JMS Hockey Blog

JMS is a pickup hockey league

Amazing opportunity!

by barbaragarn

Mighty Ducks 4! Hollywood is making a fourth movie about Charlie (all grown up) and they are scouting for extras who can skate. The story needs adult hockey players of various ability levels.

We were contacted by a casting agency and will hold a “tryout” game on April 13. It’s FREE! The first 22 skaters and 2 goalies will get to play and meet the casting agent. We may hold another game later, if they decide they need more people.

Minnesota location filming will be three weeks this summer (late June/early July) on Highland’s south rink. Extras will receive a daily stipend and there are some roles for interaction with the lead characters. If you think this is too good to be true, you’re right: april fool’s–we made it all up. Because nothing is cooler than Mighty Ducks hockey!

So get ready for some great fun! Sign up here: http://jmshockey.com/games/5033

April 2 update: Yes, this was a practical joke. Italics added above.

New feature: follow your JMS buddies!

by Andy Baird

One common suggestion we’ve received from you all over the past few years is the ability to follow your friends on JMS and get updates on what skates they are signed up for so you can sign up for them, too.

Now, we’re well aware that we have a wide audience of players with varying degrees of online personas. I’ve played with skaters who check their smartphone on the bench after every shift and I’ve also talked with players who still refer to the internet as “the information superhighway”. So, I’d like to preface this announcement and make it clear that we’ve designed this feature in such a way to not impede the experience of those who simply want to sign up for a game and then be done. In fact, if you’re not at all interested in following users or being followed, it’s unlikely you’ll notice too much of a difference.
Screen Shot 2013-03-21 at 10.45.37 PMWe think this is a feature that will benefit the JMS populace immensely for those who are interested in it. To follow a user, simply open up their profile modal and click on the “Follow” button right on the right hand side of the dialog.

Once you follow a user, a new section will appear on the right hand sidebar beneath your name. This will list your follower count, following count, and the photo of each player you are following. A link at the bottom will allow you to view the activity of all players you are following.

In addition, you will receive a weekly e-mail of the games that all the players you are following are signed up for.

Not interested in this feature? (or being followed)

No problem. You can turn it off completely under the “privacy” tab in your account settings and you will no longer be bothered by it. You can also turn off the notification emails specifically if you still want to keep the feature but not receive the e-mails that get sent out from it by clicking on the notifications tab in your account settings.

For those interested, we hope you enjoy the feature and get use out of it!

Got a  suggestion on how we can improve JMS? As always, e-mail support@jmshockey.com!

 

 

 

Black and White Jerseys

by barbaragarn

Originally posted in the forums, but elevated to blog for further discussion; a captain recently sent me an e-mail about jersey colors:

Hey Barb,

This is not a huge issue but… over the past few weeks, a couple of guys mentioned to me independently that it sure would be nice if skaters wore easily identifiable white and dark jerseys. After asking each of them to elaborate, one said that “pure black and white ought to be mandatory” while the other said “just no yellow or light-colored ‘dark’ jerseys.”

My personal take on this is that I ALWAYS find a guy another jersey if he wears gray, gold, or yellow. Otherwise I get beat-up by the benches.

I would also prefer no light-colored “dark” jerseys, such as pastel blue with white shoulders and “dark” jerseys with large white shoulders and a colored logo or torso. I’ve switched guys out of these too. These jersey types have confused folks when I’ve been captain over the past year and I always make the skater switch to a more pure color.

And they always hate it because they have some kind of special or emotional attachment to the jersey and are … wait for it … surprised or slightly offended that I would ask for such a request.

Here are some sample responses:

  • “Everyone knows gold is a dual color!” (yeah… right)
  • “Gray has always been considered white.” (I don’t think so.)
  • “This checkered, plaid, pastel design fading to white shoulders won the Urzekstan National Junior Championship in 2002. My ex-girlfriend’s cousin was ON that team!!” (Great, it’s a cool jersey, now put on this black one so people can tell which team you’re on.)

Anyway, this is just an awareness item, no big deal. It’s just out there. Nothing we can’t handle. It’s probably NOT in the best interest to initiate the Jersey Police just yet. But perhaps a gentle reminder or a poster board tag via the website might be appropriate at some point.

The original post in the forums got favorable responses. I agree–it’s a pain to play with people if you can’t tell what team they’re on. The JMS position is no yellow or grey. I’d like to ban pink and really light blue, and some people would like us to ban white shoulders with dark jerseys, but you just reach a point where you’re making a ton of rules for 100 percent of the community, because of the behavior of 1 percent.

What are your thoughts?

Welcome to the new JMS Hockey website!

by barbaragarn

We have redesigned the look and upgraded the features. The site will load much faster now and it won’t get bogged down when lots of users access it at the same time. The Games Page display will give you more information up front, with each game’s in-depth page just a click away.

Part of the redesign is to optimize viewing, whether on mobile device or desktop. Check us out on the go and you’ll see how nifty things look… large or small.

We also have a new Terms of Use for the program/website. We’ve had to make things official just like any other business, but it’s mostly just codifying common sense stuff that is already understood or in place.

We had to add or spell out some items that have been grey areas so far, mostly because they only apply to less than 1% of JMSers:

+ misrepresentation will result in removal from the program; JMS is parity hockey. If you want something else, go play in a league where you choose your own level. People who game the JMS system to get a certain level, instead of answering honestly on the survey, will face censure and likely removal from JMS. The JMS players are here for parity and we’re not going to let someone ruin their game just so he can score 10 goals a night.
+ goalie moral contract; if a goalie signs up for a game, it’s understood s/he will show up or get in touch with JMS. Exceptions happen and will be evaluated on a case by case basis. We’ve had a little uptick in goalie no-shows lately and the skaters deserve better.
+ formalizing disciplinary policy; three strikes and you’re out. JMS is managed hockey, not some random pick-up. People tell us they appreciate when captains or admins tell the guys who hook and slash to knock it off–keeps the game clean for everyone. We’re keeping better records from captain to captain and someone who is too aggressive will be told to change twice and the third time will be removed. JMS skaters are here for fun, clean and safe hockey.

Two new items in the Terms of Use:

+ changing quotas close to icetime; the new multi-level Community Sessions have been around for a while and we’re ready to try something new with them. If a game isn’t full, we’ll relax the quotas a bit as we get close to icetime. It shouldn’t be enough to drastically change the game, but it should help with getting enough numbers for a good session for everyone.
+ inactive accounts funds; we have a number of accounts for people who have not played a JMS game in a long, long time. Some of those accounts have a few bucks on them. JMS can’t keep paying taxes every year on the same $3 — that adds up just as we’re trying to keep the costs down in the face of yearly ice price increases.

So: JMSers who have an account with funds on it, but who haven’t played a game in a year, will then be contacted three times (by any of the contact info they entered on their account). If people ignore the contact or if we can’t reach them, then the funds will roll into the JMS puck fund.

We have structured this as a long process before the funds change–over a year. We want to get the funds back to the skater, but we recognize that won’t always be possible, and we need to be able to move funds from the truly inactive accounts out of limbo–this TOU change lets us do that.

We don’t want people to panic and think JMS is going to take their money–that’s why we specifically are mentioning this update where folks will see it. We have selected a very long timeframe for the process and will try to contact people multiple times. The most important thing is getting funds back to the skater, but we recognize that won’t always be possible and we need to move the funds out of limbo… so they’ll be used to buy more pucks to use at JMS games.

We hope JMSers understand this is mostly an accounting change. Want your money back? Just let us know. But if you moved away and don’t care, we’re going to use the few bucks so folks still here can have supplies for their games.

We’ve spelled out and updated the JMS Terms of Use for the same reasons we updated the JMS website: to make things operate smoother and better for everyone. Thank you for being a part of JMS!

Two final changes: the forums are now brand-new and totally redesigned. But, this means the old forums are completely gone. We couldn’t save the old ones without porting over the quirks, like displaying the wrong user next to a post.

So, we’ll work on retrieving and retaining the knowledge from the old forums (any volunteers?), but for now you get to play in the nice clean snow of brand-new forums.

Finally, our blog has moved to WordPress. It integrates better with the site, allows for more features and pic displaying and better mobile viewing.

There’s a lot of useful upgrades and cool new features in this V3 of the JMS website, executed as always by Andy Baird and assisted by Eric Jorgensen. We hope you like it! Questions? Just send us a support ticket with the new handy feature!

Hockey Day in Minnesota

by barbaragarn

How are you participating in Hockey Day in Minnesota?

Are you playing in the Pond Hockey Championships? Going to the Wild game? Or the Gopher game?

Are you skating outdoors? Watching the televised high school games? (Looks nasty up there! Feeling sorry for the Benhilde-St. Margarets/Grand Rapids kids…) Are you skating with your kids? Donating gear?

I’m watching the coverage on Fox Sports North. It was fun to see how outdoor games are different from playing inside, see the snowmobiles zipping around in the background, and of course all the funny Minnesota warm hats. Later we’ll watch the Gophers play their last game against North Dakota while in the WCHA. And of course, the much-anticipated Wild debut (who are you most excited to watch? me: Granlund!).

The graphic is from the Wild and the photo is JMS Captain Mike St. Clair with his toddlers, who noted, “Gotta find SOME way to get out and play!!”

From Wild.com

From Wild.com

Mike St. Clair and kiddos

Mike St. Clair and kiddos

Chime in with how you are spending/spent Hockey Day in Minnesota!

Hockey Gift Ideas

by barbaragarn

By Mark Chapin of Lifetime Hockey  

Need some last minutes holiday gift ideas for the hockey
player in your life? A gift for yourself?

What are the accessories that hockey players would like in
their holiday stocking?

At a recent visit to Dave’s Sports Shop in Fridley, I spoke
to the owner Dave and his staff member, Amanda, about popular accessories that
hockey player’s favor.

Snapwax

A local company produces this wax. Dave says, “It includes a
polymer that makes the puck cling to your stick.” It is something small you can
throw into your bag and it will keep the snow and ice from building up on your
stick which can easily happen at a colder arena or where there is snow build-up
on the ice.

 

Training Tools

There are a variety of stick-handling training tools
available including Swedish wooden hockey balls, a clear hockey ball (similar
weight to a hockey puck but helps you skill handle without looking at the
puck), and different weights of hockey training ball pucks for strength and
stick-handling.

 

Sweet-Stick

This is also manufactured by a local company.  Dave
says that its purpose is to “perk up your skate edges in a pinch.” A great
tool to have in your bag you’re at the rink and realized you should’ve
sharpened your skates…

 

Helmet Bag

Helmet bags are popular for players who have plastic
visors—full or half shields.  These visors can easily get scratched in a
hockey bag while rattling around with skates and other equipment.  It
provides great protection and it looks cool when you pull out your helmet in
the locker room.

 

Other Stuff

An emergency repair kit for your helmet might be the ticket.

How about a lighted hockey puck? It has the same weight as a
regulation puck and is slap shot tested. 
It has an embedded LED light and is intended for dimly-lit outdoor
rinks. You won’t lose this puck!

 

Happy holidays, everyone!

 

 

 

 

Insurmountable odds

by barbaragarn

It’s the beginning of the third period and your team is down by eight points. You have just two subs on the bench and the refs have been hassling your team the whole game while your opponents get away with bloody murder. 

What do you do? How do you keep going? 
Do you give up? 
Do you play halfheartedly, just holding off the inevitable? 
Or do you keep giving your all, even though you know there is no chance? 

I hate that feeling. I admit it: I hate psyching myself to play hard and give it amy all when I know that it won’t make any difference.

So I try to focus on the moment and not the game. Maybe I got outskated to every other puck… but I will try to get THIS one. 

I think about what my goalie friends have told me: you have to shake off every goal and act like the slate is perfectly blank, and start from there. It’s good advice.

Please share your stories about when your team was facing insurmountable odds, and what how you got through to the end of the game.

You gotta try this

by barbaragarn

We are always looking for good workouts. I started running to improve my hockey game, but running is SOOOO BORING. 

So this week, I went to “Skyrobics” at SkyZone in Plymouth, an “indoor trampoline park.” Wow! What a great workout! I wore my heart monitor and it said I burned 710 calories in an hour–and I wasn’t even doing all the exercises. There were no kids, just about 12 adults getting a great workout. 

It was a lot like starting hockey… everyone there looked like they were better than me… I was hesitant to try but it looked like a lot of fun… And the surface was even unstable and worrisome, just like the ice was that first time! But of course, like hockey, I got the hang of it. 

It’s a GREAT workout–I mentioned hockey to the class instructor and he said, “I was a hockey player for 13 years and THIS is the most aerobic workout I’ve ever done. I thought I could handle this but five minutes into my first class, I was ready to throw up…!”

It’s tiring, but like any other class you can push yourself as hard as you like. And it’s all bouncy!! Super fun.

SkyZone has a facility in Oakdale, too. Apparently both also have “3-D Dodge Ball.” There’s a ton of vids on YouTube. I mentioned the Skyrobics to a work colleague and she said, “I’d rather play dodge ball. I want to hit people and watch them suffer.” (Haha, yes, she actually IS a hockey player!)

It’s pretty intense. It would be a great place to take some hyper kids for an afternoon, too. Very reasonable pricing (they don’t have a big electricity bill to keep the ice cold!) and a discount for beginners.

Try it! We are hockey players–we are all about fun exercise!

Thick or thin or barefoot

by barbaragarn

What is your preference for hockey socks?

Guest blog by Mark Chapin of Lifetime Hockey

We all remember the stories of kids who were forced to wear skates too big for their feet, who wore several pairs of socks to make the skates fit–and keep their feet warm while skating outdoors.Today, we expect our skates to fit well and to have socks that cushion, wick and prevent chaffing. We’ll start this discussion with the premise that you have properly fitting skates (typically your skates are one to two sizes smaller than your shoe size, but proper measurement at a reputable sports shop is the key).

What socks to wear? Some players swear by going barefoot. Some like soccer socks that go up over the calf. Others tell me that they wear dress socks because they are thin and fit well. Some players claim they wear two pairs of socks on each foot.

The barefoot world is an interesting one. These folks are true believers. They don’t care that their skates reek (and their feet may slip around) and that their skates break down more quickly. They like the feel and mention that Paul Coffey, or Bobby Orr, or some other long-forgotten NHL star that didn’t wear socks either. It is a choice.

So what makes sense? The sock crowd argues that their feet feel better and that their skates are more responsive. Some say that the thinner the sock, the better the skate will feel and fit. My criteria are that my feet feel good, sweating is controlled and I don’t end up with blisters or chaffing. To be honest, I use thin silk socks from REI that are intended as the inner sock for hiking. They wick away the sweat and I don’t get blisters.

I asked Charles Pink, who manages the Hockey Giant in Bloomington, for some advice and what follows are his best pros and cons for socks made specifically for hockey skates:

Charles says that he uses a “mid-weight sock from the Elite Pro tech series, which is a compression-style sock.” He feels more stable in them and he has less leg/foot fatigue after playing. Charles told me that “the one thing that many hockey socks have in common is the way they are made.  Both Elite and Bauer have a seamless construction on the toe area, which is more comfortable for the wearer. If you carefully look at the sock, the stitching is actually on the top by the toe knuckles. This allows a better fit and feel with the toe box area of the skate.”

Elite

The price for the Elite ranges from about $8 to $16 per pair. Charles says that he has used three or four pair of these socks and for skating and prefers the heavier style–the pro tech series for skating–but the X700 is a great lighter alternative. Socks range from the Pro Liner, Pro Slim, X700 and ProTech lines.

Bauer

Bauer has some new socks using the Core, Premium and Elite as the new models for 2012. Both the Core and Premium replace existing models (the Bauer Skate and Bauer Vapor respectively).  The Core sock replaces the Skate sock and now is available in five sizes (XS-XL) versus (JR-SR) and a low or high cut. The Core sock is also made synthetic material versus cotton. This allows for better moisture and odor control.  They also have what Bauer calls the “Y” construction that, like the Elite Pro Tech, provides a better fit and feel on the foot while skating.

The Premium sock replaces the Vapor sock and again is available in more sizes than its predecessor. Construction has changed in both materials and design over the Vapor.  It has the same moisture and odor features as the Core sock, but also has a few key zones that aid in lace bite prevention. This sock is a mid weight and similar/maybe better than the Elite Pro Tech.

The Elite sock is new this year and has many of the features of the Premium sock. This sock is going to add Kevlar to the construction to help aid in cut prevention. As Charles points out, “Why not? Common cuts can occur and this style of sock is used at higher levels of hockey and in the goalie side.” 

Reebok 

Reebok has a new line coming out, but the reviews are still out. Knowing Reebok, they should be as good as the Bauer line up.

Easton

Easton has three socks they offer in their hockey skate lineup: the Synergy, Stealth and the Senior Protective.  

The Synergy is Easton’s lightest sock, but is heavier than the Bauer Core, This is a good hockey sock and is available in low-cut and high-cut and two sizes each for junior and senior. 

The Stealth is a good sock but according to Charlie, for the money, the Bauer Premium is a better value for the same price.  

The Senior Protective again offers skate cut protection like Bauer and Reebok offer; it is made in four sizes offer a better fit that most. 

Others

Other brands include Shock Doctor, CCM, Underarmor, Sockwise, and Tactics. While offering great products, these brands are not as big as the companies listed above.

Conclusions?  

Who knew that there were this many hockey specific socks to choose from?  So what works for you?  Do you go barefoot, or do you like any of the socks mentioned? 

My guess is that everyone will have an opinion on this one and they are probably right.

What Is Assault in Hockey

by barbaragarn

Shea Weber of the Predators smashed the face of Red Wings’ Henrik Zetterburg into the glass on Wednesday (April 11), a move that earned him no suspension, but a minor penalty right away and a $2,500 fine announced Thursday–the maximum allowed under the players’ collective bargaining agreement.

That was Game 1 of the series. Game 2 was Friday night, and Wings’ tough guy Todd Bertuzzi dropped the gloves just 1:36 into the first period to mete his own justice. The Wings went on to win the game 3-2.

Bertuzzi’s involvement here brings back thoughts of Steve Moore of the Avalanche in 2004. On February 16 of that year, Moore had checked Markus Naslund, then captain of the Canucks and Bertuzzi’s teammate. Naslund sustained enough injury to keep him from playing three games, and Moore was not penalized during the game or after. Much chest-beating ensued between Moore’s initial check to the head and the teams’ tertiary matchup on March 8 (though they played one another in the interim with no major incidents). 

At the March 8 game Bertuzzi began following Moore around the rink, attempting to initiate retribution. With Moore ignoring him, Bertuzzi eventually grabbed him from behind and punched him in the head. Moore collapsed and lay on the ice for ten minutes; he w eventually removed with a stretcher. He had a concussion with amnesia and three broken bones in his neck. The injury effectively ended his hockey career. 

The NHL suspended Bertuzzi at once, and indefinitely (he would miss a total of 20 games); the Canucks were fined a quarter of a million dollars. Bertuzzi called a press conference later that week to apologize to Moore and his family, and fans. 

The next season was the lockout, and when Bertuzzi tried to play in Europe, he was refused. Commissioner Gary Bettmann reinstated Bertuzzi on August 8, 2005 and noted that Bertuzzi was remorseful and apologetic.

Moore was in the hospital for five months; on his release, he wore a neck brace for a year. While the Weber-Zetterberg incident isn’t anything near as serious as the Bertuzzi-Moore incident, it does make me think again about the the border between assault and aggression in a game. 

Off the ice, someone who attacks you can be guilty of assault. What about on the ice? Where is the border? Does anything that happens on the ice get written off as part of hockey? I certainly don’t think participation in a sport is carte blanche for someone to attack members of the opposing team. (Moore actually filed a civil suit against Bertuzzi, which is scheduled to begin trail this fall.) 

On the other hand, playing a contact sport–or even no-check, as we do–is an aggressive competition. The game would suffer if we take out the contact. But nobody wants continued violence that results in career-ending injuries–in the NHL or in the AHA, or WHAM, or even Blaine. So where is the line?