JMS Hockey Blog

JMS is a pickup hockey league

Month: September, 2013

JMS Is More Than Me

by barbaragarn

I know a lot of people think “Barbara Garn” is synonymous with “JMS Hockey,” but that’s not the case any more. People post and direct e-mails to me, but the truth is that there are three admins running the program now.

I want to make sure that credit goes where credit is due.


Andy Baird joined JMS in 2007 and his programming expertise vaulted JMS further than I ever dreamed it could go. Andy is one of the most innovative, standup guys I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, and I’m lucky to work with him and JMS is lucky to have him.

Andy’s JMS hours are mostly tech-related; he works to make the site function quickly and smoothly. He also sets up the information architecture for any program changes (like Community Sessions) or additions (like JMS Hockey Clubs).These are both huge and require many hours of planning and coding.

But Andy is very much a part of administrative decisions, from answering questions sent to to initiating new program-wide developments. While I run the program, it’s definitely Andy who has come up with the cool ideas.


Eric Jorgensen started helping with admin work last year, but he’d been playing JMS long before that. His leadership capabilities and decisionmaking made him a clear choice for captaining. Soon after, we asked if he’d consider joining the admin team and were so happy he accepted.

Eric’s fresh–and frank–perspective means Andy and I no longer have the same discussions we’d been having for years! He works on tech stuff with Andy and has contributed much of the polish to the current version of the website. It looks clean and uniform largely because of Eric’s work. Eric also helps with non-tech stuff, like answering the random questions that come to the support line or designing JMS materials–among many, many other things.

And he pushes us to try new things: the JMS Hockey Clubs are totally Eric’s program. He had a vision and a plan and now it’s a reality–soon to be expanded to new locations and levels.

Eric hasn’t been with us long, but he has brought so much to JMS that I can’t imagine the program functioning without his ideas and analysis.


The three of us partner to keep the JMS Hockey program running, changing and growing. We spend a lot of time–more than you can imagine–keeping things going. But our work would be for nothing without the help of the JMS captains.


Some captains spend an hour or more before each game–reviewing the roster to see who wants to change levels, and other admin work. They have the leadership role at the game, watching every player and paying special attention to the new ones, the ones who want level changes, or the “special cases” who may need a reminder about long shifts or less hacking.

Captains try to see everything, but they’re just one person. Think of what NHL officials miss–and there are four of them at every game. Your captain is there to help your game run smoothly, but he or she can’t read minds; if something’s bugging you, they can only fix it if they know about it.

And after the game, the captain fills out a detailed report with the notes they took time out of the game to write. Players are counting on them to make level assessments and captains take this responsibility seriously.

It’s not unusual for a captain to be expected to evaluate four or five players in one game. Nobody wants them making snap decisions, so they must watch each player during each shift and analyze the skater’s performance in light of the desired level. It’s not easy and it’s not quick.

Captains play for free, but it’s in recognition of the many hours they spend before and after games, and the time taken away from their game when they need to be watching certain players.

It is the JMS captains, not the three JMS admins, who make the level change decisions–they are the ones who keep the parity in your hockey games and we couldn’t run JMS without them.


JMS is a hockey community, and that community is reflected in our vibrant Facebook presence.

Dan Ginter is a talented social media expert and probably also a magician. I don’t know where he gets his stuff, but his news is always fresh and interesting. Dan handles our Facebook presence and does an amazing job. The last time I tried to post something I thought was new and exciting, Dan had already had it on our wall for three days. He’s always got a good conversation going and we thank him for keeping the JMS community strong and connected.


All of these people come together to make the JMS Hockey program what it is today. They are smart folks who care about hockey and want you to enjoy playing JMS and being a part of the JMS community.

JMS is more than just me. If it were just me, JMS Hockey would be small and staid. Instead, we have Andy and Eric and Dan and all the awesome captains, and JMS is vibrant and dynamic and a wonderful program.

And we all, all of us who work together on JMS, we thank YOU wonderful players for being a part of the JMS community. We’re glad you’re here and we’re glad you’re having fun!

Protect Your Neck

by barbaragarn

The player almost bled out. 

I’ll tell you right now that this story has a happy ending, but the details will chill you–and hopefully impel you to buy and wear neck protection.

A JMSer recently sent me this account of a near-tragic skate-to-neck incident:

I wanted to share this story with the JMS community. Everything ended ok, but it was very nearly something tragic.

 I was playing a regular hockey game, fun and unremarkable until suddenly one player tripped and his skate kicked up very high. 

The blade hit another player in the neck and severed a small artery. Blood was pulsating out of his neck, but very fortunately, he was close to the bench and there was a physician present and he applied pressure very quickly.

Since is was a small artery, the bleeding stopped without much blood loss, but the cut was very deep and very, very close to his carotid artery. The physician told us later that if the cut had been a fraction of an inch to one side, he was not sure that he could have been able to control the bleeding.

 Tragic injuries like this have occurred in the NHL with horrible outcomes. And the NHL has full medical support on site. At 11 p.m. in an empty rink, there’s not much that can be done. 

 I’m a pretty strong advocate for safety equipment–it actually drives me crazy that guys play with no pads or face protection. This particular incident was very, very close to something tragic… and fairly avoidable. I wanted to get the word out to JMSers that it does matter if you wear a face shield and a neck guard. 

 I know some people think they are “wimpy” or “for Mites and Squirts.” I have only been playing hockey a few years and I’ve already seen someone get hit in the face with a puck just a quarter inch of an inch from their eye (they would have doubtless lost the eye in a direct hit), someone crack a mouth full of teeth, and then this event where the player was literally less than an inch from possible death, right there on the ice at the local rink at 11 at night.

I don’t mean to sound melodramatic, but this stuff actually happens and is almost completely avoidable with minimal cost or discomfort.

Happy Ending Part 1

I did hear that the injured player had to have vascular surgery on the artery. He’s going to be okay, but he was told again that an inch to the side and he likely would have bled to death. Scary.

Happy Ending Part 2…

… is up to you, the reader of this blog. 

Hopefully this story will encourage you to get and wear protective equipment. It’s a small cost and minimal discomfort, but worth a lot when protecting your safety.


Here are some links to get you started:–bearings—-misc–more-protective-gear.html