Tag Archives: hockey

Top 10 Signs You are “Hockey-Crazy”

10 – You call a trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame a “pilgrimage.”

9 – Instead of duct tape, you use hockey tape to fix everything.

8 – You can say “Khabibulin,” “Tkachuk,” “Jagr,” “Leschyshyn” and “Nikolishin” without getting tongue-tied.

7 – You keep a picture of the Stanley Cup in your wallet in front of the picture of your family.

6 – You bake biscuits – burn them black – in dimensions of 3″ by 1.”

5 – Your closet is divided into 2 sections:  HOME and AWAY

4 – When someone says, “two minutes” you respond, “What for!?!”

3 – Every time you hear a siren you wonder who scored.

2 – All your kids are either named Gordie, Bobby or Wayne.

 

And the # 1 sign that you are Hockey-Crazy is:

When you come to a traffic signal and the light turns red, you get really excited and chant, “He shoots!  He scores!”

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

The Arena: a Lens onto Life

I lost and found my son this weekend on the ice

He was there, and then…. he skated into a corner away from sight

I imagined him in the middle of a scrum of bodies and sticks – eyes locked on the puck

Somehow he looks bigger as he wheels around the net, glances past the crease and backhands a pass to his waiting teammate

It is his ease of movement that makes me search for the answers I don’t really want to reflect on – just, how did he grow up so fast? And what’s next?

I blink. He’s gone… then I focus to see that he has gathered in the puck from his opponent’s blade and has nudged it forward;

He spins off his back leg and begins a deliberate, looping stride towards the side boards, flicks the puck against the boards and accelerates over the blue line

It seems he carries the puck in slow motion,

Yet I realize that this game is really in fast-forward

He’s skating too fast, as there’s no stopping his advance

So, I need to ask these questions:

In five years – will he get the shot off – and find his mark?

In ten years, which arena might I find this young man?

I study his moves. I need to burn it all into my memory.

With a burst of energy he cuts around a player, and with shoulder down, stickhandles neatly beyond two defenders and swings in towards the goal – mere seconds of ice time capturing years of development

A whistle, some yelling from the bench and pounding music from the arena’s PA system

He circles around to line up for the faceoff – what’s next?

University courses; wedding receptions; a first day at a new job?

He sets for the drop of the puck – and I’m processing a whirl of freeze-frames:

tugging his sweater on overtop of his shoulder and elbow pads

tightening his laces and clicking the snaps of his helmet

my parting locker room words of endearment: “Skate hard every shift. Have fun.”

then after, his tired, satisfied smile; that smell of sweat from soaked mats of hair

and the car rides to and from the arena; and those questions that start with

      “Dad….”

Peering through the glass, I’m witness to this game, yet unable to be part of it

I watch his boyhood in flashes now – with our family turning on his every blade stroke

He’s reaching forward, stick extended, body twisted – anticipating a pass

And I’m anxious with hopes and aspirations for his future happiness…

In another instant, he’s stride for stride, leaning in against another body, locked in a match of force and determination

Yet, I remember vividly those precious moments when I held him in my hands, and ran around the house carrying him piggyback

There’s another whistle, he twirls on one skate, right in front of me, and skates away towards the bench – it’s him, yes, I see it is, but only after focusing on our name on the back of the jersey.

There are times I see my own breath rise in the cold of the arena, and our reality is caught up in a few seconds of blurred colours, sticks, a puck – and my son

He’s turning and digs in to push off, the puck dances on his stick in front of him, and he darts ahead to open ice, sure of himself and where he must skate

On the ice, he’s always enjoying the moment, yet I see that he’s stretching, honing skills

He circles, glides with one leg lifted in front of him, lifts his head towards me and grins

I stare upward; the game clock is going too fast for us at this rink. I don’t want to avert my eyes – there is only so much time to etch these glimpses of our lives.

 

— Chris George 

You know you’re an avid hockey fan if…

  • You keep a picture of the Stanley Cup in your wallet in front of the picture of your family.
  • All your kids are either named Gordie, Bobby or Wayne.
  • Your idea of serving breakfast is giving each of your kids a fork and dropping an Eggo in the middle of the table.
  • You punish your kids with “minors,” “majors,” and “misconducts.”
  • You think the Canadian National Anthem is the theme from “Hockey Night in Canada.”
  • Instead of duct tape, you use hockey tape to fix everything.
  • You call a trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame a “pilgrimage.”
  • You went into a bank because it advertised “Free Checking”….and walked out disappointed.
  • You’re not allowed to play chess simply because the first time you played, you misunderstood the meaning of the word “Check.”
  • When you come to a traffic signal and the light turns red, you get really excited and chant, “He shoots!  He scores!”
  • Your cure for everything is a couple extra-strength aspirin and a shot of Novocain.
  • You can pronounce anything in French, yet you have no idea what it means.
  • You can say “Khabibulin,” “Tkachuk,” “Jagr,” “Leschyshyn” and “Nikolishin” without getting tongue-tied.
  • Every time you see the name “Roy” you automatically pronounce it “Wah.”
  • Your closet is divided into 2 sections:  HOME and AWAY
  • Everything in your wardrobe is your team’s colors.
  • When someone says, “two minutes” you respond, “What for!?!”
  • You bake biscuits – burn them black – in dimensions of 3″ by 1.”
  • You own a Zamboni and keep it in the garage while your main car stays in the driveway.
  • You think the proper way to spell the plural of “leaf” is “leafs.”
  • When someone refers to “The Classics,” you think they’re talking about the Original Six.
  • You consider the Forum in Montreal a place of worship.
  • Every time you hear a siren you wonder who scored.
  • Your calendar only runs from October to June.

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

6 FAV Hockey Memes

Here are half a dozen of our favourite hockey memes that are sure to score with your sports-loving friends.

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BOSTON, MA - 1970's: Jim McKenny of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Boston Bruins at Boston Garden. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

 

Pass these memes up-ice. Right click on the images and copy/save – and then share widely. Again, you’re sure to score!

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a trusted executive assistant, a communications can-do guy, or a go-to-scribe? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

 

On Hockey – from the Greats of the Game

Forget about style; worry about results. – Bobby Orr

  • Every day is a great day for hockey. – Mario Lemieux
  • Hockey is a tough game. – Bobby Orr
  • You’ve got to love what you’re doing. If you love it, you can overcome any handicap or the soreness or all the aches and pains, and continue to play for a long, long time. – Gordie Howe
  • When you’re on the ice, you have very little time, you see very little, and everything happens really quick. – Steve Yzerman
  • We take the shortest route to the puck and arrive in ill humor. – Bobby Clarke
  • Hockey is a game of one-on-one battles. – Mark Messier
  • In Canada, you’re not a hockey player until you’ve lost some teeth. – Andy Bathgate
  • I played with a lot of great players before. They’re all the same. They take a lot of responsibility for their own play, put a lot of pressure on themselves to perform and to play well. – Mark Messier
  • The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say that I work hard every day, that I never dog it. – Wayne Gretzky
  • My father used to tell me the game is not privileged to have you, you’re privileged to have hockey. – Paul Coffey
  • Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must first set yourself on fire. – Fred Shero
  • How would you like a job where when you made a mistake, a big red light goes on and 18,000 people boo? – Jacques Plante
  • I’m not dumb enough to be a goalie. – Brett Hull
  • I always tell Bobby he was up in the air so long that I had had time to shower and change before he hit the ice. – Glen Hall (on letting in The Goal by Bobby Orr)

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Photographer Dennis Flood: Hockey Net and Puck

     

Gotta love these photos of Canada’s most beloved pastime:  Dennis Flood and Canada’s game

By George Journal has a wealth of hockey related articles and interesting notes: tagged hockey

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

 

15 Amazing Hockey Facts

  1. Before 1914, referees used to place the puck on the ice between the players’ sticks for faceoffs. This led to many cuts, bruises and even broken hands for the referees. Starting in 1914, the referees were allowed to drop the puck between the players’ sticks.
  2. The first NHL goal was scored on December 19, 1917 by Dave Ritchie of the Montreal Wanderers against the Toronto Arenas.
  3. Prior to the 1927-28 season, forward passes were not allowed in hockey.
  4. Maple Leaf Gardens — former home of the Toronto Maple Leafs — became the first arena to have a four-sided game clock, in 1932.
  5. Frank Zamboni invented the first self-propelled ice-clearing machine, in 1949.
  6. Chicago Blackhawks Hall of Famer Stan Mikita is most often credited with the creation of the curved stick blade in the 1960s — all blades were previously straight.
  7. Head Games: Andy Brown was the last goaltender to play a game without a mask, doing so with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1974. The last player in the NHL to play without a helmet was Craig MacTavish, who retired in 1997.
  8. The fastest slapshot on record is Bobby Hull’s, which registered 118 miles per hour.
  9. Phil Esposito of the Boston Bruins was the first NHL player to record 100 points in a season, in 1969. Wayne Gretzky was first (and is the only) player to record 200 points in a season.
  10. Darryl Sittler holds the NHL record for most points in a single game, with 10. He scored five goals and had five assists on February 6, 1976, helping his Toronto Maple Leafs defeat the Boston Bruins.
  11. Paul Coffey of the Edmonton Oilers set an NHL record for defencemen with 37 points in the 1985 playoffs.
  12. In 1971, the Boston Bruins signed Bobby Orr to a five-year deal worth $200,000 per season —the first million dollar contract in NHL history.images
  13. Wayne Gretzky, nicknamed “The Great One”, is almost unanimously accepted as the greatest hockey player to every play the game. He holds 61 NHL records, the most by far of any player and finished playing with a total of 2,857 points. Amazingly, even if all of the nearly 900 goals Wayne scored throughout his career were removed from his statistics, he would still hold first place for most points.
  14. Some pro players call their mothers for a few words of encouragement, but not Sidney Crosby; Sid the Kid has a strict rule about not speaking with his mom on game days. He has broken this rule three times, and each time has been injured during the game.
  15. Cup Mishaps: The Stanley Cup is named after a former Canadian Governor General, Lord Stanley of Preston, who donated the trophy in 1893. The Cup has been used as a cereal bowl, accidentally left by the side of the road, tossed into a swimming pool and even lost, like luggage, on a 2010 flight from New Jersey to Vancouver. After the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup in 1962, they accidentally threw the Cup into a celebratory bonfire. In 1905, players from Ottawa Silver Seven, while drunk, kicked the Stanley Cup into the frozen Rideau Canal and had to retrieve it the next morning.

There are plenty of websites with great hockey facts to stump your trivia puckhound. Here are a few good one:

40 Fun Hockey Facts

30 Kickass and Interesting Facts About Ice Hockey

7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Hockey

10 fun hockey facts to share with your kids

Ice Hockey Facts

20 Fun, Random Facts about Hockey
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Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a trusted executive assistant, a communications can-do guy, or a go-to-scribe? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Ahelluva Hockey Commercial!

Unquestionably, here is the best hockey commercial on the air. It’s “Hockey in Sidney Crosby’s own words”

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“Hockey’s our game. But really it’s much more than just a game. It’s a passion that brings us all together on frozen ponds, at the community rink, and in our living rooms. It’s the feeling you got the first time you stepped on the ice. The feeling you had when you scored your first goal. Hockey is in our driveways, it’s in our dreams, in every post-game celebration. It’s in the street every time your friend yells, “Car!”; in every rink across the country; it’s in our hearts. Hockey is the thought inside you head saying, “Wouldn’t it be amazing, getting up everyday and playing, doing something that you love to do.” [Tim Hortons celebrates hockey as it brings together all Canadians.]

Now I admit to being a huge fan of Sid the Kid. Here are links to a couple priceless pieces that feature our Canadian idol:

Where Crosby Happens

Timbits Hockey Commercial (2009)

Share with us your favourite Crosby commercial!

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Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a trusted executive assistant, a communications can-do guy, or a go-to-scribe? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Hockey Quotes – from The Great One

Perhaps the most remarkable comment about Wayne Gretzky came from Lowell Cohn. This American sportswriter once said of “The Great One”:  “Some guys play hockey. Gretzky plays 40 mph chess.”

For hockey enthusiasts, there should be no need to celebrate the mastery of this superb hockey player. But, if we must produce a reason, we will mark the occasion of last Saturday, the 22nd anniversary of Wayne Gretzky becoming the all-time leading point scorer. On October 15th 1989, The Great One got an assist and then a goal to notch points 1,850 and 1,851 and surpass “Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe’s point total.

Let’s remember Wayne Gretzky’s many achievements with ten of his memorable quotes:

  • Skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.
  • I had to play the same style all the way through. I couldn’t beat people with my strength. I don’t have a hard shot. I’m not the quickest skater in the league. My eyes and my mind had to do most of the work.
  • You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.
  • You’ll never catch me bragging about goals, but I’ll talk all you want about my assists.
  • Hockey is the only sport in the world that actually encourages fighting. I have no idea why we let it go on. The game itself is so fast, so exciting, so much fun to watch, why do we have to turn ice red so often? Why do the best shots in a game have to be on somebody’s nose instead of somebody’s net?
  • It really wasn’t practice, it was fun. I enjoyed myself. If I had considered it practice, I would not have done it. (on playing 6-8 hours a day as a kid)
  • I don’t like my hockey sticks touching other sticks, and I don’t like them crossing one another; and I kind of have them hidden in the corner. I put baby powder on the ends. I think it’s essentially a matter of taking care of what take care of you.
  • I’ve held women and babies and jewels and money, but nothing will ever feel as good as holding that Cup.
  • The hardest thing about hockey is that the older you get, the more you love it.
  • To play so well and for so long is simply incredible. No player will ever do the things in hockey that Gordie (Howe) did.

The last words on The Great One must go to Canadian radio personality Peter Gzowski, who poetically described Wayne Gretzky’s magic in his 2004 piece “The game of our lives.”:

“There is an unhurried grace to everything Gretzky does on the ice. Winding up for the slapshot, he will stop for an almost imperceptible moment at the top of his arc, like a golfer with a rhythmic swing. He has more room in the flow of time and Gretzky uses this room to insert an extra beat into his actions. In front of the net, eyeball to eyeball with the goaltender . . . he will . . . hold the puck one . . . extra instant, upsetting the anticipated rhythm of the game, extending the moment. . . He distorts time, and not only by slowing it down. Sometimes he will release the puck before he appears to be ready, threading the pass through a maze of players precisely to the blade of a teammate’s stick, or finding a chink in a goaltender’s armour and slipping the puck into it . . . before the goaltender is ready to react.”

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Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a trusted executive assistant, a communications can-do guy, or a go-to-scribe? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Quotes on Hockey’s Greats

  • To play so well and for so long is simply incredible. No player will ever do the things in hockey that Gordie [Howe] did. – Wayne Gretzky
  • The finest athlete of them all, that’s what Gordie [Howe] is. And when I say athlete I’m talking about any sport. Take everything into consideration: his age, his record, his condition. There are some pretty good athletes around, great boxers, great football players, everything, but Gordie is in a league by himself. I’d be proud to be half the man on or off the ice that Gordie is. – Bobby Orr
  • On sheer ability, Mario [Lemieux] is good enough to win scoring titles with a broken stick. On pure talent, he’s the best there is. But Wayne [Gretzky] almost never disappoints you. He comes to work every night. – Bobby Orr
  • Gretzky would dominate in any era. It doesn’t make any difference. He may well be the smartest hockey player who ever played the game. – Phil Esposito
  • Gretzky is something else again… he strikes me as the first nondescript hockey star. Sometimes you don’t even realize he’s out there, watching as he whirls, until he emerges out of nowhere, finding open ice, and accelerating to a score… Gretzky is arguably the best player hockey has ever know. – Mordecai Richler
  • By far Gretzky is the most talented player ever. Every time he gets the puck something exciting happens. – Mike Milbury
  • He is hockey now. Although virtually every age of the game has had its pre-eminent players – Morenz, Richard, Howe, Hull, Orr – no one has ever transcended it as he has. – Peter Gzowski
  • I’m not sure Mario [Lemieux] is going to get the accolades he deserves, especially from outside the game. But from within, the players, the people who follow closely, realize exactly what he’s brought to the table, exactly what he has done… – Wayne Gretzky
  • He had talent for everything. How big he is, how he protects the puck, his hands, how smart he is on the ice, all the plays he made. He was always the smartest player on the ice…. With him, it’s easy. It’s just natural ability. – Vincent Lecavalier
  • No disrespect to Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Mark Messier, Bobby Orr, Gilbert Perreault…. But Mario [Lemieux] did things nobody else could ever do. – Bryan Trottier
  • The greatest hockey player who ever lived: Bobby Orr, and I love him. – Don Cherry
  • If I can be half the hockey player that Bobby Orr was, I’ll be happy. – Ray Bourque
  • There ought to be two leagues, one for the pros and one for Beliveau. – Dollard St. Laurent
  • I may not be the hockey player Jean Beliveau was, but some day I hope to be the man he is – Guy Lafleur
  • From the blue line in, I never saw a player as exciting as [Maurice] Richard. When he had the goalie beat, he finished it off, and you had no chance to recover. – Emile Francis
  • Rocket [Maurice Richard] had that mean look in every game we played. He was 100 percent hockey. He could hate with the best of them. – Gordie Howe
  • He could shoot harder than anybody I see nowadays. When he’d wind up behind the net he wasn’t number 7, he was number 777, just a blur. – Roy Worters

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Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a trusted executive assistant, a communications can-do guy, or a go-to-scribe? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

“We know that hockey is where we live…”

By George Journal shares a dozen unforgettable quotes on the greatest game on ice.

  1. He shoots! He scores! – Foster Hewitt
  2. Skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been. – Wayne Gretzky
  3. But I smile at the small-town myth for the harmless, happy days it gave me, and God knows how many tens of thousands of others. Hockey, for most of us, was the first time – and so often the only time – we ever felt we truly mattered. – Ken Dryden
  4. Throughout the years ahead, just as in the past, NHL hockey will remain one of the most exciting team games, an awesome exhibition of strength, speed, endurance and fitness wherever it is played. – Brian McFarlane
  5. There is only one way a boy can be sure to learn to play hockey – on the pond, on the creek, on a flooded lot. The foundation of hockey isn’t really hockey at all. It’s shinny, a wild melee of kids batting a puck around, with no rules, no organization – nothing but individual effort to grab and hold the puck. – Lester Patrick
  6. I’ve always felt hockey was like a disease. You can’t really shake it. – Ken Wregget
  7. Hockey is like a religion in Montreal. You’re either a saint or a sinner; there’s no in-between. – Patrick Roy
  8. Baseball can have its perfect dimensions, its undeniable drama, but hockey, for all its wrongs, still has the potential to deliver a momentary, flashing magic that is found in no other game we play. – Roy MacGregor
  9. Hockey is a man’s game. The team with the most real men wins. – Brian Burke
  10. You can’t play hockey if you’re nice. – Steve Ludzik
  11. You have to know what pro hockey is all about. You have to live and breathe and sleep it. You have to lose a few teeth and take some shots to the face. It’s not a pretty thing. – Ted Nolan
  12. We know that hockey is where we live, where we can best meet and overcome pain and wrong and death. Life is just a place where we spend time between games. – Fred Shero

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Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a trusted executive assistant, a communications can-do guy, or a go-to-scribe? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

 

 

It starts with the sound of the blades…

Sitting in a frigid arena at 7:30 this morning, watching my oldest son streak down the open, pristine sheet of ice and circling back, smiling all the time, I realized that the love of hockey begins with the sound of blades on a hard sheet… it is effortlessly gliding past the blue line, ragging the puck in to snap it into the top of the net. Then digging the puck out while easing backward, swinging around and starting up towards the opposite end.

Finding beauty in these simple motions is what makes hockey such a passion for Canadians. It’s all the time we spend with the game. It seems each week brings such wonderful scenes that will forever be etched in our memories… like my son’s morning skate. There are also collective memories we share with others; watching ‘your team’ play a hard-fought Saturday night game to notch another needed victory. And then there are the magical times every so often when Team Canada takes to the ice to defend our living history of hockey supremacy.

Of course there is more…. As kids you watch certain professional players and become emotionally attached to their near-demi-god status as a Canadian-boy-turn-NHL-star. As “that boy” in you ages, you’ll fondly remember those childhood dreams and always feel connected to something much larger than your daily existence. It starts with the blades and the fun of the game and, for many, it transcends to something grander.

I suppose those passions were what stirred last week when the storied Montreal Canadians celebrated their 100th anniversary. The December 4 ceremony was something very special for those who lived through a truly golden era of hockey. All the demi-gods turned out for the millennium ceremony – Beliveau, Lafleur, Roy, ‘Pocket’ Richard, Robinson, Gainey…. . The franchise has posted some of the highlights.

The game means so much to all of us – on many different levels. In the months ahead, By George will be collecting statements of ‘What hockey means to us’ to add to our discussion of this great Canadian experience.

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(ed. – This column first appeared in By George Journal in December 2009.)

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Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a trusted executive assistant, a communications can-do guy, or a go-to-scribe? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

The Sad Reality regarding The End of the Season

The 2010-2011 hockey season for the George boys has officially ended. And admittedly, this week we have all been living in denial… we still hold out hope that, just maybe, in the days ahead we’ll see the inside of a rink again. Maybe the boys will get a chance to lace up…

The photo is of my eldest, moments before he took to the ice for the championship game of tournament play in Buffalo last weekend. The game was invigorating – the players on both teams laying it all out on the ice, every shift, every play. The contest ended with a sinking wrist shot that eluded the goalie’s glove hand, 5 minutes into an overtime period. Though the St. Catherines Stars were on the losing end of the 3-2 score, everyone in that arena that afternoon left fulfilled. It was ahelluva game – some fine hockey.

It wasn’t so bad to be defeated, as it was us knowing that this game was to be the last of the season.

Somewhere I remember reading that life imitates sport. Sunday, we experienced life again with the rushes, passes, and exciting plays in front of the nets. There were many tense moments (who’s kidding who – it was all tense!!) and we yelled at the poor refereeing, cheered on our boys and clapped for the energy and skill displayed by both teams. This game was the best of the sport we all have become so intimate with.  For 90 minutes on Sunday, nothing else really mattered once the whistle blew and the puck dropped.

As we were driving home, Alexander said, over and over, “I can’t believe hockey is over. It was such an awesome year, why does it have to end?” Of course, our parental instincts told us to say – “All good things must come to an end.” Yet, in attempting to respond to his moans from the backseat, my wife and I could only offer a few unconvincing words of comfort. It was all too recent and hard to put into perspective and, yes, we were thinking what Alexander was voicing.

Later that night, my younger boy – a spirited player himself – asked about the next time he would get onto the ice. He talked about looking forward to power skating in September and the try outs for the Select team. He wondered about the new equipment he was going to need and how much he would grow in the summer. He spoke of how much he loved the game and how he wanted to improve his play. Then David questioned me on the number of weeks he’d have to wait before the start of the 2011-12 house league season – and we worked it out to be 20 weeks. Somehow, counting through those weeks in our heads made us realize that the new season is really not too far off.

I find that, by talking about next season, it is helping us to re-focus on other thoughts of spring, summer and family vacations. With that last game in Buffalo so freshly imprinted in our memory, anticipation for “the next time” may be paining, yet it is beginning to feel bearable. It’s 20 weeks; it’s just 20 weeks. What are we suppose to do? It’s life! And we take comfort in knowing that the puck will drop again (in 20 weeks and counting).

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(ed. – This column originally appeared in the By George Journal in April 2011.)

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Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a trusted executive assistant, a communications can-do guy, or a go-to-scribe? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Hockey is the glue that binds our Nation

In order to be a dynamic, sustainable national entity, a country’s people must have shared values, perspectives, and experiences. A country’s peoples must know and understand certain common things – whether they be moments in time, or iconic images that stir a common passion. In Canada our sense of national identity has become blurred through the past two to three decades largely because we are losing our national common identifiers. And we are losing our sense of being because we no longer collectively share special moments or recognize and appreciate meaningful symbols.

So, one needs to ask “What do we have in Canada to unite us? What will provide that sense of nationalism that can pull us together and have us share moments in time – that can become our peoples’ common memories and source of pride?”

By George offers that our national game of hockey is the glue that binds our nation.

Hockey is a shared experience that transcends pucks and ice surfaces. Hockey envelops everything from pre-dawn breakfasts and cold car rides to the smell of locker rooms and those smiles and arena exchanges with your children. There are tens of thousands of Canadian children who love the game and dream of being the next Gretzky or Crosby. There is a legend of parents who come together to converse and share moments in the rinks and the parking lots. And there is Saturday night. Imagine how many households have the HNIC ritual of cheering the opening face-off and needing to hear Don Cherry bark through another Coach’s Corner.

Hockey is the reference point for Canada. Quite simply, it is what defines us.

Hockey defines us in a way that other things do not – or can no longer. For example, Canada is beyond being defined by its two founding Nations. This has given way to multiculturalism and, today, we have our three most populous urban centres as, literally, cultural mosaics. What of bilingualism? A native heritage? Our historic memberships in the commonwealth or NATO? None of these strike a resounding chord with our current society.

Canadians no longer rally around historic icons like our founding father Sir John A, the Mounties, the mighty moose or maple syrup? Many Canadians have never seen a canoe or an inukshuk – so these symbols simply cannot provide a common reference point. Perhaps there is a case for the maple leaf icon and our ensign – but Canadians differ greatly on what our red-and-white flag represents and the maple leaf is less a shared symbol of national passion than it is a default icon representing the notion of our country.

So, the contention is hockey is the glue that binds…. and in the months ahead the By George Journal will celebrate hockey and explore the idea of this glorious game is “the defining element” of Canada – our peoples’ source of “being Canadian.”

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(ed. – This column originally appeared in By George Journal in December 2009.)

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Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a trusted executive assistant, a communications can-do guy, or a go-to-scribe? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

 

Tagged “hockey”

hockey_10

For millions of Canadians, it’s all about the arenas and the enjoyment of our national obsession! The hockey season envelopes us and our daily routine is just that much better when you drop a puck. Whether it’s double-checking the scores from the night before or hurrying off to the rink with a trunk load of gear, in this country we have good reason to smile.

By George Journal has numerous posts capturing the spirit and passion of our game – tagged “hockey”. Aside from great hockey quotes, photos and some puckish humour, through the last few years we have provided readers with some reflective posts on the beloved game. Here are a half dozen that you’ll find in the By George Journal index:

Hockey is the glue that binds our Nation
It starts with the sound of the blades
The Arena: a Lens onto Life (a poem)
Don Cherry and Coach’s Corner – warping our national identity?!
Ahelluva Hockey Commercial!
The Sad Reality regarding The End of the Season

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Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a trusted executive assistant, a communications can-do guy, or a go-to-scribe? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

 

 

Sensational Senators

andrew-hammond

Forget Parliament Hill and the Red Chamber of “sober second thought.” Forget even the courts and Mike “the Puffster” Duffy’s trial – or the auditor’s take on the high-flying “I paid it all back” Wallin.  If you want the real Senators story in Ottawa these days, you need to turn your attention to the excitement at the ice rink.

The Ottawa Senators playoff bid has the whole of the Nation’s Capital abuzz!

Last evening, the Senators went into Madison Square Gardens and defeated the New York Rangers. The story of the night was – again – Andrew Hammond, who made 26 saves and recorded a 3-0 shut-out of the top-dogs in the NHL Eastern Conference.

The Ottawa Senators are 11-0-4 in their past 15 one-goal games. Seven of those wins have come in overtime / shootout games. They are 22-4-4 since February 10 when they were buried in the league standings and considered a long shot to make the playoffs. Now, with the win last night, they are one game away from post-season play.

The underlining reason for this fantastic turn-around is a minor-leaguer’s Cinderella story. It is the aging hanger-on-er (at 27 years old) Andrew Hammond, beloved by fans as “The Hamburgler,” who has had a dream-like run posting a 14-0-1 record with a .946 save percentage in his first 15 starts.

What a Sens-ation by a most unlikely hero!

You have to believe that Steve, Tommy and the-second-coming-of-PET would want this kind of bounce and momentum going into their playoff run!

Jean Beliveau – R.I.P.

jean beliveauJean Béliveau, the legendary Montreal Canadiens hockey centreman, died Tuesday night at the age of 83.

Jean Béliveau captained the Canadiens from 1961 until his retirement in 1971, making him the longest-serving captain in franchise history.

His No. 4 jersey was retired by the Canadiens on October 9, 1971 (also Guy Lafleur’s first NHL game)

He was signed on Oct. 3, 1953 to a five-year, $105,000 contract, at the time the most generous pact in the National Hockey League.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound centreman missed the playoffs just once in his 18 seasons, his second-last year in the NHL, and appeared in 13 All-Star Games.

His name appears on the Stanley Cup a record 17 times, having won seven championships during 22 post-playing years as the Canadiens’ senior vice-president of corporate affairs.

Current NHL records:

  • Most Stanley Cups, combined player or non-player: 17 (10 as player [1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1971], 7 as executive [1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1986, 1993] and the next-closest is Scotty Bowman, who has 13)
  • Most Stanley Cups as team captain: 5 (1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1971)
  • Fastest game-winning goal in regulation time of a playoff game: 14 seconds (May 1, 1965)
  • Tied for most assists in one period of a playoff game: 3 (he did it twice, has happened 86 times in history)

Achievements & Honours:

  • 13 All-Star games: 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1963, 1964 (MVP), 1965, 1968, 1969 (Note: Did not play in 1967 all-star game due to injury)
  • Led league in goals twice: 1955-56, 1958-89
  • Led league (or tied for league lead) in assists twice: 1960-61, 1965-66
  • Led playoffs in points once: 1955-56
  • Now 39th in goals: 507
  • Now Tied for 49th in assists: 712
  • Now 39th in points: 1,219
  • Now 10th in playoff goals: 79
  • Became 2nd player to record 1,000th career point (Gordie Howe was the only one to do it before him)
  • Became 4th player to record 500th career goal (Maurice Richard, Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull were the only ones to do it before him)

Notable Canadiens team records/ranks:

  • Tied for most seasons: 20 (Henri Richard tied him in 1974-75)
  • Tied for most seasons as captain: 10 (Saku Koivu tied him in 1999-00)
  • Most power-play goals: 171
  • Most playoff points: 176
  • Most goals by a centre: 507
  • Most assists by a centre: 712
  • Most points by a centre: 1,219
  • Became 1st in team history to record 1,000th career point
  • Became 1st player in history to play 1,000th career game with team
  • Became 2nd player in team history to record 500th career goals (Maurice Richard was the only Canadien to do it before him)

Quotes re Jean Beliveau

  • “It is hard, but I will play no more. I only hope I have made a contribution to a great game.” – Jean Beliveau on April 9, 1971, announcing his retirement after having led his team to the Stanley Cup
  • “Everything I achieved throughout my career, and all the rewards that followed, came as the results of team effort. If they say anything about me when I’m gone, let them say that I was a team man. To me, there is no higher compliment.” – Jean Beliveau
  • “Loyalty is another form of responsibility… Your good name is your greatest asset.” – Arthur Béliveau, Jean’s father
  • “There ought to be two leagues: one for the pros and one for Jean.” – Dollard St. Laurent, 1950’s teammate
  • “I admire John not just because of his great, great ability as a hockey player, but for his demeanour in public. He’s a complete gentleman.” – Gordie Howe
  • “I don’t think there can be any other figure in the history of professional team sports who better exemplifies the word ‘winner.'” – Wayne Gretzky
  • “Jean led our team with his presence. That’s all he needed. Jean was a great, great leader.” – Dickie Moore, teammate
  • “Jean Beliveau played on instinct, incredible instinct. He would control the centre of the ice and knew how to create space for himself. If you cut and were open, he’d get you the puck. He had size, strength, reach. He could really shoot the puck and he was tougher than you might remember. If you got close to him, you got a crosscheck. It was a treat to play with him, a treat to watch him play. And he had time for everybody. No matter who it was. No matter what the situation was.” – Dick Duff, teammate
  • “The Rocket and Mr. Béliveau come to my mind as the faces of the Canadiens and their Stanley Cups. Mr. Béliveau was a legend as a player and he was such a class act as a human being, an ambassador for the game and the Canadiens. The players felt, and I know the fans felt the same way, that when he walked in the room or into the building, the whole place went quiet just because of his presence.” – Saku Koivu, Canadiens long serving captain
  • “In old clips, most of us look dated. Jean, so big, so graceful and forceful, looks timeless, as at home in today’s game as he was in his prime — a bigger, more forceful Jonathan Toews, perhaps.” – Ken Dryden, Canadiens star goalie
  • “For all the accomplishments he achieved and all the accolades he received, Jean Béliveau was always the epitome of the boy whose only dream was to play for the Montreal Canadiens. Hockey is better because that dream was realized.” – Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner
  • “Even today, nearly 40 years after his retirement, Jean Beliveau is greeted with the same reverence wherever he goes. He inspires in others the same love for hockey that always has been his trademark — and always will be.” – Gary Bettman
  • “John was an entertaining, unselfish, tremendous player with the ability to set up goals at will. As much as I’ve talked about him through the years, I’ve never had anyone say a darned thing bad about him. We didn’t play on the same team but I consider John my friend. And that makes me a better man.” – Gordie Howe

SOURCES and great reads on the legend:
National Post
Sun News
NHL Obituary
Ken Dryden, special to the Toronto Star
SportsNet statistics

Jean Beliveau_credit Michael Barera

 

The Habs of Old and “the Cup”

On the eve of the Stanley Cup Finals, I couldn’t help but look through the By George selection of hockey articles. This reflection from 2009 caught my eye…

 

canadiens-logoIn talking of the golden era of hockey, I’d have to say the Montreal Canadiens franchise of the late 60′s through the 70′s was the very best of the game. In my humble opinion, the Habs of that time produced what could be considered “the ultimate hockey line.” 

 

Goal: Jacques Plante (#1 netminder through the 50′s and early 60′s)

“D”: Larry Robinson and Serge Savard (and, of course, the third amigo – Guy Lapointe)

Centre: Jean Beliveau (“The Gentleman of Hockey” who retired after hoisting the Cup in ’71)

Right wing:  Guy Lafleur (Who can forget the chants of “Guy, Guy, Guy” that rocked the Forum)

Left wing:  Bob Gainey (The best two-way player – ever)

 

So much for my picks…. I was keenly interested to see the selection of the all-time best Canadians, picked by their loyal fans. Here are the results of the franchise’s “Fans Choice” survey:

 

Goal:  Patrick Roy (and then Ken Dryden and Jacques Plante)

Defense:  Larry Robinson, Doug Harvey, Serge Savard, Andre Markov, Guy Lapointe, and Chris Chelios – in that order

Centre:  Jean Beliveau (and then Henri Richard and Howie Morenz)

Right Wing :  Maurice Richard (followed by Guy Lafleur and Yvan Cournoyer)

Left Wing:  Toe Blake (followed by Bob Gainey, Steve Shutt and then Frank Mahovlich)

 

Check out the full Fans Choice voting.   Long live the Habs! Long live those glorious memories!

 

NHL Lockout: a squabble between multi-millionaires

How can anyone have any sympathy for the labour disputes between sport franchise owners and our modern day gladiators. Still, each time there is a dust-up in a sports arena, players claim they’re “taken advantage of” and owners cry “poor. “

Seriously, the only people really hurt by sport-shutdowns are the fans. Season after season, loyal fans dole out hundreds of dollars to attend the major-day sporting event. They buy team merchandise. They purchase cold hot dogs and warm beer at a small ransom. They empathize with their favorite players and live by every team decisions.

And then they must endure a strike/lock-out (call it what you want) because multi-millionaires can’t agree how to wade through the piles of cash… Owners have the problem of divvying up hundreds of hundreds of millions of franchise dollars each year. The athletes all get paid handsomely for playing their game. Here’s what our gladiators currently make on an annual basis:

Baseball

minimum salary – $480,000

average salary – $3.44 million  

average career earnings – $18.2 million  

 

NFL

minimum salary – $390,000

average salary – $1.1 million  

average career earnings – $2-3 million (based on an average career of 3.5 years)  

 

NBA

minimum salary – $473,604

average salary – $5.276 million  

average career earnings – $21.5 million  

 

NHL

minimum salary – $525,000

average salary – $2.4 million  

average career earnings – $12- 13 million

 

With this amount of money in play for each gladiator we admire and cheer for – there’s but one conclusion:  the multi-millionaire players and the franchise owners are “gaming their fans.”

So, as the deadline for the NHL negotiations tick down this week and we see all the doomsday scenarios for the great sport of hockey, is there any wonder there’s no sympathy and only disgust from fans?

(ed. – The gluttony of the professionals have prompted me to tune out the TV broadcasts this year and head out to local rinks to watch the junior teams across our community.)