Friday, 8 December 2017

There's An Octopus In Your Yard

It was always a fun sight to see when Al the Octopus would descend from the ceiling in Detroit for a Red Wings game. Al was, of course, a play on the octopi that usually hit the ice in Detroit, a phenomenon seen often in the playoffs, due to the NHL's days of yore where winning eight games was the required number of victories needed to hoist the Stanley Cup. The tradition lived at Joe Louis Arena, but that arena, like eight-win Stanley Cup championships, are no more. Al didn't move to Little Caesars Arena, so what happened to Al the Octopus?

Well, it turns out he can live at your home. Or rink. Or some other larger area needing a monstrous octopus. Starting tomorrow, a huge number of old artifacts and pieces from Joe Louis Arena are going up for auction, and Al the Octopus is one of those items! Measuring ten-feet by ten-feet by eight-feet, Al does come separate into smaller pieces for easier transport, but you're most likely going to need a few moving trucks to haul Al away.

Among some of the other cooler items include the Red Wings-branded door header from the locker room, the press conference background (sponsored by Meijer), a stand where they sold programs, the "Red Hot Wings" vendor sign, and much more. Literally, anything that could have been saved was saved in this auction, so take a look through the nearly-1000 items that the auction is offering and see if you can grab something of note before December 16.

If you own a sports bar or are a die-hard Red Wings fan, this auction literally has something for everyone. From pictures that hung all over the rink of players past and present to signs that were on walls all over the rink to some of the bigger ticket items like Al the Octopus, there is nearly something for every fan's taste in this auction. I'm not that attached to the Red Wings, so don't expect me to drive up the bidding on any items, but if you've ever wanted to skate out below Al the Octopus on your backyard rink, today's your lucky day!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 7 December 2017

The Hockey Show - Episode 272

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back tonight with a special guest! Often we search out people who have played in or are from Manitoba when it comes to our guests because there's a great connection there. Tonight, we're proud to continue that tradition as we welcome a guest who grew up in southern Manitoba, played hockey in the NCAA, gets paid to play hockey now in the CWHL, and is kind enough and generous enough to lend us an hour of her time on The Hockey Show!

The young lady to the left is none other than Taylor Woods, and she grew up and called Morden, Manitoba home! Woods played with a few teams in Manitoba on her journey, suited up for Team Canada, represented the Cornell Big Red for four seasons, and is now playing for the CWHL's Markham Thunder! We'll talk to Taylor about growing up in Morden, playing at Balmoral Hall in Winnipeg, playing alongside some big names in women's hockey and what she learned from them, life in college and what "Environmental Exploration" is in terms of a college major, getting paid to play hockey, heading to China for games this season, and more! It should be another great show where we introduce you to an incredible Manitoban, so get the radio over to 101.5 on the FM dial for this one!

How do you tune in to hear Taylor's interview tonight, you ask? We suggest that you download the UMFM app on your phone or tablet. It's the easiest and most convenient way to listen to any of UMFM's great shows any time of the day, so go get it! Just follow this link on your iDevice or this link for your Android device and get the UMFM app! It's never been easier to tune into The Hockey Show or UMFM! Download the UMFM app today, and don't miss any of our great programming or shows! Of course, you can do the radio thing at 101.5 FM and you can always listen online via the UMFM website!

If you prefer social media, we try to remain up-to-speed there as well! Email all show questions and comments to! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show.

Tonight, we talk Hawks, Team Canada, Blazers, Big Red, Thunder, big goals, big names, international travel, exploring the environment, and more as we meet and talk with pro hockey player Taylor Woods from the CWHL's Markham Thunder on The Hockey Show found only on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM app!

PODCAST: December 7, 2017: Episode 272

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

For The First Time Ever

I wasn't going to add anything else to this post, but it's exciting to see the efforts put in by Bisons women's hockey being recognized by national voters as they have done something they've never done before! For the first time in the program's history, the Bisons are the number-one ranked team in the nation! Well done, ladies!

It also dawned on me that the Bisons, Pandas, and Thunderbirds occupy the top-three spots on the U SPORTS National Top-Ten rankings. I believe that may be the first time in Canada West's history that three teams from Canada West have held the top-three rankings nationally as well. Don't quote me on that, but it seems more than likely!

In any case, the western teams are looking strong as they head into the holiday break and the second-half of the season. While I won't count out the 11-1-2 St. Francois-Xavier team nor the 11-0-1 Queen's team from the discussion about gold medals at the national tournament, the worst part of this setup is that one of Manitoba, Alberta, and UBC won't get to play in the tournament as only two teams from Canada West can advance. That's a tough pill to swallow if you're that team.

In any case, there's lots of hockey to play, but one thing is certain: don't mess with the west!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Welcome Back, Comrades!

There was a major decision to be made today regarding Russia's inclusion at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, and it turns out that the International Olympic Committee may actually have a spine! After the state-sponsored drug scandal by the Russians was uncovered and exposed in Sochi, a vast number of Russian athletes have been found guilty of doping, causing the IOC headaches over this incredible amount of doping at the Olympics not seen since the days of East Germany. The question of what to do about the Russians was to be answered by the IOC today, and it seems they found the will to do what most believed they wouldn't.

The IOC's full slate of findings and its announcement can be read here, but the summary of the decisions is as follows:
In short, Russia, as a country, has been banned from the upcoming Olympics and has been fined $15 million by the IOC for the doping scandal. Further to this, clean Russian athletes will be permitted to take part if they are scrutinized and found by a panel to be clean athletes, but will compete under the name "Olympic Athletes from Russia" and abbreviated "OAR" at the Winter Games. The Russian flag nor the Russian national anthem will be part of the 2018 Winter Olympics. There were several individuals identified in the findings as well - including KHL President Dmitry Chernyshenko - who will lose their standings within the various Olympic Organising Committees and/or with the Olympics altogether. Needless to say, the IOC did right.

Obviously, Russia will have to respond to this, and we've already heard the KHL boast about not allowing any players of any nationality play at the Olympic Games if the IOC imposed a ban on Russia over the doping scandal. With Russia being the favorites to win the gold medal after the NHL prevented its players from playing, it might be time to ask a big "What If" regarding the Russian men's and women's Olympic teams.

What if they wore the old CCCP uniforms?

Now, obviously that might be in poor taste, but if Putin and the Russian Olympic Committee really want to stick it to the IOC, why not break out the old CCCP uniforms and let their hockey teams rule the ice like they once did?

Julia Ioffe wrote an incredible piece in The Atlantic about Russia's humiliation in 2010 and 2014 on the ice that seems to have haunted Vladimir Putin for the last eight years. Politically, it seems there were idealisms that if the Russian Olympic team did well in Sochi, Putin would gain the confidence in annexing Ukraine. The Russians did do well in Sochi prior to the drug scandal being exposed and costing Russia a number of medals, and Russia did annex Ukraine before that idea fell apart and costing Russia millions of dollars as well.

The idealism of Vladimir Putin trying to pull the Soviet Union back together as it had been when he was working his way through the rank-and-file of the Russian military and political systems would be thrust into reality if Kovalchuk, Datsyuk, and Markov arrived in Pyeongchang wearing the iconic jersey below.
And, really, what could the IOC say or do? They're abiding by the rules laid out to them that the flags and crests of Russia not be worn, so it's not like the IOC could demand that the players change their uniforms. This move, if it happened, would be a metaphorical middle finger to the IOC and the west by Vladimir Putin and his minions when it came to the sanctions levied against his country.

Personally, I'm kind of rooting for this to happen just to see the reactions.

In any case, the KHL and Russia will need to decide what to do now that the IOC has ruled on the matter. If the KHL holds true to its threat, the Russian team won't be so ridiculously talented. But if they back off and send the boys over, the old Soviet Socialist Republic jerseys would be the icing on the cake, especially if Russia wins the gold medal in men's hockey.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 4 December 2017

A Little Radio On TV

If you caught Rogers Hometown Hockey last night from the start, you may have seen the segment on Tara Slone doing colour commentary for the Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team alongside TJ Phillips and myself. I will honestly say that TJ and Tara did amazing jobs on the broadcast, and I've linked the broadcast of the first period with Tara Slone's debut below for those that may have missed her debut in the Wayne Fleming Arena broadcast booth. In any case, I think Tara could have a future if she ever wants to give up her host role!

If you missed the clip on Rogers Hometown Hockey last night, here it is in its entirety as TJ Phillips and I run Tara Slone through the pregame discussions and preparations prior to TJ and Tara calling the first period of the game between the #2 UBC Thunderbirds and #4 Manitoba Bisons!
We are so grateful for Rogers Hometown Hockey and Tara Slone to have joined us on Saturday for the game, and I can't say enough great things about the experience. Thank you again, Tara, Deidre, Randy, and Rob, for this amazing experience and all the fun we had. This is a clip that will permanently be on my life's highlight reel.

As you may know, UMFM broadcasts all home games for Bisons men's and women's hockey via the UMFM 101.5 FM frequency or the UMFM Second Stream online broadcast for the entire season including home playoff games. We'd love for you to tune in and listen for free to some of the best women's hockey found on the planet. The entire Bisons women's hockey schedule can be found here for your convenience!

Nothing like a little national exposure for the Bisons women's hockey program on Rogers Hometown Hockey. With their win on Saturday over the second-ranked Thunderbirds, maybe the Bisons will find themselves atop the national rankings tomorrow too?


Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!