JMS Hockey Blog

JMS is a pickup hockey league

Month: July, 2009

Please no e-mail, I am moving

by barbaragarn

I am moving on July 31 and will have limited e-mail access and web update capability. Please oh please keep requests to urgent matters.

I will be triaging responses and do my very best to keep up with the most important stuff. Thank you for your help and kind understanding.

If you’ve been thinking,
“I’ve been at my level for six months and TODAY I want to talk about moving up/down…” or
“I should ask Barbara why there isn’t a Level 1 skate in Northfield…” or
“You know, I’ve been playing hockey for ten years, and THIS is the week I want to try goalie…” or
“I’ve been meaning to ask my neighbor to come to JMS and today I’ll finally do it…” or
“What is the average flight speed of an African swallow?”
… please oh please wait until next week.

For those wondering after my post, my JMS connection will indeed be MediaCom (8mbps package). I hope to be online at home soon.

As some of you may know, for the last year I’ve been living in a [url=]cohousing community. It’s Minnesota’s most established and oldest, [url=]Monterey Cohousing Community. Cohousing is a super cool concept about being connected to one’s neighbors and I’ve loved living there — and making jokes when I meet new people that “I live in a group home…”

Someday I would like to start a multigenerational cohousing community in the SW burbs. Project for next decade. (Haha, like I’ll ever be done with JMS.)

Moving is its own challenges (aaaa!), but since much of my stuff has been in storage it shouldn’t be too painful. I’m looking forward to opening boxes of stuff I forgot I had (can’t even remember what my dishes look like!). Since everything I’ll be unpacking from storage is my own and picked by me, it should be kind of like Christmas morning all special for me. “Oh! It’s perfect! And just my taste–how did I ever know??”

Right now my living area is strewn with boxes labeled “technoflotsam” and “stuff that goes under other stuff.” Living at MoCoCo has been great–a semester abroad in Cohousing Land–but I’m looking forward to leaving behind forever some godawful personal memories (not from cohousing) and moving on to something new and wonderful, just for me.

I am moving to the far western burbs and thrilled about the house I found. My realtor, [url=]Sapa Carlson, is AWESOME and found exactly the perfect Garn Casa, in my slim price range and what I wanted down to the last details. Thanks for all the work with the challenges of a foreclosure, Sapa!

My mortgage guy, Cary Schilling of Bell Mortgage, is another hockey connection. Cary has been so informative and explained the new mortgage landscape, big ups to Cary for his help, too!

I wouldn’t have started thinking about moving if I hadn’t heard some JMSers talking about “now is the time to buy” in the locker room. Then my hockey girlfriends (Kickass Girlie Brunch!) Tracey, Lynnie, Deborah and Nancy spurred me to action–and Nancy especially was so kind to listen to the ups and downs of the whole process.

And one of my oldest hockey connections (and now basically my “family”), [url=]Sully, is helping me move and driving the big scary diesel truck. I know Andy is on call with the website and the captains are doing what they can to manage stuff while I’m in the throes of moving. Thank you all so much.

I never knew when I started JMS that I would be participating in a community of such awesome, wonderful, interesting people. You all have enriched my life in so many ways–times like this I’m reminded of that. Thanks folks.

And please don’t e-mail me until Tuesday…

Hollywood Hockey

by barbaragarn

I watched Mike Myers’ “The Love Guru” this weekend, because it has hockey in it.

I won’t review the film–we all know who Myers is and what to expect (some laughing, some wincing). But the hockey part was fun despite a few glaring errors.

I was interested in actor Romany Malco’s view of hockey after he had to learn to play. I’ve written before about how getting hooked on hockey is like [url=]joining a cult.

Haha, it seems Malco drank the Kool-Aid and now he’s hooked on hockey, too. I found a Sports Illustrated interview where he talks about the passion we all know so well:

Getting to play a hockey player was definitely a highlight because the minute I found out about the job, I rented every video of hockey I could find and I trained for about six hours a day.

… when they told me I was going to get the role of a hockey player, the first thing they said was, “This isn’t a hockey movie. This movie is about your relationship with Mike Myers. You don’t have to go out there and learn how to play hockey.” So I said okay.

But… as soon as I hung up the phone, I was at the rink, trying on hockey gear. … So I put in my time and I was doing serious one-timers by the ninth day. [BG: Who believes this?]

… I’m telling you, man, hockey players are sub-human. [BG: ??] They are true players because of the endurance that it takes, the skill set that it requires — it’s just my favorite thing on the planet. I have to play at least two times a week or I’m miserable.

Interviewer: So you’ve continued to play hockey even though you’re done with the movie?

Oh, hell yeah. If I don’t skate two or three times a week, I am hard to be around.

Sound familiar?? Full interview [url=]here.
In another interview, he talks about the hunky hockey physique, what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman should do to make hockey more accessible and noted that, while the movie folks told him to train for 90 minutes three days a week, he was doing six days a week, six hours a day, story [url=,89042]here. Sound familiar, O Fellow Drinkers of the Kool-Aid?

Apparently Justin Timberlake (who plays a rival goalie in the movie) is a phenomenal athlete, too. Huh. Interesting video clip [url=]here with a featurette about teaching the hockey players to skate, including Malco doing his “Canadian impression.” Eh.

There’s plenty to frown at, though. As [url=,89245]one blog notes, the Cup finals are a … 2-3-2 series?? Rob Blake at center and other stuff.

I didn’t love the movie (I’m not a 13-year-old boy) but I liked that there was hockey in it, and that the actors liked the hockey parts–even enough to keep playing long after filming was done. Pass the Kool-Aid!

Top 10 reasons to attend Rob Little Hockey clinics

by barbaragarn

July 23 starts two new clinics: Stickhandling and Shooting/Goalie, both evenings at Breck Anderson Arena in Golden Valley.

There is still time to sign up! Rob is also offering individual session pricing.

Do you lose the puck a lot? Do you have trouble keeping it when the other team pressures you? Can you skate with your head up and still control it?

The Stickhandling Clinic gives position-specific instruction (ie, center versus wing versus defense) about how to maintain puck possession in competitive situations, both in tight spaces and in open ice.

Dates: Thursday, July 23; Tuesday, July 28; Thursday, July 30; Tuesday, August 4; and Thursday, August 6–all icetimes 8.30 to 9.45 p.m.

So once you have the puck, and can keep it, do you know what to do with it? Can you process where to aim–and shoot at that hole with confidence?

The Shooting/Goalie Clinic will introduce players to the basic shots (wrist, snap, backhand, slapshots and tips) and evaluate and address individual needs. Rob will discuss the mental aspects of goal scoring as well. Goalies will focus on basic stance, balance, crease-are maneuvers, positioning, angles, save techniques and controlling rebounds.

Dates: Thursday, July 23; Tuesday, July 28; Thursday, July 30; Tuesday, August 4; and Thursday, August 6–all icetimes 7 to 8.15 p.m.

More information online at

Top Ten Reasons to Attend
10. Get a tune-up before we roll into September and start getting serious about the hockey season.
9. Support the awesome new website with cool swooshy logo!
8. Rob has 35 years of experience in coaching hockey. He knows what he’s talking about.
7. Breck Anderson Arena is clean and in a central location.
6. Rob’s voice carries on the ice (this is actually a big deal for some with on-ice echoes; if you can’t hear the coach, you can’t learn. Rob is very easy to hear, follow and understand.)
5. Individual session pricing ($38) makes hockey improvement possible even for people with tough scheduling.
4. The instruction keeps on coming–even after you leave. Weeks or months later, as you continue to improve, some gem from Rob will suddenly hit you and you’ll get it. (whatever “it” is)
3. Buddy pricing: sign up with a friend and both receive $15 off the clinic pricing.
2. Rob’s amazing coaching–go see what everyone else is raving about. Rob can pick out the one thing you’re doing wrong… correcting it has an immediate and pronounced positive effect.
1. Because you want to be a better hockey player. Sign up. Go. Improve. It’s that simple.

Rob is okay with people just showing up, but to make it easier on everyone, try to register online first:

Rob Little Hockey: Dramatic improvements with targeted coaching.

Total Hockey West hosts free JMS open house!

by barbaragarn

I took a tour of the new facility in St. Louis Park this month, and it is awesome. There are two reduced rinks (Hat Trick Hockey) and a dedicated off-ice training area: our old friends, Total Hockey West.

Cory Peterson, director of training, described the 90-minute Total Hockey West sessions: they start with a warmup before moving to slider boards (with booties!), balance and other technique workouts, stickhandling and puck skills. Participants will also skate up the fake-ice ramp with timed splits. The ramp is designed for “first step quickness,” Cory said. It works as a positioning and technique aid as skaters push up the 4-degree incline, which helps identify troublesome or inefficient habits. The facility also has a dedicated shooting area with four stations, including radar gun (time your shot!), lighted goalie targets, corner work and an Ultimate Passer.

Cory himself has won two state titles with Jefferson, was drafted by the Dallas Stars, went to Canada to play in the OHL and then went on to play seven seasons of pro hockey until an eye injury forced his retirement. Cory is a great coach and you’ll learn lots from him and the others he’s selected to train at the facility, including Ben Gordon of the Gophers and Blake Freisen of Mankato. The workout is great and players will combine learning techniques with good conditioning.

I’m hoping to start at least one night a week for adult sessions at Total Hockey West. Cory has scheduled a free JMS open house for July 27. We will have two sessions, one at 7 p.m. and one at 8.30 p.m. that evening. (While the event is free, I want to make sure that everyone who says they’re coming actually shows up. I’ll require a $10 deposit, refundable on your account immediately after the session on July 27.) What a great opportunity to see this super new facility and test drive the fantastic off-ice training at Total Hockey West!

The sessions are designated JMS “Level 0,” which means all experience levels. People just learning hockey work out with people who played in high school and beyond. It’s a mixed group and since the focus is different from a dynamic, on-ice situation, it really works to have a wide range of abilities all training together; feedback is individualized depending on the skater’s experience.

Sign up for the [url=]7 p.m. or [url=]8.30 p.m. session and come prepared for intense physical activity. Bring your skates, stick and gloves and dress in workout clothes. Full info about the facility is at [url=]Total Hockey West.

Hope to see you there on July 27!

Sport versus game

by barbaragarn

What’s the difference?

I was thinking about the many Olympic sports and pondering the nature of sports versus games. Is it just in the amount of physical activity? Where do we draw the line?

Hockey is definitely a sport. I think figure skating is, too, and even “rhythmic gymnastics,” since people work up a sweat at it.

Curling…? Well, I’ve never done it, but anything played with BROOMS as part of the equipment seems somehow less “sporty.” And there certainly seems to be more shouting than physical activity.

What about shooting competitions? Is that a sport or a game? I’ve never handled guns, let alone competed with them, but target practice doesn’t seem… athletic.

Diving is a sport; you have to be in shape to do it, for all that it’s so quick and the competition relates to form, not speed or prowess.

Bowling–is it a sport or a game? I say game, but it’s one of the more “sporty” games, as opposed to, say, bridge, or Duck Duck Goose (“Duck Duck GREY DUCK” for you Minnesotans).

Hockey is definitely a sport. But what about other things on ice–broomball? (ANOTHER ice sport with a broom, jeez.)

I think for something to be a sport, it has to include more than normal physical activity–you have to sweat!–and players have to work at it to get better.

What do you think? What makes a sport a sport, and a game a game?

Paying someone to rub your butt

by barbaragarn

Or, “Why You Should Consider Sports Massage”

I just had a massage on Saturday and was reminded again of how useful it is for loosening tight leg muscles. I had my first sports massage about two years ago — some of you may recall the now-infamous “wii bowling” injury. The repetitive (and zealous) motions of stepping and bowling over an entire afternoon left me with a hamstring pull and barely able to walk the next day. (Yes, yes, it’s hysterical, I know.)

After days of yarking about my woe to many JMSers, one guy recommended sports massage.

“Isn’t that kind of… girlie?” I asked. “With the frou-frou oils and mud wraps and beating with scented twigs and whatnot?”

“No,” he said firmly. “You should go.”


But I went, and it was amazing. I had literally been barely able to walk up the stairs when I left home; on my return I could climb them without even thinking about it–and without wincing. I wasn’t 100% until the next day, but it was enough of a WOW! to make me a believer and silence my ridicule forevermore.

As hockey players, we’re pretty hard on our leg muscles (front and back: hamstrings, quads and glutes), skating for a hour and a half in the proper hockey stance crouch. I can just get used to things feeling “a little tight” and a little less effective without realizing that they’re problematic since it happens gradually. I usually walk into the appointment thinking, “Oh, my leg muscles are fine, but I’ll just keep the appointment I made.”

And then the sports massage person starts to work away and I think, “What the hell, are there walnuts in my leg?” That’s what the knots feel like; so often you don’t know they’re there until someone professional starts manipulating and smoothing them out. And, as usual, I think, “Man oh man, am I glad I came in!” I never realize how tight the muscles have become until I’m walking around afterwards and have noticed the amazing improvement.

And after doing some research, I see that it’s not at all uncommon for professional teams to use sports massage as a regular part of their training. Not just as therapy, but a component of the entire conditioning process.

I was talking to the massage person on Saturday about how sports, muscles and massages all interrelate. She said she has one current and one former professional hockey player as clients. (She would not divulge names, alas!) She said the retired guy skated with the North Stars and massage was NOT part of his sports conditioning routine. “He’s STILL working out a lot of stuff,” she said. “He tells me all the time that he wishes he had got regular massages back when he was playing.”

And the other, the current professional player?
“He’s doing great,” she said. “He gets massages all the time, and he does a lot of yoga. Classical yoga with those long, deep stretches is ideal for sports. He’s never had any trouble with persistent muscle injury.”

I know it’s not a scientific study, but from my own experience and hearing years of anecdotal evidence of how professional teams incorporate sports massage, I’m convinced it is an excellent addition to an adult hockey player’s conditioning regimen.

I try to go about once every three months, though if the muscles feel tight I’ll make an appointment sooner. I have NEVER walked out of a sports massage and regretted it, or seen it as a waste of money. Pretty much each time, I’m amazed anew at how much better I feel, and how rapidly–and not even realizing how tight the muscles had become over time.

Of course, I wasn’t entirely off base with my early denigration: there’s a legitimate connection between massage of any kind and primate “grooming” behavior. It feels nice, and there’s a reason for it. Studies of captive monkeys show that “grooming” makes them more relaxed, slowing heart rate and external signs of stress. Grooming actually stimulates production (in very small quantities) of the body’s natural opiates–endorphins. To put it another way, grooming actually produces a mildly narcotic effect.

So, you big monkey, go get a sports massage. Have a professional take a crack at those legs of yours and rejoice in how terrific and limber you feel afterwards. The first sports massage I ever had was such an incredible treatment for my muscle ailment, I only wish I had started going sooner.

Do you get sports massages regularly? Where do you go, and what areas do you focus on?

Your first sports massage
Where to go? There are many options, from a “day spa” (which women are probably more comfortable visiting) to specific sports massage clinics. I don’t have someone I use regularly (I did but she doesn’t do it anymore). I hope some JMS community members will post replies with details about their favorites.
What to expect at the facility? Get there early because you’ll need to fill out a registration form (medical history, past health problems that might impact massage), and you’ll want time to talk to the massage therapist about which areas you’d like to focus on.
And the actual massage? You’ll be taken to a room and instructed about how to disrobe and get on the massage table. They will be very understanding and give simpler directions if you indicate this is your first time.
Take off how much? Ideally, everything. The more skin the massage therapist has to work with, the more contact s/he can make with getting into those fussy muscle groups. Massage therapists are very skilled at using drapes for modesty and privacy. So go ahead and take it all off–it’s not weird at all and makes for a more effective experience.
What do I do during the massage? Lie there. Seriously, the massage therapist will work on the different parts you’ve discussed, moving them out and back under the drape. It’s like lying under a blanket with your leg sticking out.
Should it hurt to work the kinks out? Not usually, though my personal preference is to take as much as I can possibly stand. The areas the massage therapist is working on are tender for a reason, and so while getting attention hurts initially, the smoothing action is what helps them feel so much better once they’re unknotted. You can ask for heavy or light; my philosophy is to suck it up and ask for heavy work to really do some good.
And what about a gratuity? As with anyone performing a service (like haircuts or brining food to your table), a gratuity is appropriate… unless it’s in a clinical doctor’s office setting. You can ask about leaving a gratuity when you pay for the massage itself.

Hockey Gear in a Tornado

by barbaragarn

Pros and Cons.

With the forecast for severe weather this afternoon, I am thinking once again about a question I pondered for the first time in 2002, when I was starting to play summer hockey.

Is it safer to be in hockey gear during a tornado, or not?

You’re wearing extremelyprotective garb, including great head protection.

Everyone around you has (essentially) knives on their feet.

I suppose too that getting flung into something by gale-force winds, while wearing protective hockey gear, means the initial injury effect would be dampened… but then extrication would be harder. Suppose you were thrown into a body of water? Try kicking up to air while wearing skates.

But, helmets are meant to withstand tremendous impacts and pressure. Having one on during a tornado would protect your head a hell of a lot better than nothing. Not to mention elbows, shins and other equipment.

On the other hand, wearing hockey gear means you’re in a rink–essentially a big open space and not very protective.


Perhaps the solution is to crouch in your own safe and underground basement, while wearing your hockey gear. If you do this, please send me a picture and I will post on the site for all to see.

Star Trek hockey

by barbaragarn

I’m on a “Star Trek: Enterprise” binge this weekend, and so I started wondering about the Star Trek universe and hockey… and the future of hockey.

One of my teammates years ago had a Star Trek (United Federation of Planets) jersey he wore to scrimmages… which pretty much he and I alone thought was way cool. However, I have long felt that of all the species in the Star Trek universe, Klingons would take most enthusiastically to hockey, and kick Federation butt. I admit–with only the tiniest bit of embarrassment–to actually ordering a ten-inch Klingon Empire patch and a plain Calgary Flames jersey to apply it to. (I haven’t yet.) I found someone on eBay who can actually embroider in Klingon, too. Hmm…

Someone stop me before I have a terminal geek attack!

I did find evidence of ice hockey in [url=]”Star Trek: Voyager” (pic though alas no clip):

Tom Paris had a hockey holoprogram aboard the USS Voyager that Harry Kim was familiar with. (Episode “Ashes to Ashes”) In 2377, Tom and Harry played the program. The Nausicaan goalie for the other team was very good, and aggressive, and the two left the program with many bruises on their faces. They were worried that the Doctor was going to yell at them again, as they often got bruised up when playing hockey and other sports on the holodeck. (Episode “Critical Care”)

The point of sci fi shows is kind of narcissistic: we imagine the future extrapolated from our present. We look at how things are, and how they were, and guess at how they will be. I looked at the pic of the two characters in their hockey gear; the equipment seems the same as ours now, except the jerseys are shinier.

I guess someone at Paramount doesn’t play hockey. Or they didn’t want to bother designing new gear. Because I think the biggest changes in hockey history have been related to technological stuff: equipment. Better goalie gear, sticks that flex, better skates and better protective gear.

Star Trek future or not, hockey will still be around in 100, 200, probably 300 years. How do you think our game will change in that time?

Live long and prosper.

Hockey Touchstones

by barbaragarn

What are some hockey touchstones?

What makes you think of hockey, or puts you in a hockey frame of mind? What are some things unique to hockey?

The sliding-grinding sound of skates biting into the ice for a hockey stop.
Shaking hands at the end of the game.
Banging sticks on the boards after a good play.
The smell at the rink.
Wider use of the phrase “hat trick.”
Missing teeth?

Just thinking about the things hockey has given or promoted into the larger culture, beyond our sport. We play hockey, we live it, we’re in the middle of it. So, I wonder what people OUTSIDE the sport come up with when they think about hockey.