Sunday, 30 September 2018

Last Grit Tonight

It's time for an admission: I am a fan of HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. It's a funny look at the craziness of the week's biggest stories that doesn't hold back or pull punches when Oliver is skewering someone or something. If there's one thing I could use more of on my television, it's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver because it's my favorite way to end a week. That being said, when they cross into the sports world with their sauciness, I sit up and take notice because the points that are made by Oliver are normally spot-on.

So why am I admitting that here? Well, the Philadelphia Flyers' new orange monstrosity was mentioned on the show this week as Gritty got the John Oliver treatment to kick off the show. Here is the short clip of Oliver discussing Gritty, and I caution parents because there is some adult language in this clip.
Pretty funny, right? Oliver pokes some fun with the newest NHL mascot, but I'm glad he highlighted the insanity surrounding Gritty in his first week of getting to know the big, furry, orange... thing.

It's not often that hockey is a topic for HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. I'm glad that the outrageous Philadelphia mascot got some love from HBO and Oliver. He certainly deserved it after the week he had!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Down Go The Champs!

Last year's DEL champions and this year's odds-on favourites in the EHC Red Bull Munchen met up with this blog's favourite DEL team yesterday, and there was hope that the Krefeld Pinguine could keep pace with the high-flying Red Bull. The Pinguine were coming off a 6-5 overtime win over the Iserlohn Rooster last Friday and a 4-2 victory over the Schwenninger Wild Wings on Sunday to improve their record on the season to 1-1-1-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L). The Red Bull, meanwhile, had defeated the Ausburger Panthers 2-1 on Friday before dropping an 8-3 game to the Iserlohn Rooster to see their record fall to 2-1-0-1. Needless to say, a win by the Pinguine would vault them ahead of the defending champions, but this would be no easy task.

I'm in no way fluent in German, but I think the video shows more than what I can translate, so let's go to the highlights!
If you were following along there, Jordan Caron's goal at the start of the second period went to review, but it was found that the goal was a good goal as Caron gets credit for his fourth goal of the season with the helpers going to Chad Costello and Jacob Berglund. Minutes later, Mark Voakes hammered home the one-timer over Dimitri Patzold's left shoulder off the feed from Michael Wolf following Yannick Seidenberg keeping the puck onside, and the Red Bull were back even with Krefeld at 1-1.

To the third period - or "drittel" as they are called in German - where Krefeld struck before the water had even frozen as the new layer of ice. Phillip Bruggisser made a short pass in his own right corner to Berglund at the face-off dot who spotted Chad Costello streaking down the left wing, and his cross-ice stretch pass appeared to miss its mark as Seidenberg stepped into the passing lane, but somehow the puck eluded Seidenberg's stick and feet, landing on the stick of Costello who had a step on Seidenberg. Costello cut in from the wing, opened up Danny Aus Den Birken by taking the puck across the crease on the breakaway, and slid the puck five-hole just 53 seconds into the frame for the 2-1 Pinguine lead.

There aren't many coaches who would say that sitting on a 2-1 lead against the previous season's best team is a good idea, but the Pinguine continued to push under the direction of Brandon Reid as they looked for an insurance goal. Bruggisser, as seen above, rang a shot off the post behind Aus Den Birken on a power-play midway through the period, and Dimitri Patzold was solid when called upon as time wound down. In the end, Krefeld outlasted Red Bull Munchen for the 2-1 victory as they improved to 2-1-1-1 on the season!

Things don't get a lot easier as the Pinguine will play the Grizzlys Wolfburg tomorrow. Wolfburg is 1-0-0-4 on the season, but all four losses have been close. Following that, the Pinguine are back in action next Friday against the Straubing Tigers, and we could see the Pinguine possibly in the top-half of the standings if everything goes as well as it did yesterday!

Big cheers for the Pinguine as it appears Brandon Reid has the flightless birds flying high!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 28 September 2018

The Final Call

There are voices that we legitimately associate with certain events: Vin Scully and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Howard Cosell and boxing, and Pat Summerall for NFL football. One man whose voice can be added to the likes of Foster Hewitt and Danny Gallivan in Canada is Bob Cole who announced yesterday that he will return to the CBC-Sportsnet collaboration of Hockey Night in Canada for one last season this year. For a guy like me who grew up knowing that Bob Cole was the voice of hockey on Saturday night, it seems surreal that his voice will no longer be heard on hockey broadcasts, but it seems Cole has more than earned himself a little time off after committing to his 50th season on the nation's public broadcaster.

"Hockey has been my passion for as long as I can remember," Cole stated in a release. "It's been an honour and a privilege serving Canadian hockey fans across the country and being part of the Hockey Night in Canada institution. "I'm looking forward to getting to the rinks for this last season, seeing familiar faces and getting out there to do what I love most in the world."

Sportsnet said all of Cole's games would be over the first half of the season, adding that further details of a tribute in his honour will be announced at a later date. It seems entirely suitable that they have Bob Cole honoured in Toronto where he made some of his most memorable calls, but his work in hockey has allowed him to travel across this continent, across the world, to Olympic Games, and has been part of the CBC's hockey broadcasts for half a century. While others have worked the games out west and developed into amazing broadcasters themselves - Jim Hughson, Chris Cuthbert, and Mark lee come to mind - it's hard to replicate what Bob Cole has done as the voice of Hockey Night in Canada for a few generations.

Because I'll never be able to give Bob Cole all the credit he's due for his amazing body of work over the years, Sportsnet has put together a small video of some of his best calls. Seeing some of these highlights again brought back the memories of watching them in my younger days, so here's Bob Cole and some of his best work from an amazing career.

We get one more season of "Oh Baby!" before Cole hangs up his microphone for good. It might be a good time to settle in with an old friend on October 6 when Montreal hosts Pittsburgh because there may not be a ton of opportunities outside of YouTube to hear Bob Cole call a game. Just hearing his voice reminds of hockey. That's the sound of an iconic voice that deserves to live on in perpetuity.

One more season. OH BABY!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 27 September 2018

The Hockey Show - Episode 314

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns tonight with a bit of a programming change. We were expecting goaltender extraordinaire Kelsey Neumann to join us on the program this evening, but life has shot a knuckle-puck at her and she cannot make the show. That's ok, though, as the door is always open for Kelsey to join us, and we'll see if we can bring her back on a future episode! In saying that, Beans and I have a pile of stuff to discuss, so let's get to it!

You had to know that Beans and I would bring up Gritty on this show right? The gents will discuss Gritty and his nightmare-inducing look, other mascots that have been ranked on ESPN's mascot ranking list, Philly's Jori Lehtera being questioned as part of an ongoing Finnish cocaine investigation, Bisons men's hockey starting this week on the road in Calgary against the Dinos, Hockey Manitoba ruling that a team of Grade 9 students cannot take part in the upcoming Winnipeg High School Hockey League, Zack Smith and his $3.25 million salary being waived in Ottawa and the fallout there, Seattle getting their arena plans approved, and much more! It's going to be another busy show tonight, so tune in at 5:30pm CT!

"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 address Gritty, drug rings, road games, authoritative groups preventing kids from playing, waived players, new teams, 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: September 27, 2018: Episode 314

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Not Performance-Enhancing

In a rather shocking story from this morning, it appears that Philadelphia Flyers Finnish forward Jori Lehtera is in a wee bit of hot water. Lehtera, who is earning an obscene $4.7 million as player who hit 30 points just once in his career, has been named as one of 23 people in Finland being investigated for suspected distribution of cocaine in Finland. Lehtera has denied any involvement and the Flyers have no comment at this time, but this is a pretty incredible allegation against the centerman. If true, there will undoubtedly be jail time in Finland, and his NHL career would likely be over, but you have to wonder why Lehtera would even associate with anyone who does this when he has everything he could want and more thanks to his NHL contract.

As per the Google-translated and Teebz-corrected report on MTV.fi who filed the report, Lehtera was questioned by Finnish police about being involved. Words in brackets are the corrections made by me.
According to information from the MTV crime scene, the Finnish police suspect the ice hockey NHL club Philadelphia Flyers' Finnish player and national team striker Jori Lehterä coincided with a large cocaine defeat. [Lehtera] denies a suspected crime.

There are about two kilos of cocaine in the police investigation. The substance is suspected to be spread to the Tampere region and elsewhere in Pirkanmaa from January 2017. Cocaine sales have taken place in restaurants, for example.

There are currently 23 suspects. One of them is Lehterä.

According to the crime scene, [Lehtera] is suspected of a drug offense. In police investigations, [Lehtera] has denied having committed a crime.

The police do not take a stand on the names of the suspects because the pre-trial investigation is under way.

According to the information provided by the program, the police made catches on the cottages of the Lehterän Näsijärvi beach during summer. [Lehtera] was not among the captured at that time.

However, the police have questioned him about cocaine suspected drug offenses.

There are still seven prisoners still in prison. According to the police, the investigation is likely to be further expanded.

Those in custody are suspected of aggravated narcotics, professional crime, and money laundering. Among the detainees are a real estate agent and a freelance SM medalist.

The police have seized property, such as gold and jewelery, in the course of the investigation, worth about 650,000 euros.

According to the police, the country of origin of cocaine in Europe is the Netherlands. The material has been sold and sold at a [cost per gram] of 120 to 170 euros.

According to the police, cocaine users have been ordinary working people and so-called surface grippers who have more money to use the expensive substance.

The prosecutor decides whether to raise charges against Lehtera or other suspects. If the charges are brought, the courts will be judged in due time.
I'm fairly shocked about this. Lehtera can and should be seen as innocent until proven guilty, and it seems like his involvement is due to his presence or proximity to the cottages of the Lehterän Näsijärvi beach. If that's where the story ends, Lehtera seems to be free-and-clear of any wrong-doing.

For what it's worth, Lehterän Näsijärvi beach isn't translated well, but it appears that this may be the cottage that Lehtera owns on Lake Näsijärvi on the beachfront north of Tampere, Finland. It seems that these beachfront properties are where the investigation was taking place.

Of course, if he was involved in some way, that's a major problem. One would suspect that a two kilogram delivery of cocaine would require a wee bit of upfront cash to acquire said drug, and Lehtera's NHL salary would be more than enough to make that happen. Again, I'm just speculating here because I want to believe that Lehtera is innocent, but I can see how the police may come to question Lehtera if he was at those cottages this summer.

I'm not here to wish ill will towards anyone. I sincerely hope that Lehtera is found innocent of any charges and that his questioning by the police was them ruling the hockey star out of future investigative work. Trafficking drugs is a serious allegation, and I'm hoping the Flyers star is wearing the black-and-orange jersey rather than an orange jumpsuit in the foreseeable future.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Canada's Burning Tire Fire

While this article could probably have been alternately titled "How To Lose Sponsors And Alienate Fans", today was a solid stamp of approval from Eugene Melnyk that the Ottawa Senators are no longer a hockey team interested in competing for a Stanley Cup or even a playoff spot after it was announced that Zack Smith had been placed on waivers. Smith has admitted that last season's numbers - five goals and 19 points - was a down year from what he is capable of doing on the ice, but to waive the popular Smith might have been the last straw for a number of players in the Ottawa dressing room. If there was ever a time to abandon a sinking ship, now might be the time to grab a life preserver and head overboard off the good ship Senators.

Smith, who had been centering the team's second line in the preseason, has three years left on his current contract with an annual cap hit of $3.25 million. It's not like he's at the top of the pay-scale when it comes to under-performing earners on the Ottawa Seantors roster as both Marian Gaborik and Mikkel Boedker are being paid more, but apparently Smith was sacrificial lamb for GM Pierre Dorion when it comes to making changes with this club.

While it would be understandable that players would be shocked to learn the longest-tenured Senator was being waived, Matt Duchene didn't even bother to offer a clichéed answer when asked about the move.

"It's a kick in the balls for us," Duchene told reporters after practice. "We're hurting with him and for him."

Other Senators were less forthright in their assessment, but even they showed disbelief in this move.

"It sucks, for sure," defenseman Mark Borowiecki told reporters. "He’s a really, really, really good friend of mine, and a lot of guys in here. He’s universally loved and respected in this room."

The move also seemed to catch head coach Guy Boucher off-guard.

"Until further notice, his name is on my board," Boucher stated defiantly. "It's a management decision. Pierre is in control of player personnel."

You're probably asking, "so what gives? Why did this happen?" Well, there's a fairly reasonable explanation if you're an accountant. With Smith going down to Belleville in the AHL, the Senators would open up $1.025 million in salary cap relief with Smith in the minors. However, for a team with a projected $70.8 million salary cost this season, this move becomes more bizarre since they weren't even close to being near the top of the cap.

Most of the Ottawa Senators' current issues point to clear examples of rather foolish decisions made by previous and current management. The Senators will pay $2.5 million this season to have Alexandre Burrows sit at home in retirement after buying out his contract. The Senators are paying Dion Phaneuf $1.75 million to play for the Los Angeles Kings for the next three seasons. Clarke MacArthur is still earning $4.65 million per season for the next two seasons despite being on the injured reserve list for team after failing last year's pre-season physical. He didn't even bother to report to camp this season. Tack on one more incredibly idiotic deal that saw the team acquire Marian Gaborik and his $4.875 million contract in the Phaneuf deal whose herniated disc has yet to have him be cleared to play, and the Senators look like the Arizona Coyotes v2.0. Tally all that up, and the Senators have invested nearly $14 million in players who won't even wear a Senators jersey this season.

Injured players, of course, can't be waived aside from being moved to the long-term injured reserve list, so there may be some relief to the above number, but there's more than just $14 million worth of problems.

They have a modified no-trade clause and a no-movement clause with Bobby Ryan and his $7.25 million contract meaning there are ten teams he will not accept a trade to and he can't be waived if the Senators were unhappy with his play over any of the next four seasons. After failing to package him in a number of deals with Erik Karlsson, the Senators will move forward with the underachieving forward without any hope of relieving themselves of that salary cap-destroying contract.

They traded their most marketable star, their starting goaltender wants out, and there seems to be chaos swirling around this team with a new story of craziness emerging weekly. The Ottawa Senators, if it were a daytime TV show, would the highest-rated soap opera with all the drama they've gone through in the last 18 months since losing in the Eastern Conference Final in Game Seven in overtime in 2017.

So why would they cut Zack Smith, a guy who has toiled through it all to give the Senators everything he had in order to help the team? A guy who is popular in the dressing room with teammates and in the community with fans? A guy who admittedly was looking to get his game back on the rails by playing between Mark Stone and Brady Tkachuk after having a subpar season?

Honestly, it all seems like the Senators are sacrificing a solid forward to send a message to the team that underachievers aren't going to be given a second chance regardless of past performance and to offer themselves approximately $1 million of cap room they don't need. The reality is that they're removing a solid leader and dressing room presence who could potentially help them win games with this move. And for a team who traded its first-round pick to acquire Matt Duchene, they were already being predicted to finish at or near the bottom of the league.

2018-19 is going to be an ugly season for the Ottawa Senators. And let's be honest: after everything they've done in the last 18 months, it's pretty impressive to see karma come around and absolutely roll the Ottawa Senators for everything they're worth.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 24 September 2018

The NHL's Grittiest Mascot

Mascots are a curious case of branding. On the one hand, they can endear a fanbase to your team by appealing as a cartoon-like character for the younger fans to enjoy while older fans laugh at the pranks and goofiness the mascot performs. On the other hand, mascots that come across as aggressive and intimidating can actually alienate parts of one's fanbase. It's a fine line that teams need to walk, but it's always a good idea to err on the side of cartoon-like just to be safe. Unless, of course, you're the Philadelphia Flyers who went cartoon-like, but instead ended up with something based in nightmares.

We've all heard the stories of Philly fans booing Santa Claus, throwing batteries at players, and even cheering injured opposition players, but rarely do you see a team actually try to scare their own fans straight. Gritty, the Flyers' new mascot, might actually keep things sane inside Wells Fargo Center by haunting the dreams of Flyers fans long after they've left the arena.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the mascot known as Gritty.
I don't know what Gritty is supposed to be, but those eyes are not what you expect from a cartoon-like creature aimed to appeal to children. I get that there's some craziness that the Flyers may want to highlight within Gritty's personality, but to make him look insane is probably not the greatest way to endear your team representative to the fans.

In cartoon form, as seen to the right, the animated version of Gritty actually looks fun. Yes, he's big and goofy, but he looks like he'd be a fun competitor on the ice while still embracing that sense of fierce competition in that drawing. The smile combined with the focused eyes actually work well because the eyebrows give you the facial expression needed to understand Gritty's emotional state. There are no eyebrows on the plush-and-hairy costume of Gritty, so it makes his face come off as this catatonic, goofy grin with these wild googly eyes that is normally stereotyped by serial killers and psychopaths. In otehr words? Not good, Flyers. Not good at all. The real-life Gritty needs a makeover something quick to either develop eyebrows or to fix those insane googly eyes. Yeesh!

The second thing that really bothered me about Gritty was his biographical write-up on his introduction page. The first paragraph reads,
His father was a "bully," so naturally he has some of those tendencies - talented but feisty, a fierce competitor, known for his agility given his size. He's loyal but mischievous; the ultimate Flyers fan who loves the orange and black, but is unwelcoming to anyone who opposes his team. Legend has it he earned the name "Gritty" for possessing an attitude so similar to the team he follows.
Did the Philadelphia Flyers just condone child abuse and bullying in one paragraph?!? Look, I'm all for the Flyers' tough background back in the 1970s regarding bullying, but there aren't many kids today who are very aware of the Broad Street Bullies. The Flyers legitimately are trying to play off their history in rather toxic way with this, and it's not a good look for the organization, especially considering this:
Let's be very clear here for a moment: a father bullying a child is a form of child abuse. While the Flyers may not have meant for their description to be read this way, it CAN be read this way since Gritty's father was a bully. Bullying anyone, as we expand the horizon, is also wrong and shouldn't be condoned. This is not something we should be celebrating. Bullying is not acceptable in any form, and the Flyers shouldn't be incorporating it into their mascot's backstory. Bullying in any form simply cannot be accepted or tolerated, so having Gritty have some of those tendencies should have raised multiple red flags for copy editors.

That aside, Gritty will take some getting used to when it comes to seeing him as the cartoon-like dace for the Philadelphia Flyers. The jury on social media general finds him to be creepy, but time will tell if he becomes beloved or never loved. Your thoughts on Gritty? Put them in the comments below!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 23 September 2018

UBC's Preseason Adventures

That did not go as planned, I assume. The University of British Columbia Thunderbirds women's team is currently trekking across Minnesota while playing some of the NCAA's best after they started at home against Team Shenzhen, China's developmental team. After today's decision, the preseason tour where UBC is playing some rather good teams sees the T-Birds with a record of 1-4-0 with one game to play. It has to be an eye-opening affair for these women to walk into arenas such as the Verizon Center in Mankato, Minnesota and Ridder Arena at the University of Minnesota. These arenas are where a vast number of their heroes made their marks, and the Thunderbirds had a chance to make their own marks this weekend!

The team began its foray into the heart of American hockey country with a stop in Mankato to play the University of Minnesota-Mankato Mavericks. The two teams rolled out onto Verizon Center ice and traded chances, including three power-plays for Minnesota State and one for UBC, but the goaltenders were equal to the tasks as Minnesota State junior Chloe Crosby stopped 13 UBC shots while UBC's Tory Micklash was good on all 14 attempts against her.

Whatever was said between periods seemed to spark the Mavericks as they used just 30 seconds to open the scoring. Jordan McLaughlin cut up the right wing and ducked into the middle of the ice in the UBC zone where she unleashed a laser of a wrist shot that got past Micklash for the 1-0 Minnesota State lead. Later in the period, Minnesota State got the power-play working as Brooke Bryant's shot caught a player in front of Micklash and ricocheted past the goalkeeper for the 2-0 Minnesota State lead that they would carry into the intermission.

In the end, the Thunderbirds couldn't solve neither senior Katie Bidulka nor freshman Abigail Levy over the final 40 minutes as the three Minnesota State goalies combined for a 24-save shutout of the UBC Thunderbirds in the 2-0 win. Micklash stopped 18 of 20 shots she faced, but the UBC Thunderbirds simply couldn't solve the NCAA trio at the other end.

"We played well and it was a solid first game as a team, we saw some good things to build on," UBC head coach Graham Thomas said after the game. "We didn't have great puck luck tonight, but we had lots of chances and outshot them, which is a good sign."

Whatever Coach Thomas was feeling after that game on Saturday may have evaporated when the Thunderbirds rolled into Ridder Arena to face one of the NCAA's perennial powerhouses in the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. I should preface this by saying that these NCAA teams are just getting into their preseason training camp schedules as well, so it's not like the teams will be well-oiled machines at this point. Except this is Minnesota. Legends have played here. Expectations are banner-or-death. You get the picture, right?

Grace Zumwinkle opened the scoring for the third-ranked Gophers when she teed up a one-time from the point off a feed from Olivia Knowles at 6:05 that Amelia Boughn - a former NCAA netminder - simply could not stop. Amy Potomak. the BC native, potted a shorthanded marker at 17:54 before Katie Skaja and Nicole Schammel each scored inside the final minute to send the the Gophers to the dressing room with the impressive 4-0 lead. If one was looking for an example of how to set the tone in a game, the Gophers stomped all over UBC as they scored four times while limiting UBC to just two shots in the frame.

The second period was better for the Thunderbirds, but "better" is a relative term in this case. Tianna Gunderson found the back of the net on the power-play at 7:12 while Crystalyn Hengler added Minnesota's sixth goal of the night with 1:42 to go in the period as the Gophers were up six goals with one period to play. Netminder Sydney Scobee faced four UBC shots in the period as the Thunderbirds were still looking for their first goal in the state of Minnesota while trailing 6-0.

You can mark this down as a minor victory because Mathea Fischer beat Emma May at 4:18 of the third period to cut the lead to 6-1, but, more importantly, it marked UBC's first goal in the State of Hockey in just over five periods of play! That joyous moment, however, would fall back into the swirling Minnesota tornado of pain as Skaja converted a feed from Hengler for her second goal of the game midway through the final stanza, and that was followed by an Alex Woken goal with 5:17 remaining to make it an 8-1 thumping.

"We learned a lot today," spun UBC head coach Graham Thomas after his team took its worst defeat yet in this preseason. "We elevated our game and were pushed very hard by one of the best teams in the world. We're proud of our team and there are a lot of positive takeaways. We need to commit to playing at that intensity and speed all year in practices and games."

While Thomas might be finding positives in this game, there wasn't much that stood out on the stats sheet that was positive in terms of takeaways. Amelia Boughn surrendered all eight goals on 33 shots, 12 different Gophers recorded at least one point against UBC, Minnesota went 3-for-4 on the power-play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill, and UBC managed just 13 shots on net for the entire game. Yes, Minnesota is one of the best college programs on the planet so there is some room for optimism for UBC, but this was Minnesota's first game of the preseason compared to UBC's fifth game. The T-Birds should have shown a little more than 13 shots against a team that's simply been practising, but that was not the case.

There's no time for licking one's wounds, though, as the T-Birds prepare for a battle with the Minnesota Whitecaps tomorrow. There's hope the can find a few more pucks to the net and maybe cash a goal or three in, but we'll have to see. Thus far in five preseason games, the T-Birds have managed a measly seven goals. That's not good enough with the talent they have, and it certainly won't be good enough in Canada West when they kick off their season on October 5 against Lethbridge.

If nothing else, the T-Birds need to come out tomorrow and roll over the 'Caps to show they're ready for Canada West season!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Day Off

It's a bit of a special day as today is my brother's birthday. I don't speak about family a lot on here, but I feel I owe him a little bit of the spotlight as he's a pretty big hockey fan. His NHL affiliations have changed as he's matured over the last few decades, but he's been a loyal and devout Los Angeles Kings fan for the last decade or so. The kid has seen a few of his teams win Stanley Cups - Montreal in 1993, Colorado at the turn of the millenium, and LA most recently with their successes - and he's gone to as many games as possible to see the Kings play in various cities across North America. Needless to say, it might be time to give my brother a bit of a shout-out due to his hockey fandom.

It's a rather busy day for me today with the whole birthday business and everything else I have going on. The Bisons play the Regina Cougars tonight at Wayne Fleming Arena as both teams squeeze in a couple more games in the Manitoba capital before Regina heads into Ontario for a battle with a few OUA teams in York and Brock and a tangle with the Lethbridge Pronghorns. Both teams will start the season on October 5 with Manitoba hosting Calgary while the Cougars travel to Calgary to play the Cougars - Regina vs Mount Royal!

In saying all that, I have a pile of stuff to do in order to be ready for the game tonight and the celebration this afternoon, so I'm booking this day as an off-day. I'll be back tomorrow with something that caught my eye, so we'll see you then!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 21 September 2018

Alumni Helping Students

As a guy who is involved with a university radio station that broadcasts university sports, I get a unique insight into how university varsity sports programs are funded. Yes, there's always going to support from the university itself, but it's rather amazing to hear of the selfless donations made by alumni and supporters of these programs. While some donations come by way of scholarships and endowment funds meant for sports scholarships, there are other people who want to see their money go to something specific that will benefit more than just one student. Today's announcement from McGill University regarding a gift from two former McGill athletes will go a long way thanks to the purpose of this gift.

From the McGill release today, "McGill alumni and long-time Athletics benefactors Sheryl Kerr (BCom'67) and David Kerr (BSc'65) are chalking up another important 'assist' for Team McGill with a $3.5-million gift to create the Kerr Family Women in Sport program. This 'WIS' initiative aims to advance the role of women as athletes, coaches and decision-makers by increasing the number of full-time female coaches and helping female athletes become future leaders."

First off, that kind of gift in terms of the financial number is literally pennies from heaven when it comes to funding any sports program. Finding $3.5 million anywhere for university women's sports is a longshot at best in this country, so getting that kind of windfall to assist McGill's women's sports programs is huge. On top of that, the fact that Sheryl and David Kerr - whose generosity will not go unmentioned here - designated this money for the hiring and development of women as coaches and mentors for the female athletes at McGill is pretty awesome.

This isn't the first time that the Kerrs have done something amazing for their alma mater. As the release states, "[i]n 2007, the Kerrs established the Kerr Martlet Hockey Coach Endowment, which created a permanent source of funding for a full-time coach for the women's team. The impact was remarkable, fuelling the Martlets to incredible success in recruiting and developing top players, as well as capturing four national championships – the most of any U SPORTS program in McGill history."

I'd say that endowment fund is working pretty well as its allowed Peter Smith, former head coach of the Canadian women's national team, to remain as the head coach. Smith would probably have offers from some of the professional women's teams and perhaps a few NCAA programs if he were ever to step away, but his work with the Marlets over his 17 years there has made them into one of Canada's finest university hockey programs. It should be noted that since the Kerr Martlelt Hockey Coach Endowment was established in 2007, all four of those national titles have been won within that time frame. You might say coincidence, but I'm say relevance. Good head coaches have great staffs with them, and I'm sure that Peter Smith - with all of his international and Olympic coaching experience - still needs some help behind the bench.

The new gift, on behalf of the Kerrs, has already been put into motion by McGill University as they hired Sylvie Béliveau, a former national team coach and women's sports advocate, as senior advisor to McGill's varsity program and as a key steward of the WIS initiative. Béliveau's contributions as a leader in women's soccer in this nation started in 1985 when she was named head coach of the Canadian national team and continued through to 1999. Following that, she's been a member of several Technical Study Groups with FIFA which reviews trends within the game to spark discussion among FIFA's governing body.

McGill also went out and added a couple of new assistant coaches through the WIS initiative as Kelsey Wilson was brought on as an assistant coach with the Martlets soccer program while Rikki Bowles joins the women's basketball program. There is still an assistant coaching position for the women's volleyball team that is open, but McGill is currently reviewing applicants for that spot. Needless to say, McGill is already putting their affairs in order with this WIS initiative!

In today's day and age, it's hard to ask people to support university sports when their entertainment dollars are already stretched so thin. We see this at the University of Manitoba, and we're always in a state of disbelief that there isn't m,ore support for the reigning National Women's Hockey Champions. That being said, we're completely aware that the Bisons aren't the only hockey team in town as the NHL's Jets, the AHL's Moose, the many MJHL and MMJHL teams, the MFMHL, the WHSHL, and many other leagues all play the same days and times that the Bisons do. What does make me proud of my local team is that there are a number of female coaches who work behind the scenes with the team - Venla Hovi, Addie Miles, and Lisa Peters - and all have made important contributions to the program to get them to the top of the mountain.

Seeing McGill's newest initiative come to life before our eyes? That's awe-inducing because they're actually creating positions within their sports programs for women. These coaches who have been hired could be the next head coaches for these programs and more. And it's all made possible by the generous gift provided by Sheryl and David Kerr, a couple of alumni who played hockey at McGill.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 20 September 2018

The Hockey Show - Episode 313

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns to the airwaves tonight with Episode #1 of Season #7! The fact that we've gone this long is rather remarkable considering the goofiness we tend to incorporate into the show, but we're thankful our fans, GM Jared, Program Director Mike, and all of our many guests who have given us a chance to chat some hockey, learn about people in and around the game, and partake in some of the fun we incorporate into the show. It's been one heckuva ride so far, so let's kick off Season Seven with another fun show!

Where does one start with all the hockey action going on around us? We'll look at the new deals for Blake Wheeler, Josh Morrissey, Darnell Nurse, Sam Reinhart, and Tyler Seguin and try to figure out which of these players will give their respective teams the most bang for the dollars spent. We'll talk about the Jets new Aviator jerseys and why Teebz thinks someone from True North Sports and Entertainment owes the Johnstown Jets an apology. The Jets have started the preseason and there were games in China, so we'll chat about those as well. We'll discuss the Bisons playing the last few preseason games they have on the weekend. The Brandon Wheat Kings start their WHL season tomorrow, the DEL season is underway, the KHL season is rolling, and we'll get everyone set for Pledge-O-Rama which happens in October! It's another busy show tonight, so join us at 5:30pm CT!

"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 look at contracts, jerseys, the first week of preseason, the Bisons and Wheaties near the starts of their seasons, DEL and KHL results, 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 20, 2018: Episode 313

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Super (Rich) Seguin

I'm not sure who is on the social media team for the Dallas Stars, but it might be time to give them a ton of credit for some rather awesome stuff they do. Recently, they posted a pretty incredible announcement that felt nothing like an announcement until you got to the end. I don't know how much work went into this animation, but let's just say that the brains behind this latest animation should probably get a nomination from the Academy of Motion Pictures for an animated short!

Here's the animated announcement that they posted last week.
That's pretty awesome, right? The whole Super Mario Bros. animation is pretty solid to start with, but to drop the eight-year, $78.8 million news at the end is pure genius. Add in the Jim Nill-esque character and the Victor E. Green-esque character, and this animation deserves some sort of award if the Oscars don't come calling.

I'm off to umpire on a rather chilly evening, so take care of yourselves tonight. As of right now, Tyler Seguin is off the market, the Stars have their number-one centerman for the next eight years, and all is right in Dallas, it seems. Not bad at all, Stars social media team. Not bad at all.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 17 September 2018

California In 2020

The AHL announced today that the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic will finally find its way to California in a couple of years as the Ontario Reign will host the mid-season event at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California on January 26 and 27, 2020! The AHL's expansion to California has seen some bumps in the road with some of its markets, but the Ontario Reign have been one of the success stories for the league as they continually find themselves near the top of the league in attendance. Granting the game to the Reign seemed inevitable, and it appears that time has come in 2020 when the league could be flush with talent if there's a lockout in the NHL.

If there is any concern about people possibly not showing up for the game, I'd say you may be mistaken. In the 34 home games that Ontario played last season, they saw 274,300 fans cross through the turnstiles for an average of 8,068 per game - sixth-best in the AHL. If there are NHL players who are filling out AHL rosters in 2020, I'd expect the Citizens Business Bank Arena to be sold out for the AHL All-Star Classic.

If the lockout does happen, we could see the same phenomenon as we saw in 2012 when the NHL took the year off. Players like Ryan Johansen, Jeff Skinner, Brayden Schenn, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins all found themselves playing hockey in the AHL as teams sent eligible players down to the farm as opposed to letting them sign in Europe. In 2004 when the NHL locked out its players, there was a major influx of talent sent to the AHL as players such as Jason Spezza, Eric Staal, Michael Cammalleri, and Patrice Bergeron all found themselves riding the bus in the AHL. The added talent to the AHL saw attendance numbers spike in those cities, and there will certainly be some added flair to the All-Star Game if another work stoppage occurs.

The Reign certainly made an immediate splash in the southern California market in 2015-16 when the Manchester Monarchs were moved to Ontario by the Los Angeles Kings. Ontario would win the newly-formed Pacific Division with a 44–19–4–1 and they would advanced to the AHL Conference Finals before being eliminated by the Lake Erie Monsters. Thanks to the Los Angeles Kings continually signing veteran players, the Reign have been able to play at a high level with the Kings' top-end talent developing there. They have yet to post less than 36 wins in any season, and have made the playoffs all three seasons. The Reign have also consistently been near the top of the attendance stats for the last three seasons, and there's no reason to believe that trend will change this season or the next.

"Ontario has welcomed the AHL into its community with open arms, and we are very excited to bring our celebration of hockey's best young talent to southern California with our first All-Star Classic on the west coast," American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews stated in the announcement today. "We look forward to working with the Reign organization over the next 16 months to put together a world-class event."

As it has been done in past years, the AHL All-Star Skills Competition will go on Sunday, January 26. The AHL Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony will happen on Monday, January 27 with the 2020 AHL All-Star Challenge taking place Monday evening. The actual All-Star Classic logo along with all the other accoutrements that happen that weekend will be announced at a later date as the event nears.

If you're planning a trip to California in January 2020, you might want to see if you can get down to Ontario for the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic! It should be a great game regardless of whether the NHL is playing or not!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 16 September 2018

No. Just No.

There was hope in the air when the Winnipeg Jets announced that they would be introducing an alternate jersey for the 2018-19 season. We've seen the Jets break out their heritage jerseys, and they sold like hotcakes as fans clamored for hitching the wagon of memories from the old team to the new franchise that rolled into town. The only catch was the jersey was white so the Jets rarely wore the jerseys at home in front of their fans. Referencing that hope again, there were some who hoped for a blue version of one of the old Jets jerseys, but the Jets went in a completely different direction in their unveiling of the new third jersey.

Without further adieu, here is the new alternate jersey.
Excuse me when I say this, but SERIOUSLY?!? That's the BEST you could do? Look past the "Adizero" buzzwords and the classic design (what does that even mean?) and the '90s-inspired striping. Where is the iconic logo? Why are we exploring wordmarks?!?

I'm not certain where the current iteration of the Jets lost their way, but the term "wordmark" actually is defined as "a distinct text-only typographic treatment of the name of a company, institution, or product name used for purposes of identification and branding." The Jets posted the various apparent wordmarks used by prior versions of the Jets, and it appears the current Jets brain-trust doesn't know the difference between a logo and wordmark.
As you can see, there are various examples posted, but there needs to be some clarification. The first image from 1972 is a logo - it is not a "text-only typographic treatment" of the Winnipeg Jets hockey franchise. The second image is a wordmark, and it was used on the Jets' 1972-73 uniform. However, by 1973, the Jets had introduced the third image as their logo for all their branding including on the chests of the jerseys - again, not a wordmark and it wasn't introduced in 1974 as the current Jets posted. In 1990, the Jets redesigned their logo - still not a wordmark - with the updated version that players like Teemu Selanne and Phil Housley wore. Calling those logos "wordmarks" is a rather egregious error, and I'm surprised that the Jets would allow something like that to be published.

And that brings me to from where it seems this "Aviator jersey" idea actually spawned. For those that are unaware, there was once an old league that played on the east coast called the Eastern Hockey League. The EHL played games in various east coast cities from 1933 until 1973, and featured teams like the Charlotte Checkers, the Hershey B'ars, the Springfield Indians, the Clinton Comets, and the not-so-coincidentally-named Johnstown Jets. It is this final team where it seems that the Winnipeg Jets grabbed a pile of inspiration because it almost looks like they copied a jersey thread for thread that the Johnstown team wore at one point.

As you can see, the 1958-59 Johnston Jets look remarkably similar to the new alternate jersey for the Winnipeg Jets. REMARKABLY.
That photo was supplied by Bob Artese and Mike Piskuric to the fantastic Eastern Hockey League webpage. Yes, the wordmark has been changed on the new Winnipeg alternates, but the striping is an exact match and it appears the lighter colour worn by the Johnstown Jets has been replicated by the Winnipeg Jets. I'm not going to accuse the Winnipeg Jets of making an exact copy of a defunct minor-league team's jerseys, but they do astoundingly alike. Like nearly identical. Almost the same. Like they could be mistaken for one another accidentally if one wasn't paying attention.

Of course, it could just be me. I like hockey history, and I particularly like the images of the old days such as this picture of Dick Roberge accepting an award. Here you can see his jersey in full splendor with the thick arm and hem stripes, lack of a coloured shoulder yoke, the contrasting pants, and socks with the thick stripe on them just like the new Winnipeg Jets alternate uniform has thick arm and hem stripes, lack of a coloured shoulder yoke, contrasting pants, and socks with the thick stripe on them. Wait, were the current Jets honouring past Winnipeg Jets uniforms? I feel like they may be honouring a team with whom they have zero ties. Then again, maybe it's just me who is reading too deeply into the newly-introduced uniform. Or not. You're free to decide.

I'm not impressed. I won't be adding one of these uniforms to my collection any time soon unless the Jets announce that they're leaving. Even then, this alternate Johnstown Winnipeg Jets jersey probably won't end up with the rest of my threads. While I held out hope for a blue version of the Heritage Game jersey, it seems that the Winnipeg Jets went with a different heritage jersey altogether as they reached into the EHL and brought an old jersey into the future.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Amazing Mental Health Initiative

If there's one type of initiative I can get behind and support, it's the work done to better the mental health of people today. We hear about how people are struggle to cope with the mental illnesses that affect them, and there seemingly are more and more people who are admitting that they suffer from some kind of mental illness every day. Michael Landsberg of TSN uses the hashtag "#sicknotweak" all the time in his tweets, and I think it's a profoundly powerful message in a very simple statement. Today, it was announced that there's a new mental initiative being started specifically for hockey goaltenders by a guy who knows all too well about the realities of battling mental illness while wearing a mask.

Justin Goldman, the founder and owner of The Goalie Guild, a "nonprofit foundation that educates, inspires, and supports hockey goalies and goalie coaches", introduced another resource for goalies in Lift the Mask. He posted a letter to the site explaining why he was starting this initiative, but there was one paragraph that stood out to me. He writes,
"Due to the lofty pressures we face on and off the ice, goalies are prone to a slew of mental illnesses. Many of us struggle with fear, performance anxiety, and various obsessive compulsive disorders. The very nature of the position can even shape us into emotionless and detached beings. As if riding this endless wave of melancholy isn't mentally taxing enough, goalies still have to fight this outdated stigma of being labeled as 'weird' or 'strange' by others. Many hockey coaches and parents still lack a solid understanding of what goalies truly go through, so instead of getting the help we need, we're often left to our own devices or expected to figure it out on our own. This is not only unrealistic, it's oftentimes unhealthy."
Having heard the message that Mikayla Ogrodniczuk delivered on The Hockey Show about her friend Laura Taylor who took her own life with very few people knowing about the battles she was fighting internally and by experiencing the loss of my good friend in Brad Drake without knowing he was struggling, the "figure it out" part of Mr. Goldman's statement hit home.

Yes, everyone who has been in a hockey locker room with a goaltender has probably made the joke that goalies are weird with their superstitions and their routines. If the saying, "there's a grain of truth in every joke" is actually true, some of our friends and teammates may actually be struggling with their own mental illnesses despite laughing along with us. It is under this masking of the truth with laughter where the struggle is real for some.

Lift the Mask is pledging to help anyone who may want help through its website by putting those seeking help in contact "with a trained mental health provider through the [Anxiety and Depression Association of America]'s public listings. This service is 100% free of charge and can be done anonymously. Once you've taken this step, The Goalie Guild is committed to working with you to remove any financial barriers by covering the cost of your first consultation, chat, or visit with a professional (up to $100 USD)." That's an amazing pledge to the readers of The Goalie Guild, and Justin Goldman deserves major kudos for making that kind of commitment to his readers. Well done, sir!

There have been some high-profile stories presented through various mediums already, and I feel fortunate to have read Clint Malarchuk's story in his book The Crazy Game. The fact that Clint Malarchuk found the strength to present his story as he did is a testament to his resolve, but his story is a sobering look at one man's battle with mental illness. Corey Hirsch, Robin Lehner, and Ben Meisner have all written about their struggles with mental illness as well, and these stories are linked on the Lift the Mask page.

Perhaps what is most important is that Mr. Goldman has found himself some excellent ambassadors who are willing to help with the Lift the Mask initiative and help those who are seeking help to find the help that they need. One of those ambassadors is Kelsey Neumann, formerly of the Buffalo Beauts and currently a member of Les Canadiennes de Montreal, and it's pretty great to see a female ambassador that can assist any female goaltenders who may be looking for someone with whom to speak.
As I stated above, I support the initiatives that work to better the mental health of people today. We hear about the struggles that people face on a daily basis, but we never consider how heavily they actually weigh on us. For as much as medical science has done in helping us obtain a better understanding of how these mental illnesses may manifest, it seems the one resource we all can provide without a medical degree is the interaction of talking and listening. Lift the Mask is an excellent resource if you want to talk to someone anonymously who is willing to listen and wants to make sure that you're not overwhelmed or giving up.

As Justin Goldman stated, "Knowing that a partnership with the ADAA might help even one member of the goalie brotherhood is all the motivation I need to do whatever it takes turn this idea into a reality." That's good enough for me to promote Lift the Mask as well.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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!