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Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - 19:55

Behind our collective fascination with the oversized there's bound to be some psychological phenomenon or misfiring neuron which explains why in some people the drive to construct monuments that will (in some cases) stand the test of time and befuddle the heck out of future generations is inescapable. But the much more important question: Why do we continue to encourage these people?

We don't have answer. Just a fun question to ponder. On an unrelated note, the world's largest hockey stick and puck have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

A display in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto completes the hat trick for Duncan's World's Largest Hockey Stick and Puck.

"This is indeed a historic day,'' said Dick Drew, who made the official announcement Monday night prior to the Cowichan Valley Capitals' B.C. Hockey League playoff game against the Surrey Eagles at Cowichan Arena.

 The Duncan landmark was previously recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records and also has a display in the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame.

 But inclusion in the Hockey Hall of Fame truly elevates its status.

 "Our icon, your hockey stick and puck, will join the greatest hockey players in the world and the largest collection of hockey memorabilia,'' raved Drew.

Another fun thing to ponder:

"The World's Largest Ball of Twine is a highly disputed title, and can be a sore spot with people depending on which one they believe in. Suprisingly, there are four - I'll post a ball of twine rant at some point... This one is the Largest Built by One Man, not to be confused by the World's Largest that   Keeps on Growing , or the World's Largest Made Outta Plastic Twine, or the World's Largest that is Shaped More Like a Potato than a Ball." 

So many questions left unanswered. Foremost among those: When can we expect a fifth?

Hockey Hall of Fame Exhibit Ultimate Exposure for World's Largest Hockey Stick

Friday, March 16, 2012 - 18:05

So, we've been busy with something of a pet project these past few days - a surprise we're planning to have ready for the Facebook page - come Monday afternoon, and haven't had as much time to dig for stories these past few days. But ... we've got two you might enjoy, which we will describe in one word each.

 

Story I. Green Ice:

Title: "Erie Otters unveil green ice to celebrate St. Patrick's Day"

Word: "Festive"

Via: Larry Brown Sports

 

Story II. Downhill Ice Skating:

Title: "Skaters Brave Breakneck Speeds on Icy Downhill"

Word: "Are-you-out-of-your-mind-that's-terrifying"

Via: Wired - Playbook

 

Have a lovely weekend, folks.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - 20:12

Technology has this remarkable gift to be boon or bane when it comes to enhancing sports and fandom, (specifically re: hockey, though considering the nature of this website, that's probably assumed).

Announcers' commentary through the restroom speakers can relieve some stress, (pun intended) and helpful, (no pun). High-definition replays and the live-feed fed through Jumbotron make it turning away at that game-changing moment less likely to occur. Television has its advantages for the folks at home. As does DVR.  FoxTrax puck? Not great. (We'll just say that "innovation" alone probably covers the need to go into the "banes"). Point is: Technology can be a blessing or the opposite. And we just came across something we're pretty sure goes straight to the latter.

 

 

Less because of the digitally enhanced Stamkos - perfectly fine; he is awesome after all - and more for the precedent that it sets. It's a slippery slope, and Lord knows we don't need any other aspects of the game set in more dimensions than they are already. Case in point: Mascots, Kiss-Cam, Don Cherry.*

(*Adding piano-key sounds to his tirades = Acceptable/Encouraged.)

Link via Kukla's Korner

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - 18:50

Odds are there are plenty of folks out there who if offered the chance would gladly and without hesitation accept ice-level seats - the price and popularity for tickets along the boards at most any arena are probably evidence enough to make that kind of assumption. The number of the mentally unbalanced harboring fantasies of really being at ice-level, miniaturized ala Honey I Shrunk the Kids, installed in a puck and carried around the rink are probably not quite as numerous.*

Whelp, the former folks are out of luck, (at least until they're able to buy tickets).The latter camp, the ones with very real fantasies of confronting giant ants of pleasant disposition - that is, the crazies - are in luck. (Or at least to the extent that modern technology allows.) Behold: What it's like to be carried around on a stick:

 

(*Actually debatable, yes, but for the sake of ending this blog post ASAP, let's just make that assumption.) 

via: NBC Sports Pro Hockey Talk: Take a look at Wells Fargo Center from a puck's perspective

Monday, March 12, 2012 - 17:16

Since we've been doing this blogging thing, there have been a few instances in which we've come across headlines that could support an entire post by themselves - but for the sake of substance, we've opted to write on other subjects. But today ... there's just no way we couldn't do something with this. It just wouldn't be right. And it wouldn't be fair. So:

"Driving Zamboni like cultivating corn"

But wait: It gets better. One excerpt from the body text:

Driving a Zamboni has to be a lot like driving the International Harvester 460 propane tractor ($4,100 new in 1963) I drove growing up on the farm to cultivate corn. You had to focus on this rod that my dad had built into the side of the tractor and keep that rod above the row of corn.

That way, all four rows of corn you were cultivating remained firmly planted in the ground while your weeds were removed. Steer off course of the rod above the corn, and then you had a problem.

And I was great at cultivating corn, right dad?

Granted we have never driven an ice-resurfacer — though we would love to try, would accept any and all offers — and perhaps saying the following is a bit presumptuous, but we're saying it just the same: You are very welcome.

Aberdeen News: Driving Zamboni like cultivating corn

Thursday, March 8, 2012 - 19:55

Some situations offer especially fertile ground for crowd sourcing - Kickstarter and "American Idol" are two that come immediately to mind, (that elections and popular revolutions come a bit later is kind of sad). But it does have its limitations: It can disperse advice and examples in spades, but it can't do the work for you. Case in point:

"A person in Ottawa known as "PhiloCojones" on Reddit is among four finalists chosen Wednesday to shoot a puck into a net at an Ottawa 67's hockey game contest for a chance to win $1 million.

The problem: PhiloCojones has never shot a puck.

Now the Reddit user is asking for the public for some advice before the Million Dollar Shootout contest takes place during the Ottawa 67's vs. Sudbury Wolves game on March 16. Finalists must shoot the puck into a small opening in the net.

"I realize the chances of winning are slim, but I want to practice and get a feel for a stick and puck before getting out there and flying blind," the user wrote Wednesday. "At the very least, I want to give myself a better chance of winning the '4-person showdown.'"

That's not to say that advice won't give PhiloCojones more of an edge than he/she'd otherwise have; however, if asked to give our two cents, we'd recommend that P.C. learn to walk on the ice before learning to shoot. We've got a sneaking suspicion that if he/she were to fall on camera, the Internet's attention wouldn't be quite as appreciated. 

Metro Ottawa: Reddit user seeking hockey tips for a shot at $1 million

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - 18:14

Much like "Home Alone" inspired a generation of children to take their sleds down the stairs - though maybe that was just us - or perform move-for-move imitations of light saber duels from "Star Wars"  - though maybe that was just this kid - it seems that "Happy Gilmore" is at long last getting the tribute it deserves.

The 10th annual Ice Tee Open was a resounding success. Despite colder temperatures over 150 golfers showed up to hit their tennis balls on the ice with whatever implement they preferred to use. Most persons chose to use golf clubs of varying size but hockey sticks were also effective. (Bold ours.)

To be fair, the likelihood that the event was even in the slightest inspired by the classic Sandler flick is slim to none - the odds for which become even less so when you consider the $22,250 raised money raised went "to support Camp Knutson's special needs campers, the highest amount ever."

However, we have to imagine just the same that considering Happy Gilmore's altruistic nature, (sp. he was golfing to save his grandmother's home), he'd probably approve. (Now, if you'll excuse us, pretty sure we just sprained an ankle doing all those mental gymnastics trying to make a point.)  

Northland Press: Ice Tee Open Once Again a Hole-in-One

Monday, March 5, 2012 - 19:30

Well, another Don Cherry biopic has been released, apparently - the reason for which, we have to imagine, is that one film simply can't be expected to encompass the range and scope of such a considerable and vibrant personality, (just as a regular suit can't be expected to be a suitable container either). But perhaps that's something for another day - though the wardrobe alone warrants at least two or three full-length dissertations. Anyhow. Today we're talking Westerns.

From The Sudbury Star:

Don Cherry may have "true grit," but actor Jared Keeso wants that and a whole lot more.

"After I got my first taste of it, I made it my personal goal to be the John Wayne of hockey movies," said Keeso, the young Canadian actor who has become known for playing Don Cherry.

"I want to do a million of 'em."

Well, on his way to a million, Keeso's resume now includes back-to-back Cherry biopics.

As "The Wrath of Grapes" falls a bit short in the "most-inspired-film-title-ever-penned" category, we thought we'd cobble together a few suggestions for future titles loosely based on the Duke's films, just in case any actors could use a bit of help. And because it's a bit late in the afternoon, we're going to make this quick: Sixty seconds on the clock. Set ... Go!

 

1960 North to (Mystery), Alaska

Sam McCord

 

1949 She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (and Only Had Six Teeth)

Capt. Nathan Cutting Brittles

 

1958 The (Crossbar)barian and the Geisha

Townsend Harris

 

1962 The Man Who (One-Timer-ed) Liberty Valance

Tom Doniphon

 

1934 Blue Steel

John Carruthers

(Actually the title of a film, but it works, right?)

 

With 172 acting credits to Mr. Wayne's credit, we're barely scratching the surface. Let's see yours in the comments.

Cherry biopic star wants to be 'John Wayne of hockey movies'

Friday, March 2, 2012 - 16:15

The worst thing about the Flintstones is just how right they were about some things. Foot-powered vehicles? Would have been great now that gas is topping 3 dollars a gallon. Giant Brontosaurus ribs? Economical means of feeding a modern-day nuclear family for a week, (at least). But finally, it seems, modern-day folks are catching up to their animated stone-age predecessors by employing animal appliances. Or something like that:

Many a friendly game of pickup hockey has come to a screeching halt when the puck sails over the boards and torpedoes into the nearest snowbank, not to be seen until the season is over.

But a buried puck is no match for Moxie, an eight-year-old American golden retriever who routinely finds them at Fairfield Park's outdoor rink, not far from Ogilvie and Blair roads.

"I don't know how he finds them. The smell, I guess," says owner Mark Richards. "I've never seen an animal as intuitive as he is."

... Moxie's gift is well known in the neighbourhood. Richards says he sometimes answers the door to local kids who ask: "Hey, can we borrow your dog for a minute?"

Granted, the puck-fetching dog isn't quite as useful as, say, a bird record player or mastodon vacuum - which we are for the record still waiting on, Science - but it's a step in the right direction just the same. At least until PETA gets wind of it.

(Follow the link for a video of Moxie.)

Ottawa Citizen: Meet Moxie, the golden (puck) retriever

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 19:10

We'd been wondering earlier if anything of significance in the annals of hockey history might have happened on Leap Day. "Well, probably" we thought, "but honestly, who would go to the trouble of making a list?" But then it occurred to us that this is the Internet, so of course someone did!

1988 - Former U.S. Olympic team captain Brian Leetch made his NHL debut and picked up an assist for his first NHL point as the Rangers won 5-2 over the Blues, at MSG.

1992 - Ray Bourque scored a goal and two assists to give him 1,000 career points in the Bruins' 5-5 tie against Capitals.

1996 - Wayne Gretzky played his first game as a member of the St. Louis Blues, and scored his first goal with the team in a 2-2 tie at Vancouver.

2004 - Carolina's Ron Francis became just the second player in NHL history to score 10 (or more) goals for 23 straight seasons, when he connected for the Hurricanes in a 3-3 tie at Minnesota. Francis tied the record set by Gordie Howe.

2004 - Detrot's Nicklas Lidstrom became just the 4th player - and first defenseman - to play 1,000 games with the Red Wings

Thanks, internet!

(Be sure to follow the link to see the rest of the notable events. And birthdays!)

 Greatest Hockey Legends: This Day In Hockey History: Feb 29th

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - 19:05

It's always a treat to get a glimpse behind the curtain at the people who make all the necessary gears turn, and this story is no exception.

Only one team appears at Madison Square Garden 275 nights a year, and they do it without a lick of applause or a single ticketed spectator.

The changeover crew of 65 carpenters, electricians and laborers transforms New York City's busiest arena into whatever shape is needed to host the day's event, be it a sold-out concert, a dog show or home game for Jeremy Lin.

A normal work day starts at 11 p.m. - after the sports fans and prize Pekingese have cleared out - and ends as the sun comes up the next morning. But last Sunday was a bit different: The Knicks game ended at 3:30 p.m., and the gate opened for the Rangers crowd at 7 p.m. That left the crew just 3 ½ hours to go from hardwood to ice, a quick-change that happens about three times each year.

Reading through it will give you a new appreciation for all the hard work that's done by the folks featured in the article. And maybe, just maybe, we can get MSG to start issuing tickets.

The Wall Street Journal's Metropolis Blog: "Madison Square Garden's Hardest Working Team"

Monday, February 27, 2012 - 19:24

Just around ten years removed from the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake, we've got a love story for you. And as the title of the entry suggests, it's a love story brought about the Olympics (which we love) and coffee (which we love more than we should and probably to the detriment of our health).

Marc Seliger was the goalie for the German National Hockey Team. Maureen Heagany was a volunteer at the coffee house in the Athlete's Village at the University of Utah. One morning, early in the Games, Maureen served Marc his coffee. Marc didn't say a word. Two of his teammates did all the talking, a memory Maureen smiles at now because of the three hockey players, Marc was the one who could speak English.

By the second time they met, Marc spoke. He mentioned he liked the background music that was playing. Maureen responded by saying she'd burn him a disc (back in the day when people burned discs). When she gave him the CD a few days later, she wrote her email address on the disc. Over the course of the next week and a half they got to know each other a bit. One morning they sat on the porch of the coffeehouse, a converted Fort Douglas officer's house, and had their picture taken together.

Back in Germany, when Marc played his custom-made CD, he noticed Maureen's address and sent her an email. She emailed back with her phone number. Not long after that, her cellphone rang with an enormous string of numbers on the screen. Having no idea who that could be, she answered. "Hi," said Marc.

Pity that we'll have to wait another few years for another story like to come along, but it should be worth the wait. In the meantime, we've got plenty of coffee to keep us company.

Deseret News: Olympic dreams led to marriage for athlete Marc Seliger, volunteer Maureen Heagany

Friday, February 24, 2012 - 18:45

Sometimes you run across a story that gives you pause, makes your day and generally restores a considerable chunk of your faith in humanity. As you might have guessed, we stumbled across one of those this afternoon and - all snark asid - thought we'd share it with y'all:

Sarah Patel doesn't know how to skate, but that didn't stop the visually impaired teen from taking to the ice during Courage Canada's Learn to Skate program. 

The 18-year-old Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute student was one of some 15 Toronto District School Board (TDSB) students who participated in the program Wednesday, Feb. 15 at Weston Lions Recreation Arena near Weston Road and Lawrence Avenue.

... And that's all we're going to post, not because it's not a great story — because it is — but because you should take the time to read it in its entirety. It'll make your weekend.

Blind students get ice time thanks to Courage Canada

 

 

Thursday, February 23, 2012 - 16:41

In what's quickly becoming our favorite recurring segment — alternate career paths for NHLers past and present — we're proud to share with you THIS:

Dierks, Ex-NHL Player Shoot T-Shirts Into Crowd: Dierks and new pal Chad Brownlee whip out hockey sticks to fire cotton bombs at fans.

And that's just the headline. Of course, it's one thing to hand a country star a hockey stick. You might knock off a ten-gallon hat or two - maybe deflate some Texas-sized hair - though the damage for the most part would probably be negligible with the exception of some put-off country-music fans. In the hands of a former NHLer, however, you're probably bound to get responses like the two quoted in the article.

"No concert is compleate without a t shirt to the throat," fan Devon Riviere tweeted.

Another fan, Jordan Karst, tweeted, "Thanks Chad for the shirt 2 the head 2 end it all off! Shooting shirts? Classic!"

Classic indeed. Of course, as there are only two responses posted, we just have to assume that most everyone else who was on the receiving end of a t-shirt probably ended up in the trauma ward wearing the t-shirts in question. Classic.

Country Weekly: Dierks, Ex-NHL Player Shoot T-Shirts Into Crowd

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 19:06

Anyone familiar with Disney knows about both the virtues and frustrations of having your favorite characters come to life and exist outside the screen. At times, it can be traumatizing — when you see one of the giant foam-and-faux-fur-covered characters remove its head. (And maybe you have terrible recurring nightmares as a result. Purely hypothetical, of course.) And on occasion it fails to work because you already have a set idea of what a character is supposed to be and the surroundings where they exist and parameters to which the characters must adhere.

Which is obviously why finding Star Wars characters at the Sharks-Lightning game works so well.

The Tampa Bay Lightning NHL Hockey team partnered with the Star Wars Grand Florida Alliance and the 501st Legion Florida Garrison to bring fans an epic evening filled with Star Wars goodness to help promote and celebrate the theatrical release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D.

The Lightning offered fans a special VIP package which included a ticket to the game, access to an all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink buffet, an exclusive licensed The Phantom Menace/Lightning hockey puck and photo opportunities with Star Wars characters. The SWGFA had a booth set up outside to greet fans as they stood in line to pick up their tickets, wristbands and ultra cool hockey pucks before the game. The 501st Legion mingled among the crowd getting everyone pumped up before they went inside as Darth Vader, Darth Maul, a Sandtrooper, a Stormtrooper, a TIE Fighter Pilot, Padme Amidala, Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi, R2-D2, two Imperial Officers, an ARC Trooper and a Royal Guard were present.

Granted you do lose a bit of the magic. But seeing Darth Vader sign a waiver more than compensates for the loss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image via RebelScum.com

TheForce.net - Star Wars Night in Review

Monday, February 20, 2012 - 19:13

Roughly 99 percent of the time,* a list that tries to rank more than, say, 15 or 20 of the best or worst items in any given category — assuming it's not quanitfied or scientific in any way, which is to say that it probably had its genesis somewhere on the Internet — takes a bit of a dip somewhere in the middle. Especially when it's something you come across the Internet. Top 100 best-looking cats? Bound to have a Sphynx. Top 25 movies about haunted boats? Gonna include "Haunted Boat." 

However, we're pretty sure we just found one that defies the odds:

Bleacher Report's: 50 Most Ridiculous Team Logos in Hockey History

Best we can tell, there's not one in the bunch that's not ridiculous. Case in point, #19:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Image via Bleacher Report) 

Spend 3-5 minutes taking a look through the list. It'll make you feel better about yourself.

*A statistic we just made up but sounds pretty good. 

50 Most Ridiculous Team Logos in Hockey History

Friday, February 17, 2012 - 12:24

Easily one of our favorite weekends of the year. And this article pretty much sums it up.

"Hockey Weekend Across America has been a success because of the vast participation of the hockey community -- from those in our grassroots programs across the country to the NHL and its teams," said USA Hockey Executive Director Dave Ogrean.

The nationwide initiative was created by USA Hockey in 2008 to engage the hockey community in celebrating the game at all levels and exposing the sport to new fans. Each of the three days associated with event has a theme, including "Wear Your Favorite Hockey Jersey," sponsored by ShopUSAHockey.com, on Friday; "Try Hockey Day," sponsored by the NHL, on Saturday; and "Celebrate Local Hockey Heroes," sponsored by Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports, on Sunday.

There's a whole lot more where that came from. Be sure to read the rest. 

HWAA continues to build grassroots interest in U.S.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 19:15

You know, there are some players it's not so difficult to imagine taking alternate career paths. Master Lego Artist Patrick KaletaApp Developer Chris Clarkson of the Houston AerosProfessional Chewing Gum Tester Stéphane Lebeau. And of course the Sedins, who are clearly destined for a star post-career stint as caricature artists.

From The Vancouver Sun's Pass It to Bulis Blog:

While the Sedins were in Öland, the identical twins were asked by Östran, a local newspaper, to take part in a strange experiment: draw self-portraits, in order to see if those would be identical too. 

Upon seeing Daniel's questionable handiwork, Ostran asked how he did in art class in school:

"What were my grades in Drawing? Probably a D," says Daniel.

Daniel's biggest problem may be his attention to detail. He's a natural finisher, which might explain why he finished so fast. Though it might just have been because he forgot he had a beard.

Daniel says he's pretty much done with his self-portrait. But it looks pretty naked.

"Shouldn't there be a beard too?" I wonder.

"Right, we got beards too," says Daniel and grabs the pen again.

Well, at least Hendrik is. Daniel can hold the paint.

Pass It to Bulis: I Find This Photo Odd: The Sedins do self-portraits

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - 18:27

Valentine’s day has come and gone, and for the umpteenth time, we’ve forgotten about it. It’d be a lot more enjoyable if everyone who did remember — the florist, the host, the chocolatier, the girlfriend — didn’t make such a fuss about the last-minute arrangements, (made at the last minute so as to avoid the potential conflicts that inevitably creep up, of course). And Lord knows, it’d be especially more enjoyable if things like the following weren’t so well publicized, setting a entirely unrealistic standard for the rest of us:

Customary with the K-Wings’ Pink Ice Game, the K-Wings will host the largest wedding in southwest Michigan. Tying the knot this year will be Kellie Ann DeBruinof Climax, Mich. and Donald Anthony Collierof Mattawan, Mich.

Besides receiving the largest wedding in Kalamazoo, the couple will receive a night’s stay at the Radisson Plaza in Kalamazoo, wedding rings from Siegel Jewelers, flowers for the wedding courtesy Ambati Flowers and Meijer, a wedding cake by Boonzaaijer Baker and two tickets to anywhere Direct Air flies.

However even that guy must get kept up at night knowing that there was someone who managed to top even him:

Have a lovely Valentine’s Day. Go buy some chocolate. 

K-WINGS HOST WEDDING ON PINK ICE FOR VALENTINE'S DAY

Monday, February 13, 2012 - 18:33

You'll have to forgive the tendency to wax nostalgic - which seems to appear in maybe every third blog post - but back when we were kids, waiting for the ice to freeze was a part of life. You went out with a drill two to three times a day to test the depth of the pond. You prayed for cold weather and rattled off every curse word you could think of, and some you made up, when after a week of freezing temperatures, the weather bumped back up to 50. But apparently, one father is looking to change that.

Doughty said he can freeze water pumped into the rink with a heat pump, and a mixing and filtering system that uses a calcium chloride solution.

"At present, I can get the rink area adequately frozen for skating when the outside temperature is 38 degrees or less," said Doughty. "I'm shooting to freeze the rink when the outside temperature is 45 to 50 degrees."

"It's still a work in progress," Doughty added.

Daddy?

"'Iceman' builds ice hockey rink at his home" - The Franklin News Post

Friday, February 10, 2012 - 17:52

Well, apparently this is happening:

It's come to this for the Montreal Canadiens: The Catholic church is asking people to pray for the last-place NHL team. The church has placed an ad in Montreal newspapers in hopes of an eighth-place finish and a spot in the playoffs. The ad shows the Eastern Conference standings with every team listed except the Canadiens. In eighth place, the final playoff spot, it simply says "Prions," French for Let Us Pray.

USAToday: Catholic church: Pray for the woeful Canadiens

Thursday, February 9, 2012 - 10:40

A standard hockey rink is roughly 200 feet long and 85 feet wide, which means that the perimeter is going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 570 feet. For our purposes, and because you wouldn't be straddling the boards while skating anyway, let's use 550. Anyhow, let's say that for some reason you wanted to skate a mile on the ice, that'd be just over nine and a half times around the rink. And if - for reasons we can't begin to imagine - you wanted to skate 125 miles? That means you'd have to skate around the rink 1,200 times. Or you could go to the Netherlands.

We recently came across an article from the Radio Netherlands Worldwide whose author takes, "a personal look at the sporting event whose very prospect has the Dutch in a frenzy."

And what is this sporting event in question? The reason the Dutch are in such a frenzy?

Continuing sub-zero temperatures are fuelling blanket media speculation that the legendary 200 kilometre Dutch skating marathon the Elfstedentocht - Eleven Cities Tour - will take place for the first time in 15 years. A definitive decision will be taken on Wednesday evening by organisers as to whether there is enough ice.

The author goes on to say that rather than don speed skates, he'd prefer to wear his hockey skates - something admirable enough, though the practicality of which certainly something to question.

"You're nuts," "you don't know what you're getting into," and "why are you taking the place of a real skater?" are some of the responses I get when I tell Dutch people of my plans. You see, most people who skate such long distances do so on speed skates, which have a longer blade and therefore give more power per stride. So, could they be right? Am I mad?

 Two hundred kilometres is a long way. You can go your own pace, but you do have to finish the tour by midnight. I have no idea if I would be able to make it on my hockey skates with their short blades.

Anyhow, as for when - and if, for that matter - this event will be happening, a write-up on NPR says that:

The exact race day hasn't been set but it will probably occur soon: the cold snap that's gripped much of Europe is likely to end. Anxiety is growing because a last minute thaw could kill the race's best chances in 15 years. That's right, the Elfstedentoch isn't an annual event - the last time it was staged was in 1997. It's only held when weather conditions are perfectly icy.

And if you're still interested in learning more and have maybe half an hour to spare - or maybe you've got some odd desire to get a gander of Dutch fashion from the 80s - there's this documentary as well. Enjoy!

NPR: Dutch Volunteers Clear Snow Off Ice, Hoping For A Rare Speedskating Event

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - 17:59

We've written in the past of how interest in our sport is piqued around the globe, developed and succeeds in taking root in the most unlikely of locales, even when odds are stacked against it. (One such story that immediately comes to mind is a feature we wrote about soldiers playing while deployed in the Middle East. And which you should consider reading.) However, we recently came across one that's just about as unlikely a success story as we've seen, (even though it does come from the fairly likely setting of Peoria, Illinois):

From the Chicago Tribune:

"Hockey has a tiny toehold in soccer-mad Mexico. In the Mexico City area, where the sport is concentrated, there are about 10 rinks of varying quality for the city of some 20 million people. ... That leaves few opportunities for Mexican players to practice, with the cost of ice time as high as $1,000 an hour. Competition outside the country is also rare."

None of that should really come as a surprise. What does? The fact that one program south of the border is attempting to set up a partnership with a team stateside:

"You need to expand perspective, horizons and competition levels," said Brian Wilson, a Canadian-born ex-hockey player who coaches the sport in Mexico City and brought 35 players to west suburban Geneva for four days of hockey. ... Wilson, hoping to nurture his enthusiastic young players, reached out to Paul O'Dacre, a former Augustana College hockey coach who manages the Fox Valley arena. O'Dacre helped set up a visit that will also feature teams of older boys playing against each other, hours of clinics and off-ice training.

And even though we do hate to shove this down your throat, we really do think you should find the time to read the rest of the article — mainly, because it's a great read. But mostly because we just quoted a lot more of the article than we set out to.

Young hockey players from Mexico get plenty of ice time in Geneva

Monday, February 6, 2012 - 17:44

Betcha haven't ever teared up on account of a tractor, have you?

Well, there's a first time for everything.

Via the National Post.

Friday, February 3, 2012 - 17:54

For the next seventy-two hours (to say nothing of the past 336) or so, it's not likely you'll be hearing much else broadcast or transmitted from the realm of sports media aside from (American) football. And that's all right. (It's only fair after all that the Underdog of the Sporting World should get its day at least once a year.) Next weekend, however, the winds are scheduled to change - at least in one place north of the border:

From Metro Ottawa:

The attempt [to set a long-distance breakaway record] will start at 7:15 a.m. on Feb. 11 on the ice near Chateau Laurier, and six skaters will pass the puck to each other in a relay-style trek across the 7.8-kilometre skateway. 

So what happens if the shooter misses the net?

"Always have faith, my friend, that the shooter will not be denied the goal in the net," said Lester Gagné, the event's confident lead organizer. 

"The Eighty-Yard Run" has got absolutely nothing on this.

"He skates and skates and skates ... and scores: Six hockey players look to set long-distance breakaway record on the Rideau Canal skateway" - METRO OTTAWA

Poll

Which big-time hockey event are you most looking forward to this season?: