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.)