Saturday 31 August 2019

Talent On Display

When the UBC Thunderbirds agreed to a pair of games against the NCAA's Wisconsin Badgers, they knew they would be in for a battle with one of the most talented rosters in the NCAA. Granted, the Badgers had yet to play a single minute of hockey together prior to this two-game exhibition series due to NCAA rules, but there is enough talent on this Badgers roster that overcoming this detail shouldn't be a problem. As we saw last night, that's exactly what happened as the Badgers handled the T-Birds with relative ease in their first organized game of the season.

If there was a surprising factor that went into Friday's game, it was that both teams came out and played a fairly chippy affair. Understandably, UBC can't match the talent level that Wisconsin boasts, so they would need to play a more physical game to slow down the talented Badgers. The fact that the Badgers responded in kind shows that Wisconsin has the ability to adapt its game to whatever style its opponent plays. It still needs to be seen if the Badgers can play a physical game in the NCAA while scoring enough to win, but they did that well on Friday night.

Cole Caufield scored his first NCAA goal on the power-play in the first period, highly-touted prospect Dylan Holloway added a power-play goal of his own in the second period, and Jason Dhooghe scored early in the third period to lead Wisconsin to the 3-0 victory. Daniel Lebedeff stopped all 26 shots he faced in recording the shutout of the T-Birds. K'Andre Miller, who led all players with 14 penalty minutes, picked up an assist while Alex Turcotte was held off the scoresheet.

Holloway, who was drafted by the WHL's Winnipeg Ice, looked very good in his first NCAA action, recording eight shots on the night as he was one of Wisconsin's most dynamic players. He found room to shoot all night, getting into open positions to take passes and getting his quick release engaged. For a player who had 101 points in 49 AJHL games last season, getting into a regular routine with four practices and two games per week should only see his stock rise as the season progresses. His work over the summer was clearly evident tonight.

"Something with my skating just clicked last year," Holloway told Ben Kuzma of The Province of his game on Friday. "I've been working on it and I just felt faster and that helped quite a bit because I was able to see plays and make plays."

UBC head coach Sven Butenschön liked the way his team started the game, telling Salomon Micko Benrimoh of The Ubyssey, "I think we were right there, I mean, we were just lacking you know, any kind of offensive punch. I don't know how many scoring chances we had. So I think we fared fine against them, you know, defensively and physically, but we just lacked a bit of offense tonight."

UBC trailed 30-13 in shots after 40 minutes of play, but only trailed 2-0 on the scoreboard off the Caufield and Holloway power-play goals. A big reason for the T-Birds only being down a pair of goals was the work of goaltender Rylan Toth who withstood a pile of chances generated by the Badgers including a breakaway and a handful of odd-man rushes. Toth was spectacular over the entire game, and his efforts will not go unrecognized here after denying 35 of 38 shots he faced, a lot of them being of the high-quality variety.

Brett Clayton and Carter Popoff recorded ten of the 26 shots that UBC had in the game, but it was clear that the Thunderbirds just couldn't find the required next gear to give Wisconsin fits in their own zone. Being that this was UBC's first game of the season, there's no surprise that the chemistry is still being formed, but they'll need to be better in tomorrow's game if they hope to build on these experiences for the 2019-20 Canada West season.

Butenschön believes that the Thunderbirds will respond with a better game tomorrow if they make a few adjustments. He told Salomon Micko Benrimoh, "Moving the puck faster, getting it on your forehand [and if] you see an open guy, move it right away. If you get the puck in the offensive zone and you have a lane to the net, take it to the net, shoot it because as soon as you start stick handling, everything shuts down. So I think if we just play a little bit faster, move the puck faster, we'll generate more offense."

The second game in this two-game series goes tomorrow at 3pm PT at Father David Bauer Arena at the University of British Columbia. Get there early to grab a seat as the last time you'll see an NCAA team in Canada this season happens then!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 30 August 2019

First Look

Experience at university-level hockey earns a team at least a win or two every season. There are games where having been in a situation before gives one an advantage, and the Manitoba Bisons have had that advantage over other teams over the last few seasons. This season, however, sees a significant shift in the program as youth is the name of the game with ten new players joining the squad to fill in for graduates and departed players. With the vast amount of rookies, just two fifth-year players, and roster spots up for grabs all over the lineup, the rebuild the for the Bisons starts with this season.

Clearly, experience will have to be gained this season, so let's start this article by stating the obvious: winning the U SPORTS National Championship likely isn't in the cards this season. Canada West is arguably the hardest conference in U SPORTS women's hockey to advance to the National Championship from, and it doesn't get any easier this season with the other seven teams reloading their teams with new weapons. Earning a top-two finish in the conference as the Bisons have done the last couple of seasons in helping them get to the national tournament likely isn't happening either.

With the team taking the ice tonight in their first exhibition game of the 2019-20 season against Team Manitoba, it is important to temper any expectations as I've done above. The team that came out tonight was mostly rookies with a couple of key veterans who will need play important roles this season, so here's your first look at the 2019-20 University of Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team from my perspective.

As pictured above, defender Jenai Buchanan was the best player on the ice for the Bisons tonight on both sides of the puck. Jenai has always been a steadying presence on the blue line for the Bisons, but she skated with authority tonight as she pushed the puck up the ice. Her powerful stride reminded me of last season's captain Erica Rieder, and we know how well she pushed the puck up the ice with her skating ability.

Jenai scored Manitoba's first goal tonight on the power-play with a nifty move around a defender to create space before wiring a wrist shot high blocker-side on future teammate Meagan Relf that the netminder had little chance of stopping. Buchanan, in my opinion, looks ready for the season.

Megan Neduzak, Brielle Dacquay-Neveux, and Chloe Snaith were the other non-rookies on defence tonight, and all were steady in their own zone while being responsible with the puck coming out of their zone. If there was one thing that head coach Jon Rempel and his staff may need to fix, it's finding shooting lanes. Snaith found a number of her shots blocked by the primary defender on her, and this could be attributed to her lack of playing time last season. Snaith, otherwise, was very good as the second-year player used her speed and smarts on a number of occasions to make plays.

The final two defenders were rookies as Camille Enns and Camryn Gillis filled in the spots made available by the graduations of Rieder and Alexandra Anderson. The two showed excellent defensive play in their own zone in this first game, not getting caught out of position nor overplaying against attacking players. If Enns and Gillis are going to be on a rotation this season with Lauren Warkentin sitting out tonight, the Bisons have two players who can easily step in and replace any of the veterans without problem. Both Enns and Gillis looked sharp tonight.

Goaltending tonight was handled by Amanda Schubert, and the veteran seemed a little off in the early moments of the game as Team Manitoba swept a puck by her, but she returned to her old form that Bisons fans will remember. She made a couple of Schubert-esque saves in the second period to keep Team Manitoba from taking lead, and she seemed to have good communication with her defenders all night long.

If there is one thing I'd want to see different, it's Amanda's positioning in the crease as I found she was back on the goal line too often. This seems to be a trait of goaltending coach it Gavin McHale as we saw it with Lauren Taraschuk last season, and I wasn't a fan of her positioning for most of the season. I'm never going to question someone far more skilled than I am when it comes to do anything, but I fear that this deep positioning in the net may result in additional goals against with a goaltender of short stature like Schubert as there is more net to shoot at with her standing on the goal line. I guess time will tell on this one.

Before we get to the forwards, let me asterisk this with a few comments because there's one thing that seemingly all great lines have, and that's chemistry. With seven new players in the twelve forwards tonight, the chemistry was nil among these players. That being said, it's the first game in the preseason schedule, and chemistry is built through repetitive learning and actions. In other words, chemistry should be built as we progress through the preseason.

Among the veterans who played included Sheridan Oswald, Mikaela Fisher, Madison Cole, Emilie Massé, and Katie Chatyrbok. Fisher showed her usual tenacity and determination that we've come to know, and the Bisons will need that this season. Chatyrbok looks far more confident than she did last season, and she was using her speed in the neutral zone to create separation while skating the puck into the opposing zone. Oswald showed her nose for the net with a handful of shots, Massé showed some spark by driving the front of the net with the puck, and Cole showed solid play at both ends of the night. For the younger veteran Bisons, tonight was a good showing of what they need every night from these players.Sarah

Of all the new forwards tonight, Kate Gregoire stood out for her relentless pursuit of the puck in all three zones along with her speed in creating separation from defenders. She seems to have that explosiveness to break away from the pack as seen in her prep school days, and her speed is built for the university game. Gregoire should be a lock up front for the Bisons this season.

Sarah Dennehy made her mark in getting a couple of great looks at the net on the night, including denting iron on a breakaway. Polina Goncharova, the Moscovian winger, was in on a number of plays and showed some great work ethic on the night in winning puck battles along the boards. Samantha Sichkaruk, the former Regina Rebel, looked solid in the center position while being defensively-aware, and Molly Kunnas played a decent game as a power forward.

If there was any player who may need the year to just get into university hockey, it might be Kunnas. You can see she has all the ability needed to play university hockey, but her skating stride needs to improve in order for her to really build speed down the wing. It's not that she isn't a good skater, but she uses a choppy stride that doesn't allow her to accelerate quickly. I suspect that having Venla Hovi as part of the coaching staff will see her work with Molly on her skating, but she plays like Kostenko with her size and ability early on. If she gets that skating stride a little smoother, the sky's the limit for Molly.

Overall, the Bisons played well yesterday for their first game. After Team Manitoba went up 1-0 off a McKiya Mazur goal just 2:31 into the game, the Bisons responded on the power-play when Jenai Buchanan went shelf over Relf as stated above. The second period saw Kate Gregoire chip in her first goal in Bisons colours when she found a loose puck in the crease and shoveled it under Natalie Williamson to make it 2-1 midway through the period. Manitoba's defence locked down their zone, not allowing Team Manitoba many opportunities once they gained the lead. Mikaela Fisher would ice the game with an empty-net goal with 8.4 seconds to play.

I'm sure Jon Rempel and his staff will address a few things with the ladies today, but there wasn't a lot that was egregiously noticeable at first glance. Turnovers at the blue line and in the neutral zone will need to be tightened up when one considers the damage teams can do in Canada West off those turnovers, but the Bisons played a solid game for their first showing of the season.

Champions aren't built overnight, but this new crop of Bisons looks like a solid foundation to build on for the next five years as they look to return to the top of the U SPORTS podium!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 29 August 2019

The Hockey Show - Episode 362

The Hockey Show, Canada' only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns to the airwaves tonight with stuff for you to win! Ok, well, it's not a ton of cool shwag or anything, but it will get you into certain places for free and allow you to see some high-quality entertainment! Beans and I have a handful of Season Passes for Bisons Sports to give away on the program tonight, so you'll wanna hunker down by the radio or have your internet-enabled device set to UMFM to win! There won't be any special skill-testing questions or anything - just old-fashioned giveaways for specific callers! We'll do that between all of the other info we need to go over tonight on The Hockey Show!

We have a ton of stuff to go over when not giving out passes to Bisons Sports events, so make sure you settle in for this one. Beans and I will start with Bisons Sports as the season opens for one team this weekend while others begin their preseason schedules. There are some new faces, returning faces, and new additions that should be highlighted, and one former Bisons men's hockey player has found himself a new home for this season. The Jets, Lightning, and Hurricanes all signed players. Two Winnipeggers made a national team. UBC welcomes the NCAA to Thunderbird Arena. Sportsnet cuts a couple of key guys from their broadcasts. A Friend of the Show signed to play in a new league with a new team. An arena got a new name. And we'll run down some key upcoming episodes that you may want to circle on the calendar. It's going to be a busy show once more thanks to stuff happening, so make sure you join Beans and I tonight at 5:30pm CT on UMFM!

How do you join us, you ask? The new UMFM website's online streaming player is pretty awesome if you want to listen online. If you're using an Apple device, the player doesn't seem to like Safari yet, but we highly recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store or perhaps another browser. If you do use the TuneIn app, you won't be disappointed. It's a solid app.

Having lost faith in Facebook, I spend far less time on that site for good reasons. In saying that, you can still email all show questions and comments to! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter! We're here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz and Beans discuss additions, subtractions, making the cut, making cuts, schedules for the next few months, and much more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the web stream!

PODCAST: August 29, 2019: Episode 362

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Corporate Changes

Over the years at Rogers Sportsnet prior to the network acquiring the rights to NHL hockey and all its properties, there was solid talent who started to make inroads as competent, capable, and knowledgeable analysts. One of my favorite shows to watch was Hockey Central at Noon thanks, in large part, to Daren Millard who I had watched on sportscasts locally while he was a member of Winnipeg's media community. With the inclusion of an improving Nick Kypreos, who had been honing his talent at Sportsnet on both TV and radio, the show had at least one analyst who had played the game. The addition of former NHL general manager and coach Doug MacLean was a bit of a wild card on the show, but MacLean at least could play devil's advocate to Kypreos' analysis. In short, the show was structured well.

News came out of the Toronto today that none of these men would be returning to Rogers Sportsnet this year. While I understand Rogers Sportsnet is going through some restructuring to find profitability on their television side, sacrificing true talent in these men seems a little drastic. Of course, contract negotiations can result in one or both parties walking away from the negotiating table, and it seems that all three of Millard, Kypreos, and MacLean will seek employment elsewhere on better deals than perhaps what was offered.

Millard's announcement came at the beginning of August, and I found this one to be a strange move considering he's spent two decades with the company. Millard has done both radio and TV for Rogers Sportsnet, and his versatility seemed to make him rather easy to move into roles that may need a seasoned broadcaster. He was, in my view, one of Sportnet's best broadcasters, and his decision to move on was a bit of a head-scratcher from a broadcasting standpoint.

Perhaps, as it seems, that was the beginning of the exodus.

I understand the new for companies to profit. It's kind of how the entire monetary system works. The issue is that the price of those profits is often talent. It happens in all industries where CEOs and Boards of Directors decide to thin their workforce because profits slipped a fraction of a percentage point, and the shareholders have to be satiated rather than asking why this happens. I'm not here to set up Economics Blog in Canada, but the end result is that very good, hard-working, talented people decide that the pay cuts or lesser salaries they're offered doesn't equate to the loyalty they have for the brand and the efforts they've put in to make it as good as it is today. Again, it happens everywhere, and talent will find new places to work by people who are willing to pay them what they seek.

Nick Kypreos will undoubtedly land back on television somewhere as he has connections, he's informed, he's played the game at the NHL level, and he had become one of the more refined panelists on Sportnet in any hockey discussion. All of that talent and experience will lead to him finding employment somewhere. Perhaps he'll end up on a regional television station as an analyst or with a national brand such as the NHL Network. What should be clear is that Nick Kypreos will be able to choose what job he wants next as opposed to seeking a job in hockey broadcasting.

Doug MacLean seems like he'll have a bit of a harder time finding broadcasting work, but I have a feeling that, after working in the United States as a general manager and coach, he'll likely end up doing television in the US. MacLean's experience in the game is something that can't be overlooked even if his opinions on Sportsnet were sometimes mocked, but MacLean brings a perspective that is unique to most panels in working with expansion teams. Seattle seems like a bit of a stretch when it comes to MacLean's next position, but it might make sense if they're looking for a guy who has been through the expansion process for their television broadcasts.

An era at Sportsnet is over as Hockey Central at Noon will certainly have a new feel after three of the main cogs on that show have left. Kypreos' contributions on Hockey Night in Canada shouldn't be overlooked either as he was a valuable contributor there, but that opens a chair for someone new to step in and hone his or her craft. As it stands, Sportsnet is less today than what it was yesterday.

An era ends. A new one begins. Such is change.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 27 August 2019

Leader Of The Next Generation

She may not look it in this picture with her beaming smile and her flowing locks coming out from under her helmet, but Alyssa White is a leader for the next generation of women's sledge hockey players and girls across this great nation. Alyssa is 14 years-old, and the Winnipegger broke through a pile of barriers - notably age and ability barriers - in a big way when she was named to the Canadian Women's National Para Ice Hockey Team! She is the youngest player on the team by three years, and #27 should be one to keep an eye on when the national takes to the ice this winter!

What makes Alyssa's story so cool is that she hasn't let anything get in her way when it comes to chasing her dreams. She was born with spina bifida – her spine and spinal cord didn't develop in the womb as they should. This can affect a person in a number of ways, most notably in their mobility. Specifically, Alyssa was diagnosed with lipomyelomeningocele, a form of spina bifida that sees a fatty mass attach itself to the spinal cord. MRI scans detected the mass on her spine, leading to the diagnosis, but that's really where the unfortunate part of this story ends because everything about Alyssa's life has been her ability to manage and overcome obstacles and barriers to become one of Manitoba's most dynamic young women.

According to this Global News story, "Alyssa has had at least a dozen surgeries on her legs and feet to help her mobility. Today, she needs no specialized equipment to live her life as a healthy teen aside from a walker and leg braces." Not only is she overcoming the perceived setbacks presented by spina bifida, she's conquering life in ways that most adults have yet to do. Alyssa was chosen to be Children's Rehabilitation Foundation's youth ambassador in Manitoba this year, and she's hoping to help her sport - women's sledge hockey - included at future Paralympic Games!

As reported in the story, Alyssa's family had to delay a trip to Disneyworld because of the young lady's desire to make the national team. Alyssa made good on her end of the deal, though, officially making the team with the release of the team roster today for the 2019-20 season!

(click to enlarge)

There's nothing I like more than good stories about people inspiring others, and Alyssa White should be an inspiration to all! At 14, I never had any concept of playing for a national team, but, like another hockey phenom in this country, White could be the Hayley Wickenheiser of women's sledge hockey. As you may recall, Wickenheiser started with the Canadian women's ice hockey team when she was just 15, so the parallels about their youth seem applicable. That being said, Hayley went on to have a long and prosperous career with Hockey Canada that saw her accumulate all sorts of awards and accolades, but it all happened because she was dedicated to her craft and put in the hard work needed to be the best. As it stands, Alyssa White is standing on that precipice, and I feel she's going to do some amazing things when all is said and done.

The one thing that may slow Alyssa's greatness on the ice? Her work off it. As per the Global News story, she told reported Allison Dunfield, "I really want to become a professional sledge hockey player and a veterinarian." Becoming a veterinarian is no small feat and requires countless hours in classrooms and labs to hone one's craft, but that too is an awesome goal for Alyssa to have. I have no doubt that she's going to reach whatever goals she sets her sights on, and she's the kind of person who will undoubtedly demand excellence from both herself and her teammates in any setting, especially on the ice with the Canadian national team.

Well done, Alyssa! You've already got a fan in me!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 26 August 2019

Three-Year Cycles

If there's one thing that happens far too often in minor-league hockey, it's the changing of the clothes that teams wear. Each year, there seems to be a handful of teams that decide to change their looks by introducing new jerseys or completely redesigning their look. And we're not even talking all the promotional jerseys they wear. Sometimes, the chance comes by necessity as a team changes ownership or affiliation, but often it seems to be on the whim of the franchise. Perhaps this helps them generate key revenue that the team needs, but it's a big ask of their fans to continue to update their wardrobes with the new looks every few years. The ECHL's Orlando Solar Bears are one of those teams, and they seem to be on a three-year jersey refresh cycle.

Here is the new look for the 2019-20 Orlando Solar Bears.
There's nothing overly innovative here, although that orange alternate jersey will likely earn comments about "pylons on the ice". The purple-and-orange has long been the chosen colours of the Solar Bears, and the home and road jerseys work well with the designs and the colours. Numbers are easy to read, the jerseys have traditional stripes to help break up the uniform components, and they feel like hockey jerseys from an aesthetics standpoint.

It seems that this change may have coincided with an affiliation change as the Solar Bears moved on from the Toronto Maple Leafs to become the ECHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning in late August of 2018. There likely wouldn't have been enough time for a jersey redesign that close to the start of the ECHL season, so perhaps this change is related to that. The problem I have with this change, however, is that the Solar Bears just updated their uniforms in 2015-16! Here's what they wore for the last three seasons.
There's clearly less orange on the old jerseys, but I like the understated uniforms that the Solar Bears were using. While that white jerseys seems like it could use a shoulder yoke, the double chest stripe works for me. The black alternate is unnecessary regarding the colour when the purple and teal combination likely could have been used for the alternate base colour, but those jerseys are no more, so I'm not going to take them to task for that.

But hold the phone, folks, because the Orlando Solar Bears were also affiliated with the Minnesota Wild and Houston Aeros in 2012-13, and they came up with new jerseys at that point as well! Here are the jerseys worn by the Solar Bears in 2012 for the three years they were affiliated with the Wild!
As you can see, these jerseys, made by SP, mimicked the Reebok apron strings while still using sublimation to work the teal colour in. The home and road jerseys used different logos, and there were only two jerseys when they were introduced. Note this because it will change midway through 2013. I don't like the fact that there are no stripes, and the weird angles that seem to trace a player's hips just make these look awful. I'm not a fan, but to each their own.

The reason I asked you to note the change in 2013 is because the Solar Bears introduced this alternate jersey, seen to the right, on December 28, 2013 with some fanfare. These jerseys seemed to polarize fans - either you like them or you don't - but I think they're a good alternate jersey because it grabs a colour that Orlando used as an accent and makes it front-and-center. The sun is also something that Orlando is known for, and using the sun to make it an "O" really accentuates the "solar" part of Solar Bears. Personally, it's a very clever design, and I'm a fan. Others, however, didn't like it and it died in 2015 when the team swapped affiliations and had their jerseys redesigned.

As seen with the Solar Bears, the NHL affiliation changes have prompted new jersey sets for the franchise. Perhaps their affiliation with the Lightning will be longer than three seasons and we won't see a change in 2022 for the club, but nothing is ever written in stone in minor-pro hockey. If there's one thing that Solar Bears fans can be sure of, it's that they likely need new jerseys if they want to continue to support their team as they currently look.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 25 August 2019

A Bronzed Panda

Back on July 13, I had mentioned that the young lady to the left - Madison Willan - was headed to Mexico. Madison made the Canadian women's baseball team, and she headed to the 2019 COPABE World Cup qualifying tournament in Aguascalientes, Mexico to try and secure a spot for Canada at the 2020 Women's Baseball World Cup. The top-four teams would qualify automatically, so Canada had a lot to play for after being ranked second in the world entering the tournament. And it would turn out that Madison Willan played a role in how Canada finished this tournament!

Willan, as stated in the July 13 article, is slated to play hockey for the University of Alberta Pandas this season once she gets to the Edmonton campus. She's a heckuva hockey player, but she's also a stellar ball player as evidenced by her history-making play in 2017 when "Willan became the first player in Women's National Team program history to hit a home run out of the park when she crushed a 3-run shot at the Washington Nationals Youth Academy". Maybe a minor-pro team should consider signing her if they need a clean-up hitter?

Canada began the tournament strong with three-straight wins over the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Cuba before running into the Americans who hung a double-digit loss on the Canadians. The following day, the Canadians suffered a second loss against Venezuela before they rallied to beat Puerto Rico, putting the Canadians in the top-four teams at the tournament. The win also set them up against Mexico in the bronze medal game that they played today.

The first two innings of today's game saw Mexico hold the Canadians scoreless before Madison Willan flexed her muscles and broke the game open. Madison launched a three-run homerun over the fence in the third inning as part of a four-run frame to put Canada up. Carrie Jespersen hit a solo shot in the fourth inning, and Canada broke the game open with a six-run inning that activated the mercy rule as Canada took this game in five inning by an 11-1 score!

Former UBC Thunderbirds hockey player Amanda Asay earned the win in the bronze-medal game, surrendering just one run on five hits with one walk, one hit batsman, and four strikeouts. The 31 year-old was a consistent threat all tournament, hitting in the middle of the order with power while drawing walks with some good plate protection.

"Our ability to bounce back from those two tough losses in the middle of the tournament was most impressive," Asay said after the celebration. "We even had a slow start to today's game, and then we really came on fire, so the resiliency and heart came out here."

Willan, one of today's heroes, added, "It's unbelievable. It definitely wasn't an easy tournament for all of us – we had to battle a lot throughout the week, and it was great for all of us to come together in this bronze medal game and really put together a well-played game."

With Canada finishing with the bronze medal in this tournament, they have automatically qualified for the 2020 Women's Baseball World Cup. They actually found out they had qualified last night when Cuba upset the Dominican Republic, but Canada wanted to finish the tournament strong with a win and a medal to show for their efforts.

"It shows that baseball in Canada is growing," Asay stated. "We had a big turnover coming into this tournament, so to show that we have a new generation, another set of younger players who can come up and do another really excellent job, it shows the strength of women's baseball in Canada right now."

Kudos go out to Madison Willan whose homerun today kicked off an onslaught of runs from the Canadians. Along with Willan and Asay, there was another Canada West hockey player on the roster as well. Kaitlyn Ross, who will suit up for the Mount Royal Cougars this winter, also brought home a bronze medal with the Canadian women's baseball team, serving as a backup catcher in this tournament!

Clearly, Canada West is getting some amazing athletes coming into programs this winter, and has featured some incredible athletes when one considers the amazing career of Amanda Asay on the diamond. These three women, along with their teammates, have made this Canadian baseball fan extremely proud, and I can't wait to see Willan and Ross on the ice this season for Canada West hockey action!

Congratulations, Team Canada!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 24 August 2019

Going For A Second Cup

There is unfinished business in Tampa Bay when it comes to this past season's ending and with Brayden Point still unsigned this late into August. General Manager Julien BriseBois made headlines by signing goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy to a monster deal earlier this summer, and he's making waves again today as he went out and brought in a Stanley Cup champion on a rather inexpensive contract as he signed St. Louis native Patrick Maroon to a one-year, $900,000 deal. Maroon's deal allows the Lightning to get a little bigger around the net and on their bottom-six without costing them an arm and a leg. For Maroon, this may give him the best chance to win a second Stanley Cup before he winds down his career.

His ten goals and 28 points in 74 games likely wasn't why the Lightning saw Maroon as a good add. Instead, his efforts in the playoffs where he was a physical presence while scoring three goals and seven points in St. Louis' 26-game Stanley Cup-winning postseason is more what BriseBois needed for his team.

"We're very pleased to add Pat to our organization today," BriseBois said in a press release. "He brings size and physicality to our group as well as significant playoff experience. We expect Pat’s to be a great addition to the roster."

He also brings the experience of winning a Stanley Cup and knowing what it takes to make that happen - something the Lightning desperately seemed to need in their four-game exit at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Maroon isn't going to win a scoring title nor will he change the way the Lightning play over 82 games, but he's a good locker room guy who can add a handful of points and will take a beating in front of the net to help someone else score. The Lightning could have used that against Columbus, and they'll have that piece of the puzzle for this upcoming season.

This is a great signing by BriseBois, and it could be that missing element that the Lightning needed. Like Bryan Trottier when he signed with the Penguins, the elder Maroon will provide experience and leadership to a younger team in the Lightning while playing in a defensive role for the team. Getting that kind of experience and leadership usually costs money, but the Lightning found a nice deal in Maroon for less than a million bucks.

If he wins a second Stanley Cup, it might just be the deal of the summer.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 23 August 2019

Why Stop At Four?

Arizona State University is a still a newcomer to the NCAA Division-1 men's hockey ranks having played just four seasons at college hockey's top level. They turned heads last season by qualifying for the NCAA men's hockey tournament for the first time ever, and followed up that impressive feat by getting their first NHL family tree recruit to commit to the university when 17 year-old Josh Doan, Shane Doan's son, committed to play hockey at Arizona State on June 21. He'll join the team in 2021, adding to ASU's already-impressive list of NHL sons that include Austin Lemieux, Carson Briere, and Jackson Niedermayer. Maybe when he arrives, ASU will have a dozen or so jerseys for their season?

I make that remark with tongue-in-cheek as the Sun Devils announced today that they were introducing the jersey to the right thanks to adidas. That, folks, is the new ASU "Gold Heritage" jerseys - yes, a heritage that includes four years of NCAA D1 hockey - that the team will wear on certain dates in their upcoming fifth season. The first date selected will be the season opener against Mercyhurst University on October 5 in Tempe, Arizona. If you want to see the jerseys in action, you can catch the game on the ASU Live Stream.

I like the yellow jersey. There's nothing wrong with the colour, the name across the chest has the applicable college feel to it, and I'm a fan of the Arizona outline of the state around the captaincy marks. The "Forks Up" mantra written inside the collar make sense for the players, but it's a rather useless feature otherwise as no one will ever see it. The maroon stripes with the white accent stripes give this "Heritage Jersey" an old-school feel, so it gets a thumbs-up from me based on the design.

So I have to ask the question: why does ASU need four jerseys for a 36-game season? If you count the fact that they wore a special jersey for their trip overseas to play the KHL's Kunlun Red Star earlier in August as seen to the left, ASU will have worn five different jerseys in their fifth season of NCAA play when everything is said and done. This seems like some serious overkill for an NCAA hockey team, but I'm not the one making decisions for the club nor paying tuition to support the club. I get that the Sun Devils will have some great players wearing the jersey soon, but they could retire the black jersey in exchange for the yellow one and not miss a beat.

Anyway, I like the look of this new "Heritage Jersey". It's clean and simple, and it should resonate with hockey fans. The Sun Devils must be making some serious coin down in the desert with the hiring of Eddie Lack as their goaltending coach and now getting multiple new jerseys in one season. Or could the Sun Devils men's hockey team be to adidas what the Oregon Ducks football team is to Nike?
Perhaps there's some fire where smoke is seen?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 22 August 2019

The Hockey Show - Episode 361

The Hockey Show, Canada' only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns to the airwaves tonight with a rather serious topic that we feel should be addressed. Every year, it seems, there is a player, or players in some cases, who steps forward to report that they were a victim of hazing. Every year, it seems, there is an incident of someone uttering a homophobic or racist remark on the ice, field, court, or where sports are played. Beans and I have addressed stuff like this on The Hockey Show before, and we've made it pretty clear that we both think these actions are despicable and abhorrent. However, we're just a couple of goofs on the radio, so maybe our message didn't hit home as well as it should have. Tonight, we intend to change the delivery of the message.

The woman pictured to the left is doing some ground-breaking work out at the University of Calgary in her role as Sexual Violence Support Advocate. Her name is Carla Bertsch, and she's working with the Calgary Dinos athletes to educate them on a number of important topics such as sexual violence, gender socialization, consent and hazing prior to the 2019-20 school year. So far, the reviews from the Dinos women's hockey team, the first team to complete the training, have been excellent, and, with hockey season starting shortly and other sports gearing up for the winter, Beans and I knew we had to speak with Carla. Tonight, we welcome Carla to the show and we'll talk hazing, sexual violence through hazing, homophobia in sports, racism in sports, and more as we get smarter about something that no one ever wants to discuss. It's a far more serious show than we usually run, but I feel this is a topic that everyone should be able to discuss with athletes, coaches, and fans, and we'll start that discussion tonight with Carla Bertsch of the University of Calgary at 5:30pm CT!

The new UMFM website's online streaming player is pretty awesome if you want to listen online. If you're using an Apple device, the player doesn't seem to like Safari yet, but we highly recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store or perhaps another browser. If you do use the TuneIn app, you won't be disappointed. It's a solid app.

Having lost faith in Facebook, I spend far less time on that site for good reasons. In saying that, you can still email all show questions and comments to! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter! We're here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz and Beans get smarter as we talk to University of Calgary Sexual Violence Support Advocate Carla Bertsch about sexual violence, gender socialization, consent, hazing, and much more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the web stream!

PODCAST: August 22, 2019: Episode 361

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Take Me Out To The Game

If there's one thing that I enjoy in the summer evenings, it's heading down to the ballpark for a little baseball. The local, independent team is the Winnipeg Goldeyes who play out of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, and they've had some success over the two decades they've been playing ball in this city. It's always a good time at the ballpark while being rather inexpensive entertainment, and the Goldeyes know their market well. How do I know this? They're doing another annual theme night this season that always seems to draw a big crowd!

Late in the season each year as hockey season approaches, the Winnipeg Goldeyes host "Hockey Night at Shaw Park"! There are hockey-themed giveaways during the course of the game, fans are encouraged to wear their favorite hockey jerseys, and the on-field games and entertainment are always hockey-related. There are usually some minor hockey teams that have been invited to the park to catch the game, and the Goldeyes often have a hockey icon or two on-hand to sign autographs. And, as seen to the right, the home team comes out in hockey-like jerseys to play the game as part of the festivities!

The Goldeyes will take the field on these jerseys on Tuesday, August 27 when the Gary Southshore Railcats visit that night, and there's a pile of good stuff happening at ballpark to go along with the action on the field. The Manitoba Moose will be at the game and have a table setup for information, so the local AHL club will be well-represented at the ballpark. There will be a fireworks show after the game, so make sure you plan for a later evening if you're headed to the game. And if you are going to the game, check out The Dugout at some point in the evening to grab yourself some Goldeyes Hockey Night merchandise!

I am proud to say that I will be attending next week's game to take in Hockey Night at Shaw Park. There's something great about watching live baseball while enjoying a hot dog and a beverage, and adding the hockey layer to the game only makes it more enjoyable when walking around the park and seeing the jerseys people are wearing. I can tell you that last season's game saw the Islanders' Fisherman jersey make an appearance as my mom, an avid baseball fan, wore it to the game, and there were a number of people who stopped to ask about it. I haven't decided what jersey I'm going to wear this year, but I have some time to make that decision.

If you're in the Winnipeg region and you want to go to the game, head over to the Ticketmaster website and get yourself a ticket. Tickets range between $14 and $26, so it's not like you need to take out a second mortgage to attend. There are lots of great tickets still available at the time of publishing this article, so find a seat you like and take yourself out to the ballpark!

Hockey Night at Shaw Park is always a homerun!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Are You Serious?

I hold out hope each and every day that the world is getting smarter. There are days where I feel that humanity breaks through the ceiling by which it seems trapped, and then there are days like today where I find myself shaking my head. As seen in the image to the left, all of the jerseys in the GIF share one common trait: none of them have the full team name on them, only a shortened version or a nickname of the team. In each and every case, it baffles me that teams are willing to cast their own logos and brands aside in exchange for one of these nicknames or shortened versions of their true names. But I guess it's better to be hip or cool than to have people respect the name with which one chose to brand one's self.

Today, the Carolina Hurricanes unveiled a new road jersey that they'll wear going forward because the old one simply wasn't cool enough for them, I guess. Whatever the reason given for the change, the end result will see the Hurricanes take the ice on the road in this abomination.
Look, I'm going to hit the positives first here because there are some things to like. The white jersey is clean and crisp with its tight sleeve stripes and the normal storm warning flag stripe at the bottom hem. While I would have liked a red shoulder yoke again, I can live with the white on the shoulders. It's a simple design that allows the logo to stand out... that is, if they actually had a logo on this jersey.

And that's where I draw the line. As stated above in the opening paragraph, all of the jerseys shown in that GIF have a shortened version or a nickname of the team on the front of the jersey where the logo or brand should be. There is no way that a team in the National Hockey League should ever not use its logo or branding on its jersey, particularly one of its primary jerseys, unless it's running a one-night minor-league promotion. And there are exactly zero days in any NHL season where an NHL franchise should be running a minor-league promotion.

If team nicknames aren't used on official documents nor on official releases from the team, why is it acceptable for teams to wear team nicknames on their uniforms? Hint: IT'S NOT.

Look, I get that the Hurricanes have a little swagger in their steps after their improbable run to the Eastern Conference Final last season. I get that they have a bit of a chip on their shoulders with the heat they took over their post-game celebrations. I understand how they bought into and adopted the "Bunch of Jerks" moniker as they employed an us-vs-the-world attitude. There's nothing wrong with any of these and they need to build on their run from last season using all these tactics, but it doesn't warrant nor justify taking their main logo off their road jerseys in exchange for a nickname. EVER.

Mike Forman, Hurricanes vice president of marketing and brand strategy, told, "This uniform is intended to be a modern take on our classic road jersey," except this take is neither modern take nor a good take on what was a great look already. TSN's Pierre LeBrun reported that Hurricanes owner Mike Dundon didn't like the road jersey last season, and that this redesign came from that dislike.

It's within the owner's playbook to rebrand his team if he likes. After all, he owns everything from the logo to the jerseys to the wordmarks. However, Forman went on to tell, "Our 'Canes' nickname is how the vast majority of our fans affectionately refer to us and we want to bring a piece of our fans with us on the road by featuring it as the crest logo."

Again, I draw the line here. This is perhaps the dumbest justification for the admitted use of a nickname on the front of a jersey in the history of the game. Your fans never demanded a new jersey and they still followed the Hurricanes when on the road regardless of whether they were the 'Canes, the Hurricanes, the Bunch of Jerks, or any other name they've been given. Changing the road jersey's primary logo to reflect what the owner and/or franchise perceives as fan affection is, without any hesitation, the worst hockey decision ever made regarding a jersey redesign in the history of the game. I say that without exaggeration. And as Chris Smith of writes, "(L)et this be a one and done situation.

"Teebz," you're saying, "you're too much of a traditionalist." I can accept that labeling if you like. However, I fully believe that a team's logo is sacred ground and something that should never be altered unless absolutely needed. Minor changes I can accept, and the logos of the Red Wings, Bruins, Blackhawks, Maple Leafs, Yankees, Packers, and Cowboys have stood the tests of time over their long histories thanks, in large part, to those logos remaining virtually the same from year to year and decade to decade. No one ever questions why the Packers haven't slapped "The Pack" on their jerseys or why the Yankees don't come up with a "Bronx Bombers" jersey.

For all the good that this jersey brings, it would have been capped off beautifully with the Hurricanes logo on the chest. Instead, the Hurricanes go and do something unspeakable at the highest level of professional sports by making their franchise look like a minor-league promotional night by slapping a nickname across their chests - something that has been roundly admonished and clowned when other franchises have done it.

Epic fail, Hurricanes. And I'm disappointed more and more by this redesign each time I glance at it.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 19 August 2019

Heading Outside

You may have heard that there will be an outdoor hockey in Canada this year as the Winnipeg Jets will set up show as the home team against the Calgary Flames at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan for the 2019 Heritage Classic! And while the NHL game will be a big deal in the Queen City, there is another game that will hit the field at Mosaic Stadium on Sunday, October 27, one day after the Jets and Flames do battle at the home of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The WHL's Regina Pats will host the the Calgary Hitmen in a classic Western Hockey League showdown, marking that game as just the third outdoor game in WHL history!

Back in 2011, there were a pair of outdoor games, marking the first time the WHL had its teams venture outside for a game. The Spokane Chiefs met the Kootenay Ice on January 16, 2011, and it was likely a game that Kootenay - now Winnipeg - would like to forget as the Chiefs crushed the Ice in an 11-2 rout. 7075 fans showed up at Avista Stadium, home of the single-A Spokane Indians baseball team, to cheer on their WHL lads as they put the walloping on the Ice. 102 penalty minutes were assessed in the game as the physicality wasn't lost in the outdoor atmosphere in Spokane, Washington.

The second game featured two teams already mentioned here as the Calgary Hitmen played host to the Regina Pats at McMahon Stadium following the 2011 Heritage Classic that featured the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens. On the afternoon of Monday, February 21, 2011, the Pats met the Hitmen at the home of the Calgary Stampeders for their second game of the weekend after defeating the Pats 2-1 in a shootout on the Friday before the outdoor game. On this day, there would be less of a blowout than what was seen in Spokane as Chandler Stephenson, now of the Washington Capitals, buried the game-winner with 36.5 seconds to play to push the Hitmen past the Pats by a 3-2 score. It should be noted that this game set the CHL record for attendance as 20,888 fans showed up to McMahon Stadium to watch their Hitmen down the Pats. It broke the previous record of 20,081 fans who attended the OHL game between the Ottawa 67’s and Kingston Frontenacs at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa on December 20, 2004.

The fans in Regina usually come out rabid when there's football being played, so I expect a near-capacity crowd for the NHL game that will take place on Saturday, October 26. However, Regina is proud of the Pats, and we may see 33,000 fans show up and smash that CHL attendance record on Sunday when the Pats and Hitmen tangle once more. Tickets to see the WHL game are very reasonable, checking in at $18.50 with taxes and fees included, and will be available for purchase next Thursday on August 29. If you're a Regina Pats season-ticket holder, you already have a ticket reserved for you as part of your ticket plan!

If you're going for the Heritage Classic game in Regina, do yourself a favour and stay for the WHL game the next day. WHL hockey is fast, exciting, and physical, and the outdoor setting at Mosaic Stadium will be one you won't forget. Isn't that how hockey is supposed to feel and be remembered?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 18 August 2019

Crafting Young Minds

The man in the Vancouver Millionaires uniform, complete with the Vancouver "V" on his pads, is Eddie Lack. Lack hasn't been seen in NHL nets since 2018 and hasn't played much professional hockey aside from six games with the Binghamton Devils last year as he needed surgery on his hip. The Swedish goaltender known as "The Stork" has been conspicuously absent from free agent talks this summer as he recovers, and he decided to put out a tweet a couple of days ago to update fans on where he's been and what's going on.

Let's start with the tweet released by the goaltender who has suited up for Leksands IF, the AHL's Manitoba Moose, Chicago Wolves, Charlotte Checkers Stockton Heat, and Binghamton Devils, and the NHL's Vancouver Canucks, Carolina Hurricanes, Calgary Flames, and New Jersey Devils.
If you didn't click on the tweeted message, Lack is still working through his recovery from hip surgery after playing in pain for the last six seasons, and he's going to spend his time working with young goaltenders as the goaltending coach for the NCAA's Arizona State University Sun Devils! How cool is that?

Yes, I would like to see Eddie Lack back in professional hockey, but it's pretty cool to see him giving back during his recovery from surgery. The 31 year-old will likely have to work hard to unseat an up-and-comer when he does decide to return to the pro ranks, but his experiences in big games and around the professional game should prove to be gems of wisdom for the ASU netminders this season.

Best of luck in your recovery, Eddie, and here's hoping ASU has a big season at the NCAA level thanks to some stellar goaltending!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 17 August 2019

Cleveland In '37?

I was involved in a bit of a discussion yesterday about the relocation of hockey franchises. Obviously, the original Winnipeg Jets and the Hartford Whalers were brought up along with both Atlanta NHL franchises, but it was asked of me if I knew the history of the Montreal Maroons moving when it seems like Montreal would be one city who could have supported two franchises historically. The Maroons only lasted in the NHL from 1924 until 1938 in a hockey-mad city, so what prompted their move? And where did they go once the move was inevitable?

I went digging through old newspapers, and I discovered that the reason for the Maroons' move was waning attendance numbers across Montreal as a whole. Not only were the Maroons suffering from declining attendance figures. Part of the problem started in 1935 when one single entity took over the operations of both teams thanks partly due to the Great Depression causing financial problems for a number of people. One of those people was Leo Dandurand, owner of the Montreal Canadiens, who sold the team to the Canadian Arena Company in 1935, making the CAC owners of both teams in Montreal.

With the francophone population much larger than the anglophone community in Montreal, the Canadiens saw better support at the box office than the Maroons did despite the financial strains of the Great Depression. As a result, it became apparent that two teams existing in Montreal was unrealistic, and the Maroons were put on life support in 1936-37. It would be the summer of 1937 where things went from bleak to inevitable regarding the move of Maroons to another city.

We need to go back to 1937's Board of Governors meeting to discover the details of what was proposed. We'll check in with The Montreal Gazette on July 15, 1937 for what happened at said meeting.
It's interesting that Ernest Savard proposed that visiting teams get a cut of the gate receipts, essentially suggesting a profit-sharing plan as far back as 1937. The Canadian Arena Company, of which Savard was a part owner, did need some financial help in supporting two franchises, but it sounds like the other owners at that time were less than receptive to the idea.

In any case, the NHL decided to come up with a three-person committee to examine the fate of the Maroons in Montreal. That committee was made up of NHL President Frank Calder, Jim Norris Sr., and Colonel John Reed Kilpatrick. If the last two names seem familiar, Norris Sr. was the owner of the Detroit Red Wings and Kilpatrick was the President of Madison Square Garden and the New York Rangers. The committee, it would seem, would have their hands full in trying to figure out how to keep the Maroons in Montreal. The only other option would be to move the franchise, and The Montreal Gazette identified Cleveland, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh as possible destinations.

Still, this small article seemed to only reveal a fraction of what I needed to know. I pressed on through the newspaper archives, and I discovered a July 15, 1937 article in The Calgary Daily Herald taken from the wires of Canadian Press as written by George Maguire. He filed the following report:
There are certainly more details in Maguire's report. As he wrote, the entire Board of Governors meeting was occupied by the Canadiens-Maroons problem which led the group to ignore the financial problems of the New York Americans. The Americans, as it was, only lasted four years part the demise of the Maroons, ceasing operations in 1942. Perhaps they should have been discussed as well.

Maguire reports that the committee "was granted 'full powers to act on any plan they select to ameliorate the professional hockey situation in Montreal.'" It's important to note that this would include the relocation or suspension of a franchise in Montreal if they saw it as the best course of action. It's also noted that the merger of the two franchises was not an option on the table whatsoever. Clearly, the NHL Board of Governors at the time felt that this situation in 1937 was far more dire than the NHL had let on in previous seasons.

It's here where we get our first impression that Cleveland could have been the front-runner for the Maroons franchise. Alf Sutphin's name is mentioned, and he was an owner of the Braden-Sutphin Ink Company in Cleveland. He also owned the Cleveland Falcons in the International-American Hockey League which he purchased in 1934, paying his players better than what players in the NHL received, and built the Cleveland Arena seen in the lede photo.

At the end of the article, the New York Americans' situation is mentioned, but Maguire mentions that sources told him that the league felt it could "dispose of the New York team to persons financially responsible if it felt so inclined." That's an interesting take during the Great Depression, but it would be another major world event that would eventually force the Americans to cease operations.

With the lingering financial difficulties hovering over the team and no decision issued by the committee, Maroons President Donat Raymond declared that the Maroons would remain in Montreal in September 1937, prompting the league to press forward with a schedule for the season. Star player delivered another blow that the team didn't need when he retired prior to the start of the season to enter politics where he won a seat as a Liberal in the Ontario general election.

King Clancy was hired as the coach, but his efforts were rather futile and he was fired on December 29, replaced by the man who hired him in General Manager Tommy Gorman. With the team bleeding money and having zero star power, the Maroons finished the season at 12–30–6, last in the Canadian Division and last overall in the league.

Over in Cleveland, Sutphin had renamed the Falcons to become the Cleveland Barons, playing three seasons in the International-American Hockey League as the Barons before the league shifted to simply the American Hockey League in 1940. Sutphin would eventually sell the franchise in 1949, but the Barons would remain a fixture in the AHL and in Cleveland through to 1972 when the NHL finally came to town.

With the Maroons in serious financial trouble, the team requested that its operations be suspended at the Board of Governors meeting on June 22, 1938. The Board of Governors voted this idea down at the time, hoping to keep its eight-team league intact. By August 1, the NHL needed confirmation that the Maroons were participating in the 1938-39 season, and the Board of Governors finally gave into the Maroons' request to suspend operations.

Where things went a little crazy was that the majority of the players on the Maroons team that sat in limbo were moved to the Canadiens despite there never being a formal merger between the two teams. If you recall, the Canadian Arena Company owned both teams, so they essentially just moved its players from the failing franchise to the operational one. The Canadiens, it should be noted, finished in sixth-place in the seven-team NHL, barely benefitting from the addition of the Maroons players.

The CAC owners attempted to sell the rights to the Maroons franchise to a group from St. Louis, but the NHL Board of Governors expressed concern with the financial stability of a team in St. Louis and denied the sale. The team sat in limbo for the next six seasons until a group came forward from Philadelphia fronted by Canadiens board member Len Peto in 1945. After clarifying the Philadelphia group's situation with regards to financial stability, the NHL agreed to sell the Maroons to this group who would begin play in the NHL in Philadelphia in 1946. The NHL also added that if nothing happened with the franchise by 1947, the team's membership in the NHL would be dissolved.

The Philadelphia group closed the deal for purchase of the Maroons franchise rights, but discovered a bigger problem once they secured the rights to the Maroons - there was no rink in Philadelphia that could accommodate an NHL team! The group had originally wanted to move into the Palestra at the University of Pennsylvania, but the Palestra had no ice plant to install ice. The Philadelphia Arena, which did have an ice plant, only could seat 5500 for hockey and had poor sight lines for hockey games, making it unsuitable by NHL standards in 1946. That left Peto with one option: build his own rink. He proposed a 20,000-seat arena to be built for the 1947-48 season, but was unable to secure the $2.5 million in funding for the new rink. With no suitable rink in Philadelphia, the NHL made good on its promise and dissolved the membership of the Maroons franchise at the conclusion of the 1946-47 season.

The Maroons lasted 14 years in the NHL, and spent another nine years as a suspended franchise in the NHL. It wasn't a heartfelt goodbye nor did they pack their bags and leave in the cover of night, but the Maroons did eventually leave Montreal. While the Great Depression was a major factor in the demise of the Maroons, a lack of funding for an arena really did cost the NHL a franchise in Philadelphia.

You wonder what would have happened if the Maroons had moved to Cleveland under Alf Sutphin. Might we have had an Original Eight assuming that the NHL could have solved the financial issues of the New York Americans? Would that have led to the New York Islanders never being created? Where would the California Seals have moved to Cleveland if the Cleveland NHL franchise survived that long?

These are all questions that have no answer, but it's interesting to think of how history would have changed, in some cases dramatically, had the NHL opted to move the Montreal Maroons to Cleveland in 1937.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 16 August 2019

The Golden Bison

It's a big year in the city of Buffalo for its NHL team. As you can see to the left, it is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Buffalo Sabres, and, like any major birthday or anniversary, it seems the Sabres are prepared to throw a big party to commemorate their founding. There are announcements to come, including one further down on this article, but the Sabres are celebrating their birthday as if they were teenagers by going out and getting new clothes! Buffalo will have an alternate jersey this season that they'll wear to celebrate this historic season, and while it's not red-black-and-silver, it does introduce a new colour into the colour scheme for at least one season before they'll change the jerseys again next season. Like that foreshadowing? Let's check out what they did.

The new jersey, pictured to the right, has a significant amount of gold where it appears they normally would use yellow. The stripes on both the sleeves and hems are gold with a navy blue stripe for contrast, and the font used is navy blue surrounded by gold. Clearly, the logo has swapped out all the white and yellow in exchange for gold in those spots. Needless to say, the Sabres are celebrating their golden anniversary with a lot of gold on their alternate jerseys. I don't mind the use of the gold colour on the sleeves, hem, and outline for the name and number, but I do believe that changing the logo for any reason should never happen. The Sabres logo is already one of the best in hockey, if not all of sports, but this is a one-season jersey. I suppose I can live with it for a year.

The rest of the uniform feels like it will be pretty standard with the navy blue pants for contract between the white jersey and white socks. I'm assuming the socks will have the similar five-stripe pattern that the sleeves and hem do, so that uniformity across the entire uniform should look pretty good. However, as you can see, the Sabres will go with white gloves for the first time in their history with navy blue accents and the manufacturer's mark in gold. White gloves have been seen on other teams, most recently on the Vegas Golden Knights, so they may be the new trend in the NHL for teams to use just like lace-up collars and sublimation were once popular. I would have preferred a navy glove, but I can work with the white gloves. They fit the uniform as it stands.

The Sabres are using the hashtag #Sabres50 on some of their marketing. When written in capital letters, it shows up as #SABRES50" which, when glanced at quickly, sounds like a variation of an espresso shot that one may add to coffee. While this is a minor quibble, it could be an interesting marketing twist if the Sabres decide to offer a "Sabresso" shot to coffees served at KeyBank Center. If they do this, I'm claiming the idea. My demand? One nickel from every coffee sold with Sabresso in it. Wait, would that make those Buffalo nickels? I could be rich!

The dates where the Sabres will wear their 50th anniversary jerseys has already be set. Mark your calendars if you're heading to the game or watching on TV because here are those dates:

October 5 vs. New Jersey Devils
November 2 vs. New York Islanders
November 29 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
December 2 vs. New Jersey Devils
December 12 vs. Nashville Predators
December 27 vs. Boston Bruins
January 30 vs. Montreal Canadiens
February 6 vs. Detroit Red Wings
February 13 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
March 5 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
March 21 vs. Chicago Blackhawks
March 22 vs. New York Rangers
April 4 vs. Philadelphia Flyers

If you're keeping track at home, there's only two Western Conference teams in those 13 dates, the Devils appear twice, all Original Six teams appear, and they face divisional rivals four times in those jerseys. It's an interesting selection of teams, but those are your dates to see them play at home in white. Perhaps the hockey gods will smile upon the Sabres for opting to wear white at home.

Overall, I can live with these uniforms for one season. My only major complaint is the changing if the colours in the logo because I think commemorating a franchise's founding by altering the logo is a minor-league move, but at least they didn't put a Roman numeral or a "50" into the logo. I like the white jerseys, the striping works, and these will be worn at home, so the good outweighs the bad on this uniform.

And as promised off the top, the Sabres even hinted at their uniforms for next year as they enter the next fifty years of their franchise's history. On their webpage, they wrote, "The Golden Season also holds significance in that the Sabres will be wearing their current navy uniforms for the final time. Beginning in 2020-21, the team will return to royal blue as its primary color." In other words, the colours of Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin, Rene Robert, Pat Lafontaine, and Alexander Mogilny will return! How great is that?

Enjoy your birthday, Buffalo Sabres. Make it a memorable one!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 15 August 2019

The Hockey Show - Episode 360

The Hockey Show, Canada' only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back tonight as we near another milestone! I was looking at that number above - Episode 360 - and it dawned on me we're one month of shows away from celebrating the seven complete seasons of The Hockey Show and going into an eighth season. That's pretty remarkable considering everyone we've met, interviewed, chatted with, and welcomed to our world over the years. We've been through an NHL lockout, we've seen plenty of trades and free agency moves, we've witnessed graduations, and we've seen players retire. Seven years of radio work has been pretty darned rewarding, and we're nearing the precipice of starting the eighth season! Stay tuned for that!

Beans and I are going over all the news stories over the last month as our Summer of Interviews takes a week off. There has been significant news generated from all over the hockey world since we last checked in mid-July, so it's time to get back to basics and work through these stories. Among the topics tonight will be the inactivity with the RFAs in the NHL, Calgary got a new arena using significantly more public funds than had been previously proposed, the Brandon Wheat Kings and Winnipeg Ice finalized their coaching staffs for the upcoming WHL season, Tampa Bay puts all of its eggs into the Vasilevskiy basket, the Islanders appeared poised to move into the Belmont area, and we'll squeeze in anything else that seems relevant on tonight's show! It's going to be a busy hour, so please join us at 5:30pm CT for all the chatter!

The new UMFM website's online streaming player is pretty awesome if you want to listen online. If you're using an Apple device, the player doesn't seem to like Safari yet, but we highly recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store or perhaps another browser. If you do use the TuneIn app, you won't be disappointed. It's a solid app.

Having lost faith in Facebook, I spend far less time on that site for good reasons. In saying that, you can still email all show questions and comments to! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter! We're here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz and Beans talk unsigned players, signed agreements for arenas, newly-signed coaches, expensive contracts that have been signed, and much more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the web stream!

PODCAST: August 15, 2019: Episode 360

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!