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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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

 

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

Welcome to Kanata, Ontario, Canada

This post is in response to a challenge from Opinionated Man for bloggers to talk about their hometowns…

Kanata has a population of approximately 102,000 people.  It is the western suburb of Ottawa which is Canada’s capital city. Ottawa has a population of approximately 885,000 people, including those in Kanata. The name Kanata means village or settlement in the Iroquois language.  The name Canada is derived from the word Kanata.  Apparently settlers first heard the word Kanata and misspelled it when naming Canada.

Kanata is a great place to live as it is relatively quiet without the hustle and bustle of downtown Ottawa, but still close enough (20 minute drive) to the big city to enjoy it when and if you wish to.  Kanata is well known in the technology sector, often referred to as the Silicon Valley of the north.

Kanata residents are proud to be the home of the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League (NHL)  Ottawa is definitely a hockey town, with thousands of minor and junior hockey teams on the ice from September to April.  Curling is also a popular winter sport here in Canada, especially amongst my family members.  In the summer months residents enjoy playing soccer, tennis, golf, baseball, lacrosse and more.  As the mother of three boys, my life does seem to revolve around sports.

We have four seasons here in Ottawa, each lasting three months on the calendar, but blending together much more gradually.  For example, we had snow here and lots of it well before the calendar said it was winter and are now waiting impatiently for spring to show its face.  Here are our four seasons in pictures:

SPRING…from March 21st to June 21st:

SUMMER: from June 21st to September 21st…

FALL or AUTUMN: from September 21st to December 21st…

and WINTER: from December 21st to March 21st…

I am the proud owner of a landscaping company called GARDENS4U so spend most of my time working in other peoples’ gardens. I’m sure you probably guessed my passion for gardening from the pictures I have included.  In the off season (which has been incredibly long this year) I work on the website for the company and write. My blog is the main venue for writing, but I have been dabbling in freelanced writing too this winter.

I hope you enjoyed a peek into my life here in Kanata (Ottawa), Ontario, Canada.

Something Stinks in Kanata

canstock20642996 poop

Something Stinks in Kanata

Something stinks in Kanata and for once it is not the Carp dump.  Last Thursday (Nov 13th), Earl of March  (EOM) played AY Jackson (AY) in a high school hockey game that would decide which team made the playoffs.  These high school teams are cross town rivals with many of the players playing together on competitive and house league teams within KMHA for many years.  Most have respect for the abilities of the others, and everyone knew it would be an exciting game.  Many of these players had turned down the chance to play competitive hockey at higher levels so they could play high school hockey with and against their friends during their last year of high school.  The fans were out in full force, including a human sized mascot representing each team.  It is most unfortunate that the rival match did not get resolved on the hockey rink as it should have.   Instead, the National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association (NCSSAA) chose to protect a referee’s poor decision made because of an overreaction in a heated discussion.

The role of the referee in a hockey game is to supervise the action on the ice, not to control the outcome of a game.  The referee in question made several calls that the EOM coach repeatedly requested clarification of.  The official would not approach the EOM bench, but was quick to go to the AY bench to clarify any questions they had.  When AY scored to tie the game at 1 goal each, the referee finally approached the EOM bench.  This was after the referee had placed the wrong EOM player in the penalty box, but would not allow the assistant captain on the ice at the time to tell him so, had not blown his whistle when a pile up (in a non- contact game) occurred at the EOM net (although he did many times at the opposing net) resulting in the tying goal.  Upon approaching the EOM bench, the referee and coach exchanged words and the ref indicated that he was assigning a gross misconduct to the coach.  From the many written reports from the boys on the bench, their coach did not use foul language or did not threaten the referee in any way.  He certainly did not commit a “travesty of the game” as should be necessary for a gross misconduct call.  The coach explained that he could not leave the game as he was the only coach on the bench.  His understanding at that point was that he worked out the difference of opinion with the referee, promising to keep quiet if the game was to continue.

Continue it did, resulting in a 4-1 victory for EOM.  This score was evident on the scoreboard and on the game sheet that was signed off by both officials as being accurate.  All fans agreed it was a hard fought, well deserved victory for EOM.  The coach apologized to the referee once again at the end of the game, receiving no warning or indication of a forfeit.  As a matter of fact, the gross misconduct was never recorded on the game sheet.  However, after the game, the referee filed an independent report including the gross misconduct for the EOM coach and calling the game a forfeit.

There are many parts of this fiasco that should have been considered in the decision to forfeit the game:

-Why did the game continue if the referee felt so threatened or insulted?  Instead he told the coach they were “good to go” and the game continued.  He continued to report goals and penalties to the score/time keeper for recording on the game sheet. He did not mention the fact that he was planning to recommend a forfeit on a separate form to any of the coaches or players, during or after the game when all of the coaches, officials and players shook hands.

-Why were the coaches and players of both teams as well as the convenor not informed of this decision until much later when a 2-0 score for AY (probably should have read 2-0 for the referee) was questioned and assumed to be a typo on a website that displays results?   Even then, there was no indication of a forfeit!   Was the high and mighty NCSSAA athletic coordinator sitting waiting for the “shit to hit the fan” instead of notifying the coaches and convenor?  When was he planning on telling the teams involved?

-What is the function of the game sheet if not to record details of the game including penalties and score?  It is understandable that a separate report be filed if there is insufficient room on the game sheet for penalties incurred, or if an incident occurs after the game sheet has been signed off and separated for disposition to both teams.  Why bother having a game sheet or scoreboard if their recordings are not to be considered accurate reflections of the game?  A separate report should never overrule the statistics reported on the game sheet.

That is exactly what happened.  The separate report was filed by the referee and the game forfeited by EOM, although no one thought to notify the EOM team.    EOM players did not know they “lost” until the next morning.  I’m sure AY players finding out they won was a much happier scene; they certainly had no reason to believe that they won before that.  Obviously the EOM boys were and continue to be heartbroken. I hope the “powers that be” involved in this mess slept well these past few nights, comfortable in the fact that their cowardly and unjust actions had the potential to rock the world of the innocent EOM players.

Five days later an appeal was finally heard by the NCSSAA board, although I had the sick feeling in my stomach that was telling me it was simply a formality and no justice would be served.    The decision that EOM forfeited the game due to a gross misconduct incurred by their coach was upheld.  I guess I was hoping in my heart that the wrong would be righted, even though I had warned my son that it probably would not happen.

I think the saddest part of this story is the fact that a bigger person, either the referee or the NCSSAA athletic coordinator, could have and should have acknowledged that many mistakes were made, all based on an overreaction to an innocent request for an explanation of a penalty call.

There are those that may argue that referees decisions must be upheld.  I understand the predicament of the officials.  They do get yelled at a lot, but if they want to be a hockey official at this level of the game, they should develop thicker skins.  Again, their role is to supervise the action on the ice, not to control the outcome of the game, especially such an important game.  Perhaps the money saved on printing game sheets and running the score boards could be used on training the officials to handle these situations more effectively.

Another argument raised was that the AY boys would be upset if the ruling was overturned.  At the risk of repeating myself, at no time could the AY boys have felt that they had won the game Thursday.  If fact, I hear many of them do not even want to play in the playoffs due to such a hollow victory over many of their friends.

Then there is the argument of the ugly history involved between AY and EOM fans and players.  Why should the players and coaches this year be tarred with the same brush?  Just because of a brawl years ago, that none of these players or coaches participated in, the referee should feel intimidated and throw a coach out for requesting an explanation?  I think not.

As parents we teach our children to face up to our mistakes so they can be rectified as soon as possible.  In this case, the mistakes could have been easily rectified by reversing the forfeit before the playoffs begin.  There were two chances for this to happen; you failed twice Mr NCSSAA athletic coordinator.

The only travesty committed was one of justice.   Everyone that attended the game knew who won, well maybe except for the referee and the NCSSAA athletic coordinator.

Canadian Women do us Proud Today!!

I am very proud of our Canadian women today!  The Canadian women’s hockey team overcame a 2-0 goal deficit in the third period to force overtime against the USA team and then scored again to win the Olympic GOLD medal.  Marie-Philip Poulin scored both the tying goal and the game winning overtime goal for team Canada.

Earlier today, Jennifer Jones’ curling team beat Sweden in the championship final to win gold as well.  This game was a nail biter too, with Sweden having a chance to tie the score or go ahead in the ninth end.  Instead, Jones and the Canadian women’s team stole two points to head into the tenth end with a three point lead that Sweden could not rally from.  As she threw her first rock in the tenth end, a smile lit Jennifer Jones’ face as she (and we) knew she was about to make the easy take out shot to run the Swedes out of rocks and win the gold medal.

Great job ladies!

Where do the Referees come from in Minor Hockey?

Where do they get these refs??  Is there an IQ test or eye examination on their application form?  Do they get any training regarding the behaviour of children?  Do they have to demonstrate their skating ability and their ability to skate and blow the whistle at the same time?  Are they not told that their main role out there is to keep the game under control?  I am beginning to think NOT!!

The team that can skate faster, pass more efficiently, shoot harder/more accurately, and break out of their end better, (all those things the players spend hours practicing, and the coaches spend teaching, not to mention the $$ the parents spend so their kids can develop these skills)  should come out victorious, with a sense of pride in these achievements.  Even the losing team can recognize the signs they need to work harder to achieve these goals when they are beaten fair and square!

Bad referees can ruin a game, demoralizing and frustrating the players, coaches and parents.  I have witnessed many examples of poorly officiated games over the years, but our last game was the icing on the cake!

By the end of the second period the “Away” team had been assigned eleven penalties for a total of 38 minutes, including two 10 minute misconducts for “unsportsmanlike conduct”  Ironically, the two players getting these major penalties are typically our least aggressive, mildest mannered kids on the team.  The problem was obvious:  frustration!!   When a referee calls that many penalties on one team and only 4 for the “Home” team for a total of 8 minutes, (the favored team quickly learned how to take advantage of the situation) the frustration levels are guaranteed to run high. Especially as both of the unsportsmanlike calls were results of the referee not calling the opposing team for the infraction that caused the unsportsmanlike behaviour!  For example, in one incident, our player was slew-footed (for those of you that don’t know what that means, “slew-footing” is the meaner, dirtier, sneakier, more dangerous cousin of “tripping”, just ask Erik Karlson about that!) in the corner, jumped up (thankfully he wasn’t injured) and yelled “what the BLEEP was that??”  He was given two and ten minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct and harassment of the official.  His father was then thrown out of the arena for reacting to the bad call by banging on the glass and holding up his eye glasses for the referee to borrow (LOL, not sure who that man was!)

Needless to say, this game was well out of control at this point.  At the start of the third period, the score was 4 to 1 in favour of the “home” team thanks to several 5 on 3 opportunities in the first two periods.  At this point the referee must have (finally) noticed that the gamesheet was looking a little unbalanced under the penalty section, so he gave out a few more minor penalties to the home team to try to make up for his blatant favoritism (or poor vision, lack of skill, whatever you want to call it).  Some of these calls were poor, wild stretches of the imagination as well.

It is really unfortunate that the rule in hockey is that only the referee can assign minor penalties.  With three officials on the ice surely they all should be able to make calls to keep these games under control?  I’m sure there would be a lot less injuries, including the concerning  “concussion like symptoms” that appear to be on the rise.   Are three pairs of eyes not much better than one??  Maybe I should ask Don Cherry to debate this issue…

At the beginning of each season, the players sign a code of conduct in which respect is a key factor.  Referees demand respect from the players and coaches, what about the other way around?The last I heard, respect is a two-way street.   What respect were the players and coaches shown in this game?  When the players involved questioned the calls, they were given additional penalties.  When one of our assistant captains calmly questioned a call on the ice, he was told “I’ll talk to you later” which never happened.   Is that not a role of the assistant captain?  Our coach repeatedly called the referee over to the bench for explanations to his calls; he refused to go.  At one point, she opened a door on our bench, thinking the ref would come over to close it before proceeding with the game as he should.  Not a chance; he dropped the puck with the door open.  Oblivious?? Maybe.  More than likely he was intimidated by our cute, feisty, young, female coach.  Wake up, this is the 21st century, women can play and coach hockey.  She and other volunteer coaches deserve respect for making the time and effort to coach our children without getting paid to do so!   You want respect, you should try to earn it, not shove it down the players and coaches throats.  This wasn’t hockey, this was a bad rerun of “Who’s the Boss?”

The only lesson taught in this game was  a bad one…when the opposing players blatantly cheated by tripping, hitting from behind, and tackling our players, they were rewarded by receiving a man (or two) advantage for most of the game.  What a great way to win a game!  What a great way to spend a Saturday night!  I think I will encourage my son to give up hockey and take up curling next season, there are no referees to ruin that sport…

Lorieb is the mother of three sons, residing in Kanata, Ontario, Canada.  She is the proud owner of GARDENS4U, and spends most of her time designing, planting, and restoring gardens.  Her other interests include reading and writing.  Please check out her website at www.gardens4u.ca