HNO To Hand Out Awards At Luncheon

HNO To Hand Out Awards At Luncheon

The powers that be of amateur hockey in Northwestern Ontario will gather at the Travelodge Hotel Airlane in Thunder Bay June 7-9 for Hockey Northwestern Ontario’s annual general meeting. Among the activities for the regional branch of the Canadian Hockey Association will be workshops as well as dealing with general business of the past year.

HNO will also stage their annual awards luncheon June 8. It is scheduled to get underway at 11:30 a.m. and will honour numerous award winners as part of the luncheon recognizing teams and individuals for their respective achievements. Among the awards handed out will be the presentation of the T.B. ‘Bones’ McCormack award, which goes annually to a member of the branch for meritorious service to the game. Other laurels to be distributed will be the Arnold Southern bursaries for scholastic and hockey achievement along with recognition of officiating award winners and the respective teams who claimed branch championships this season.
Notices of motion and the election of officers will also take place on the final day of the meeting.
For more information on the HNO annual meeting, or to purchase tickets for the awards luncheon, you can contact their office at 622-4792 or e-mail them at hkynwo@air.on.ca.

Brother act: Kevin and David Hoogsteen of Thunder Bay will once again be playing hockey together. The Dutch league champion Amsterdam Tigers announced this past week that they have signed the brother combination for the upcoming year. Kevin was the leading scoring in the Dutch league this season skating for Nijmegen. There he averaged over two points a game and also saw some time playing for the Dutch National Team. David meanwhile played for Rockford of the United Hockey League where he finished second on the team in scoring with 69 points in 73 regular season contests. The duo last played together at the University of North Dakota where they were part of a NCAA national championship team.

Big assist: The National Hockey League is again running a grant program called NHL Assist. The program is designed to help minor hockey associations worldwide defray costs of equipment, ice time and travel expenses.
The program will award up to $10,000 US to successful applicants.
NHL Assist has an area look to it, as the White River Minor Hockey Association was one of the 15-grant recipients world wide last season while Thunder Bay native Dave Fitzpatick, who is the assistant general secretary and sport director of the International Ice Hockey Federation, is one of the members of the selection committee. Organizations have until June 21 to submit an application for funding.…

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Ice Hockey Australian

Ice Hockey Australian Tour

Our planned ice hockey tour of Australia is set to go ahead next year following successful fundraising by team members and their families over the last 6 months. The tour, the first of it’s kind by our ice hockey team will last 4 weeks and cost in the region of US$40,000, and will include stops and games in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns. This is great news for the team and its support staff, and we can all be proud of their achievements.

We are certainly very excited to be making the trip to Queensland on Australia’s east coast and have a number of ice hockey games scheduled in against a number of high caliber opponents. Yet it was with disappointment that in researching and preparing the tour itinerary that I came across an article in the Brisbane Times concerning the relaxation of Queensland gambling laws. Whilst this is no way effects the tour, on a personal note it does surprise and disappoint me in equal measures that a country as great as Australia continues to actively encourage gambling amongst it’s population. In particular there appears to be an over reliance at the grass roots sports club level on revenue derived from poker machines.

In this particular case, the Queensland government has stated that it is preparing to relax legislation relating to Aussie pokies, a move which is part of an attempt by the government to reduce the red tape and accompanying bureaucracy. The move will see the maximum number of pokies allowed in Queensland clubs increased from 280 to 300, and plans are also afoot to remove the geographical restrictions that have to date attempted to enable a more even distribution of poker machines across Queensland. What has this to do with ice hockey and our tour you may well ask?

Don’t get me wrong, I think Australia is a wonderful country, but it certainly appears that there is an over reliance on gambling revenue by both State and Federal governments. In fact, on a previous visit to Australia it became increasingly apparent that a number of sporting clubs across the country were financially reliant on the profit that electronic gaming machines such as pokies bought to the club. And it isn’t just small town local teams that are effected by this blight. A number of professional sporting outfits from a range of sports as diverse as golf, Australian Rules Football and soccer are effected. I read with interest a recent article published in Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper, which reports that the newly established Gold Coast Sun’s AFL team were investigating funding options and that whilst they had yet to consider a move into the Queensland gaming market that there were certainly a number of Victorian based teams that generated considerable sums of revenue from this controversial industry.

And therein lies the problem. The impact of gambling with Australia effects all levels of society and its disappointing to see it effect grass roots sport. With that said it’s all the more reason we should be proud of our own ice hockey team and the support of their families and friends in raising the necessary funds for our tour of Australia.…

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Leaf Blower Hockey – Official Rules and Equipment

Leaf Blower Hockey – Official Rules and Equipment

Leaf Blower Hockey. How it’s played.

Playing surface:
A hockey rink (no ice) is best, you can play the ball off the cushion and it also cushions sound, but a parking lot or any open paved space will do using street hockey nets.

Playing surface sizes:
You can move the nets and play side to side for a faster, high scoring game, or end to end using 3 forwards instead of two.

The Ball:
Depends on conditions and blowers but: If the surface is wet, a baseball size wiffle ball is the best choice.

For dry conditions and an end to end game, the wiffle ball will work but will also scoot everywhere on you, so either a 6 inch or 8 inch diameter nerf ball will give more control. You can experiment with your own size and material of ball.

Blowers:
Backpack or hand held, but backpack gives you more power. The latest high-tech backpack blower, the Echo PB460LN, which is ultra-quiet at only 65 decibels wide open, with “patented sound attenuation technology” and has a high-efficiency, low emission engine. You can experiment with blower tube length, they come in sections. Some players like longer tubes; others feel there is more overall power with the bottom section removed.

Periods:
3 10 minute periods, switching ends each time, with a 5 minute break in between. Backpack players will welcome the break.

Da Rules:

  • 5 players to a team.
  • Line-up: Side to side rink play: 2 forwards, one defense, and 2 subs, with changes made anytime on the fly. End to end: 3 forwards.
  • No goalie, that’s everybody’s job.
  • No running, fast walking only.
  • No foot passing: Feet can be used only to stop the ball and set up for the blower.
  • Leave space around each player. No contact.
  • Blower must be held below waist height.
  • Leaf blower tube cannot be used as a stick.
  • No blowers in the face.
  • Players cannot enter the goalie crease.
  • Face-offs are “lacrosse style” on one knee.
  • Penalties are one minute in length.
  • Three 10-minute periods per game, switching ends each time.
  • In case of a tie, 2 minute, “sudden death” periods until winner.

Official Safety Rules

  • Running shoes must be worn.
  • Ear protection must be worn.
  • Eye protection must be worn.
  • Kneepads, elbow pads are optional.
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Leaf Blower Hockey

Leaf Blower Hockey

Leaf Blower Hockey: an outrage, or just outrageous?

Leaf Blower hockey isn’t a “real” sport, there is no league. Teams of drooling backpack blowing warriors will not be invading anyone’s neighbourhood. The inaugural game was played under the heading of “waggery,” just to see if a nutty idea would work—and to raise some money for ALS. Each player paid a $25 fee that was matched by the organizers. The official LBH season is short, one day in the Fall. Eight guys playing for half and hour or so use up 2 litres (one gallon approx.) of high octane, clean burning gas in low emission, quiet blowers. Leaf Blower hockey is a not for profit organization with all proceeds going to the ALS Society of Canada.

Clearing the air about Leaf Blowers:

Leaf Blower Hockey is silly and ridiculous, but it isn’t “the end of the world as we know it”, as some of its detractors say. (That happened with “America’s Next Top Model”.) Critics are simply not aware of the huge advances in leaf blower technology. Today’s models for example, have reduced hydrocarbon emissions by 90% vs. a few years ago. In fact, compared to automobiles, a week’s worth of driving vs. a week of leaf blower use is 30 times worse for the environment, and when it comes to greenhouse gasses, it’s 230 times worse. Noise levels are also now quieter than a city bus.…

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Blackhawks

Blackhawks “Night o Fun”

Some key players from the Chicago Blackhawks hit to the streets on their recent trip to Vancouver and boy is there pictures to prove it.

Let’s have a close look at some of these beauties and see if we can really figure out what was going on.

Kris Versteeg here looks rather cautious of the entire goings on, while his George Michaels beard is screaming “I bought this shirt specifically so that I can look pimp, my mom bought me these glasses”. Blondie on the right clearly has something on her mind and I am thinking that it is Kris Jr.

John Madden, hey I remember you! You played with the Devils right, cool.  Ahh why are you drinking champagne from an itsy bitsy glass? On the plus side it makes your bicep look HUGE! BTW you look prouder than a damn peacock.

Kaner! I figure you thought a Limo would be a safer bet this time eh, good call I guess.  1) Your pants are undone. 2) The chick on the left looks like she may be the one that is usually taking the pictures. 3) Nice smile.

Cool a group shot! Oh I see Kane was just undoing his pants so he could take them off, that makes sense now.  Madden is doing the right thing by holding his beer (which by the way is hilarious that it is a Kokanee) while his lumber jack friend helps him with his. Kris seems to have lost his glasses, Mom is going to be pissed.

All in all looks like the boys had a great night of shirtless fun in the back of a limo in a road city.  I’m sure this happens all the damn time but the pictures really make it fun for the rest of us 🙂…

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Aeros Widen Margin

Aeros Widen Margin Despite McArthur

Brampton made it very plain coming into this game that they were going to set the tone physically and not be intimidated by the Aeros.  The second period stepped up this physical tone, led by their defense, specifically Krista McArthur, easily the best Thunder player on the ice this night.  Her play got stronger as the night wore on – a rock on defense, she logged more and more ice time the later it got, and in all crucial situations; she won more one-on-one battles than any player for either team.

McArthur even shined on the Thunder power play, making a great play in the last minute of the period to glove down a Beatrice dump out on the penalty kill at the Aeros blue line, then getting off a quick shot and crashing the net for her own rebound.

But it was not to be, McArthur or no McArthur, the Aeros pressure was unrelenting, and they found the back of the net again at the 10:40 mark of the second.  Aeros’ right wing Heather Logan managed a partial breakaway, and shoveled the puck on net as she was being hauled down from behind.  Kellough missed another make-able save, allowing the puck to slide underneath her for the marker.

Kellough continued to have problems down low as a goal-mouth scramble was blown down by the officials with about four minutes left in the frame, after they thought that she had frozen the puck.  It was loose and the Aeros promptly deposited puck in net for what would’ve been their fourth on the night.  The goal was disallowed – chalk it up to the refs not being able to see everything all the time.

Kellough really shouldn’t shoulder all of the blame for Brampton; the fact that the Thunder back checking was sporadic at best tells you that the Aeros forwards were in her face all night.  With that in mind, and the fact that Brampton had limited success with their breakout at times, especially in the first period and it’s fair to say that the goals resulted from team breakdowns.  However, all three goals were saves that could’ve been made.…

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Legends Can Be Irritable

Legends Can Be Irritable

Q: So who’s having more fun these days, Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux?
A: Well, it’s probably a little easier for Gretzky to get out of bed in the morning than it is for Lemieux. So I’ll have to give the nod to the Great One here.

But the toughest thing for any Hall of Fame-caliber player — even harder than calling it quits, I would imagine — is to cope with losing. That probably explains why we’ve seen a more irritable side of both those legends in recent weeks.

Gretzky’s team in Phoenix — he’s a minority owner and the rookie coach — has won two of its last three, but the Coyotes still sit last in the Western Conference’s Pacific Division. Lemieux’s team in Pittsburgh — he’s the owner and team captain — also had won two of three before Monday, but the Penguins are last in the East’s Atlantic Division after a franchise-record winless streak to start the season.

Q: How are they coping?
A: Did you see Lemieux blow a gasket a couple of weeks ago after an overtime loss to Florida at home? It certainly was out of character for normally mild-mannered Mario.
Lemieux was whistled for a questionable interference penalty in the waning seconds of regulation with the score tied at 2.

Florida scored on the ensuing power play early in the overtime, and Lemieux came charging out of the penalty box to berate referee Stephane Auger, who isn’t making too many friends around the league. Lemieux refused to speak to the media after the game — that was the ninth straight loss to start the season — but addressed the outburst a day later.

“It was just a bad call,” he said, adding later: “It’s just … frustrating.”

Lemieux’s teammate, Maxime Talbot, a rookie who was born the same year Super Mario was drafted, offered his own analysis.

“He’s upset, I guess,” Talbot said. “He’s frustrated the way things are going right now.”

Q: OK, but Gretzky had to be smiling after Phoenix won in Detroit over the weekend, right?
A: Yes, and he can probably thank himself — along with a rejuvenated Curtis Joseph — for the Coyotes’ improved play of late.

A week ago, Gretzky was furious with his team’s effort in back-to-back losses to Dallas and Anaheim. So after a day off, his players arrived at practice the next day and found not a single puck on the ice — never a good sign. For the next 45 minutes, coach Gretzky skated the Coyotes until they were howling in pain.

“A little bit of a punishment thing,” said Gretzky, whose team is 1-5 against Pacific opponents. “I think we were getting too relaxed.”

The light came on in impressive victories against Los Angeles and Detroit, but Sunday was another one-goal loss that featured many of the same bugaboos from earlier in the season. Most notably, an erratic power play that couldn’t covert in overtime against Chicago.

“I’m not happy,” Gretzky told the Arizona Republic. “We didn’t even come close to scoring. And that’s just not good enough.”

Q: Why doesn’t he just put himself out there on the power play?

A: That idea probably has crossed his mind. But Gretzky has got enough to do as it is. Besides his coaching and front-office duties, he’s also the executive director for Team Canada. With the Olympics barely three months away, Gretzky and his staff are busy scouting players around the NHL, trying to come up with another gold-medal lineup.

Honestly, though, don’t be surprised if Gretzky manages to get Phoenix into the playoffs. It’s a young team with plenty of new faces — and a few key injuries early — that will take time to develop some chemistry. We’re not yet to the quarter-pole in the season, so check back in a month or two.

Q: Will Gretzky’s success or failure as a coach have any far-reaching effects on the NHL?

A: Sure it will. For starters, the NHL needs the franchise to succeed in Phoenix, one of the Sun Belt expansion cities Gary Bettman and the owners staked the league’s future on in the 1990s. And if the game’s biggest star — the guy who put hockey on the marquee in Hollywood, no less — can’t make it work, who can?

It’s also a test case for a new-era NHL coaching pedigree. More and more former players have joined the coaching ranks in recent years, but few have found much success. In fact, seven of the last eight Stanley Cup-winning coaches were guys who didn’t play in the NHL. Larry Robinson with New Jersey in 2000 is the lone exception.

Gretzky, 44, probably won’t buck that trend anytime soon, but with ample cap room, a sparkling new arena, plenty of sun and golf courses and a nine-time MVP behind the bench, there’s reason for optimism in Phoenix. And there are others around the league watching and waiting to see if it’s justified.…

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WTN Goes Live

WTN Goes Live

The City of Brampton, host of the 2002 NWHL championship, could be the future home of the NWHL Cup.  The NWHL is comprised of eight teams, only four of which move on to compete in the 2002 championship games.  The Brampton Thunder is one of those four teams facing off in the semi-final airing Thursday, March 28.  Two teams will then proceed to the final round on Friday, March 29.

“The NWHL ladies are great hockey players,” says NWHL president, Susan Fennell, also mayor of Brampton.  “I can’t wait for the NWHL’s top teams to face off, and with the Brampton Thunder in the running for the Cup, these are two games I wouldn’t want to miss.”

NWHL fans will see the best of Canadian women’s hockey talent on the ice and in the broadcast booth.  Susan Rogers will act as Ice Host for both games while Kylie Richardson and Lisa Bowes return to provide play-by-play and colour commentary for the broadcasts.  Richardson and Bowes made Canadian broadcasting history when they performed one of the first all female play-by-play and commentary for the NWHL 2000 & 2001 championships, which have aired exclusively on WTN for the last two years.

Some players at the championship game may look familiar to Canadian hockey fans from their worldwide television exposure in Salt Lake City this year.  The Canadian women’s national hockey team features a large contingent of players from the NWHL.  These women will be in fighting form come March to represent their hometown teams in the NWHL championship.…

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