Hockey Headlines

Sunday, 28 August 2016

I'll Pass, Thanks

I was asked today if I was getting excited for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey. Knowing that I'm a bit of a hockey fan, you'd think I would be, right? Except I'm not. Quite honestly, I don't care. I have many issues with this tournament - cost to fans, impact on players, potential injuries - but the one thing I fail to find in this tournament is meaning. It feels forced with the whole "who owns the game of hockey" commercial on Sportsnet, and I'm here today to tell you that HBIC will not be reporting on any of the happenings at the World Cup of Hockey.

The commercial I referenced is below, but I fully admit that I change the channel when it appears. Here it is, and I'll go through what I don't like about it below.
I find it to be insulting in that Tomas Plekanec and the Czech fan will always have Nagano despite some of their country's recent hockey successes. The American fan references the Miracle On Ice game, yet I'm guessing he didn't witness it due to his age while ignoring all the success that Hockey USA has had since that game. All of the fans reference Olympic successes, but the World Cup of Hockey is not the Olympics nor will it ever be with the stupid North American and European teams.

I also find the commercial incredibly sexist as all of the fans are male. There are a couple of female fans, but the NHL, NHLPA, and Sportsnet are doing a serious disservice to the portion of the market with the greatest area of growth by not including women as serious fans. Watch it again. I guarantee you can count the number of women fans in the commercial on one hand.

Maybe you're thinking you'd like to take in a game, though. You're thinking, "Teebz, you're so cynical, and I'm going to see Canada play the USA because I love this game." Well, I am cynical, but you're probably going to spend a lot of money to see a faux-international tournament if you want to take in that game. Tickets for the Canada-USA game at the Air Canada Centre on September 20 will run you anywhere from $148 in Sections 318 and 319 to $3900 in the lower bowl! At this point, you'd be better off investing in gold. At least that will increase in value!

"But Teebz," you say, "what about the memories?"

Cram it with the memories. If the NHL makes a dump truck full of money off this, their participation in South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics will be rather moot since the NHL makes almost zero money off its Olympic participation. You know, the Olympics. It's that event all of those fans and players referenced in the above commercial. Yeah, THOSE Olympics.

You've officially entered a World Cup of Hockey-free zone. I won't talk about it, I won't post highlights from it, and I certainly don't care for it. There will lots of coverage on Sportsnet and ESPN, so make sure to get your fill there if you want to read about the players and games despite how meaningless this event is.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Be More Like The Russians

I have to admit that I am a fan of the KHL All-Star Game logo for the 2015 KHL All-Star Game. Seen to the left, it makes most other all-star game logos pale in comparison to it. According to the release by the KHL, "[t]he colors of Bashkiria and the image of a national hero will illuminate the 2017 All-Star Game as the KHL's Hockey Week heads to Ufa, the capital of the republic of Bashkiria. If the two teams suit up in the colors shown, this season's KHL All-Star gala will look pretty darn good too!

What makes this year's KHL All-Star weekend special, however, is the fact that the KHL has opened up its weekend to include all levels of hockey in Russia! Ufa will play host to the KHL All-Star game, the MHL Challenge Cup, and the inaugural Women's Hockey League All-Star Game! The MHL is Russia's junior league, and the MHL is becoming thee feeder league for the KHL. In order to continue to promote the MHL, "the four top players in the Challenge Cup will be invited to join the megastars of the KHL on the ice for the All-Star Game itself"! How cool is that?

Imagine if North American hockey did something like this? The NHL could grab the leading scorer from each of the CHL's leagues and the USHL and plug them into the NHL All-Star Game with the stars. Potentially, we could see the WHL's Nolan Patrick, the USHL's Eeli Tolvanen, the QMJHL's Maxime Comtois, and the OHL's Owen Tippett join the NHL stars in Los Angeles where they would play with one of the teams. It would be a great way for the top prospect from each league to get their feet wet and learn from their heroes at the mid-season gala, and it would be some good exposure for the prospects when it came to the fans and the general managers at the game.

The CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game where Don Cherry and Bobby Orr coach their respective teams of prospects goes on January 26, 2017 this season, and the NHL All-Star Weekend is on January 28 and 29. The USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is on January 10, 2017. You'd think that each league would want to get together and let their prospects play still, so have the prospects play the weekend prior to the NHL All-Star Game, and send the best kids to the NHL All-Star Game a week later. Seems easy, right?

The second big portion of the KHL's weekend is the first annual Women's Hockey League All-Star Game! We saw the NHL try and include the two North American women's leagues into the Winter Classic last season, but it seemed like there were more headaches and problems than the NHL wanted when it came to getting the CWHL and NWHL on the same page and on the ice. While I'd love to see these two leagues come to some sort of agreement when it came to working together, the animosity that they share for one another would make it difficult for the NHL to include them both at the All-Star Weekend. And if both can't go, neither can go. No favoritism with the NHL.

Ok, so maybe we should just one step at a time here in North America. In Russia, though, they are doing things right with their All-Star Weekend. The kids are included, the women are included, and the best professional men playing hockey in Russia are included. Why can't we make something like this work in North America?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 26 August 2016

Beer And Hockey Meet Unconventionally

I'll admit that I don't read the newspaper as often as I should, but I always find a way to flip through the local newspaper when I'm out on the road. There are great stories from around the local area that are contained on the newsprint, but one of the sections I always read is the crime report. It's a fascinating look at what crime is like in small towns as compared to larger centers, but the crime we're going to focus on today is one that I haven't seen in all my time of reading these reports. And yes, it has a very distinct hockey angle that has made the crime a little surreal when you read the report and then watch the video. Yes, video!

The picture of the newspaper article above is from Russell, Manitoba where it seem a rather odd crime took place on August 15 at 2:45am. The following is the report filed in the newspaper word for word. Absorb this, readers, because the video that follows will bring these words to life!
A break-in occurred again at the Russell C-Store Beer Vendor. The video surveillance caught a man entering the store wearing a ball cap and his face covered. Shortly after... a goalie, yes a goalie, entered the store to assist the first man in carrying away several cases of beer. He was described as having a medium build, wearing goalie pads, blocker and trapper, and carrying a goalie stick. He was ready to play. Too bad there weren't any refs, as they would have thrown this thieving goalie in the penalty box for a while! The RCMP have never seen a disguise like this before! Police are reviewing surveillance and investigations are ongoing.
Yes, the RCMP have never seen a disguise like this before in a robbery for a few cases of beer. That's the take-away from this crime, I guess. I appreciate that the investigation is ongoing, but I commend the writer who had the task of writing the crime report in his or her efforts to have some fun with this story. It almost sounds like this might be an April Fool's prank with how they focused entirely on the goaltending burglar and not the guy in the ball cap!

You might be chuckling to yourself about this report. I'd imagine you have a picture in your head of what this particular crime may have looked like with a goalie involved. Conjure those images no more, folks, as we have video of the crime happening thanks to Manitoba's RCMP being media savvy! Without further adieu, here is the video from August 15th that features your show-stealing goaltender!
You'll notice the timestamp is actually an hour later than what the newspaper report stated, but how about that goaltender? He's agile as he goes through the broken window without wrecking his jersey or gear nor getting a scratch on him. He has great hands as he hauls two cases of beer out of the store while still carrying his goal stick. He appears to be somewhat athletic as he streaks across the parking lot area, but it appears he could work on that footspeed a little.

What makes this video even better is the description that the RCMP threw up on YouTube with the video. It reads as follows,
On August 15th at 3:38 a.m., a break-in occurred at a beer store vendor in Russell, Manitoba. Video surveillance caught two men entering the store and stealing cases of beer.

The first man was wearing mitts/gloves, a large coat, ball cap and had his face covered.

The second suspect that followed was dressed as a goalie.

However, he may have been a defenceman or forward in disguise as he was wearing jersey #17 – a non-traditional number for goalies.

He is described as having a medium build, wearing a blocker, trapper and carrying a goalie stick.

Anyone with information about this theft or has played against a goalie matching this description is asked to call Russell RCMP.
I love the line of "he may have been a defenceman or forward in disguise" due to him wearing #17. That's priceless! The Russell detachment of the RCMP may unintentionally be one of the funniest hockey writers in the game today!

Look, all jokes aside, this is a crime and these two buffoons certainly should be prosecuted for their criminal activities. If you happen to know of or recognize either of these men, please contact the Russell RCMP detachment at 204-773-3051. The owner of the convenience store/beer vendor probably would like this matter resolved.

In the meantime, enjoy the video above as we discover a new definition for the oft-used goaltending term of "highway robbery"!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

The Hockey Show - Episode 205

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, returns tonight to discuss a number of hockey stories. With the Rio Olympic Games over, we'll also commend and highlight our favorite moments of the games and what sports we "discovered" as potential new favorites. We'll also do a quick recap of the CBC's broadcast of The Tragically Hip's concert from Kingston as each of us have expressed our respect and admiration for Canada's preeminent rock band over the past few weeks.

Tonight, Teebz, Beans, and TJ will look at the latest moves by the Arizona Coyotes that include dealing for Lawson Crouse while taking on another horrible contract and why they might be the best team of the future, and we'll discuss the hiring of Dawn Braid as the NHL first full-time female coach. We'll talk about Connor McDavid the reports that he may be named as captain to make him the youngest team leader in NHL history. We'll talk about Taylor Hall's comments on his trade to the New Jersey Devils, and we'll update everyone on the Manitoba Bisons women's team who began their European preseason schedule against KJT-Helsinki in Finland. We also have an announcement regarding some NHL and CIS scheduling, so tune in and hear all of this and more tonight!

The phone lines are wide open tonight for your calls, so get your takes in at (204) 269-UMFM (269-8636)! Make sure your radio in the Winnipeg region is set to 101.5 on your FM dial if you can't make it or listen live between 5:30pm and 6:30pm CT on your web-enabled device at the UMFM webpage!

As new feature for your listening pleasure, if you're an Android user, download the UMFM app for easy listening! The iPhone version is coming soon, so make sure you check back here for its availability. Once it is, we'll post that link here as well!

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 commend the Desert Dogs, blow up the Oilers, and talk about the Bisons on The Hockey Show only on 101.5 UMFM!

PODCAST: August 25, 2016: Episode 205

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

It's Called "Progress"

It might be time to give the Arizona Coyotes a lot of credit. They were questioned when they hired a 28 year-old as their general manager, and John Chayka has suddenly become one of the best GMs in the game after leading the Coyotes on a successful draft and free agency period. While they may not be a playoff team just yet, they have built and continue to build an impressive stable of players under the age of 25 while keeping integral parts of their team on the payroll. Today, the Coyotes went off the map again in adding to their coaching staff, and this hiring shows all the moxie you've come to expect from Chayka.

While everyone has used the term "history" when it comes to this hiring, I prefer to use the word "progress". It's about time that a woman be added to a team's coaching staff in a prominent role, and I commend the Coyotes on their hiring of Dawn Braid as the organization's full-time Skating Coach. Braid has a long history of working with NHL teams, and finally someone had the bright idea of putting her on a payroll. Funny how it was the youngest GM in the league that made that decision.

Braid, pictured to the right, worked with the Coyotes as a skating consultant under GM Don Maloney last year, and has also worked with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flames at points in her career. She was part of the Athletes Training Center as director of skating development, and has worked with NHL stars such as John Tavares. In other words, she knows her craft and teaches it well.

"It's something that I've wanted to see happen," Braid told NHL.com. "The fact that they respect what I do enough to name me as a full-time coach, or to name me as the first female coach in the NHL, I take a ton of pride in that. I've worked very hard for this opportunity. It's been going on for years and I just look forward to going even further with it."

It's 2016, folks. Women have been working in and teaching hockey and skating for years. While her hiring is historic in becoming the first woman named to a coaching staff in the NHL, this is a very progressive move by a league whose "old boys' club" really holds all the cards. The fact that a 28 year-old analytical general manager made this move shows that it might take new thinking to open up the NHL to women and minorities, but the change is happening.

It's hard for me to understand why great women such as Shannon Miller, Barb Underhill, Laura Stamm, Cathy Andrade, Sarah Hodges, or Rachel Flanangan aren't being promoted through Hockey Canada and considered for positions in hockey by franchises across the continent. All of these women have exceptional skills and understanding of the game, and yet none of them hold positions within the professional ranks of men's hockey despite having these skills and abilities.

The fact that Dawn Braid might open a door for many other women is a significant step, though, and here's hoping that other franchises look to the fairer sex when needing a competent professional to fill a position of authority behind the bench. If the Coyotes show significant improvement this season over their finish from the last campaign, I believe that Ms. Braid will have a lot to do with it. Skating is one of the most important skills in the game, and improvements to skating will only make players faster and stronger on their skates. I'm pretty sure 29 other NHL teams want those same improvements as well.

Congratulations to Dawn Braid on becoming the first woman to hold down a full-time NHL coaching position. Now it's time for the other 29 teams to step up and show that they understand it's 2016 as well.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!