Hockey Headlines

Friday, 23 September 2016

Starting Shorthanded?

I admit that I'm a fan of CIS hockey. The Canadian university system hasn't produced a vast number of NHL stars, but it is constantly restocking the CWHL on the women's side. However, a number of former CHL players are signing up for university degrees after their junior hockey careers have ended, and the results have shown that CIS men's hockey is becoming far more competitive and far more entertaining. With that, however, comes a junior hockey mentality where fighting still happens. Tonight at Wayne Fleming Arena in Winnipeg, that mentality spilled over onto the ice when the Manitoba Bisons hosted the Regina Cougars.

In 2013, the CIS increased the penalty for fighting in Canadian Interuniversity Sports men's hockey. The rules are pretty much identical across the Canada West, Ontario, and Atlantic conferences where fighting is an automatic game misconduct and a one-game suspension. A second fight gets you a game misconduct and a two-game suspension. A third fight gets you a game misconduct and a three-game suspension. You see where this is going based on the trend, right?

The more interesting rule to me, however, is the instigator rule. If a player is given an instigator penalty, that player suffers the game misconduct and the suspension while his combatant simply serves the five-minute major penalty for fighting and the game misconduct. In other words, those that have the inkling to pick fights at the CIS level get punished more severely that those that he draws into the fight. With less goons and less idiots on the ice looking to start a scrap, the game has benefited immensely as the scoring and entertainment levels have gone up.

But there are still fights that happen as we saw tonight. Here's a tweet from ChrisD.ca who caught the second round of fights in the third period between Regina and Manitoba.

According to the boxscore from the game, it appears that the first fight kicked off the rough stuff at 13:06 of the third period when Manitoba's Jesse Paradis and Regina's Brody Luhning dropped the mitts to solve their differences. Minutes later, Manitoba's Rene Hunter delivered what appears to be a vicious cross-check that earned him a five-minute major and a game misconduct which led to the video captured above of the second donnybrook between Manitoba's Jonah Wasylak and Regina's Tyler Bell.

Looks like the CWUAA disciplinary committee will have some work to do early in the 2016-17 season.

I expect all four players who fought to be suspended for the opening game of the season for their respective teams. I also expect Canada West to investigate the cross-check by Rene Hunter and the actions of Regina's Austin Bourhis who was given a game misconduct at the 17:05 mark. I would not be surprised if all six players were given the night off on October 7 when the season opens. After all, this is preseason CWUAA hockey where fights should almost never be seen.

I am rather shocked that these events happened in a preseason CWUAA game whose result was never in doubt once the midpoint of the third period had passed. The Bisons led 7-0 at that point, and I realize and understand that there's a pride factor that the Cougars want to uphold, but it's a preseason game. Neither head coach spoke to the media following the game, but I truly believe that neither head coach would want to "send a message" to the other team when it means that players will be suspended. That's the definition of "cutting one's nose off to spite one's face".

You hope that both teams got this rambunctiousness out of their systems in this preseason game. They meet in Regina on October 21 and 22, so let's hope that the Bisons come back to Manitoba with a couple of wins and a full roster for the following week. As much as I like a good hockey fight, the action on the ice tonight seemed to be entertaining enough for those fan who attended. Instead, they got to witness what will likely be the first suspensions in the CWUAA this season.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Hockey Show - Episode 209

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, is back to kick off YEAR 5 of the greatest non-affiliated hockey show on the planet! As we do with any birthday, we are going to have some fun, give away some cool stuff, and chat some hockey on tonight's show. Why? Because we appreciate each and every one of you who have been listening all this time. To show our appreciation, we're giving you the presents! How cool is that?

We have some autographed stuff to give away. We have a few books for your reading consumption. There are some clothing items that can be won. And there are chances for you to jump into the hockey chatter with your phone calls! Among the hockey topics we'll discuss will be the white pucks used by the Florida Panthers, Sergei Mozyakin breaking the KHL record for career goals a week or so ago, Brandon Reid and the Aalborg Pirates kicking off their season against the Odense Bulldogs on Friday, and the Manitoba Bisons women's team heading to Regina for the Mandi Schwartz Tournament and what TJ and Teebz saw from the team in their preseason games against the Winnipeg Avros. We're giving away a bunch of stuff tonight while we chat hockey, so make sure you tune in and listen for your chance to win!

I can already hear a large portion of those reading this preview saying, "I don't get your radio station in my neighbourhood." Believe me, we're very cognizant of how far we reach at UMFM, so we're pushing forward into the digital age like a charging bull in order to give you more options and better options for listening to The Hockey Show and all the other great UMFM programming. Ladies and gentlemen, there's an app for that.

If you're a proud owner of an iPad, iPod, or iPhone and want to listen to The Hockey Show, you had to go to UMFM's website and listen via the stream and it was a pain in the butt because it only played a couple of ways and tuning in was a big hassle. I get it. I've been there. That's why UMFM went ahead and made an awesome new app for you to download that will allow you to listen to UMFM with ease! Just follow this link on your iDevice and get the UMFM app! It's never been easier to tune into The Hockey Show, and we're giving away prizes tonight so you can win as well!

If you're an Android user, we've had the app out for a few weeks already so you should already have it on your phone or tablet. You do have it, right? What do you mean you don't have it? Why not? Look, get yourself on the right path by following this link and getting the Android app!

As a small hint, there will be a prize available for someone who has downloaded the app as there will be a question posed that relates to the app, so you'd be wise to download the UMFM app and get familiar with it prior to the show. It'll also be valuable for listening to CIS sports, a ton of great shows and music, and some fun talk shows outside our little hour!

Email all show questions and comments to hockeyshow@umfm.com! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show.

Tonight, we're cleaning out the prize closet and chatting about white pucks, Russian goals, Danish starts, and women's hockey on The Hockey Show only on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM app!

PODCAST: September 22, 2016: Episode 209

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Recycling Is Good?

I appreciate people who recycle, re-use, and reduce their footprint on this planet. I recycle all that I can, and I have a compost receptacle that receives all of my vegetation waste from my kitchen and garden. In other words, I do my part to try to reduce my footprint on this planet. I never expected the NHL to have a team who would do the same by re-wearing jerseys, but it seems the Los Angeles Kings opened up the jersey trunk in the attic and found something they wanted to wear again. The jersey pictured above is the Stadium Series jersey that the Kings wore against the Anaheim Ducks in 2014, and their new 50th anniversary jersey that was unveiled yesterday looks similar.

The image to the right? That's what the Los Angeles Kings will wear to commemorate this historic season. There are a pile of features that the Kings have rolled into this jersey, but it looks an awful lot like the Stadium Series jersey posted at the top of this article, doesn't it? I get that the Kings want something different for this jersey than the usual black or white jerseys they wear, but they have a rich history of jerseys, colours, and designs that they could have used over this rather blasé uniform. A lot of the features on this jersey are what bother me if we're being totally honest.

According to the Los Angeles Kings, the following are features found on this 50th anniversary jersey:
  • Striping along the arms represents two Stanley Cups.
  • Striping along the bottom matches 1967-68, the first on-ice season in Kings history.
  • Purple embellishment within the neck containing five Gold Diamonds represents the five decades and pays homage to the club's historic Purple/Gold years.
  • Gold added to the Kings primary logo represents 50 years.
  • Special Font with Gold for player names and numbers.
  • Gray color is the same as the Dodger Stadium Series.
Wait, they admitted it - "Gray color is the same as the Dodger Stadium Series"? It seems odd to me that they would trot out a similar jersey they wore two years ago for a special game, but the Kings are doing that. Hey, at least they admitted it and didn't pass it off as some new colour. Nod to the Kings for the honesty.

However, this garbage about the striping along the arms being representative of the two Stanley Cup wins - is anyone buying that? They're hockey stripes, and they've been on hockey sweaters and jerseys for years. They're a little thicker than normal hockey stripes, but they follow the same width as the hem stripe which is exactly what the stripes should do. They should be uniform on a uniform!

While I like the idea of throwing back to the 1967-68 Los Angeles Kings, just doing the hem stripe is a huge miss when the gold jerseys worn in 1967-68 would have been nearly perfect for the team's Golden Anniversary. How could a team with gold in its colour scheme history miss out on this? If they wanted to go all out, make the jerseys out of a material that shimmers as well. I'm not suggesting that Reebok bring in a bolt of durene fabric, but they should be able to make something up that catches the light of the arena and makes the jerseys somewhat reflective like a brick of gold.

Now, some will point out that the Kings wore the gold jerseys as a throwback jersey in prior seasons. I'll grant you that, but we're already talking about recycling the Stadium Series jerseys so why not wear an appropriate jersey for your Golden Anniversary?

Hiding the purple inside the collar and inside the jersey? Utter stupidity. I hate this idea. I have hated it since it was introduced, and I still hate it today. End this "feature". It's not a feature if no one sees it.

The gold-outlined logo, name, and number are the same as what the Philadelphia Flyers did, and I'm fine with that. It might have looked much better if the gold-lined logo was on the gold jersey, but I digress. Instead, when you see the gold-infused jersey from a slight distance, everything they attempted to highlight with this gold disappears due to the white in the logo.
If the gold disappears, why bother at all? This is extremely poor execution of an idea, and I'm already disliking these jerseys. Had they lined the shoulder yoke to contrast against the black and gray, we'd be talking about a golden anniversary jersey. Instead, we barely see the gold embroidery which is an epic fail. It's your Golden Anniversary, yet there is little to no gold seen. Disappointing.

I would have rather seen the Stadium Series jerseys re-used entirely with the gold added into it. This jersey is a mess in its design, its execution, and its final product. I would rather see the Burger King jersey brought back and worn for the anniversary over this new design. It doesn't come off well as the gold is rather invisible, so congratulations on re-introducing another gray jersey, Los Angeles.

The only problem? That's not what was asked for. Complete fail. Simply awful.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Your Team For A Song?

Music is a common bond among people everywhere. While tastes and genres may vary between those people, music is played in every part of the land across this marble in space. In saying that, it seems that musicians are putting together a very nice wardrobe of hockey jerseys as they tour the world and play in rinks in every city, town, and burgh. The Pittsburgh fan to the left, for example, is a big fan of Snoop Dogg based on his jersey. That being said, we're back for another installment of musicians who wear hockey jerseys, and we have some repeat offenders once again. Let's break into some more closets and find out who sang where on this installment of musicians in jerseys!

Before we get started, the full database of images is linked here. Feel free to click through to find your favorite team and find out who has worn those colours. Of course, if you have additional images of musicians in hockey jerseys from a concert, feel free to send them here and I'll credit you on the main page! Without further adieu, though, let's start the show!

We'll start with a band that was huge in the 1980s. They've sung a James Bond theme song, they've sold some 70 million records, they've won Grammy Awards, and they have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Needless to say, Duran Duran are recognized worldwide wherever they go and their concerts are still popular today. Duran Duran was recently in Calgary, Alberta where they played a concert, and the Flames did their thing by giving the band jerseys from the team!

Members of the band have been seen individually or in pairs in jerseys, but it's rare that all four members of KISS are in the same photo with hockey jerseys! Obviously, Gene Simmons is the most prolific member of KISS in terms of being in the public eye, but it's nice to see KISS being recognized by the ECHL's Missouri Mavericks as KISS passed through Independence, Missouri!

I'm not a fan of his music, but Armando Christian Pérez was born in Miami, Florida before assuming the name Pitbull as his music career exploded. He's hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and he's been a part of FIFA lore when he, Jennifer Lopez, and Claudia Leitte wrote and performed "We Are One (Ole Ola)" as the main theme for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Clearly, the man has talent, and Pitbull is also the owner of a new Florida Panthers jersey after stopping in Sunrise!

Speaking of rappers, Drake has certainly been a sports fan for his entire life. He's a major part of the Toronto Raptors and the NBA scenes, but he's not afraid to show off his Canadian roots by throwing on a hockey jersey as well! Drake toured through Tampa Bay where the Lightning gave him a BOLTS jersey and Stamkos' captaincy for one night, and he was recently in Vancouver where he was also given the captaincy of the Canucks. How does Drake keep being named captains in these cities?

When you're the first concert in a band-new stadium or arena, there's a good chance you'll want to endear yourself to the crowd that turns out to see you perform. That's exactly what country music superstar Luke Bryan did when he took the stage in Minneapolis' new US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings. Except Bryan didn't wear Vikings purple. He instead took to the stage in an Erik Haula Minnesota Wild jersey! Minnesota is a bit of a hockey state, and it appears that Bryan is a hockey fan! Haula, of course, played for the Minnesota Golden Gophers and is a current member of the Wild, so he pretty much hit the Minnesota hockey nail on the head with that jersey!

Another country singer whose wardrobe seems to be filling up with hockey jerseys is Garth Brooks. Garth recently showed off his hockey knowledge by wearing a Gordie Howe jersey in Saskatchewan and played a show in St. Louis while wearing a Blues jersey. Today, we hop into the way-back machine where he made an appearance in Anaheim and received a Mighty Ducks jersey! However, Garth and Trisha Yearwood are touring North America as you read this, and he made a recent stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he was given a Grand Rapids Griffins jersey! For a guy who disappeared for a number of years, it seems he's catching up on his contemporaries when it comes to collecting jerseys!

The Zac Brown Band sang the American national anthem at the recent Winter Classic. They wore jerseys as they belted out the Star-Spangled Banner, and they looked fairly good doing so!

Not to be outdone, The Tenors sang O Canada at the Winter Classic as Canadian music representatives. They too wore jerseys, although they wore Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys. You have to wonder if they would had chosen other Canadian teams had they been given the option.

I have never heard any music by Lucy Hale, but I imagine she may be better known for appearances on How I Met Your Mother and on Pretty Little Liars. She does sing, though, and describes music as her "first love". I'll go with that since she's released an album and has a music video for her single "You Sound Good To Me". She seems to have some decent pipes, and she got a chance to perform in Springfield, Massachusetts in January of 2014 following a Falcons-Phantoms AHL game. And, of course, Lucy was given her very own jersey! Miss Hale may want to hold onto that jersey now - it's a collector's item after the Falcons moved to Tucson!

Justin Bieber's reputation has made for fans to wish that he'll never appear in their team's jersey, but the kid is a hockey fan. He certainly has one of the most decorated closets when it comes to hockey jerseys if he's kept all of the ones he's already appeared in, so let's add a couple more to the list. Biebs played some pickup hockey while wearing a Los Angeles Kings jersey. He was recently in Germany doing a concert tour, and he suited up with eishockeyclub Red Bull München in Munich, Germany of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga on an off day! Biebs' collection is growing!

Another guy I have never heard of? Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn, better known as the rapper Future. He was also on Drake's tour after doing a full-length collaboration with Drake entitled What a Time to Be Alive. That album debuted at the top of the US Billboard 200, so having him accompany Drake on his tour makes sense. And just like Drake, Future donned the Vancouver Canucks colours while in Vancouver! That'll get you some attention!

Finally, we'll end this review with one of the greats who was known globally for his talents. He got his start in Italy in 1961, and his popularity grew steadily until he was sadly taken from us after succumbing to pancreatic cancer on September 6, 2007. Luciano Pavarotti was immensely popular for his tenor voice, his success as one of the Three Tenors, and for his ability to cross over into mainstream music with artists such as U2. He remains as the only operatic singer to appear on Saturday Night Live - a feat I'm not sure will ever be matched. He wasn't known for any sort of love of hockey, but he was given jersey by various owners who had Pavarotti appear at their arenas. One man who gave Pavarotti a jersey? Phildelphia's Ed Snider. It truly looks like Pavarotti was honoured by the gesture!

So there are a handful of artists who have worn the colours of hockey across the planet. Again, if you have additional images of musicians in hockey jerseys from a concert, feel free to send them here and I'll credit you on the main page. The number of images grows as more and more musicians tour the world, so this piece will continue to grow!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 19 September 2016

They're Just Exceptional People

There aren't many opportunities in life to spend time with your heroes and idols, so when that times comes along you should reach out and embrace it for as long as it lasts. I got to spend some time today with the man to the left, so that means this is a non-hockey entry on HBIC. Before you go clicking elsewhere, though, give this article a chance because I have to say that I have more respect for the man in the image today than I did before, and I already held him in the highest regard. The man pictured is former Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Kelly Gruber, and it was an honour and pleasure to meet a man who I thought might be the best third baseman to ever don a Blue Jays uniform.

Listen, I'm not here to debate Gruber vs. Sprague vs. Donaldson vs. Glaus or anyone else who played the hot corner for Toronto. Every one of those players is certainly a top-notch ballplayer in his own right, and I'm not taking anything away from any of them. What I am here to say is that I grew up in an era where Kelly Gruber played third base for the Toronto Blue Jays while I was playing baseball, and I thought he was one of the better third basemen I had ever seen.

Today, however, I found out that his efforts as a regular person far outweigh anything he did on the field because Kelly Gruber is an amazing person. And I say that knowing that he won a World Series with the Blue Jays.

In an autograph session put on by Rogers Communications, Kelly Gruber sat and talked with fans for lengths of time. He made connections with kids who weren't even a twinkle in their parents' eyes when they watched Kelly play. He spent time reaching people on a personal level where his celebrity status was used to make those connections. He listened. He talked. He smiled. He told stories of life in baseball. He happily took photographs with fans. He was warm. He embraced those that wanted hugs with genuine sincerity.

Kelly Gruber turned a lot of Blue Jays fans into Kelly Gruber fans today.

Look, I'm getting nothing for writing this, but he's been traveling with the Blue Jays caravan across Canada that Rogers Communications is backing. I saw a man today reach through age barriers, wage barriers, and social barriers to bring fans of all walks of life together. I saw a man whose skill on the diamond was celebrated and revered yet he was as approachable as your next door neighbour.

Isn't it great when your heroes turn out to be genuinely exceptional people?

We've seen in some situations that athletes can occasionally be jerks. Just like people in life, there are those who fail to remember that we're all connected in some way or another, and those that forget this lesson often find difficulty in achieving goals because the help they require from others has abandoned them due to past actions. For every Alex Rodriguez, there are guys like Kelly Gruber who restore your faith in athletes. Kelly, who was here on a promotional tour, did something that Alex Rodriguez wouldn't even dare to consider that shows exactly what kind of man he is.

As I was working at the caravan, a lady walked up to where I was stationed and asked if Kelly Gruber was signing autographs yet. I noticed she had some memorabilia in her hands including a framed photo of a young girl and Kelly. I informed her that Kelly was signing autographs inside the store, and that we were outside doing the fun stuff. She thanked me and headed inside. Some 20 to 30 minutes later, she emerged from the store, went to her car, and drove off.

There was no line inside, so it was apparent that Kelly had spent some time speaking to this woman. What I wasn't expecting, though, was that this woman had also spent some time talking to Kelly, and her story was incredible to hear.

What she failed to mention in her question for me is that she is a former Make-A-Wish Foundation cancer survivor whose wish was to meet Kelly Gruber at a Blue Jays game when she was younger. The framed photo? That was her and Kelly some years ago when Make-A-Wish granted her wish and sent her to Toronto to meet her baseball idol. Reportedly, the look on Kelly's face was amazement as he glanced at her and then down at the photo as he recalled the moment.

Kelly autographed everything she had and you could tell that meeting her idol once again was a moment she was going to hold onto forever. She left with a smile on her face after explaining to Kelly what she had gone through, and several of Kelly's people jotted down some information so that they could follow up with the woman regarding her experience. What happened next, though, was evidence of the kind of person that Kelly is.

Kelly decided that after the autograph session he was going to visit this woman at her house. Why? He wanted to talk some more to her and really make a connection with her after he had meant so much to her while she was battling cancer. Obviously, the connection she had with him from watching him play baseball was one that would last forever, and now Kelly was going to make sure that it was bronzed and talked about for years to come. And just as he said he was going to do, once the last autograph was signed, he and his crew piled into their vehicle to make a whole new slew of memories for one woman.

How cool is that?

I'm happy to say that I got to sit and chat with Kelly a little bit today. It's always refreshing to find out that the guy who you believed to be a helluvan athlete is an even better person. When these people are the people one aspires to be, seeing how genuine and friendly they are with everyone is exactly why athletes can and should inspire us all to not only be better athletes, but better people and entirely better to one another.

It's an easy thing to say, but it takes an exceptional person to walk that life. Kelly Gruber not only is walking that life, but he's inspiring many people to follow him on that path. That's what our heroes should inspire us to do.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!