Saturday, 10 April 2021

Cancelled Via COVID

As Jenna and I highlighted on The Hockey Show last night, we're nowhere close to being out of the woods when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic situation. We went over the calamity in Vancouver combined with the AHL's Utica Comets just getting out of their own pandemic lockdown. We talked about the AJHL shutting down six teams for fourteen-day quaratine periods since April 1, and pointed out that both the Quebec Remparts and Gatineau Olympiques were in the midst of positive tests while the three teams they played over the past were all quarantined for fourteen days as well due to contact tracing. The NCAA saw the UMass Minutemen affected despite them winning last night, and William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs is sitting out for seven days due to his contact tracing. Hockey is getting hit with the third wave in a big way and now another event has been cancelled.

The PWHPA was taking its two American squads to St. Louis for a pair of games this weekend after the Blues committed to supporting the PWHPA, and it seemed like we were going to get more women's hockey on TV as NBC Sports committed to airing one of the games. That is, until late last night when the PWHPA put out the following statement about the games this weekend.
Just as men's hockey has been affected, we've seen the NWHL's playoff bubble destroyed by COVID-19 and now a PWHPA weekend event has been cancelled by the virus. Emily Kaplan released a video today stating that we aren't close to the finish the line, and I happen to agree wholeheartedly as the new variants become more dominant. We're seeing outbreaks happen across North America again, and it's pretty obvious that the PWHPA got far too close to one of those new outbreaks based on the news today.

As Jayna Hefford stated, the PWHPA will return to St. Louis in the future as the organization looks to continue to build strong relationships with the teams who have thrown their support behind the women. While I'm still hoping for the Jets to come out and pledge their support, the PWHPA is getting good traction with NHL teams in the US which should, in theory, only strengthen the chances of the Women's NHL beiung founded with the PWHPA being heavily involved.

In any case, the pro women's games are on hold until a future date when things get a little less virus-y and everyone remains healthy. Here's hoping none of the players have contracted the virus and we're being overly cautious just to be safe.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 9 April 2021

Voting Day!

I don't care what you're doing for the next 24 hours or so. It doesn't matter if you're at work, have the day off, or anything in between because you have one job today, and that's to cram the ballot box with votes! Unlike elections for office, the Kraft Hockeyville voting opened at 8am CT this morning, and you can vote as many times as you like until 4pm CT tomorrow, so let's get this rolling! You already know who you're voting for - hint: Saint Adolphe - so let's help them win the $250,000 in rink renovations and get them an NHL preseason game next season!

For those that aren't aware, St. Adolphe has ran into a little trouble with their rink. The ice plant crapped out on them, so making ice is not an option for the St. Adolphe rink. They discovered that one wall had mold growing in it, so they had to do some renovations there in order to be able to have people in the rink. And, of course, all the various functions that a rink serves - socials, meeting place, festivals, and everything - were cancelled this season due to the pandemic.

Being named a finalist means that St. Adolphe is guaranteed $25,000 to help with those renovations that they need to bring life back to the arena, and that's a good start. Let's get behind them and really show our support of the town and arena by voting as often as we can in order to add an extra zero to that total, making it $250,000 for those renovations! That will go a long way in repairing the ice plant and adding some finishing touches to the wall that replaced among the various projects they have planned!

What will make this awesome is that St. Adolphe is the first Manitoba community to make it to the finals of Kraft Hockeyville, and we have a chance to push them into the winner's circle with our votes. That would be a great accomplishment for Manitoba, so get your voting finger stretched, head over to the Kraft Hockeyville website, register to vote, and then go bananas because votes are unlimited until the contest closes!

Best of luck to the other three finalists as well as the folks in Bobcaygeon, Ontario are looking to win some rink cash, the great people of Elsipogtog First Nation, New Brunswick are looking for some arena renovation money, and the citizens of Lumsden, Saskatchewan also have their eyes on the prize. All three of these communities have made strong cases for them to be the Kraft Hockeyville 2021 winners, so we'll see how the votes turn out tomorrow during the first intermission of the early games on Hockey Night in Canada!

Get voting, Manitoba! We have a quarter of a million dollars to win for St. Adolphe! Do your part by mashing your mouse button all day so we can all join the celebration when St. Adolphe wins Kraft Hockeyville 2021!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 8 April 2021

The Hockey Show - Episode 446

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back tonight as we split the show in two with some special guests joining us in the first half of the show! It's not often we get Olympians who have enough time in their schedules for our show, so we're entirely grateful to have had thirty minutes with two gold medalists and exceptional women! Beyond that, Jenna and I will go over all the news from this week, so let's get into this show!

Tonight, Jenna and I are honoured to welcome three-time Olympians and gold medalists Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando to the program in the first half-hour! These two women have done pretty much everything in hockey before the age of 32 before announcing their retirements earlier this spring, and Jenna and I will talk to them about a few of the details found in their new book Dare to Make History: Chasing a Dream and Fighting for Equity which was reviewed here on HBIC! It's a very informative half-hour with the Lamoureux twins as we learn about them, hear their experiences, and get a glimpse of what their book features on the pages, so grab yourself a copy after the show tonight because they wrote an outstanding book! After a quick commercial break, Teebz and Jenna return to go over all the major hockey stories - hint: COVID-19! - from the past week! It's a busy show with two of the greatest players to have ever laced up the skates in Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando, so make sure you tune in on one of 101.5 FM, Channel 718 on MTS TV, or via UMFM.com at 5:30pm CT!

We'd also be remiss if we didn't remind everyone about the upcoming vote for the 2021 Kraft Hockeyville experience! Make sure you go and vote on April 9 - TOMORROW, folks! - from 8am CT until April 10 at 5pm CT at the Kraft Hockeyville website for Saint Adolphe, Manitoba! We could see an NHL preseason game out there in the fall if they win, so get your votes in, let's win this contest, and let's bring a game to St. Adolphe!

Where's the best place can you hear tonight's show if you're outside Winnipeg or not near a radio, 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, so if you want to stream the show I'd recommend Radio Garden to do that as it works nicely with Safari. If you're more of an app person, we recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store or Google Play Store. If you do use the TuneIn app, you won't be disappointed. It's a solid app.

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

Tonight, Teebz and Jenna meet Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando as we discuss a few topics from their new book, Dare to Make History: Chasing a Dream and Fighting for Equity, before chatting about all the COVID-19 problems showing up in hockey again, Blake Wheeler skipping the road trip, the Islanders and Devils making a deal, and much more exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM.com web stream!

PODCAST: April 8, 2021: Episode 446

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Strengthening The Foundation

There's no denying that the Chicago Blackhawks have benefitted from the AHL affiliation with the Rockford IceHogs. When it comes to development, we're seeing very good players being promoted from Rockford to Chicago regularly, and that has allowed Chicago to remain competitive despite it seeming like there was a rebuild on the way. On the other side, the Blackhawks have drafted wisely and signed players they thought could develop, and those players have gone to Rockford where they've thrived. While I always thought the Chicago Wolves would be a better fit for the Blackhawks, there's no denying that the Blackhawks and IceHogs have been a perfect match in terms of NHL-AHL affiliations.

Rockford Area Venues and Entertainment Authority, a city of Rockford oversight group, has been running the IceHogs franchise, and they've been doing a fairly decent job in ensuring that their end of the bargain is upheld. Today, though, that all changed when the Chicago Blackhawks officially purchased the IceHogs from the RAVE Group for $11.8 million, giving the Blackhawks full autonomy in how they run their AHL affiliate!

"The Rockford IceHogs have played a critical role in our franchise's success, and today, the IceHogs officially become a part of the Chicago Blackhawks family," Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said in a statement. The purchase agreement between the two parties sees the Blackhawks assume full control of the IceHogs while the Blackhawks signed a new fifteen-year agreement with BMO Harris Bank Center in downtown Rockford that will ensure the club stays in Rockford through 2036 and also committed to a $23 million renovation plan for the arena which recently turned 40 years old. Needless to say, it's a good day for hockey in Rockford, Illinois!

"With this fantastic investment, we're going to be able to address a number of projects, from core infrastructure to modernization," Rockford Area Venues and Entertainment Authority chairman Craig Thomas stated. "It's completely going to be a completely different look and feel for our patrons as they come into the facility."

With the purchase of the IceHogs, there are now 21 AHL franchises owned by their 32 NHL counterparts which helps build stability for both the teams owned by those NHL teams as well as the communities in which they play. The added investment, as Mr. Thomas stated, will keep facilities in Rockford modern with the latest refrigeration equipment and techniques while providing fans a better viewing opportunity for games. Both of those benefits should keep the BMO Harris Bank Center in good standing when it comes to hosting events of all sizes.

For the Blackhawks, they call the shots for the IceHogs now, and that will allow them to sign and move players as they wish without anyone else's input. Since the Blackhawks and IceHogs formed their affiliation in 2007, 97 IceHogs players have suited up for the Blackhawks while another 31 have played for other NHL teams. As stated above, the affiliation has certainly helped the Blackhawks, and now they'll make all the decisions about players and personnel for their AHL squad.

"For the past 14 years, the Rockford IceHogs have been an invaluable asset as an affiliate for the development of our players and staff at the Chicago Blackhawks," President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Stan Bowman said. "We look forward to continuing to use the IceHogs as an extension of the Blackhawks to reinvigorate our roster with talent that is built from within, develop our young players and create depth throughout our system."

That agreement that has reinvigorated the Blackhawks roster will continue for at least another fifteen years, and, I imagine, many years beyond 2037 when the new arena lease needs to be signed. If the NHL and AHL need a shining example of two franchises complementing one another, they have a perfect example in Chicago and Rockford.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

There's The Rub

When you hear NHL teams talk about their depth, it's usually because they have NHL-ready players sitting in the pressbox who can step in at a moment's notice. Usually, those players have shown that they can play at the NHL level through the games they are afforded, and occasionally there's reason to believe that a player is ready is one is the best at the AHL level for a franchise. If you were an NHL team that's tight against the salary cap and you had a former AHL Defenceman of the Year and a defender that has been lauded as the best player in the North Division, you'd think they'd be playing, right?

The reality is that the Jets have these players available to them, and neither Sami Niku, he who was the 2017-18 Eddie Shore Award winner as the AHL's outstanding defenceman, nor Ville Heinola, he who is getting rave reviews in the AHL as per Elliotte Friedman, are getting that opportunity as the Jets scour the depth charts of the other thirty NHL teams looking for an upgrade. And it leaves me dumbfounded.

As Friedman wrote in his 31 Thoughts article on Sportsnet above, "[m]ore than one exec's called him the best player north of the border" and Nashville kicked tires on Heinola in what would likely be a Mattias Ekholm trade. The Jets have two of the best defenders not playing in the NHL at their disposal in Niku and Heinola, and they refuse to play them for some reason. If the Jets aren't going to play them, why did they waste the draft picks on them?

It's a known fact that the Jets have struggled to generate offence from their blue line consistently, so hiding two of the best puck-moving defencemen in the pressbox does nothing to improve the fortunes of the Jets. If you need an example of where playing the kids has not only helped a team but actually made the team better, I point to the Colorado Avalanche where their oldest defender, Greg Pateryn, is 30 and doesn't even play a regular shift. If Colorado can use six players aged 26 or younger and turn in the results they have, what is stopping the Jets from playing their kids?

Maybe that's the rub, though. Colorado, it seems, doesn't care about how many hits they throw or how much grit is in the lineup or needing "big bodies" for their game because they throw their best at the opposition and dare them to stop the Avalanche. What happens normally is that the hits and grit and all those intangibles that coaches seem to love present themselves as they always do in games, and the Avalanche have adapted to not only play more physical, but play physical and score a ton of goals. That seems like a pretty good combination, no?

With the likes of Samuel Girard, Cale Makar, Devon Toews, and Bowen Byram, the Avalanche have four players aged 22, 22, 26, and 19 who constantly push the puck up the ice, jump into lanes for scoring chances, and look to drive offence while they learned to play defence at the NHL level. How did that happen? Head coach Jared Bednar is playing them. A lot. And the results speak for themselves as the Avalanche sit with 56 points and first-overall in the NHL with two games in-hand on Florida who also has 56 points. Not too shabby, Avalanche!

If the Jets are looking for a puck-moving defenceman who can step in and help the offence, they should be looking internally rather than at other depth charts. They have two players who have all the skill in the world to be able to do that, and both players would benefit from playing in NHL contests rather than watching from the pressbox. One can drop names like Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Josh Manson, and David Savard all day, but the Jets really should be looking to add from within with the talent they have at their disposal.

I'm not Kevin Cheveldayoff and I'm certainly not Paul Maurice, but this love affair with second- and third-pairing veteran defencemen that the Jets have needs to end immediately. It's time to drop this mantra about grit and physicality because I haven't seen one team come in and Broad Street Bully the Jets this season. Open the door to the kids, let them cut their teeth in the NHL by making a few mistakes, and get them ready for a playoff push because you're going to need them for the future.

Right now, they aren't even ready to be the seventh defender thanks to their lack of playing time and exposure to NHL situations on the ice. And that's really the rub here for the Jets: the trade deadline could be far less costly if the Jets would simply play the two best defenders the AHL's North Division has seen in some time.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 5 April 2021

Change Your Angle

While the Jets may have escaped tonight's game with a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators, it has become glaringly obvious that Josh Morrissey is not the right player to quarterback the first power-play unit for the Jets. The above imaged was burned into my mind tonight because it seems that Morrissey is only comfortable shooting the puck if he's in the middle of the ice. And because he's telegraphing that shot with his slow wind-up, it allowed the Senators to block the shot seen above as well as other shots in this game. Morrissey needs to play this game with better instincts, change the angles he's shooting from, and find lanes for shots to the net.

Alex Formenton blocked Morrissey's shot from the point and got some help clearing the puck from the Ottawa zone, but there was more than enough room for Morrissey to find a better shooting lane than the one he chose which saw the puck carom off Formenton. If there's a player approaching you as the defender at the top of the zone, you have to walk the line in order to open up a lane.

Here's Neil Pionk who moves back and forth across the link during his power-play time on the second unit, and identifies a clear shooting lane as I illustrated on the image. There's no player that's going to block that shot, and the simple wrist shot keeps the defenders at bay because Pionk gets it off so quickly. That's how to generate rebounds and scoring chances through pucks from the point, and I'm not sure why Morrissey can't make that happen.

On a later power-play opportunity, we see Neil Pionk again looking to shoot, but he recognizes the defensive play by Nick Paul, and drags the puck as he moves laterally on the ice as he looks to open up a better shooting lane. This recognition of the lanes by Pionk is why he's a better quarterback than Morrissey when it comes to generating offence from that point position.

On the same sequence, Nick Paul is out on Pionk at the point, and Pionk walks the line to open a shooting lane for himself as he looks to get the puck on net. Again, Pionk isn't content with winding up for the big drive; instead he goes for the wrist shot while putting the puck on net. That's the key to causing chaos for the penalty-killers - move the puck quickly and get shots to the net!

As a defender, I loved the cannon blast from the point as much as anyone, but getting the puck to the net for rebounds and second chances often is the better choice. You can't just stand and fire rockets from the point if the shooting lane isn't there, so you need to be able to walk the line and find seams where you can put the puck on net for your teammates to attack.

Josh Morrissey would make the first power-play unit of the Jets so much more dangerous if he simply got pucks to the net rather than trying to load up the big gun with a defender on him. I'll take Neil Pionk's wrist shots that find daylight every day of the week and twice on Sundays because it allows the three or four guys down low to make plays on the puck that wasn't blocked by the defender up high because Morrissey hammered it into shin pads.

Kids, the wrist shot from the point is just as effective as the cannon. Ray Bourque could hammer the puck when he wanted, but he often scored more points by simply throwing a quick wrist shot at the net from the point as guys like Oates and Neely would clean up the loose pucks. Add this weapon to your arsenal, work on walking the line, and identify the shooting lanes when they become available. You'll do wonders for your team by getting the puck to the net with a wrist shot, and every single coach knows an assist means just as much as a goal.

Here's hoping Josh Morrissey watched a little game film from tonight's game and recognizes that he needs to find the lanes rather than hammering pucks into shin pads.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Italy Found

After a quiet holiday Sunday spent with family on a deck near a barbecue that was earning its keep, I have to say that I've barely given hockey a thought today. In starting this artile with that line, I'm going to tell you this isn't a hockey article, but one of those rare food articles I write on this blog. Anyway, last week was a trying week in some regards, but I did enjoy the baseball logos project that kept me going and helped build some new Photoshop skills. Tonight, though, I settled in with a television show that I've been watching for the last number of weeks as CNN began replaying the episodes of highly-regarded tourism show in Stanley Tucci's Searching For Italy.

Some may call this a cooking show, but I tend to disagree as Tucci's travels throughout Italy are more about the people and regions than they are about the food. The food, however, ties everything together nicely, but I've always been under the impression that cooking shows actually show you how to make the food being shown. If one were to call Searching For Italy a food tourism show, I'd agree entirely.

I won't lie that I love the idea of seeing Italy's entirety through the eyes of Tucci. I took ancient Roman history in university, and I loved every moment of it as we learned about all the great monuments, achievements, and historical moments of ancient Rome. However, there was never a talk of the culture at that time - the foods, the beverages, the local flora and fauna that led to the food and beverages - outside of mentioning something to which we could relate as students when talking about an empire two millenia ago.

I happen to travel like Tucci did in this series; that is, I like to travel and experience foods that are local to those regions, so my appreciation for this CNN series is high. I'm also a fan of Stanley Tucci, so that only made the idea of a food tourism show starring him more intriguing. Needless to say, my Sunday nights were occupied with pasta, cheeses, wine, and the regions of Italy that he visited.

Regarding the image above, Tucci and his wife, Felicity, stopped at a restaurant for a pasta that he said "changed his life". That pasta dish that he and Felicity are eating is called spaghetti alla nerano, and I made this this week for myself to see if Tucci was selling me a life-changing pasta dish or if he was simply full of noodles. I'll post my thoughts below, but here's the recipe for Spaghetti Alla Nerano as seen on Stanley Tucci's Searching For Italy!

Ingredients

400g or 14oz of spaghetti 800g or 1.5lbs of zucchini, fresh
200g or 7oz of 70% Pecorino - 30% Parmigiano cheeses, grated
2-3 cloves of garlic
fresh basil
enough sunflower oil to create a frying vat
olive oil for sautéing
butter
salt and pepper

There are no set amounts on the oils and butter because you need to judge these accordingly. I'll discuss this more below as we work through this recipe, but you'll see why these amounts may vary.

Directions

  1. Thinly slice the zucchini so they resemble the thickness of potato chips. Make sure the zucchini is sweet by tasting it - the sweetness is what gives this dish a unique freshness. If the zucchini is bitter, do not use it.
  2. Dry the zucchini on paper towels to remove as much moisture from the chips as possible. The longer they dry for, the better the crispiness will be when fried.
  3. Fill a small saucepan with enough oil to create a fry vat for the chips. Do not pan-fry these chips - they must be fried in oil. Heat the oil on medium-high, and allow the zucchini chips to fry to a golden brown once the oil is hot. DO NOT BURN!
  4. Remove from the oil when golden brown and pat-dry with paper towels to remove any excess oil. Place into a container with some torn basil leaves, and place into the fridge overnight. We want the zucchini's sweetness to absorb some of the basil's flavour while softening slightly. If you're compelled, you can use the zucchini right out of the frying process, but I allow mine to soften somewhat for a later step.
  5. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the spaghetti to al dente. DO NOT OVERCOOK!
  6. In a sauce pan, drizzle the olive oil on the bottom, and sauté the garlic until golden.
  7. Drain the pasta. In quick succession, remove the garlic cloves from the saucepan, add in enough butter to coat the amount of spaghetti you have, and add in the zucchini.
  8. TEEBZ'S DEVIATION: If you chose to soften the zucchini, grab your immersion blender and use it to blend in the zucchini until chunky with the butter and garlic-infused olive oil. I prefer the zucchini's flavours to blend with the oils, so I do this step quickly before moving to the next step.
  9. Add in the spaghetti to the hot saucepan mixture in order to finish cooking the spaghetti while stirring the pasta-zucchini mixture to coat the pasta.
  10. Add half of the cheese at the end and continue to mix to turn the pasta into a gooey, cheesy, zucchini-infused sauce over the pasta. Remove from heat and add a few more torn basil leaves until the pasta in the sauce is creamy.
  11. Drain off excess sauce where possible, and serve while sprinkling with the leftover cheese. Garnish with pepper.
That doesn't sound too difficult, right? The key, in all of this, is the sweet zucchini. If the zucchini is sweet, you get the saltiness from the cheese, the earthiness from the basil and garlic, the punch from the pepper, and the sweetness from the zucchini all in one bite. Fresh zucchini is the key here, folks, so don't go buying older zucchini from your supermarket if you want the best flavours in this dish.

The untopped finished product for me looked like the image to the right which I snapped shortly before adding cheese and pepper. To say it smelled divine would be an understatement, so Tucci was halfway to his promised life-changing pasta. If you notice, I use linguini instead of spaghetti as I prefer a heartier noodle for my pasta, but I would assume that regular spaghetti would be fine. If you can, get fresh pasta too. That always makes a difference in any pasta dish, I find. You'll also notice no large zucchini chips on my pasta - I blended them into the sauce to add as I stated in the "deviation" direction above.

The finished product that I devoured was the image to the left, and I have to say that this was an entirely delicious dish. Normally, one would associate a tomato-based or cream-based sauce with pasta, but the zucchini mixture brought the sweet, salty, earthy flavours to the pasta rather than the acidic tomato flavours or the often-salty cream-based flavours. It's a refreshingly light sauce that combines some really nice elements to change the palette that one normally associates with pasta. Frankly, I will make this again. It's not a particularly difficult dish to make, it's a nice change from the marinara and carbonara sauces, and we should all be trying new foods to change up the old standards we've become used to during this pandemic.

Was it life-changing as Tucci stated in Searching For Italy? I wouldn't go that far, but it certainly changed the sauce ideas one can use for pasta if one is needing a change. The biggest takeaway I can offer on this is that the cheese will overpower the other flavours if you overdo the cheese in the sauce and as a garnish, but that's where you can adjust the amounts to find that happy medium that your palette likes. You should always be cooking for your tastes and not mine or Stanley Tucci's tastes.

That being said, spaghetti alla nerano will make reappearances in my kitchen when I need a change. It's fun, it's easy, it gives me a reason to eat zucchini, and it's a tasty, new way to enjoy pasta. It didn't change my life like it did for Stanley Tucci, but it did change my outlook towards pasta. Consider this food indulgence as "Italy found".

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 3 April 2021

The Girls Of Winter?

With Major League Baseball officially starting the season on Thursday, you know summer is right around the corner. In one city, though, you could have been forgiven if you thought it was mid-October with all the snow that feel. That place was Detroit, one of the most northern cities in MLB, so maybe we shouldn't be skipping past spring just yet, but the idea of baseball coming back gave me another idea when it came to having a little fun in mashing up Canada West hockey with something new!

MLB's 30 teams don't really offer a lot of logo choices that would fit the nine Canada West women's hockey teams well. Of course, we should remember that when the boys of summer return, there are also a ton of minor-league professional ball teams that hit the field to support the pipeline of talent that Major League Baseball needs, and that opens the door to all sorts of logo mash-ups!

With baseball back in full swing, let's take a fun look at what Canada West teams would look like if they mashed up their identities with baseball logos! If you missed the movie mash-up and the music mash-up, I suggest checking those out as well as they were fun projects, but this one had me put my baseball thinking cap on a little tighter to find proper teams for the mash-ups!

Alberta Pandas

Logo: Chicago Cubs
League: MLB


The Pandas are one of the most storied teams in Canada West who play in one of the oldest buildings in the league, so it made sense to choose the Cubs. While no one really views Wrigley Field as the place where dreams go to die, the Pandas have made Clare Drake Arena a nightmare for the opposition. Like the Cubs, there have been multiple championship banners hung in the arena, but the big difference is there has never been a 108-year drought for the Pandas! Just as the Cubbies do, the Pandas also share their city with another team in the same league and are the older of the two franchises.

UBC Thunderbirds

Logo: Toronto Blue Jays
League: MLB


This logo is literally a "T" and a bird, so it made sense to have the T-Birds adopt it. Like the current crop of Blue Jays, the Thunderbirds will give the kids starring roles in their lineup in 2021-22 as they look to shake up the balance in Canada West. The veterans who remain have played in big games so the experience factor won't be lost, but this could be a fun season in watching a pile of talented women find their games at the Canada West level. If a few of them do, this team could go long in their quest to win the division!

Calgary Dinos

Logo: Ogden Raptors
League: Pioneer League


Yes, the dinosaur is the tie-on to Ogden for Calgary. However, like Ogden, the Dinos have sent some really good players on to bigger stages such as the Olympics. Like the Raptors, the Dinos have found winning ways recently thanks to great player development and recruiting, and this Dinos team should be in the conversation when it comes to favorites to win the Canada West championship based on their current roster's construction They could be this year's apex predator in Canada West!

Trinity Western Spartans

Logo: Nashua Silver Knights
League: Futures Collegiate


No one is expecting the youthful Spartans to win Canada West this year, but their development should mean great success in the future just as we see in Nashua in the Future Collegiate League. Nashua, like TWU, finds great players for their team every year, and they've found a ton of success on the ball diamond by bringing in great people and great players. With what is being built in Langley with TWU, the Spartans should start seeing success sooner than later with the talent they're amassing. It won't be this year, but the groundwork being laid this year means that Canada West will only get harder to win thanks to Trinity Western. And I'm not gonna lie: if TWU could some how license this design as a secondary logo, I'd be an instant fan and buy any and all merchandise with this logo!

Regina Cougars

Logo: Kane County Cougars
League: American Association


The Cougars are always a competitive team, but championships elude them - true for both teams. Like the ball team, the Regina Cougars will give the kids a shot to fill some important roles this year as they seek scoring upfront, from the blue line, and a solid stopper in the blue paint. It sounds like there shouldn't be a lot to be excited about, but this team always find some incredible players who become the backbone of the squad, and I have no doubt there will be scorers and leaders who emerge this season for the Cougars.

Saskatchewan Huskies

Logo: Huskies de Rouen
League: Fédération Française


Yes, this is a baseball team that plays in France which is nowhere near Sasaktchewan. However, the success that the Huskies de Rouen have had certainly sounds like the success that the Huskies de Saskatchewan have. The Rouen Huskies are one of the most successful teams to have ever played in the Fédération Française not unlike the Saskatchewan Huskies who always find themselves near or at the top of the standings. Both teams have had the fortune of having incredible players play for them, and they have built reputations of being exceptional teams due to the talent they have.

MacEwan Griffins

Logo: Royse City Griffins
League: Southwest


This defunct team is the only "Griffins" team I could find in baseball, and they only existed from 2016-19. That being said, the MacEwan Griffins are an expansion franchise like this team was when the Southwest League got off the ground, but I suspect MacEwan's fortunes will be much better in Canada West. Head coach Lindsay McAlpine is building a fast, skilled team that can score and defend with the talent she has assembled, and it seems that MacEwan is aiming for Canada West supremacy in Season One after years of championships in the ACAC.

Mount Royal Cougars

Logo: Lynchburg Hillcats
League: Low-A East


Mount Royal, like Lynchburg, found a ton of success in other leagues in their past. However, the Cougars are now carving out their own success in Canada West thanks to great recruiting, solid player development, and excellent teamwork. They're great on both sides of the puck, and are backed by perhaps the most underrated goaltending duo in Canada West. That being said, no one will take them lightly after last season's appearance at the U SPORTS National Championship where they won their first game. The Mount Royal Cougars are the best "small ball" team in Canada West, and they don't mind putting in the reps when it comes to success!

Manitoba Bisons

Logo: Buffalo Bisons
League: Class AAA


Like the Bisons did a few years for the Blue Jays, the kids will see a ton of ice time in Manitoba. After a recruiting class that featured 10 players in 2019-20, two more solid recruiting classes were brought in to push for roster spots. The internal competition, like the ball team had a couple of years ago, should hopefully lead to players who are ready for the major leagues, and the Bisons will be looking for those performances as they hope to return to the Canada West playoffs after a one-year absence. The future is bright for the Bisons with the talent they have assembled, and they will be an entertaining team to watch!

With a little Photoshopping, some deep dives into minor-league baseball, and a touch of Canada West magic, there are your nine CanWest women's hockey teams as baseball teams! Honestly, these projects I've been doing have really allowed me to learn to Photoshop in a constructive way, and I feel like I have a new skill set thanks to this work.

Is there a ball team I missed that would work for one of these teams? Let me know in the comments and we can discuss! Of course, with baseball season upon us, you may just want to keep an eye out for former and current Canada West women's hockey players Amanda Asay (UBC), Madison Willan (Alberta), and Kaitlin Ross (MRU) who are making names for themselves on the diamond as much as they have on the ice!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 2 April 2021

They Are The Future

The above duo is Josyane Cossette and Marie-Millie Dessureault who made a little history on Wednesday night when they became the first female duo to call a QMJHL game as Rouyn-Noranda hosted Val d'Or. They followed the glass ceiling-smashing effort by Kezie Lalonde after she became the first woman to call a QMJHL game ever back on March 14. We saw Leah Hextall call an NCAA hockey game in 2019, and she was invited to the UND bubble this year where she called the longest NCAA game in history as UMD defeated UND 3-2 in the eighth period of hockey. Along with women like Cassie Campbell-Pascall, Jennifer Botterill, and AJ Mleczko, it's time for everyone to realize that the sound of hockey is changing.

Before you start writing an angry email to Sportsnet, TSN, or ESPN, we're seeing doors open for women who have exceptional talent who wouldn't have had these opportunities a decade or two ago. These women know the game just as well as any of the men they appear with on the various networks, and their hockey knowledge is on par with their colleagues as well. In short, I'll make this clear off the start: they earned these opportunities for their skill and knowledge, not because of their gender.

There no denying that Campbell, Botterill, and Mleczko have the necessary experience from their own playing days to be able to analyze and break down plays seen on video, but they've clearlyput some effort into their public speaking because they express themselves well when doing their analyst work.

The play-by-play broadcaster role is, in my view, much harder to perfect because it's a constantly-changing role with how the game changes and evolves. That being said, Leah, Kenzie, and Josyane are excellent in their calls, and they absolutely deserve to get more opportunities at any and all hockey levels for all hockey leagues.

I'm lucky enough to call Kyleigh Palmer a friend, and she has turned the play-by-play broadcasting role for Bisons women's hockey broadcasts into her own through her own skill and effort. I am always proud to be her color analyst because she has her own unique style and rhythm in which she calls the game, and she legitimately sounds like she's been broadcasting for years. She played the game like Campbell and Botterill, so she came with the knowledge, but her work in making her play-by-play call better game after game is why I can see her getting a shot in another league if she desires it.

With ESPN and possibly another US network getting into the NHL business, it might be time for one of these networks to feature a female play-by-play broadcaster or a female broadcasting team. If hockey truly is for everyone, it's time to have it start sounding like everyone which means we should hear women broadasting hockey regularly. Otherwise, hockey is missing a big chunk of the demographics that make up its fanbase.

As we saw, ESPN used Leah Hextall for their NCAA coverage, and that opportunity should not only remain, but it should grow for Leah. Give her a shot to call NHL games regularly when coverage starts on ESPN next season. Add in a few more women to the ESPN broadcasts both as analysts and broadcasters, and network coverage of NHL hockey might actually start looking sounding representative of society and, in turn, the fanbase the NHL covets so much.

Sportsnet should also be moving in this direction a little more by offering at least one play-by- play broadcaster who is a woman. While Campbell and Botterill are in-studio for Sportsnet, the next step is to open the broadcast booth up to a woman regularly.

TSN has Cheryl Pounder who does women's hockey color analysis regularly, and I really would like to see her and/or Tessa Bonhomme be given the next opportunity to move into an NHL broadcast booth. Both have a ton of experience, and they've been on TV enough that the move to the men's game shouldn't be a jump out of their comfort zones.

It might be time for people to watch where they step when it comes to all the glass that's falling from the ceilings thanks to the these talented, exceptional women shattering those glass ceilings that once existed above them. These are the women leading the way for the next generations of women finding their voices on television and radio when calling hockey games. They're laying the groundwork for the next set of women who want to combine broadcasting and hockey.

Embrace the future, hockey fans, because it's happening right in front of you eyes. These women are the future of hockey broadcasting, and the game sounds so much better with them in it.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 1 April 2021

The Hockey Show - Episode 445

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back on April Fool's Day which means that Teebz finally has a day named for him! Tonight, he and Jenna will break down a month's worth of news after filling March with some inspiring interviews from a number of women who are doing amazing things and will continue to do amazing things. There's a lot to go over in this one from all corners of the hockey world, so settle down, buckle in, and get ready for a show that covers a lot of topics tonight!

Teebz and Jenna will go over all over the major stories tonight that hit the headlines, along a few that didn't, from virtually every league on the planet. There are stories of racism in the WHL, recaps of NHL teams snapping streaks and falling into form, snippets of news from the ECHL, another great-but-overdue milestone in the QMJHL, news from Canada West, a KHL team coming back from voluntary suspension, a finale in the SDHL after COVID struck, a name change for an MJHL team, and a plea to help a town in Manitoba accomplish a dream! There is literally something for everyone in this episode, and we'll even tease out a major announcement for next week's show! You don't want to miss this episode, so make sure you tune in on one of 101.5 FM, Channel 718 on MTS TV, or via UMFM.com at 5:30pm CT!

We'd also be remiss if we didn't remind everyone about the upcoming vote for the 2021 Kraft Hockeyville experience! Make sure you go and vote on April 9 from 8am CT until April 10 at 5pm CT at the Kraft Hockeyville website for Saint Adolphe, Manitoba! We could see an NHL preseason game out there in the fall if they win, so get your votes in, folks!

Where's the best place can you hear tonight's show if you're outside Winnipeg or not near a radio, 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, so if you want to stream the show I'd recommend Radio Garden to do that as it works nicely with Safari. If you're more of an app person, we recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store or Google Play Store. If you do use the TuneIn app, you won't be disappointed. It's a solid app.

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

Tonight, Teebz and Jenna discuss NHL, MJHL, ECHL, QMJHL, WHL, Canada West, RSEQ, U SPORTS, BCIHL, USHL, KHL, SDHL, and tease next week's massive epsiode which features two Olympians exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM.com web stream!

PODCAST: April 1, 2021: Episode 445

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!