A Heart (and Neck) Warming Hockey Dad Contest

hockey scarf giveawayHey folks, the weather round this part of the world has been on the downright frigid side for the last few weeks. Fortunately, with the Devil’s minor hockey career coming to a somewhat premature end (more on this topic later), we have not had to endure too many cold rinks. However, I know there are legions of hockey parents who are braving the elements to stand in sub-arctic temperatures to cheer on their progeny in arenas across th. With it being the Season of Love, I’ve decided to run a small contest with much thanks to a fellow devoted hockey parent (see @kimi8 on Twitter) who has generously donated the hand-crafted wool infinity scarf you see wrapped around yours truly. I am going to randomly draw a single name one week from today from those who can use the Comment box below to share a short story about the coldest they’ve ever been at a hockey practice or game.

To get you started and perhaps prime painful memories you’d rather leave locked away, I have two frosty recollections of my own to share; one from my youth and one from my days as a hockey dad.

The first frozen tale is set around a game played on an outdoor rink on an Indian Reservation somewhere in Northeastern Manitoba (where I’m fairly certain Winter was invented) on a February afternoon. The thermometer stopped recording accurately after it hit -45º Celcius. I think the mercury may have actually frozen. A wee lad of 10, lacking in much-needed body fat, was wrapped from head-to-toe in equipment, extra socks, extra gloves, a balaclava and I believe even a scarf around the whole lot (albeit not nearly the fashion-statement of a scarf pictured above); all of which were decidedly insufficient based on the depths to which the temperatures had fallen. About halfway through the game, our hero battled for the puck against a much larger competitor (who may have even grown a full beard as an evolutionary barrier against the harshness of nature) and was swiftly dumped on the hard, frozen sheet of ice. A few moments passed as he lay there, not really feeling anything as the weather had an understandably numbing effect. A few more seconds ticked by as he weighed his options of getting back on his feet to continue playing in these frigid conditions or simply faking an injury in order to retreat to a warm sanctuary. Said sanctuary was merely a plywood shack with a wood-burning, pot belly stove, but it was a whole helluva lot warmer than where he currently lay. When the trainer arrived in the corner to check on our beleaguered protagonist, the little fella started laughing hysterically, but was able to relate to the onlooker he was too friggin’ cold to move. He was eventually helped back up to his feet and stalwartly finished the game against his better 10-year old judgment. The ride home saw our tiny trooper bawling in the front seat of his dad’s car as his frozen feet slowly, painfully thawed with the stabs of a thousand sharp needles. I’m also fairly certain his dad showed little to no sympathy as he himself stood stoically outside for over an hour watching his kid play a game. Hockey dad’s are like that.

hockey hypothermia ad

Fast forward nearly 30 years to another February and a little, old-fashioned, rural rink with barn doors and icy player benches, where in a weak moment, a hockey dad turned assistant coach made the fatal flaw of choosing paper-thin Chuck Taylor high tops as footwear covering a single layer of sport socks. It was a very cold day (not Northeastern Manitoba cold, but cold enuff) and the parking lot of the rink was a slushy mess following a snowfall the night before. Undaunted our devoted, if not fanatical, puck father trudged through the slush in his inadequate attire to dutifully take his place behind the players’ bench, where he would stand for the next 60+ minutes on ice-covered concrete; all for the love of the game and his little Devil on skates. If challenged, he’d have no idea what happened in the game or the final score. His sole focus (pun fully and ingeniously intended) was on the cold-induced, near hypothermic pain emanating from his lower extremities. He could not recollect ever having been quite so bone-chilled. Then, on the ride home, it hit him, like the stabs of a thousand needles from days gone by in the passenger seat of his dad’s car. Once again he received little to no sympathy from his little Devil or her better equipped Momma as a 30-something-year-old father simply oughta make better winter attire choices.

So here I am giving you the choice and special opportunity to both shield yourself from the elements and make an unparalleled fashion statement in exchange for a few of your own chilly child or parenthood memories. Be the hot envy of all the other hockey dads and moms in their passé store bought accoutrements.

Keep warm y’all!


CCM Hockey Gear image courtesy http://www.honeymoonprojects.com/ccm-hockey-gear-embrace-the-cold-print/

Hockey Dad’s Day Giveaway

Hey you, fellow Hockey Dad; time to give yourself a pat on the back for all you do for your kids in and out of hockey season, which for some never really ends. Or hey…you kids, moms or significant others…make sure you don’t forget about dear old Dad, hubby or your other half, this weekend. Praise this blessed, over-worked, under-paid soul for…

  • all the early morning drives to rinks in the middle of nowhere with or without the benefit of a GPS
  • the countless dollars spent on overpriced twigs even an eight year old can snap
  • the damage done to vocal cords during the course of a three-day, six-game tournament
  • the meals missed when running from the office through traffic, in the door, out the door and off to the arena over a hour away for a 7pm puck drop
  • the sleepless nights during league playoffs for those poor souls who decide coaching their kids would be a good idea too
  • the time he played poker and swilled whiskey until 5am, but then still managed to be on the ice for a 7am practice with 5 year olds who a had better sense of balance and grasp on reality (ok, perhaps not a commendable moment by some people’s standards)
  • the callouses formed from triple knotting skate laces at least a gazillion times
  • the frozen feet from standing in a sub-arctic barns run by diabolical ice makers

I think you all get the picture and can likely relate to most of these if you’ve been involved in minor, and particularly rep, hockey for any extended period of time. We hockey dads do our fair share of running around and heavy lifting.

McDonalds Canada supports youth hockeyMy friends at McDonalds Canada (and yes, I’ve visited them enough times over the years on the way to or from practices or games that I can confidently call them my friends, if not, my dear friends) have offered me a couple of $25 gift cards to share with my deserving readers. In order to snag one of these coveted plastic joy inducers/hunger abaters, you need only share in the comments below (in 100 words or less), why you, your Hockey Dad, Hockey Husband or Hockey Life Partner, is the Best Damn Hockey Dad there is. Come to think of it, I don’t even care if there is necessarily a hockey affiliation at all. Why don’t we just honour all Sports Dads in general. Any old flavour of Dad who is deserving will do. So let us know what makes you or yours special. If you’re too self-effacing, make sure you pass this to your kids.

The contest, open to Canadians only this time around, will close at 5pm on Father’s Day and I will do a random draw for two lucky winners shortly thereafter.

There is no doubt lots of good that can and should be said about your old man, so here’s your chance to do it, and maybe get a Big Mac and fries or a new McWrap for your efforts. I look forward to hearing about why you or your Dad’s the very best.


We Have Ourselves a Hockey Contest Winner

With Round 2 of the NHL Playoffs coming to a dramatic close last night, my first contest ended right along with it. This evening, in a random draw from within the bowels of an old bucket, a single name was chosen as the deserving recipient of a much coveted prize pak courtesy Enterprise Rent-a-Car, an official sponsor of the NHL and its teams. Here’s a quick vid of the exciting ceremony.

So congrats to Kevin Francisco. I will grab your mailing address and have the prize pak delivered shortly. For those who are interested, here is the memory he shared (with apologies to Leafs fans, who are likely still stinging from their unbelievable playoff exit this year):

“Obviously its the ’93 Habs playoff run that sticks out in my mind. Not only do you have the Leafs & Habs going deep into the playoffs… you have Gretzky’s no call high stick on Gilmore & his final appearance in the finals. The biggest part of that Hab playoff run was the unbelievable run of OT victories. The Que/Mtl series was one of the best ever with the Habs taking 4 straight after dropping the first two games (2 in OT)… then taking out the hated Sabres in a 4 game sweep where all games finished 4-3 Mtl (3 in OT). 2 more OT victories vs NYI brought them an 11 game win streak before losing game 4. I couldnt believe how awesome this playoff run was going with Roy stealing games all over the place! I was actually looking forward to a Mtl/Tor final (how awesome would that have been?!), but had to settle for watching them beat Gretzky & Co in the finals with another fantastic 3 OT wins. 10 OT wins en route to Cup 24!! Too bad they havent won one since – but that was just such a ridiculous string of OT wins, it has to be one of the best playoff runs in history.”

This was just one of many great playoff stories I was very impressed and appreciative to receive over the last couple of weeks all of which you can find in the comments of my contest blog, should you be so inclined. Thank you again to all who entered.

Now off we go to the third round series pitting Bruins against Pens and Hawks against defending champion Kings. Both certainly look to have the makings of hard fought, tight scoring classics. I must admit, I’ve been riveted to most every game this playoff season regardless the combatants. Perhaps the shortened regular season has enabled me and many like me to maintain our attention longer, though with 25+ degree temps in the forecast, it may become more and more difficult, but we’ll see. Pretty sure the hockey won’t disappoint.