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Happy hockey talk abounds

Tuesday, 12.02.2008 / 11:39 AM / Columns

By Paul Kukla - NHL.com Correspondent

Monday was a great 'Happy Hockey Day' across the web. I am going to share with you many of the stories that were sent to me and I ask you to read each one. You will come away smiling and hopefully have a better appreciation for our game.

I am listing the stories in no particular order and am only highlighting some of the story from each submission. Just click the link to read the full article and I hope you enjoy the stories from 'Happy Hockey Day'!

From B. Cheng at A Modern Lei Feng (Japan) ... No matter how long it's been since we last talked, no matter how strained things are, I know I can call or email my siblings and start talking hockey and it will be just like old times, breaking down the barriers that we sometimes put up when mad or frustrated. That is truly why sports, and specifically hockey, are great and why I love hockey.

 
 
A few people sent in their submissions, but had no blog of their own, so Alanah McGinley, my associate at Kukla's Korner, helped me out and posted them in the members section of KK.  Here is one of them, with more to follow.

From Jason, titled  Yosemite, California, "Hockey Village". Though the snow and ice come late and leave early, the boys of Yosemite drop the puck whenever possible. On just about any given day during the fall and spring, a visitor to the scenic gold-rush town of Mariposa can find a group of high school boys up at the local tennis court with sticks in hand and a trashcan for the goal.

James, from the Hockey Utopia forum, asked his members to participate. Here is a part from one member and there are others too.

I REALLY became engaged and in love with the game when Mario Lemieux made his comeback in late 2000. I remember that goal he scored in the first game back against the Leafs, WOW, goosebump-city. That team that year was SO fun to watch, I mean the second line with Lang/Kovie/Straka was better than a lot of top lines in the game back then! But watching Mario that year was truly a treat and for me he is a HUGE reason why I love hockey as much as I do as well as the Pens.

From Lyle Richardson of Spector's Hockey.

My favorite is not of any particular game or moment, but of playing pond hockey with my cousins and friends growing up in rural Nova Scotia in the 1970s.

We lived in the small village of Carleton, in Yarmouth County. Every autumn Otis Hamilton, an old farmer whose wife -- we called her Mrs. Jean -- also ran the village post office, would dam up a drainage ditch behind the post office thus flooding the lower end of his field.

Every winter that would freeze almost as smooth as glass as it was sheltered from the wind, and its central location in the heart of the village, adjacent to the main road, made it the perfect spot for our pond hockey games.


From Cody Thompson titled Sharks on Camera.

We flew down the morning of the game and when we went to our hotel we were told by the lady at the desk that there was a party that has not checked out their rooms yet, so we were going to have to wait. So we went to the little lounge area that we could have a couple of sodas and what not.

So a half hour goes by and we see this man walk out of the elevator and is caring a bag with the NHL logo on the back. We thought it might have been an NHL official and ignored it. But when this guy turned around all of our jaws might have dropped to the ground, because we just saw Joe Thornton!


By Elise at 18,568 Reasons Why.

Whether it's through watching hockey, playing hockey, or talking hockey, this sport builds relationships, both serious and casual. And that's one of the things I love about hockey and the blogosphere.

I've also built up some close relationships with fellow bloggers. Through the Wild blogosphere, hockey blogosphere, and HLOG, I've met people who I enjoy talking to on a daily basis and, in some cases, have become friends with outside of the hockey world. And one reason this can happen is because hockey fans and bloggers are some of the smartest, nicest people you will meet. It's amazing the amount of intelligent conversation spread across the massive and ever-growing hockey blogosphere. When I first started this blog, I was immediately accepted by the community and was never doubted on the basis of my gender or age. While it's obviously impossible to meet and interact with every hockey blogger, I wish I could.


From GEO of Avslova Factor in a post called Teaching a Mother Hockey.

I was reading The Hockey News along with several other weekly/monthly hockey publications. With the help of the publications and my local newspaper, I gradually began the process of transforming my mom into a hockey fanatic.

We started easy -- a quiz.

"Who is leading the league in goals?"

Jaromir Jagr

"And what team does he play for?"

Pittsburgh

"The Pittsburgh what?"

Penguins!

And on it went. Acting like a little drill sergeant, I made sure that mom knew the league's leading scorers each and every week and that she also knew what teams they played for and what position they played.


Nick at Hitting the Post brings us his story.

I will gladly take up the banner for Happy Hockey Day.

Because, really, why not?

Because, to coin a phrase from Badger Bob, every day is a great day for hockey.

Because I can conjure up a visual and olfactory amalgamation of the sights, sounds and smells of the game at will.


Alanah of Canucks & Beyond says ...

Back in October of 2003 when I started my first blog, women hockey-fan-bloggers were a rarity. In fact it was quite some time before I knew of any others out there, and this often made for some unique experiences. And sometimes unpleasant, too.

But while I'd get flamed by trolls once in a while, the vast majority of readers -- male -- were very nice. Like me, they enjoyed looking at hockey in the lighter-side-of way that I always preferred to write, and the emails & comments were usually pleasant and engaging.

But there was this one guy -- I'll call him "Jack" -- who was a unique experience.


Toronto Sports Media contributes this submission, the greatest memory I have of hockey today is of the night my son came home from the hospital only 2 days after being born. While he was a great baby in the hospital, from the minute we got him into the car for several hours later he did nothing but scream; not cry, scream. Finally with the help of a nurse we got him bundled up and he sat (lay is more like it) in my arms and watched the Leafs beat up the Habs ... It was our first hockey game together, me 30, him 3 days.

Thomas submits a post called Christmas Gift from Mom.

Growing up in frigid northern Ontario, rarely did I ever have the chance to see my beloved Canucks live in action. Then came along the 1992-1993 hockey season. The Canucks were playing in Toronto on a Thursday in February and the next day in Buffalo. When I saw these games on the schedule my eyes light up. All I wanted for Christmas was tickets to one of these games. Christmas of 1992 rolled around and we were spoiled that year. I remember getting my Canucks jersey personalized with a #10 Bure on it, a Russian made Bure autographed stick, a sweet Canucks hat and a Canucks winter coat.

From Shane at Avs Talk -- A Colorado Avalanche Blog, being in a small town can limit options, especially when it came to being coached for sports. You don't pick a coach from a group of candidates, you just take what you can get.

But fortunately for us we always had some solid coaches to help us out.

I was too young to remember when my dad did the coaching, but I do have memories of a few other coaches.

There was our French-Canadian police constable who always implored us to "Take the shoot! Take the shoot!' I still yell that at the TV from time to time.


The SENShobo brings us his story.

Being Canadian and having a fondness for skating from a young age -- be it at the rink, on Ottawa's Rideau Canal, or on frozen cottage lakes -- you might have expected me to find my way onto a Timbit team. Reality is that, as a kid, I started out enrolled in a figure skating class, and being unceremoniously bullied everywhere in life, I quickly developed an aversion to kids my age, especially the competitive ones that played sports. Not the best move, but can you blame a young, scared kid?

A few weeks before my 11th birthday, during a big family party to celebrate my mother's birthday, I crashed the party, quite literally. In the months leading up to it, I had been sleeping during class, was not able to focus, and as I lost 20lbs in a week, the doctor thought that I was anorexic, and should start eating more, though the truth would not reveal itself until the big day.

Lazing on the couch at the backyard BBQ as my extended family had gathered for the party, I was encouraged to go play catch with my cousins. Upon reaching the grass, however, I dropped to the ground and nearly passed out. Rushed by my parents to the hospital, hours into my stay in an emergency examination room, my mother was given the worst birthday ever: news that her young son had developed juvenile diabetes...


Mike at RangerLand.net, Here is, in no particular order, a partial list of things that make me feel good about the game of hockey:

* That slight current of cold air that hits you when you walk out onto the concourse at MSG before the game starts -- at least before it's overwhelmed by that not-so-hygienic gentleman standing next to you.

* The following names: Zbynek Michalek, Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion, Reijo Ruotsalainen, Pierre Larouche, Cal Clutterbuck, and hundreds of others, especially those with consonant pairings like "cz," "gk," "yz," or which have repeating vowels like "oo" or "aa".


Suzanne sends in a post called Memories From the Turkey Tournament.

It was the second round robin game of the Turkey Tournament. One of I'm sure many youth hockey tournaments surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday across the US this past weekend.

The girls U12 team was playing a known team, one we had beaten, shut out actually, earlier in the season. What made this game different was the fact that it was a tournament game -- a first tournament game for a few of the younger players on the team. My pre-game locker room spiel started with, "anything can happen in a tournament."


From Justin at the Goalie Guild.

The talent level in the NHL is so high that it often all comes down to the non-tangible aspects of the position. Things like reading the play, work ethic in practices and holding a lead is what separates a good goalie from a great goalie. So enjoy this handful of stories that encompasses the true nature of Kukla's theme, for the will to rise up victoriously can never be told the same way twice, nor will it ever die.

JOSE THEODORE

With a two-year contract fulfilled in Colorado, it was time for Jose Theodore to go after bigger and better things. Washington provided what he truly sought -- a team looking for a starting goalie. That also meant more promise in the playoffs and a better opportunity, so off he went back to the Eastern Conference.


Finally, and in no way last, the boys from "The War Room," on Home Ice XM204 tried to do their part. They asked their listeners to chime in with "happy hockey talk." But it failed, dead air, not good for radio!  So they went back to the whining, complaining, belly aching, and talk about head shots.  Apparently that's what the public wants.

Just one suggestion guys, maybe change the name of the show, "The Happy Hour" would work for me!

We are at the end of Happy Hockey Day and I do hope I covered all the stories that were submitted to me.  If you wish to send in your story, I am sure I can find room for it in my next NHL.com post.  Until then, enjoy our game and spread the happy hockey talk!


Quote of the Day

[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.

— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday