Ending Anticlimactically and on to the Next Hockey Season

The Devil and her Shark teammates rolled into the Nation’s capital this past weekend for our provincial championships with high hopes based on a successful regular season, but likewise some trepidation following an unflattering early exit from their league playoffs. Adding to the concern was the fact the girls had not played a meaningful game since qualifying for this provincial tournament over a month ago. There were a bunch of practices, an exhibition game against one of their provincial opponents and a fun parents/siblings vs. the Sharks game, but nothing to prepare them again for real competition. But they had played some great hockey earlier in the year and perhaps they could regain their icy mojo.

So we packed up the van for the second time in a few weeks, made a traditional pit stop at Timmies to load up on caffeine and Timbits and then hit the road for 4+ hour scenic drive on a long overdue warm spring morning.

hockey roadtrip

Tim Horton's Drive-Thru









This hockey trip started off on a pretty good foot as I found out before I left I had lucked into some tickets for a game between Canada and Finland at the World Women’s Hockey Championships, which were also being held in Ottawa over the weekend courtesy of a fortuitous tweet from Club Hockey Canada. My other life as an online marketing geek was coming in handy. We had wanted to go to the game and were offered tickets a few weeks prior, but found the prices a little dear with the games being played nearly an hour from our hotel. But free tickets were gladly welcomed. When we arrived at our hotel I was pleasantly surprised to not find just a couple, but in fact, 8 tickets to the game being played on our second night in town.

After a quick check-in, we headed to the rink for the Devil’s first game. Another bonus to this tournament was its location as all of our sides games would be played at the alma mater of both Hockey Momma and yours truly.

Carleton University Ice House Hockey Arena

Returning to the scene of our “glory days” would surely resurrect some misty remembrances in both of us. As it turns out, the hockey rink our girls would be playing in did not even exist when we went to school there some 20+ years ago (as liver spots begin to burst onto my hands and my aging neck starts to stiffen). Indeed, driving onto the campus brought back a flood of memories of both a clear and somewhat foggy variety. The Devil would have to endure our recollections of “when we were here” for three straight days.

Hockey-WarmupBut back to game one, where the Sharks would face a team they should be able to handle based on their comparative records. Unfortunately, our side came out a little flat (which is not recommended in a short round robin schedule)….for two periods and would trail by a score of 2-0 heading into the third. They would pick up steam and the Devil would pick up a goal to cut the lead to one, but this would be all they could muster. In the final minute a great shot would ring off the post and the Devil would launch a shot which found its way between the opposing keepers pads, but not quite across the line. Game one would end 2-1 in the wrong direction forcing a must win or at least tie in the next contest. A curfew was set by the coach and all players were expected to come to the rink bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Of course, as with any away tournament, the hotel always has a central role to play in the weekend plot. In this case, the hotel’s role was one of antagonist as the Inn did not offer the Comfort it’s name suggested. The first offense being a quite loud buzzing noise coming from somewhere in or around our room. A fellow hockey dad/HVAC specialist would later help the night manager discover and temporarily correct said buzzing by slamming his fist on an electrical panel. Crude, but effective. Strike two came in the form of a much less than comfortable pull-out sofa, which I was quickly directed to by the Devil and her mother when we first entered our luxurious accommodations. Suffice it to say, I was certainly glad for being short in stature on this particular occasion. A larger man would have had a even more restless sleep than I; even with the assistance of a few hockey dad libations. The third and final nail in the two-storey motel’s coffin was a distinct lack of hot water for showers when we woke up the first morning. Apparently, this hotel did not anticipate having more than three people wanting to maintain their personal hygiene within the same one hour period. There have been a couple of occasions on hockey trips where a cold shower was warranted, but this was not one of them. This was not a good start to the team’s second tournament day.

Game two would, of course, be against stiffer competition meaning the Sharks would need to step up their effort from the previous match.  Maybe the cold showers would serve to wake up those who braved them. Indeed they did skate harder for the balance of this important game. However, for a second consecutive game they would have a tough time finding the back of the net, while the solid opponents managed to bulge the twine three times. Hopes of advancing to the next round were all too quickly dashed. Game three would simply be played for pride and perhaps a chance to spoil another team’s chances (which is sometimes a small consolation).

2013 Womens World Hockey Championships - Canada v FinlandWith the gravity of game three lessened, the curfew was lifted and the Devil chose four teammates to join us at the Team Canada hockey game. Our one extra ticket went to an equally fortunate Canada (Joe from Oakville, an apparent superfan and friend of former Team Canada member Jennifer Botterill, decked out in a Team Canada jersey) who was flabbergasted when I handed it to him just before he was about to line up to buy one. A good hockey deed I am hoping doesn’t go unnoticed and gains me some favour with the Hockey Gods at some point down the road. The Provincial Championships and World Women’s Championships being in the same city at the same time was no coincidence as it seemed players from nearly every team in the province were at the Friday night match at Scotiabank Place. 2013 Women's World Hockey ChampionshipIn fact, our little group was part of something historic as the crowd of 18,103 represented the largest ever to attend a women’s hockey game. A great sign for the sport moving forward. The relatively young crowd was vibrant and electric, cheering the Canadians on to an unsurprising 8-0 drubbing of the overmatched Finns. It was a great experience for our young ladies and I am indebted to Club Hockey Canada for making it happen. The unfortunate postscript being a 3-2 Canadian loss to their nemesis from the USA in the Gold Medal game a few days later. Yup, even the best in the world have their off games when expectations are high.

Not too many were early to bed in advance of game three, but we were still hopeful their pride would kick in and allow them to pull out a victory to end their season on a relatively positive note. We had beaten the same team 4-2 in an exhibition game only a week earlier, so we all knew our girls could play with them. Yet, our opponents in this game had a little more to play for as a win would secure them a spot in the next round. The match was tightly contested with a scrammbly marker registered by the bad guys mid-way through the second period. As had become par for the tournament, the Sharks offence sputtered though they had several chances turned away by a hot goaltender who made some great saves.  As the game and season wound down under 90 seconds, the coach pulled his goalie in favour of an extra attacker. Shortly thereafter a puck was innocently lifted out of the opponent’s end, propped up on its edge and curled its way into the Sharks unprotected net. Make the final score of the final game in the 2012-2013 season 2-0.

2013 Midget BB Sharks Hockey Team

Following the match, no one seemed too dismayed as their ultimate tournament fate had been realized the previous afternoon. Out in the parking lot an end of season team photo was snapped. Congratulations were given on an overall positive season.  Cards and parting gifts were handed out. For one player, #18 who coincidentally turned 18 on this very day, this final game marked an end to her minor hockey career complete with the emotion we experienced with the Boy a couple of weeks back.  She was presented with a jersey signed by all the players and a few appeared to have something irritating their eyes. Players, coaching staff and parents shook hands. Thankyou’s, goodbyes and good lucks were exchanged. Because, don’t ya know, the beginning of the tryouts for next season are less than a week away when friends and teammates will become rivals and competitors. I, in fact, know all too well as the joy and stress of a head coaching gig are calling my name.

The trip ended with a quick campus walk to rekindle a few more memories and then long overdue visits with a couple of close friends Momma and I had not seen in far, far too long (like we needed more reminders of how quickly time flies). As usual, a hockey tournament provided the backdrop for a much larger and significantly richer life experience to all of our personal benefits.

Next up: Tryouts aka The Coach’s Week from Hell. Stayed tuned for what is sure to be an interesting ride.


A Wild Ride to the End of the Hockey Line

I thought this final chapter would be a little difficult to write through eyes blurred by the memories of 14 years on ice, so I decided before we embarked on our weekend trip to the 41st Annual Leo Boivin Major Midget AA/AAA Showcase tournament I would try to construct something of a photo essay of our journey to the end of the Boy’s minor hockey life.  Pictures, as they say, tell a thousand words and in some cases even these photos fall short of summing up an incredible three-day hockey experience. This was, without a doubt, one of the best tourneys we’ve ever attended…and how fitting  it should be the last. So follow along if you will and forgive any typ0s, which will have nothing to do the occasional nostalgic tear dropped on my keyboard I assure you.


loaded hockey van

Van loaded to the roof though it is only a three-day tourney. Luggage – check, Equipment – check, Sticks – check, Cooler for Dad – check. And of course, it’s snowing.



Tim Hortons

Every real minor hockey trip starts at the local Timmies…and the snow continues to fall.










hockey player convoy

Something of a hockey player convoy as five carloads of players, parents and even a coupla siblings make their way four hours down the highway. We’ve also move south and left most of the snow behind us.

hockey pit stop

With the first game scheduled for two hours after our arrival, we stopped early to fuel our finely tuned young athletes. Are those pre-game french fries and root beer I see?


Leo Boivin Community Centre - Prescott, Ontario

The Leo Boivin Community Centre, iconic home of this now fabled tourney is a classic small town Canada barn with wooden bleachers and championship banners from days gone by hanging from the rafters.











hockey team runner

Each team in the tourney adopts their own personal runner for the weekend, who is responsible for filling water bottles, hanging jerseys, familiarizing the players with the rink and lending one more voice to cheer at game time. Our team in turn supplied the young lad with his own signed jersey, which apparently and quickly became a prized possession.

game one vs Team Latvia

The Boys’ first test of the tourney would be their toughest in Team Latvia, who had reached the Championship game at this tourney the year prior. The team did well to skate with their skilled opponents trailing by a single goal after the first period. But the lead would be extended to four after the second. The Boy was the beneficiary of a broken play, which allowed him to break a Latvian shutout bid. The final score read 8-1 leaving the Boys a little dismayed, but by no means defeated.


The Row at the Leo Boivin Tournament

Before game one the team introduced themselves and made symbolic offerings to “The Row”, a special group of fans who are symbolic guardians of the tourney and whose allegiance can be swayed by those bearing gifts and showing reverence.













Another Leo Boivin tourney tradition is a post-game 3-Star selection with a twist. Those Boys selected as stars are required to accept their awards from one of the town's fairest maidens. In return, they are expected to plant a quick peck on the cheek of said maiden...to the merriment of the crowd. On occasion, The Row demands the star to "Kiss All Three". Those teams more familiar with the process were noted to send their stars equipped with flowers for the young ladies. All very pomp and circumstance.

Another Leo Boivin tourney tradition is a post-game 3-Star selection with a twist. Those Boys selected as stars are required to accept their awards from one of the town’s fairest maidens. In return, they are expected to plant a quick peck on the cheek of said maiden…to the merriment of the crowd. On occasion, The Row demands the star to “Kiss All Three”. Those teams more familiar with the process were noted to send their stars equipped with flowers for the young ladies. All very pomp and circumstance-ish.


hockey team paradeLeo Boivin

Leo Boivin tournament opening ceremonies

Opening ceremonies complete with a parade of all 16 teams, a ceremonial puck drop, the anthems of the US, Latvia and Canada and an appearance from Leo Boivin, the tournament’s namesake, himself.


Boy's birthday

Coincidentally, this weekend would also find da Boy becoming da Man by virtue of his 18th birthday falling on Saturday morning. Quite the juxtaposition of a minor hockey career ending and a whole new chapter of life beginning. He subsequently got to open a few presents in the hotel room prior to game two. Fittingly, one stayed true to the hockey-themed weekend and would be eerily prophetic of things to come.

Game two pitted our squad against another AAA foe, but one we all felt would be an easier mark, particularly if our side brought their Double A game. And indeed we watched two very closely matched teams battle to a 1-1 tie through two periods. Unfortunately, a half-hearted shot from just above the slot about halfway through the final frame somehow found its way behind our goalie, who had played a stellar contest to that point. An empty netter would spell a second loss for the good guys and a rematch with a decidedly unpopular rival at 7:30am (an equally unpopular time) the next morning.

game two warmup

goal celebration









However, night two of the tournament featured a skills competition, which included fastest skater and hardest shot categories along with a one-on-one breakaway challenge and a four-on-four mini all-star match. Somehow (methinks birthday related) the Boy was selected by our coaching staff to compete in the hardest shot category, which immediately had me envisioning his infamous “Woooof”  a few years earlier; only this time in front of a few hundred more onlookers in a packed Leo Boivin Community Centre. I tried not to remind him of the somewhat embarrassing moment (he says with the knowing smirk of a caring father). Regardless he was honoured to be chosen and Momma and I were thrilled to see him and three of his teammates competing against players from all of the other teams.

hockey skills competition   hockey skills competitors








A highlight of the Skills Competition was watching local five or six year olds participate in  challenges of their own, mimicking their midget counterparts' skating, shooting and scoring. I'm sure I wasn't the only one in the stands looking down and trying to remember when my kid was that small.

A highlight of the Skills Competition was watching local five or six year olds participate in challenges of their own, mimicking their midget counterparts’ skating, shooting and scoring. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one in the stands looking down and trying to remember when my kid was that small.

Boy's Slap Shot

I’m pleased to report there was no Wooof this time around. And while the Boy didn’t measure up to some of the big shooters speed-wise, he did manage to go “bardown” with a 69 mph slapshot, much to the foul-minded amusement of the crowd.

Sunday morning and our 6am wake-up call arrived way too early. All bets were off on what type of game we might expect from our Boys or their all too familiar opponents, whom they’d ousted from the Provincial playdowns only a few weeks ago in a thrilling five-game series. To sweeten the pot in this grudge match, the opponents are still locked in a regional playoff battle with the other local league team the Boys removed from the Provincial championship equation in the following, equally exciting five-game series. It’s a wonder we have parents still standing. What we did all know is this could be the final game for our lads should they not be able to secure a win. As the game started, it seemed the knew this too as they were definitely the aggressors early on with a strong forecheck and several shots launched at the opposing keeper. A few minutes into the initial period, they would strike first giving us all a shot of hope. But the momentum would not be sustained as a few penalties were taken enabling the bad guys to tie the score and take the lead late in the second. And then, with the clock winding down in the middle frame, our goalie took exception to the taunting of an opposing player camped out in his crease as a whistle sounded to stop play. Within moments each players arms were flailing as others on the ice, including da Boy, watched from the periphery. I should preface this with mentioning da Boy’s team had one “fight” all year. Suddenly, a player close to da Boy decided to secure him in a headlock to which he says he responded, “Do ya wanna go?” Now his assailant apparently replied “No”, but da Boy had already decided a “fight” had indeed started and he was gonna finish it. He managed to remove his opponents “bucky” as they affectionately refer to their helmets and tossed a few right hands in the right general direction of his target. Meanwhile, one of his linemates grabbed his own dance partner and a partial line brawl ensued. The fracas was relatively short-lived as the linesman moved in. And with that, da Boy’s minor hockey career was brought to an abrupt end one period early; the upside being yours truly and da Boy would watch the rest of the game together side-by-side in the stands.

watching hockey in the stands

The Colts would not be able to mount a comeback in the third period. In fact, they gave up an empty netter for a second straight 3-1 defeat, thereby ending the minor hockey careers of all but one player. And while the three losses naturally stung as they should, the entire experience of the weekend felt far from hollow. In an impressive, unprompted show of class and character the Boys led by their Captain skated out in front of their parents to raise their sticks in a salute for not only this weekend, but a nearly quarter lifetime’s worth of getting up early, stopping at Timmies, driving to frozen rinks and sharing their victories, as well as their defeats.

hockey salute

Thank you Boys!

I count myself lucky for having the above photo to go along with all the others trapped securely in my head and I believe da Man sitting next to me will most likely say the same. Of course, I wanna hold onto da Little Boy sleeping in the back seat on the way home as long as I can.

asleep in the back seat

Now could you kindly pass the tissue cuz I gotta wipe off this blasted keyboard?


Final Minor Hockey Tourney Hurrah

I don’t usually like to write, talk or even mention games before they happen out of fear of angering the ever-present hockey gods. But this time is different as next weekend we will embark on the final road trip to play the final games of da Boy’s minor hockey career. A few on the team thought last weekend’s provincial semi-final loss was the end (eliciting a coupla well-earned tears). However, as it turned out the coaching staff was able to find and register for a last-minute tournament for the squad to compete in.  And not just any tournament; the 41st Annual Leo Boivin International Midget AAA Showcase Tournament. The key words here being AAA, International and Showcase in that order.  AAA because da Boy plays on a AA team (one rung below AAA) and there are only only two other AA teams taking part in this tourney, which will make for some pretty stiff competition to be sure.  This group is coming off a great playoff run, this is really a no pressure tournament for them and hot goaltending can go a long way in a short tourney so ya just never know.  We do know from the last few weeks there’s no quit in our side.  The International means the Boys get to play teams from a bunch of different places, including Latvia in game one; a pretty cool opportunity.  And the Showcase means there will be scouts from schools, Junior teams and elsewhere in the stands. Not that any of our kids are heading to the Show, but another cool factor to add to the swan song hockey experience. As always for me it’s about the memories created and carried forward.

Which gives me pause to bring back a few recollections from the Boy’s many tourneys past. Each and every season has brought its share of moments on and off the ice.

Like the time someone, who shall remain nameless, forgot da Boy’s skates in the trunk of his car, which was sitting in his driveway over three hours away. After suffering through the first game with undersized circa 1960 skates donated by the local rink rat, da Boy was able to finish the tournament on a teammate’s blades as four of his comrades found themselves suspended following a game ending brawl. He probably would have been involved in the skirmish, but he could barely skate.  All I could say to the disappointed player’s parents was, “Sorry about your luck…what size are your kid’s feet?”

Or the season ending tournament held in Niagara Falls over the St. Paddy’s day weekend, which found several parents, one of whom shall again remain nameless, playing texas hold em poker and sipping Irish whiskey until the wee, wee hours of the night before the final game on Sunday morning at 7:30am. As I recall, we lost the morning game and I had to settle on counting my poker winnings in the passenger seat on the way home for faint solace.

A couple of trips to the Nation’s Capital have afforded us chances to skate on the canal, visit the War Museum, catch a Senators game and take the kids on a tour of where Hockey Momma and I spent our college years (speaking of memories).  Ottawa also produced da Boy’s infamous Whooosh…. moment shared here for your, or perhaps simply my, enjoyment.

As you can see, he had planned on a booming clapper from the point as he rarely played D that season. He swung mightily and missed, much to the merriment of several of us in the stands who happened to be standing next to the cameraman’s microphone. Yet, my favourite part is the part you don’t see when da Boy turns to unceremoniously salute us before refocusing on the play.

Of course, this season provided one of the most memorable tournament experiences as hockey took us all many hours south to Nashville, Tennessee. A trip deserving two full sets of remembrances by yours truly. Though the team came home with a well-deserved Championship, hockey was merely the backdrop to a much larger life event.

A similar such event, though not a tourney per se, took place a couple of years ago when the Boys were treated to a bus ride to Oswego, New York to visit the Oswego State University of New York and to get a feel for US Division III hockey. A trip which included a practice on the university rink followed by chat with the school’s team coach, a tour of the locker room and campus, a couple of successful exhibition games against a local high school team and capped by tickets to a Oswego State Lakers Men’s Ice Hockey Team game.

Needless to say, the students at Oswego State luvs them some hockey. The spirit in the rink was infectious and was one of the highlights of the trip – maybe of the season.

Then there was a great weekend in Ann Arbour, Michigan about five or six years ago, where the Boy and I shared a room with one of his teammates (a teammate to this day) and his hockey dad in the interest of saving a few bucks in hotel fees. Little did the other father and I know this would automatically designate our room the warzone for the weekend, as the timing of this trip coincided with the height of the popularity of rapid-fire Nerf guns. I couldn’t locate a photo so you’ll simply have to imaging an entire room disassembled and reassembled with makeshift forts and strewn with all manner of projectile from the traditional nerf  “bullets” to toilet paper rolls and water soaked hotel towels. Oh yeah, the team also got to play in the fabled Yost Ice Arena, home to the Michigan Wolverines college hockey team. If I recall, the team settled for a second place finish on this particular trip and we had a long, quiet ride home.

Yeah, I could probably go on here ad nauseum as plenty of scenes flood back into my head and please do add any here should they occur to you. Even caught myself going back to look through old pics in the process.

hockey team cheer

I guess they really were that small once. Gonna have to take a lot more pics next weekend to complement the ones we’ll feverishly stuff into our already jam-packed minds.


p.s. So as I lay awake last night with the gears spinning in my head, as they are often wont to do, another great moment popped to the fore. This one methinks occurred seven or eight years ago during a sudden death quarterfinal match in Guelph; a game which had ended in regulation at 2-2, then went through 5 minutes of 5 on 5 overtime, followed by 4 minutes of 4 on 4 overtime with no decision. At the end of the 4 on 4 our side was assessed a penalty meaning the next round of OT would put us at a rare 2 on 3 disadvantage. I and the father standing next to me looked on with trepidation as our two sons were sent out onto the ice to take a faceoff in our zone.  I may have actually said out loud, “Aw cmon, don’t put my kid out there!” But then the play which has stayed etched in my subconscious lo this many years unfolded. The Boy successfully won the draw and pushed the puck forward between his combatants feet. His agile teammate, who is still a close friend to this day, pounced on the loose biscuit, flew by an unsuspecting defenceman and took off on a breakaway. With three players in hot pursuit, he hurled the puck past a no doubt nervous little goal keeper and bedlam ensued as fifteen little bodies threw themselves on top of him with da Boy leading the way. I’m pretty sure this particular tournament ended for our lads with a loss in the Championship match, but no matter as no one could erase the drama which was the quarters.

p.s.s. I lay there some more, because I don’t have to go to work on Monday morning or anything, and thought it would be kinda cool to try to remember all of the places da Boy played tournaments – each one with a set of moments of its own. Here in no particular order, save for the first and the last, is the somewhat complete list to the best of my recollection: Oak Ridges, Beaverton, Bradford, Barrie (multiple times as it’s the home rink), Aurora, Markham, Richmond Hill (again), Belleville (twice), Guelph, Niagara Falls – Ontario (more than once), Niagara Falls – New York, Ann Arbor – Michigan, Sudbury (two Silver Stick qualifier championships), Sarnia (two Silver Stick appearances), Ottawa (a coupla times), Toronto, Mississauga (2 or 3 times), Pickering/Ajax, Welland, Fort Erie, Nashville – Tennessee, Prescott (in just a few days to put a cap on this story). Of course, then I had to consider the Devil’s travels as well, which have included some repeats in Ottawa (deux fois), Toronto, Pickering/Ajax, Sudbury, Mississauga (twofold), Niagara Falls, Aurora and Guelph, but also had us driving to Midland, Coldwater, Darlington, Stouffville (dos veces), Brampton, Whitby, Aylmer, North Bay, London and Windsor (x2). No US trips for the Devil…yet.  I’m sure I missed a couple in there somewhere and I’m also sure Hockey Momma will remind me which they were.

p.s.s.s. My dreary-eyed remembrance is actually more of a coincidence as I recalled the Boy’s first tournament at the ripe age of four in Oak Ridges. One of the players on an opposing team was the son of then active NHL goalie Curtis Joseph. I remember Cujo showing up at the arena and immediately being mobbed by his adoring Toronto Maple Leafs fans (something I personally couldn’t fully appreciate being a lifelong Leaf hater). I recall he politely asked to be left alone to watch his boy’s game in a quiet corner of the rink and then graciously signed autographs for upwards of an hour thereafter. The small coincidence arises in the fact our boy’s paths would not cross again until this season when their teams would battle against each other right up until their league quarter-finals, which ended with our side’s victory just a few weeks ago. The happenstance is obviously lost on Mr. Joseph, but I thought it an interesting correlation as I pondered the past in the middle of the night.

Quotes and Quips Heard Round Hockey Rinks

There has, of course, been a lot written and said about hockey over the years.  My Dad passed some of these along from an email he’d received recently and maybe they’ve already the rounds.  But I sought out a few others, threw in a couple of my own faves and compiled this list of famous and not so famous puck-related comments for your reading pleasure and/or to use as small talk at hockey parties or on long rides to or from arenas. I think the first is a wonderful start.

Hockey captures the essence of Canadian experience in the New World.  In a land so inescapably and inhospitably cold, hockey is the chance of life, and an affirmation that despite the deathly chill of winter we are alive.   Stephen Leacock, Canadian Author


A puck is a hard rubber disc that hockey players strike when they can’t hit one another. Jimmy Cannon, Sports Journalist


Ice hockey is a form of disorderly conduct in which the score is kept.   Doug Larson, Journalist


Coach, I don’t want to go back out. I suck at hockey. Little Johnny (I kid you not), 4 or 5 Year Old Mite Hockey Player I had the pleasure of coaching and Future NHL Star


Half the game is mental; the other half is being mental.  Jim McKenny, Former NHL Player and Journalist


hockey-fanSometimes people ask, ‘Are hockey fights real?’ I say, ‘If they weren’t, I’d get in more of them.
Wayne Gretzky, ‘The Great One’


How would you like a job where, every time you make a mistake, a big red light goes on and 18,000 people boo? Jacques Plante, Hall of Fame Goaltender


Hockey belongs to the Cartoon Network, where a person can be pancaked by an ACME anvil, then expanded accordion-style back to full stature, without any lasting side effect. Steve Rushin, Sports Journalist


When Hell freezes over, I’ll play hockey there too.  Seen somewhere on a T-Shirt


What’d the difference between a Hockey Mom and a Pitbull?…….Lipstick.  Ok, not a quote, but kinda funny.


Yeah, sure Old Time Hockey! Like Eddie Shore! Eddie Shore Yeah!  Steve, Jack and Jeff Hanson, Charleston Chiefs (by way of the Iron League) – Slapshot


Hockey is murder on ice.  Jim Murray, Sports Journalist


All hockey players are bilingual. They know English and profanity.  Gordie Howe, Mr. Hockey


You miss 100% of the shots you never take.  Wayne Gretzky


I wish I could find a way to get someone to pay me to watch my kids play hockey.  A Somewhat Anonymous Hockey Dad Blogger


I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out. Rodney Dangerfield, Comedian and Actor


We know that hockey is where we live, where we can best meet and overcome pain and wrong and death. Life is just a place where we spend time between games. Fred Shero, Coach of the Philadelphia Flyers


keep calm and play on
By the age of 18, the average American has witnessed 200,000 acts of violence on television, most of them occurring during Game 1 of an NHL playoff series.
Steve Rushin


Some people skate to the puck. I skate to where the puck is going to be. Wayne Gretzky


Hockey players have fire in their hearts and ice in their veins.  Author Unknown


If you can’t beat ’em in the alley, you can’t beat ’em on the ice. Conn Smythe, Toronto Maple Leafs Owner


Cournoyer has it on that wing. Here’s a shot – Henderson made a wild stab for it and fell. Here’s another shot! Right in front – THEY SCORE!!! Henderson has scored for Canada! Foster Hewitt calling what is arguably the most famous goal of all time


Why is a puck called a puck? Because dirty little bastard was taken.  Future Hall of Fame Goaltender


Street hockey is great for kids. It’s energetic, competitive, and skillful. And best of all it keeps them off the street. Author Unknown


Great moments… are born from great opportunity. Herb Brooks, 1980 US Olympic Hockey Coach as depicted in the 2004 Motion Picture “Miracle”


Hockey players wear numbers because you can’t always identify the body with dental records. Author Unknown


Dad I forgot my (insert piece of equipment here e.g. skates, helmet, pants, neck guard, stick, etc.). Heard as recently as yesterday from the Devil after 12+ years of packing bags and going to arenas.


Arrive at the net with the puck and in ill humor.  Fred Shero


All right, let’s show ’em what we got, guys! Get out there on the ice and let ’em know you’re there. Get that fuckin’ stick in their side. Let ’em know you’re there! Get that lumber in his teeth. Let ’em know you’re there! Reggie Dunlop, Player/Coach of the Charleston Chiefs – Slapshot

How could I not include the venerable Mr. Potato Head aka Don Rickles

Black people dominate sports in the United States – 20 percent of the population and 90 percent of the Final Four. We own this shit. Basketball, baseball, football, golf, tennis, and as soon as they make a heated hockey rink we’ll take that shit too. Chris Rock


Four out of five dentists surveyed recommended playing hockey. Author Unknown


I don’t date dusters.  Also Seen on a T-Shirt Somewhere (he says with a knowing grin)


Red ice sells hockey tickets. Bob Stewart


Get used to this phrase: how could both referees have missed that?  Mike Brophy (a personal fave as I’m sure my Dad will attest)


He brings something special. I don’t know what it is, but if you ask him, you wouldn’t understand his answer. Wayne Gretzky on Ranger forward Esa Tikkanen

I would be the last to disparage the genius of the politicians who make our laws,” Hutchison wrote around that time, “the writers who make our books, the artists who make our pictures, but in gauging the true culture of the nation and reckoning its tensile strength, let the student not neglect hockey.  Author and Winnipeg Free Press Editor Bruce Hutchison in The Unknown Country


Some guys play hockey. Gretzky plays 40 mph chess. Lowell Cohn, Sportswriter


eat sleep play hockeyAs always, let me know if you have any others you’ve heard and/or particularly love from our favourite frozen game.

Images courtesy of:




Hockey Dad Gives Thanks

Thanksgiving hockey turkey

I meant to put together a list of hockey-related people, places and things for which I’m thankful when we were expressing our appreciation for such things here in the northern hockey homeland a little over a month ago, but never quite got around to it.  So I’ll conveniently use the forthcoming US Thanksgiving Day holiday as the backdrop for my belated acknowledgments, when in fact I’m grateful for many of these things 24x7x365.  In no particular order (though number one is admittedly placed there for a reason), I hereby submit that I must give thanks for:

  • A Hockey Momma who not only puts up with, but supports and enjoys our sometimes crazy schedule, has developed an affection for standing behind the bench, considers wings and beer at a sports bar a night on the town and probably knows the rules of hockey better than most referees.
  • Arenamaps.com and GPS systems. My thanks here are actually on behalf of my directionally challenged spouse.  I’m still perplexed as to how you can drive to a location as a passenger more than once and not necessarily know how to get home from said location on your own should the need arise.  Yup, I realize you gotta take the bad with the good.
  • The fact that this is the first year the Boy has developed the physical capacity to break over-priced hockey sticks with a degree of regularity.
  • The Devil, who despite being given opportunities to try dance, gymnastics, soccer and various other activities, just kept getting drawn back by the ice, the sticks and the pucks.
  • Hockey equipment hand-me-downs from the Boy to the Devil.
  • Employment and employers who’ve afforded me the ability to attend pretty much every significant hockey-related event that’s come up over the past 10+ years.
  • The end of 6am practices (leftover thanks from about three years ago).
  • The coaches, trainers, managers, referees, league officials and admin staff who have tirelessly volunteered their time in support of my kids and minor hockey in general.
  • The opportunities I have had to be involved with both the Devil’s and the Boy’s teams in various capacities over the years. These experiences have generally benefited me at least as much as they have them.
  • Having witnessed at least one short-handed goal in sudden-death overtime in one of my kid’s games that I can recall.
  • Positive role models like Joe Sakic, Cassie Campbell, Sidney Crosby, Hayley Wickenheiser and Wayne Gretzky to name a few.
  • A freshly cleaned sheet of ice before a practice or game.  Better yet, a fresh, clear pond after the first spring thaw and freeze.  Haven’t actually had a chance to appreciate the latter in a while, but I can remember skating on it like it was yesterday.
  • Tim Hortons, McDonald’s and Wendy’s drive-thrus.  Thankful for; though not particularly proud of and semi guilt-ridden about at times.  You’re all welcome for the convenient links to store locators so you can join me in my guilt.
  • The return of the Winnipeg Jets to their rightful place in the NHL.  Not the first or likely the last time I’ll pledge my allegiance to the team I grew up with.
  • The smell of hard work that is an open hockey bag or recently occupied dressing room.  Yes, I realize I have few cohorts for this one and likely none who are female or more specifically mothers.
  • The tradition of shaking hands and saying “Good game!” or “Good Luck!” after a hard-fought game or series.
  • Grandparents, friends and neighbours who’ve showed up at games announced or otherwise to provide an extra bit of incentive for the kids to shine, who have always darted quick, but noticeable glances up into the stands.
  • The literally thousands of smiles I’ve witnessed on hundreds of faces, in hundreds of games and practices over 12+ years because of goals scored, passes made, jokes told or simply experiences shared. Each one enough reason for gratitude on its own.
  • A few lasting friendships Momma and I have made and kept through the game; which may not have happened otherwise.
  • The multitude of memories this great game and my kids have given me; most of which I’ve tried to recall here over the past couple of years.
  • Back to the Boy and the Devil who’ve both developed a respect for the game, their coaches and their teammates.  I suppose Momma and I can take at least partial credit for this one.

This is far from a definitive list but I hear the orchestra reminding me my time is up and I think I see Kanye West running up the driveway, so I welcome anyone to chime in with their own thankful thoughts before or after you’re stuffed with stuffing. Who or what in this great game has provided a positive influence or exemplary experience for which you are sincerely grateful?


Hockey Turkey image courtesy of http://kuklaskorner.com/hockey/comments/happy_thanksgiving1