JMS Hockey Blog

JMS is a pickup hockey league

Month: August, 2009

Team leadership types

by barbaragarn

I’ve been thinking about this one for a while. Used my social anthropology skills to “unpack” the situation and came up with some observations.

Every team has two kinds of leaders.

I’m not talking about the C and the As, I’m talking about the leadership roles.

There’s the captain-coach, who directs the team on the ice. Drills at practice, setting lines, deciding when to pull the goalie. The captain-coach can be more captain than coach (the internal leader: “All right people, I know we can DO THIS! Let’s go!”) or more coach than captain (the external leader: “I want you to GET IN THERE and kick some ass!”).

But the point is, the captain-coach is the on-ice team leadership. This is who people look to, who they emulate. The captain-coach is who to watch to become a better hockey player.

The other team leadership role is the captain-manager. This poor soul (oh, how I sympathize) makes sure the team has ice, that everyone is registered with the league and has a jersey… that there are enough, but not too many, skaters for each game. All the behind-the-scenes stuff.

The captain-manager makes it possible for the captain-coach to HAVE ice to do her or his leadership “thing.” Because I’ve noticed that usually these two skill sets don’t intersect. The captain-coach person is usually CLUELESS about organization, and the captain-manager is usually the person with a lot of drive but not a lot of hockey experience. (And all that excitement has to get channeled somewhere, right? I give you Exhibit A: JMS Hockey.)

It doesn’t matter which one has the C or the A on the jersey; these roles don’t go with a particular letter (though I was on a team once that joked about giving our treasurer neither C nor A but a $ on his jersey.). The captain-coach and the captain-manager work together–sometimes without even realizing it–to provide the team with all the background work necessary to make the hockey venue happen, and then educates and leads the team effectively once they take that ice.

Any other observations about roles in hockey team leadership?
I deliberately didn’t include “enforcer” because I don’t think that’s a leadership position (and neither is “cherry picker”).

Six weeks out

by barbaragarn

What are you doing to get ready for hockey season?

Any special preseason prep or rituals? The ceremonial yearly hosing down, airing out of your hockey gear?

If you need a team, check out the [url=]team recruit forums for players seeking a team, or teams seeking players.

Need some equipment? Check out the [url=]marketplace.

And for getting your bod back in shape, see the many options on the [url=]coaching and training page.

Speaking of shape, I’m NOT in it. A terrible spring followed by a strung-out summer means I’ve not eaten, or chosen to tempt palate with high-calorie stuff, too many times. Argh–my own stupid choices and I should have known I’d pay for them in the end. Well, hindsight is 20/20, and I won’t make that mistake again. Begone things which are not good for me!!! I wrested back on the right track and now I’m in my lovely house–with lovely wholesomeness again, and fresh vegetables!

The biggest thing I’ll be doing before hockey season–besides eating crudites–is jogging. Which both trims down my weight (easier to skate fast without those extra pounds, yes?) and gets me back into something resembling cardio fitness.

Anybody else doing preseason stuff? Any preseason rituals, besides the “late August team scramble”?

Best Hockey Music

by barbaragarn

80s hair bands.

No question about it.
Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Poison, Bon Jovi, Guns ‘n Roses, Van Halen, THIS is music for the locker room before your hockey game.

Seriously, just listen:

Who cares what they’re singing? Of course it’s silly. Of course it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t have to! This is ULTIMATE HOCKEY MUSIC.

Ahh, Def Leppard. I have spent more minutes than I’d like to count trying to figure out these lyrics… “Pour some sugar on me, c’mon fry me up” — okay, who does their frying in sugar??
And I swear that one line says, “Desi let a woman in a one-man show.” Please don’t spoil my mystified ignorance by posting the real lyrics.

Other excellent 80s hair band hockey songs:

Guns n’ Roses: Paradise City

Bon Jovi: You Give Love a Bad Name

THIS is music for the locker room. THIS is music that belongs with hockey.

One thing to ponder about these 80s hair bands: for all their hard-rockin’ style, why is it that their biggest successes are the ballads? Poison’s [url=]Every Rose Has Its Thorn or Guns n’ Roses [url=]Patience or Bon Jovi’s [url=]I’ll Be There for You.

As a personal alternate to 80s hair bands, I will do Beethoven’s chorale from An die Freude, but probably not many would agree with my classical predilection. Hear it [url=]here, bad pics but best part of the music. Yes, this was in Die Hard. Another good one is Carl Orff’s [url=]O Fortuna from Carmina Burana.
Both An die Freude (“Ode to Joy”) and Orff’s hymn to changing nature of fortune are certainly applicable to how I feel before a hockey game.

Okay, so as a child of the 80s, I feel hair bands are PERFECT for pregame rockin out. But what about people the generation before and after? What do guys in their 40s, 50s, like for “best hockey music”? What about folks in their 20s? I’m interested to hear.

Discount tix for Team USA games

by barbaragarn

The Xcel Energy Center is hosting two games for the women of Team USA as they prep for Vancouver 2010 Olympics. And apparently they’re in Blaine, until Monday!

Why should you watch elite women’s hockey?

Because they play your game.

No checking, just fast, clean play–like we aspire to. The NHL is fun to watch, but we will never play that game. The elite no-check game is what we should be watching to emulate.

Right now, you can see Team USA play in Blaine as the coaches winnow down to the final roster. Details [url= ]here.

On September 25, they will play at the Xcel Energy Center, versus the WCHA women’s all stars, 7 p.m. And on December 30, they will face longtime, big-time rival, Team Canada, at 7 p.m.

This will be EXCELLENT hockey, and the Xcel Energy Center e-mailed me details about discount tickets for both games. The online offers will expire seven days before the game, so buy early and take the kids to see some GREAT hockey.

For discount tickets, see They will be mailed to you in two to three days, and feel free to share the link with others.

You should go!

Scoop! NHL preseason scrimmages at local rink! Shhhh…

by barbaragarn

I have super cool news about ice all this week, local high-profile NHLers will be kicking the rust off their skates in a relatively hush-hush ultra-elite, invitation only pick-up right here in the Twin Cities.

Of course, this is all heresay culled from an overheard conversation.
Someone who has a day off this week should go check it out and report back to us VERY interested folks.

Click “read more” below to get details on who (Parrish, Boogaard, Veilleux, Backstrom etc.) and where and when.

So I was at St. Louis Park this Friday and I heard some guys talking about the event. Apparently this week, on SLP’s west rink (the big one), Monday through Friday, the big names will be playing from 10.30 to noon.

There’s a great viewing gallery so I bet you can see things up close and personal. I debated passing this along–PLEASE, if you go, PLEASE don’t act like a twit. Or if you do, don’t mention how you learned about this event. We don’t want to disturb the doubtless easily-spooked NHLers in their habitat and force them to forage elsewhere for their ice.

Names I heard mentioned (furiously scribbling away): Mark Parrish, Derek Boogaard, Stephane Veilleux, Nicklas Backstrom, former Gopher Barry Tallackson, Matt Smaby, Stu Bickel, Jim Slater. And more–just didn’t have time, or couldn’t make out names (or can’t read my notes).

When I asked the rink attendant for more information, he said, “No comment,” which every good journalist knows means you’re on to something.

If you go, post here about what it was like, who you saw, what the hockey looked like, if you drooled on the glass, etc.

I preach the gospel of wax laces

by barbaragarn

For $3, beginners can really change their skating performance.

I can’t number the times I’ve seen someone stumbling or birding out (skating with ankles bent inwards), only to investigate and find their skates were far too loose.

Beginners often make the mistake of leaving skates too loose, but the problem is compounded by untreated cotton laces. They don’t grip well and then they stretch as you play. Tightening your laces is one thing, having them STAY tight is another.

Much, much better are the wax laces. I started using them early on and noticed an immediate improvement. With the boot closer to my foot, I could balance better, feel the ice better, turn better. Everything was affected, in a positive way.

I constantly recommend wax laces to beginner skaters and they’ve told me the wax laces have been positive for them, too.

Usually I feel that spending extra money on expensive techno stuff is a gimmick, but the idea of wax on laces is pretty simple, and at about $3, the price is just right.

Do you use wax laces? Love them or don’t care?

What's in a number?

by barbaragarn

Guest blog by Andy Baird

I am not a superstitious person. I don’t believe in ghosts, I don’t flinch when I walk past a mirror and ladder, and I find black cats annoying more than scary (although this probably has something to do with my allergies).

But, I am absolutely religious with numbers.

And why not? I have every reason to be. After all, I was born on 13:13 military time on June 13. My golden birthday (1984) was on Friday the 13th. Since all of my birthdays have generally been positive experiences (minus the Chuck E. Cheese incident, which I will not go in to detail), I have no reason not to use the number 13 for my hockey jersey.

The unfortunate part of being so drawn to the number 13 is the fact that every single hockey team on the planet has a number 13 already. Honestly. It has to be the most utilized jersey number in all of hockey, or probably any sport. So, I needed a fallback number when I recently joined a team with a reserved number 13.

When I was younger I played the iconic and genre-defining Electronic Arts NHL ’94 for SEGA Genesis. Easily the best NHL release in the whole video game franchise to date. Well, my cartridge was different from everyone else’s.

In an normal adolscent fits of rage, I got upset after a game loss and threw the SEGA Genesis cartidge against a wall. A small piece of plastic chipped off, revealing the innards of the circuitry and forever reminding me of my tempter tantrum. To my relief, the game still functioned afterwards, but an odd side effect happened: whenever I created a custom player within the game, I could make his stats as high as I wanted (e.g., 99% skill level on every ability such as stickhandling, endurance, shooting, etc, when normally these skills needed to be trained up over time).

The only down side was, whatever jersey number I seemed to assign to custom players never stuck. Despite my many efforts for my own custom-created player, he never got number 13. He always got number 32. To this day, as a developer and total techie nerd, I cannot explain why this happened. It makes absolutely no sense why physically throwing a piece of silicon memory and breaking it would result in this odd software effect. Very rare circumstance indeed.

While 13 is my top pick, it is unfortunately other people’s as well. Since I can’t have 13 all the time, I choose 32 because I want to feel connected to the number I wear, that it’s personal. It doesn’t matter what the number is, as long as I get to pick it, and I feel it represents me. That the number is somehow me, or a part of me, distilled down into two digits.

And 32 isn’t that bad of a number. After all, it’s very fitting for a software developer — 32-bit is one of the most common binary file formats. As a programmer, it divides nicely for file or database field sizes. And you’re probably reading this blog post on a 32-bit computer, did you know that?

Do jersey numbers mean anything important to you? If so, why? What jersey number are you?

Preseason sales

by barbaragarn

Lots of talk in the forums about the [url=]Westwood tent sale.

This made me wonder about other preseason sales. Anybody have any they check out each year? I know there are fantastic deals out there as stores make way for next season’s top of the line merchandise.

And the stuff that was cutting edge last year is now going for deep discounts, sweet. I got my wonderful Carbster at the [url=]Wayzata Sports Hut. I don’t think I would have been able to afford such a high-quality helmet without the sale.

Have you recently picked up a great deal on a high end piece of equipment? Post your success story here.

And be sure to share your preseason bargain hunting tips–including info about which stores and when they have their sales.

Where does your gear live?

by barbaragarn

So, moving in, figuring out where stuff will go.

Placement of hockey tree?

I don’t want it someplace where I’ll trip over it. Or have to negotiate around it (not small, and with nails at eye-level, not something I want to encounter in the dark). And not someplace where I keep… catching it out of the corner of my eye, roughly human shape, just lurking.

Does my gear stay in the basement, where it’s not as dry as upstairs? But if it goes upstairs, then it’s in my living space, and I don’t want to have to LOOK at it all the time. I mean, it’s not exactly aesthetically pleasing.

It needs to be close enough to a door–I’ve done the thing with wending my way through hallways, up a flight of stairs with fully packed hockey bag, NOT fun.

The garage is perfect… for summer months. I don’t expect my gear would do anything but freeze out there in winter.

I know some guys keep their gear in the car, through all seasons. My unilateral response to that is: GROSS! I bet it’s steaming hot and fetid in the summer and crinkly with ice crystals in the winter. Yecch both ways.

When my pal Sully was in a one-bedroom apartment, he kept his hockey tree in the kitchen. Yecch. When he and I lived together and had no room anywhere else in the place, I hung a curtain from the ceiling about two feet out from the wall, and put hockey gear behind that.

I felt awfully clever–it was getting enough air, but I didn’t feel like it was part of the room–I didn’t have to sit and stare at it. When we needed to pack up, the curtain pushed aside easily. Now Sully keeps his gear at his new place, in one of those Shock Doctor bags, which he seems to like (except for the size, which has been described as “unwieldy.”)

For now (like so many things in my new place), MY hockey gear has a temporary position. It is in my basement, with a fan blowing on it. Close to the door, but alas still part of the room decor. Hmm.

Where do you keep your hockey gear, and what do you like (or not) about your storage situation?