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Paul Kukla

About Paul
Paul Kukla is the man behind the excellent Kukla's Korner blog site. The longtime NHL fan and devoted Red Wings' supporter is joining NHL.com as a regular contributor this season. His blogs are a must read for hockey fans.

Feedback
E-mail your comments at: pk@kuklaskorner.com

Recent Posts
The clock's winding down!
Dog days of August
Taking care of business
'Joe Fan' has plenty to say

Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2006

Dog days of August

I woke up this morning, headed to the web to search for NHL news.

Malkin, Malkin, Malkin- enough Malkin! We want news on our team, a few more trades and how about signing the available unrestricted players?

Moved on to more hockey blogs and a few of them are talking maps.

James Mirtle resorted to making a map with all of the NHL hockey cities attached.

Tom Benjamin saw the map and thinks the amount of travel the Canucks have may be an influence on wins and losses.

Japers' Rink was so into the map, he broke it down, way down. Maybe someone can make a map of hockey stars homes and start a tour business.

You see, the bloggers are bored too.

What would make Alanah at Vancouver Canucks Op Ed point out all of the pink?

The Puck Stops Here takes us back to the 1990-91 NHL season and breaks down Brett Hull's 86 goal season, uh, OK.

Ingmar Bergman Shoots...And Scores (yes, that is the blog name) gives us the 1996 Draft. What's next, how many Stanley Cup wins each franchise has since 1892?

I am afraid Bill at Abel to Yzerman is about to snap. He wants news on his Wings and is calling out the media. Hockey bloggers are reaching the breaking point, soon we will be dissecting a team's marketing campaign.

We even have Hockey Rants talking about fashion statements.

The hockey blogging world needs the game back- NOW! Training camps have to open tomorrow, the bloggers can't take it any longer!

***

The purpose of this blog post was to introduce you to a few of the hundreds of hockey blogs that are available to you. Some you will like, some you will find a little off the wall and a few of them you will never read again.

Check their blogrolls, click a few of them, then click a few more. Hockey bloggers are here to stay and many do an excellent job. One more thing, the best thing you can do for a hockey blogger is leave a comment. It tells them their blogs are being read and motivates them to continue on. At this time of year, they need a little pat on the back or even a good swift kick to the behind, just let them know their opinion counts.

Posted by Paul @ 11:08 a.m.


Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2006

Taking care of business

Hey, aren't you Mike Aldrich, head equipment manager of the San Jose Sharks? What are you up to these days? You can't be doing much can you, relaxing, catching up on some sleep, maybe taking a full month off before the season starts?

"Ha, I wish!!! Soon after the season ended for us in June, the equipment staff did most of the clean up work and took physical inventory of all of the equipment."

Then you took a long break, right?

"Most of our equipment orders had to be in by the end of June. Once the NHL Draft was completed, the hockey department began to compile a list of potential players for development camps, rookie tournaments and, of course, the Sharks' main training camp. We spent the better part of the summer contacting players, gathering their personal information on custom pieces of equipment such as skates, gloves and sticks. Then, beginning last week, the staff starts prep work to make sure all of the Shark's facilities are in good shape and organized for upcoming season."

Mike, on a personal level, why did you get into this profession?

"Winning is the only reason we are in this business. Stanley Cups are why we put in the long, hard hours. I have had the same dream every player in hockey has had their entire life. Hockey people are a special breed."

Any advice to anyone who wants to get into your line of work?

"Communication is key. Understanding the reason you are in the business and the sacrifices you have to make. These days I would make sure you have a strong business background and basic computer skills. Skate sharpening is still what can separate you from working at a desk or working with an NHL team."

Thanks Mike, you have opened my eyes!

***

Phone call to Rob Scichili, Senior Director of Communications for the Dallas Stars.

Ice Girls
2005-2006 Dallas Stars Ice Girls

Rob, I was wondering if I could be a judge for the upcoming Dallas Stars Ice Girls auditions? I could do it over the web with a streaming web camera!

"Uh, no Paul, you'd have to be here in person and besides, we have our judges picked out. Maybe next year."

Rob, what type of girl are the Stars looking for?

"The most important trait we look for is they have to love the sport and have some knowledge of hockey."

Isn't it hard to form a pyramid on the ice?

"The girls are not cheerleaders, they interact with the fans, moving about in the aisles and concourse. The only time they take to the ice is to escort fans who were selected to participate in a contest and are involved in the ceremonial dropping of the puck. We also have a few girls who are part of the ice crew, helping to scrape the ice, fetch the occasional tossed item, things like that. Those girls of course, must be able to skate."

Can you tell me how many girls make up the Ice Girls?

"Last year we had 12 girls. This year we may have a few more, depending on the audition process. The girls are in the age range of 18-26, but we have had a few girls who were a little older than that."

How else are they involved with the team?

"The Ice Girls made about 20-25 appearances throughout the Dallas area last year. They also make numerous radio appearances, promoting the Dallas Stars and the game of hockey. Even though the Stars are established in the area, we are always trying to attract more fans and expose them to the game. The Ice Girls are truly ambassadors for us."

Next year Rob, count me in as a judge, PLEASE!

Posted by Paul @ 3:06 p.m.


Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2006

'Joe Fan' has plenty to say

Flashback about 40-plus years ago. I am sitting about 15 rows off the ice at the old Detroit Olympia. Gordie Howe scores goal No. 545 against Montreal to break the goal scoring record on Maurice "Rocket" Richard.

Flashback 33 years ago and I am standing outside a local arena, waiting in a freezing rain to interview Gordie Howe. I am shaking as I approach him. I ask if he could take five minutes of his time for a quick interview for my high school newspaper. Gordie drives me to a local coffee shop and sits with me for an hour.

Flashback to June, 1997. I am in a local watering hole, celebrating the Wings' first Stanley Cup in 42 years and all of the sudden, a roar comes over the patrons. In walks about 10 Wings with the Stanley Cup. I am still partying to this day!!!

You see, I have been very lucky when it comes to anything hockey related. But nothing compares to NHL.com inviting me to blog for the upcoming season. Just imagine, a regular Joe-fan, being invited and encouraged to write about hockey on the official site of a professional sports league! I am again shaking in my boots.

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to interview Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis. While talking, he told me "the NHL fan is the most web savvy, and it is up to the NHL to establish a footprint for all of the information the fans want." I hope to be one of those "footprints" and plan to entertain, inform and enlighten you.

What in the world can a "regular Joe" provide you? You are about to find out in my upcoming blogs. You see, I plan to contribute on a very regular basis and I have confidence you will find my blogging style very comfortable and an enjoyable read.

My first real blog submission will soon be available. Can you guess what direction I am heading? East, west, north or south are my options and I can tell you it may get a little warmer in here for some of you, but at the same time be cold as ice. You'll have to wait a little while longer so stay tuned.

In the meantime, a little about myself.

Since February, 2005, I have had two hockey blogs, the latest is called Kukla's Korner, where I have been keeping hockey fans worldwide updated on all things hockey. I recently added a forum section and invite you to stop by KK and become active in the discussion, which during the hockey season is 24/7. The discussions are always mature and very well thought out. Your participation is not only welcomed but encouraged. I am one of the few full-time hockey bloggers around and your input, suggestions and comments will only make the hockey experience better. I can be reached by email at pk@kuklaskorner.com.

Before I start heading to my next destination, a congratulatory tap of the stick to NHL.com. Two years ago, I would have never imagined a blogger becoming a regular contributor to this site. Now it has happened and I plan to make sure this opens similar opportunities to the hockey blogging community. My footprint is on the ice and now it can't be removed!

Posted by Paul @ 11:03 a.m.



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