Monday, April 29, 2013
The hockey is, as predicted - great. The teams (save the hosts) all advanced to the tourney because they are Champions. Beyond the expected nerves/rust throughout the early minutes of the early games on Saturday, it was end to end action and high quality hockey.
The crowds are somewhat disappointing, but that also probably isn't a big surprise with how the Clippers drew throughout the season. Here's hoping Nanaimo picking up a win last night will get some more fans into the building. That won't do anything to improve attendance at the games that don't involve the Clippers though. Here's hoping enough people spread the word in regards to how good the hockey is and more people show up. Too bad for such a high calibre tournament.
The Host Committee has done a masterful job. From attending high-level and large scale tournaments in the past on a handful of occasions, I have come to expect some fairly large scale problems in the opening days. Not so in Nanaimo, as everyone seemed to know their job and know their stuff. Great job by the WCC hosts and the army of volunteers!
Tournament hockey is certainly fun to watch, isn't it? Brooks bests Surrey when Surrey might have felt they were the better team and had the better chances. Nanaimo recovers from two Yorkton leads (1-0, 2-1) to lead 3-2 after 40 minutes, only to give up two quick ones to lose to the Terriers 4-3.
I didn't get down to the tournament yesterday, but I watched on FAST HOCKEY...
Nanaimo takes advantage of a five minute major to blow open the game and Brooks can't recover as the Clippers top the Bandits 7-2, while Yorkton runs their record to 2-0 topping Steinbach 3-2 after the Pistons had come back from a 2-0 hole.
It's been a pleasure working with the Fast Hockey crew so far, and lots of fun broadcasting with Fraser Rodgers and Ian Holmes (reuniting the DREAM TEAM for the first time since the 2009 U17 Gold Medal game) over the two opening games of the tournament.
The Fast Hockey technology is something else...it was nice to hear great feedback from across the country and across the world from people tuning in!
I'll be watching from the comforts of home tonight on the laptop as Surrey and Steinbach battle for their first win of the tourney.
I didn't get down to the tournament yesterday, I instead got out for a round of Golf at the beautiful Alberni Golf Club.
A career best 78 for me. I felt bad talking about my golfing plans on the broadcasts on Saturday. Sorry everyone else in the rest of the country. You should get out here!
I have read some reports that it's the coldest Spring on the Prairies in over a decade...it's not too late to jump a plane or jump in your car and get out here for some great hockey action!
P.S. - bring your clubs!
Friday, April 26, 2013
The Inaugural Western Canada Cup gets going tonight in Nanaimo, with action on the ice kicking off tomorrow. For all the details, visit the official tourney website HERE
You can watch all the action on Fast Hockey HERE
If you check out the action on Fast Hockey - you might hear me, as I'm lucky enough to get to provide the play-by-play and analysis of a selection of games throughout the tournament.
The Bulldogs announced the completion of the Teal Burns trade yesterday, announcing that Mitch Crisanti is headed to the Capitals.
More details from the Bulldogs website HERE
And best of luck Mitch with the Caps!
They still have some spots open, so if you are in for a good time for a good cause, give them a call and get registered!
Visit them online HERE
Saturday, April 20, 2013
It's the second day of Spring Camp in the Alberni Valley today. Here's the schedule for today and tomorrow:
Saturday, April 20th:
Sunday, April 21st:
Hopefully we will see you there!
The Brooks Bandits booked their ticket with a 6-5 OT win in Game 5 last night over Spruce Grove...more details HERE
The Bandits join the host Nanaimo Clippers, the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Champion Yorkton Terriers and the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Champion Steinbach Pistons in the Western Canada Cup field.
The only berth yet to be decided is the BCHL one. It will be either the Vees or the Eagles, and we could find out as soon as tomorrow. The teams had last night off and tonight off, with Game 6 going tomorrow night at 5pm in Penticton with the Eagles leading the series 3 games to 2.
Full details on the WCC can be found on the tournament website HERE.
It will be some outstanding hockey as the teams fight for two RBC Cup berths.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
It's been almost two weeks since my last post following the Year End Awards Banquet. Longest holiday I've had in a couple of years!
Unfortunately I was still working at 93.3 The Peak and I haven't had a REAL holiday, but stepping back from the blog, the broadcasts, and all things Bulldogs has been a nice break and very refreshing. Don't get me wrong, I would trade it all to still be calling hockey games with the Bulldogs magical run continuing!
At the same time it has been very nice to get back to somewhat of a regular sleep schedule, and it has been very nice to spend lots of time with my family and my little guy, "catching up" on everything I miss throughout the hockey season. What I have been up to over the last couple of weeks - a couple rounds of golf, a trip to Victoria, house work, and a trip up Mount Washington last weekend. I was really lucky with that one, winning a chance to head up the Mountain through work!
Accept my apologies for not posting something on the blog sooner, but it's just simply hard to do. Who wants to talk about the end of the season? Throw in the fact that my laptop died last week and I have been without a computer, and it makes writing this even more difficult.
Just SOME of my favorite memories - the incredible crowds in Nanaimo and Victoria, the crazy celebration behind the Frank Crane Arena, the sign in the Bear Mountain Arena parking lot, the fun we had with the bus, my little guy coming to see part of the banquet, and my Dad surprising me all the way from Manitoba to catch some Playoff action after catching the Bulldog fever from 4 Provinces away! Pretty cool that he won the 50/50 during Game 4, as it helped pay for all his and my golf while he was out here!
So many people to thank...I'm sure I'll miss some but here goes nothing!
This is for everyone that either wasn't at the banquet or missed the final "Sign off" on the Postgame show from the final game. I always try my best on the final broadcast to thank everyone top to bottom. I heard some great feedback that Bruce and I did a great job with it - thanks, that means alot!
My family, and everyone that supports them. It's not easy with how the schedule is to be gone for extended periods, to be on the road, to have almost every single weekend booked from September through March - or in this case, into April. Thanks to Theresa and Griff for their support, and to everyone that supports them in my absence.
My work family - everyone at The Peak that makes the broadcasts happen from a sales and operations standpoint, and covers for me when the team is on the road - David, Wanda, Diane, Brian, Jolie, our production staff, and our Broadcast Operators and Producers Nick, Brendan and Paul. I get to have all the fun, they do a ton of work behind the scenes.
The sponsors - the broadcasts don't happen without people investing in them. Without you, there is nothing. THANKS.
Bruce MacDonald - His first full year doing colour and analysis. He brings an unbelievable amount of passion to the job, and I think he grew in leaps and bounds throughout the year with how he called the game. The committment he made to calling the games home and away was something else. Keep in mind it's a side job for him, and he took a lot of time away from running a business and being with his family to make the broadcasts what they were. He's a great guy to hang out with in the booth and on the road on the bus and in the hotel. I think we are due to a hang out on the golf course though, where no one is listening to us and we don't have to always measure what we say, haha!
Dan Tisserand - I don't even know how many years it has been now for Dan being the Official "stats man" on the broadcasts. We were both talking about that at one point this season and Dan said "thanks for giving me the chance to do this" and my response was something along the lines of he shouldn't be thanking me for ANYTHING! Talk about dedication and committment - he lives in Nanaimo, every game is a road game for him except those at the Frank Crane, and he doesn't miss many. He's travelling on his own most of the time, he's home late, he's working the next day. The stats bring a lot to the broadcasts that I know everyone appreciates from the fans to the players to the parents to the Coaching Staff. Thanks again Danno! I would love to have a mic on Dan and Bruce sometimes when they go back and forth on things during breaks!
The Bulldogs Organization - TOP TO BOTTOM - Coaches and Staff, Players, Office Staff. They all are great guys and gals. It's not always easy not working for the team, but working in such close association with the team. It's also not easy when you have to constantly walk the fine line between being truthful and unbiased, and also supportive and positive. The Coaches were amazing to deal with, and are a couple of great guys. Same can be said for the Players and the support staff - Jamie and James, Will "the thrill" and the Office Staff and volunteers. Miss all of you already!
Billets/Volunteers - Hockey at this level doesn't exist without Billet families to take these guys into their homes, and without volunteers at so many levels to make the team and the games run, in the Office, around the rink on game day - public address and music, scorekeeping and score clock operating , penalty box attendants, goal judges, security personnel, the volunteers at the front of the rink, the members of the Booster Club. Thanks for playing such a huge part in this being such an amazing place, not just in hockey but in day to day life! Quite simply, there are lots of incredible people in this city.
The Port Alberni Junior Hockey Society - What a year to make the Dogs community owned! I don't think anyone could have anticipated the incredible run the team would go on when this endeavour was undertaken last spring. THANKS to everyone involved for stepping up, and showing no fear and refusing to say NO! Just like the people that first brought this team here, you showed the same Port Alberni mentality. Thanks for dreaming big, thanks for all your time and efforts away from your families, your jobs, your priorities. Incredible story written this season from the community side of things.
Blog Readers and Supporters - Thanks for giving me the incentive to keep this blog up and going throughout the season. It takes way more work than most people realize. Thanks for the positive feedback, and thanks for the donations through the link on the right ------> (DON'T BE SHY TO CLICK IT!!) that keep me going and give me a kick in the butt when I'd rather take some down time or time with the family. The donations go a long way in not only making me feel like the time I put in is appreciated, but they also go a long way in making the blog what it is - new computer, new phone/camera, online hosting fees for audio, etc!
Ok, so who am I missing now? Oh right, the FANS! None of this happens, and this team isn't here without your generosity and support. Second to none not only in the league, and in the country. Your support of the broadcasts, and of the team, is incredible. You packed OUR rink, you invaded THEIR rinks, you pushed the team into the second and third round of the Playoffs. You made the Dog Pound how it used to be - over seating capacity. It's your hard earned $$$, and I thank and respect you for your mind blowing support!
Thanks as well to the BCHL, for giving us great hockey to watch at a great price. Thanks to the opposition, you can't have games without them. Thanks as well to the Officials - often maligned, never appreciated or commended enough. Through the earlier parts of the Playoffs the Officiating was more often than not sub-standard. It was nice to see over the Coastal Final that things tightened up and the Officiating wasn't a factor. Maybe that's a credit to the Eagles and the Bulldogs and how they played, maybe it's the Referees in question, maybe it's a bit of both. I know Bruce and I both said at the conclusion of Game 4 against Surrey how good the officiating was. I was happy also to hear that Manny Gialedakis went into the Officials Dressing Room after the game to offer his thanks for their efforts and all that they put up with in a thankless job.
I think that just about does it for the THANKS! If I forgot you, accept my humble apologies - the list is just wayyyy too long. Like every alum says when I interview him and ask him if there is anyone he wants to say Hello to, or anyone he wants to thank - you can't thank everyone, you will most likely miss someone, and that right there is what makes this place to amazing...the support you get at all levels is out of this world!
What an incredible picture from Monday afternoon!
The Alberni Golf Club is where you will find me more often than not until next season....or at least as much as family life and my wallet will allow me! The course is in great shape, and the weather is pretty darn good...sorry to those in other parts of the Province or the rest of Canada and the US under snow and in the cold still. Just another great thing about living here!
The first Men's Night of the Season at the Alberni Golf Club goes tonight.
It's a 6pm start, with great food, great prizes, and most importantly a great time!
Call the Pro Shop to get registered at 250-723-5422
That's it for now, more on the Western Canada Cup and the Fred Page Cup Finals series to come in the next couple of days.
Thursday, April 04, 2013
Most Sportsmanlike Award
Rookie of the Year
Chase Van Allen
Fan Choice Award
Most Valuable Player
Sent from my iPhone
Rookie of the Year
Chase Van Allen
Fan Choice Award
Most Valuable Player
Sent from my iPhone
Community Hero Award
Chase Van Allen
Most Improved Player
Unsung Hero Award
Sent from my iPhone
Chase Van Allen
Most Improved Player
Unsung Hero Award
Sent from my iPhone
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
It goes without saying that you never want to find yourself in a must-win situation in the Playoffs. It also probably goes without saying that if you DO find yourself in a must-win situation, having a 5-0 record in that scenario is a pretty good way to go into it.
93.3 The Peak FM with myself and Bruce MacDonald with the Pacific Chevrolet pregame show kicking off at 6:45 with the puck drop and play-by-play to follow at 7:00.
Tonight's 1st intermission guest is Bulldogs Forward Mitch Makin. Tonight's 2nd intermission guest is former Bulldog Matt Hatch, now playing at Union.
Don't forget to WEAR WHITE and to BRING THE NOISE - the guys will need you now more than ever!
Monday, April 01, 2013
Same ole same ole for the Dogs, as they are once again in a must win situation to keep their season alive after three heart breakers in a row, two straight by a 3-2 OT score, to trail 3-0 in the Coastal Conference Final series.
Incredible game, incredible atmosphere.
Great job by the Dogs to get it to overtime, considering that they were down 2-0 with less than 10 minutes to play in the third period.
Nice to see the Officials made the correct call on the game tying goal by Teal Burns. I actually thought it was drama that wasn't even necessary as it never looked anywhere close to a high stick to me by Mitch Makin. The puck went in and the Eagles and their Coaching Staff claimed a high stick - you sure can't blame them for trying especially how the calls at the time were going against them - which brought about a conference with the four Officials that eventually ended with a goal being awarded. Watching the replay afterwards it looks like Mitch Makin's stick is never higher than his waist.
Back to the atmosphere. Wow, as from the second the 'Dogs entered the playing surface, it was just plain humming in there. Both goalies were great, and like I said on the broadcast no one in the building feels worse than Jay Deo. And that's life as a goalie, speaking as a former one. As Mr. Plante once said about the profession - it's the only one in the world where if you make a mistake, a big red light goes on above your head, and thousands of people boo or cheer. One minute you are stopping a penalty shot and getting a standing O, and the next you are wearing the horns. I can't imagine how Jay and the rest of the team feels finding themselves in a hole, but if it's anything less than the positive approach of that they are lucky that they get to play another day, then their season might end.
It's nothing more than a repeat of a repeat of a repeat now, but I have always said that Playoffs is always about nothing more but what is next and what you need to do. The Dogs have shown an amazing ability to do just that, and are still playing as a result of it.
No matter what, they have just kept fighting and clawing and biting and scratching, being resilient, as Bruce says. The amount of times that this run could have ended earlier is crazy. Basically any of the games against Nanaimo after the Dogs came home down 0-2. On the road in Game 5 down a goal late in the second and down one man for 4 minutes and down two men for 2 minutes. Down 2 games to 1 to the Grizzlies and down 2-1 with 2 minutes left in the game, only to tie it, and then fight off all the sudden death before Sabo's winner. My worry at that point was that the team might have had enough, and thought they had done enough, staving off elimination again with their team decimated by injuries, giving the home crowd that amazing win. Yet they went down to Victoria and found away again to win, to give them a chance to fight and play another day.
The Dogs are 5 and 0 when facing elimination in these Playoffs. So it should be no problem for these guys to win four in a row to get another chance to start anew and fight another day and open the LEAGUE FINALS on home ice.
It starts with just forgetting this one and focusing on what they need to do tomorrow to make it a 3-1 series and then looking at the next one and heading back to Surrey. The only previous experience for the Dogs in the Conference Final was in 2009-10. For those that didn't follow the team then, here's a quick refresher - the Dogs hearts were broken when they lost Game 7 at home to Powell River. The Kings won the series after trailing 3-1 after the Bulldogs dropped the opening game of the series at home before winning the next three in row. The Kings responded by picking up three straight wins including at the Dog Pound in Games 5 and 7, before going all to the BCHL Finals where they lost in Game 7.
The Dogs should have nothing to hang their heads about, they should be proud of how they battled. I'm looking forward to another great game at the Dog Pound tomorrow, just another ho hum must win!
How good was Jared Wilson tonight? Led in shots, hits, blocks, points...we were joking that he should have maybe taken a couple of draws just to lead the team in another category. And how dynamic was Matt Hansen? What a shame the Dogs went without him on that big Surrey ice for Games 1 and 2. He has an ability to create a lot of stuff by himself, and anything like that just brings a building to the edge of their seat and is pretty fun to watch! Maybe the two game break was a nice rest for him. I would love to see him shoot more still.
A fantastic hockey game to watch with two great hockey teams and I can't wait to see lots more!
Full Recap on the Dogs website here
(photo: Scott McKenzie, Alberni Valley Times)
It feels like 100 years ago already as the Dogs return home for the first time since THIS...
It hasn't been loud enough in the rink already, as you can see from the video above, so why not try to make it louder? Ear plugs will be provided at the door.
The Dogs were RIGHT there in Surrey, losing two games by a total of two goals, 1-0 and 3-2 in OT. The Eagles did their job on Home Ice, and now the Dogs must do the same.
Catch all the action on Boston Pizza Bulldogs Hockey on 93.3 The Peak FM with the Pacific Chevrolet pregame show kicking off at 6:45 with the puck drop and play-by-play to follow at 7:00 with myself and Bruce MacDonald.
Tonight's 1st intermission guest is Bulldogs Forward Matt Hansen, back in the line up after a two game suspension handed out after the conclusion of Game 5 from the Victoria series. Tonight's 2nd intermission guest is Fraser Rodgers, play-by-play voice of the Penticton Vees.
As always, you can watch the game through the pay-per-view video provided by Fast Hockey