whole new level.

The Jets have stated they will still wear their heritage jerseys on select nights as alternate jerseys this season, and the three games with the Forty-Eight jerseys will be incorproated into that schedule. If you're a fan of the original 1980s Jets logo, those aren't going away thankfully. Adding this new Forty-Eight jersey seems like a way to skirt the military tribute jerseys they likely would have worn to celebrate the RCAF Centennial, but the NHL is going to allow it because it technically doesn't break the rules.

Had this been a new original jersey, I'm not certain I'd dislike it as much as I would tolerate it. Being that TSNE has used this jersey before for their AHL team, though, it seems like they could have found a less-recent design to use. Of course, the military doesn't change their uniforms all that often, so I get there are limited designs that the Jets could have selected, specifically for one branch of the military, but the Jets already honour the RCAF every time they wear their regular jerseys as Chipman said in his statement. Do they need something special for the RCAF Centennial? That's debatable.

If the Jets are wearing these jerseys for just three games, I can tolerate them. I wouldn't want to see these used as an alternate jersey by any means, and I honestly think they could have done something better. In stating that, they won't look terrible on the ice as proven by how the Moose looked in 2022, so the Jets will be fine for three games as long as no one complains about the military getting a tribute when every other group isn't allowed to have the Jets wear jerseys celebrating those groups.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 22 September 2023

More Black Hurricanes

I was never a fan of the Carolina Hurricanes ditching their red jerseys for their alternate black uniforms which, unfortunately, is now their home uniform. Black is a colour that virtually any and all teams could opt to wear, but hockey should be a game of colour when it comes to what's worn on the ice. We have red lines, blue lines, white ice, and red posts, so why add more black to the game when the officials and the puck are well-represented by those colours already? Well, the WHL's Lethbridge Hurricanes apparently never got that message as they introduced a new black alternate uniform to their jersey options, and they wore those new jerseys to open the season against the Swift Current Broncos tonight to start their WHL season!

It should be noted that the Hurricanes posted a 5-2-0-0 record in seven meetings with Swift Current last season, and that included a 3-0-0-0 record at home during the season series. Obviously, Lethbridge was looking to continue those winning ways with the Broncos visiting for opening night in the WHL, but this would be the first time in a very long time that a Hurricanes team dressed in black for an opening night. The colour of one's jersey shouldn't affect how one plays, so would we need to track the Hurricanes' record this season in black?

Well, the good news is that the Hurricanes, despite falling behind 1-0 in the opening period off a Maddix McCagherty power-play goal, rallied in the third period to send the fans home happy with the a 3-1 victory. The win marked the first for newly-appointed head coach Bill Peters while goaltender Harrison Meneghin made 40 saves to earn the first-star honours in the game. I'm not certain that the Hurricanes will want to surrender that many shots every night this season, but Meneghin earned that victory for his team on this night.

Here are the highlights from tonight's game with black jerseys.

Nope. Just nope. I don't like the look of the Hurricanes in black, and that goes for both the WHL and the NHL teams. You have colours that you've used in virtually all your branding - stick with the colours. Black is lazy and uninspiring as a jersey colour unless there's a signficant history with the franchise, and Lethbridge simply does not have that history. Use red, use blue, or figure something else out.

While I do understand that merchandising for WHL teams is important when it comes to generating income, a black jersey won't be one of those jerseys that everyone loves a decade from now. Yes, there likely will be an uptick in sales for the Hurricanes' new black jersey when compared to sales of their normal jersey set, one has to wonder when the bump will start to plateau for the Hurricanes. Historical jerseys would likely have a longer bump due to those past jerseys appealing to fans from various eras in the area, but I'm not making these decisions for the Hurricanes. We'll have to see what kind of revenue is generated from these new alternates.

Before I wrap this up, what team wears an alternate jersey in their first home game of the season, let alone the season-opening game for two teams? Has this ever happened at any other level of hockey? I could see the Hurricanes wearing the new alternate jerseys on their next homestand, but to open a season and play one home game in those alternates before heading out for a three-game road trip is something I've never seen before at any level of hockey.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes are 1-0-0-0 in their new alternate jerseys, and they'll be worn again this season at some point. It won't be for the next week, though, as the Hurricanes visit Swift Current and Edmonton twice before returning home for a game against the Moose Jaw Warriors on October 6. They'll be wearing white on the road, so we'll see if that second home game has the Hurricanes in their normal jerseys against the Broncos or if they're back in black during the first weekend of October.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 21 September 2023

The Hockey Show - Episode 574

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns to the airwaves of 101.5 CJUM-FM tonight to chat a little puck! Training camps have opened for a number of teams in a number of leagues across North America, and several European leagues are already playing regular season games as we know. There's a pile of news being reported from camps as teams get themselves organized, and we'll check in on some of these stories. Whether it's the NHL, the PWHL, Corporate America, or any other league, we'll do our best to deliver our views on the major hockey stories on The Hockey Show every week at 5:30pm CT!

It's been a busy week, so Teebz and Jason won't waste a lot of time tonight. The two hosts will discuss the Mike Babcock situation in Columbus, why it ended like it did, and whether or not this is the last chance for Mike Babcock on an NHL bench. Beyond that, they'll chat about the PWHL Draft that happened on Monday, some major injury news for a few NHL teams as they open training camps, there's an update on the BioSteel bankruptcy, head coach Jordan Colliton had a rough season last year with the SDHL's Leksands club, the Hurricanes are still pushing for an AHL club, Jagr's back for more, and we have another case of adults acting badly to discuss. We're all over the map tonight when it comes to story locations, but we'll bring this information to your radio and internet streams tonight on The Hockey Show at 5:30pm CT on one of 101.5 FM, Channel 718 on MTS TV, or via!

If you live outside Winnipeg and want to listen, we have options! The new UMFM website's online streaming player is pretty awesome if you want to listen online. We also recommend Radio Garden if you need an easy-to-use online stream. If you're more of an app person, we recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store or Google Play Store. If you use the TuneIn app, you won't be disappointed. It's a solid app.

If you have questions, you can email all show queries and comments to! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter! I'm here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz and Jason chat about people behaving badly, coaches hitting a rough patch, players moving and returning, injuries keeping people off the ice, expansion problems, and much more exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the web stream!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!