Wednesday 31 May 2023

Two For All The Marbles

We'll have to wait until Saturday to start the fun, but the final two teams in the NHL's Stanley Cup Playoffs are ready to decide which team will hoist the Cup for the first time in franchise history. The series starts in Las Vegas where the Vegas Golden Knights will host the Florida Panthers as both teams roll into their second Stanley Cup Final appearance. Vegas, of course, lost in 2018 to the Washington Capitals while Florida lost to Colorado way back in 1996. One of these two teams will add their franchise name and the names of their players to the Stanley Cup as early as June 10, but no later than June 19 depending on how long the series goes.

In saying that, it also means the Survivor: NHL Playoffs contest is nearing an end as just two entrants remain. Let's see who is still alive on Survivor: NHL Playoffs island and in the running for jerseys!
Mike, who was worried that he may be eliminated in the opening round by the Winnipeg Jets, will be cheering for the Golden Knights to allow him the opportunity to choose between the two jerseys available to the winner. Wayne, who is a Boston Bruins fan, cursed his luck when he got the Florida Panthers who played the record-setting Bruins, but he's been all smiles since as the Cats continue to take out opponents ranked significantly higher than them.

The winner of the Survivor: NHL Playoffs contest will get to select one of the two jerseys to the right - a Kraken home jersey or the discontinued Jets Aviator jersey - while the runner-up will get the other jersey remaining. If the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win, the prizes need to reflect that by being pretty awesome. We'll also include some smaller prizes with the jersey selected by the winner because, as you know, the victor gets the spoils. In two weeks' time, one of Mike or Wayne will claim one of the jerseys!

If you were looking for fun, the writers picked their winners, but I'm not sure that I'd be putting a lot of faith in some of those selections based on their playoff prediction records so far. There are a few 10-4 records, but most are around .500 - no better than a coin flip. Either way, it just goes to show that nothing is guaranteed in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

I don't own a Vegas Golden Knights jersey, but I do have three Florida Panthers jerseys. Personally, I'd like to see the Panthers win just continue their reign of chaos this spring, but there are a pile of Manitoba-born and Manitoba-trained players on the Golden Knights I'd like to see win. It's a tough call for me, but I'm all about the chaos that Florida is bringing, so put me in the Panthers' camp for the final.

We'll find out who came prepared to win on Saturday night at 8pm ET when the Panthers invade Las Vegas for a battle with the Golden Knights. Game One goes in Sin City, and it should be a fun final to determine which franchise adds their name to the Stanley Cup for the first time!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 30 May 2023


According to the polls, it was the closest election in Alberta history. Unless we're talking about horseshoes and hand grenades, having the closest election results ever means nothing unless you win the election, and that's what leaves me shaking my head tonight as Danielle Smith and UCP will reign over Alberta for another term after they claimed victory with 48 seats to the NDP's 38 seats. If you live in Red Deer, Edmonton, Lloydminster, Fort McMurray, Lethbridge, Banff, Jasper, or anywhere else not named Calgary, I hope you enjoy the new arena the Flames will play in that some voters just financed through provincial tax monies by voting UCP. Long live the Flames, I guess?

I struggle to understand how anyone, specifically those in rural areas, would vote for someone who compared transgendered children to putting feces in food, but congratulations to those who live in the Lacombe-Ponoka for putting that candidate in office. It takes real guts to elect someone who hates children. Of course, she's likely to sit as an independent, but the former UCP member will likely vote alongside her former party in most, if not all, cases.

That lunatic aside, it was one month ago when UCP Leader and Premier Danielle Smith pledged that, if elected, a UCP government will put $330 million into an agreement in principle with the city and Calgary Flames ownership to build a new $1.2-billion arena district. This is the same city that saw votes for the NDP hit 49.3% while the UCP finished with 48.2% last night, yet they're sinking $330 million of taxpayer money into Calgary where they technically lost the popular vote. If you're struggling to make sense of that, you're not alone.

This is the same Danielle Smith who, in 2012 as the leader of the Wildrose Party, called any contribution of taxpayer dollars to building new arenas "corporate welfare" as the Edmonton Oilers were looking to replacing their aging rink. As we know, the Oilers got nothing in the way of provincial tax dollars to build their arena, and they seem to be doing ok. So how does the Premier go from "corporate welfare" to cutting a cheque for a new Calgary arena?

This is the same Danielle Smith who, in April, said that the $330 million was "earmarked for supportive infrastructure in the district like road improvements, the LRT, and a community rink — not for the NHL team or operating costs" which would mean she has the ability to tell the Flames how to spend the money. Hint: she does not have that ability, and I doubt the Flames and the city of Calgary will be taking advice from her on how they can spend the money. I guess the meaning of "corporate welfare" has changed over eleven years.

It's one thing to make promises to a city where you have a stronghold of votes, but Smith doesn't have that in Calgary. While her victory speech on Monday night included promises of listening, collaborating, and admitting missteps, it's hard to not see this promise of $330 million as going to a luxury rather than a necessity. With Alberta's healthcare, education, and economy being major factors in this year's election for city dwellers, it seemed to not matter for the 63.4% of voters living outside of Calgary and Edmonton who voted for the UCP.

That's $330 million being directed to the city of Calgary and the Calgary Flames by nearly two-thirds of people who live outside the two largest centers in Alberta. Medicine Hat, for example, is in desperate need of infrastructure monies as "much of the City's infrastructure is over 60 years old, and some is over 100 years old," yet $330 million will be directed to building a new arena district for Calgary. This should also be where I point out that Medicine Hat is part of the Brooks-Medicine Hat riding that UCP Leader Danielle Smith won with two-thirds of the vote.

With the UCP holding a provincial majority, the chances of a bill including the $330 million endowment for Calgary being defeated is pretty much zero. With costs still rising and with plans not yet revealed on what needs to be done to build this new $1.2-billion district, there's a better-than-good possibility that $330 million is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to provincial funding for this project. We already saw the previous arena plans fall apart over a few million dollars, and I can't see anyone allowing that to happen again no matter what the cost.

No matter how many times scholars and economists write about this, governments continue to promise public funds to billionaires who demand new venues. No matter how many times people smarter than me tell politicians to stop making these promises, they ignore those warnings. No matter how much evidence is produced, public funds are always offered up for new venues.

Let me be clear: I'm not trying to compare two situations, but at least the city of Tempe voted correctly when it came to their new arena and public funds. What's your excuse, Alberta?

I guess democracy won in the end, though, so enjoy your promised arena district, Calgary. Perhaps there will be pilgrammages from across the province to see the new hockey-and-entertainment Mecca that your leader promised. After all, the entire province of Alberta is paying for it despite cities and towns needing road repairs and healthcare centers and schools with exceptional teachers, so it only makes sense if you load up the car and drive to Calgary to see the beautiful new center you funded because the owners of the Calgary Flames - who, may I remind you, are billionaires - didn't feel like paying for their shiny, new toy despite demanding it be built.

United conservatives are not fiscal conservatives. They've proven that time and again by cutting essential services while paying for luxuries that shouldn't be on the taxpayers' shoulders. For a province that prides itself on its abundance of resources to line its pockets with cash, you sure got swindled by a promise from a government who will never see a return on its investment.

All I can do is shake my head.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 29 May 2023

She's The First

I could probably write 2000 words about Raphaëlle Tousignant and not even mention hockey, but I kind of need to mention it when talking about her on HBIC. She is, of course, the first woman to make the Team Canada Para Hockey Team - a team that was exclusively men up until this year's World Para Hockey Championship - and she likely won't be the last to smash through that glass ceiling. Tonight, though, she became and will always be the first woman to have recorded a goal while playing for the recognized team of Team Canada at any event. That achievement deserves congratulations and kudos as Raphaëlle Tousignant is officially in the history books.

It should be noted that this isn't the first time a woman has suited up in competition with its official para hockey squad. There have been three women notably who have played in the Paralympics as Norway's Britt Mjaasund Oyen played in 1994 at Lillehammer and fellow Norweigan Lena Schrøder in 2018 in Pyeongchang while China's Jing Yu suited up for the host country in Beijing in 2022. Again, Tousignant is the first for Canada - long overdue, might I add - so she's breaking barriers at home, but she could be the first Canadian woman to do so if she goes to Italy with the team in 2026.

That being said, Tousignant was awarded the 14th Canadian goal in a 15-1 win over Korea tonight, but, as seen to the right, that was corrected after the game as Vincent Boily was credited with the goal. The 20 year-old Tousignant is still looking for her first point as a member of Team Canada, but it seems to only be a matter of time based on her play. She looked more and more comfortable as the game against Korea went on, and it seems like she's finding good chemistry with her linemates.

I tried to get video of the goal that was incorrectly awarded to Tousignant just to see how close it was, but the broadcast of the game had gone to commercial when the goal was scored. With Canada having such a large lead in the game, I understand wanting to get the game finished, but a moment like Tousignant scoring shouldn't be lost due to a commercial. Thankfully, it wasn't.

For those that don't know, sledge hockey or para hockey doesn't get a lot of support when it comes to national hockey federations, and we've only seen the first women's teams really break into playing seriously. The 2022 Para Ice Hockey Women's World Challenge in Green Bay, Wisconsin was where Tousignant really broke out as a player, and that's where I need to put a checkpoint because we still don't have a women's para hockey competition at the Paralymics, and it seems like a World Championship isn't on the docket either.

Women's sledge hockey is in its infancy, but this is where the world should be jumping into the mix since the game is still in its early stages. The 2022 Para Ice Hockey Women's World Challenge featured four teams - USA, Canada, Great Britain, and Team World - which is enough to have preliminary games, but if we're aiming for a 2030 Olympiad or even sooner with a World Championship, we need countries like Czechia, Korea, China, Japan, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and others to make the commitment to the game by seeking out players, funding its growth and teams, and organizing games. Heck, Hockey Canada and Hockey USA need to do a better job themselves, but at least they have enough players to form a team.

We celebrated players like Angela James, Cammi Granato, Angela Ruggiero, and Geraldine Heaney for leading the way in helping to put women's hockey on the map, and the same could be said for players like Tousignant, Katie Ladlie, Catherine Faherty, and Aubree Clements. These are the women who have been putting sledge hockey on the map, and they can and should be celebrated like James and Granato are. They're among the best of the best when it comes to their teams and peers, adn we should be supporting them and doing all we can to help them earn an opportunity to play for a gold medal with their teams rather than simply having one para hockey event at the Paralympics.

In making that plea, seeing Raphaëlle Tousignant skate with the men is highly encouraging that we're not far away from having a women's sledge hockey tournament at the Paralympics or at a World Championship. She's an incredible woman with amazing talent, and she should be an inspiration to both disabled and able-bodied people who want to try sledge hockey. If it's not already obvious, she has a fan in me!

Raphaëlle Tousignant is the first Canadian woman to play in any World Para Hockey Championship. She's likely going to be the first Canadian woman to record both a goal and a point at this championship, but I have a feeling she will not be the last. And, in time, perhaps the women will have their own tournament where they'll set records and find accolades as the games are played. It feels like we're standing on the precipice of that moment, but it's not quite here yet.

When it does arrive, though, Raphaëlle Tousignant will be one of the people we need to thank. Let's hope that happens sooner rather than later so we can watch her excel in the women's game as well!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 28 May 2023

A Little Credit To Latvia

The remainder of the ball tournament I was in this weekend ate up the final day at the IIHF Men's World Hockey Championship, but I did get home in time to catch highlights and stories about the two games that were played today. Congratulations go out to Canada for winning the gold medal by a 5-2 score over the Germans as Germany was a team that had everyone a little scared, but the bigger story might be the bronze medal-winning Latvians who needed overtime, but prevailed over the Americans. To say that this was shocking might be overstating the progress Latvia has made on the ice, but it certainly was an unexpected finish to a tournament that seemed more wide-open than any in recent history.

Latvia had never finished higher than seventh-place at this tournament in its history, and it had accomplished that feat three times. Finishing with a medal might have been a dream for some, but Latvia showed some real skill, tenacity, and determination in this championship. Their win over Sweden in the quarterfinal saw them score twice in the third period to eliminate the Tre Kronor just days after securing a place in top-eight by the slimmest of margins over Slovakia after Latvia beat the undefeated Swiss 4-3 in overtime.

The win against Sweden was similar to the one that Belarus experienced at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics when they beat Sweden. The victory marked the first time the Latvians would compete for a medal at any of hockey's top international tournaments, and there was no shortage of joy back in Riga as their hockey heroes gave the fans a moment they'll never forget.

Latvians are passionate about hockey, and they showed that as they gathered to watch theit team play Kazakhstan outside with flags, support, and pride in their hockey team. Look at that crowd!
How can one not be impressed with Latvia's turnout to watch hockey?

The win over Sweden was one thing, but a victory against Canada would be another feather in the country's cap. It wasn't to be against Canada as Latvia fell in the semifinal, but Latvians were still in it to win it as the bronze medal would represent something their country had never done before: a top-three finish! They'd be forced to play another good team in the Americans, so they'd have to be at their best if they hoped to bring home hardware from Finland.

Roberts Bukarts scored at 7:49 to put the Latvians up, but Rocco Grimaldi tied it up 1:56 later. Janis Jaks scored at 16:08 to make it 2-1 for Latvia, but, again, Rocco Grimaldi tied it up 2:55 later. The game would remain tied through the second period into the third period until Matt Coronato gave the Americans their first lead at 6:19, but Latvia wouldn't go away. At 14:21, Kristians Rubins scored for Latvia to make it a 3-3 game, and we'd need overtime to solve this one!

Overtime lasted just 1:22 in the extra frame. Here's how it ended.
Pretty awesome ending to that game, right? Kristians Rubins pots the winner from longtime veteran of the Latvian team Kaspars Daugavins and Janis Jaks to be the hero for Latvia as they capture their first-ever medal in any top international hockey tournament with the 4-3 win over the United States.

Say what you want about teams not sending their best players or whatever to this event, but you still have to win games to earn a medal. Latvia did that, and they made a nation proud with their efforts in finished this year's tournament with a bronze medal. These kinds of hockey stories are what fuels a nation's hockey growth, and we saw a similar thing happen when the Germans won a silver medal at the 2022 Pyongchang Olympics. Having Latvia win this bronze medal should result in a bump in enrollment into hockey for the nation, and Latvia's growth on the various international stages will grow as well.

You don't have to cheer for the underdog. Heck, you don't even have to like them or know any players on their team. What you should respect, however, is that their willingness to challenge the norms and win a few games makes the overall game better. Those wins encourage kids to dream, to play, to compete. Those wins are the stuff of which stories are told, legends are born, and younger players try to emulate. In the end, not having Finland, Sweden, Czechia, USA, or Russia winning medals is good for the sport despite the obvious naysayers saying otherwise.

Congratulations on the bronze medal, Latvia! The games were fun to watch, the fans in Riga were loud every game, and this might be one of those medals that people say is deserved. Personally, I know it took every ounce of effort to earn this medal, so enjoy the moments that follow. You certainly deserve to celebrate following an incredible showing in this tournament.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 27 May 2023

A Busy Day

Today's going to be one of those days where time is something of which I'll never have enough. I'm currently playing in a ball tournament that sees two games on the schedule for today before I am required to at the ball diamond tonight to score a ballgame. It's also reportedly going to be warmer than 30°C today - that's like 85F for those who use the Fahrenheit scale - and you're likely aware that most ball diamonds don't come equipped with a lot of shade. In short, it's going to be a hot, dusty, long day for me with very little hockey on my mind or in front of my eyes despite the IIHF Men's World Championship coming down to the final four teams and the Golden Knights and Stars playing Game Five tonight.

It's starting out cloudy this morning, so I'm hoping the overcast skies can remain for as long as possible. With the sun beating down on players, the risks of sunburn and heat stroke is high when playing sports in extremely hot weather. Hydration will be important for everyone, and I plan on having enough water on-hand to start my own lagoon. Better safe than sorry, right?

With regards to the hockey news, I seriously would like to see Canada play for the gold medal despite the incredible story of Latvia advancing to the semifinal. On the other side, the Americans may be the favorite, but I'll be cheering for Germany because they've been building an impressive program for some time now. Whether it be the World Junior Championship or the Olympics, their recent successes are pointing towards long-term success on the international stage for Deutschland. This could be one more feather in their cap!

As for the Stars and Vegas Golden Knights, we saw Dallas earn a victory in Game Four without their captain and they'll look to repeat that feat tonight with Jamie Benn watching from the pressbox once more. I'm never one to believe you shouldn't play your best players, but, if Dallas wins again, do you scratch Benn for Game Six? The prevailing thought would be "yes", but we'll see if that's even a question following Game Five tonight. It could end without even needing the question asked.

As stated yesterday, the Memorial Cup continues tonight with the Seattle Thunderbirds and Peterborough Petes meeting in their first games of the tournament. Seattle looked very good against the Winnipeg Ice while Peterborough did a number on the London Knights in the OHL. This should be an outstanding game between two very good clubs, so tune in for that one on TSN/RDS if you can as the Memorial Cup continues in Kamloops, British Columbia.

As for me, I'll be in the pressbox tonight watching baseball as I score another game. I could be tending to a sunburn as well, but we'll see how the weather holds up with respect to this cloud cover. My hope is that it lasts for the majority of the day as my sun tolerance is low and I burn within minutes of direct sunlight. What I do know is that we have a couple of ball games to win, and I'm hoping we execute our gameplan well.

I'm off to hydrate and douse myself in sunscreen. Enjoy your day!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 26 May 2023

A Beautiful Jersey

If there's one thing that I appreciate more than anything else when it comes to the CHL's Memorial Cup tournament, it's the jersey that the hosts wear to honour the veterans, servicemen, and servicewomen of the Canadian Armed Forces who participated in World War I. Established by Captain James T. Sutherland who was serving overseas while being President of the Ontario Hockey Association "to honour all the young Canadian hockey players who died in battle", the Memorial Cup has become Canadian major junior hockey's biggest prize. With the WHL's Kamloops Blazers hosting this year, the jersey above is what will be worn in tonight's game by the Blazers as they face the QMJHL's Quebec Remparts in the tournament's opening game.

As you'll notice, the jersey is quite unique in that it features "the Legion Poppy on the centre of a dreamcatcher — their coupling acknowledging the efforts and sacrifices of veterans from all Indigenous communities." I didn't go all the way back in the history of the Memorial Cup, but having this jersey honour Indigenous communities might be the first of its kind, and I applaud the Kamloops Blazers for honouring the military history of the tournament while recognizing and honouring Indigenous Peoples who served this nation in the most courageous way.

As the Blazers' release states, "Featured as the backdrop for the poppy is a dreamcatcher, which has become commonly recognized as an Indigenous symbol. Hanging from the bottom are two feathers with an inukshuk, while a Métis sash has also been incorporated around the whole outside of the dream catcher."

They also note in the release that "nearly 15,000 Indigenous people have been identified who served in the First World War and Second World War, and more than 2,500 Indigenous Canadians serve in the military today," and that "First Nations people joined the national efforts and volunteered for the military, and more than 4,000 First Nations men enlisted in each World War, the majority as volunteers."

I am always impressed with teams and franchises that push ahead without needing prompting to honour the Indigenous communities whose contributions seem to have been lost in the sands of time, and what the Blazers did here deserves some commendation and kudos. They could have simply honoured the military branch closest to them in CFS Kamloops which closed in 1988, but the Blazers went one step further by honouring their military past and honouring the current tenants of the site. In March 2012, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada returned the land to the Tk'emlups Indian Band from whom it had been expropriated and it officially became part of Kamloops Indian Reserve No. 1 in July 2012.

The Blazers honoured that history by having the jersey deliver to and unveiled at the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc Powwow Arbour where the jersey was presented to both Tk'emlúps Kúkpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir and Vic Fraser, a knowledge keeper of the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc. By incorporating the past and present history of CFS Kamloops, the Blazers have indeed honoured the military history of their community by acknowledging both the Canadian military history on the land and the Indigenous history of the land. If we're talking about reconciliation and acknowledgement with this jersey, this ceremony is exactly what the reconciliation statements heard in Kamloops say: "the land is located in the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc territory". Kudos to the Blazers for making this acknowledgement, and this ceremony should be the blueprint for future Memorial Cup jersey ceremonies.

As for the game, the Blazers looked good in their jerseys, but the Remparts looked much better on the ice as they hammered the hosts 8-3 to kick off the Memorial Cup. James Malatesta opened the scoring in the game, closed out the scoring, and added one in between for a hat trick while Kassim Gaudet had a pair of goals to pace the Remparts to victory. Logan Stankoven had three helpers for the Blazers as he was in on every one of their goals, but the Blazers needed a lot more on this night.

The schedule picks up tomorrow with the WHL champion Seattle Thunderbirds battling the OHL champion Peterborough Petes in their opening games. Sunday sees Kamloops and Peterborough tangle as the hosts look to get back into the win column in that game while possibly sending Peterborough to an early 0-2 deficit depending on their result against Seattle. You can catch all the action on TSN and RDS - check your local listings!

They may lost the game tonight, but the Kamloops Blazers are absolute winners in my books with this impressive jersey.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 25 May 2023

The Hockey Show - Episode 557

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns to the airwaves tonight with a pile of news and information about the game, the teams playing the game, and more. One team has booked their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final, four teams are battling in the AHL, four more are still going in the ECHL, and international hockey is still being played. There's hockey news from all corners of the globe that should be discussed, and we'll do that tonight at 5:30pm CT!

Teebz and Jason will start tonight's show by discussing the Florida Panthers and their incredible playoff run after they beat the Carolina Hurricanes last night to sweep the Hurricanes out of the playoffs. Beyond that chatter, they'll discuss Jamie Benn's crosscheck on Mark Stone, new rules in the Champions League next season, there was a big signing for one team, a number of signings with U SPORTS ties for another team, dates were set for a major tournament, results are in from another tournament, and the Leafs appear to be blowing up their front office. It's a show with a ton of chatter, discussion, opinions, and thoughts from our two hosts, and we'll take your calls if you want to weigh in on these topics! Join Teebz and Jason tonight on The Hockey Show at 5:30pm CT 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 more of an app person, we recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store or Google Play Store. If you 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 chat good cats, bad crosschecks, new rules, scheduled dates, new signings, good results, another annual meltdown, and much more exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the web stream!

PODCAST: May 25, 2023: Episode 557

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 24 May 2023

U SPORTS Players Still Going

The U SPORTS season came to an end a couple of months ago, but that doesn't mean that HBIC isn't keeping up with who is still skating for professional teams after logging time for a U SPORTS school. Lots of players move to teams across the planet, but a select few will land on ECHL, AHL, or NHL rosters and be contributors to a long playoff run just as Levko Koper, a former Alberta Golden Bear, did with the Kelly Cup champion Florida Everblades last season. With U SPORTS gaining more traction as a place for teams to find good talent, there are a number of players who are still playing into late May who were once on a U SPORTS roster.

We'll look at the three leagues listed above - the ECHL, AHL, and NHL - since they're all still going. Some teams are on the verge of being eliminated while others are on the precipice of reaching their respective league's final, but the U SPORTS players who are contributing are certainly players who played well at the university level.

ECHL - Idaho Steelheads

The Steelheads hold a 2-0 lead over the Toledo Walleye in their Western Conference Final series after a pair of 3-0 wins on home ice. They have a few U SPORTS players contributing to their run, including:
  • Colton Kehler - UBC Thunderbirds 2018-20
  • Zane Franklin - Saskatchewan Huskies 2021-22
  • Owen Headrick - UPEI Panthers 2018-22
  • Patrick Kudla - Guelph Gryphons 2017-18

ECHL - Toledo Walleye

As mentioned above, Toledo trails the Steelheads 2-0 in their best-of-seven series with the series heading to Toledo, Ohio tonight. The only problem is that the Walleye have no U SPORTS players skating for them. I'm not saying that's the reason for them trailing in this series and have yet to score a goal, but the coincidences line up nicely.

ECHL - Newfoundland Growlers

The last Canadian team in the ECHL's Kelly Cup Playoffs are the Newfoundland Growlers, and they trail the Florida Everblades 2-1 after winning 4-1 on Monday. Game Four goes tomorrow, but the Growlers do have a couple of AUS players, including:
  • Tyler Boland - UNB Reds 2017-22
  • Adam Holwell - StFX X-Men 2018-23

ECHL - Florida Everblades

The defending ECHL champions hold a 2-1 series lead over Newfoundland after winning both games at home to open the series including a double-overtime win in Game Two. The Everblades do have a few U SPORTS players skating for them, including:
  • Andrew Fyten - Mount Royal Cougars 2019-23
  • Kyle Neuber - Guelph Gryphons 2013-16
  • Levko Koper - Alberta Golden Bears 2011-16
  • Olivier Leblanc - UNB Reds 2017-20

AHL Teams

It's Hershey and Rochester in the Eastern Conference Final, and Coachella Valley and Milwaukee in the Western Conference Final. Two of the most successful AHL franchises in the history of the league meet in the east while the newest team in Coachella Valley meets one of the more successful IHL franchises that the AHL absorbed. The key for all of these teams? None of them have a U SPORTS alum skating for them in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

NHL Teams

After careful scouring of rosters, there is only one team who has a U SPORTS alum on their roster: the Vegas Golden Knights. As you probably know, Logan Thompson's time at Brock University as a member of the Badgers lasted just one season in 2018-19, but he made the most of it as he was named OUA Goalie of the Year. He's been injured during these playoffs, but his 37 games this season should earn him a little recognition and a ring if the Golden Knights win the Stanley Cup.

With Vegas being one win fron the Stanley Cup Final, we could have both a Stanley Cup champion alumnus and potentially a number of Kelly Cup champion alumni this season. Personally, a Florida-Idaho Kelly Cup Final would produce the most ECHL champions as both teams sport four former U SPORTS players, but we'll see how those series go in that ECHL bracket.

While I still feel that U SPORTS doesn't get the recognition it should, it's nice to see three of four ECHL teams with former U SPORTS players still in the mix while Logan Thompson is the lone U SPORTS alumnus in the NHL playoffs. Potentially, a number of schools could see a visit from either the Stanley Cup or Kelly Cup, but which schools will need to be decided by the players!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 23 May 2023

How Many Ways Can I Use Benn's Name?

I have to admit that I never expected Jamie Benn to be ejected from Game Three of the Western Conference Final less than two minutes into the game, but the Dallas Stars' captain was sent to the dressing room just 1:53 into the game tonight. After seeing the highlight as to why he was ejected, it was hard to disagree with the assessment made by the officials, and it seems very likely that Benn will miss the next game against the Vegas Golden Knights at the very least. He can stare at the title in the lede image all he wants, but this article went from angry to ridiculous the more I wrote. In saying that, how many different ways can I use Benn's name in explaining why his actions were beyond dumb?

First, let's get a better idea of the stupidity Benn committed tonight.
As you can see, that was ridiculous, dirty, unnecessary, and vicious. Having the officials assess the cross-check as an attempt to injure seems entirly appropriate, and I'm glad that Benn was given the boot for that buffoonery. The fallout from Benn's actions were that Stone was fortunately not injured, and that the Vegas Golden Knights downed the Stars by a 4-0 score to go up 3-0 in the series.

However, because Benn made it all about him tonight, let's have some fun with Jamie Benn's name in looking at all the ways he and his team will be affected by his stupidity.

BENN-ched For The Series

It seems almost inevitable that Benn will be sitting for Game Four. Games Five through Seven? That's up in the air, but Benn's selfish act in throwing a crosscheck on a prone Mark Stone will earn him some alone time in the pressbox for at least one game. That game, coincidentally, could be the last one the Stars play this season based on their three-game deficit in the series. That means, for argument purposes, Jamie Benn could watch the team he captains flame out to the Vegas Golden Knights with nothing to say or do about it.

I'm not sure the crosscheck was worth it.

BENN-t Out Of Shape?

I have watched the first two minutes of this game a couple of times, and I honestly can't see what had Jamie Benn so bent out of shape when it came to the crosscheck. Stone's play wasn't anything out of the ordinary in the first two minutes of the game, and he wasn't even on the ice when Marchessault scored 71 seconds into the game. If that little bump between Benn and Stone was all it took for Benn to boil over, it's hard to rationalize his actions at all.

Whatever caused him to go off, the crosscheck wasn't worth it.

BENN-efitting Vegas

With Benn likely suspended one game and possibly more, having one of the game's best power forwards and one of Dallas' scoring stars will certainly benefit Vegas as they nolonger have to worry about Jamie Benn on the ice. Benn was second in scoring and third in goals for the Stars this season, and his eleven points have him tied for fourth on the Stars in the playoffs. His 63.2% efficiency at the faceoff dot doesn't hurt either, but none of that will matter at this point since it seems likely that Benn's series is over. If Benn was trying to help one team, it seems it was the team not wearing the same jersey as Benn.

I'm still looking, but it seems like the crosscheck wasn't worth it.

Costing Some BENN-jamins

With Benn's suspension impending, it's likely that there won't be another game in Dallas. That's going to cost his owner and the franchise some money. Beyond that, the 33 year-old's $9.5 million annual contract ends in the summer of 2025, and it's hard to imagine anyone giving a guaranteed, big-money contract to a 35 year-old Benn whose most memorable image in these playoffs might be one of him sitting in the pressbox. While his actual salary is a more-manageable $6.5 million annually for the next two seasons, there might be a time where the discussion of whether or not to trade Jamie Benn to bring back a solid return happens in the Dallas front office. Frankly, it could be as early as this summer.

I still can't see why the crosscheck was worth it.

The Finnish Hell-BENN-der

Make no mistake that the best player on the ice for the Stars throughout these playoffs who doesn't stop pucks is Roope Hintz. The 26 year-old has always played well when Dallas needed a player to step up, but his ten goals and 22 points in 16 games in these playoffs has made up for the lack of production from Jason Robertson and Tyler Seguin. Hintz should be the player on whom Dallas pins its future, but he'll likely play behind the overpaid duo of Seguin and Benn for the next two seasons unless someone gets moved. It might be time to make Hintz the centerpiece for the Stars.

It seems pretty obvious the crosscheck wasn't worth it.

Who's BENN-eath The Hood?

I'll grant that captains in the NHL often have to face the heat when things go off the rails, but it speaks to his character when he stands and faces the media in tough times and offers real insight as to what may be plaguing his team. Jamie Benn was ejected from a game where his team was out-everythinged in a 4-0 loss, and he was nowhere to be found after the game. As it turns out, he declined talking to the media, left the arena for the parking garage, and drove his car in the Dallas evening without offering any sort of explanation or rationale for what happened, leaving his teammates and coaches to answer for him. Captains are supposed to be accountable, but it seems Benn wants no part of that.

Still think that crosscheck was worth it?

Ok, Enough Benn Words

If the Dallas Stars want to have any shot at beating the Vegas Golden Knights in their next game, they need a big effort from every player who dresses. Jake Oettinger needs to bring the same swagger he had against Seattle. Miro Heiskanen and Esa Lindell have to push the play up the ice. Ryan Suter can't look like a 73 year-old beer leaguer. Max Domi, Tyler Seguin, and Jason Robertson have to find a way to get pucks to the net and cause headaches for Adin Hill. Roope Hintz needs to continue to play well as part of a refocused Dallas Stars team.

The one player who won't be helping the Stars try to make an epic comeback, though, is Jamie Benn. His selfish play in crosschecking a prone Mark Stone on the ice removes one highly-skilled player from the Dallas lineup, making that comeback a little harder than before. With no explanation as to why he did what he did, the speculation will run wild, but make no mistake that Jamie Benn cost his team tonight.

And it'll be up to Benn to justify why it was worth it.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 22 May 2023

Conn Smythe Bob?

There's a saying in hockey that goes "Show me a good coach and I'll show you a great goaltender". Two of the three Coach of the Year nominees last season had Vezina-nominated goaltenders playing for them. The one who didn't was Andrew Brunette in Florida where Sergei Bobrovsky was one of a handful of goalies who played for the Panthers last season. His middling numbers didn't really make anyone believe that he was the reason that Brunette had been nominated, so maybe Brunette really was the best coach last season in spite of his goalies rather than because of them. However, Brunette is now in New Jersey, Paul Maurice is behind the Florida bench, and Bobrovsky may just be your playoff MVP at this point. It's funny how things change!

I'm not here to disparage Sergei Bobrovsky in any way. There were many who called for him to be bought out of his contract with the emergence of Spencer Knight, but the Panthers refused to make that move. They started Alex Lyon in the playoffs who did well enough against the Boston Bruins for people to wonder if the Panthers had found another gem in the crease, but it was Bobrovsky who picked up the slack when Lyon appeared to have faltered.

Should we be surprised that Bobrovsky has this kind of game in him? My thought is no as he's a two-time Vezina Trophy winner. He's a very capable goaltender, and has shown throughout his career that he can make stops on the biggest of stages. Since 2010, Bobrovsky has played in 50-or-more games nine times for his teams. In those nine seasons, he's had a save percentage below .913 just twice - 2019-20 with Florida and 2022-23 with Florida. Being that he's 34 years-old, one might think age could be a factor, but those two seasons were also his two highest GAA seasons in his career. Might team defence play a role in those numbers? Hint: yes.

Beyond that, we know that teams that win in the playoffs show good defensive hockey regularly as well, yet it took Bobrovsky 58 starts and 64 playoff appearances to record his first playoff shutout tonight. If defence wins championships, those two numbers shouldn't be as high as they are, but congratulations to Sergei Bobrovsky for crossing another career highlight off his hockey bucket list. That shutout now has him and the Panthers one game away from the Stanley Cup Final.

"We have so much confidence with him back there," Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe told reporters following the game tonight. "It seems like every day he's making another huge save, changing momentum and helping our team win games. He's so important, he's so calm. He's our backbone and our best player."

For a guy who is tied as the tenth-highest earning player in the NHL based on annual contract value, you kind of expect that description - "backbone" and "best player" - to be attributed to him. Sergei Bobrovsky needs to be one of the stars for the Panthers, but he also can't do it all by himself. Head coach Paul Maurice made a point to highlight that in his postgame press conference, stating, "... at no point would we say 'hey, nobody has to come back into our end, Bob has got it.' We have to."

That's where the Panthers have stepped up as we saw them throw their bodies in front of pucks in the third period whenever the Hurricanes looked to put a shot on net. That sacrifice for the better of the team has been paying off for the Panthers as Carolina's strategy of generating offence from their defence has either been stopped, deflected away from the net, or forced the Hurricanes defenders to angle their shots away from the front of the net. As a result, Bobrovsky's been facing less deflections and more shots from further out thanks to the Panthers clearing the front of the net and getting out to the point to block shots.

Both Brett Pesce and Jaccob Slavin led all Hurricanes with five shots each in Game Three while the Hurricanes won the shot attempts statistic by a 61-22 margin. Where the rub comes in is that the shot totals showed a 32-17 edge for Carolina despite them carrying the play for the vast majority of the game. With 47.5% of Carolina's shot attempts not getting to the net, Sergei Bobrovsky got a ton of help tonight. Combine that with his exceptional play, and one can quickly see why it looks like Bobrovsky has found a level in his game not seen since arriving in Sunrise.

You can't give eight guys the Conn Smythe Trophy, though, and the man making the stops has looked otherworldly since taking over the crease twelve games ago. It seems almost too obvious that as Sergei Bobrovsky goes, so do the Florida Panthers. The only problem is that they don't hand out the Conn Smythe Trophy after Game Three in the Eastern Conference Final, so he and his teammates will need to win one more game against Carolina before the actual Conn Smythe Trophy conversations can start.

It's hard not to include him in the initial chatter, though. Bobrovsky has been stellar since reclaiming the starter's role for the Panthers, and he might be the very reason that south Florida gets its first-ever Stanley Cup parade.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 21 May 2023

The 2023 HBIC Summer Project

I'm going to have a little fun this summer with a project that involves a number of things that I enjoy. As you may know, I am working this summer as an official scorekeeper for the local minor-pro baseball team, so you know I enjoy baseball. This blog regularly celebrates the achievements and accomplishments of women, so I'm going to add that into the summer project recipe as well. And because this is HBIC, there will be a hockey element to each of these stories that involve baseball and women. On top of that, we're going to focus on stories from Canada, and I'll work in some historical elements. Basically, this summer project will combine all the good things that you normally see here on HBIC, but we'll add a dash of hardball just to change things up a little more!

Because I'm doing more baseball work, I want to take a look at all the women who played professional baseball while being incredible hockey stars during the winter months. As we know, the two seasons hardly overlapped back in the mid-1900s, so there will likely be a number of incredible stories of baseball accomplishments and hockey achievements by women whose names should probably be more well-known to people in this country.

I'm going to start running these every Sunday beginning in June. There were a pile women from Canada who made the trek south to the AAGPBL - the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League - to play baseball, but returned home in the winter and jumped onto the ice for more action. While Penny Marshall did a good job in telling the story of a number of women from the Rockford Peaches in A League of Their Own, I want to shine a light on the women who not only played ball in the top league for women, but were standouts on the ice back in Canada when winter hit.

The stories will be mostly about women, but there were some men who worked in and around the AAGPBL as well. Don't be too surprised if you see a male hockey player on a Sunday because they likely have a tie-in to women's professional baseball. For eleven years from 1943-1954, the AAGPBL brought people to stadiums to watch the women play ball, the men coach and manage teams, and other men and women who were instrumental in keeping the league going. We should be able to find 15-20 stories of Canadian men and women who played ball and shot pucks within those eleven years of action.

Depending on time, I may try to get down to the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and see if they have any artifacts I can photograph to add to the articles, but I enjoy digging into hockey history so why not get some local historical baseball knowledge while I'm at it? In knowing that there were a number of women from Manitoba who suited up in the AAGPBL, this seemed like a perfect project for me with my newly-found baseball responsibilities.

At the end of the day, maybe we all learn something about the women who played in the AAGPBL. Maybe there's a connection to the women that you have for some of the baseball stars I'll feature. Or maybe you know the baseball story, but didn't know about the hockey side of these players' stories. Whatever the case, there's always something cool that I find that keeps me curious, so I hope this look at some of the Canadian AAGPBL stars who played hockey in the winter will keep you coming back every Sunday through the summer.

June 4 will be the first article, so I hope you'll stop by this digital word salad that day. I'm excited to see some of the stats and interesting stories I can dig up, but I'll be crafting a list of players whose stories need to be read, told, and known. This little baseball-hockey-AAGPBL project should keep me busy this summer outside of all the other stuff I'm doing, but I think it will be interesting to find out about the women were two-sport stars back in the 1940s!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 20 May 2023

His Last Game Ever?

Detroit Red Wings forward Joe Veleno may have skated in his last international game for a long time earlier today. It seems the Canadian forward has a history of doing stupid things while wearing Hockey Canada's logo, but today's incident might be the most inexcusable of all the stupid acts he could have chosen to do. We'll get to the incident in a second, but there needs to be a serious discussion held by Team Canada officials moving forward if Joe Veleno will play again in the 2023 IIHF Men's World Hockey Championship and, more suitably, if he should ever be eligible to wear the Hockey Canada logo again. I have no doubt that the IIHF will come down harshly on him for his deliberate and idiotic act, but this should also factor in on all decisions concering Veleno suiting up for Canada in the future.

Without further adieu, here's Veleno's dangerous play, seen better at the 55-second mark with the cameras zoomed in on the scrum.
Mike Johnson is entirely right: that is beyond dirty. Veleno stomping the leg of Nino Niederreiter is a deliberate act that could have seriously injured the Swiss forward thanks to the razor-sharp blade in conjunction with the forceful nature of the stomp, and I, as a Canadian hockey fan, want Joe Veleno suspended for the remainder of this tournament and banned from wearing the maple leaf in the future. There is no place in hockey for that kind of stupidity. Thankfully, Niederreiter wasn't hurt and can continue helping the Swiss team put together a possible medal run in this tournament.

Let me be clear: if any player from any other team did the same thing, I'd want that player tossed and banned too. International hockey is supposed to be a competitive game among nations who gather to celebrate the game, not try to amputate body parts with a skate blade. I don't care if Niederreiter had been hounding Veleno all game, all tournament, or all his life, hockey players CANNOT use their skates to try to injure an opponent in any way, shape, or form.

I'm not here to debate whether Joe Veleno should even be skating for Canada at this tournament. He made the team (somehow), and has a two goals and five points to this moment. I say that because if I were the IIHF, Joe Veleno's tournament and any future IIHF games would be in serious jeopardy right now. Having him sit for the remainder of the tournament would be a light suspension if you're asking me.

If I were Hockey Canada, I'd let Veleno know that he has little to worry about when it comes to the IIHF suspension because his days in the red-and-white of Team Canada are over. Players who wear the Hockey Canada jersey need to be better representatives after everything the organization has done to sully its reputation, and having Veleno try to sever Niederreiter's leg or try to break his ankle is every reason why he should never be contacted about playing international hockey ever again.

Before you jump all over me, let me tell you to save your keyboard mashing where you tell me that penalty is too harsh for what Veleno did. New York Islanders forward Chris Simon got 30 games for stomping Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jarkko Ruutu as well-known repeat offender in 2007. Anaheim Ducks defenceman Chris Pronger was suspended eight games for stomping on the leg of Vancouver Canucks forward in 2008. Anaheim Ducks forward Bobby Ryan sat for two playoff games after stomping on Nashville Predators defenceman Jonathan Blum's foot in 2011.

As we know, consistency and punishment are two words that the NHL fails to understand regularly, but the IIHF generally comes down hard on players who do stupid things. As Hockey Canada, I'd go one step further and make sure that no one will need to try to explain Joe Veleno's actions ever again. You do the crime? You'll be punished.

Veleno will likely be punished by the IIHF tomorrow despite not being penalized for the stomp during the game. Personally, he wouldn't get a shot at a third strike while wearing Team Canada colours. The headbutt was questionable, but cost him a game. The stomp was deliberate and intentional, and it should cost him his tournament. The only thing left are international appearances, and do you really want to risk Veleno doing something stupid again?

Let this be a lesson for all players: using your skates for anything other than skating should get you a harsh penalty from the IIHF. If I were running Hockey Canada, though, any stomp would stamp out future opportunities to play internationally.

Until next time, keep your skates on the ice!

UPDATE: The IIHF ruled that Joe Veleno would be suspended for five games which would extend past the number of possible games Canada could play in the World Championship. He effectively has been suspended for the remainder of this tournament, and will have to sit out all five games of the suspension in any future IIHF tournament in which he's playing if those five games aren't met in this tournament. Excuse my sarcasm, but great work, Joe.

Friday 19 May 2023

Wanted: A New Architect

You're likely aware that this blog doesn't write a lot of articles about the Toronto Maple Leafs as its writer - aka me - hold an "Anybody But Toronto" belief about hockey. Today seems like a good time for an exception, though, because it's hard to understand their move today in parting ways with general manager Kyle Dubas. The man who took over building this team in 2018 following Lou Lamoriello's departure has seen his team win one playoff round in five seasons, but it's hard to blame Dubas for the results on the ice when the players and coaching staff he's assembled is among the league's best.

Yes, we shouldn't gloss over the fact that the Leafs have fallen short of rather unrealistic expectations where Stanley-Cup-or-bust seems to be the only measure of success, but Dubas had done a number of things to put the Leafs on a path where continuous and sustained levels of success could be realized. He had a legitimate superstar in Matthews, he had a solid supporting cast in Tavares, Nylander, and Marner, and there were some good depth pieces that made the Leafs dangerous. Could goaltending improve? Sure, but there are only so many dollars available in a cap world and Dubas had put those eggs into his scoring depth basket.

Brendan Shanahan's press conference today really was confusing to me because he essentially said that one of the big factors in his decision to dismiss Dubas was Dubas' own meeting with the press where Dubas expressed that he needed to speak to his family about his future. Shanahan indicated that he agreed that the business of hockey was hard on families, but that the tone and massage expressed by Dubas in the press conference made him realize that Dubas may not want to be here in the future. I find that hard to believe if Shanahan's words about knowing him and working with him closely are true.

Whatever changed in Shanahan's thinking over the last few days after hearing Dubas' press conference will likely be discussed all summer long, but there is one certainity: Kyle Dubas is no longer part of the Toronto Maple Leafs' front office.

The strange part is that it seemed like the Leafs were prepared to move forward with Dubas and his plan despite the lack of playoff success that has plagued this franchise since 2003 after laying out the framework for a new offer on Monday. In short, it sounded like Shanahan still believed in Dubas' plan where changes would have to be made to become cap compliant once more, but Dubas had indicated that he wouldn't "take anything off the table" when it comes to making roster decisions, including looking at moving his core of four highly-priced forwards.

Shanahan echoed Dubas' sentiments on making changes to the team today, stating, "Me removing Kyle from the position of general manager isn't the solution. It's finding something that is a better fit as a solution and it's the same on the ice."

Shanahan continued to elaborate on that idea, adding, "I think that's what Kyle was saying, and I don't know how you could argue with that. If we find a way to make an improvement on the ice, then we have to explore that. That wasn't directed at any one player or any one position or any one job specifically. We are, every single year, looking to get better. Sometimes we're successful, sometimes we're not but that is always the goal."

If you asked me, I'd be questioning Brendan Shanahan commitment to the Leafs right now with that "sometimes we're successful, sometimes we're not" garbage at the end of his statement, but that's for Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment to evaluate. What should be highlighted, though, is that the Leafs appear to be following Dubas' plan despite the architect of the plan being fired from the project. Good luck to the next GM who is hired by the Leafs and wants to install their own philosophy because it sounds like the Leafs are already sold on how to build their team.

I don't know who the Leafs consider as they move forward. Shanahan stated that he was going to "open-minded to all candidates" and that he would be open to hiring "an experienced general manager", so the names will likely be varied and diverse in their experiences and abilities. The odds say that assistant GM Brendan Pridham would be the best choice to step in as he could continue building this team in the same vision that Dubas had, but I'm sure we'll hear names of all sorts being thrown around at some point or another.

I'm not certain the Leafs will do better with whomever they hire, but it looked like Dubas' plan was starting to show signs of bearing fruit. With Tampa Bay taking steps back and Boston likely losing key players this off-season, the time for the Leafs to break free of those teams' shadows could have been next season. It still could happen, of course, but it will be with someone else getting credit for the work Kyle Dubas did over the last few seasons. If a few tweaks is all this team needs to take that next big step, the Leafs may have made a major mistake in not retaining the services of Kyle Dubas.

The Toronto Maple Leafs need a new architect if they hope to keep building on Dubas' blueprints. Or, in an insane world, perhaps the new general manager tears it all down and starts building anew. That's the risk the Leafs are taking in letting Kyle Dubas go.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 18 May 2023

The Hockey Show - Episode 556

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns to the radio waves in and around Winnipeg and through virtual means around the world tonight. Teebz and Jason will send four more entrants from Survivor: NHL Playoffs home on this evening as the third round begins with a Carolina-Florida game tonight! Beyond that, they'll take a quick look at the biggest stories from hockey over the last couple of weeks as they dive into a busy agenda tonight onThe Hockey Show!

Tonight, Teebz and Jason will send Daniella (EDM), Dave (TOR), Derek (SEA), and Paul (NJD) back to the mainland off Survivor: NHL Playoffs island as their individual teams failed to advance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After we deal with those exits, our hosts will discuss the fate of the Arizona Coyotes after the voters in Tempe killed the arena dream, the start of the Canadian Para Hockey National Championship, the end of the National Aboriginal Hockey Championship, the Winnipeg Ice facing elimination, and anything else we can squeeze into the hour tonight. It's going to be busy tonight on The Hockey Show at 5:30pm CT 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 more of an app person, we recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store or Google Play Store. If you 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 send four more people off Survivor island before getting into the mess in the desert, the action at two major national championships, the local WHL team's playoffs on the brink, and much more exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the web stream!

PODCAST: May 18, 2023: Episode 556

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 17 May 2023

The Heat Of The Moment

The young man about to deposit the puck into the yawning cage is London Knights forward Ryan Humphrey. Humphrey is an American forward who hails from Northville, Michigan who began his OHL career with the Hamilton Bulldogs before the London Knights swung a trade for him on January 2, 2023. Humphrey had a good season with the Bulldogs last year as he scored 25 goals and 62 points in 68 games, but he's shifted into a new role with London where he's contributing offensively while playing a more physical brand of hockey. However, he's been a solid player in this year's OHL playoffs where he has seven goals and 11 points in London's 19 games. I'll also note that he has 29 PIMs.

I make that note because Ryan Humphrey was in the penalty box tonight, and he was unhappy about a call made against him in London's game against the Peterborough Petes. As he was chirping the officials, the official in the penalty box made a comment to which Humphrey replied with an animated way of saying "be quiet". From here, I'll let the video posted to Twitter by natalie speak for itself in what is a rather funny sequence between Humphrey and the official!
As you can see, Humphrey was caught up in the heat of the moment of the OHL playoff game, and his choice of words to tell the official to keep quiet seemed to spark the disagreement between them. Once Humphrey and the official had a discussion, I assume that Humphrey apologized for his choice of words towards the official and all was good in the London penalty box between the two men!

People often say that hockey is an "emotional game" when describing how players react in situations, and it seems that the video above is proof that Ryan Humphrey got caught up in the moment when he disagreed with the referee's penalty call. While he summarily dismissed the penalty box official using rather obscene words, it was clear that Humphrey meant no disrespect as he simply was in that emotional moment of being frustrated with the call against him. In the end, though, we get a happy ending between these two.

For the record, Peterborough won the game 5-3 tonight, and now lead the OHL Final by a three-games-to-one count. Humphrey and the Knights will have their backs against the wall when they take the ice on Friday in London, and it's win-or-go-home in every game now for Humphrey and the boys. The winner of this series will represent the OHL in the Memorial Cup in Kamloops from May 26 until June 4, so it's do-or-die for the Knights every time they step on the ice now.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 16 May 2023

Tempe Votes No

It's somewhat ironic that I'm using a Jerry Maguire image for the lede on this article, but fictional Arizona Cardinals receiver Rod Tidwell, played by Cuba Gooding Jr., is giving off the vibes that I'm feeling tonight after reading that the people of Tempe, Arizona have voted to reject the insane $2.3 billion arena and entertainment district proposed by Alex Meruelo. I have routinely written on this blog about the fallacies that are used to sell the idea that publicly-funded arenas do anything except make rich owners richer, but it seems the messaging that was being driven home in Tempe by a number of people and groups might have finally found a listening audience who understood what was at stake.

As reported by the Channel 12 NBC affiliate in Arizona, "[b]y a 56-44 split, the initial results for Tempe's special election show more voters chose to say 'NO' to let developers build a massive complex that includes a new sports arena for the Arizona Coyotes." For those interested, the election results can be viewed here for the three propositions on the referendum that would have paved the way for Meruelo to start building his new arena.

Let me be clear here: I am not celebrating this vote as a fight against the establishment like some may think I am. While I fully and entirely disagree with giving public monies to billionaires for them to build new homes for their toys, there are consequences that arise when billionaires begin to utter threats of relocation. All of the minor hockey associations and charities that were benefitting from the Coyotes' presence in the greater Phoenix area could be significantly harmed if the Coyotes decide to pack their bags for greener pastures.

The Coyotes didn't exactly make it sound like they were willing to fight to stay in Arizona following the vote.

"We are very disappointed Tempe voters did not approve Propositions 301, 302, and 303," Coyotes President Xavier Gutierrez said in a statement. "As Tempe Mayor Corey Woods said, it was the best sports deal in Arizona history. What is next for the franchise will be evaluated by our owners and the National Hockey League over the coming weeks."

Maybe, as a billionaire, Alex Mereulo could pay for the arena himself and leave the "entertainment district" out of the equation? That seems like it would work considering how little the arena cost in relation to the total scope of the project. Overall, this would be a pretty fair proposal to me, but what do I know?

I don't like seeing franchises move nor do I appreciate owners threatening to move teams as leverage to get new stadiums and arenas built. I've gone through it once, and it absolutely sucks. What should be noted, though, is that no one has used the "R-word" yet. I'm hopeful that the Coyotes can find some way to remain in Arizona. They have left a solid footprint in the desert since arriving in 1996, and there has to be a better solution than "Welp, we've exhausted all our resources" when talking about a billionaire owner.

It becomes a waiting game now as Meruelo, Gutierrez, Bettman, and their respective teams look at the long-term plans for NHL hockey in Arizona. The NHL likely won't want to leave the 11th-largest TV market in the US as per the The Neilsen Company, but if the alternatives are the seventh-largest (Houston) or the 29th-largest (Salt Lake City) markets, the NHL usually will opt for bigger before considering smaller.

Meruelo might be the wild card in this as his lease at Arizona State University runs out after the 2023-24 season with an option to return for one additional year in 2024-25. If Meruelo's care to own the team drops, the NHL may open the door to buyers much like they've done with the Ottawa Senators. We'll have to see if the NHL adds buying restrictions such as keeping the team in the greater Phoenix area, but we could see the Coyotes heading to a new city they'll call home if that process gets underway.

Of course, there will be pressure on Gary Bettman to find a solution that satisfies 31 other NHL owners as well as the constant investment of money into the Coyotes since their move from Winnipeg likely will reach a boiling point for some owners. At some point, the Coyotes franchise needs to be a partner and not a charity case for the NHL, and this may be the opportunity for a number of owners to push Bettman to organize a sale of the franchise to maximize the return on what appears to be an unwinnable situation in the desert.

Whatever happens next seems to be in the Coyotes' hands as the people of Tempe spoke with their votes tonight. With the team and league regrouping after this loss, we might be talking about a similar situation this franchise went through when it was announced that the Winnipeg Jets had been sold to a group who were planning to relocate the franchise to Phoenix. If that's the case, the days are certainly numbered from here until they move with the only question being how much longer will the Coyotes be in Arizona.

My hope is that there is a concerted effort to continue to grow hockey in Arizona whether the Coyotes stay or go. We've seen all of Winnipeg, Hartford, and Quebec City continue to support various levels of hockey while promoting the growth of the game at the grassroots levels, and I'm hoping the NHL will consider the enormous opportunity that they have to continue to foster the growth of hockey in the southwest US.

With Tempe voting "No" on the ballot tonight, the future of all hockey in Arizona will certainly be affected by Alex Meruelo's next decisions. That future is foggy right now, but we should know more in the coming weeks and months about where the Coyotes stand with respect to their future in the metro Phoenix area. My hope is that the billionaire owner cracks open his piggy bank for the good of the game, but that's not usually how these things go.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 15 May 2023

Only Four Remain

As stated on Saturday, there will be exit interviews this week on The Hockey Show as the final game of Round Two was played tonight. We now know who the four teams are that will compete in the Conference Finals, and that means that four entrants in the Survivor contest move one step closer to winning the grand prize while four more entrants will look forward to next year's contest. In short, we're not far from finding out who will be playing for jerseys in this year's contest!

Let's take a look at who is still alive in the Survivor contest.
On the Western Conference Final front, it will be Mike and his Vegas Golden Knights against Bryan and his Dallas Stars. Dallas was 3-0-0 against Vegas this season as Vegas dropped two games in shootouts - a 3-2 decision on February 25 and a 2-1 decision on April 8 - while losing the first meeting of the season on January 16 by a 4-0 score. Ty Dellandrea and Jamie Benn both had three points in those three wins as Dallas outscored Vegas 9-3 in the three contests. Jake Oettinger won all three games as Dallas' netminder while both Laurent Brossoit and Jonathan Quick suffered the shootout losses. Logan Thompson was Begas' goalie of record in the regulation loss.

The Eastern Conference Final sees John and his Carolina Hurricanes squaring off against Wayne and the Florida Panthers. Carolina was 2-1-0 against Florida this season as the Panthers downed the Hurricanes 3-0 on November 9 before the Hurricanes rallied to win 4-0 on December 30 and 6-4 on April 13. Brandon Montour and Radko Gudas both had three assists in the three games against Carolina while the Hurricanes saw Brent Burns score twice and add two helpers while Seth Jarvis had four assists in those three games. Spencer Knight and Antti Raanta both recorded a win and a loss in the first two games these teams played, but Frederik Andersen defeated Alex Lyon in the April game. Both Knight and Raanta recorded shutouts.

I'm not here to preview series, though, because Mike, Wayne, Bryan, and John will be watching their teams determine who will compete in the final. Unfortunately, we will be saying good-bye to Daniella (EDM), Dave (TOR), Derek (SEA), and Paul (NJD) if we're going alphabetically. Edmonton's high-scoring superstars will have to wait another year. Toronto's well-financed core of players will look to next season to see if they can ascend higher. Seattle made a heckuvan impression in their first appearance in the dance. And it looks like the youthful New Jersey Devils may have many more opportunties to bring home another Stanley Cup.

Everything gets started on Thursday night for Round Three, so make sure you tune into The Hockey Show at 5:30pm CT to hear the exit interviews of those entrants who are departing after their teams were knocked out prior to tuning into Game One of the Eastern Conference Final between the Panthers and Hurricanes from Raleigh, North Carolina at 7pm CT/8pm ET on one or all of TNT, Rogers Sportsnet, CBC, or TVA Sports if you want to watch en français. The Golden Knights and Stars will start their series on Friday night in Vegas at 7:30pm CT/8:30pm ET with ESPN hopping into TNT's place for the broadcast.

For Mike, Wayne, Bryan, and John, they now have a 1-in-2 chance of winning either a Seattle Kraken jersey or a Winnipeg Jets Aviator jersey. We're a few weeks from handing those out, but two of those four individuals will get a brand-new NHL jersey! For Daniella (EDM), Dave (TOR), Derek (SEA), and Paul (NJD), we'll talk to you on Thursday about your teams' shortcomings!

Until then, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 14 May 2023

Closed For Today

As promised yesterday, HBIC is taking the day off today to honour moms all around the world. I get that not every culture celebrates Mother's Day today, but there's some recognition, it seems, of the importance of moms and motherhood in every country. For example, Mexico and Latin America celebrate Mother's Day on May 10th of each year while the UK's celebration of Mother's Day is done on the fourth Sunday of the Christian festival of Lent. No matter where one is on the planet, though, there is a festival that each society has to honour mothers, and it's pretty cool to know that moms are honoured around the world in every corner of the globe.

According to the History Channel, "[t]he American incarnation of Mother's Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official US holiday in 1914," but "Jarvis would later denounce the holiday's commercialization and spent the latter part of her life trying to remove it from the calendar." Admittedly, I usually get my Mom some sort of gift for the day, but I hate the idea of cards. If there's one thing I dislike more about holidays than anything else, it's the proliferation of greeting and holidays cards for every occasion.

Of course, the honouring of mothers with their own day for recognition goes back to Greek and Roman times as the History Channel points out, but it was President Woodrow Wilson who established the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day in the US after issuing a presidential proclamation on March 9, 1914. That proclamation allowed capitalism to take over the celebratory day as florists, card companies, and other vendors saw the opportunity to rake in the cash. By 1920, Anna Jarvis "had become disgusted with how the holiday had been commercialized" as she "outwardly denounced the transformation and urged people to stop buying Mother's Day flowers, cards and candies."

See? I'm not the only one who hates holiday cards!

According to, "[t]he National Retail Federation estimates that 78 percent of Americans will buy a card for Mother's Day", and the greeting card industry generates some "$6 billion to $7 billion" annually through sales. Hallmark even states that "Mother's Day is the third-largest card-sending holiday in the United States, with 113 million cards exchanged annually" and "is the largest card-sending holiday for the Hispanic community."

So why am I posting all of this vitriol towards greeting cards? According to Recycled Greeting Cards, approximately "2.5 million trees cut down each year for greeting cards". That's a lot of trees sacrificed for one day's worth of "Happy Mother's Day" greetings.

Let me be clear: I'm not saying you can't buy a card for your mom on Mother's Day. What I am imploring you to do, though, is to plant a tree with her if you do buy one. The tree can represent the growth of the love you have for her while the card sends the message in word form. And if you're a mom who gets a card? Please recycle it when the time comes that you feel it can be discarded.

While we may be celebrating our moms today, we shouldn't forget about Mother Nature and Mother Earth who provide us with food, oxygen, and the beauty of nature daily. Sustainable practices should be encouraged more, and I hope you'll do so now that you know some of the facts about greeting cards. After all, "Hallmark makes about half the greeting cards sold in the US, but only a little over half their cards contain a minimum of 10% post-consumer content" which isn't good for Mother Earth.

I'm all for less capitalism and commercialism in my life, so let's do our part by reducing the number of cards bought for holidays. I'm not saying you can't or shouldn't buy cards ever, but we can do our part by making those cards more special by buying fewer and recycling them when they've run their course. If you're already buying less cards and recycling them when received, you're respecting Mother Nature in the best way possible and that's good. If my writing here today changes even just a few people's habits, we're all better off.

Enjoy your day celebrating your Mom. Like Mother Nature, take care of your Mom when she asks for help, and honour her by giving her a hand whenever you can. Moms are special people, and be grateful for every second you have with them. I had brunch with my family as we honoured my Mom, and it was a fantastic meal where it was pretty apparent that she's someone upon whom every member of my family relies!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!