Thursday, 20 July 2017

The Hockey Show - Episode 252

The Hockey Show is a little late in getting this up today as the last twenty-four hours have been extremely busy, but here we are nonetheless. Tonight, Teebz is flying solo in terms of our regular hosts as Beans is off conducting a little family celebration as a birthday is happening, so we'll toss out some good wishes on that front. He will be joined by a special guest host, though, and the two will spend some time discussing a wide-range of topics as The Hockey Show gets back to its roots! Oh, and if you like winning stuff, tonight's show will have a couple of cool prizes up for grabs!

Tonight, The Hockey Show is proud and privileged to welcome a man who has been heard on Bisons hockey broadcasts as The Manitoban's Jason Pchajek sits down with Teebz in-studio! Jason covers all sports at the University of Manitoba and outside the campus as well as contributing on several other non-sports stories during his time at the university newspaper! He's extremely well-versed in the ongoings of the hockey world, so we're honoured he can spend some time with us! Among the topics we'll be covering tonight will be the recent slate of signings by the Winnipeg Jets and whether that will be enough to vault them past the usual suspects in the Central Division for a playoff spot, why the Moose seem to be content with being eliminated from the AHL's Calder Cup Playoffs by Christmas, CWHL expansion and relocation, the new recruits by the Manitoba Bisons men's hockey team, why this year might be THE YEAR for the Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team, is Letterkenny the best Canadian comedy right now, the upcoming final season of 19-2 and what that drama means to Canadian TV, and we'll give away some clothing compliments of the Sami Jo Small Hockey School and Rebel Pizza! There's lots happening, so make sure you tune in tonight!

I wouldn't repeat it week after week if it wasn't important. Download the UMFM app on your phone or tablet! It's the easiest and most convenient way to listen to any of UMFM's great shows any time of the day, so go get it! Just follow this link on your iDevice or this link for your Android device and get the UMFM app! It's never been easier to tune into The Hockey Show or UMFM! Download the UMFM app today, and don't miss any of our great programming or shows!

If you prefer social media, we try to up-to-speed there as well! Email all show questions and comments to hockeyshow@umfm.com! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show.

Tonight, Teebz welcomes one of the upcoming-and-coming writers in Manitoba to the show as Jason Pchajek makes an appearance to talk hockey, Jared Keeso projects, and more only on The Hockey Show found on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM app!

PODCAST: July 20, 2017: Episode 252

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

US Pond Hockey Goes Sledding

Having been lucky enough to spend some time with Billy Bridges while he was working at the Sami Jo Small Hockey School, it became pretty apparent to me that sledge hockey still doesn't get the recognition that it truly deserves on both a local and national stage. Granted, it has made leaps and bounds over the last two decades thanks to players like Bridges, Brad Bowden, and Greg Westlake leading the charge for Canada on the international stage. We've seen the Norwegians, the Americans, the Japanese, and the Swedes all turn in solid programs over the past number of years as well, so the sport is growing with solid numbers and a fantastic following!

If one is looking to continue that solid growth, it helps if more people can take part in the game. Bridges had all the campers at the Sami Jo Small Hockey School give sledge hockey a try, and the smiles and laughter seen on the ice and after the sledge session was impressive as everyone seemed to love their experiences. But there still needs to be more exposure for the sport to grow, and one group that is taking a lead on that front is the US Pond Hockey Championships in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

There was an announcement from the US Pond Hockey Championships yesterday as Jim Dahline sent out an update that came with a pretty important announcement for sledge hockey players. He writes,
"We have had sled exhibitions in the past, and it's a travesty that we haven't had a sled division. So this year, we're changing that. This is a first on the pond hockey circuit, and we're proud that USPHC will award the first Sled Championship in 2018."
That is OUTSTANDING! Well done, US Pond Hockey Championships. That's amazing news, and hopefully a number of excellent teams will play in this first edition of the tournament! With it being an Olympic year, there shouldn't be a pile of Olympic players there either, so there's a very good chance that a team of amateurs or semi-amateurs will capture that first championship!

I'd be very interested in returning to Minneapolis this February for the US Pond Hockey Championship, but that whole Super Bowl thing is a crowd with whom I really don't want to deal. NFL football fans are great, but the Super Bowl turns fans into fanatics sometimes, and I just wanna watch some pond hockey. Maybe I'll return in 2019 for the fun... and if I practice I could be on the ice on my sled!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 17 July 2017

The Early Days Of Broadcasting

I feel pretty lucky that I get to be involved in the radio broadcasts of hockey each winter thanks to the University of Manitoba entrusting me and my esteemed colleague, TJ Phillers, to be the voices of Bisons women's hockey. After a short meeting with TJ tonight about this season's broadcasts, I realize that we've pioneered a number of firsts for Canada West hockey broadcasts of which we're pretty proud. But they pale in comparison to the guy who really blazed the path for all broadcasters, including us, in Foster Hewitt.

Hewitt is a Hall of Fame broadcaster who spent forty years as the voice of Hockey Night in Canada. I've always been curious as to how he was selected as the man to be the voice of Canada's most famous sports program, and there's a CBC video documenting this very subject!
He turned a part-time reporting job into the world's first full-time play-by-play hockey broadcast which is amazing to me. I thought it was kind of cool that he used the telephone to make the first radio calls as we still use that technology today for some of our broadcasts! Seeing Hewitt's path from the seats to the gondola is pretty incredible as well, and the explanation for the gondola makes total sense. For a three-minute video, there's a lot of great stuff that Hewitt shares!

We lost Foster Hewitt at the age of 82 on April 21, 1985 due to throat cancer, but the voice of Hockey Night in Canada is still one of the most important people in hockey history for everything that he did to make play-by-play broadcasts a weekly program that millions would tune into on the radio. The gondola that he had made famous unfortunately succumbed to the pure stupidity of Harold Ballard when he removed the gondola in August of 1979 to make room for private boxes. The gondola reportedly went to an incinerator and was never seen again.

Where would we, as hockey fans, be today without Foster Hewitt and that gondola?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

TBC: Leafs AbomiNation

I'm always one to throw a little shade on the Toronto Maple Leafs. It's just how we in western Canada view the Ontario city's NHL team. One thing I won't do is support the team in any way, so when I had a chance to acquire today's entry in Teebz's Book Club at a reduced price from the already-low price of $19.67 (nice poke at the team!), I jumped at that opportunity. It should come as no surprise that reading today's entry gave me some pleasure as the writers take a few shots at the Maple Leafs, so Teebz's Book Club is proud to review Leafs AbomiNation, written by Dave Feschuk and Michael Grange and published by Random House Canada. To say that Feschuk and Grange pulled back the curtains on why the Leafs were mired in mediocrity since 1967 would be a bit of an understatement when it comes to this book.

From the Penguin Random House website, "Dave Feschuk is a sports columnist with the Toronto Star and formerly wrote for the National Post. He has been nominated for a National Newspaper Award, and his piece on the underdog's life of Wayne Gretzky's hockey-playing brothers was included in the anthology The Best American Sports Writing. Feschuk lives in Toronto." Feschuk has been with the Toronto Star since 2003 where he covers all sports for the newspaper, and seemingly was on Phil Kessel's bad side while he played in Toronto. There has been no word on whether the current Penguins winger and former Leafs winger has changed his opinion on Feschuk since being traded to Pittsburgh.

Also from the Penguin Randon House website, "Michael Grange is a sports reporter for The Globe and Mail and an award-winning magazine writer, writing in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment for much of his 14-year tenure at Canada's national newspaper, the New York Times, and ESPN." Grange has since "joined Sportsnet in 2011 as a columnist for Sportsnet.ca and regular contributor to Sportsnet magazine. During his time at Sportsnet, Grange has become one of the network's leading basketball analysts and regularly contributes to Prime Time Sports on Sportsnet 590 The FAN and Sportsnet Central."

Leafs AbomiNation goes directly at all of the misfortunes, poor hirings, bad trades, and inept management that the Leafs have exhibited since Keon and the boys captured the Stanley Cup in 1967. Names like Ballard, Stavro, Peddie, Tanenbaum, Ferguson Jr., and Quinn all get mentions within Leafs AbomiNation, but Feschuk and Grange point out that there have been smaller mistakes made by each of these men who have run the Leafs that have led the Leafs cleaning house and appointing a brand-new empire to rebuild the castle. Being that this book was published in 2009, a few points have long passed, but it's the examination of the ineptitude of eras of management that had me glued to the pages.

It's interesting that two men who work in and around the Maple Leafs for a living would embark on a project like Leafs AbomiNation, but they seemed to get input from almost all the subjects which they covered. Aside from those who have passed on, the authors allowed the men under examination to respond to the allegations of mismanagement with which they are associated. It didn't take the edge off the words that Feschuk and Grange wrote, however, as they ripped into management from every era that has contributed to the long-suffering that Leafs fans have endured.
Ballard's anything-for-a-buck lust knew few boundaries. Concerned about a loss in revenue from program sales when the NHL mandated that teams emblazon jerseys with the players' surnames, Ballard obeyed the ordinance to the letter: he saw to it that white letters were sewn on the backs of white jerseys, so fans couldn't possibly read them. He sold the Stanley Cup banners that hung from the Gardens rafters. He once made inquiries with the arena superintendent as to how many cucumbers would fit in the 30,000-gallon tank that held the mixture that circulated through the refrigeration pipes beneath the rink floor. "He said he wanted to make dill pickles to sell at games," rink manager Wayne Gilespie told the authors of the book Forever Rivals. "He'd dream up these schemes — anything to make a buck — then he'd forget about them."
While their fact-checking requires a little work - HBIC went deep into the jersey names in the past - both Feschuk and Grange bring to life stories about the Maple Leafs that seem almost implausible. Reports of John Ferguson Jr. turning down an opportunity to sign Fabian Brunnstrom long before anyone had heard about him is detailed in Leafs AbomiNation. Details on Pat Quinn's refusal to mentor Ferguson Jr. are written. The various interests of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan as the majority owners are covered, and winning a Stanley Cup isn't high on their priority list. The squabbling between various segments of ownership through the years, the poor trades and scouting the Leafs have done, and the complete mismanagement of the team from top to bottom are all covered by Feschuk and Grange in Leafs AbomiNation.

I like a snarky piece as much as the next person, but I'm surprised that both Feschuk and Grange haven't been excommunicated by the Maple Leafs after all they wrote in Leafs AbomiNation. The writing is solid and the chapters read well, but there are definitely some stories that probably shouldn't have been put into ink if one was worried about one's career. I credit both Feschuk and Grange for taking that courageous leap in making that happen, and it makes for a very compelling book as we learn about the dirty laundry hidden behind the boardroom doors at MLSE. For that reason, there's no doubt that I, as a fan of things going wrong for the Maple Leafs, happily award Leafs AbomiNation with the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

You can find Leafs AbomiNation at most bookstores and libraries across this great nation!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Mea Culpa

Back in June at the introduction of the Kunlun Red Star CWHL team, there was a bit of confusion towards the pluralizing of the word "team" that CWHL Commissioner Brenda Andress used. One team definitely was introduced that evening, and we all became excited for a six-team CWHL next season that involved some international, overseas travel. However, there was still some unrest at the idea of there being multiple Chinese teams next season after Miss Andress used "teams" in her speech. Would there be further announcements? Was there a second team in the works? What details had yet to be revealed?

These question went unanswered until tonight. With one tweet, the CWHL confirmed an article written in Chinese that stated there would be a second team. If you had listened to The Hockey Show on UMFM on Thursday night, I had asked Sami Jo Small about the possibility of two teams, and she confirmed the rumour that there would be two teams. However, she also stated that only one would play in the CWHL next season. I thought I had the story, and I ran with it on Friday when people were speculating about the second team.

What Sami Jo Small and I didn't know is that Miss Andress had left the press conference in Markham, Ontario on Tuesday in order to catch a flight over to China for a meeting with officials for the second hockey club. Sami Jo Small was in Winnipeg running her hockey school, so she'd have no idea about the changes that were happening behind-the-scenes in Toronto at the league offices when she reported what she did on The Hockey Show when asked about the possibility of two Chinese teams. Things literally change that fast in the CWHL right now.

With the plane carrying Miss Andress touching down in China some time later on Tuesday or possibly Wednesday, it's clear that Miss Andress and the Chinese officials who were interested in bringing this second CWHL team to fruition came to an agreement at some point over the next few days between Wednesday and today, prompting the tweet to go out tonight about the second CWHL team based in China. Again, Sami Jo Small would have had no communication on these new developments, and I happened to report what I (and Sami Jo) had known to be true at the time on Friday - there was no second CWHL team in China.

Tonight, I sit here with a little egg on my face for being vehement in defending what I was told. There is no one to blame for me speaking out about this other than myself for stating what I was told, and I'll take the heat for that. Blaming anyone else would be wholly and completely wrong, and I won't allow that to happen on my watch. I spoke out, I said the words, and I deserve the heat I have already felt and will feel in the coming days for the error. It's all on me, folks.

There's a lesson to be learned here, and it's one that I should have heeded in this time of incredible expansion in the CWHL. That lesson is that in times of great change, multiple sources confirming any story are extremely important. Any single-source stories, as I've been taught, should come from an authoritative source. I took Sami Jo Small as being an authoritative source, and I will consider her to be one in the future. However, until this summer of great change in the CWHL is over, I will double-down on my efforts and get multiple sources on any major piece of news so that I don't lead people astray in the future.

In saying that, I have one message: sorry, folks. I messed up. I promise to be better in the future.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!