Why the tragedy in Humboldt Saskatchewan has rocked Canadians

Humboldt Broncos

The tragedy in Saskatchewan involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team has rocked Canadians this week. Regardless of whether you are a fan of hockey, this story cannot help but move you. The accident between a bus loaded with young hockey players and a truck loaded with peat moss was a hockey parent’s worst nightmare. The parents, families and friends of the 15 victims of the accident are all currently living that nightmare. The rest of us can only shudder in horror imagining how unbelievably awful this past week must have (and continues to be) been for them.

Whether you live in a large city or a small town in Canada, hockey cannot help but touch your life. After all, hockey is Canada’s sport. Whether you play, watch, or coach hockey, serve as team trainer or manager, your involvement in hockey means you love the sport and cannot help but get emotionally involved with your team.

The hockey community is very tight across Canada.  Whether we know them personally or not, we all cheer for and keep track of our hometown kids as they grow up and follow their dream to play in the big league.  We celebrate and share their victories and achievements.  This week we mourn the loss of these talented, hard working, ambitious, young athletes and the adults with them as the Humboldt Broncos team travelled together on their final hockey road trip.

As the country watches, listens and mourns, Canadians and others around the world have stepped up to show their support for the Humboldt Broncos team.  A Go Fund Me account has raised over 9 million dollars to date to help the families of the victims.  Professional hockey teams and players have offered their condolences. Families are leaving hockey sticks and lights on at their front doors.  Students and parents alike are wearing jerseys to school and work.

Humboldt Broncos
Nokia Kanata on Jersey Day

 

As difficult as this tragedy has been to watch unfold, the heartfelt response has made me (even more) proud to be Canadian!

 

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A score and more for 44, Pageau shows why Senators want him on their roster

The Ottawa Senators beat the Las Vegas Knights to serve them their third three loss streak last night in a flurry of goals that did not make either goaltender look especially strong.  Sens number 44, JG Pageau scored a one timer from the blue line, not a common occurrence for him.  JG also won the last few crucial face-offs of the game in their own end when the Senators were struggling to stay up a goal.

I for one am glad Pageau is still with the Senators as  his work ethic is so strong.  He always puts 110% into a game, something that cannot be said for many NHL players.  His short handed and faceoff prowess round out his skill set, not to mention he has been known to score some goals.

Erik Karlsson’s three assists in the game, including one where Burrows redirected one of his shots for the winning goal, were painful reminders (for Vegas fans) of why the Vegas expansion team (and many others) were so keen on acquiring Karlsson before the recent trade deadline. Most Senator fans however are very happy Karlsson is still our captain.

Another name tossed around in the recent trade rumors racking up multiple points was Bobby Ryan.  With a break away goal (set up by a beautiful pass from Mark Stone) and two assists, Ryan also showed how he might be able to help the Senators (despite a massive contract) moving forward.  If he can stay healthy.

Players not mentioned as possibilities in the trades included Mark Stone and Matt Duchene.  Both had great games.  Stone contributed the first goal and hit Ryan up for a perfect pass and goal.  He also contributed with multiple take aways, stealing the puck from Vegas players, frustrating both the players and their coach.   Matt Duchene’s goal added to his impressive (and much appreciated) tally of points he has accumulated since his arrival in Ottawa.  He also appears to be a penalty magnet (drawer) as opposing players try desperately to take him off his game.

Pageau

 

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Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca

Erik Karlsson stays put with Ottawa Senators

Looks like Erik Karlsson is staying in Ottawa with the Ottawa Senators.  At least for now.  His contract is not up until next year, so we may go through all of this stress again then.

I must admit I have mixed emotions about the possibility of trading him.  On one hand I realize the financial shenanigans (reasons) may make sense to the bottom line of the Senators’ budget.  On the other hand however, why would you get rid of a franchise player, arguably the best defenseman ever, in hopes of acquiring another good defensive player with a few bonus players thrown in?

Many teams (apparently) lined up to make their offers of what (who) they thought Karlsson is worth to them, but (again apparently) none of them were willing to add as many bonuses we thought he is worth.

It is true that this season has not been Karlsson’s best (by far) This can be explained and even expected by the fact that he was not able to attend full summer training with the team due to his foot/ankle injury.  It probably did not help that he played on the injured foot during last years playoffs where the Senators were as close as an overtime loss in game seven to making the Stanley Cup finals.  I’m sure the Pittsburgh Penguins led by Sidney Crosby were sweating big time (extremely worried) that game.

The Senators are not expected to make the playoffs this season.  So hopefully Karlsson can recuperate (heal) properly and be back to his former glory next season.  I for one am glad to see him stick around.  His skill level is awesome to watch on the ice and he is a charismatic leader on and off the ice within our community.

If you have a few more minutes to spare, check out my other blogs…

LOL laugh out loud with me on Your Daily Chuckle. These posts are NOT originals, merely things I saw on Facebook or elsewhere that made me chuckle.

WoW stands for Words of Wisdom, motivational and inspirational words. Again, I am NOT the original author, just want to share words that move me.

GARDENS4U is the website for my gardening business that is the reason I don’t post on this blog as much during the summer

Canadian Olympic firsts

Although we Canadians have collected a record (for us) number of medals this Olympic games, we have suffered a few heartbreaking and painful firsts.

  • the first time the women’s curling team did not qualify for the playoff round since the inception of curling as an Olympic sport.  I have to admit though, the South Korean women curlers were so impressive, cool calm and collected throughout their games.
  • the first time both the men’s and women’s team have missed the podium in traditional curling (although we did capture gold in mixed doubles)  Again, since the inception of curling as an Olympic sport.
  • the first time (in five years) our women’s hockey team had to settle for a silver medal although nothing to scoff at there. They were outplayed, although the officials could have been less biased in their calls.

These disappointing firsts are a result of many things in my mind.  Canada has always been respected for their curling and hockey prowess, but obviously other teams are catching up fast.  It does not help that curling teams from around the world come to Canada to compete against the best for practice on the world stage.  It also does not help that many of these teams are paying Canadian curlers to coach their teams.  As for the hockey, the USA and Canadian women’s teams have always been neck and neck, with all other teams lagging far behind.  After 4 consecutive gold medals for the Canadian women, it was time for the USA to win one.  No other team even comes close, but that may change too in the years to come.

The fact that the Canadian teams mentioned were the reigning and repeated gold medal holders in their respective sports puts an immense amount of pressure on them.  All other teams strive to knock them off the podium.  The German team celebrated like they had won the gold medal after beating team Canada in the semi-final.

The fact that no current NHL players are on the men’s Olympic hockey teams weighs in too.  In previous years Canadian and USA rosters were loaded with NHL players.  The NHL chose to not allow their players to participate in the Olympics this time after the IOC (International Olympic Committee) refused to pay the players’ (considerable) insurance premiums and travel costs.

Day 13 of the winter Olympics proved to be unlucky for Canadians in a few sports.   However, there were a few great firsts to cheer about other days.  Just as other countries are gaining respect in sports they were not historically known to medal for, Canada is too.  More medals in figure skating and speed skating made up for those lost in hockey and curling in our total medal count. Here are a few of those awesome firsts:

  • Canada has won the most medals in speed skating since its Olympic inception.
  • John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes won the first gold medal in mixed doubles curling
  • Sebastien Toutant won the first gold in the snowboarding “big air” thriller
  • first time Canada has won four medals in figure skating, two gold and two bronze
  • first time Canada has won 29 medals at a winter games, previous record was 26
  • first time Canada has won the third most medals in a winter games, (previous record was 4th) 9 behind Norway, one behind Germany (we were in second until the last night of competition when Germany won two medals in bobsled) and 6 ahead of the USA.

 

The time change (they are 14 hours ahead of us here in EST) was a bit annoying with these winter Olympic games held in PyeongChang, a first for South Korea.  Sometimes it was hard to tell what was old news and what was new.  Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed watching all the talented athletes.  Well, maybe not the curling  or hockey.

If you have a few more minutes to spare, please check out my other blogs…

LOL laugh out loud with me on Your Daily Chuckle. These posts are NOT originals, merely things I saw on Facebook or elsewhere that made me chuckle.

WoW stands for Words of Wisdom, motivational and inspirational words. Again, I am NOT the original author, just want to share words that move me.

GARDENS4U is the website for my gardening business that is the reason I don’t post on this blog as much during the summer.

Olympics and gun control meet on Twitter

What do the Olympics and gun control have in common?  Twitter, they have Twitter in common.  This exchange of tweets on Twitter was too funny (and tragically accurate) not to share!  It came after the USA women’s hockey team beat Canada in the gold medal hockey game and the USA men’s curling team beat the Canadian men’s curling team to advance to the gold medal game in the winter Olympics.  It also came after another shooting rampage in a USA school.

 

Chris Sedenka‏
@ChrisSedenka

Hey @Canada, what else would you like us to beat you in today?
8:43 AM – 22 Feb 2018

 

 

Scott Morrison‏
@scott_morrison

Gun Control

 

This reply was the BEST!  Nothing more to be said that can improve that conversation.  Leave it to a little blue bird to get the last word in!

Twitter

 

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Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca

 

Do curlers have to be physically fit?

In my youth, the only curlers I knew were the rags my mother used to put in my hair.   I was vaguely aware that my BFF’s brother was a curler, but I cannot say I was interested enough to find out anything about the sport.  In fact, I’m not sure it was much of a sport back then.

My husband was a great curler in his youth, representing his club in the provincial playdowns several times.  His teenaged years were consumed with curling.  His knowledge of and passion for the game, not to mention the numerous trophies that we have in our home, (those were the days when no one but the winner got a trophy) taught me all about the game.  Not just the logistics of the game, but how difficult it is (here in Canada) to be the best team in your club let alone your zone, province, or country.  That degree of difficulty has not changed.  It might be even tougher as there are so many good teams out there.

My two eldest sons started curling at the age of four.  They both curled locally for years,  coached by their father. The younger of the two was not as passionate about the sport as the elder who also went on to curl competitively including representing our area in the provincials.  Unfortunately, much to the chagrin of his dad, his curling days took a back seat to his goal of becoming a civil engineer.  Both sons learned a lot on the curling ice, including leadership, team play, and communication skills.  Both developed friendships that have lasted over the years.   In fact, my eldest son met his new wife within the first few years of his curling career.  They both still curl at the same RCC although she is currently taking a hiatus to give birth to their first child!

Gone are the days, however, where drinking beer (adults only of course) and munching on junk food after the game were the highlights of the sport, at least at the competitive level.   Today, teams and individuals are known for their fitness level, mental endurance, and strategically amazing shots.  Sorry Ed Werenich, but the days of the belly hanging over the belt as you crouch on the ice to throw your shot are long gone.

ed

 

Watching the mixed doubles category in the winter Olympics this week, it is obvious that these curlers definitely have to be physically fit athletes to compete at this level today.  With just two (traditional curling has four) curlers per team, they  are throwing a rock, then quickly jumping up to sweep it down the ice towards the house.  I broke out in a (nervous) sweat watching them, especially the gold medal game between Canada and Switzerland.  The pairing of Canada’s John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes were spectacular to watch as they brought home the gold.

curlers
CBC news: Canada’s John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes win Olympic gold in curling mixed doubles

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Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca

A dogsled, RCMP, snow and Shania Twain

Arriving on the snow-covered field on a dogsled, escorted by (RCMP) mounties, Shania Twain’s Grey Cup halftime show could not have been more Canadian.  The flying snow enhanced the performance, captured here by ESPN…

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Dressed in sparkly pink and red winter wear, Canadian country singer Shania Twain wowed the crowd with her hit songs “That Don’t Impress me Much” and “Life’s About to Get Good”  before closing with “Man, I feel like a woman!”

 

Oh, and the football game was good too, a close nailbiter right to the end.  The underdog won again with the Toronto Argonauts defeating the Calgary Stampeders 27-24  in Grey Cup #105.

 

 

There’s a new mantra in Ottawa tonight

There’s a new mantra in Ottawa tonight.  If you are an Ottawa Senators fan or an NHL lover, you will know exactly what I am talking about.  It goes like this: “PAGEAU, PAGEAU, PAGEAU, PAGEAU….PAGEAU, PAGEAU”  sung to the tune of that other popular NHL chant OLÈ, OLÈ, OLÈ, OLÈ….OLÈ OLÈ

Pageau

 

The Ottawa Senators beat the visiting New York Rangers, 6-5 in double overtime, after being down 5-3 with a little over 3 minutes left in regulation time.  What a comeback, what a game!  The win puts the Senators ahead 2-0 in a best of 7 game series, round two in the NHL playoffs for the Stanley Cup.

Pageau

The reason for the mantra is that Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored 4 of the 6 Ottawa goals, including the OT winner.   To be more precise, 4 goals in 4 shots on net.  I would love to know Henrik Lundqvist’s (the Rangers’ goaltender) thoughts as he saw him streaking down the ice towards him in overtime.  Maybe, “oh no, not him again”

The fans serenaded him a few times tonite with the mantra (after each goal) but none louder than during his solo skate as he was announced the first star of the game.  It was absolutely deafening, in fact, you could not hear the announcer declare him the first star.  Not that he had to, we all knew who the best guy on the ice was tonight.

The fans were still chanting as they cleared out of the CTC, to the parking lots and beyond, honking their car horns and waving their flags…

My voice is hoarse; I too was chanting and cheering at the top of my lungs.

New NHL intentional injuries rule called for

I believe that a new NHL rule should be implemented to reduce intentional injuries in hockey.  The rule would apply to those players that viciously injure their opponents putting them out of the game and possibly several games.  The offending player should be suspended for as many games as the injured player is out. Simple. Effective. Fair. Justice.

There are far too many whacks with the hockey sticks (slashing in hockey lingo) injuring players.  I am not talking about incidental nips, I am referring to the intentional slashes at a players hand. Two years ago P.K. Subban of the (then) Montreal Canadiens put Mark Stone of the Ottawa Senators out for the season with a fractured wrist from a slash to the hand.

It should not matter if the victim or the offender is the best player in the league or a fourth liner; the rule should be consistent to make it effective.  The quality of player is another can of worms; many believe Sidney Crosby (arguably the best player in the NHL) gets away with much more than the average player because of his elevated status in the game.

Did you see the whack (slash) on Marc Methot’s hand compliments of the great Sidney Crosby last night as the Ottawa Senators played (beat) the Pittsburgh Penguins?  Maybe not the slash, because apparently, the referees did not see that either.  Although it was displayed on the scoreboard for the Ottawa fans at the game to see.   We (viewers at home too) all saw Methot’s bloody finger with the nail and skin hanging off the end.  We all saw Crosby skate off with a bored (no remorse there) look on his face too. No apology was issued either.   Word is if the hit had been higher on the hand, Methot may have lost his finger.

intentional injuries
Marc Methot missing part of his finger thanks to Sidney Crosby

 

Another funny (not really) fact is that high sticks, regardless of whether they are intentional or not, are always penalized.  In fact, the victim tries very hard to produce blood to get an additional two minutes added to the penalty.   The referee even checks the victim over for the presence of blood before deciding to give the perpetrator two or four minutes in the sin bin.

The blood was pretty evident at the end of Methot’s finger, for all to see.  No penalty call from the refs though.  Was that because Sidney Crosby was the offender?  Sure looked that way…

Methot is out for several weeks; Crosby is playing again tonight.  Where is the justice in that?  A new NHL injury rule might help, certainly wouldn’t hurt!

 

Bipartisan hockey fans

There is nothing worse when you go to an NHL game to support the home team and there are more (and louder) hockey fans supporting the opposing team.  This happens alot at Ottawa Senators‘  home games.  It is bad enough watching on TV, but when you are actually at the game it is brutal.  Last night was a great example when the Senators hosted the Montreal Canadians.  If you were listening to the game from a distance (not right in front of the TV) you could not tell which team scored when the commentator yelled “scores!”

I assume this bipartisan crowd phenomenon is because anyone that has moved to Ottawa for work as an adult is old enough to have grown up with another team as their favourite.  On the flip side, anyone younger than 30 years of age living in Ottawa has grown up with the Senators as their home team since the Senators franchise was only revived in Ottawa in 1992, after being off the NHL radar since 1934.

I grew up in Cornwall, Ontario a small city a little over an hour east and south of Ottawa.  In the sixties and seventies, if you lived in Cornwall, hockey fans cheered for the Montreal Canadians or the Toronto Maple Leafs.  The choice was predominantly based on whether you were French-speaking (Montreal) or English speaking (Toronto).  My father was an avid Toronto Maple Leaf fan, so we six children were too.  When I moved to Ottawa and had three sons, as soon as they were old enough to love hockey and the Senators, I was a convert.

However, when I moved to Ottawa and had three sons, as soon as they were old enough to love hockey and the Senators, I was a convert.  It is hard not to get caught up in the excitement of a local team, especially as we live 5 minutes from the Canadian Tire Center, the arena the Senators call home.

Whatever happened to home ice advantage?

hockey fans