Defense matters

The head coach of the Australian state of Queensland , a fellow Canadian, told us parents and coaches earlier this year, anyone can play defense, it’s easy, offense is hard.

I disagree.

But that’s just my opinion.

Defense wins Stanley Cups and Super Bowls.

Defense takes discipline.

Defense is hard.

I played four years as a linebacker in football and would crush anybody who tried to cross the line.

Any food company knows this, because they do not want to be tomorrow’s headline, just because someone messed up.

This is a picture of my daughter playing defense in practice (thanks Julie). Look at how the goalie is ideally placed, with his foot up against the post and his stick outside the post. Look at the angling Sorenne is using on her teammate.

Those are boring things but they win games.

And help people not barf from food.

This is Sorenne protecting the blue-line last week (thanks again, Julie).

Defense matters.

Defence matters

The head coach of the Australian state of Queensland , a fellow Canadian, told us parents and coaches earlier this year anyone can play defence, it’s easy, offence is hard.

I disagree.

But that’s just my opinion.

Defence wins Stanley Cups and Super Bowls.

Defence takes discipline.

Defence is hard.

Any food company knows this, because they do not want to be tomorrow’s headline, just because someone messed up.

This is a picture of my daughter playing defense a week ago in practice (thanks Julie). Look at how the goalie is ideally placed, with his foot up against the post and his stick outside the post. Look at the angling Sorenne is using on her teammate.

Those are boring things but they win games.

And help people not barf from food.

Who throws poop? This Canadian woman at a Tim Hortons

To those not familiar with The Guess Who, Neil Young or Drake, you may not know the name Tim Hortons, a coffee and doughnut mega-chain started by the late Toronto Maple Leafs’ defenceman and his business partner, a cop.

You may also not understand the phrase, double-double (Chapman’s favorite).

When I had those daughters in Guelph, I would take them to the local Tims after a 6-7 a.m. practice.

I always refused to buy the coffee because I could make better stuff at home.

Sure the grad student helped coach, but he could get his own Tims.

I got whatever daughter was involved that morning a doughnut, and sometimes a hot chocolate, so they wouldn’t feel too nauseous by 11 a.m. and could make it through the school day (of course I made their lunches too, but ya gotta get over that morning hump).

Now Tims has a different kind of notoriety.

According to KRON in Oakville, Ontario, Canada (KRON) a Canadian woman was caught on camera pulling down her pants, doing her business, and throwing the end result at a Tim Horton’s employee who denied her access to the restroom. 

A spokesperson for Tim Horton’s told BuzzFeed that some of its restaurants have a “restricted access policy for restrooms to ensure the well-being of our guests.” 

The spokesperson said their current understanding of the situation is that the woman was denied access to the restroom due to “past behavior.” 

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (if you’re the RCMP where’s your horse?) told BuzzFeed the woman was “briefly detained after the incident” and prosecutors will determine if the woman will face charges when she appears in court at a later date.

Just last week, Starbucks told employees to let anyone use the restroom, even if they haven’t bought anything, as it reviews its policies and tries to restore its reputation after the arrest of two black men at a coffee shop in Philadelphia.

We play but agree, cause many of us do hockey

After Chapman posted about the Humboldt Broncos’ terrible bus crash, I thanked him because, I didn’t know what else to say.

I’ve been playing, coaching and even sometimes administering local hockey for 51 years, and this stuff strikes deep into any parent who has swerved on a snow-covered Canadian road only to listen to the kid (me) complaining, ‘we need to get there.’

Chapman wrote, “I often tell people that all I really know is hockey, food safety and family; everything and everyone important to me falls in one of those buckets. …

“All I could think of is all the teams I have been part of, back to when I was just a kid until now. Those experiences have meant so much more than competition and sport.

“It’s exactly why I got into coaching.”

No. Chapman got into coaching because I was his graduate supervisor, and his responsibilities included helping to coach a 6-9-year-old girls rep hockey team from Guelph, and bailing me out of jail upon request.

(He will say he was coaching before, but it probably wasn’t as much fun).

In 2005, Chapman and I came up with barfblog.com, and the first post was about hockey and barfing.

The worst was when I was 10 or 11. I was playing AAA hockey in my hometown of Brantford Ont., and we were off to an out-of-town game. My parents (bless them) usually drove, but obligations meant I had to get a ride with a friend on the team. About half-way to the arena, I started feeling nauseous. I tried to ask the driving dad to pull over, but it came on so fast, I had to grab the closest item in the backseat, an empty lunchbox. 
I filled it.

And more.

Back in the 1970s, the coach’s main concern was that we win. I was the starting goaltender almost every game, while the backup sat on the bench. We had something to prove because we were from Brantford, the city that had produced Wayne Gretzky just a couple of years earlier and everyone was gunning for us. 

I tried to get myself together to play. No luck. We got to the arena and I promptly hurled. 

And again.

I couldn’t play, and, unfortunately, couldn’t go home. So the rest of the team went out for the game, as I lay on a wooden bench in a sweat-stenched dressing room, vomiting about every 15 minutes. 

Such tales are not unique.

Whenever I spark up a conversation with a stranger, and they discover I work in food safety, the first response is: “You wouldn’t believe this one time. I was so sick” or some other variation on the line from American Pie, “This one time, at band camp …”

But the stories of vomit and flatulence are deadly serious. In 1995, a 5-year-old died in Wales as part of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that has sickened some 170 schoolchildren. Four people in the Toronto region were sickened with the same E. coli several weeks ago after drinking unpasteurized apple cider. Over 20 people are sick with the same bug from lettuce in the Minnesota area. And so it goes.

How did my game end? I could hear the various cheers but was lost in dizziness and nausea and sweat, wondering when this would end. 
The trip home was uneventful; I was drained — figuratively and literally.
We lost.

Thanks to all the Australians I hung out with today and asked me about the Humboldt Broncos’ and hopefully I provided some insight into the role of (ice) hockey in the small and large communities throughout Canada.

Humboldt Broncos tragedy

I often tell people that all I really know is hockey, food safety and family; everything and everyone important to me falls in one of those buckets.

This weekend I travelled to St. Paul, Minnesota to watch the NCAA Frozen Four (the national division 1 championships) with a hockey buddy, and couple of his former teammates. As my friends and I sat at a brewery talking about the games we had seen the night before, I checked Twitter and read short blurbs on the developing story of the Humboldt Broncos’ terrible bus crash.

Reports of fatalities and the individuals lost populated my timeline throughout my weekend.

All I could think of is all the teams I have been part of, back to when I was just a kid until now. Those experiences have meant so much more than competition and sport.

It’s exactly why I got into coaching.

The image to the right, three teammates, with bleached-blonde hair (dyed in team unity for the playoffs), lying in hospital beds, linking hands will always be with me.

This tragedy is overwhelming.

Hockey handshake lines at the olympics impacted by norovirus

A couple of times a week I play hockey with a bunch of amateur skaters. We play in a C league. That means we’re not very good. Most are out to have some fun and drink some beer after the buzzer.

Sometimes, there’s a player or two who got into it with each other (that’s a hoser hockey term for a push or a trip) who re-meet in the post-game handshake line.

The classy hockey players fist bump or slap hands and say ‘good game.’

Not everyone is classy. Leave it on the ice, we’ve all got to get up and get back to our normal lives the next day.

I’m talking to you, guy in the green helmet from my game last night. Don’t be so angry.

And don’t give me norovirus.

According to ABC News, the handshake lines are different during the Pyeongchang Olympics compared to other games after over 200 security folks and athletes have acquired the virus.

Officials have told players to fist-bump each other rather than shaking hands to prevent transmission of norovirus, which is highly contagious. U.S. defenseman James Wisniewski’s 62-year-old father tested positive for norovirus last week and is one of 49 of 283 confirmed Olympic cases still in quarantine.

“It’s something that you’re like, ‘Ah, really how bad can it get?’ And then all of a sudden bang, bang — a couple people close to you have it and you don’t really know how, you don’t know where,” Wisniewski said Monday. “You don’t want it going through your locker room, that’s for sure.”

Bonhomme Carnival: Pee wee hockey in Quebec

About 45 years ago, I got to play in the pee wee tournament at the Quebec winter carnival.

In 1974, as a pee wee (ice) hockey goaltender, I boarded a train, with my parents, from Brantford, Ontario to Quebec City.
Today, I’m reading the messages of Australian parents who have sent their Ice Crocs to the same pee wee tournament in Quebec City, as part of the winter carnival, or as the French prof would say, Bonhomme Carnaval, or I would say, Quebec Winter Carnival (and not by train, it would sink).
The pee wee hockey tournament has been a cornerstone of the Quebec Winter Carnival for, forever.

Coming from the town of Gretzky, great expectations were thrust upon the kids from Brantford, and about 10,000 people showed up in the arena where the Nordique used to play (it was probably 500, but great storytelling sometimes requires great imagination).

I let in 4 goals in two periods and was yanked.

My friend Mike (who I used to fear as a better goalie, but now we’re facebook friends) went in for the third and let in two goals.

We lost 6-0.

I have tried to bring these humble homilies to my years of coaching, teaching, and whatever else.

The experience though, was fantastic, hanging out with our host family, walking around in -20C weather, and awestruck by the 30-foot snow piles at the end of driveways.

We lost the game, but learned so much.

This is my way of telling hockey parents — especially the Australian ones —  chill out.

My parents were and are awesome, driving me to the rink, going to Quebec City, getting on a plane when I needed them.

 

Still a grunt: Seahawks LB K.J. Wirght beat a nasty bout of food poisoning to lead Seattle to 21-12 win over Dallas

I hate it – and hate is a strong word – when athletes or musicians talk.

Yes, you have a voice, but can it be better than, “Uh, yeah, we gave it 110 per cent out there, just trying to win one for the team.”

In addition to all the pucks I took to the head playing goalie since 1967 (the last time the Leafs won a Cup), I played four years of linebacker, receiver and kickoff/punt returner for my high school team.

I was a grunt.

Go get ‘em, said coach, head first, with shitty helmets.

So my head’s been knocked around a lot in ways it probably wasn’t designed for.

I’m reading Ken Dryden’s book on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and will report on that later.

Still, it’s a little scary, not to know what’s going on all the time, feeling distant and distracted, and knowing there will be no diagnosis until I’m dead.

Whatevs, I got great support.

Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright recovered from a concussion that forced him to miss last week’s game against the Rams, only to get felled by a bout of food poisoning the day before Seattle’s eventual 21-12 win over Dallas.

Wright said he ate some lasagna on the team’s Delta Airlines charter flight from Seattle to Dallas on Friday, and felt ill immediately afterward.

“I think it was the lasagna,” Wright said. “As soon as I had my last bite, about five minutes later, my stomach got tore up, and, uh, it ws all over from there. … It was coming out both ends.”

Food poising usually doesn’t happen within 5 minutes, unless it’s chemical contamination.

Microbes, even the toxin-producing ones, take a few hours.

Wright said he did not leave his hotel room on Saturday, and that the Seahawks’ doctors came in to give him IVs and some nausea medicine.

“He was in bed all day yesterday,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “Those guys played like crazy to hold (Dallas) down.”

Wright said he felt better by Sunday morning and was able to start against Dallas. He came up big for the Seahawks twice, tallying six tackles, picking off Dallas quarterback, Dak Prescott once and recovering two fumbles.

“Shout out to our doctors and trainers,” Wright said. “They’re tremendous and they took good care of me.”

(that’s the equipment I has circa 1972; the puck hurt, a lot, especially on the head)

Our church: 4 years of Sunday practice (and games) will get most improved

After four years as an atom minor hockey player — there aren’t enough kids in Australia playing hockey to have different divisions between 5-and-9-year olds, although it used to be 5-11-year-olds, which was dangerous, so we’re growing — Sorenne was selected as most improved player for her team.

I love how Mason, the player-voted MVP, is always smiling and supportive of his teammates (he’s grinning in the background).

On to atom majors next year, if she wants.