Friday 30 September 2022

The Art Of Negotiation?

It was announced last night on The Hockey Show, but it needs to be repeated here: UMFM will not be covering Bisons Sports events for this season. The door remains open for the future from what has been indicated, but there will be no live broadcasts or replays of events heard on UMFM airwaves this season. This may surprise a lot of people considering that UMFM was "the home for Bisons Sports" on your radio dial, but it would seem that a business partnership that had lasted for more than two decades couldn't be extended for another season or two after the two sides failed to reach an agreement for broadcasts this season and beyond.

It's hard not to be a little cynical about how the negotiations went based on some of the things reportedly said during the meetings between UMFM and Bisons Sports, but the end result is that Bisons Sports will air exclusive broadcasts on the Canada West TV subscription service only. If you are either unwilling or unable to subscribe to Canada West TV, your chances of watching and/or hearing Bisons Sports broadcasts for football and hockey drop to zero. There will be no other way to catch those games.

If you're asking how this could happen, you're not alone. It's hard to process this kind of information after UMFM has been part of U SPORTS National Championship events, legendary Canada West games, and historical moments of all kinds, but Bisons Sports made it clear during negotiations that they believe they can provide higher quality broadcasts than UMFM. As a broadcaster, it's hard to rationalize how a university athletics department can know more about broadcasting than a radio station, but that seems to be their stance on the matter.

Over July and August, meetings happened infrequently, but there were enough discussions for UMFM to make several concessions in order to have the framework for a broadcasting agreement by the end of August. With little time before the university sports seasons start, everyone involved with the UMFM side of things began to prepare for the football and hockey seasons with the UMFM general manager meeting with Bisons Sports one last time prior to the seasons starting for a production meeting about the broadcasts.

The only problem was that the production meeting involved zero production notes as Bisons Sports informed UMFM that they had shifted their stance on the agreement and had decided to produce the broadcasts on their own without UMFM's involvement. As a result of that decision, the opportunity for UMFM to carry games on its airwaves disappeared. That's how we arrived at where we stand today in having no games being aired on UMFM.

What's Next?

The most obvious change for me will be that I will no longer be a part of Bisons women's hockey broadcasts thanks to Bisons Sports' decision to continue to treat me as a criminal for criticizing the program via The Rundown on February 6, 2022. I will not apologize further for stating what was obvious to most observers last season, and my objective to offer informative and impartial information to readers about the nine Canada West programs will not be sacrificed for any reason. I try to stick to that principle of objectivity since nine teams' worth of players, parents, and fans could possibly read the recaps posted weekly.

And let me be clear: I'm not writing the recaps for page hits and UMFM doesn't subscribe to a radio ratings service, so there isn't a financial reward for me as any sort of motivation to be controversial. Instead, it's always been about, and always will be about, being informative and impartial. The colour of the jersey and the logo on the front doesn't matter to me. If you play well, I'll state that. Conversely, if you play poorly, that too will be said. You may not like that someone said or wrote something critical, but if your sport is played in front of fans who paid for tickets you're open to public criticism. If you don't like being criticized, listen to Ray Ferraro's famed advice: "play better".

The Fallout

In summary, due to their incredibly poor business ethics in failing to honour an agreement made in principle, Bisons Sports is dead to me. That means no more stories or facts shared about Bisons players nor will there be any features produced by me for use on the broadcasts since I'm no longer part of those broadcasts. You will not see another story about a current Bisons player or the team itself on this blog outside of The Rundown, and the effort given towards Manitoba on those recaps will be minimal at best. In fact, starting right now on this article, any reference to or about the Bisons on The Rundown will now be made by their new moniker, the "Fluffy Cows", as shown above, and nothing will change that moniker in the future.

Beyond that, The Hockey Show will devote a total of zero seconds of coverage for the Fluffy Cows until the end of time. That includes interviews with players and staff along with stories about the players and teams - none of it will be mentioned, discussed, or referenced. I'd advise you not to tune into the show expecting to hear about the local university men's and women's hockey teams. It simply will not happen.

For the record, alumni and former staff of the Fluffy Cows will certainly still be welcome, but anyone involved with either team - men's or women's hockey - from this date forward officially will never be given another breath on The Hockey Show. There will be no social media hits for the teams either. If the worst thing about being talked about is NOT being talked about, we're going to test that theory until the end of time.

For all other players and teams who want their stories told, nothing changes there. I'll be happy to promote your efforts, teams, schools, and anything else you want promoted. I'll still marvel over your highlights, skills, and talents, so expect to see the same coverage as before at the very least. That doesn't change.

The Last Word... Ever

If the Fluffy Cows feel that they can do better broadcasts than we can at UMFM, they're welcome to that opinion. I'm not here to tell them how to run their business and I wish them well in following this path, but having this writer's support is an all-or-nothing venture. If they feel that the free marketing we provided on UMFM and this blog was worth nothing, that's precisely the amount of free marketing I'll provide forever more: nothing.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 29 September 2022

The Hockey Show - Episode 523

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns tonight with an annual tradition that often proves that anything can happen as the Canada West Hockey Preview Show is upon us! For one night, we'll spare you of Hockey Canada's madness and other goofy NHL preseason chatter in order to focus on the western conference of U SPORTS hockey. With UBC raising a banner for women's hockey and Alberta raising yet another banner for men's hockey, can they replicate the success they had one season ago? We shall discuss!

With the Canada West Coach's Poll results revealed on Wednesday, Teebz and Jason will compare their own notes in determining placements to that of the coach's poll as the two hosts try to figure out who finishes where. The hosts will talk about who is playing where this season as recruiting classes were large for some programs, they examine preseason results to validate their beliefs, and they'll come up with placements for all nine teams in both men's and women's hockey as the nine Canada West schools look to add a National Championship banner to the rafters of their respective arenas. And just because we like to drop teasers, there will be a major announcement at some point during the show that may be of interest. It may not affect everyone, but it needs to be brought to everyone's attention. All of that will happen tonight on The Hockey Show at 5:30pm CT so we hope you join us on one of 101.5 FM, Channel 718 on MTS TV, or via!

If you live outside Winnipeg and want to listen, we have options! The new UMFM website's online streaming player is pretty awesome if you want to listen online. 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! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter! I'm here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz and Jason have a major announcement as well as breaking down the Canada West Conference for both men's and women's hockey as we try to figure out who will finish where based on recruiting classes, results seen this season, and departures from the programs on the annual Canada West Hockey Preview Show heard exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the web stream!

PODCAST: September 29, 2022: Episode 523

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 28 September 2022

An Expensive Mistake

There's no denying that mid-1990s Jaromir Jagr had some of the best hair in hockey history. Look at that glorious mane to the left! That's one of hockey's best mullets of all-time, and I'm not sure there's another that has even been close in recent memory. While we marvel at Jagr's flowing locks, I do want to point out that the jersey he is wearing is the original diagonal-name jersey that the Penguins wore in the 1990s. Easily identifiable by the robo-Penguin on the shoulder, the black jersey with "Pittsburgh" spelled out diagonally on the front was used by the team from 1992 until it was retired following the 1996-97 season. I have one of these jerseys in my closet, and it looks phenomenal with the customization as it just has that traditional black-and-yellow Penguins jersey from Lemieux-Jagr era. Toss in a solid mullet like Jagr's flow, and you're ready for a Penguins game.

Why I bring this up today was due to a recent viewing of a jersey being sold on a website. The image below is for the jersey that's up for sale, and I'm sure you'll notice there's a very significant difference between what Jagr is wearing above and what's shown below.
As you can quite clearly see, the numbers on Jagr's jersey at the top are yellow with the white outline - two-colour numbers as the pros say - while the jersey in question has the colour scheme reversed and in three-colour twill (white on black on yellow). Clearly, there's an error here, but the error made is actually a lot more expensive than you may think due to something you can't see immediately.

If you inspect the number closely, you'll see a design on the white portion of the number that looks like a series of V-shapes aligned closely together. This type of twill fabric is known as "arctic twill", and it was used by a handful of NHL teams during the 1990s to add another layer of depth to the numbers. Personally, I found it hardly noticeable whule watching from home or in the stands, but teams used it to catch the light a little more to make the numbers stand out. Was it effective? That part is debatable, but what isn't debatable is that the cost of arctic twill fabric was considerably more than the regular tackle twill we're used to seeing.

You may be asking how such an egregious error could be made, and I'm not sure myself. What I do know is that the Penguins' alternate jersey during this time, pictured to the left, used this fabric for its numbering and lettering, so it would appear someone got the wrong specific uniform font applied to the wrong jersey. Whoever walked away with this jersey with the wrong lettering also paid considerably more for the customization thanks to the arctic twill used for the numbers and letters, so mistake hurts twice in that the it's wrong and it was a larger hit to the pocketbook.

That part that makes me sad is that this is an original CCM jersey with all the proper tags and identifiers that has essentially been ruined because someone either choose the wrong font for the jersey or someone messed up and put the wrong font on the jersey. Finding original CCM jerseys of the diagonal-name Penguins jersey in what appears to be great condition is getting harder and harder, so seeing this one made virtually worthless hurts the jersey collector in me.

I can tell you I will not be buying this jersey. The error is one thing, and I completely get that a person who doesn't follow hockey closely may never know that this jersey was covered in wrong. That's part of the "caveat emptor" warning that Romans had, and it certainly applies to buying anything online. The second reason, though, makes it easier to dismiss this jersey outright, and that's the asking price.

That's a ton of dough to buy someone's mistake, and it simply would not be worth the effort to correct that error. Personally, the person selling this jersey should be embarrassed, so don't fall into his or her trap and spend your money on someone's expensive mistake. This jersey should remain available until the end of time thanks to the cost and the error.

Caveat emptor as always, folks!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 27 September 2022

Read The Room

No one will ever accuse hockey people of being smart, especially if one is involved in men's hockey. We've seen and heard a number of jaw-dropping statements from Hockey Canada over the last few months about the sexual assault scandal the organizations finds itself embroiled in, so you'd think that other organizations would learn from the landmines set off by Hockey Canada. MoDo, playing in the SHL, Sweden's top hockey league, should be one of those organizations, but there may be a lot of questions about their moral standing after they released a statement today about a player under contract with the team.

Unbeknownst to them at the time, MoDo signed a player this summer for their junior program who had been charged with sexual abuse. MoDo CEO Johan Widebro said on August 31, "Unfortunately, we had not been aware of the situation before, but we received information about this on Wednesday. We of course take the situation very seriously and are now taking the necessary measures."

The only measure that MoDo took, it seems, was "to suspend the player in question from training and matches until further notice" which seems like the very least that MoDo could do. Earlier today, reported that "[o]n Tuesday, MoDo announced that the player has now been convicted of sexual assault in the district court. According to Örnsköldsvik's Allehanda, the junior player must serve 110 hours of youth service and also pay SEK 25,000 to the plaintiff."

Charged and convicted seems like a clear message for MoDo to distance themselves from this player, but Widebro spoke again today about the situation, stating, "If the judgment becomes final, we will break the contract with the player."

Let me be clear here: read the room, MoDo. Your player was charged and convicted by a court, so terminate the contract. Regardless of whether or not an appeal is filed, the fact that the organization is willing to stand by a player convicted of sexual abuse doesn't cast MoDo in a great light. I don't care if this player is the next Peter Forsberg or a long-lost Sedin sibling - he's guilty of a heinous crime, so do the right thing and just end the contract with prejudice.

You would think that MoDo's CEO would be up-to-date with the Hockey Canada ordeal, but it seems hockey is learning nothing about how to change the culture and be better. For an organization with a prominent women's program at both the junior and senior levels, you would think MoDo would do a better job in believing their own statement they issued on August 31 that read, "MoDo Hockey would like to emphasize that the club distances itself from all forms of harassment, bullying, violations and special treatment."

I guess this is another "do as I say, not as I do" situation because it sure seems like this convicted junior player is receiving some special treatment regarding a serious criminal violation in having his contract protected by MoDo. Sweden's laws are some of the stringent on the planet regarding sexual assualt and sexual abuse, so the chances of having this conviction overturned seems very unlikely. It could happen, but I can't see it happening.

Read the freaking room, MoDo, and do the right thing in this case.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 26 September 2022

New Cities Emerge

You may be aware that the IIHF Men's World Hockey Championship is played in Europe. It makes sense for this as most of the teams are from Europe, but also because most NHL rinks are in use during the month of May for a variety of things including the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Since the IIHF likes to announce host cities well ahead of their time of hosting the event, having question marks about where teams will play wouldn't work well when it comes to rinks and hotels. Because of these reasons, having the tournament in Europe works best, and it seems to do very well in traditional hockey markets like Stockholm, Berlin, Prague, and Helsinki. The only problem with those cities is that they have a deeper history with hockey whereas the IIHF should be looking elsewhere to continue to grow and strengthen the game in countries who are emerging on the international stage.

The 2027 IIHF Men's World Hockey Championship doesn't have a host city yet, but there are three countries who have applied to host the tournament in Germany, Kazakhstan, and Norway. Each of the countries who has applied has its strengths and drawbacks when one considers the applications, but let's take a look at which country may have the best shot at hosting from this writer's perspective.

As per the IIHF's release, it would seem that Germany is applying without releasing which cities would actually host the event. The IIHF's Martin Merk writes,
"Germany applies for the 2027 edition with venues to be announced later following the end of the national bidding process. Germany hosted the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship eight times since 1930. Most recently Germany hosted in 2017 in Cologne together with the French capital of Paris. The last time Germany hosted the event alone was in 2010 when games took place in Cologne and Mannheim, with the opening game in the football stadium of Gelsenkirchen that at that time set a world-record attendance for an ice hockey game."
Ok, so Deutschland has held the event twice in the last fifteen years which is more than both Kazakhstan and Norway combined. I'll give Germany credit in that they have amazing venues - Berlin's Mercedes-Benz Arena was built in 2008 and seats 17,000 people while Hamburg's Barclays Arena was built in 2002 and holds 16,000 people - and Germany is central for a number of nations who may be playing in the 2027 World Championship. Certainly, this application should be considered, but I'm not sure it's the best place for the 2027 edition of the tournament.

Merk chimes in on Kazakhstan's application, writing,
"Kazakhstan has never hosted a top-level IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship before but has two large facilities in its bid with the 11,400-seat Barys Arena in Astana and the 12,500-seat Almaty Arena in Almaty. The Barys Arena is home to KHL team Barys Astana and hosted the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A. At that event, the Kazakh team earned promotion to the top division and has stayed there ever since. The Almaty Arena was opened for the 2017 Winter Universiade, where they hosted the ice hockey tournaments."
The Kazakhstan application is an interesting one considering they have a brand-new facility in Almaty, they have hosted a couple of major tournaments successfully, and they have a team that is showing some mettle on the international stage. The venues aren't as large as those in Germany, but that shouldn't sway the IIHF. What may sway them, though, is that Kazakhstan isn't exactly the easiest country to visit at the moments thanks to Russia's stupidity in Ukraine. That might be the biggest drawback for Kazakhstan in hosting the 2027 version of the annual tournament.

Perhaps the most interesting of the three applicants is the one from Norway as the Norwegians seem to love their hockey despite never being seen as a hockey nation. Merk writes,
"Norway is aiming for its third top-level IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship on home ice after hosting in Oslo in 1958 and in Lillehammer, Oslo and Hamar in 1999. The 2027 bid is planned in new locations and facilities. The Norwegian Ice Hockey Association is working on the details of the bid with Baerum and Trondheim as cities. In Baerum outside of Oslo, the Telenor Arena, an indoor football stadium, could be converted into a 14,000-seat ice arena. In Trondheim, the 8,600-seat Trondheim Spektrum was built in 2019 on the site of an old sports hall."
I find Norway's application to be the one that appeals the most due to a couple of factors: time since last hosting an IIHF event and the introduction of the game into new locations that will have new facilities. Beyond that, Norway is a country whose women's team is starting to make moves in the international scene, but they need some reinforcements. While the men have made appearances at both the Olympics and the World Championships, the Norwegians need a push for both programs.

Norway, as per the IIHF, has 10,270 players registered for hockey with just 1360 of those players being women. Take nothing away from the players who are already enrolled and playing because they're doing their best, but it's hard to compete when places like Japan, Switzerland, France, and Germany have a bigger pool from whom they can choose. Great Britain's female enrolment isn't as high as Norway's is, but their total registration is higher which may explain why their men's team has seen more success recently than the Norwegians have. If the IIHF is going to gorw the game, this would be a good start.

You may see that Norway had better registration numbers overall and, specifically, in the women's game than Kazakhstan, but there a likely a number of other factors that contribute to those numbers - socioeconomics, culture, and weather, for example - that the IIHF nor the local hockey governing bodies can control. For a nothern country like Norway to be comparative in its numbers to that of neighbouring Sweden and Finland or similarly-populated Denmark, it needs to really grow its game. The IIHF exposing the game to more people there may help.

Oslo, Norway sits at or about the same line of latitude as Stockholm, Sweden, yet Norway has 49 outdoor rinks and just three indoor rinks to Sweden's 363 outdoor rinks and 34 indoor rinks. Again, Sweden is a hockey nation which no one is denying, but Norway could easily be one as well if they simply had the facilities to teach and play the game. Exposure to the game at a high level will help, but the IIHF could wield its power in bringing its resources to the Norwegian people and the Norwegian Ice Hockey Association at the same. This attacks the problem from both ends of the spectrum as it may increase enrolment, but also gives the Norwegian Ice Hockey Association additional tools to attract people to the sport.

You may disagree with me on this one, but I really hope the IIHF chooses Norway's application to host the 2027 IIHF Men's World Hockey Championship. There's a chance to really improve the game within Norway's borders both in numbers and level of play, but the IIHF has to show that it's willing to make that effort. We know the Kazakhstan team and the German team are flirting with being regulars on the top international stages in both the men's and women's game, so the IIHF should be looking to make that push with new countries now.

If you're asking, the 2023 tournament will be split between Tampere, Finland and Riga, Latvia from May 12-28, 2023. Following that, the IIHF makes stops with the Men's World Hockey Championship in Prague and Ostrava, Czechia in 2024, Stockholm, Sweden and Herning, Denmark in 2025, and Zurich and Fribourg, Switzerland in 2026. They'll likely see good crowds in those cities and venues for the action, but the game needs to reach further than the same six countries who always seem to host the tournament.

Do the right thing and invest in Norway, IIHF. You have a heckuvan opportunity with this application to make real inroads with the Norwegian people, so take the first step and award Norway the 2027 IIHF Men's World Hockey Championship. If you plant the seed today, you may be amazed with how quickly it grows into something incredible.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 25 September 2022

Canada West Alumni Update

Being that it's hockey season once again and that I do a weekly recap on all things Canada West right here in this space on this day as that season progresses, I figured it might be time to start practicing that effort once again. There are preseason games being played in Canada West right now that matter zero in the grand scheme of things, but there are great efforts being seen in professional leagues - specifically the SDHL - right now by former Canada West players. It was an honour to watch them skate in Canada West and I'm still blown away by their skills at the professional level, so I plan on keeping tabs on these players all season long whether they play in the SDHL, PWHPA, or the PHF.

This would be a good time to remind everyone that The Hockey Show will run its annual Canada West Preview Show for both men's and women's hockey this Thursday where Jason, myself, and possibly a guest will give our thoughts on how the nine respective teams will do for the upcoming season. Like any predictions made on the show, nothing is guaranteed, we're likely more wrong than right, and our money-back guarantee is always in place for listening. It should be a fun chat, though, so tune in for that if you're interested in our thoughts and a big announcement!

All that aside, there were games played in Sweden this week where a number of Canada West players and a coach were involved. Let's take a quick peek at those alumni!

Former Saskatchewan Huskies forward Danielle Stone has yet to dress this season for HV71. The team pushes on without her, though, as HV71 defeated SDE in a shootout by a 5-4 score on Saturday before dropping a 3-1 decision to AIK on Sunday. As it stands, HV71 sits in eighth-place with four points off an 0-2-2-0 record. They'll visit Djurgårdens next Sunday.

Leksands was in tough against perennial powerhouse Lulea/MSSK on Saturday, and the 4-0 final in favour of Lulea reflected that disparity between the two teams. As a result, former Mount Royal Cougars forward Anna Purschke was still looking for her first point while former MRU Cougars coach Jordan Colliton was still seeking her first win. Sunday saw Leksands hosting MoDo, but a late goal in overtime sunk Leksands once more as Modo prevailed by a 2-1 score.

Purschke wasn't in on the Leksands goal in this game, so she still seeks her first professional point. Leksands sits in ninth-place with an 0-1-0-2 record with two points, but they won't play again until October 8 when they host Linköping as both Purschke and Colliton look to earn that elusive first win of their professional careers!

MoDo was visiting Brynäs on Saturday, and it didn't seem to go well for the ladies from Örnsköldsvik as Brynäs hung a 4-0 loss on them thanks, in part, to former MoDo netminder Klara Peslarova pitching a shutout for her new team. MoDo would bounce back as they visited Leksands on Sunday, and that late overtime goal scored by MoDo was tallied by former Regina Cougars sniper Jaycee Magwood!

Magwood's second of the season would allow her to remain at the top of the scoring leaderboard as her two goals and five assists is tops in the SDHL! MoDo, meanwhile, is in a five-way tie for second-place with six points, but they own a 1-1-1-1 record on the season. MoDo visits SDE in their next action on October 1.

SDE has a pile of Canada West alumni playing, and a few were involved in the 5-4 shootout loss suffered at the hands of visiting HV71 on Saturday. Former UBC Thunderbirds forward Hannah Clayton-Carroll had a pair of goals to give her four on the season while former UBC Thunderbirds forward Mathea Fischer picked up an assist on Clayton-Carroll's fourth goal. Lindsey Post was in net for this game as she drops the skills competition decision despite making 27 stops on the night.

Sunday's game also needed extra time as SDE welcomed Göteborg to town, and it would be Mathea Fischer who would shine in this game as her power-play marker in overtime sealed the 2-1 victory for SDE!

The results of the weekend saw Hannah Clayton-Carroll move into second-place in goal-scoring in the SDHL with her four goals, two back of leader Emma Nordin of Lulea/MSSK. Clayton-Carroll also sits two points back of Jaycee Magwood in overall scoring as she's tied for third-place in the SDHL with five points. Lindsey Post moves to 1-0-1 on the season with a 2.40 GAA and a .914 save percentage in her two appearances. SDE is one of those five teams tied for second-place with six point as they own a 1-1-1-1 record. SDE will play in Brynäs on Wednesday before hosting MoDo next Saturday on October 1.

For those wondering, I had made a comment last week about how Mathea Fischer didn't receive credit for two assists she clearly made on Wednesday when SDE defeated Djurgårdens by a 2-1. Well, I'm happy to report that the SDHL went back and looked at the video evidence. As a result, Fischer was credited with two assists in that game she previously hadn't been, and she now sits with four points on the season!

There's a quick update on who did what in the SDHL with respect to Canada West alumni. I'll keep an eye on the action over in Sweden to see what's happening where and who is making Canada West and their former programs proud. All of these women deserve some of your time, though, so make some time to watch the SDHL!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 24 September 2022

Summer Music Jersey Collection

While the pandemic is far from over, it has quieted somewhat thanks to vaccinations and general cautiousness among the mass of humanity. Because of this, venues began opening their doors once again, musicians loaded up buses with their gear, and we had live music this summer for the first time in what felt like a long time! I'll be honest in telling you that I didn't attend a concert personally, but that's not something I do regularly as it is. That didn't stop any musicians or bands from touring, though, and that means hockey jerseys were en vogue once again for musicians to wear! Who was wearing your favorite team? Let's find out in this edition of Musician In Jerseys!

I linked the database of images above, but there have been a lot of musicians who have already appeared in jerseys at some point in their respective careers. We're adding a pile of new images today, so bear with me as we work through each team's roster of musicians - both current and historical - who have worn or held a jersey for a photo. If you want to submit a musician in a jersey, fire it over to me and I'll add it to the next round of musicians who have taken home a hockey jersey! Check the database, though, because there are a ton of duplicates that I receive!

Alphabetically, we start with the Anaheim Ducks. Machine Gun Kelly picked up a Ducks alternate jersey. Five For Fighting is technically the name that John Ondrasik goes by as a performer, so his touring band doesn't get much publicity when it comes to who is playing behind him. There's nothing wrong with that arrangement, of course, but it makes it harder to identify musicians such as his guitarist who wore a Ducks jersey and his drummer who wore a Ducks jersey at the Stadium Series game in 2014. I suspect the drummer may be Randy Cooke, but I have no idea who the guitarist is. Friends of the blog, if you know, you get full credit. Send me the details if you know!

The relocated Atlanta Thrashers don't have many musicians who wore their jerseys, but The Flaming Lips bassist Michael Ivins was one of them. Like the Thrashers who left Atlanta, Ivins has also left The Flaming Lips as of August 20, 2021 for reasons not yet disclosed. In both cases, fans deserve better than a team or a band member walking away despite both likely having good reasons to do so.

The Buffalo Sabres played in the 2018 Winter Classic at Citi Field against the New York Rangers, and they got a special visit from the Goo Goo Dolls who were founded in Buffalo in 1986! Perhaps they are true hometown fans of the Sabres being from Buffalo? Seems like that might be the case!

Alphabetically, the Calgary Flames are the first team to have multiple musicians show up in their threads. We'll start with the Backstreet Boys who are on another world tour despite not being boys nor being from any sort of "back street" in two decades. Country singer George Canyon performed the anthem before a Flames game. And at the recent Canadian Country Music Awards show, Canadian country music star Jojo Mason not only showed up in a Flames jersey with new star Jonathan Huberdeau, but his jersey was a Huberdeau jersey! The Flames have a new a new fan in Regina-born Jojo Mason, it seems!

Rapper Rapsody, born in North Carolina, went with the Carolina Hurricanes for her photo alongside Remy Ma for their collaboration. The Backstreet Boys were also in Raleigh, North Carolina during their world tour. I wonder if they came home with more clothes than with which they started? It seems like it could be possible at this point.

The Chicago Blackhawks helped the Backstreet Boys out in the past with more clothes, but it seems that Kevin Richardson had a white jersey given to him at some point while Howie Dorough received a red jersey for his intermission shooting skills. Speaking of shooting skills, Rick Neilsen of Cheap Trick took a shot, drummer Mince Fratelli of The Fratellis fired pucks, bass guitarist Barry Fratelli tried to hit the targets, and the Brothers Osborne actually scored on one of their attempts! SWV's Leanne "Lelee" Lyons was in Blackhawks red in the linked photo. And in perhaps the most iconic photo in this set of Blackhawks fans is Anna-Frid Lyngstad of ABBA wearing the red Blackhawks jersey!

The Dallas Stars have had a few key people come through American Airlines Center who left with a jersey. Among them are country music legend George Strait, Lukas Forchhammer of Danish pop band Lukas Graham, and Canadian crooner Michael Bublé, compliments of Blair F., who all came out with Victory Green jerseys! Bublé, it should be noted, now has two Dallas Stars jerseys of two different designs!

The Detroit Red Wings make an appearance today as they have a few musical fans. They include Jon Bon Jovi, and both Joe Elliott and Phil Collen of Def Leppard. He's already part of their list in Detroit's white jersey, but Kid Rock is back in the red jersey as well.

It nearly took a forensic investigation, but I believe the man in the Oilers jersey from a 2009 game against Columbus is Haymaker's Aaron "Justice" Simpson. I say that mainly because his Facebook page has Connor McDavid featured prominently. American country music star Hardy showed his Oilers colours. Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo sang the anthem prior to a game in 2007. Nova Scotia-born Natalie MacMaster showed off her fiddle skills by performing the anthems prior to a game in 2010.

The Los Angeles Kings have a pile of musical fans, but none might be bigger than Five For Fighting's John Ondrasik who has a Robitaille black-and-purple jersey and a black jersey (which he may have been wearing when he met Wayne Gretzky!). Zakk Wylde, lead guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, played the US national anthems on opening night in 2005. Latino musician Virlan Garcia appears to be a fan of the Kings. Stone Temple Pilots singer Jeff Gutt belts out the anthem prior to a 2018 game. The Eagles' Glenn Frey wore a Gene Carr jersey on-stage in some concerts, and there was a good reason for it as the two were close friends! Ciara sported a Kings jersey as she filmed a music video as well!

This had to be included: He wasn't part of the Bee Gees, but youngest Gibb brother Andy Gibb wore a Minnesota North Stars jersey!

Soul Asylum was invited to perform at the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Minnesota Wild where lead singer Dave Pirner wore a Minnesota Wild jersey!

The Canadiens saw Annakin Slayd sport their 1909-10 centennial jersey alongside Habs celebrity superfan Jay Baruchel. Old Dominion's Trevor Rosen has his own personalized jersey he wore in a recent concert. Australian rapper The Kid Laroi wore a Montreal jersey during a performance, and the Backstreet Boys also added some more clothes to their closets, but it seems like Kevin Richardson may have already had a jersey?

Calgary-born country-pop singer Lindsay Ell took the stage in a Nashville Stadium Series jersey. Madison Marlow and Taylor Dye of the group Maddie and Tae had their pictures taken with the Stanley Cup in 2018. Country music legends The Oak Ridge Boys performed the anthem prior to a 2018 game.

The New Jersey Devils invited Ra Ra Riot's Wes Miles out to perform the anthem prior to a 2010 game, and they also had Wyclef Jean out in 2019 to drop a ceremonial first puck! He's been mentioned a few times already, but Machine Gun Kelly also acquired a Devils jersey at some point in his career.

It's not a jersey, but it was hard to miss Twenty One Pilots' Josh Dun very clearly wearing the logo of the New York Islanders.

The New York Rangers found a new fan in Luisana Lopilato as the former member of pop-rock band Erreway participated in a series of challenges against her husband, Michael Bublé. Phil Collins is already entrenched as a Rangers fan, but he wore a second Rangers jersey with the shield logo in this photo! Like Collins, Chad Smith, drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, was also added to the Rangers' fanbase in a blue jersey, but here he is in a white Rangers jersey as well! I didn't think Sting would be a Rangers fan, but apparently he is. Drummer Tyler Stewart of Barenaked Ladies accepted an award in New York City in 2001 and showed the local team some love. Cheryl "Koko" Gamble was representing her hometown in NYR blue. While she is likely better known for her acting, Zendaya has released a number of singles and at least one album in her career! Rapper Remy Ma broke out the hometown Rangers' blue jersey for her collaboration with Rapsody. Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys wore the blue Rangers jersey during an anthem performance.

Trooper's Ra McGuire entertained fans prior to the Stanley Cup Final game in Ottawa in 2007.

The Philadelphia Flyers can add both Method Man and Phil Collins to their fanbase.

The Arizona Coyotes had a couple of musicians join them in performing the anthems as Laura Walsh had the honour in 2017 while Jordin Sparks sang at a 2011 game when the team was still the Phoenix Coyotes!

The late Mac Miller was a big Pittsburgh Penguins fan as he wore the robo-Penguin jersey and the diagonal-name jersey at times, and Michael Bublé was in Pittsburgh for a concert where he wore the reverse retro Penguins jersey. Tamara "Taj" Johnson also sports a diagonal-name jersey in the SWV photo. AJ McLean of the Backstreet Boys performed the anthem in a Penguins jersey.

I don't know if Machine Gun Kelly is a big fan of bedazzling, but it would seem someone got a little carried away on his Seattle Kraken jersey.

The St. Louis Blues had Echosmith perform before Game Three of the Stanley Cup Final in 2019, and singer Sydney Sierota donned a Blues jersey. Post Malone's recent tour stop in St. Louis saw him go home with a jersey and bruised ribs after he fell through the stage. Mike Levine from Triumph was a Blues fan back in his era. Michael Bublé recently picked up a St. Louis Blues jersey while stopping there. And Machine Gun Kelly added a Blues jersey to his growing collection of jerseys as well!

Did Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys bring his own Tampa Bay Lightning jersey or did he get a new one when he joined his bandmates in the Backstreet Boys for a performance of the anthem?

We have a pile of reader submissions coming for the Maple Leafs. "PhotoBlair" had this side profile of Queen's Freddie Mercury. Mick K. sent in the late Tiny Tim in a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey. Jim S. found The Band's Robbie Robertson wearing Maple Leafs colours. Mike Levine of Triumph shows up in a Maple Leafs jersey in the picture sent by Steve K. Rob D.'s image of Linda Ronstadt in Maple Leafs colours is astounding. Steve C. had a newspaper clipping of Jimmy Buffett in a Maple Leafs jersey. Gordon Lightfoot wore his Maple Leafs jersey with the hosts of Sportsnet's Hometown Hockey. Glenn Frey showed his range of jerseys by appearing in a blue Leafs jersey after previously being seen in a white Leafs jersey. Matt D. dug up this beauty image of Rush's Geddy Lee in a Maple Leafs jersey. Benny Andersson of ABBA wore a customized jersey at a concert while Greig D. found an image from a Swedish newspaper of ABBA in Maple Leafs jerseys. It appears that Howie Dorough of the Backstreet Boys wore a Maple Leafs jersey for an anthem performance. And late rapper Mac Miller wore a Maple Leafs jersey in concert as well!

The Backstreet Boys stopped off in Vancouver where the Canucks contributed to their clothing haul on their tour. Machine Gun Kelly got himself a Canucks jersey on his stop in Vancouver. LANY lead singer Paul Jason Klein also endeared himself to Vancouver fans by donning the Canucks' colours. In their video, rap duo Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz donned hockey jerseys with Gunz opting for a Canucks jersey!

The Vegas Golden Knights always seem to be welcoming musical guests to their arena as Imagine Dragons were outfitted with jerseys while Motley Crue's Vince Neil has a Golden Knights jersey as well!

Just one entry for the Washington Capitals on this concert review, and that's Michael Bublé wearing the jersey of his friend, Karl Alzner, at a concert!

The Winnipeg Jets have a single entry as well, but it appears that Diplo is a Josh Morrissey fan based on that number!

A couple of All-Star Game updates include Aaron Lewis of Staind and John Hiatt both playing at the 2016 All-Star Game in Nashville.

Internationally speaking, Bjoern Dixgard and Patrik Heikinpieti, members of the Swedish Rock band Mando Diao, were at the DEL game on November 23, 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany where they received Düsseldorf EG jerseys. Irish pop group Westlife showed their allegiances by supporting the Belfast Giants. Paul Baloff of Exodus was on stage in a Soviet Union CCCP jersey. It isn't often Michael Bublé is the lesser of two stars in a photo, but here he is with former NHL star Jochen Hecht after receiving a Mannheim Eagles jersey. Bublé makes a second appearance in the international section after sporting a Dubai Mighty Camels jersey. And he makes a third appearance in a Team Canada jersey as well! Linkin Park received a singular jersey for the band from the Eisbaeren Berlin in Berlin, Germany. As mentioned above, rap duo Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz donned hockey jerseys with Lord Tariq sporting the Team USA threads!

A couple of major junior hockey teams got boosts from celebrity fans. For those that don't know, Michael Bublé is a minority owner in the Vancouver Giants where he received a black Giants jersey upon completing the purchase of his share of the team. He's since added a personalized white jersey and has worn an alternate jersey as he helped clean up teddy bears on Teddy Bear Toss Night as well! Papa Roach got himself a USHL Omaha Lancers jersey after a stop in Nebraska. Brett Kissel showed his support for the OHL Bulldogs during a stop in Hamilton!

A few musicians were lucky enough to receive university jerseys. DJ and beatmaker Metro Boomin got his hands on an NCAA Bentley University Falcons jersey while rapper Iggy Azalea received her own NCAA University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks jersey as per the images John M. sent!

As for other jerseys, the Barenaked Ladies received jerseys from the ECHL's Atlanta Gladiators when the band played in Atlanta. The late Mac Miller performed in a Mighty Ducks jersey from the Disney movie. And in one of the coolest jerseys I've seen from the 1970s, Tony Banks of Genesis wore a WHA Houston Aeros jersey at some point!

That was quite the set of concerts had we seen all of these bands and musicians play this season, but the amount of jerseys given away by hockey teams to musicians is rather ridiculous. I guess free publicity helps the hockey teams while the bands and musicians get some free gear - win-win in the highest sense, I guess.

In any case, feel free to check out all the teams and jerseys on the Musician in Jerseys database I've been keeping! There are a ton of free jerseys shown there! And if you have photos of musicians that I don't have in the database, follow the instructions at the top of this article to get them added!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 23 September 2022

A Great Fit

I can't imagine what Jalen Smereck has been through since he was the target of a racist taunt while playing for HC Donbass in Ukraine. The former ECHL all-star defender has had to deal with that incident since it happened at the start of the 2021 hockey season, but it seems he refocused and found the skills necessary to be successful as he jumped into Germany's DEL with Bietigheim SC Steelers where he showed he still has all the tools to be a world-class defender. While some complete jackass in Ukraine has to deal with his idiotic actions, it seems that Jalen Smereck has found himself a good place to land in North America for this season as he'll suit up for the ECHL's Cincinnati Cyclones!

If there's one thing that hockey can't deny, it's relatively white on the surface and I'm not talking about the colour of the ice. Hockey's diversity problem is being addressed by a number of groups, but it seems that the Cyclones are doing their part by having five players of colour on their roster already in addition to recently naming Jason Payne as head coach as he is the first person of colour to hold the head coach position within the Cyclones organization and just the third in ECHL history. Payne is also a member of the NHL BIPOC Coaches Association.

"We (Jason and I) first met when I was playing against Cincinnati a few years ago," Smereck told Indiana Digital News. "He came to me and we talked after the game. I've kept in touch and called him a few times last year while I was overseas. He's a great friend and a great mentor. He's someone I trust on and off the ice and I look forward to building on that relationship here in Cincinnati."

The Cyclones adding another player in Smereck to make their locker room more diverse isn't the reason Cincinnati will be a good fit for Smereck, though. It's certainly admirable and should be noted, but Smereck's skills on the Cyclones' blue line will be a welcomed addition for Payne as he looks to guide Cincinnati to a Kelly Cup championship. Smereck, for his part, scored ten goals and 24 assists in 46 DEL games last season, so he should be able to put up similar numbers with Cincinnati if things go well.

Those numbers are entirely comparable to the numbers Smereck put up in 2018-19 when he was named an ECHL All-Star. In that season, Smereck scored five goals and added 28 assists in just 44 ECHL games, so his .739 points-per-game rate in the DEL was only .011 off his 0.750 points-per-game rate in his all-star season. That should excite the fans of the Cyclones who are getting an offensively-minded defender who has shown improvement in his own zone as he's matured and experienced the game across the world.

"Jalen's a special player who can bring a lot to our team," Payne said. "I've kept in touch with him for a while and we're very excited to add him to our lineup. He's played at nearly a point-per-game pace both here and overseas. You don't see that from a lot of defensemen. He's solid on both sides of the ice and will be an impact player for us."

That's precisely what any player wants to hear: a chance to play and be an impact player. Payne knows Smereck's work from the ECHL after watching him skate and score against teams that Payne coached, and now he'll have the ability to send Smereck over the board to wreak havoc on the opposition. It will take more than one player to win that elusive Kelly Cup, but the Cyclones seem to be building a fun team that looks to be dangerous in the offensive zone.

We could see Smereck paired with the defensively-responsible Matt Cairns who scored 16 points, but led the team with a +21 rating as a rookie defender. The former Cornell and Minnesota-Duluth defender was a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers, but the Oilers simply never bothered to re-sign Cairns. He's a good player who may allow Smereck to skate with the puck a little more thanks to Cairns' defence-first play.

As a Canadian university hockey fan, I'm excited to see former Ryerson/Toronto Metropolitan University forward Jeremiah Addison join Cincinnati. Addison was a solid scorer with the OHL's Ottawa 67's and Windsor Spitfires before scoring eight goals and 18 assists in 25 games with St. Francis-Xavier in the AUS in 2019-20. After transferring back to Ontario, he joined Ryerson University in 2020-21 where he notched five goals and six helpers in 13 games. He won't be a defensive pair with Smereck as he's a winger, but having a guy like Smereck feeding him pucks could have Addison scoring in big ways!

I believe that the treatment Smereck received in Ukraine will not happen here. He's a great player with a ton of potential, and I'm excited to see him succeed this season. After losing an incredible person and talent in PK Subban, we need more good, young leaders to step up and continue to push the need for diversity in the sport of hockey. Smereck could be the guy to do that since he has the drive, the will, and the talent to make things happen both on and off the ice.

This is a great signing for the Cincinnati Cyclones, and I'm happy to see Jalen Smereck back in the mix here in North America where he could get noticed by NHL scouts for the way he plays the game. If his talents take him to the next level and beyond, I'll celebrate Jalen Smereck's career while supporting his advocacy of persons of colour.

Diversity is a strength, and the Cincinnati Cyclones look like a strong team in the ECHL this season.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 22 September 2022

The Hockey Show - Episode 522

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns tonight with another episode that is bursting at the seams with hockey news! Teebz and Jason will settle in for the discussion tonight as they tackle a number of topics from across the globe and in a number of leagues that need some review. As always, smaller stories that may have missed your radar will be included in the discussion, so make sure you're ready to go for this show as we'll work through the news quickly and efficiently!

On this episode of the The Hockey Show, Teebz and Jason will commence with a segment that's quickly becoming a weekly feature as Hockey Canada Madness continues at Canada's governing hockey body. Our hosts will talk about the recent survey Hockey Canada sent out and why it's significantly flawed when it comes to the data Hockey Canada is collecting. Following that, the gents talk about who's next on the subpoena list from the Canadian Heritage Committee, how Hockey Canada's action plan is nothing more than self-serving words right now, the emerging problems with Jokerit as they look to transition back to Liiga hockey in Finland, the Oilers and Jake Virtanen, Vegas going gold, the proper nomenclature for jersey sponsors, the WHL seeing helmet sponsors, a big win for one team, Arizona's potentially disrespectful promotion, mental health being important for one player, the PHF's Metropolitan Riveters' insane schedule, and anything else we can squeeze into the show! It's another insanely-busy episode of The Hockey Show tonight at 5:30pm CT so we hope you join us on one of 101.5 FM, Channel 718 on MTS TV, or via!

If you live outside Winnipeg and want to listen, we have options! The new UMFM website's online streaming player is pretty awesome if you want to listen online. 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! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter! I'm here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz and Jason talk dumb questions, questionable people, plans with no actions, bad signings, different clothes, marketing terms, bad promotions, terrible scheduling, and much more exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the web stream!

PODCAST: September 22, 2022: Episode 522

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 21 September 2022

Canada West Alumni For The Win!

It isn't often that I can spend part of my afternoon working and watching hockey at the same time, but today was one of those times as I took in the SDHL game today as Djurgårdens IF traveled to Stockholm to face SDE HF. Admittedly, my ability to understand Swedish is virtually nil, but it's easy to find a number of players on the ice who once skated in North America and specifically in Canada West. Beyond that, though, the SDHL is a league that one should be watching along with the PWHPA and the PHF when it comes to elite professional women's hockey. Let's take a look at what happened and who did the scoring in this game as I had one eye on the action as I answered emails and responded to instant messages this afternoon!

Immediately noticeable was SDE's goaltender as former Alberta Pandas netminder Lindsey Post was in the blue paint today. Post was making her first start of the season as the 0-1-0-0 SDE squad looked to move back to .500 with Post backstopping them. If you missed the season preview, Pernilla Winberg, formerly of Team Sweden and currently part of C More's hockey coverage, talked about the importance of Post to SDE this season if they hoped to compete for a championship. We got our first look at Post today as she got the start against Djurgårdens!

Things went in the wrong direction when Djurgårdens forward Josefine Jakobsen notched her first goal of the season at 11:42 of the opening frame. Turnovers at the blue line will kill teams every time, and this one certainly hurt as Djurgårdens broke back in on a mini three-on-two where Julia Östlund spotted Jakobsen with a step on her check in the middle, and her pass found Jakobsen's tape as she redirected the puck past Post in close to put Djurgårdens up 1-0.

The score would hold for the remainder of the first and all of 59 seconds into the second period when former UBC Thunderbirds sniper Hannah Clayton-Carroll found the back of the net for her first goal of the season for SDE! They say good goal scorers find places where they can be successful, and Clayton-Carroll certainly did that as she moved from the corner to the front of the net as her check attempted to break up the cycle in the corner. The puck went from Michelle Löwenhielm in the corner to another former Thunderbird in Mathea Fischer who was beside the net, and Fischer spotted Clayton-Carroll wide open at the top of the crease where Clayton-Carroll converted the pass into a goal to make it 1-1!

As an aside, Fischer wasn't credited with an assist on the official scoresheet despite it clearly being her who passed the puck out front, so we'll keep an eye on the scoring because there should be an adjustment. It felt like old times watching Fischer dish a great pass to Clayton-Carroll, so perhaps this UBC connection for SDE will result in good things this season!

Later in the second period, though, the UBC connections struck again as Kelly Murray's blast from the point was tipped by Hannah Clayton-Carroll in front at 12:41! Credit to Michelle Löwenhielm and Mathea Fischer for battling to get control of the puck off a scrambled draw in the offensive zone, and Fischer finally poked the puck back to the point where Murray stepped into a blast. The passive defence by Djurgårdens in front of their goalie allowed Clayton-Carroll to set up, and she got a piece of Murray's blast to redirect the puck past Selma Luggin for the 2-1 SDE lead!

Again, there was no assist given to Fischer despite her clearly poking the puck back to Murray, so let's hope she's credited with a pair of assists at some point. Personally, it would have been pretty cool to see all three Thunderbirds in on one goal this early in the season, but SDE is reaping the benefits of having three former Thunderbirds on the roster!

From there, it was the Post show as Lindsey Post decided two goals was enough offence for her on this day. In the final 40 minutes, Post stopped 21 of the 27 shots she faced on the day, surrendering nothing more than the Jakobsen goal in the first period. Just as she did in Canada West, Post closed the door on the opposition with some spectacular goaltending to earn the victory in the 2-1 SDE win!

I'd love to post the highlights of these games, but the SDHL seems to believe that they'll attract more fans if they hoard all of the highlights on their website. There's no embed options and I didn't want to rip the video from the site (assuming that's possible still). What I will do, though, is link directly to their video where there is a highlight package because if they're unwilling to share, I'm unwilling to drive traffic to their site. C'est la vie, SDHL, until you change your video-hoarding ways.

SDE records their first win of the season to move to 1-1-0-0 on the season thanks to a trio of Thunderbirds and a Panda between the pipes. Hannah Clayton-Carroll now sits in seventh-place in the SDHL scoring race with two goals and a helper on the season while Lindsey Post sits near the top of the goaltending leaders early in this season. SDE's next action comes Saturday when they will visit HV71 who sit at 0-1-1-0 on the season, one point back of SDE!

It's good to see a number of former Canada West players finding their groove early this season in the SDHL. There will likely be more who add their names to the list of alumni who scored professionally this season before the campaign is done, but seeing the likes of Jaycee Magwood, Hannah Clayton-Carroll, and Lindsey Post doing well this early in the season is one of the main reasons I watch SDHL hockey mid-afternoon on a Wednesday!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 20 September 2022

As Promised

The Vegas Golden Knights announced today that they're moving to the gold jerseys at home that they wore as an alternate uniform last season. This announcement should surprise exactly no one thanks to owner Bill Foley making it clear in January that this was the plan for the 2022-23 season. The Golden Knights will keep the white jerseys for the road while the gray jerseys move to the alternate option, and there's still an unseen Reverse Retro jersey that will be worked into the mix this season. Officially, this move marks the start of "The Golden Age" for the Vegas Golden Knights, but anyone who was keeping tabs on Vegas knew this was coming months ago thanks to Foley letting the cat out of the bag.

In the linked article from HBIC, I wrote that Foley had told Vegas Hockey Hotline on Sin Bin Vegas on Friday, January 14, 2022 that the Golden Knights would indeed be golden for this upcoming season, stating, "I believe gold is a better jersey. We're the 'Golden Knights' having the gold jerseys" followed by "I wouldn't be surprised you see us kind of matriculate to more gold next year than gray, and then the gray becomes... wear it ten times a year".

With this news having been revealed some nine months ago, I am surprised by everyone's reactions to the news today. Yes, most of the responses have been positive, but it's not like this happened on a whim. Foley told us it was happening. And it did.

Personally, I don't have a problem with the gold uniforms that the Golden Knights wear. They're bold, but easy to read from a distance. That makes for a good jersey when watching hockey considering some fans sit in the nosebleed sections. The stripes make it look like a traditional hockey uniform even if the colour isn't, but that's the fun in designing a good uniform - traditional elements can be combined with modern colours to make a solid uniform.

What you will notice that's different on Vegas' jerseys this season is their new jersey sponsor logo, Circa Sports. Circa Sports is an American sportsbook operator based in Las Vegas that was founded by casino owner Derek Stevens and named after Stevens' Circa Resort and Casino. Circa Sports currently offers online gambling to the states of Nevada, Colorado, and Iowa, but Colorado Avalanche fans won't see the logo in their arena thanks to the sponsorship deal only being for the home jerseys. If you watch Vegas games regularly, be prepared to see the gold jerseys with the gray scribble on the shoulder all season long. In case you were wondering, I hate this. All of the jersey sponsor logos need to go.

The home helmet sponsor in Capital One and away helmet sponsor in P3 Health Partners will remain on players' noggins as they were last season, so that's three different logos now sponsoring some part of the uniforms for the Golden Knights. For those asking when the NHL becomes European hockey with all their logos plastered all over their uniforms, we're sliding down that slippery slope as you read this.

Oh, and just in case you're not sick of jersey sponsors yet, please refer to them as "jersey entitlement partnerships" as the Golden Knights do when referencing them. That's the official NHL name for the jersey sponsor logos as per the NHL. Whatever.

Anyway, there's a major jersey update that kills two birds with one stone as you got the announcement about the Golden Knights going gold at home as promised by Bill Foley and you get the proper nomenclature for the jersey sponsorship logos... er, "entitlement partnerships" as promised by the NHL. My hope is the next major jersey announcement won't be one that was foretold months ago, but it seems that there have been a lot of leaks surrounding what teams will wear this season as the new campaign nears.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 19 September 2022

Another "Second Chance" Story

I probably don't give Ken Holland enough credit, but allow me to be sarcastic for a moment in applauding the long-time NHL GM and current general manager of the Edmonton Oilers for adding that final, missing piece to his roster this spring that should bring Connor McDavid the same silver trophy that the likes of Nathan MacKinnon, Sidney Crosby, Wayne Gretzky, and Mario Lemieux have all held above their heads as generational players-turned-champions. Since taking over as the Oilers' GM, he's done a masterful job in acquiring high-end talent to ensure that the Oilers remain in the hunt for the Stanley Cup for years to come. Forget GM of the year because we might be talking about GM of the decade!

Of course, all of the above paragraph is a complete fabrication when it comes to the roster that Holland is assembling for another training camp after another disappointing finish to the season in the Alberta capital. Things were only made more confusing when Holland announced that the Oilers would be opening camp with two players on PTO contracts in defenceman Jason Demers and forward Jake Virtanen.

While the former in Demers is easier to explain - the Oilers simply don't have any defence-first defenders - the latter in Virtanen is much, much harder to explain when one looks at recent history. I'm not even bringing up the not-guilty verdict found in the alleged sexual assault case against Virtanen, but that will get some consideration below. Instead, let's take a look at Virtanen's body of work as a player to try and figure out this mess of a roster decision.

Virtanen took his game to the KHL where he signed a one-year deal with Moscow Spartak. He wouldn't finish the season there, though, after the team terminated his deal due to a "breach of contract". That was never expanded upon in terms of what part of the contract he breached, but we should remember that the KHL might be a slightly-better version of the AHL considering the talent playing there. Virtanen's final KHL numbers saw him post nine goals and seven assists in 36 games which, surprisingly, only put him four goals back of team leader Emil Pettersson.

If the KHL is similar to the talent seen in the AHL, though, scoring at a 0.444 points-per-game rate doesn't bode well for NHL rinks. While I generally dismiss plus/minus as well, the fact that he was -5 on a team where most players were on the positive side of the ledger doesn't speak volumes about his defensive game either. In short, a poor scorer statistically and a poor defensive player was the impression Virtanen left with Russian fans.

Maybe he simply couldn't settle into Russian life, though, so we should cut him some slack. After all, he spent parts of six seasons with the Vancouver Canucks where he was seen as part of their future after the Canucks selected him sixth-overall in 2014. The only problem with that argument is that the math still isn't in Virtanen's favour as he played 317 NHL games with Vancouver where he scored 55 goals and added 37 helpers - a 0.290 points-per-game rate in the NHL. He was a plus-player just once in his six seasons with Vancouver, and that was in 2016-17 when he played just ten games at the NHL - hardly numbers you'd bring in for a look if you were serious about improving your team.

Most pundits have Virtanen starting in the bottom-six forwards if he were to make the team. Not to call out every one of those scribes, but if he started anywhere but the fourth line you'd have Oilers fans calling for your heads. For eight minutes per night, the Oilers might be willing to give him a shot to make them better, but they're honestly casting empty wishes based upon past performances. There is no chance that Virtanen will ever match his career-highs of 18 goals and 36 points ever again, and his defensive game is atrocious.

In other words, he's a much cheaper Zach Kassian, a player already deemed expendable but Holland's group who was traded out of Edmonton at this summer's draft. In saying that, the question of why Virtanen was brought into Edmonton remains.

The other side of the coin is the allegation of sexual assault that follows Virtanen wherever he goes. In a world where Hockey Canada has come until intense scrutiny for its handling of sexual assault and sexual misconduct allegations, the fact that Edmonton decided to put on-ice success over human decency when it comes to the optics of signing Virtanen can't be overstated. I'm not saying that the guy at the top in Bob Nicholson needed to sign off on Holland's decision, but having Nicholson tied to this due to his employment with the Oilers and Virtanen being a player in the Hockey Canada system while Nicholson was running the show makes this signing even harder to explain in a positive light.

"Well, it speaks to me that the Oilers are sending a message that they are taking the verdict at face value, regardless of what the allegations were — which were very, very serious — and just sweeping it under the carpet like they did at Hockey Canada in 2003, and again in 2018, and it's really, really disappointing," Mary Jane James, CEO of the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton told The Canadian Press.

"It is sending a horrible message to our community of what they prioritize. They prioritize their chances of having a successful team over the horrible message of having someone on their team who's been accused of such a horrific crime."

Look, the Oilers have never been one to shy away from players with issues. Evander Kane's signing in Edmonton sparked controversy considering his past, but I'll give the winger credit in that he scored goals, kept himself out of trouble, and worked well among the high-flying Oilers. No one is letting Kane escape his past, but the winger is doing his best, as far as we can tell, to prevent any further tarnish from appearing.

Kane, however, is a different animal than Virtanen, and this is where the comparisons end between the two. Virtanen will likely be a career bottom-six player for however long he finds his way into NHL camps. Any upside he was thought to have when the Canucks drafted him in 2014 was clearly more hype than reality, and it will take a small set of miracles for the 26 year-old to become a 30-goal scorer at this point regardless of where he plays in the Oilers' lineup.

The irony is that Ken Holland's new nickname might be "Second Chance" with his using the term when he signed Kane and when he spoke to Rob Simpson, stating, "You've gotta believe in the legal system, the jury found him not guilty, we'll see where he’s at, and like you said, you give someone a second opportunity, he's trying to his life back together."

If the Oilers want to be a stepping stone for troubled players to find their way in hockey, that's their prerogative. The NHL is a business that's built on winning, not on image rehabilitation and public relations. The Oilers have the greatest hockey player on the planet playing for them in Connor McDavid, and one has to wonder how long he'll be willing to go along with towing the company line if the wins don't start appearing on his resumé. He hasn't reached those heights yet, and I'm not sure he will with the cast of characters he has around him at the moment.

Jake Virtanen joining the Oilers doesn't make them better. They'd be wise to remember that as McDavid's contract gets closer to ending because if he truly does want to leave, there will be no second chances for Ken Holland in that scenario.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 18 September 2022

Cougar At The Top

One weekend is in the books for the SDHL, and there's a familiar name atop the scoring ranks if you're a Canada West hockey fan. She was often the best player on the ice for the Regina Cougars while she skated for the Saskatchewan-based school, but Killarney, Manitoba's Jaycee Magwood went off this weekend and put herself at the top of the scoring statistics for at least one weekend!

Before we get too deep into celebrating Magwood's scoring prowess, MoDo has only played two games of another long SDHL season. There's a lot of hockey still to be played, but seeing her chemistry with her linemates this early should make MoDo fans smile. Magwood opened the season with a five-point effort against Gothenburg in a 6-0 victory before recording an assist in a 4-3 shootout loss to HV71. It'a a good start, but it needs to remain in place if MoDo wants to challenge for an SDHL championship this season.

In the Gothenburg game, Magwood opened the scoring just 53 seconds into the game on a pass from Lina Ljungblom. 5:06 later, Magwood set up former Canadian Olympian Jennifer Wakefield with a cross-ice pass for the one-timer, and MoDo was off and running. Magwood had a secondary assist on Brooke Hobson's first SDHL goal early in the second period, and added a second secondary assist on Hobson's power-play goal late in the period. 3:56 into the third period, Magwood recorded her fifth point of the game as she set up Ljungblom for her first of the season as MoDo skated to the six-goal victory. For those asking, Ljungblom also had a goal and three assists playing on the same line as Magwood in this game.

Game Two was against HV71 where Magwood had the secondary assist on Ljungblom's second of the season at 7:50 of the second period to make it 2-1 in favour of MoDo. She was also involved in the shootout where she was MoDo's second shooter, but her attempt was denied by HV71 netminder Anni Keisala. When the dust settled, HV71's Mira Jungåker had scored the winner, and MoDo took one of three points for a four-point weekend.

What's good to see, though, is that there seems to be real chemistry between Magwood and Ljungblom as the two players sit atop the leaderboard for scoring in the SDHL. Again, it's very early in the season with players such as Lara Stalder and Petra Niemenen lurking further down the scoring totals, but it's always nice to see a former Canada West player leading the way for at least one weekend!

MoDo will have their hands full against the aforementioned Stalder and her Brynäs squad on Saturday, and they'll follow that up with a Sunday visit to Leksands IF where former Mount Royal standout Anna Purschke and former MRU coach Jordan Colliton await. No one will take it easy on the scoring leaders at any point in the season, but seeing Magwood and Ljungblom working well together on the opening weekend should have MoDo fans giddy.

Congratulations to Jaycee Magwood on an incredible opening weekend of hockey where she officially leads the Swedish pro league in scoring! I'm always happy to see Canada West players succeeding at the professional levels of hockey, so keep your eyes on this space all season long as we track players doing incredible things at all levels of hockey!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!