Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Victory for My Guy

If all you're interested in reading about is pro hockey, ignore this post.

This afternoon I was treated to another solid effort by my son's hockey team, resulting in a 8-4 win. He even managed an assist or two, but that's not what mattered the most to me. My victory was seeing a kid who was a wobbly skater until late last winter play with confidence. For the first time, he has started to stray from his stay at home D position into the attacking zone. He will hang out near the opposition net.

Granted, he is often the last one to get back into his zone but for now, seeing the extra faith he has in his ability is wonderful to watch. I have no delusions about this kid making the pros. Next winter he might decide to take up curling, or to drop everything for some other activity. But this winter, ah this winter, I see the person I love the most play the sport I love the most, and you bet your arse I'm going to enjoy it to the fullest.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Right to Play Skate

There is a wonderful charity called Right to Play This year, for the second time they hold an event called Right to Play Skate.

I had not heard of this until a friend mentioned it. Seeing how it was for an excellent cause, fit into my schedule and would have Toronto Maple Leafs past and present, I signed up, donated, loaded up the skates in the hockey bag, and headed down with my child in tow. I discovered the hard way that whilst a bag with 2 pairs of skates and a helmet is not terribly heavy, it is an unbalanced load! It all kept going to one side, so I looked like a hunchback walking from St. George station to Varsity Arena.

Kudos to Jeff Marek and Elliote Friedman for their excellent MC duties. They both did a good job.

The biggest news from the event is that I didn't fall once during the entire 2 hours I was on the ice. I started out right next to the boards but managed to work my way up to being faster than the 3 year olds, and by the end of the skate I could skate as good as a 5th grader...from The South! At least I did it, and had a blast. For me the joy of skating is when you finally find your groove, a feeling summed up in the classic song "River"

One gentleman in particular was every helpful, skating between me and the boards, offering me much needed encouragement. Being a one sport woman, I had no clue that it was Mike O'Shea of the Toronto Argonauts! My heartfelt thanks, Mr. O'Shea.

The celebrities scheduled were:

* John Pohl - Toronto Maple Leafs
* Alexander Steen - Toronto Maple Leafs
* Bates Battaglia - Toronto Maple Leafs
* Vesa Toskala - Toronto Maple Leafs
* Andy Wozniewski - Toronto Maple Leafs
* Marnie McBean - Right To Play Athlete Ambassador, Rowing
* Mike O'Shea - Toronto Argonauts, linebacker
* Bryan Crawford - Toronto Argonauts
* Billy Bridges - Right To Play Athlete Ambassador, Sledge Hockey
* Josee Chouinard - Olympian, Figure Skating
* Jane Rumball - Right To Play Athlete Ambassador, Rowing
* Darcy Marquardt - Olympian, Rowing
* Sabrina Kolker - Right To Play Athlete Ambassador, Rowing
* Anna-Marie de Zwager - Olympian, Rowing
* Erin McLean - Women's Softball
* Andrew Hayley - Right To Play Athlete Ambassador, Swimming
* Mandy Cronin - Canadian Women's Hockey League, Brampton Thunder
* Kevin Sally - Archery (retired)
* Peter Zezel - Toronto Maple Leafs, alumni
* Jack Valiquette - Toronto Maple Leafs, alumni
* Gary Leeman - Toronto Maple Leafs, alumni
* Mike Pelyk - Toronto Maple Leafs, alumni
* Lou Franceschetti - Toronto Maple Leafs, alumni
* Marilyn Ruth Take - Figure Skating (retired)

I got autographs from Leafs past and present. Zezel signed my Mogilny jersey in the spot I was saving for AlMo(the closest to my heart), but I'll forgive him since he is the Honest Ed of Toronto hockey. Of course the fact that he is part Slavic helps! To nase! as my Ukie friends always holler. Funny that the two autographs on my jersey which are literally closest to my heart are from members of that great Leafs team from 92-93 that showed so much of it - Zezel & Clark.

I had brief chats with Bates Battaglia, Gary Leeman, Alexander Steen and Elliotte Friedman from The Score.

With Battaglia we discussed memories of the Carolina/Toronto conference final, or more accurately my memories. He said he is surprised how long the memories of Leafs fans go about things like that. The last thing I said to him was "Nce talking with you - hopefully you're around for a while." He was put on waivers this morning...oops, sorry 'bout that.

I told Leeman he was one of the few bright spots during the Darkest Days of Leafdom. He was genuinely pleased and jokingly said it's always a dark time for Leafs fans. Indeed we are our own worst enemies but you have to admit we never lose hope. We got a chuckle out of that.

From Alexander Steen I learned that yes, they did indeed practice Sunday morning. He said most players were not on the ice but they were working out - no free ride from Paul Maurice.

Wozniewski and Pohl were also there but I didn't have a chance to really chat with them. I didn't get to Jack Valiquette(who looked like a slim Santa) or Bill Derlago, but my son won a soccer ball autographed by all the athletes present. He also tore up the ice for 2.5 hours; the only thing I tore up was some flesh on my legs. Ah, the joys of skate bite!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

All Good Things End, Including the Win Streak

The Leafs lost in a snooze fest to the Bsoton Bruins at ACC tonight. Boston brought back the spirits of NJ Devils past and haunted us with an absolutely boring game.

Depsite the loss, the Leafs have picked up 8 out of the last 10 points. They are still in 9th place, but thanks to the folly of "parity" they are only 4 points out of 2nd.

Friday, December 7, 2007

My Computer Dies When the Leafs are Winning!

I haven't been able to post my thoughts on Nuklear Nik Antropov's incredible performance against the Rangers because my computer had a hard drive crash. The tech support department is taking their sweet time so hopefully the Leafs can keep the streak going until I get my machine back.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Some Days You Know You're Too Far Gone

I've been a Leafs fan as long as I can remember, but just as important I'm a hockey fan. I'll watch 4 year olds play if I'm at the rink. Let's face it, I watched the Ballard era Leafs; I paid money to sit my arse in seats at Maple Leaf Gardens when they were the laughing stalk of the NHL. If I watched that hockey, chances are I'll watch any hockey.

Watching is one thing, but getting there is the other. I'm the opposite of most people in that whilst I love snow, I hate, despise, and detest driving. Given my d'ruthers I'd take a cab or transit. However, Sunday morning hockey practice at 07:30 makes that impossible. Most mornings it isn't too bad, but this morning we'd been walloped with snow. We don't normally get 10-15cm overnight so it was a shock when I woke up to all the snow.

Luckily my little car had no problem getting out of the drive way, but the side streets had not yet been plowed. The pylon buried underneath the snow didn't help. I made a deal with child that if the main road had been cleared, we'd continue to practice, if not we'd head home.

Well, we got there. We got there 40 minutes late but those 20 minutes were the happiest 20 minutes of my son's skating life. Finally getting onto the ice after sitting in his gear for an hour, by the smile on his face you'd think he'd been locked in the candy shop with a limit free credit card.

For a die hard night owl, for a woman who won't wake up at 06:30 on Sunday for chocolate or sex, for a woman who won't wake up that early for chocolate *and* sex, that smile and the "I wish practice was longer" when he stepped off the ice made it all worth while.

Now I'm the one looking forward to Sundays at 06:30.

Yes, it's true, I am too far gone to ever go back to being without hockey, and I can't imagine being any happier.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

If You Love Hockey Stories, Cast Your Vote!

An acquaintance of mine and wonderful spinner of hockey yarns, Kevin Shea has entered the story 'JACK & THE BOX" in GM Canada's hockey story contest.

In his words: "The story was difficult to tell in '150 words' or less, but suffice it to say that it is a book I would love to write and have published one day."

Mr. Shea has penned hockey books, taught hockey history in college, and is involved with both the Hockey Museum in Bowmanville, ON and the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Please read the story, vote for it, and please ask others to visit this link, read and vote for 'JACK & THE BOX':

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A New Hockey blog Begins

To my fellow hockey fans from HLOG, my apologies for having this take forever. I'm a woman with many interests and have a blog for most of them - finally got around to a hockey only blog.

Those of you who know me from, or HFboards might see some cross posts. If you've read it elsewhere, pretend it's the hockey bloggers strike rerun issue and wait for something new. Being a die hard, life long Leafs fan, I will have plenty to write about.

On occasion I will discuss non NHL, most likely what I see and feel at my child's hockey games. I'm a hockey history buff and member of so when I'm in a retro mood you'll find posts about hockey's colourful past.

I look forward to comments and hope that even greater than what we feel for our teams, is our mutual passion for hockey.