Thursday 31 October 2019

The Hockey Show - Episode 371

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back tonight with a rather scary topic that I feel doesn't get talked about enough. Tonight's topic is certainly a tough one as it's neither a trick nor is it a treat for anyone living with symptoms of CTE and medical issues relation to concussion. It takes a toll on the players, on their families, and their teammates when news of their suffering and troubles gets out, and I find it to be a scary situation for all involved. The men we once cheered for their fearlessness and toughness have been reduced to shells of themselves in their post-playing days, and it's becoming more and more prevalent as the science on concussions and CTE improves.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with CBC award-winning journalist, author, and musician Jeremy Allingham to discuss his new book, Major Misconduct: The Human Cost of Fighting in Hockey, and we had a very good discussion on what he saw, learned, and experienced in meeting three men whose lives have been changed by repeated concussions while playing hockey in James McEwen, Stephen Peat, and Dale Purinton. Jeremy and I talk about his book, the former players he spoke with and what has happened after they hung up the skates, his experiences in writing the book, and some of the science that been put forth about concussions and long-term effects on athletes who have suffered multiple concussions. It's a rather serious and scary topic, but there are silver linings on some of the dark clouds we discuss. You'll want to hear this discussion between Jeremy and I if you play or know a player because the stories of McEwen, Peat, and Purinton are rather sobering when you hear how they live their lives today. Tune in at 5:30pm on 101.5 UMFM for the interview!

Where's the best place can you hear 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 sits down with CBC's Jeremy Allingham to discuss his new book, Major Misconduct: The Human Cost of Fighting in Hockey, and the stories within about about long-term concussion effects in players after they retire only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the web stream!

PODCAST: October 31, 2019: Episode 371

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 30 October 2019

Aulin, Stovin, and the EIHL

You have to love that unbridled celebration that Manchester Storm forward Jared Aulin let loose after scoring an overtime winner against the Belfast Giants back in September. That's the kind of celebration we were used to seeing from Aulin as a member of the Los Angeles Kings, as a Colorado Avalanche, and as a Calgary Dino here in North America, over in Sweden with Orebro, and in Switzerland with Rapperswil-Jona. Aulin, a former guest on The Hockey Show, has always been a solid scoring forward and hard worker no matter where he's gone, but he seems to have found himself a new hockey life in Manchester, England this season!

The Storm, who currently sit in ninth-place in the ten-team EIHL with a 1-7-2-1 record, haven't had the storybook season where Aulin comes in and the fortunes of the team do a full 180-degree turn. Hockey is still a team game that requires everyone to do their part each shift in each game to win hockey games. While they've fallen short in the early-goings of this 2019-20 season, it's fairly clear that Aulin has found a home in Manchester with his inspired play on the ice.

While it seems like their record might indicate a long, hard road ahead, Manchester finds themselves just nine points back of the first-place Sheffield Steelers. They're three points out of a playoff spot, and have only lost a game by more than three goals once this season - a 4-1 setback against the Glasgow Clan this past Sunday. With games against the tenth-place Dundee Stars and the first-place Steelers on November 9 and 10, there's a good chance that they'll grab two points at minimum to put themselves back in the playoff conversation.

To add some fun to the upcoming league games, the Storm downed the Steelers 6-2 on October 18 in the Challenge Cup, and will face those same Steelers this weekend in a second Challenge Cup match. In what appears to be a three-game series between the two clubs, the Storm have a chance to put a real dent in the Steelers' hopes of winning the Challenge Cup while being a thorn in their sides during the regular season. Who said hockey in England wasn't fun?

Aulin, for his part on the Storm, leads the team in points with that overtime goal and eight helpers. The 37 year-old was expected to bring some strong two-way play to the Storm, and he and brother-in-law Layne Ulmer have been showing some solid chemistry as if they were real brothers in leading the team in scoring. Jared, it seems, was looking for a new opportunity this season, and one of the things he was seeking was fun. When the chase to sign on with Manchester presented itself to give him the opportunity to join his brother-in-law on the ice, it made the decision that much easier.

One of the key things for Jared is that he was seeking a good opportunity to not only play hockey, but to become part of a community that supports a team as he had felt in Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden when he played in those locations. As he told Storm TV, "I like to connect and get to know the fans, get to know the people of the city, not just my teammates. I want to feel that where I'm playing, I want to feel at home and get to know the area and people in the area."

Manchester, it seems has embraced their new Canadian forward as Aulin and his teammates look to improve their standing. Aulin, who scored the shootout winner against the Belfast Giants on October 19, is one of a number of players who joined the EIHL this season, and the talent level in the league has shown solid growth as Marc-Olivier Vallerand - a key pickup for Sheffield - leads the league in points with 18 while teammates John Armstrong and Robert Dowd sit second and third, respectively in league scoring. Elgin Pearce, a standout at the University of Calgary, leads the Dundee Stars in goals and points, and former QMJHL standout and Concordia University forward Anthony Beauregard has shone beside Pearce in Dundee. Needless to say, these few examples have already shown that EIHL hockey is better than what it was just five years ago, and players looking for an opportunity should give the league some serious thought.

Speaking of the Dundee Stars, one of the guys who gave it some thought was former Bisons forward Brett Stovin! Stovin, who has two goals and an assist thus far, has been a solid two-way player for Dundee, winning 51.2% of his face-offs and is a -1 on the tenth-place team in the league. Clearly, the game learned by Stovin at the University of Manitoba is helping the Stars this season, and that's a credit to Stovin's dedication to his craft.

Overall, the EIHL is highly-competitive this season thanks to an infusion of talent from all over the world. While no one will ever mistake the EIHL for the AHL at this point, the fact that there are good, young players showcasing their talents throughout Great Britain should prove beneficial for future generations of Great Britain hockey.

Remember that Team Great Britain will play at the 2020 IIHF World Championships thanks to their showing at last year's tournament, their first appearance at the IIHF's top-tier tournament since 1994! Making the EIHL more competitive will only benefit Britain's national squad, and it seems the fans in the stands don't mind the infusion of talent either.

Players like Jared Aulin, Brett Stovin, Layne Ulmer, and Elgin Pearce will make national team players like Brett Perlini of the Nottingham Panthers, Robert Dowd of the Steelers, and Mark Richardson of the Cardiff Devils better on the international stage because they've already pushed their games to new levels thanks to the talent coming into the EIHL. That how you grow the game for an emerging nation on the world stage!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 29 October 2019

Your Search Function Is Broken

Occasionally, I'll use an aggregate service when I'm looking for old or funny stories on hockey. It doesn't happen often, but if I need a chuckle or want to find something crazy, I usually hit the Digg website. Digg aggregates all sorts of stories from across the internet and social media for visitors to read, so there's likely something on there for everyone. I know there were a couple of hockey stories over the last two weeks - Andrei Svechnikov's lacrosse-style goal and Sonny Milano's between-the-legs goal - that were on the site, but I wanted to find something a little less prominent. That's where the search function on Digg would help.

I went to search Digg today for something hockey-related, and the search returned everything but hockey. Here are my search results from just the first page of what Digg returned to me.

Remember, in the last two weeks, there were two hockey stories posted. Neither were at the top of this search that I performed, and the word "hockey" didn't appear in any of the returned stories until I loaded more stories twice. In fact, I expanded the search to within one month, and the word "hockey" was seen just once on the Sonny Milano goal article that was posted.

Just for fun, the other words that the search returned were:
  • hacked/hacker (7 times)
  • shocked/shocker (8)
  • locked/locker (6)
  • pocket (6)
  • rocked/rocky (3)
  • mocked (2)
  • rocket (2)
All of the words "jockey", "hooked", "donkey", "sockeye", "rocker", "monkey", "Mickey", and "socket" occurred once in the search results - the same number as the exact word "hockey" did! Being a search engine guru, I even used the old quotations marks around the word to see if it would match exact instances, but the search results all came back identical to the search results without the quotation marks. I'm no webpage designer, but something is seriously wrong with Digg's search function.

In any case, if you needed to find something on Digg that was posted in the last few weeks, good luck. It will eventually be in your returned search results, but you may have to DIGG through a ton of crap to find what you actually need.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 28 October 2019

An Unbelievable Finish

I watched the stream of this game yesterday after people on social media were talking about it, and the end was something only Hollywood would have written. Except it happened in real-life. If you missed the kerfuffle on social media, Canada's men's field hockey team is going to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games after an unlikely victory over Team Ireland yesterday. While I'll post the story of the closing minutes of the game below, I do want to expand upon why this important as well. Don't kid yourself - this is gigantically important.

With the Irish players celebrating what appeared to be a hard-fought win over the pesky Canadians, the umpires were off examining video replay to determine whether or not Canadian striker Jamie Wallace was taken down in the penalty area. After what seemed like forever, the umpires returned a verdict - a penalty stroke would be awarded to the Canadians!

Scott Tupper, captain of the Canadian squad, was picked to take the penalty stroke. Tupper, playing in his 307th game for Canada, put the weight of his team and his country on shoulders, and struck the ball true to find the back of the net to tie the two-game match scoring at 6-6, sending the game to an unlikely shootout when it seemed that all hope had been lost.

If you thought the drama was done there, the shootout brought all sorts of new heart palpitations for viewers, fans in attendance, players, and coaches.

Ireland wasted no time in the shootout, making good on their first three shots. Canada, on the other hand, scored once, meaning that they needed to score on their final two shots while goalkeeper David Carter had to stop the final two Irish shooters. With Canada already having defeated ridiculous odds once just to remain alive in this game, why not do it again, right?

Two goals and two stops later, Canada was square with the Irish squad at 3-3 and heading to a sudden-death shootout! Ireland scored; Canada responded. Six shooters each, four goals each. On the next Ireland attempt, the shot was missed, opening the door for the most unlikely result considering everything that had happened. And it would be this moment where Adam Froese's name would be etched into Canadian history.

Every time there's a Summer Olympiad, I usually devote this space to the field hockey event. The sport is an incredibly exciting event to watch, and the athleticism and abilities of the players are extraordinary. In short, it's a sport I enjoy watching, and I wish I could see more of it in my neck of the woods.

There are just three teams that play the game at the university level in Canada West - Victoria, UBC, and Calgary - and all three teams are women's teams. U SPORTS, as an organization, doesn't even offer a men's field hockey championship, so it's likely there are no teams playing anywhere across Canada at the university level unless they are playing locally against other organized teams. In short, there aren't many men's field hockey teams across Canada that one could play with even if one wanted to make this his chosen sport.

Of the 25 players who suited up for Canada against the Irish, 22 of them are from British Columbia. The west coast province seems to be the unofficial home of field hockey in Canada, and they have one of the oldest established clubs in Canada in the West Van Field Hockey Club which was established in 1972. That's not to say there aren't places across Canada where the game is played. Rather, it seems that for a country of nearly 40 million people, the population of British Columbia churns out nearly all of the elite-level talent when it comes to field hockey in Canada.

We've heard the women's hockey world claim "You can't be what you can't see," and it is entirely applicable to field hockey in Canada for both men and women. There are no kids playing it locally, and there are very few who are interested in it nationally. A large part of this comes from the fact that Canada hasn't been very good on the Olympic stage against the superpowers of the world, but Canada routinely posts medal wins and podium finishes at the Pan-American Games that get almost zero media attention. Why is that?

Look, I get that Canadian field hockey stories don't sell newspapers nor do they generate clicks for websites, but there needs to be some attention paid to these teams when they do amazing things. This is the only the second time since 1964 when Canada entered a field hockey team at the Olympics that they've qualified for consecutive Olympiads. That's incredible news, but I'm guessing most of you had no idea about that. And that's ok - I'm not blaming you for not knowing. What I am saying is that the next generation of potential players don't even know they're the next generation because Canada simply pays zero attention to its national field hockey teams.

The admission I'm making here is that I'm just as guilty as everyone else. I didn't watch the first game between Canada and Ireland, and I only tuned in when social media started talking about the second game. I should be doing more, but it doesn't hit my radar often enough that it gets pushed to the background outside of big stories like the one above. With Canada now qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, I'm pledging to keep an eye on the Canadian men's team as they begin their quest to win gold in Tokyo next summer.

HBIC will cover the men's and women's tournaments in Tokyo just as I've done with other Olympiads. I try to watch the games because I do enjoy the sport and it's exciting and entertaining. But covering the sport for two weeks every four years is doing the sport a major disservice on my part, so I'm committing to bringing more field hockey stories to HBIC. It starts here, and it will continue when news breaks in the field hockey world.

"You can't be what you can't see" - truer words have never been spoken.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 27 October 2019

The Rundown - Week 4

Four weeks into the season, I don't believe anyone outside of the Lethbridge Pronghorns' locker room would have said they'd be in first-place of the Canada West Conference. As surprising as this is, it probably shouldn't be considering how well they've played in all three zones and in all facets of the game. That being said, the challengers trying to track them down include two names often seen at the top of the standings in the Alberta Pandas and the Saskatchewan Huskies. Seven teams were chasing down the Pronghorns this week, so let's see who did what to help their own causes in this week's edition of The Rundown!

In what was the marquee match-up of the weekend, the Lethbridge Pronghorns traveled north to Edmonton for a date with the Alberta Pandas as these two teams sat 1-2 in the standings. Alberta may have been the favorite going in, but Lethbridge is making believers out of everyone so this game had all the intrigue of a heavyweight title bout. Lethbridge started ace goaltender Alicia Anderson while the Pandas started undefeated Halle Oswald!

The first period saw all sorts of action in the Lethbridge zone as the Pandas were determined to score early and often on the Pronghorns. There was one problem with that thought, and she wears #1 for the Pronghorns as Anderson was spectacular in denying all opportunities for the Pandas int he opening frame. Oswald was far less busy, but the 0-0 score remained on the scoreboard after 20 minutes of play despite Alberta holding a 10-3 edge in shots.

The second period was more of the same as the Pandas continued their relentless attacks on the Pronghorns. As hard as it may be to believe, they actually turned up the heat compared to their first-period effort, but Anderson was putting on a goaltending clinic in the Pronghorns' zone as she denied chance after chance while her defenders cleared rebounds. That would prove important as Alli Borrow won a puck battle along the end-boards in the Pandas zone before throwing a centering pass out front that found Kyra Greig, and she wired it past the glove of Oswald to put Lethbridge up 1-0 at 9:59! Down a goal, the Pandas went back to work, but Anderson wouldn't allow anything through to the twine behind her as the horn sounded on 40 minutes of play with Lethbridge up 1-0, but being outshot 28-9 by the Pandas!

The third period saw a goal before the water on the rink surface had frozen. Alberta, trying to break out of their zone, saw Kennedy Ganser make a no-look pass to a breaking Panda as she came around the net, but the pass missed its intended target and Madison Porter scooped up the loose puck and fired a wrister to the far top corner past Oswald to put Lethbridge up 2-0 just 30 seconds into the period! Anderson would continue putting on a show through this period as she denied the Pandas time and time again, but the offensive onslaught would finally break through late in the period when Alex Gowie slid a cross-crease pass to Regan Wright who tapped it in at 15:40 to make it a 2-1 game. That would be as close as the Pandas would get on this night, though, as the Lethbridge Pronghorns went into Clare Drake Arena and came out with the 2-1 victory! Alicia Anderson was the story of this game as she earned her fifth win with a 41-save performance while Halle Oswald suffered her first loss after stopping 11 shots.

Highlights of this game are below!

SATURDAY: After throwing everything, including the proverbial kitchen sink, at the Pronghorns one night earlier and coming away with nothing to show for it, the Pandas would load up the offence again in trying to find the split on Saturday. For the Pronghorns, if it was done once, it could be done again, so could they pull off the improbably sweep in Edmonton? Alicia Anderson was back in the nets for the Pronghorns on Saturday while Kirsten Chamberlin was sent to the blue paint for the Pandas.

It was a far more defensive start to this game as it seemed like the teams needed a few minutes to get their legs under them after a track meet-like game on Friday. Midway through the period, though, we'd see our first goal as Kyra Greig made a nice move to get the puck past a defender before shoveling a cross-ice pass to an unchecked Tricia Van Vaerenbergh, and she buried it past a sprawling Chamberlin to put Lethbridge up 1-0 at the 10:46 mark. The Pandas wouldn't waste any time in letting that lead stand as they responded 4:05 later when Abby Benning pushed her own rebound under Anderson and into the net to tie the game at 1-1. The two teams would be content in not letting the other gain an advantage before the break, so we'd go to the intermission tied 1-1 with Alberta holding a 6-5 edge in shots.

The second period felt like it was taking place on Friday as both goalies put up walls in front of their cages. Alberta had a couple of great chances only to be robbed by Anderson while Lethbridge's few chances in the middle frame were denied by Chamberlin. Despite a 9-4 advantage in shots in this period by the Pandas, the score remained 1-1 through 40 minutes.

Early in the third period, the Alberta power-play would finally strike on the weekend. Alex Poznikoff's feed into the middle was redirected by Madison Willan past the screened Anderson at 3:08 as the Pandas grabbed their first lead of the weekend at 2-1! 4:08 later, the Pandas would strike again as Poznikoff centered a pass right on the tape of Kennedy Ganser's stick, and she beat Anderson to make it a 3-1 game for the Pandas. From there, the Pandas shut down opportunities for the Pronghorns and Chamberlin held the fort as the Pandas earned the split with the 3-1 victory! Kirsten Chamberlin picked up her second win of the season with an 11-save effort while Alicia Anderson was saddled with her second loss of the season despite stopping 26 shots on this day.

Highlights of the Pandas win are below!

The third-place Dinos came into this weekend looking to measure their success against one of Canada West's best defensive teams in the Saskatchewan Huskies. We know the Dinos have solid goaltending, but can their offence find a way through that stingy Saskatchewan defence? And could Saskatchewan come up with enough offence to take points off another top team? Jessica Vance was in the nets for the Huskies while the Dinos countered with Kelsey Roberts as their starter.

Both teams came out seeking the first goal as there were chances at both ends of the rink. Calgary, however, began to exert their will offensively as they peppered Vance with shots, but nothing would get through in the early going. However, late in the period, Annaliese Meier would win a puck battle behind the Saskatchewan net before coming out on the left side with a wraparound that found space between the post and Vance's pad as Calgary jumped ahead 1-0 with 3:29 left in the period! That score would carry through to the intermission as Calgary held the lead and a 15-6 margin in shots!

The second period saw the Huskies double-down on their defensive efforts, keeping the Dinos to the outside and limiting shots. With that happening in the defensive zone, the Huskies upped their offensive attack thanks to a pair of power-plays midway through the period. While neither power-play was successful, there was an odd-player rush that did work in Saskatchewan's favour as the Huskies caught the Dinos on a line change and broke into the zone with a 3-on-1 where Isabella Pozzi found Emily Upgang with a pass, and Upgang went upstairs in a hurry past the blocker of Roberts to tie the game at 1-1 at 12:37! The Dinos would get themselves back in order following the goal, and they'd keep the Huskies from adding more as the tams went to the second break tied 1-1, but having Saskatchewan outshoot Calgary 10-3 in the middle frame.

The third period saw both teams pick up the offence as Vance denied a breakaway early in the period while Roberts was kicking aside pucks sent in on her by the Huskies. It would take the majority of the period, but we'd see another goal as Sophie Lalor's initial shot was stopped, but Abby Shirley jumped on the rebound and buried it past Roberts with 2:59 to play to put Saskatchewan up 2-1! The Dinos would pull Roberts for the extra attacker with 53 seconds to play, but it would be Lalor who deposited the puck into the yawning cage with one second to play as Saskatchewan took this game by a 3-1 score! Jessica Vance earned her third win of the season with a 32-save effort while Kelsey Roberts took the loss in stopping 21 of 23 shots.

Highlights of this one are below!

SATURDAY: After a defensive battle was won the night before on a late goal by the Huskies, the Dinos were looking to respond by splitting the series on Father David Bauer Arena ice. More than anything, Calgary was looking to keep pace with the other winners on Friday while trying to slow the Huskies ascension up the standings. The Huskies started Camryn Drever in this game while the Dinos went back to Kelsey Roberts.

These two squads clamped down defensively in the opening frame, not allowing either side to get many good looks at the opposing goal. Those shots that did find their way to the goalies were turned aside at either end of the ice. Despite the two sides trading power-plays in the opening frame, we'd move to the second period still tied 0-0 and with Calgary up 5-4 in shots.

The offences awoke for the second period as there were chances back and forth, but both Drever and Roberts were all about spoiling the fun by keeping the score tied at zeroes. Both sides had ample opportunities, but it would take a late power-play opportunity for the Huskies to break the stalemate. Sophie Lalor skated into the left face-off circle and let a wrist shot go that went into the crowd in front of Roberts, and it was Shyan Elias who got a stick on it to deflect it past Roberts with 37 seconds to play in the period for the power-play goal and, more importantly, the lead as Saskatchewan went into the second intermission leading 1-0 and up 18-14 in shots!

The third period saw both teams open it up once again as Calgary needed an equalizer while Saskatchewan pushed for an insurance goal. Once again, though, the goaltenders were having none of that goal-scoring chatter as both Drever and Roberts denied opportunities at both ends of the rink. Even with the extra attacker, the Dinos still couldn't solve Drever on this night, and the Huskies complete the sweep on the strength of a 1-0 victory! Camryn Drever denied all 22 shots sent her way for her second win and first shutout of the season while Kelsey Roberts deserved a better fate after stopping 27 shots.

Highlights of this game are below!

The easternmost Canada West team headed out to the left coast to play the westernmost team as the Manitoba Bisons met the UBC Thunderbirds in Vancouver. Both teams started this season slowly, but it seems that UBC is finding their stride once more after picking up points in four-straight games. Manitoba, meanwhile, needs to find some scoring after posting just three goals in the their last four games. Erin Fargey got the nod for Manitoba while Tory Micklash was in between the pipes for the T-Birds.

I'm not sure what happened on the plane to Vancouver, but the Bisons never got their game going whatsoever in this one as the Thunderbirds dominated this game from start to finish. Mikayla Ogrodniczuk scored on the power-play at 11:45 of the first period to get things going for the T-Birds as they led 1-0. Had it not been for Erin Fargey, this one could have been over in the first period, but the Bisons escaped from the relentless UBC attack down 1-0 and trailing 8-5 in shots.

Fargey was at her best once again in the second period as UBC simply exerted their will on the Bisons. The only power-play in the frame went to Manitoba, and that didn't make much of a difference. Fargey kept this a one-goal game through 40 minutes despite UBC holding a 17-8 advantage in shots.

The third period was more of the same as Fargey was doing her best to hold the fort, but it would only last for so long. At 14:24, Shay-Lee McConnell collected a Kenzie Robinson shot off the end-boards as Fargey was late getting across the crease as McConnell buried the puck, and UBC went up 2-0. Just 31 seconds later, Hannah Clayton-Carroll was the recipient of a cross-crease pass from Mathea Fischer as Fargey tried to locate the bouncing puck, but it would come to rest inside the net as UBC took a 3-0 lead! No matter how you slice it, the two shots that Manitoba managed in the period wouldn't be enough to tie the game had they scored on either, but the final horn sounded on a 3-0 UBC win! Tory Micklash had a very quiet night in earning her third win and second shutout on a ten-save night while Erin Fargey took the loss despite making 24 stops.

Highlights of UBC's goals are below!

SATURDAY: Manitoba was looking to change their fortunes after a stinker of a game on Friday while UBC looked to continue to collect points with another win on home ice. Amanda Schubert was in the blue paint for Manitoba while Tory Micklash was in her normal spot in front of the cage for UBC.

This game had much more even play in the opening period from both teams. Manitoba had opportunities that were denied by Micklash, and UBC's chances were turned aside by Schubert. Power-plays came often as UBC was whistled for four minor penalties compared to Manitoba's two minor penalties, but the goalies kept things even through 20 minutes as the game remained 0-0. UBC led in shots through one period by a 9-7 count.

The second period started the same way the first period ended as the two netminders traded saves once again. Just past the midway point of the period, though, we'd see the numbers change on the scoreboard. Kenzie Robinson got a shot away from the right face-off dot that Schubert kicked out with her right pad, but it went right out front to Ashley McFadden who chipped the rebound up and over Schubert to make it a 1-0 game for UBC! The goalies would settle back in for the remainder of the period doing what they do best, but UBC went to the second break up 1-0 and leading 19-13 in shots!

The third period saw UBC employ a suffocating defence as they looked to close out this one. As the period went on, Manitoba pressed for the equalizer, but Micklash was equal to the task. With 2:06 remaining in the game, Manitoba rolled out six attackers as Schubert went to the bench, but the extra player didn't change their fortunes in the last couple of minutes as the horn sounded on a 1-0 UBC victory! Tory Micklash denied all Manitoba shots for a second-straight night as she posted her fourth win and third shutout of the season while Amanda Schubert was good on 24 of 25 shots, but took the loss.

Highlights of this game are below!

The Regina Cougars headed west to Calgary where they met the Mount Royal Cougars as the two Cougars factions went to battle on the ice. Regina needed points to move out of the Canada West basement while Mount Royal was looking to continue to climb the standings. Points were vital in this game for both teams! Jane Kish was sent to the Regina crease while rookie Kaitlyn Ross was sent out to guard the MRU net.

This game started with chances at both ends, but neither goaltender was giving anything up early. A pair of penalties against Mount Royal gave Regina some glorious opportunities, but Ross was equal to the task. The game began to even itself out as the parade to the penalty box for both teams continued, but neither could gain any advantage in the first period as the teams went to the dressing rooms tied 0-0 with Regina holding a 6-2 edge in shots.

The second period featured just one minor penalty assessed to Mount Royal as the home side got their legs going and found some offence. Despite their efforts, they ran into Kish who turned aside all shots she saw. At the other end, Ross made a couple of big saves to keep Regina off the board, and we'd head to the third period still tied 0-0, but Mount Royal closing the gap in shots with a 6-5 edge in that frame.

The third period would see the deadlock broken early as Breanne Trotter picked up a loose puck behind the Regina net, stepped out on the left side, and roofed the puck over Kish just 47 seconds into the period as MRU went up 1-0! The two sides would trade opportunities over the next ten minutes, but we'd see another goal just past the midway point of the frame. Anna Purschke dug a puck out from a scrum along the boards, skated it deep into the Regina zone, and spotted Victoria Dyer on the backdoor as Dyer redirected the pass into the yawning cage behind Kish at 6:23 to put Mount Royal up by a pair! With time winding down, Regina pressed for goals, and they would find one with 1:02 left and the extra attacker on when Tamara McVannel's shot from the high slot found its way through traffic and past Ross to make it 2-1! That's all Regina would manage in this game, though, as Mount Royal held on for the 2-1 victory! Kaitlyn Ross earned her third win of the season in stopping 20 of 21 shots while Jane Kish suffered the loss after making 14 saves.

Highlights are below!

SATURDAY: If Friday's game was entertaining for Mount Royal fans, the home side saved the best for the second-half of this two-game set. In saying that and foreshadowing the ending of this recap, I'm not going to hammer away on the Regina Cougars. Here's what happened after Morgan Baker arrived at her net for Regina and Zoe de Beauville went out to the Mount Royal crease.

Just 1:49 into the first period, Mackenize Butz's point shot was tipped in front by Kate Scidmore past Baker, and MRU grabbed the early 1-0 lead. Regina, not content to let this game get away from them, battled back with some solid offensive zone series, but they couldn't get anything pas de Beauville in the first period. After 20 minutes of play, Mount Royal held the 1-0 lead and a 7-6 edge in shots.

The wheels, however, came off in the second period. Anna Purschke scored 1:07 into the period to make it 2-0. Ten minutes later, Purschke added her second of the game on the power-play at 11:55, and MRU went up 3-0. Kate Scidmore added her second of the game with a shorthanded marker at 18:24 to make it 4-0, and Tianna Ko would squeeze one additional goal in before the horn, adding Mount Royal's fifth goal with 13 seconds to play to make it a 5-0 game after 40 minutes. The 21-13 margin in shots held by Mount Royal seemed to matter little at this point.

Jaycee Magwood would snap de Beauville's shutout at 12:57 to make it a 5-1 game, but Kate Scidmore would record her first Canada West hat trick with a shorthanded goal at 19:53 to ice this game and send Mount Royal home with a 6-1 victory! Zoe de Beauville made 17 saves for her first win of the season while Morgan Baker made 20 saves on a day where six got by her.

Highlights of this game are below!

School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
16 20 15
Mount Royal
15 16 8
15 13 11
vs UBC
14 24 9
vs CAL
British Columbia
14 13 20
11 11 13
6 9 18
5 12 24

The Last Word

In a weird scheduling quirk, half of the teams have this upcoming weekend off as part of the conference bye while the other half have next weekend off. I'm not sure who decided this, but it's going to make for a couple of shorter editions of The Rundown over the next couple of weeks.

What is clear, based on the standings, is that Lethbridge is for real, Mount Royal and Saskatchewan are finding their ways, Alberta has to figure out how to score at five-on-five, Calgary is falling back to earth, and the two youngest teams in Manitoba and Regina are starting to fade out of the playoff picture. The four teams who play next weekend should provide some real insight as to who will finish where depending on results or whether this whole playoff picture is up in the air.

If there are trends to keep an eye on next week, Alberta's power-play is still clipping along at better than 34%, but their 12 power-play goals makes up half their total goals. If we take away the 14 goals surrendered to Alberta in Week 1 by the UBC Thunderbirds, UBC is is the best defensive team based on goals-against over the last three weeks. Saskatchewan, who has won four games in regulation time, only has a goal-differential of +2, so it's pretty clear that one-goal games are their specialty and blowouts won't be on the menu. And Calgary, who started so strong this season, has only managed five goals in their last six games, being shutout in three of those six games.

While these four teams put some distance between themselves and Manitoba with their play over the last few weeks, the trends say that nothing is even close to being decided in the Canada West Conference. As I keep repeating, this conference might be the hardest to win in Canada university hockey, and five points separating the potential six teams who are in playoff spots right now mean that anything can, and likely will, happen.

Why aren't you watching this amazing hockey, folks?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 26 October 2019

TBC: Major Misconduct

if there's one topic that has kept the NHL's legal team busy, it's the long-term health of retired players who have suffered from the effects of concussions. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has continually denied any link between these health issues and the concussions the players suffered while playing, so to say that watching some of these players break down physically and mentally following their playing days has been hard. While the NHL can deny the science, it's harder to deny that some former players are struggling due to mental health issues. In saying that, Teebz's Book Club is proud to review Major Misconduct: The Human Cost of Fighting in Hockey, written by Jeremy Allingham and published by Arsenal Pulp Press. Major Misconduct takes a look at three players and how their lives were affected after hockey after being enforcers or tough guys in professional hockey throughout their careers. Without ruining this review, this was a hard read.

From the Arsenal Pulp Press site, "Jeremy Allingham is an award-winning journalist and musician from Vancouver. He works for the CBC, where some of his most recent and poignant work has included in-depth coverage of the opioid crisis; the Northern Gateway Pipeline; the craft beer industry; local, provincial, and federal politics; and pretty much anything and everything music related." When he's not at his keyboard working on his new book or another investigative piece for the CBC, Jeremy is a musician who sings and plays guitar, recently releasing a new album entitled Run Wild. Jeremy and his family live in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The work that Mr. Allingham does in Major Misconduct focuses on the post-playing days of three players in James McEwen, Stephen Peat, and Dale Purinton. All three men played hard roles in professional hockey at every level, trading dekes and dangles for fists and intimidation in order to make a living in hockey. Mr. Allingham's examination isn't on their careers, but about how the men are faring once the they step away from the game. There is no pretending that they retired to a life of luxury and riches thanks to their careers. Instead, Major Misconduct is about the struggle with mental health and the effects that mental health had on their lives after these men suffered repeated concussions throughout their respective careers.

James McEwen's story might be the best story of the three players as McEwen dealt with a lot of bad before finding some good. McEwen never played in the NHL, but he did deal with all the players in the minor leagues who were looking to make names for themselves in an effort to move up to the next level. McEwen played just four games in the AHL, spending the majority of his career at the ECHL level where he racked up penalty minutes by doing what he did best in fighting. In his post-playing days, he showed symptoms of CTE and found himself addicted to painkillers and alcohol to ease the pain that came with his warrior days. McEwen admitted to Allingham that he had thoughts of committing suicide to end the emptiness and quiet the voices in his head he had at times.

Today, McEwen has found better times thanks to some help and some personal examination. He's been an outspoken advocate to end fighting in junior hockey based on his own experiences, and has suffered some excommunication from the hockey community because of his outspoken ways. While it seems a little hypocritical for the hockey community to keep him out the game for asking leagues and lawmakers to make the game safer, this is the reality of the sport today.

If McEwen is the good story, Stephen Peat's story is a sobering reminder that the toughest, meanest guys who patrolled the NHL are now the guys who struggle to even do the simplest things. Peat, who racked up 234 PIMs in 130 NHL games mostly through fights, has had a well-documented life after hockey that has seen the former NHL winger struggle with mental health, telling Mr. Allingham in Major Misconduct that he hears voices that he can't keep quiet in his head, suffers from headaches that never go away, and has lapses in memory that cause him to miss important meetings and dates. Unfortunately, some of those meetings have been for probation check-ins, resulting in Peat having to serve time in jail. Reading about Stephen Peat in Major Misconduct is a sobering reminder that for as feared as he was on the ice as a player, he's now a shell of the man he once was.

The final man that Mr. Allingham talks to in Major Misconduct is former New York Rangers defenceman Dale Purinton. Purinton racked up 578 PIMs in just 181 NHL games, but perhaps more extraordinary were the 415 PIMs in 62 AHL games he posted in 1999-2000 with the Hartford Wolfpack. Dale Purinton never said no to a fight in the NHL until later in his career when he began to dread the idea of fighting. As his career wound down thanks to his unwillingness to mix it up any further, Purinton tried to transition into everyday life. However, like Peat, Purinton ran into troubles with the law that saw him spend time in prison. In the end, Purinton's issues with alcohol in self-medicating for the pain he was experiencing led to a lot of his troubles, and he's since gotten clean and is living a better life while advocating for more help for players in their post-hockey lives.

While it sounds like Major Misconduct is just one bad story after another about men we used to cheer for on the ice, there are some chapters in the book that look at CTE and the science of diagnosing concussions and CTE before another athlete dies, why we allow kids to participate in on-ice fights, and what Mr. Allingham believes needs to happen in order to save more lives for players who are currently living the enforcer life in hockey. I won't mince words in saying that there are chapters that are hard to read when it comes to hearing about the struggles these players went through or are still experiencing, but it's this sobering reality that needs to be read, digested, and understood if things are to change. That, in my opinion, is what Major Misconduct is trying to achieve, and I appreciate Mr. Allingham's work in this difficult subject because I have a greater appreciation for what these men are experiencing.

With Major Misconduct having been released, I'll post this excerpt from the book. I'm hoping these paragraphs will bring into scope the importance of having the discussions surrounding fighting in hockey and protecting players who do the hardest job in hockey. if we don't start having more discussions on this as the science into concussions and CTE gets better, there will only be more players who share the same fate as Wade Belak, Rick Rypien, and Derek Boogaard.
Former Washington Capital Stephen Peat and former New York Ranger Dale Purinton decided at an early age that they would do anything to play hockey at the highest level - to prove that they were worth it, not only as hockey players, but as people. And once it became clear that their skating and shooting and passing might not be quite enough, they hung onto those NHL dreams with their fists. They fought recklessly and relentlessly, earning big money and playing in front of stadiums full of rabid fans.

But those dreams were finite and came with devastating consequences. Purinton and Peat became addicted to drugs, were estranged from their families and have been in and out of prison. Both men live with symptoms common with the degenerative brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
I cannot say enough good things about Major Misconduct in bringing to light the problems and the stories that James McEwen, Stephen Peat, and Dale Purinton have experienced during their playing days and since hanging up their skates. Major Misconduct will be a heavy dose of reality for a number of people who read the book, and I'm hoping that it leads to more discussions about the problems these players went through so that future generations of players understand the risks they're taking when dropping the gloves. Mr. Allingham's writing is clear and concise for easy reading even if the content of Major Misconduct is hard to read at points. Because of the writing, the message, and the hope for further discussions about what these players have experienced, Major Misconduct absolutely deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

Major Misconduct can be found at most libraries and bookstores. There are some instances of adult language in the book along with some very graphic discussions about mental health issues and the use of drugs and alcohol. Because of these instances within Major Misconduct, I would recommend this book for teens and older. The 249-page book is an eye-opener, so I hope you'll read Major Misconduct at some point!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 25 October 2019

A Place Where Hockey Matters

For those headed to the Heritage Classic in Regina, Saskatchewan this weekend to see the Calgary Flames tangle with the Winnipeg Jets, it sounds like it's going to be a good time as the city puts on a show for the NHL. I often ask why the NHL isn't doing more for Canadian university hockey, but perhaps I can temper that question a little now after today's announcement that will see the Saskatchewan Huskies and the Regina Cougars get some major support from the NHL.

Both the Huskies and the Cougars have solid hockey programs with long legacies. Both the men's and women's teams from the University of Saskatchewan have gone to play in the U SPORTS National Championship in recent years, and Regina has had some solid programs in the past with Regina winning the Canada West women's hockey championship in 2000-01 while the men have yet to win a championship, but have fielded a number of competitive teams. These two schools are, along with the WHL, the highest levels of hockey in the province of Saskatchewan for men and women, and the programs have always relied on former alumni and contributors to make improvements within their programs through scholarships and donations.

Today, however, the NHL, the Calgary Flames, and the Winnipeg Jets stepped up in a big way.
$300,000 will go a long way in helping four players each year make significant strides not only on the ice, but in the classrooms as well. What makes this a great initiative for the NHL and for the schools is that the four scholarships seem to not only support men's hockey, but women's hockey as well. That matters with the NHL looking at its own women's professional league at some point in the future when players such as Canadian Olympians Hayley Wickenheiser and Colleen Sostorics are from Saskatchewan while potential Olympians Kaitlin Willoughby, Emily Clark, and Sophie Shirley call the province home.

As per the NHL's release, the scholarship will awarded to candidates who "strive to provide a positive and inclusive environment, while also showing leadership and good sportsmanship on and off the ice". While the schools will demand some sort of academic performance from their recruits, it should be hard for four players to qualify for these scholarships.

This is a big chunk of money for the two Saskatchewan institutions and the hockey programs at the schools, and it's good to see the NHL making a difference in communities they don't call home. There has always been a lot of eyebrows raised when the NHL talks about hockey being for everyone when they rarely venture into places the NHL doesn't call home, but this is a fantastic effort to help a province that has and will continue to be a source of players for NHL teams and, assuming they get it off the ground at some point, the women's professional league the NHL will run.

The NHL deserves a little credit on this one. Hockey in Saskatchewan just got better because of the National Hockey League.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 24 October 2019

The Hockey Show - Episode 370

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back tonight in the midst of Pledge-O-Rama, so you already have a pretty good idea what we're talking about tonight. At last glance, UMFM was just past $32,500 of the $36,000 goal, so we're close to smashing through the goal once again thanks to our incredible, generous supporters and listeners! We can't do it without you, so make sure you're listening to what we're offering on our show as incentives tonight because we have some great shwag!

Tonight, we go over everything we're tossing your way for your pledges. Please pledge. The money being raised this year is going towards replacing our aging antenna in downtown Winnipeg, so help us keep the airwaves stocked with UMFM sounds! Again, all of the UMFM incentives are up for grabs with your pledge, but we're going to sweeten the pot with a few more items. Why? Because our listeners matter! Because we appreciate what you do for us and when you listen to us! Because we'd be pretty lonely without listeners! This is why you pledge - we appreciate you for doing so and the incentives are our way of saying thanks for the support all year long!

So here's what we got going on tonight:
  • For any pledge of $75 or more, you're entered into a draw for one of three Bisons Sports prize packs consisting of a Hockey Canada toque, a Bisons t-shirt, and a Bisons water bottle!
  • For any pledge of $101.50 or more, you're entered into a draw for one of two sets of two tickets to see the Jay & Dan Podcast recording live at the Garrick Theatre on November 2, 2019!
That's a chance at five additional prizes to be won simply by pledging to The Hockey Show tonight! That's on top of the UMFM incentives that you'll get, the bonus draws which Beans and I will discuss, and all of the Guaranteed Ticket Thursday draws that UMFM is doing! Basically, if you pledge to our show, you're likely going home with something. And that's awesome!

How do you pledge, you ask?
  1. Pledge online. Simply fill out the form appropriately from the comfort of your home and you're entered. That's it. That's how easy it is.
  2. Call us at 204-474-6610. Someone is waiting to take your call, so dial that number and get your pledge in to win!
  3. Email us. We'll call you back and we'll complete the pledge process. It's so easy!
  4. Visit us at the University of Manitoba at Room 310 on the third floor of University Centre!
Tonight, Teebz and Beans go over everything Pledge-O-Rama, squeeze in some hockey information where possible, and much more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the web stream!

PODCAST: October 24, 2019: Episode 370

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 23 October 2019

All That Matters Is His Smile

This image of Donald Brashear is the only thing that matters. For a guy who rarely smiled while going about his business on the frozen surface of whatever rink he found himself in, Donald Brashear's smile today is all that matters. For those who may have missed the story, Catherine Bouchard of Le Journal de Québec wrote a piece last week about Donald Brashear working in a Montreal Tim Hortons restaurant that caused a stir on social media from anyone who knew of Brashear's NHL career. While people may be entitled to their opinions, casting any sort of negative opinion about Donald Brashear needs to stop here and now. If your son, daughter, nephew, niece, husband, or wife can work there, why is it so surprising to see Donald Brashear working there as he transitions into everyday life after a professional hockey career?

Miss Bouchard did make mention of Brashear's recent troubles with the law in her article, and that's entirely true. Like anyone who has had trouble with the fuzz, though, it's likely no fun. In some cases, judges are likely to establish some sort of probation conditions, and it's likely that having a regular job is one of those conditions. Donald Brashear is working at a Tim Hortons because that's what he has to do just like you and I get up in the morning and head to our jobs.

What shocked me most is that Miss Bouchard wrote that former Canadiens teammate and owner of the Tim Hortons franchise Pierre Sevigny preferred "not to make waves with this hiring," seemingly making this hiring a quiet thing as to not draw attention to Brashear's presence at the restaurant. While that's virtually impossible as most hockey fans know who Brashear is, Miss Bouchard went ahead and drew attention to Brashear's hiring by publishing her article complete with the address of the restaurant and with a photo of Brashear standing in the drive-thru window. Wouldn't this be the opposite of what Sevigny wanted in trying to help his former teammate and friend?

"He's an employee, that's all. We have just started, he is here to help me," Sevigny told Miss Bouchard.

Honestly, while I understand that Miss Bouchard has a job to do, she just made Pierre Sevigny's life more difficult as there will likely be an increase of people who will frequent his restaurant to try and catch a glimpse of Donald Brashear in a Tim Hortons uniform. Sevigny indicated he didn't want to publicize his hiring of Brashear, and I respect Sevigny for doing that in trying to keep Brashear's personal problems private while he works to sort out everything out.

For me, I'm writing about this because I struggle to understand why people marvel at a player who is transitioning into everyday life. As an example, Wayne Babych comes into my work on occasion, and he's treated like every other customer who walks in: with courtesy, respect, and gratefulness for his business. He's not former 50-goal scorer Wayne Babych; rather, he's there to conduct business and is treated as a valued customer. There are some older employees who whisper about having the former NHLer in the office, but there's an understanding that he's there to do business, not sign autographs.

Let Donald Brashear work. Don't marvel over him like he's some sort of spectacle. He's just a regular guy working a regular shift at a regular job. Yes, he played in the NHL, but he's putting his post-career life together as best he can. He just needs to be treated like a regular guy - not a criminal, not an NHL star - as he makes that transition into everyday life.

Brashear deserves a chance to find his smile again, and here's hoping that the work being offered by Sevigny helps Brashear find that grin again. After 1025 NHL games where he was often the most intimidating guy on the ice, I want him to see him happy as he figures out this thing called life. He deserves that much from us.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 22 October 2019

NHL Points Leader

If I asked you right now who was leading the NHL in points, you'd likely give me thr usual list of suspects: McDavid, Crosby, MacKinnon. While none of those guys are doing poorly to start this season by any means, the right answer wouldn't be aname you'd likely come up with if I gave you 100 chances. Washington Capitals defenceman John Carlson is currently out in front of all players as he racks up points from the Washington blue line this season. And yes, you're allowed to be surprised by that because it's not like Carlson has ever looked like the second Bobby Orr or Paul Coffey in his career. In fact, some pundits ripped the Capitals for their large financial commitment to the defenceman in the off-season, but it seems they knew something we didn't: John Carlson has the skills to lead the NHL in scoring!

Compared to other defencemen who have big-money contracts such as PK Subban, Drew Doughty, and Brent Burns, he has the same number of points this season as those defenders COMBINED. If that makes you shake your head, consider that he's ten points better than next highest-scoring defender in the league! So what changed for John Carlson that makes him heads-and-shoulders better this season than any season he's had thus far in the NHL?

It's not like Carlson has even not scored in the NHL. His 57 assists and 70 points last season were both career highs for the rearguard, but his explosion out of the gates this season has people comparing him to Orr and Coffey thanks to his 18-point start as those are the only other defenders in NHL history to score 18 points in their first ten games of the season. He's already being floated as a Norris Trophy candidate by teammate Alexander Ovechkin. Did he change his off-season training? Has he found some magical potion that has allowed him to slow down the game?

"Just getting lucky I think," Carlson told Joel Colomby of the Vancouver Sun. "Guys are making some good plays to me, and the guys I'm passing to are scoring right now."

The key word in that entire explanation is "now". There is no way that Carlson can continue his torrid scoring pace all season long. As an example, Bobby Orr holds the record for defencemen with 1.78 points-per-game in 1970-71; Carlson is currently sitting at 1.82. But assuming that he reverts to his previous 70-in-82 pace, he likely will lead all defencemen in scoring this season. It won't be a 100-point season, but it will be one of the best totals since the turn of the millennium.

Where Carlson needs to be mindful is on the defensive side of the puck if he hopes to stand in front of his peers on the stage in Las Vegas while accepting the Norris Trophy this spring. Washington has changed their system this season, and it seems they may be surrendering more goals and offensive chances than they had in the past under former head coach Barry Trotz. While this is giving Carlson more offensive freedom, it's also resulted in seeing goaltender Braden Holtby's goals-against average balloon to 3.64 and his save percentage plummet to .886 in nine games. Those are Holtby's worst stats since entering the league, and they are reflective of the defensive problems seen with the Capitals through this opening month of hockey.

Why is this important? The Hockey News' Jared Clinton makes a compelling case that defence does, in fact, matter when it comes to Norris Trophy voting. In his article yesterday, he wrote,
"Already a one-time winner, having captured the award in 2010-11, Karlsson led the league with 74 points, putting him 13 points ahead of Norris winner Duncan Keith, 34 points ahead of second-place Chara and 28 points clear of third-place Weber. Karlsson didn't receive so much as a single first-place vote and only five second-place nods.

"The knock against Karlsson, of course, was that he wasn't an impact player defensively. That while he put up points, his own-zone ability was questionable. And it's important to note that was the argument against the then-Ottawa Senators defenseman winning the Norris because it's the same case that has been made against Carlson in recent years."
Clearly, having the Capital post some rather awful defensive stats through the opening month of the season won't help Carlson's advanced stats numbers which, as Clinton points out, haven't really separated him from the pack.
"Over the past two seasons, Carlson's 5-on-5 Corsi, shots, expected goals and scoring chance rates haven't been among the class of the league, and combining the two campaigns, he's either right at or below 50 percent in those categories. For what it's worth, his talent and the level of talent around him has his actual goals for percentage at a near league-best 56.6 percent among defenders with 2,000 minutes played at 5-on-5."
It's clear that the first month of action that Carlson's offensive advanced stats are better than they were in the past, but Washington has to improve defensively. There's no way that Washington can replicate the offensive output of the Oilers of the 1980s, so they'll have to find some sort of happy medium between their offence thus far and some sort of reliable defence if they hope to have Carlson bring home the Norris Trophy this season. Carlson may be putting up numbers we haven't seen in decades, but fans in Washington haven't seen this many goals-against in quite some time.

As a former defenceman myself, it is exciting to see a player like John Carlson out in front of so many incredible players when scrolling down the scoring leaders. While it may not last, John Carlson is having himself a heckuva season and is certainly worth every penny the Capitals committed to him.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 21 October 2019

Election Night Hockey Connection

The man to the left is Yogi Henderson. Yogi reportedly grew up in Winnipeg Centre, a riding I live close to, and currently calls Calgary, Alberta home. He's running as the People's Party of Canada candidate in Winnipeg Centre which, if you know me, bothers me a great deal since he doesn't even live in the riding he's representing. I'm posting this after the polls close tonight because I went digging into Yogi Henderson's history after one of his pamphlets ended up on my desk with his experience showing that he spent 17 years as a hockey referee in the CAHA, WHL, and NHL. There's the hockey connection, so let's take a look at Henderson's work in stripes before he potentially gets to Ottawa as the representative for the Winnipeg Centre riding in the House of Commons.

According to Henderson's pamphlet,
"After spending winters barnstorming much of western Canada during my teens as a Major Junior hockey official, I returned to Manitoba in order to complete my Civil Engineering degree at the U of M. The autumn after graduation, I enjoyed a two-game stint in the NHL as a linesman."
His notes show that he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering in 1993, so his NHL stint would have been in 1993-94 if the timeline matches his written description. In taking a closer look at that period of time, it becomes apparent that Henderson's promotion to the NHL wasn't based on merit, but on need.

Going by his legal given name of "George", Henderson was an NHL linesman for the two games as he stated, but those two games took place between mid-November and December 1, 1993 when the NHL officials went on strike after their contract demands were not met by the NHL. With the regular NHL officials walking off the job, the NHL was forced to pull officials from minor leagues, junior levels, and amateur hockey in order to keep the '93-94 season going after starting it in October.

Replacement officials were paid $800 per game for referees and $500 per game for linesmen, and the level of officiating for those few weeks in November was noticeably worse compared to what NHL players were used to seeing. As Scouting the Refs writes, "grumblings began to surface about the officiating. Both players and coaches reportedly complained about the quality of the replacements and an increasing number of missed calls. There were even some missed assignments."

While Henderson isn't named in any of those problems specifically, I do find it a little disingenuous that he's claiming to be an NHL referee when he was actually a linesman, and, secondly, that he was closer to being a scab worker during the NHL officials' strike rather than a true NHL official.

So the question needs to be asked if he truly was good enough to make the leap to the NHL after spending time in the WHL. We'll go back to 1987 where a report in the Selkirk Journal newspaper reads,
"Fans and players alike were upset with the officiating of Yogi Henderson in the Steelers exhibition loss to the Stars in Teulon, Sept. 18. Henderson ejected 10 players after only two were involved in a first period fight. Some fans asked for refunds, claiming the players they came to see play were ejected for no reason."
That's not good. It sounds like someone was a little crazy with his power in ejecting ten players when only two were involved in fisticuffs, but the damning statement is the demand of a refund from fans who felt Henderson may have gone a little overboard with his ejections.

But one game is simply that - one game. Are there more examples? That answer is yes as we jump to the Lethbridge Herald on October 27, 1988. That newspaper report reads,
“Bryan Bosch had a near-record night for the Lethbridge Hurricanes Wednesday at the Sportsplex. Bosch sparked the Hurricanes to a 13-6 Western Hockey League victory over the Regina Pats, but his nine-point performance was almost overshadowed by referee Yogi Henderson. Bosch, who scored a hat trick and added six assists in the penalty-filled contest, fell just one point short of the WHL single game points record.

"'I've definitely never had a night like this,' said Bosch, who has accounted for 17 points in the last three games and scored his third consecutive hat trick. 'I haven't been doing anything different lately. I've just been playing my game. Maybe I'm playing with a little more confidence right now and the puck is just bouncing my way.'

"Meanwhile, Henderson called a total of 49 penalties - 25 for 92 minutes for the 'Canes, and 24 for 93 minutes for the Pats. Lethbridge took a 10-minute misconduct, five major penalties, two game misconducts and a 10-minute match penalty by Shane Mazutinec, most of those in a third period penalty parade. Pats were tagged with a pair of 10-minute misconducts and game misconducts as well as a five-minute match penalty and paid the price.

"'It was definitely a strange game. I think Yogi lost control of it. He didn't call a good game at all,' said Bosch, who scored two of the 'Canes eight powerplay markers. 'It seemed like the whole third period was specialty units but I don't mind. That's my strength.'"
Yikes. That's a damning review of his work in a WHL game between Lethbridge and Regina as a referee, so perhaps he was better as a linesman than as a referee. Whatever the case, it seems he either chose to call lines at some point between 1987 and 1993 or he was asked to hand back his orange armband by someone if he went to the NHL during the officials' strike as a linesman.

In the end, I don't doubt that he spent a number of years in the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) as an official. Clearly, he was in the WHL as an official for a couple of years at least as well, so that portion of his resumé is valid. However, the portion about his two-game stint in the NHL should come with a major asterisk as he didn't make The Show based on skill or merit. Rather, he was hired as a scab worker by the NHL in order for the NHL to continue playing its scheduled games while the NHL officials negotiated for better wages and benefits. Does that make him an NHL official? To a degree, yes, but it's not entirely genuine.

Like any politician worth his weight in this election, it seems there are important details missing from what a candidate is claiming in his past.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 20 October 2019

The Rundown - Week 3

With Canada West women's hockey looking a little Alberta-centric at the top of the standings, there were a number of non-Alberta-based teams looking to knock off those leading Alberta teams this week. I mentioned the parity among the teams in the early part of the season so far, and that meant both Regina and Manitoba had opportunities to leap-frog teams to get back into the mix of things with a win or two this weekend. We saw upsets last week, we saw non-playoff teams get out in front, and we've seen surprises in both weeks thus far, so the only advice I have for this week is "expect the unexpected"! Let's check out Week 3 of The Rundown!

We'll start with the first-place Lethbridge Pronghorns in this review as there are still some who don't believe that the Pronghorns have what it takes to win the Canada West Conference. Saskatchewan, who took four of six points off Alberta last week, are a great measuring stick for Lethbridge as the Huskies visited Nicolas Sheran Arena, and they were looking to continue to wreck weekends for an Alberta-based team. Camryn Drever was sent to the nets for the Huskies while former Saskatchewan netminder Chloe Marshall got the shot to beat the Huskies as a member of the Pronghorns.

This one got started before the home crowd had even settled into their seats when Alli Borrow found Kyra Greig, and Greig buried the puck behind Drever just 60 seconds into the game to put the Pronghorns up 1-0! It looked as though the Huskies may get that one back, but some great defensive work by the Pronghorns swept the puck off the line and under Marshall before the puck found the interior of the net. Through 20 minutes of play, the Pronghorns held the 1-0 lead despite being outshot 14-8 by Saskatchewan.

The goaltending duel ramped up in the second period as both coaches looked to settle down the defensive zones. Despite one power-play opportunity per side in the middle stanza, there was nothing getting by Drever nor Marshall. With 40 minutes in the books, the 1-0 lead for the Pronghorns stood as Saskatchewan held a 28-12 advantage in shots.

The blank sheet on the Saskatchewan side continued late into the third period. Needing an offensive boost, the Huskies pulled Drever for the extra attacker and went to work. With the seconds ticking down, the puck found the stick of Bailee Bourassa at the right face-off dot, and her shot went into the crowd standing in front of Marshall. With the puck pinballing around the crowd, Sophie Lalor found it and knocked it past Marshall with 10 seconds remaining to push this game into overtime!

The first overtime period saw the four-on-four settle nothing. The three-on-three overtime saw time expire without a goal as well, so it was off to the shootout to find a winner. Lethbridge's Madison Porter thought she had scored when she broke in on Drever, but the officials conferred and decided that the puck went off the post rather than inside of the net, so no goal was the final decision on the first Lethbridge attempt. Sophie Lalor would beat Marshall to put Saskatchewan up 1-0 after one round of the shootout. Neither Kianna Dietz nor Kate Ball could beat the netminders, so it came down to Krya Greig from Lethbridge to keep the shootout going, but Drever stopped Greig to secure the 2-1 shootout victory for Saskatchewan! Camryn Drever earned her first win of the season by stopping 24 shots and all three shootout attempts while Chloe Marshall deserved a better fate than the shootout loss after stopping 51 shots in the game and two of three shootout attempts.

Partial highlights of this game are below!

SATURDAY: After dropping their first game on home ice, the Pronghorns were looking to get back to their winning ways and start a new win streak by taking the back-half of the two-game set with the Huskies. The Huskies, who had taken points off the best teams in three-consecutive games, were looking to keep their good play going. Jessica Vance was back in her usual spot between the pipes for Saskatchewan while Alicia Anderson stared her down from 200-feet away.

This game saw the scoring get started early as well. With Victoria Rankin in the penalty box, the Huskies used some good puck movement to get an Emma Nutter shot away that missed the net, but the puck recovery was just as good as Rachel Lundberg found Emma Nutter sneaking into the slot, and she'd make good on the second attempt at 4:19 for the power-play goal and the 1-0 lead for Saskatchewan. Nearly five minutes later, though, the Pronghorns would square the game as Brooklyn Palmer's initial shot from the point was stopped, but Madison Porter poked the loose puck past Vance at 9:09 to tie the game at 1-1! Lethbridge would use a power-play of their own later in the period to take the lead when Saskatchewan poked a puck to the line, but not out, and Meg Dyer stepped up, lasered a wrist shot off the post that went off Vance and trickled into the net at 15:59 to put the Pronghorns up 2-1! That score would hold through the remaining 4:01 as the Pronghorns went to the break up a goal, but down 13-10 in shots.

The defence tightened up in the second period for both sides as the Pronghorns killed off three Saskatchewan power-plays in the opening ten minutes of the middle frame before Saskatchewan killed a late penalty themselves. Neither Vance nor Anderson would give up anything behind them, so we'd move to third period with the 2-1 score intact and Saskatchewan holding a 24-23 edge in shots.

The third period saw Lethbridge kill off an early penalty just 47 seconds into the frame, and that seemed to give them a boost of confidence as the period progressed. Saskatchewan killed off a penalty midway through the period, so there were opportunities that went unfulfilled in this frame. Vance was called to the bench in the final minute of play, but the extra attacker garnered no advantage for the Huskies as the final horn sounded with Lethbridge grabbing victory on the strength of a 2-1 victory! Alicia Anderson was outstanding in the Pronghorns net as she made 34 stops for her fourth win of the season while Jessica Vance made 25 saves in suffering her first regulation loss.

Highlights of this game are below!

Our first home-and-home series in the province of Alberta sees the Pandas head south to Calgary to meet the Mount Royal Cougars at Flames Community Arena. Mount Royal had all sorts of success against Alberta on home ice last season, so they were looking to continue the trend. After dropping four of six points in Saskatoon, the Pandas were looking to get back to their winning ways. Kirsten Chamberlin took the net for the Pandas while rookie Kaitlyn Ross was handed the assignment against the Pandas.

The opening period saw Alberta take control early only to see the Cougars take the lead early. Kate Hufnagel found the back of the net at 6:23 past Chamberlin to put the Cougars up 1-0 over the Pandas! Despite their constant pressure, the Pands simply couldn't solve the MRU rookie as Kaitlyn Ross stood tall in helping the Cougars go to the break up a goal despite being outshot 8-4 in the period.

The second period was a highlight reel of saves by Kaitlyn Ross. The Mount Royal netminder was stellar on three separate penalty kills in helping the Cougars escape danger while keeping the Pandas off the board. It wasn't a pretty period as most of the play happened in the Mount Royal zone, but the score remained 1-0 thanks to Ross and the MRU defence as they were outshot in this period 9-2 by the Pandas.

Whatever Ross was doing for the previous 40 minutes, she just kept doing it for the next 20 minutes as well. Alberta continued to pepper the Cougars with shots, but Ross was impervious to their attacks all night long. Chamberlin withstood the shots that the Cougars sent her way, but when the final horn sounded it was Kaitlyn Ross who was the story as she and the Cougars shut out the Alberta Pandas 1-0! Ross earned her first shutout and her second win of the season with her 25-save blanking of the Pandas while Kirsten Chamberlin suffered her second loss of the season despite stopping 11 of 12 shots she faced.

The Kaitlyn Ross goaltending clinic highlights are below!

The second-half of this two-game set went back to Edmonton and the comfy confines of Clare Drake Arena as the Pandas hosted the Cougars. The taste of the shutout the night before wouldn't have sat well with the Pandas, so the Cougars needed to bring their A-games in this one. The two teams swapped their netminders as Mount Royal would have Cassie Shokar defend their side while Halle Oswald went to the nets for the Pandas.

The opening period felt remarkable similar to the night before in Calgary as the Pandas brought all sorts of pressure into the Mount Royal zone, but they could not solve the Cougars' netminder in Shokar. In contrast, Oswald had very little to do through the opening 20 minutes as the Pandas outshot the Cougars by a 14-3 margin, but the score remained a 0-0 tie through the intermission.

The second period started with more of the same as the Pandas were continually denied through the first-half of the middle frame, but Alberta's lethal power-play - nine goals on 24 opportunities to that point in the game for a 37.5% effectiveness - struck on their third advantage of the game. Kennedy Ganser's low point shot beat a screened Shokar at 13:42 while on the power-play, and Alberta finally had solved the Cougars' goaltending to go up 1-0! 2:04 later, the Pandas would find themselves on the power-play once again as Alex Poznikoff's initial shot would be stopped by Shokar, but Autumn MacDougall was on the doorstep to sweep the puck by the MRU netminder to make it a 2-0 game for the Pandas! That score would hold true through the second intermission as Alberta also held a 24-9 advantage in shots!

The third period would see Mount Royal press to find goals, but it would be Oswald who stood tall in the Pandas' crease. Despite an early power-play that had carried over from the second period, Alberta allowed nothing to get past Oswald who did her job well as the Pandas skated to the 2-0 victory over the Cougars! Halle Oswald was sharp once again as she stopped all 16 shots she faced for her third win and second shutout of the campaign while Cassie Shokar's record dropped to 1-1-0 on the season with the loss despite making 28 saves in this game.

Highlights of this one are below!

Calgary's strong play to start the season had many prognosticators, including yours truly, looking a little red-faced after they had jumped ahead of most other Canada West teams. Manitoba, on the other hand, was looking for some scoring outside of the three players who had recorded all six goals for the Bisons thus far. Would they find it in Calgary or would the Dinos' strong play continue? Erin Fargey got the start for Manitoba in her home province while Kelsey Roberts was in net for the Dinos on Friday!

The teams started off playing some solid defensive hockey as neither side could find room past the other team's netminder. Calgary held the edge in shots at 6-4 through the opening frame, but we'd move to the second period still tied 0-0.

The second period saw more shots, but the same number of goals as both Fargey and Roberts were standing tall in their respective nets. Manitoba owned the edge in shots in this period with a 10-5 margin and 14-11 overall, but the 0-0 score stood through two periods of play.

We'd see the stalemate broken in the third period. The Bisons would strike with a two-player advantage when Emilie Massé, standing in front of Roberts, would deflect the Megan Neduzak shot from the high slot area past the netminder with 6:31 to play, and Manitoba grabbed the 1-0 lead! Less than two minutes later, Polina Goncharova spotted Sheridan Oswald sneaking behind the Dinos defence and sent her in on the breakaway where Oswald would deke forehand-backhand-forehand before beating Roberts low along the ice at 15:17 as the Bisons went up 2-0! From there, it was on Fargey and the defence, and they wouldn't falter as the final horn sounded on this game with the Bisons winning 2-0! Erin Fargey earned her first win and shutout of the season on a 16-save effort while Roberts took the loss despite making 17 saves in this game.

Highlights are below!

SATURDAY: The second-half of the two-game set saw Manitoba needing to sweep the Dinos to even their record at .500. The Dinos, meanwhile, were looking to keep pace with Lethbridge and Alberta as they needed a win. Amanda Schubert got the crease for Manitoba on the back-half of the series while Kelsey Roberts was back in the nets following the loss the night before.

The scoring happened a little earlier on this afternoon. There were no goals awarded on a power-play chances in the early going of the period as the two sides played with the extra attacker, but there would be a goal after things settled down. Midway through the first period, Dana Wood's low snapshot from the blue line found its way through traffic in front of Schubert and past the netminder to put Calgary up 1-0 at 10:46! The remainder of the period saw the two sides trade a few more chances, but we'd go to the break with Calgary up 1-0 on the scoreboard and leading 10-6 in shots!

The middle frame saw both teams settle down and focus on hockey as the two teams went back and forth looking for goals. The only problem was that neither Schubert nor Roberts were interested in helping out. Calgary threw 11 shots at Schubert and Manitoba put 10 shots on Roberts, but the score remained 1-0 after 40 minutes of play.

The third period had that feeling that the 1-0 score might stand as both Roberts and Schubert did their parts through two periods. However, an early face-off at the right circle in the Manitoba zone would prove beneficial to the home side as Brooke Dennett pulled the puck back to Annaliese Meier who stepped behind her, and Meier whipped a quick shot on net from the left hash marks that went high glove-side on Schubert to make it a 2-0 lead for the Dinos 4:45 into the period! Manitoba would press as the time wound down, and they'd find some life on a late power-play. Chloe Snaith's initial shot went into a sea of humanity in front of Roberts, never making it to the netminder, but Snaith followed up her shot, found the loose puck in the pile-up, and wristed home a shot past Roberts who never did see the puck on the sequence for the power-play goal with 3:57 to play as the Bisons made it 2-1. That one-goal lead, however, would be protected by the Dinos as the horn sounded on a 2-1 Calgary victory! Kelsey Roberts earned the win in making 24 saves while Amanda Schubert took the loss in this game after stopping 25 chances.

Highlights of this game are below!

School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
13 17 11
11 20 6
vs LET
11 10 9
vs SAS
Mount Royal
9 8 6
vs REG
9 9 10
British Columbia
8 9 20
vs MAN
6 9 14
5 10 16

The Last Word

I think it's pretty clear that the Canada West Conference is up for grabs at this point. Alberta, who was thought to be the runaway winner of the conference, finds itself tied with Calgary and behind Lethbridge at the end of the weekend once again. Saskatchewan, for all their great defence, is struggling to find goals. Mount Royal is hanging with the big teams, having split their three weekends thus far. UBC is starting to round into form with better defensive efforts. Manitoba and Regina are both struggling to find goals with young squads, but are still in the race if they can find some wins next weekend.

If you're Alberta, you have to be a little worried about your five-on-five scoring right now. Of the 20 goals scored for the Pandas, 11 of them have come with the Pandas playing with the extra player. That's some great power-play efficiency, but it's not great for the majority of the game where the teams skate with the same number of skaters.

The other thing that is way off in Panda land is their shooting percentage. To date, Alberta has 174 shots in six games - 29 shots-per-game average - which is excellent at any level of hockey. Their overall shooting percentage sits at 11.5%, but if you remove that first weekend where they ran wild all over the Thunderbirds, the Pandas have shot a combined 7.4% over the last four games against both Saskatchewan and Mount Royal. That's a significant drop-off in their shooting success in finding the back of the net against teams that arguably have better defences than UBC this season, and it might be something to keep an eye on as we inch closer to the playoffs. As you're likely aware, all stats get magnified in a three-game series, so this could be a problem if the Pandas' shooting accuracy remains below 10%.

If there is truth in the adage "before you can win, you have to learn how to lose," both Lethbridge and Calgary are living proof this season that a few down years can prove fortuitous for a squad. In particular, Lethbridge winning on Clare Drake Arena ice over the Pandas - a place where dreams go to die - proves that this Pronghorns squad is not only for real, but are going to take a run at being one of the two representatives for Canada West in Charlottetown this March. One has to be excited to see the Pronghorns not only do well, but completely surprise everyone after that few years. This is an amazing run, and I'm hoping they keep it up. While I may call games for the Bisons, you can put me down as a fan of the Pronghorns this season.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!