JMS Hockey Blog

JMS is a pickup hockey league

Month: June, 2009

Olympic Outlook

by barbaragarn

Team USA

The women just finished their residency program here at the Blaine Superrink (and I didn’t get to any games! argh!) and they’re now in Colorado.

Mark Johnson of Wisconsin is head coach (his team took its third NCAA D1 title last year). He’s a Minneapolis native, raised in Madison, star player from the 1980 “Miracle” team (scored first and game-tying goals for the US). He’s the son of “Badger Bob,” the famed UW men’s coach.

Jodi McKenna of Wesleyan will assist. Team USA will be announced in August, in advance of the Canada Cup in Vancouver this September.

I’m watching Megan Van Beusekom, goalie, Gopher goalie coach–and little sister of one of the primary “informants” from my anthro study way back in 2001, the study that made me realize I needed to play hockey to understand the culture… which of course led to the [url=]AHA Beginner School and then to starting JMS.

Val coached girls high school hockey and told me that her little sister looked up to her. She told me, “Megan said, ‘I want to be as good a hockey player as you some day.’ I told her, ‘Nope, you’re going to be better.'”

The women’s squad has some uphill work to do: they took gold in Nagano in 1998 (women’s hockey Olympic debut), slipped to silver in Salt Lake in ’02 and then slipped again to bronze in Torino in ’06.

The USA men’s team has a camp in Chicago August 17-20. They’re coached by current Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson… picked by someone he knows well: men’s Team USA general manager Brian Burke, who is also the Leafs president and general manager.

The last time the USA men’s team got a medal, it was in 2002, under coach Herb Brooks (silver). And the last time the men medaled before that was… in 1980, with the famous, fabulous “Miracle on Ice.”

Team Canada

Recently announced: Mike Babcock, head coach of the mighty Detroit Red Wings, will coach the Canadian men’s team. He’s joined by Jacques Lemaire. The Canadian men’s camp is in Calgary, August 24-28.

Canadian women will be coached by Melody Davidson, who is aiming for a three-peat. She was head coach in Torino when the team took gold and assistant coach in Salt Lake City for that gold medal. Canada lost to the US at the 09 World Championships (the American’s fourth victory over Canada in five meetings).

Olympics! Olympics! So much wonderful hockey!
Women’s games start February 13; the men begin on the 16th.

Bring on the Drama

by barbaragarn

We need a hockey reality TV show.

I’m not a connoisseur of the genre, but I’ve seen enough to know that adult rec hockey has everything a reality TV show producer could want: high-stakes emotions, people firmly wedded to their positions, clueless folks eager to lecture others, undressed bodies, shouting matches–and beer.

It’s perfect for reality TV, the kind of “can’t watch, can’t look away” stuff those shows feed on. And I’m not even talking about CREATING drama, just capturing it. Think about the teams you’ve been on. The situations you’ve seen. Oh yeah, you can’t make this stuff up.

Okay, I think some guys in Canada made something LIKE a reality TV show–it was supposed to look that way, but was actually scripted. I wasn’t a fan… it was all men and the women were one-dimensional, and always against the guys going off to play hockey. (Whatever!)

What do you think? Should we call Fox? They seem to have the splashiest ones. I know they were sniffing around the Twin Cities hockey community for a family for that Wife Swap show.

Just… please not MY team, thank you.

Gossip from the X

by barbaragarn

I spoke to my “unnamed source” on Friday night and learned some tidbits of news about happenings at the Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild.

Apparently the X was scheduled to get all new boards–it was discussed last summer and into the early part of the season.

And then CRUNCH, the economy crashed, recession, etc., and the X deciders then spoke of resurfacing the boards, but keeping the structure. As in, cleaning up how they looked but not making other changes.

And the last Mr Unnamed Source heard (in January), was that just the benches would be replaced. When I’ve played at the X, I noticed the (extra-tall) benches wobbly annoyingly back and forth. It’s just not restful to sit on them. Source agreed it was vexing, and noted this was because they were removable (so the facility can be used for concerts, RNC convention etc). “But,” he noted, “we should still be able to have benches that don’t wiggle.” I agree.

Apparently the ice goes in on June 29 for the prospect camp. Other teams do this, too, but unlike Minnesota, not usually in their big building. “I guess it’s easier to do, all in one place,” said Source.

He ended our conversation still lamenting the condition of the boards. “They’re so visible,” he said. “Everybody sees them–the fans, the players, the opposing teams, people watching TV. It’s too bad we can’t redo them.”

Watch for details about the prospect camp on June 29…

Are you cool?

by barbaragarn

As the days heat up, it’s harder to stay cool in the rink.

What do you do for body heat management? I blogged about [url=]proper sports drinks (and how they contain those vital electrolytes).

So, what we drink is important, but what about how we dress? I don’t change my under-gear clothing specially for summer hockey, though I know plenty of people who do. I’ve always found the wicking shirts to be too heavy and they get clogged with sweat.

I’m sure someone else could talk about how important head coverings are for heat management (and remembering Mom in the winter: “Put a hat on! You’ll catch a cold!”). I HAVE found that using my skull cap–made of wicking material–keeps the sweat out of my eyes and makes me feel much cooler. When I forget it, my head is so hot it’s hard to focus on the game.

Other people have other strategies. We all know a certain goalie who plays without a jersey, she will remain nameless here but YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! Haha, funny.

So what’s your hot weather strategy? Do you have one?

This topic reminds me of my favorite and least favorite things about summer hockey: that lovely cool feeling, walking into the rink from the muggy heat of the day. And the worst thing–getting all sweaty and sticky and having to go back out again.

A Newbie All Over Again

by barbaragarn

Guest blog by Michael Bernard

Three Mondays ago, I had the good fortune to become a newbie all over again. My life’s resume now includes a new line– Sessions at Goalie: 1. And what a fine experience it was.

I am an adult hockey player. I started playing in (I think) ’96-’97 when I was … 28 years old (ouch). Since then, I’ve played a lot. In the last 8 or 9 years, I’ll bet that I’ve played 600 or 700 times (probably at least that many).

To play a game 700 times, you might think it’s a body’s most favorite thing in the world (vis-a-vis 700 root canals). But, for me, that wasn’t the case. For me, hockey had become routine. Routine is a great enemy of appreciation — it’s a door left open for indifference. Hockey deserves better.

For example, 9 times out of 10, I pack my bag thinking about how late I’ll get home and whether my kids will behave at bedtime. I arrive at the rink thinking about whether anyone on the other side is mad at me from the previous match-up (league games only of course — not JMS). I get dressed talking about beer or poking fun at teammates.

I skate warm-up thinking about which opponents deserve special attention. During the game, I think about what I did wrong, how mad my goalie will be if we lose and how tired I’ll be the next day at work. Hockey deserves better.

So after I clicked the signup button those three Mondays ago, I loaded the car for another trip to the rink. But this 727th trip (or something like that) was my first trip as a goalie. This trip was different. I was excited. And I was anxious. I’m not a very good player/skater — but I know as much and it doesn’t bother me.

Further, thanks to the parity efforts of Barb and folks like her, I’ve learned that, no matter my skills, I’ll have a decent chance against the other players I’ll face on any given night. Is that confidence? — no. (well, maybe a little) Comfort? — that’s a better word.

… except, in tending nets that first time, that comfort wasn’t there. I was nervous. I wondered if I was going to get worked. That wonder — that uncertainty … it was something to be enjoyed.

Arriving at the rink and getting dressed was a blur of thoughts and emotions. … she looks like she’s pretty good — I wonder if she’ll be on my team? … I hope no one pokes fun at me … where should I stand for face-offs, how should I stand, what should I do when I’m standing there? … that guy put his skates on first, now he’s trying to pull his breezers over them — I wonder if he’ll be on my team? … I wonder if I should tie the skates into the leg pads like Brad instructed or will it be easier on my old knees to do my skates first? … why would anyone ever poke fun at someone else? … Holy cr*p, these skates hurt my feet — are they supposed to feel like this? …

As it turns out, I got worked. And it didn’t matter. Unlike the previous 726 post-game trips home thinking about that night’s poor decisions, how slow I skate, how terrible my hands are … instead of driving home thinking about the winger who got mad at me because I reminded him that I’m the only one allowed to screen my goalie (and trying to remember him for the next match-up) … instead of driving home thinking about the score … that first trip home as a goalie, instead of driving in thoughts — I drove home with senses.

I drove home with a sense of fun. With a sense of camaraderie with the other folks who are learning something new. I drove with a sense of accomplishment for having stepped out of my comfort zone. I drove home sensing senses.

Sure, I could recall a whole bunch of five-holes. But those memories quickly faded back into the sense of fun. Of having played a game. My first game. And wonder — if/when I’d play my second.

The point is: I recommend fighting indifference the next time you go to the rink. Try to remember what it’s like to think about how to put on your equipment. Remember how it was to wonder how you’ll stack up against the person sitting across from you.

Then remind yourself — in earnest — that it doesn’t really matter because it’s only a game. Recognize how people deal with anxiety and excitement (e.g., one guy is chattering while one girl doesn’t look up from her bag.). You don’t have to try something new to be a newbie again — get new in your head. Get excited all over again. Have fun. It’s a game — hockey deserves it.

New sessions EVERYWHERE

by barbaragarn

People have been asking for new sessions close to home. You’ve seen the forum posts, and *I* have seen the many e-mails with these requests.

Voila! I have booked this ice for you.

I put my checkbook on the line, so I hope all who asked will respond by signing up so I don’t go broke, or worse, we have too few skaters and the session sucks. Nobody wants that. So sign up!

The newly-added sessions are:

Level 2: Mondays at Bloomington

Level 3: Mondays at Burnsville AND Tuesdays at Wakota AND Tuesdays at Fogerty (starts June 30) AND Tuesdays at Eden Prairie (now solidified)

Level 4: Mondays at New Hope AND Wednesdays at St. Thomas Academy (in Mendota Heights)

Okay, if these go bust… nobody is allowed to complain about me “not booking enough sessions” for, say, six whole months. Deal?

I want these to work, not for money but because I WANT you to have hockey in your backyard. Get nearby friends and neighbors to sign up–I’ve done what *I* can to make the sessions viable–now you can recruit folks you know and we’ll have a perfect situation: the sessions are close to home for YOU and no worry about filling them or keeping them going for ME.

Thank you for your help in making JMS function so well, and for contributing to the success of a flexible parity-based program for Twin Cities hockey players of all levels!!!

Pondering the Pros

by barbaragarn

This is the last week of the hockey season, the pinnacle: the Stanley Cup playoffs.

What do you think the players are thinking about?

For us, hockey is a game, it’s something we do to have fun, stay in shape, even see friends. It falls squarely into the realm of PLAY.

But what about that very small segment of hockey players for whom it is WORK?

How do you think this changes how they approach the game, how they feel about it?

I’m sure they enjoy that Zen moment when the pass cycles perfectly and the last person one-times it into the net. But is there JOY for them, like there is for us?

I know anything I HAVE to do makes me ornery. Do the pros start to feel that way about hockey?
How sad.

Maybe we are luckier than the players in the NHL. We play for fun, and we’re free to enjoy it unfettered by deals, contracts, performance quotas, licensing agreements and all that hullaballoo.

Just plain hockey. For them, it’s work. For us, it’s fun.

I Speak Hockey

by barbaragarn

Some words have their genesis in the hockey culture and some have been adopted in.

Of the latter, hat trick (which came to us from the cricketers) is one of the most familiar–even people who don’t play or watch the game know what a hat trick is. There are many legends (urban and otherwise) about how this term has hockey origins, but it’s pretty clear the bowlers across the pond used it first, I say, what, and pass the tea.

Ringer, according to Wikipedia, comes from the world of horse racing, when “a fast horse was substituted for a slower one it represented (a ‘ring-in’).”

From what I can tell, deke (otherwise known as “dangle”?) is a true hockey-generated term, allegedly short for “decoy.” Makes sense.

We say someone has hit the top shelf or gone upstairs on a goalie when they roof the puck, but those don’t seem exactly hockey-specific terms.

I did notice that there are different levels of acceptability for certain terms: it’s considered more polite to call someone a cherry-picker than a suckhole. Got some funny looks on the latter when I added it to my vocabulary.

Any other hockey specific terms?

I have come up with one of my own–heretofore never shared: water pirate, for that person who steals your water when you’re out on the ice. I hate this! I start the skate with a huge full bottle and I can just tell someone is pilfering… I hate finishing the skate so thirsty because someone else didn’t bother to bring his own. Grr. And ICK, don’t put your MOUTH on it, gross!!! This got so bad on one team that I told them I put estrogen supplements in my water. I don’t know if it helped, but it made me feel better.

So, what other hockey concepts need lexicalization?

I think we need a term for someone who loves to tell everyone else what they’re doing wrong. This person is either wrong about his didactic corrections or else oblivious to the fact that his skills and performance aren’t deserving of lecturing prowess or emulation.
For this one, I propose “buferton,” derived from the toad genus and in honor of Bufo alvarius, the hallucinogenic desert toad. As in, if you thing you’re great enough to lecture others, you’re hallucinating. Also, “buferton” sounds pedantic and pontificatory, with allusions of hick-ness.

“Did you hear John telling me to watch the offsides? And then he was offsides three times in a row. What a buferton.”

What about goalies who go down to easy and stay down? Hmm. Suggestions?
Falling mountain? Nah, too long.
HmmmMMMmmm, back to the animal kingdom… sloth? Nope, that just implies slow. And it seems kind of mean. This shouldn’t have negative connotations, just indicate a tendency to play a certain way.

Goalie: “Yeah, I just started taking nets about a month ago. I’m good at covering the corners, but I’m a real ___; once I go down it takes me forever to get back up again for the next shot.”

Suggestions? Other hockey terms to add or define?

To Stink or Not to Stink

by barbaragarn

That is the question.

I took a shower this morning after finishing the EXCELLENT [url=]Rob Little morning skills clinic, but only because I was heading to work. (GREAT shooting drills btw!)

Breck has nice showers but some rinks aren’t so clean. Some rinks (SLP west, Richfield rink 1), yeeesh. I wouldn’t even go in there with flip-flops–or a HazMat suit–on.

I don’t normally shower after hockey, I’ll go home gross and shower there… if necessary. (One of the benefits of being single! I can stink it up all I want!)

I DO know people who shower religiously, no mater how nasty the shower facilities, after every session. Even if they’re just going home.

Are you one of these people? Do you feel the need to shower after every skate?
Or are you–like me–permanently committed to the stinky life?