Friday, November 25, 2011

PUCK "Black Friday" - there's plenty of hockey on tap

Forget Black Friday.

Today is HOCKEY FRIDAY, with 13 NHL, 13 AHL and 11 WHL games on tap (I know there are more leagues out there; these are the 3 I follow most).

So, heat up your leftover turkey, pull up a chair and stuff yourself on power plays, penalty kills, hits and shots galore! I've made it easy for you to find your favorite team by listing all of today's games below.

WHL (all times are the home teams' local times)
(Watch or listen LIVE at

Spokane Chiefs @ Portland Winterhawks - 3pm (game thread)
This is being touted as the "Daylight Classic" - and the game will be played with the curtains open, giving an outdoor hockey feel to an indoor game. To celebrate, the Winterhawks are giving away sunglasses to fans in attendance.

Vancouver Giants @ Prince Albert Raiders - 7pm (preview)

Calgary Hitmen @ Saskatoon Blades - 7:05pm (preview)

Moose Jaw Warriors @ Brandon Wheat Kings - 7:30pm (preview)

Medicine Hat Tigers @ Edmonton Oil Kings - 7pm (preview)

Lethbridge Hurricanes @ Red Deer Rebels - 7:30pm (preview)

Victoria Royals @ Kamloops Blazers - 7pm (preview)

Kootenay Ice @ Kelowna Rockets - 7:05pm (preview)

Swift Current Broncos @ Tri City Americans - 7:05pm (I don't see a preview, but the best place for Ams info is the blog, I Mean, We Got Guys I'm sure they'll have a game thread, too.)

Regina Pats @ Everett Silvertips - 7:35pm (Nick Patterson from the Everett Herald provides great Silvertips coverage)

Prince George Cougars @ Seattle Thunderbirds - 7:35pm (I don't see a preview, but a great place to get T-Birds coverage is at the blog, Let's Go Birds.)
The T-Birds are heading into tonight's game on a roll, having won the last three games, against the Tri City Americans, Portland Winterhawks and Regina Pats, so fans are pumped for tonight's matchup. It's also Marcel Noebels Bobblehead Night, but you'd better get there early if you want one, because only 2500 were made.

AHL (all times are home teams' local times)
(watch or listen LIVE at

Toronto Marlies @ St. John's IceCaps - 7:30pm (preview)

Springfield Falcons @ Adirondack Phantoms - 7pm  (preview)

Connecticut Whale @ Bridgeport Sound Tigers - 7pm (preview)

Oklahoma City Barons  @ Grand Rapids Griffins - 7pm (preview)

Worcester Sharks @ Portland Pirates - 7pm (I don't see a preview, but here's a link to Portland Press Herald's Pirates coverage)

Hershey Bears @ Wilkes Barre-Scranton Penguins - 7:05pm (preview)

Binghamton Senators @ Syracuse Crunch - 7:30pm (preview)

Providence Bruins @ Norfolk Admirals - 7:30pm (I don't see a preview, but here's a link to Providence Journal's Bruins coverage)

Hamilton Bulldogs @ Lake Erie Monsters - 7:30pm (preview)

Albany Devils @ Rochester Americans - 7:35pm (preview)

Peoria Rivermen @ Rockford IceHogs - 7:05pm (preview)

Texas Stars @ Houston Aeros - 7:35pm (preview)

San Antonio Rampage @ Abbotsford Heat - 7pm (preview)

NHL (all times are Eastern time)
(watch or listen LIVE at

A few games are already in the books!

Detroit Red Wings 3 @ Boston Bruins 2 (SO) (game recap)

New Jersey Devils 1 @ New York Islanders 0 (game recap)

Montreal Canadiens 1 @ Philadelphia Flyers 3 (game recap)

Edmonton Oilers @ Minnesota Wild - 6pm (preview)

New York Rangers @ Washington Capitals - 4pm (preview)

Chicago Blackhawks @ Anaheim Ducks - 4pm (preview)

Ottawa Senators @ Pittsburgh Penguins - 7pm (preview)

Winnipeg Jets @ Carolina Hurricanes - 7pm (preview)

Buffalo Sabres @ Columbus Blue Jackets - 7pm (preview)

Tampa Bay Lightning @ Florida Panthers - 7:30 pm (preview)

Calgary Flames @ St. Louis Blues - 8pm (preview)

Toronto Maple Leafs @ Dallas Stars - 8:30pm (preview)

Vancouver Canucks @ Phoenix Coyotes - 9pm (preview)

Monday, October 24, 2011

UAH topples the Hockey Capital of the South

I feel as though I've lost a member of my family, or at the most a very good friend. Today, after 32 years in existence, the University of Alabama pulled the plug on the Division I hockey program at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. At the end of the the 2011-2012 season, the Chargers will cease to exist as anything but a club team.

Hockey has been a part of the UAH landscape since its inception in 1979 and the Chargers spent many years as an NCAA Division I team, competing against (and beating) the likes of:

Air Force Academy
Merrimack College
... University of New Hampshire
... Notre Dame
University of Alaska Anchorage
University of Alaska Fairbanks
University of Massachusetts at Lowell
Brown University
Harvard University
Yale University
Providence College
Ohio State University
Bowling Green University
Lake Superior State University
Western Michigan University
Niagra University
West Point

(Thanks to Howie McEachern for this list)

The Chargers may have seemed an anomaly, but they drew attention from the likes of Sports Illustrated and NBC Nightly News, who sent feature reporter Bob Dotson down to investigate "this little southern hockey team," after the Chargers soundly defeated Providence College - on Providence's home ice, no less.

UAH competed at the NCAA Division II level for several years in the mid-to late '90s, bringing the National Championship trophy home to Huntsville in 1996 and 1998. The school even saw the very first Alabama-born player (Jared Ross/UAH 2001-2005) to crack the NHL (with the Philadelphia Flyers).  The guys who donned Charger blue came from everywhere: Massachusetts, Minnesota, Maine, Washington, Canada. The list goes on. Even actor Kurt Russell's son Wyatt (UAH 2007-2008) did a stint with UAH. Every one of these guys brought two things with them: love of hockey and desire to compete at the highest level. That has not changed through the years, no matter how shaky things seemed at times.

In 2009, a group calling itself SAVE UAH HOCKEY launched a massive campaign to keep the program alive, after the CCHA denied UAH's request to join, leaving the Chargers scrambling to find a home in any conference that was undergoing changes. A number of former players, trainers, referees and fans joined the fight to protect what had become an institution - ice hockey in the South - even before teams like the Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators and the team formerly known as the Atlanta Thrashers set up shop.

Just what made hockey so popular in a place more prone to add ice to their tea? Former player and assistant coach Howie McEachern explains it this way on Facebook, "UAH hockey was unique. It had always been an uphill climb, but one worth the trip. We were always the underdog in D1 but thats what made it fun. Imagine if Rudy never played at Notre Dame, or the Jamaican Bobsled team never competed. Sad day for the city and school. I'm gonna miss the reaction I get from people that say, 'They got hockey in Alabama'...........not anymore."

I've tried to write the "nuts and bolts" of what happened, but I'm not very good at that. Today, my friend Cassie forwarded me an article written by Joe Yerdon of PHT & Gross Misconduct websites, which perfectly sums up how I feel, with an added insight of someone who knows the workings of college hockey in a way that I could never comprehend. Just click here to read it. It's really worth the time.

Stu Vitue (L); Jean-Marc "Frenchy" Plante
This afternoon, the guys over at SAVE UAH HOCKEY posted a list of players who donned Charger Blue over the years. I smiled as I recognized many of the names on that list, having attended classes with them, watched them play, developed friendships with several players and married one. Click here to see that list.

I count myself very fortunate to have been part of the UAH hockey experience in the early 90's. As the school's National Anthem singer, I sang at every home game for nearly three seasons. One of the goalies taught me the Canadian Anthem (not correctly, but he meant well). Coach Doug Ross and players he brought to appear on the weekly Coaches' Show that I produced for WAFF-TV taught me about the game, along with my good friend Jay McCain, who was the announcer for two seasons. The Pittsburgh native brought with him the rallying cry that's so familiar to Penguins fans, but with a southern twist: "IT'S A HOCKEY NIGHT IN HUNTSVILLE!" Somehow, it fit.

To the leaders of UAH, the University of Alabama, College Hockey and the NCAA, I say this: Shame on you. You don't know what you've done.

To the UAH Chargers hockey team, I say this: It's been a tremendous ride. Thank you for letting this English Major be a small part of your incredible universe.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Geno's Giving Heart

Last month, the Penguins' Evgeni Malkin urged people to not forget the plane crash that decimated the KHL's Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team. Tonight, he and Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin teamed up for a fundraiser to help the families of those killed in the crash. Michelle Crechiolo of wrote a nice story outlining the fundraising project spearheaded by Geno and supported by his teammates and the Caps, who the Pens are facing tonight.

Here's the link to Michelle's story:|PIT|home

Lest we forget, here's the list of everyone who died in the crash:

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl

Vitaly Anikeyenko
Yury Bakhvalov
Aleksandr Belyayev
Mikhail Balandin
Aleksandr Vasyunov
Josef Vasicek
Aleksandr Vyukhin
Aleksandr Galimov

Robert Dietrich
Pavol Demitra
Andrei Zimin
Marat Kalimulin
Aleksandr Karpovtsev
Aleksandr Kalyanin
Andrei Kiryukhin
Nikita Klyukin
Igor Korolyov
Nikolai Krivonosov
Yevgeny Kunnov
Vyacheslav Kuznetsov
Stefan Liv
Jan Marek
Brad McCrimmon
Sergey Ostapchuk
Vladimir Piskunov
Karel Rachunek
Evgeny Sidorov
Karlis Skrastins
Ruslan Saley
Pavel Snurnitsyn
Daniil Sobchenko
Ivan Tkachenko
Pavel Trakhanov
Igor Urychev
Gennady Churilov
Maksim Shuvalov
Artyom Yarchuk
Andrey Solontsev
Igor Zhevelov
Sergei Zhuravlev
Vladimir Matyushkin
Aleksandr Sizov -- in critical condition
Yelena Sarmatova
Nadezhda Maksumova
Yelena Shavina

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rest in Peace

Very well done.

The CCPT Hockey Show is back on the air!

My friend Cassie (from Raw Charge) and I launched the new season of our weekly hockey radio show, CCPT Hockey Show this afternoon. We welcomed good friend & awesome hockey mind Lyle Richardson (from Spector's HockeyThe Hockey News, Eishockey News & more) to talk about a number of topics.  We were joined in our LIVE interactive chatroom by a number of friends, who contributed to the on-air conversation.

If you missed the show, read this. Then make sure to join us next week, mmmmkay?

The CCPT Hockey Show airs every Sunday at 6pm ET/3pm PT/11pm UK.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Fantasy Hockey Team for 2011-2012

Every year for the last three years, a group of friends and I have played fantasy hockey. What I love about this league is that we have fun and some of us, including yours truly, don't take it too seriously. In fact, the way I draft my players is pretty silly, but I come up with some good teams anyway.

Do you play in a fantasy league of some sort? How do you draft your players? Do you have fun or is this a serious endeavor for you? If you're serious, you'd hate to have me in your league. Or maybe you'd like having me in your league because I'd make an easy target. :)

Here's the roster for Team SMFR this season:
Anze Kopitar (LA Kings)
Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche)
Mike Fisher (Nashville Predators)

Ryane Clowe (San Jose Sharks)
Tyler Ennis (Buffalo Sabres)
Brooks Laich (Washington Capitals)

Dustin Byfuglien (Winnipeg Jets)
TJ Oshie (St. Louis Blues)
Max Talbot (Philadelphia Flyers)
Wayne Simmonds (Philadelphia Flyers)

Kris Letang (Pittsburgh Penguins)
John Carlson (Washington Captials)
Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Zach Bogosian (Winnipeg Jets)
Thomas Hickey (Los Angeles Kings <- I'm still hoping!)

Pekka Rinne (Nashville Predators)
Semyon Varlamov (Colorado Avalanche)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WHL: Conference Previews, team by team

To get you in the mood for hockey, here's the WHL's take on the Western Conference this season.
And here's the Eastern Conference preview.

Luckily for  WHL fans, the puck drops THIS WEEKEND.
I'll open the season in Everett, taking in the Silvertips v. Kelowna on Saturday, September 24 with a couple of friends from Houston, who are huge Aeros (and Mitch Love) fans! Mitch is debuting behind the bench as an Assistant Coach. It'll be great to see the kids develop under his tutelage.

To honor Mitch, here's an awesome shot of him as an Aero, taken by good friend Fred Trask:

Who are you most excited to see this season?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Under re-construction

New stuff coming soon - just in time for the season!
In the meantime, if you have a hockey or music-related blog/website you want to share, send me the link!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

NHL Awards: All that Glitters isn't the Stanley Cup

The NHL Awards took place tonight in Vegas. The Twitterverse was abuzz with the winners. Many of my friends were there to cover the event. I missed the entire broadcast.

And I didn't care.

I didn't care that I missed a number of good looking hockey players walking the red carpet in Armani, Hugo Boss and other designers I don't know. (Don't get on me because I wrote "good looking." We all know there are some lookers in the league. Even if you don't want to admit that aloud.)

I didn't care that I missed host Jay Mohr poke fun at the Edmonton Oilers and goodness knows what/who else.

I didn't care that I missed half-baked presenters and awkward acceptance speeches.

I didn't care that I don't know award winners aside from Lidstrom, Kesler & Disco Dan Bylsma.

Is something wrong with me? Or do more hockey fans feel the same way I do, even if they don't want to admit it aloud?

My interest ended after the Bruins won the Cup. To me, that's the only award that really matters (NOT to take away from players' individual achievements).

So what DO I care about?

Ask me on Sunday, after the NHL Draft has ended.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Canucks... Bruins... and BEER! NHL Tweetup in Seattle for SCF Game 2!

Hey, Seattle-area hockey fans! Join us for a fun night of hockey and good times, as we host an NHL Tweetup for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals!!

Teddy's Tavern
1012 Northeast 65th Street
Seattle, WA 98115-6609
(206) 522-4950

Saturday, June 4, 2011

If your team is NOT playing for the Cup, that's okay! Wear your colors and represent! Best of all, meet other like-minded hockey fanatics! Maybe we can form an ownership group to bring the NHL to the Emerald City!

Signed, Your Hosts:
Bill @wwbaker3
Su @Motley_Su

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Puckpourri: Pens net some Stars, Carey channels VINCENT Price, plus one HECK of a WHL game

So... the Penguins' lineup changes again. I found out via Twitter that the Pens have traded Alex Goligoski to Dallas for James Neal and Matt Niskanen.  I don't know much about either player, except that I think Sid got into a fight with Niskanen earlier this season.

Will this trade make a difference to the Pens, who have struggled without Sid and Geno, but still managed to win a number of games? I guess we'll just have to tune in and see. Here's the news release from the Pens' website:|PIT|home

Lyle Richardson from Spector's Hockey wrote up a good analysis of the trade. Just click here.

Carey Price's new goalie mask has sparked a lot of chatter; not all of it good. He unveiled it yesterday for the Heritage Classic and calls it a tribute to Jacques Plante. I'm not sure what to think of it, but many say it "creeps them out." 

Okay. Maybe it IS a little creepy.

Last night, I attended my first hockey game in months, heading down to ShoWare Center in Kent for the T-Birds/Chilliwack Bruins match-up. I arrived early (2pm) to co-host the CCPT Hockey Show from ShoWare. That was an interesting experiment, lots of fun but cut short by about 45 minutes because of the music that started blaring from the speakers. The game that followed was one that I will not soon forget. It had everything, including a line brawl! I wrote up the game for the KING 5 website.
Here's the link:

By the way, MANY THANKS to Brian Liesse for letting me use his photos. He's part of the awesome Washington Prep Sports Network, but also has his own amazing website.

Monday, January 31, 2011

NHL Fun Fact

This was the fun fact for my NHL daily desk calendar today:

To say things got a little choppy at the end of the March 5, 2004, game between the Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers would be an understatement. Five brawls broke out in the final two minutes, leading to a record 409 penalty minutes for the period.

Fun times, indeed.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Friday Puckpourri: Trailers, teddy bears... oh, and The Hanson Brothers! Plus: a salute to law enforcment

(Note: This post was written on Friday, January 28. There was a hiccup in posting. Sorry for the dated info, but I wanted to leave it all in, especially about the fundraisers. Because even though the game itself may be over, the need is not and you can still donate. ~ Su)

Rockin' the 70's
Three words evoke memories of what many agree is the greatest hockey movie ever made. And tonight, anyone who considers him/herself a "Slap Shot" fan needs to be at Rexall Place in Edmonton, because the Oil Kings are rolling out the red carpet for Jeff, Steve and Jack, otherwise known as The Hanson Brothers. They're the highlight of tonight's "70's Night" promotion, as Edmonton welcomes the Red Deer Rebels. The Hansons will take part in some in-game activities, sign autographs and hang out with fans. The fun continues after the game at a special "after-party" at the pint. I'm not sure whether any foil will be involved, but if you live within 60 miles of Edmonton and want to check things out, click here for more info (and tickets). Bust out the polyester, platform shoes and your best Elton John sunglasses.

Trailer Raffle
It's the middle of winter - a perfect time to start thinking about summer vacation. The Swift Current Broncos want you to think about hitting the open road, in a new trailer. They're raffling off a 2009 Fleetwood Mallard 24HB. Second prize is $3000 cash and third prize is a Molson bar fridge (not sure if it's stocked or not). Fans who go to tomorrow night's game against the Saskatoon Blades can enter an early drawing for $3000 cash. Click here for more information.

Salute to Law Enforcement
The Everett Silvertips welcome I-5 rival Seattle Thunderbirds to Comcast Arena, but the biggest winners tonight could be the men and women in blue who protect and serve throughout Snohomish County, Washington.The 'Tips are hosing their second annual Snohomish County Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation fundraiser tonight. It benefits families of officers killed in the line of duty. Last year, Silvertips fans donated more than $5,000 for the fund. This year, they hope to surpass that amount, through special ticket sales, as well as sales of $15 commemorative pucks. For $30, fans can buy commemorative pucks autographed by a number of Everett players. Click here for more information, to buy special tickets or order commemorative pucks.

Teddy Bears
The Seattle Thunderbirds are showing their softer side, by asking all fans to bring teddy bears to Saturday night's game against the Portland Winterhawks. By the time the game is over, those plush toys will be on their way to the trunks of police cars, fire trucks and emergency vehicles across the greater Seattle area. The T-Birds have teamed up with Seattle radio station WARM 106.9 for their annual Teddy Bear Toss. Police officers, deputies and emergency crews offer the toys to children in times of crisis or emergencies. Fans will toss the teddy bears onto the ice after the T-Birds score their first goal. Last year, fans tossed 4,000 plush toys onto the ice. In 2009, they donated 2,000.

Sandusky Radio, which owns and operates WARM 106.9, is proud to team up with the T-Birds. The event is an emotional one for General Manager Marc Kaye, who told me, "Each time I see the thousands of teddy bears thrown onto the ice at the annual Teddy bear Toss at The Thunderbirds game it brings tears to my eyes.  For every bear that lies there, a child’s life will be positively affected."

The T-Birds are also excited about the yearly event. Ian Henry, the team's Director of Media and Public Relations, says players are looking forward to the "Teddy Bear" game, and a little competition gets going behind the scenes. "Leading up to the game there is always talk among the guys about who is going to score the Teddy Bear Goal," he said. "It’s quite a scene when that goal goes in and the bears start reigning down on to the ice."

If you've never experienced this for yourself, it's worth it to check it out. And even though the Portland Winterhawks are one of the WHL's top teams, standings go right out the window when they meet the T-Birds for one of the longest rivalries in the league. Click here for more information.

League Leaders
Here's a quick look at the WHL's brightest stars so far:

Points Leaders
1. Linden Vey, Moose Jaw Warriors. 82 points in 46 games (33G, 49A)
(Note: last season, he had 75 points in 72 games)

2. Tyler Johnson, Spokane Chiefs. 80 points in 47 games (36G, 44A)
(Note: last season, he had 71 points in 64 games)

3. Brendan Ranford, Kamloops Blazers. 72 points in 50 games (32G, 40A)
(Note: last season, he had 65 points in 72 games)

GAA Leaders
1. Darcey Kuemper, Red Deer Rebels. 1.84 GAA. He also has 9 shutouts and a 31-8-1-2 record in 42 games
2. James Reid, Spokane Chiefs. 2.48 GAA. He also has 4 shutouts and a 29-8-2 record in 42 games
3. Tyler Bunz. Medicine Hat tigers. 2.58 GAA. He also has 2 shutouts and a 24-10-2 record in 36 games.

Now, the schedule:
Tonight (Friday, January 28
Regina @ Moose Jaw
Swift Current @ Saskatoon
Brandon @ Calgary
Kootenay @ Lethbridge
Edmonton @ Red Deer
Chilliwack @ Spokane
Prince George @ Kelowna
Portland @ Tri City
Kamloops @ Vancouver
Seattle @ Everett

Saturday, January 29
Moose Jaw @ Regina
Saskatoon @ Swift Current
Price Albert @ Edmonton
Lethbridge @ Kootenay
Brandon @ Medicine Hat
Calgary @ Red Deer
Kamloops @ Chilliwack
Tri City @ Spokane
Prince George @ Everett
Vancouver @ Kelowna
Portland @ Seattle

Sunday, January 30
Prince Albert @ Calgary
Everett @ Seattle

Thursday, January 20, 2011

THE school for anyone interested in video games or animation!

I seem to be straying more from hockey at this blog. To those of you who come here just to read or be directed to my hockey stories, I apologize. Hockey writing shall recommence very shortly. Today, I want to spotlight the place where I work part-time. DigiPen Institute of Technology is a wonderful land where students young and old are encouraged to CREATE - everything from amazing animations to awesome video/computer games. In the 5 short months I've been here, I've met some truly unique students, professors and staffers and am constantly amazed at the level of dedication they bring to their classes. I've also learned that several students are responsible for one of the most popular computer games out there - PORTAL, and that they're working on PORTAL 2, using elements from another game (Tag: The Power of Paint) developed by DigiPen students. Click here for an interview with these creative guys to see how the game came about.

A group of current students learned that their game, SOLACE, won the Student Showcase Award at the Independent Games Festival, beating out 280 other entries. You can read more about that honor here.

From my perch at the front desk, I can see the lobby, where a giant TV plays a reel of animations created by students past and present. A helpful student told me all of the animations, as well as other projects, can be found at DigiPen's website. Here's the link to that page. Make sure you check out my favorite clip, "Time to Harvest, about a man-eating pear! (BTW - professors include giants in the video game industry, as well as animators who worked on some illustrious films, including "Lilo & Stitch" and other Disney classics).

Now that I've hopefully piqued your interest about the world of teaching students the art of video game design, production and animation, you may be interested to check things out a little more closely. Those of you who live within driving distance of Redmond, Washington, can do that THIS SATURDAY! The school is hosting an Information Session on campus, with everyone from professors, to students, to DigiPen's founder and president, Claude Comair, on hand to answer your questions or help you decide your child's (or your own!) course of action! Claude's name may not be familiar to many of you, but at least one of his games will be. His many credits include: LEGEND OF ZELDA, POKEMON PUZZLE LEAGUE, MARIO vs. DONKEY KONG and RIDGE RACER.Claude's other passion is food, especially creating culinary masterpieces. This love shines through in the amazing cafe he has built at the new campus. Headed by a chef, it features a menu that's a multi-cultural tour as diverse as the student and teaching population. (And the authentic brick oven makes some truly tremendous pizza!).

Now that I've whetted your appetite, here's more info about the Info Session:

WHEN: Saturday, January 22 from 1pm - 4pm (Check-in begins at 12:30pm)

WHERE: DigiPen Institute of Technology
               9931 Willows Road NE
               Redmond, WA 98052

  • Mix and mingle with current students and faculty
  • Degree program information
  • Admissions 101 overview
  • Campus Tour (WELL WORTH IT)
  • "Meet the President" - Claude Comair
  • DigiPen gear prize raffle
If you're even REMOTELY interested in checking things out, I highly suggest you REGISTER NOW. It's so easy - just go to or call our friendly Admissions office: 425.629.5001 or 866.478.5236, ext. 5001. You can even email them!

If you can't make it this Saturday, they have info sessions planned for March 5 and May 14.
If you need to know something that's not listed here, just let me know. If I can't answering, I know someone who can!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Remembering Maru

This post is slightly hockey-related. It's related in the fact that it's about a hockey fan. If you're looking for a strictly hockey story, I suggest you stop reading now. 

Her name was Marushka. Well, that's the name she chose to use. I knew her real name once upon a time, but cannot recall it now. I met her at a fan board online at about three years ago. I had joined NHL Connect looking for like-minded hockey fans after the Pens lost the Red Wings in the 2008 SCF. I joined an awesome little group of friends whose hockey allegiances ran wide and deep. Maru (known as "True Fan" at Connect) lived in San Antonio and loved the Dallas Stars. She was young, a college student and I grew to think of her by her avatar, a cute anime girl's face. A few girls in the group and I exchanged personal email addresses and cell phone numbers. Maru would text cute or inspirational messages, or just text to say "Hi, I hope you're having an awesome day!" We talked on the phone a few times, when she was facing a breast cancer scare. Her voice sounded like a young girl's and in some way, fit perfectly to the avatar she used as her profile picture.

Our happy little NHL Connect group splintered after more than a year spent in playful trash talk, epic blog posts, hockey limericks and one fantasy hockey league. When the break came, I found myself on one side of the disagreement, Maru ended up on the other side. She sent me a few emails after that but I did not respond, as I disagreed with her argument. And so, I released her and our budding friendship. 

This morning, I received a message from another Connect friend, telling me that Maruschka had passed away. Not from breast cancer, but from a car accident in Italy over the weekend. My mind immediately flew back to those happy Connect days; to banter, laughter and silly limericks. And to a baby-voiced Stars fan from San Antonio who called herself Marushka. At this point, I can hear some of you wondering what disagreement could splinter a group that got along so well? I won't rehash the ugliness; it's in the past. All I can do is hope that Maru did not suffer... and pray that she's at peace.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tuesday Puckpourri: Catching up + World Juniors

I can't believe I haven't posted here since December 1. But I've been a busy bee over at From the Rink.
Here are links to a month's worth of posts, for those of you who haven't been venturing over there too often.

1. (posted Dec. 3)  Hockey Canada invites 39 players to WJC selection camp, including 17 WHL'ers

2. (posted Dec 10) WHL: Team USA, Schenn's back, teddy bears and outdoor action
3. (posted Dec 17) WHL: Oh, Canada! Plus, an inside look at Schenn; teams that give back and one coach, many moves
3. (posted Dec 24)  WHL at the World Juniors, plus predictions
4. (posted Dec 27)  WJC: Day One recap: There's no such thing as a "sure thing" in this tournament
5. (posted Dec 31)  WJC: Steamrollers, head shots and one bad break
6. (posted  WJC: Canada & Russia going for gold; USA to play Sweden for bronze

Speaking of World Juniors... I've predicted Canada getting the gold since before the tournament began.  Here's hoping my prediction mojo holds out. (Note to sports fans: I predicted that the University of Washington Huskies would beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Holiday Bowl, even though the Huskers thrashed the Dawgs 56-21 in regular season play. Turns out, I was right.... so... let's see if my luck holds out.)