NHL Draft in Vancouver

It takes a while to come down after a game. I’m always wired when we get back from the arena – even more so after a win – and it usually takes me a good few hours to shake that off. Even when my body is ready for bed, but mind is still racing. It was after 1am when I finally turned the light off. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep right away.

By 7am we were up again getting dressed and ready for today’s NHL draft downtown at Rogers Arena. We got our morning chores done and slowly made our way out of the house. We grabbed coffee and hopped in the Skytrain. When we arrived the doors were already open and festivities were underway in the plaza.

We meandered through the tents and displays then around both concourses before getting to our seats just before the 10am start.

All the trophies were in the house and on display. This is about only half of them in the picture below. Who knew? Apparently the Stanley Cup was downstairs on the lower level, but we never investigated to confirm that.

The draft floor was exactly what we were expecting, exactly what we’d seen on tv, but the energy was palpable. Tension and excitement were in the air.

We sat down about twenty minutes before the festivities got underway. They gave a ten minute notice for all NHL delegates to be on the floor and then there was a ten minute gap between that time and when the draft began.

This was just around the time that the two big trades were breaking. We knew both PK Subban and Patrick Marleau we’re on the move, but as we sat in our seats, we scoured our phones for bits of news and tweets about where they were going and for what.

We cried when we read Patrick Marleau’s note to Auston Mathews and Mitch Marner.

I love how he says, “Never forget get how good you guys are.” I’m hopeful that he means both in hockey and in life.

See this Instagram post for more break-up sadness.


As teams assembled, we started to recognize people we knew, though, of course, general fans don’t always know the behind-the-scenes folks as well as they know the players and coaching staff.

A few of our sightings today:

  • Kyle Dubas
  • Mike Babcock
  • Alain Vigneault

We could also see how different organizations interacted both internally and with others. Some tables were abuzz with talk and action, others were shrouded in formality. It’s a cultural thing, I’m sure.

It was fun to be in the crowd surrounded by people sporting their team’s colours and for once it wasn’t met with aggression. It reminded me of the fun of fringe World Junior countries play. Everybody was having a good time, supporting their favourite club(s) and cheering for some young kids who were living their lifelong dreams.

Of our two teams, the Leafs picked first and most often. Columbus only had two picks going into day two of the draft and as the clock turned over to them for their first pick, #81, they traded it for two picks later in the fourth round.

Despite the lack of action, we still enjoyed being there. It may sound surprising, but the three minutes allotted to each team don’t feel like that long when you’re watching the last guy whose name was called interacting with his family and loved ones, then making his way down to meet this professional destiny. We’d cheer and look around the arena whenever a pick was made and when we weren’t watching the celebrations, we’d keep an eye on the floor and who was talking to who, who seemed deep into an intense phone call, etc. The tv broadcasts don’t do justice to just how much is actually going on in front of you.

Our picks came and went and we cheered for hundreds of players whose names we hadn’t know before today. We listened to dozens (that may be an exaggeration) of trades that did nothing more than shuffle high round picks around, sometimes between this year and next.

All and all, it was a fun event and I’m really glad we went. I’d definitely go again if the opportunity ever arose. Montreal next June, anyone?

Draft day

While Kevin and I have many differences, we also have a few things in common, too. One of them is a soft spot for joyous events. In particular, draft days.

We’ve been through several together for work purposes in lacrosse, we’ve listened to or watched a few from other sports and tomorrow we’ll attend our first NHL draft in person.

We had to miss the first day (which was only the first round, but also the biggest deal) because we had a lacrosse game tonight. (Lakers won 14-6 – hurrah!) But we’ll be there bright and early tomorrow for rounds two through seven.

What is it about drafts? It’s the opportunity to watch lives change right in front of your eyes. Its witnessing hard work turn into great opportunity. It’s big emotions, high stakes, possibly even some trade action and we can’t wait!

I posted the above picture on Twitter today announcing that we were ready for the draft, but Kevin made a special trip to the Canucks store today and now I’m REALLY ready for the draft tomorrow.

Not sure about draft day emotions? Watch RJ Barrett’s response to being drafted by the Knicks at the end of this video.

So much joy

My friend Allison posted this last night and it perfectly articulated my experience of championships.

This has been a week. A joyful, celebratory, beautiful week. I have loved the excitement and warmth of all of it. It makes me really happy to see the joy on people’s faces and the achievement of a lifetime goal. And lucky us, we got to see it two nights in a row. I’m going to hang onto this good vibe as long as I can.

In more personal news, I won the 50/50 tonight, so more joy AND money.

Hockey-less nights

They’re back. And I’m sad about it. As exciting as these Conference Finals will be, tonight is a reminder that hockey-less nights are coming, and fast. We’ll get things back on track tomorrow and have a hockey streak going for a little while, but it’s slowly dwindling.

Enjoy it while it lasts, friends. October is a long way away.

Who’ve you got advancing to the Stanley Cup finals? Which has been your favourite series so far?

Hidden (and not so hidden) biases

Perhaps you saw this post on social media earlier today.

Here is the full story.

In short, female hockey players are coming together to sit out of any professional hockey in North America to better the future of the sport.

It’s no secret that women’s sports take a back seat to men’s. There is more funding, a bigger fan base, greater support.

The trolls will tell you women aren’t as skilled as men (it’s 2019, we should be ashamed that we’re still beating that sorry old drum,) that they don’t sell any tickets to their games and every other dumb reason you can imagine. It’s all the same sorry excuses for ignorance and close-mindedness. It’s embarrassing and it’s infuriating.

But is it all that surprising?

 


Last night, I got into a little Twitter fun among people who know each other only via the app (I’m not sure if that applied to everyone, but it did to me. It all started with someone asking, “how tall do you think I am?” Everyone underestimated the height of the others. I’ve had this experience before and always the guesses are vastly different than my actual height, always shorter. I had to wonder, do we do that because we still envision women being a certain way? Is that deeply ingrained expectation that they are more petite? It could be that we automatically consider the fact that men are, on average, taller than women, but I somehow doubt it. (That women:men height statement was mostly a guess. I don’t know the facts and my work day was too long for me to research it right now.)


I was talking to my friend Lesley today and she was telling me about the book she is reading: ROAR: How to Match Your Food and Fitness to Your Unique Female Physiology for Optimum Performance, Great Health, and a Strong, Lean Body for Life. She started to tell me about the interesting things she’s learning and remarked that we never consider where a woman is in her menstrual cycle and how that relates to her physical performance. Instead, for our entire lives, we’ve just accepted hand-me-down information related to health and fitness that was proven out on men’s bodies.

I’m thankful that we’re finally getting some representation in the arena of athletic health and that the women who’ve worked so hard to move women’s hockey forward are getting some attention, too.

It just continues to surprise me how many silent biases we have and if we aren’t paying attention, how easy it would be to not see them coming to light.

Let’s all do better to listen, see and correct the inaccurate stereotypes that we put on ourselves and others.


Note: I searched for a photo to accompany this post and it took me much longer because I didn’t want to use one that included women in international jerseys. If you don’t think women see limitations in hockey, think again.

Here we go again – round two

So the went right down to the wire, it in a remarkable turn of events, almost all the underdogs made their way through the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. That includes all four wild card teams taking down all four division leaders. Needless to say, nearly everyone’s bracket has been blown sky high.

If you’re attached to a particular team, it’s fun to move forward, but I’m of the belief that it’s way more fun to not have a horse in the race.

Here’s what’s on the docket.

  • Bruins vs Blue Jackets (Boston leads 1-0 after tonight’s game one)
  • Islanders vs Hurricanes
  • Blues vs Stars
  • Sharks vs Avalanche

As much as I’m into CBJ, there’s really only one team who I’d be slightly disappointed to see win the Cup, although another is slowly creeping on my nerves. But honestly, I don’t really care and that’s such a relief.

Here’s my second chance bracket. We’ll see how long until this one goes up in flames.

What are your hopes/predictions for the second round?

The Canadian quotient

People do this thing here where they get really hung up on cheering for Canadian teams. Once the local team gets knocked out of contention, everyone says, “well, I’d just like to see a Canadian team win.”

I don’t get it. In fact, I kind of resent it. (Oh hai, rebel tendency!) They do it with the Blue Jays or whatever team lasts the longest in the NHL playoffs. They call them Canada’s Team and get all judgy when you don’t fall in line. By this logic, I’m supposed to cheer for a baseball team that is close to 4500 kilometres away over a team that is more like 235 kilometres away just because the owners of the team hold Canadian passports. Yeah. Sure.

I’ve already confessed that nationalism makes me crazy and this really doesn’t help. It might even be at the roots of my aversion.

Don’t tell me who to cheer for based on borders. That’s like picking a team based on colours. (Which actually makes more sense to me.)

Last year, I looked at just which team in the conference finals was the “most Canadian.” It was extremely unscientific – I used the rosters for each team and counted which ones had more CanCon than others. Guess what? The Jets (the last Canadian team standing) didn’t out-Canadian their opponents. At the time, Vegas actually had the most Canadians of all four of the final teams. (Washington has the fewest.)

This year, in order to head off the dictates of which team I should cheer for, I went through the same process for all sixteen teams at the outset of the playoffs. Here’s what I found: if you really want to support the true north, strong and free, the St Louis Blues should be your team. They’re at the top with 19 Canadians representing. You’d have to pass over two more teams before getting to the first Canada-based team on the list.

Here’s how all teams rank.

  • St Louis Blues – 19
  • New York Islanders – 16
  • Vegas Golden Knights – 15
  • Toronto Maple Leafs – 14
  • Calgary Flames – 13
  • Nashville Predators – 13
  • Carolina Hurricanes – 12
  • Dallas Stars – 12
  • Colorado Avalanche – 11
  • Tampa Bay Lightning – 11
  • San Jose Sharks – 10
  • Columbus Blue Jackets – 9
  • Winnipeg Jets – 9
  • Pittsburgh Penguins – 8
  • Boston Bruins – 4
  • Washington Capitals – 4

This numbers are based on the rosters found on the NHL app. I don’t claim that my calculations are infallible.

More hockey

This is playoff hockey, part two.

Like Jillian Fisher, I am feeling a little bit overwhelmed. I wasn’t last night, but tonight, a little. I didn’t train for this. I wasn’t ready. And, yet, I soldier on.

Three more games tonight.

Here are my quick thoughts on these series.

Leafs-Bruins: This is the series that makes me most nervous of all of them. It’s one that I care about more than others because it could eliminate one of only a couple of teams that I’d be happy to see make an early exit. That team isn’t from Toronto.

Hurricanes-Capitals: I’m Switzerland. I don’t really care about any of the Caps who are not named TJ Oshie and damn it would be fun if Carolina did something with this opportunity. Bunch of jerks.

Avalanche-Flames: I have a soft spot for the Flames. Partly because I love Calgary as a city. Also because I love Johnny Gaudreau. Bonus: Garnet Hathaway is on my list of best NHL names. Top five, even. Colorado? I don’t have anything against them, but I don’t really have anything for them either.

This is going to be a post about hockey

Because I am just so freaking excited about the start of the playoffs tonight.

I’m most excited about one series – the one between the Tampa Bay Lightning and my Columbus Blue Jackets, of course. Just because I don’t have CBJ advancing past the first round doesn’t mean they are my heart’s pick. I’d give it all up for them to win this series.

Alas, I have some attachment to reality and I know it isn’t likely. One can dream…

I love this video that Jillian Fisher did about her bracket of chaos which just so happens to be pretty similar to my regular I-did-the-best-I-could bracket.

Here’s what I love: 1. She’s willing to take a risk and factor both rational and, ahem, irrational beliefs into her selections. 2. I totally identify with her statements of, “I don’t know how we got here, but here we are.” I feel you, girl. 3. She realizes that it’s just a lot of fun.

Whenever I start a bracket, I just make pick after pick and see where it gets me. Here’s where I ended up this year.

Like I said, I had to sacrifice some wants for the sake of the longevity of my bracket. (My tragic March Madness performance has hammered my confidence.)

I was in my seat (on my couch) in time for pick drop of the Blue Jackets-Lightning game tonight and I was *thrilled* with the result. If I’m honest, I didn’t expect a full comeback. The BJs came out full of jitters and the Bolts were just flying. After the first intermission, Columbus came out stronger, calmer and more confident and it started to come together. I was happy with that, thinking they’ll have a new start in game two. Nope, I just need them to keep doing exactly what they’re doing!

There was a point in the first intermission when the broadcast switched to the Islanders-Penguins game. It was 1-0 Isles when it came on, then one minute later it was tied. If it means eliminating the Pens, I will boycott watching even one more minute of this series. I can catch up with the Islanders in round two.

Next up, we bounced back and forth we between Blues-Jets and Predators-Stars.

I’m mostly indifferent to the St Louis series, though I did pick them to advance. And I’m a big fan of that rookie goalie. And Tyler Bozak (he was my favourite Leaf) who had the game winner tonight.

I was once a big Nashville supporter and I could be persuaded to be one again if they hang in there for a while. I like The Pride of PoMo (feel free to use that, I’m still waiting for that to catch on) because he’s great and we have the same hometown. I don’t like their shitty and unsportsmanlike chants. I know, I know. I just don’t. I was once a dedicated Stars fan, but there isn’t much nostalgia there so it makes these teams basically even in my mind/heart.

Finally, we headed over for the start of the San Jose-Vegas game. Again, I’m pretty indifferent about who wins this series because I mostly like both teams.

Which game(s) did you watch tonight? What were your first impressions?

The bad with the good

I woke up this morning and the first thing I saw (online) was that a trailer for the new season of Southern Charm had come out. I looooooove Southern Charm. I love Chelsea. I love Shep. I especially love Cameran. I even love Craig. I love them all. Except that rotten Ashley. She’s awful.

I don’t love that I couldn’t watch the trailer. It isn’t exactly new, but it is annoying. And I was afraid it was going to set the tone for the day.

Mostly the day ended up being uneventful throughout with a few highlights towards the end.

  1. I got to see my pal Keith for the hockey game tonight. The game had an exciting finish, but a pretty boring beginning and middle. Thankfully we had a lot to catch up on so it barely phased us.
  2. #CBJ won a huge game against the Habs tonight putting them into the final wild card spot. There’s still a big hill to climb, but a win is a win.
  3. I’m at home laying on my couch eating the most amazing black olives and catching up on my online chores – blogging, Lumosity, Duolingo.

Tomorrow the weekend begins and I’m excited for a mostly uneventful one.