Saturday, February 9, 2008

Oh, the good ol' hockey game... the best game you can name.

And the best game you can name, is the GOOD OL' HOCKEY GAME!

Best. Hockey Song. Ever.

We are now 10 hours into Hockey Day in Canada and the final game of the triple header is just starting - Vancouver vs. Colorado - so why not take some time to write about today's show?

First off, the Flyers and the Steelers played a game today, with the Steelers winning in the shootout. A heartbreaker for sure.

Did I confuse you just a little bit?

The Winkler Flyers and the Selkirk Steelers, Junior A teams in Manitoba, got some special attention tonight on CBC, as Winkler was hosting Hockey Day in Canada and we got the privilege of seeing the highlights from the game. The goalie for the Flyers is Dayn Belfour, son of Ed Belfour (who is currently tearing up the Swedish Elite League with something like a 13-2-2 record with Leksand).

Here are a few other stories from HDIC:

- Hockey festivities were not only held in Canada today, but around the world. The Canadian embassy in Kiev, Ukraine had a celebration going on, and the Canadian Forces in Kabul, Afghanistan held a ball hockey game (which is a common sight), and the soldiers watched Hockey Day in Canada on the satellite feed.

- Rideau Canal in Ottawa is almost 8 km long and can fit 90 Olympic-sized rinks, so no wonder it's a common site for skating and hockey games. Today, the Ottawa Senators Alumni played the Canadian Forces Flyers on the Canal, with the Sens beating the Flyers by a score of 37-35. The defensemen for the game can be found on milk cartons in your local supermarket.

The Forces were celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Canadian hockey team that played at the 1948 Olympics in St. Moritz. Canada wasn't even going to send a team to the Games because of cost, but they found a bank to sponsor them and the military put a team together. Team Canada left for Switzerland without having even one practice, but that didn't seem to matter. They earned 5 shutouts in 7 games on the way to Olympic Gold.

- Alain Vigneault, head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, held his annual Coaches Clinic today in Vancouver. The team had its practice and Vigneault talked to a crowd of over 200 hockey coaches from all over the province, many of whom were scribbling notes.

- Dustin Penner of the Edmonton Oilers was in Winkler, MB this week as his number 27 was retired at his hometown arena. Apparently they had the Stanley Cup at his parents' house and his mom didn't see his name on the Cup, so she told "Stanley's bodyguards" about the goof, and they had it fixed the next day. When she saw her son's name on the Cup, she started to cry and she called him on the phone and told him all about it. Good story...and funny :)

- Jon Sim of the New York Islanders was in New Glasgow, NS today on behalf of the NHLPA. Sim and Colin White of the New Jersey Devils (also of New Glasgow) put on a charity tournament over the summer to raise money for kids hockey equipment. There was also a little game today in Pictou County so that deserving kids can have hockey equipment.

- Matt Stairs of the Toronto Blue Jays has quite the story. Originally from Fredericton, NB, he has made quite a name for himself as one of the most successful Canucks in pro baseball. The CBC crew caught up with Stairs today, who is a high school hockey coach in Bangor, Maine in the off-season. Stairs grew up playing hockey and baseball as a kid in Fredericton, scoring 100 goals one year in minor hockey, and a knee injury cut his hockey career short. He was asked what league he would have rather played in: the NHL or the MLB. Without hesitation, Stairs played the part of a true Canuck and said that he would choose the NHL over the MLB. If I ever get a baseball jersey, it will be a Matt Stairs jersey.

- There is a team in Cambridge, Ontario that is for special needs kids. These are kids who would not be able to play hockey on any other team, but who thrive on a team of their own. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - there needs to be more teams like this.

- Scott Stafford is a 17 year old kid with the Sarnia Blast, a Junior B team in Ontario. He was born without his left hand, but that hasn't stopped him from playing hockey. He is one of the best players on the team, and can really shoot the puck. Just the other day, his team went to a shootout and the game was still tied after 12 rounds. Stafford went in and scored. Good on ya, kid. :)

Plenty of good stories today on Hockey Day in Canada. It's nice to see the spotlight on these people who are involved with the game because they love hockey.

Can't wait 'til next year.

Maybe they'll be talking about the Stanley Cup coming to Cole Harbour again...

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