Thursday, July 5, 2012

Breakout Cover Story: Fathers and Sons

This article for "Breakout" magazine, commissioned by the Greater Toronto Hockey League was an absolute joy to do. I'n pretty sure Blake, Brendan, Cody, and Mason are all taller than me now!

Legends: Hockey Hall of Fame Program 2010

I've had several requests for my HHOF article on the evolution of the hockey stick from people who aren't on facebook (there are still a few!) Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Guest Blog for The Toronto Star

Check it out:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'm in the HHOF!

I'm quite proud that I made it into the Hockey Hall of Fame without ever having to drop the Coopers. My article on the evolution of the hockey stick is on page 89 of Legends, the 2010 Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Program.

It is an incredible honour to be included in any HHOF publication and even sweeter that my name is on page 89, because I have always been appreciative of Alexander Mogilny's hockey skills.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Spitfires Favourite Fan

Depending on your point of view, mascots are either an enjoyable in-game ritual or an annoying sideshow circus.

Both teams playing in tonight’s Mastercard Memorial Cup final - the Ontario League champion Windsor Spitfires and the host city Brandon Wheat Kings – have used these creative caricature concoctions to pump up their crowds over the years.

Brandon’s mascot is Willie, a fetching, floppy-eared dog, easily adapted to his cold climate home judging by how comfortable he is in skates and hockey pants.

Bomber, the Spitfires official mascot is a toothy, rugged pilot complete with aviator shades for a 1940s retro look that pays homage to the famed World War II fighter plane.

These characters each have a certain appeal but according to Spitfires defenseman Saverio Posa they have nothing on Sammy Uprichard, a young Windsor boy who is the team’s living, breathing mascot.

“I call him a good luck charm but I call him my favourite fan as well,” said Posa upon seeing Sammy greet players coming off the ice after a practice.

“Every time I see him he’s always there to cheer on the guys. He’s very supportive and I love the kid to death.”

Uprichard, who is wheelchair bound reciprocates the praise with a high-five.

“It’s actually breathtaking, seeing a kid you know won’t be able to play the sport being very supportive. It’s quite touching,” reflected Posa

Throughout the tournament Uprichard has been a fixture for the reigning Memorial Cup champions in their quest to become the first back-to-back winners since the Kamloops Blazers in 1994 and 1995.

“Seeing this little guy, he’s always ready for the boys to come out of the locker room. It’s so good to see him there,” said Posa. “He’s always got that bright smile one his face no matter how bad things are going for the team.”

Tonight Posa and the Spitfires will be setting their sights on giving Sammy Uprichard and the rest of their fans the biggest, and final smiles of the season.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Hockey Related Poetic Interlude

It's been a long, long time since anything remotely poetic flowed from my pen. This is for a friend of mine who would have celebrated his 45th birthday today, April 22nd.

The Truck in the Driveway

Running errands on a stunning Sunday afternoon, early spring,
The route chooses me, not the other way round.
My heart races,
My mind paces.
I fill with words,
Cannot create any sound – your house.

Driving past I slow down,
Must make it last.

Next door, children, not yours, play.
They see home, family, friends,
A neighbourhood – Thorncrest in its finery.

I see your lawn, your house number on the giant rock.
I want it to crumble.
Seeing this makes my heart stumble,
My emotions numb,
From my eyes, tears tumble.

It wasn’t that long ago I’d ring the doorbell,
Waiting, waiting, waiting for someone to answer.
Suddenly a half-hearted yell and then,
Absent-mindedly to the door you’d lumber, apologize.

I never told you words weren’t needed.
One sight of your smile and I was seventeen again,
Ah, if I’d only known you then!

The greatest treat, a peck on the cheek,
Felt like such a sneak.
Those memories sustained me,
Week after long week.
Never imagined they would sustain me for life,
Now that yours is done.

I see the softness of clouds,
Wind sails through them,
But all I hear is the echo of your gentle whispers of encouragement.

I see new shoots emerging on sturdy branches,
Sort of like me, blossoming from your support.

To the left,
To the right,
I see huge new homes.
The ones your neighbours lived in.
Torn, bulldozed, new homes, same ground.

I see your house.
It still stands.
I see memory.
I see the truck in the driveway, unmoved,
Still parked, seemingly eternal.
Strong, steady, sleek,
Exactly how I remember you.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Grade School Flashback

My Mum spent the weekend with me and little did I know that the drive to take her home would not only be 30 kilometers down the highway, but also 30 years down memory lane.

She pointed to an unceremonious pile of papers on the shoe rack and said they were for me. Once home and comfortably entrenched in my writing spot, a quick glance at my grade one report card simultaneously took me back and had me looking forward.

"Monika shows imagination and creativity." - handwritten comment from my first grade teacher on my first ever report card

"Story writing were (sic) always of superior quality." - grade five teacher's comment for Creative Writing

"Excellent understanding of the mechanics of language." - grade five teacher's comment for Language

What really brought a smile to my face was this bold prediction from my grade five teacher:

"Monika is a budding author."

Okay, so I'm a late bloomer and it took me 30 years to blossom but wherever you are Henry Ramjass, you called it.

To all my teachers and instructors, especially the ones who didn't tell me to shut up with the crazy stories, the ones who encouraged me to tell them on paper, thank you. You saw something in me that I was too young too realize all those years ago.

P.S. - Dear Mrs. O'Donoghue - my writing is no longer untidy!