16
Oct
11

Hockey Book Review – A to Z Guide to Hockey Terms (Second Edition), by the Moshansky brothers.

Every hockey fan has had to learn the game at one point or another in their life. Whether this was from playing it as a kid or watching as a spectator, everyone had to start from nothing. In fact, many are still learning the game. We all know it’s not the easiest sport in the world to learn and memorize.

Hockey has a long history, and even longer lists of terminologies and rules that change year to year. It’s hard to keep up.

Fortunately the Moshansky brothers have come up with a solution to this: The A to Z Guide to Hockey Terms.

If you’ve ever poked around the hockey section of a bookstore, you’ve most likely seen this pocket-sized book hanging around with Theo Fleury’s autobiography or the NHL’s Official Guide and Record Book. Despite A to Z Guide’s small stature compared to the giants around it, it’s worth taking a look.

No matter how well you think you know the game, I can guarantee you will learn something (actually, probably a lot of things) from A to Z Guide.

It begins with 88 pages of over 600 alphabetical hockey terms, covering everything you could possibly think of, including: “rolling puck,” “clearing attempt,” “thread the needle” and something I use often, “pylon.”

Ever try explaining what offside means to someone? Well, all you have to do is flip to page 60 and bingo! Next thing you know you sound like Jim Robson to all of your friends (even though you knew what offside meant, but didn’t have the ability to form the thought into comprehensible English).

“Offside: When the team with puck possession carries or shoots the puck into the opposing team’s defensive zone with one of their players already in the zone, past the blue line…”

Yes, it’s that easy. Don’t you love it when people do all the work for you?

Honestly I had a lot of fun flipping through the A to Z Guide. There are a lot of funny, old-fashioned terms in there that you rarely hear anymore. You know, like the outdated things Mark Lee says on Hockey Night in Canada, such as “lunch pail gang” or “split the bagel.”

What does “split the bagel” mean, you ask? Look it up!

A to Z Guide to Hockey Terms also matches up every NHL team with its conference, arena and farm team, and lists other teams lost to the sands of time (although the Winnipeg Jets will have to be revived from the casualties in the next edition).

Trophies, player nicknames, abbreviations of stats, penalties and even diagrams of referee calls are very helpful to new fans of the NHL. Many of us are too proud to ask a buddy to explain an obscure hockey term or call, but if you have this book, you can look it up yourself and keep your dignity.

For around $15, you get a complete dictionary of hockey terms at your fingertips, plus lots of quotes, diagrams, illustrations and lists of Stanley Cup winners.

With Christmas around the corner, A to Z Guide is a perfect gift for any hockey fan in your family. Its small size (roughly 4 x 5 inches) makes for a great stocking stuffer.

Or you can always be a bit selfish and pick one up for yourself.

The A to Z Guide to Hockey Terms is available at www.thehockeybook.com or Amazon.ca.

22
Aug
11

Magicians and manipulation: my latest lesson in dating.

I’ve always been told that I’m an intelligent girl with common sense and a great judge of character. Apparently I’m loyal, protective of those I care about and I have enough of a guard around my heart to steer clear those that would hurt me for quite some time now. Years, actually.

Enter the Magician.

On the night I met him, I’ll admit I wasn’t very sober, but there were no rose-tinted glasses on the brim of my nose. After chatting for a while I called him out immediately, telling him he was most likely arrogant and a user of women. He was a doorman, you see. At the time he laughed and spent the next two weeks convincing me I was wrong. We took things slow, went on nice dates and he wouldn’t even kiss me for a while, portraying himself to be the opposite of everything I accused him of the night we met.

The thing is, my drunken self was right, but that stubborn, lonely part of me that wanted to believe I was wrong took over and let the Magician into my life.

We dated for over four months. We had the “exclusive” talk early and more than once just to make things clear. He partied with my j-school friends, bonded with my roommate and even met my parents. Everyone loved him. Mind you, he of course had his problems, but they were more to do with baggage and bad habits than being a bad person. We were complete opposites in most ways, but he was sweet, kind and thoughtful. He cooked for me a lot and brought me flowers every time he came over. My apartment was never without fresh flowers for quite some time. He complimented me almost too much, making me feel sexy and gorgeous, like I was the most beautiful girl in Vancouver.

Everything was going great, except for all that baggage and those bad habits I mentioned. Those are what eventually forced my hand to end to relationship. After all, the Magician was unstable, and the one thing I want in my life at my age is stability.

So I ended things on good terms with nothing but the utmost respect for him, with no bad feelings whatsoever save for guilt that it couldn’t work out.

A month later I found out he was regularly sleeping with two other women the entire time we were together. All those things I thought were bad habits were, in fact, bad omens, things that immediately revealed themselves to be the warning signs of a cheater.  And just like that, the significance of this person in my life shattered into pieces. As it turns out, I knew absolutely nothing about him.

Now, why I call him the Magician.

About a month before I ended things, I had him over for drinks with my roommate and we decided to do a quick Tarot card reading. You close your eyes and move your hand over the deck until you are drawn to one particular card, feeling its energy.

He pulled the Reverse Magician. My roommate’s eyes widened as he turned the card over, and her eyes flashed quickly to me from her position on the floor. For a moment she said nothing.

“I’m sorry,” she finally said, “I’m just trying to figure out how to say this.”

I remember my heart jumping into my throat at the look on her face.

She now tells me she immediately wanted to ask him, “Who are you lying to?” knowing perfectly well it was me, but she too liked him and wanted to believe the card was about something else going on in his life.

But we now know too well it wasn’t.

The reverse Magician means greed, deceit, trickery, cunning and manipulation. It signifies someone using charm and power in a manipulative manner to convince people of his stories, like a seedy car salesman, using deceit for negative ends.

Tarot: the reversed Magician

 “Possibilities become jokes and empty promises rather than true visions of what could be. This is the ‘music man’ running off with the money rather than really teaching boys how to use those instruments and create a band.”

And to think he pulled this card himself, using his own energy.

As more details of what was going on come to light, I realize this Magician had the black top hat pulled over everyone’s eyes, not just mine. Many things I thought I knew about him were complete lies, which no longer surprises me now that the shock has subsided. He fooled not only me, but my friends and family. I suppose one could call him a master magician. He has, after all, had many years to perfect his tricks and many people to practice on.

Despite being tricked by a professional, I still can’t help blaming myself for not seeing the signs in front of me, and in the case of the Tarot card, a very strong sign indeed. In retrospect they were there, blazing before all of our eyes, but we chose to ignore them, or to administer them to something else.

I hope I won’t be fooled again, but at the same time, the world of men won’t be shunned over one asshole’s trickery. I’ll just wise up, like when you’re a kid and you finally realize your uncle doesn’t actually “got your nose” after all. It’s an unfortunate learning process a lot of people, men and women, have to go through.

After all, life is always about learning, progressing and bettering ourselves, isn’t it? You get better at reading people, you learn to listen to and respect your gut when it’s trying to say something. You smarten up, you move on and you hopefully develop the ability to distinguish between fact and fiction, or in this case, between the Magician and a real man.

27
Apr
11

Round 1 Round up – Canucks vs Blackhawks

Ryan Kesler, PNG

To sum up Game 7 between the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks, I have two words: jammer time.

As usual, the Canucks can’t do anything the easy way, testing the heart health of all their fans by taking a Game 7 series into OT…  After leading the series 3-0… Then losing 3 straight.

Fans everywhere began to feel that pit of dread sitting like a stone in the bottom of their guts. Across Vancouver you could practically see the question forming in the air above the city: Will the Hawks oust us again?

There’s only so much a poor Canucks fan can take, especially after a 40-year dryspell.

Many fans figured the Canucks could sweep the Blackhawks, and on paper, that seemed highly possible. I mean after all, the Canucks are the Presidents’ Trophy winners and currently boast two Art Ross twins and Jennings goalies.

The Hawks? Well, they only made it into 8th place last minute on a technicality(Dallas losing).

But of course, history is a bitch and as someone trained in historical studies (Russian, but whatever), I can say that these Vancouver/Chicago series have the tendency to repeat themselves.

At a few points during this series I felt like throwing up. At another I actually cried. This was following the Game 6 loss in OT (by the way, the only other time I’ve ever cried watching hockey was during the Gold Medal game last spring).

It was a series of love, hate, fights, nausea, swearing, drinking and even a fear of rioting.

As I mentioned earlier, the Canucks can’t do anything the easy way, even driving the Vancouver police to stressful extremes as an OT in Game 7 was the last thing they needed. No doubt the riots of 1994 are still fresh in the city’s memory, and as this Round 1 series was a far cry from the ’94 Cup run, Tuesday’s Game 7 was said to be the second most important game in Canucks history.

If you’re not a Canucks fan, you may think that sounds silly, but really, this is supposed to be the best Canucks roster this city has ever seen. For such a team to be ousted in the first round by an arch rival would not surpisingly push a few (intoxicated) fans over the edge. That plus the three consecutive losses to Chicago had many fans nervous, agitated and angry. They can’t be blamed for feeling any of these emotions, but combine those with alcohol and a Game 7 and you could easily have another riot on your hands.

Thankfully that wasn’t the case, and instead Canucks fans took to the streets to celebrate their team’s victory.

After Game 7 there was a rather peaceful celebration on Granville Street, and only 7 arrests in comparison to the hundreds in 1994.

I’m sure the police were just as relieved as the fans.

To continue on with my light review, my favourite players of the series were: Kesler, Hansen, Bieksa, Luongo (yes, Luongo).

Least favourite: Most of the Hawks, Torres, the Sedins – mostly Henrik, and for the first 6 games Burrows.

MVP?: Corey Crawford, Chicago’s rookie goalie. He was stellar, and I have the utmost respect for the guy.

Biggest annoyance: Henrik, where are you? I wasn’t a fan of you becoming captain as it is (I wanted Kesler), and you’re not helping your cause during a time when your team really needs you!

God this team misses Malhotra.

Overall, it was a rollercoaster series and one hell of a ride, but one I’d rather not take again this year. I don’t think my heart can take it.

In the meantime, the Roxy is preparing for the shame spiral that is Shane O’Brien. At least he’s kind of contributing to the city’s revenue.

PS: It’s been a while since I’ve blogged on my Cantankerous site, so sorry about the wait. If you didn’t know,  I have another more professional blogsite going as well. Check it out!

04
Jan
11

An Ode to Bertuzzi

 

You left us five years ago

For the Floridian sun

My heart is still healing,

The repair is not done.

 

You have left quite the void,

And some big skates to fill.

Since you left it’s been different,

Not the same kind of skill.

 

Now the team’s a bit soft,

Full of Swedes and nice fellows.

I miss your huge hits,

Your death glares and your bellows.

 

At 6’3 you’re a force,

Human hell on wheels.

You’ve lost a bit of weight though,

You should eat some more meals.

 

You can grow a full beard

Like it’s nobody’s business,

And I think it’s sexy.

Can I please be your mistress?

 

I’m kidding (well, sort of),

I know that you’re taken,

But if you divorce

Be the eggs to my bacon.

 

Anyway, I digress.

You’re doing well at the Joe,

You’re nearing 30 points

With many games to go.

 

So Todd, if it happens

That you tire of the States,

Come back to Vancouver.

We can go on some dates!

 

Damnit, I’m sorry,

I digressed again.

I guess I can’t help it,

I like scruffy men.

 

I still wear your jersey

To Canucks-Wings games.

Guess I miss you on the team,

It’s just not the same.

 

I remember you fondly,

Despite that Steve Moore.

You’re still one of my favourites,

Love Canucksgirl44.

30
Dec
10

Five Hole for Food – A Canadian Hockey Charity to Look Up To

Five Hole for Food and Hockey Community, Dec. 29, 2010. Photo from http://www.fiveholeforfood.com

Last night Five Hole for Food and Hockey Community played  a friendly hockey game at Burnaby 8 Rinks to raise donations for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Over 200 pounds of food and over $200 in cash were collected  from participants and spectators alike.

During the holidays the Food Bank has struggled to meet demand as donations are down from last year, but Richard Loat, founder of Five Hole for Food, figured that he could use Vancouver’s love of hockey to help out a little.

If you don’t know what Five Hole for Food is, it’s a non-profit organization that brings people out to play hockey and bring donations to food banks while they’re at it.

I have to say I’m very impressed with what Richard has managed to do with Five Hole for Food in 2010. During Five Hole’s cross-Canada tour last summer, Richard and partner Vic Lo raised almost 6,000 lbs of food for Canadian food banks in nine different cities. For 2011, they are planning on hitting 13 cities across the country and raise even more for local food banks.

Richard is not only a colleague of mine; he’s become a friend, and it’s projects like Five Hole for Food that make me realize how much Canada needs people like Richard; people with entrepreneurial minds and big hearts to better our communities.

Richard Loat during the Five Hole for Food cross-Canada tour in 2010.

His drive and never-ending focus to help out where he can has attracted many people to Richard like moths to a flame, from friends, to followers to important business contacts. I may harp on the poor guy a lot, but beneath my sass is a deep respect for someone so young who has managed to do so much. It’s easy to forget his age with so many accomplishments behind and ahead of him.

Richard has inspired me to get involved with Five Hole where I can, whether that’s writing articles for The Province to raise awareness or donating my time, and I hope that other people are affected by these projects in a similar fashion.

I stand with Richard after the event Five Hole for Food Fights Holiday Hunger. Photo by Dixon Tam

Sadly it’s easy to ignore those in need on the streets of Vancouver, but Richard has come up with a way to unite a love of hockey with filling stomachs of the hungry. It’s just plain smart, especially in a country like Canada where we live and breathe the sport.

If you haven’t heard of Richard Loat or Five Hole for Food you soon will, as I have a feeling Richard and his amazing ideas are going to go far.

Look for Five Hole for Food this summer when the road-hockey tour kicks off June 23 to July 9, 2011.

Check out http://www.fiveholeforfood.com for more information, and follow Richard on Twitter – @mozy19.

 

 

12
Dec
10

Thanks for the Memories, Markus Naslund.

The West Coast Express line, Canucks.com

Markus Naslund was the reason why I became a Canucks fan, and the reason why I’m involved in hockey writing at all.

Can you say he changed my life? Yes, you actually can, which is why I made sure I attended Naslund’s jersey retirement last night, sitting right beneath his banner as it rose to the rafters.

I had to thank him somehow.

There are a lot of Canucks fans out there who didn’t think Naslund’s number should have been retired last night for reasons of their own, but those people probably weren’t affected by Naslund the way I was, or the way many others were who fell in love with our team because of him. They also weren’t any of those now-grown kids who met Naslund at BC Children’s hospital and say he too changed their lives. He was the face of a new generation of fans; the leader of the most exciting line in recent Canucks hockey – the West Coast Express.

Which brings me to the ceremony. It’s no secret that Todd Bertuzzi is one of my favourite players, clearly for nostalgic reasons, but seeing the old WCE line brought back together with Morrison seated on the carpet and Bertuzzi talking on the Jumbo-Tron gave every fan in Rogers Arena a huge trip down memory lane. Both Morrison and Ohlund walked out to deafening cheers, Cloutier as well but with a few boos and Clouts in the mix.

It was just like old times again, with friends and linemates reunited to celebrate 12 years of one man’s life on the Vancouver Canucks. Everyone was there for the same reason, from the former players, old coaches, GMs, and training staff to 19,000 fans who were there solely to watch the number 19 get raised to the rafters.

Just like in 2002, Markus Naslund had the attention and adoration of everyone in GM Place — sorry, Rogers Arena.  He was emotional and grateful, and choked up when he began thanking the best fans in the league, a statement that had the audience tearing up and cheering his name.

He was, once again, the most loved man in Vancouver.

Even those who didn’t want Naslund’s number retired were quietened at least for a while, as the nostalgia of what we had and what we lost resonated throughout Canucks Nation. There’s no doubt that Naslund was one of the classiest players Vancouver has ever seen, on and off the ice. I don’t think a lot of people know the level of interaction he had with Canuck Place and BC Children’s Hospital, not to mention with the mentally disabled community.

Many fans didn’t need to be convinced, but those who did were reminded why no other player deserves to wear the number 19 in Vancouver.

Naslund was a gem, and maybe that gem lost some of its sparkle and some of its value over the years, but last night this city was reminded what a treasure we had in Markus Naslund.

Thank you Markus for 12 amazing years in Vancouver, and for changing my life.

Because of you, I was introduced to one of the most important loves of my life – the Vancouver Canucks.

Photo: the Vancouver Sun

23
Oct
10

the Oilers get “Ice Girls” – A sign of desperation?

How many girls does it take to clear a foot of ice?

 

As popular as “Ice Girls” are becoming in the NHL, I always figured it was an American way of drawing attention to a sport that’s not very popular south of the border, like a desperate gimmick Gary Bettman planted to increase the ratings of the NHL.

But now that the Oilers are hopping on board the skank-train, Canada (a country that isn’t desperate for ratings in hockey) is getting its first NHL cheerleading squad.

You can hear a low grumble growing across the nation as real, female hockey fans fear this disease will spread to the other five Canadian NHL teams.

What’s my problem with it? Am I jealous?

Nope. I just don’t think cheerleading is a part of hockey, and many male hockey fans feel the same way. Keep it in football, basketball — that’s fine, but hockey?

What’s next – golf cheerleaders?

I’m not a feminist by any means, but I think in hockey, a sport with a rapidly increasing FEMALE demographic, should be pushing for marketing ideas that will attract fans in general, not just male fans.

I understand that the Oilers have had a rough past four years, but do they think getting scantily-clad women is going to distract Edmonton’s fan base from what’s actually happening on the ice?

The Canucks’ ice team (a mix of men and women) have received praise for being classy – but what would happen if Vancouver started a cheerleading squad?

This?

Is this next in Vancouver?

 

I’m sure a lot of (most) men who aren’t blind would appreciate the eye candy, but what about all the women out there who are seriously getting into hockey? Again, a lot of you are thinking “who cares?”, but the fact that female fans are skyrocketing in the NHL’s fan base should remind marketing that it’s no longer a man’s sport. It’s a fan’s sport.

A more important point – what about the TimBits hockey kids who play during intermission? Will this be replaced by ice dancing routines and cheerleading?

What’s more important? Developing these kids as players and giving them the thrill of their little hockey careers by letting them play in front of 19,000 people, or cheerleading?

I guess my point is, I see ice girls in hockey as a trashy, desperate attempt to distract the fans from a struggling team. The Florida Panthers, for example, was one of the first organizations in the NHL to adopt ice dancers, and we all know how the Panthers play… I do know that teams like Boston and Chicago now have ice dancers as well and they’re by no means bad teams, but they are in America.

Why did a Canadian organization have to lower their club to this?

As a Canadian hockey fan, not as a woman, I’m kind of insulted.

I hope that other Canadian organizations don’t see this as competition and feel compelled to adopt it as well. Keep intermission about the TimBits hockey and about showcasing the fans, not about scantily clad girls with shovels.

If you want to see that kind of performance, go to a BC Lions game or Number 5 Orange.

This isn’t a strip club – it’s hockey.




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