Vancan Outta The Blue


The Canucks Sisters and Misters

daniel sedin

This isn’t about me but let the record show this is my first hockey-related post in quite some time.

I could spit out a few numbered tweets but this feels like the right time to put electronical pen to paper and share my thoughts on the blog I once tried so hard to keep up.

So how about those Canuckleheads eh?!

I’m going to address two things here.

Numero uno:

The ‘sisters’ act is old.

(Warning: long sentence) It’s a promise of mine to you that anyone who is intelligent when it comes to hockey hears you refer to Daniel and Henrik Sedin as sisters, they are hearing someone who is not only unintelligent about hockey, but someone who is so insecure in their own life, they must refer to two world-class hockey players as such.

I think even the people who refer to the twins as sisters know that women can be great at the sport in 2016. Obviously the intended connotation is that the twins play like little whiny, wussy flopping, diving, baby girls. Of course that’s too assume that all little girls are just that (which they’re not, but I digress).

Let’s be blunt here: if you call the Sedin twins sisters with any intended meaning, you sound like a complete tool. Lest we forget Henrik once played 679 straight regular season games. Lest we forget Hank playing like a beast when his bro went down for 19 games with a broken foot in 2009.

How about just last week when Daniel had his face smashed by vulcanized rubber, losing three or four chiclets in the process, only to come back to the game and score a goal, which by the way he now has 346 of in his career? That’s not a total one achieves by laying down and playing like a big wuss his entire career.

The use of the word sister in this context, as I’m sure we all know, is sexist. It does imply that women can’t play hockey or that women can’t play hockey tough, both of which are certifiably wrong, trust me. So the next time you call the Sedin twins sisters, know that it seems as if you have never watched them play in your entire life and that you really don’t know jack about hockey or how they play the game (along the boards/dirty areas their entire careers).

Between the end of the 3rd period and start of Overtime between the Canucks and Panthers Monday night, a Florida player (allegedly) said something to or about the twins. Daniel said after the game it was one guy and he knows who he is. Any Canucks fan should know who it was too and even Botchford provides some pretty undeniable GIF proof.

Let me just finish this topic off by saying that if *cough* Shawn Thornton *cough* really did make a ‘sisters’ remark, then Daniel Sedin, the ‘low-life’ that he is had pretty much free rein after he scored that GWG in OT. I would be disappointed actually if Daniel (or Henrik) didn’t skate by the bench and say something like, “How do ya like me now biznitches,” or, “How’s that for a sister biznitches?”

And two:

I’m ashamed to say that up to this point in the season, I have been a card-carrying member of #TankNation. Yup, I’ve hashtagged it on Twitter and grown accustomed to the likelihood this season will end poorly once again, very quickly. It started off pretty decent but the tailspin began after the two week mark and with Auston Matthews perched at the top of the draft rankings, it should make any crappy team’s fans salivate.

I’m tired of mediocrity as a Canucks fan and as a hardcore lifer, I’m allowed to feel that way. I know I’m not the only one. We all want ownership to give the management team the go-ahead to do whatever it takes and Linden/Benning probably have that freedom, but at times this season and in the past, it’s been a lot of talk and no walk.

By mediocrity, I don’t just mean always being the bridesmaid three times and never the bride, I also mean having bad seasons, but ones just not crappy enough to get one of those top notch NHL-ready players at the draft. This of course doesn’t count 1999, but even then, the twins went back to Sweden for a season. It also doesn’t count 1988 of course.

If we are going to miss the playoffs, we might as well really miss them and get something impactful for the rest of the re-build (or re-tooling on the fly).

HOWEVER, after last night’s streak-halting victory over the Seattle/Quebec/Las Vegas/Portland/Milwaukee/Hamilton Panthers who I’m sure had plenty of people watching their webcast, there may just be hope for this Canucks team yet. They’ve got a long way to go still to prove they can hang with the Kings of the world, or of the Pacific, but there is hope.

Mark my words, if the Canucks make a run past the second round of the playoffs, Monday’s win will have been the turning point. I say past the second round because in this division, if L.A. remains the sole really good team, the Canucks could make it in as a mediocre team but still get a mediocre first-round opponent.

So in the words of Aragorn, “there is always hope.” #TankNation is still alive and well to be sure, and there still needs to be convincing done on my part, but better days may lie ahead with guys like Horvat, Virtanen, McCann, Etem, Sutter, Markstrom, and yes, the Sedins, all contributing at once.

Monday was a bonding experience for this team, this group of men, of Misters, have no doubt.

Start praying to the hockey gods Canucks fans they’ll use that experience wisely going forward.

ADDENDUM: To all the Canucks fans on Twitter last night going apes*** over Potvin’s commentary and idiotic Panthers fans, shame on you. The vitriol I observed was appalling and it’s no wonder Canucks nation seemingly has an average of IQ of about 44. There’s this thing called retaliation and it can be acted out in the form of words as much as it can in the actions of a hockey game. Next time we win, and somebody cuts our players down, don’t stoop even lower than that.

You know who you are.

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Wrangling from the play-by-play booth
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Home playoff game #1 (Game 3 vs, Chase Heat) February 28th, 2014

It’s not a level of hockey too many of us are familiar with but it’s one that in the past seven months I’ve come to know is very competitive and full of driven young men.

Junior B hockey is played in BC via the Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL), Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL), and Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL).  The latter is the one I was privileged enough to be engaged with. Specifically this past season, I called play-by-play for the expansion/relocated 100 Mile House Wranglers.

The Wranglers organization was staffed by completely different people from the previous season, from the General Manager to the skate sharpener to the backup goalie. You could count on one hand the number of players who weren’t KIJHL rookies. It was Penticton, the former home of the Lakers, where the franchise moved from by the way. For all intents and purposes though, they were expansion.

In their first season, the 100 Mile Wranglers had the best attendance in the league, and squashed all expectations of them. They not only had a winning record and narrowly missed out on home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, they won a playoff series.  To give you some perspective, the team they beat, the Chase Heat had made the post-season for the first time in that franchise’s three year history. In Chase’s first season, 2011-12, they won 5 of 52 games. The Wranglers won 23 in their inaugural campaign.

Even I, a rookie broadcaster, was skeptical of how the team would do, but there I was, up in the ‘booth’ for every home goal and every home win this team racked up to kick off its franchise history. I put booth in quotation marks because it wasn’t truly one. The South Cariboo Rec. Centre was not particularly set up for a junior team at first, so an actual booth, rather than a table at the top of Section C just inches right of dead centre ice, is likely still a few years away. I’m not complaining, though what’s unreal was the amount of times the 3rd period Canadian 2-for-1 fan pizza delivery promotion wound up going to someone just seats away from me, usually in the aforementioned Section C. I didn’t hesitate to comment on that during the webcasts either because oh were the aromas palpable?!

How can I forget the OT controversies, or the first broken pane of glass which occurred during warm-up of a mid-season game? To this day, I still don’t know who shot it. How about ‘Kick-start My Heart to begin each warm-up? Or getting player pronunciations from opposing team members? Or that time all the players bleached their hair for playoffs and I asked the Head Coach, “Why isn’t your hair blonde?” He said, “Because I’m not 18.” Meanwhile, Assistant Coach Richard Duff is q-tipped. Ah the memories.

What’s weird is for as much as I want to be some great sportscaster one day, covering the Canucks from somewhere other than my, “mom’s basement,” I always said play-by-play was one thing I’d never do, or that I was more of a colour man. By the end of the season, my head could have been larger than Rob Ford’s gut, but I harkened back to my days at Columbia Academy where many an instructor told me to never let that happen. I was humbled by the bushels of unexpected compliments the rest of my webcast team and I received. You know what? I think play-by-play may be a path I can take in the future and I’m super excited about that. A tidbit of information I’ll always hold dear was that the first hockey game I ever called , a pre-season matchup Hundred Mile won 7-2 over Kamloops, was on the eve of what would have been my dad’s 47th birthday, September 11th. He would be proud.

As mentioned, I was wary of the Wranglers’ chances this season so I can say with certainty I would have had just as much fun and got just as much, if not more out of it, had they gone on to win just five games all year. I got lucky.

And I didn’t just learn how to become a better broadcaster, I learned more about the game. Someone told me during the course of the season that you should never think you know everything about something, in my case, hockey. I took that to heart and asked questions and listened intently and educated myself on the inner workings of junior hockey. It’s not an easy venture for these kids. You don’t just grab your hockey gear, hop in your car, fill up the gas tank, drive to _________ (insert town here), try out, make the team, and play all year. That sounds like a lot but that would actually make it super easy. Again, we’re talking about kids, teenagers, high schoolers, who are provinces, sometimes even a country away from their parents, and as anyone who’s in the know about how junior hockey works, they’re paying to play, sometimes a pretty nice chunk of change, but they do it because they’re passionate and love the game of hockey, and because they were raised right, driven to the rinks sometimes hours away (a la Carey Price), just for practice, let alone games and/or tournaments. #RunOnSentence

One young gentleman I had the pleasure of meeting this season was the Wranglers first ever Captain, #11 Jaidan Ward. Ward was devastated by season’s end because he never even got to appear in a single playoff game in his final season of junior. The weekend before playoffs began, he suffered another concussion, his 2nd or 3rd of the season. I saw him at the rink before, during, and after each home game of the playoffs and his head was high, and he said he still talked to his teammates before and after every game, like a great Captain should have. He’s 20 years old now and won’t play junior hockey ever again. Those games, those moments on the ice were stolen from him and I felt for him during the final fleeting moments of the season. He is one hockey player I will never forget meeting.

Then there was the GM and Head Coach Doug Rogers, who’d formerly coached in this league but was away from it for several years before returning to take the helm of the 100 Mile House Wranglers. What a task but what an amazing job he did. He taught me many things but probably the easiest to pick out is that hard work isn’t just a cliché. That was the mantra all season long, preached by him, the players, and the fans who bought into it. Why not hard work? Hockey isn’t easy, and this is a competitive league. Hard work is all you have to lean on at times. One thing is for sure, each and every single one of the 700+ fans that attended each of those four home playoff games appreciated the hard work Rogers, his fellow coaches, trainers and players exerted on the ice. It wasn’t a championship team but they earned their respect very early on, and from all 19 other teams who realized that the Wranglers were here to play, not to be kicked around.

My whole point is that Junior B hockey, the KIJHL, is surrounded by great people who’ll teach you things when you least expect it. It was through reporting on this team, doing the play-by-play for them, and simply being a fan that I learned more about respecting  the game, especially in the sense that while it’s competitive and that, “you play to win the game,” it’s a fun game. It sounds so cliché, but from being a minor hockey coach who tells his players to always have fun right up to being a play-by-play broadcaster who was witnessed by many people on multiple nights waving his playoff towel while calling a goal at the same time, this game is fun.

I could not have been more honoured to be a part of the 100 Mile Wranglers first ever season in the KIJHL, and then to MC their awards banquet just two days after the team was eliminated. It was sad to see it end and without a doubt, I’d love if the team were still playing and I could be back up there in the ‘booth’ right now, but that will have to wait a few months, coincidentally around the same time I’ll become a father and be planning a wedding that will be less than a year away when the new season starts. I hope my kid one day plays hockey and sees the fun I’ve been able to find in it, because there aren’t many other types of fun like the one you’ll discover on the ice, top shelf, along the half-boards, at the point, in the neutral zone, and behind the mic, calling a hockey game.



Giants’ Gallagher To Attend Team Canada WJ Camp

By Josh Hall

The last two cracks at winning the  World Junior Hockey Championship for Canada have been failed attempts, but the upcoming Summer Development Camp looks very promising. In addition to seven players who are returning from last year’s silver medal winning squad, Vancouver Giant Brendan Gallagher will return for his 2nd camp.

Gallagher, who hails from Delta, BC, will join 12 other players from the WHL, as well as 22 from the OHL, 9 from the QMJHL and 2 NCAA players at the evaluation camp. Gallagher was exceptional this past season, becoming a 1st team WHL Western Conference All-Star and setting career highs in goals (44), assists (47), points (91) and plus/minus (+30). The 19 year old Canadiens draft pick says, “After getting cut last year, one my goal’s heading into this season is to make the team and the first step to achieving that goal is to make an impression at the summer camp.” Gallagher has scored 95 goals over the last 2 seasons in the Dub and that includes back to back 40+ goal outputs.

Arguably what could be the biggest advantage and best thing going for Team Canada and Gallagher is that Don Hay is coaching the team. With Hay being Gallagher’s head coach in Van City, the young forward is familiar with his coaching style, and obviously has a good rep with the man who last coached Canada’s World Junior team in 1995. Hay, who is from Kamloops, is 57 this year and says, “You have to change with the times or else you get left behind!” He’s proven he can do that by taking the Giants to the Memorial Cup two years in a row (06 & 07) and winning it in 2007.

Don’t get the kid wrong, he knows he can’t take Don Hay being head coach for granted.

“If I’m not working hard and playing with intensity, he’s not going to pick me.”

The camp goes August 3-7 in Edmonton as the players hope to become familiar with the venue in which half of the tournament will be played, Rexall Place. The other half will take place in Calgary at the Saddledome this December.

Original Post on VIB/VSB




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