Well, where the heck have I been? Everyone gets super busy at this time of year, including me. So what has happened since my last blog post? Let's see...
Markus Naslund's no. 19 to the Rafters
I really enjoyed the ceremony and was very proud of Nazzy. His sweater deserves to be up there. And he deserves all the tennis vacations he and Lotta can handle! For several days the hockey minds in this town hashed it out; wondering if the Canucks did the right thing, because afterall, Naslund didn't take our team and our city to a promised land.
Its been forty years without a Cup, so Vancouver has to use different criteria when making these decisions. Naslund's emergence as an MVP sniper helped kick off what is the current love affair this city has for its Canucks (sometimes a disfunctional affair, but a love affair nonetheless), and if I owned or managed the Canucks, well, me and my bank account would be very pleased to honor the man that was a big part of my company's success.
Oiler Octane Dance Squad
The launch of Canada's first all female, all mini skirted, all white gogo booted hockey dance team has come and gone. Now we all wonder...will another Canadian NHL team take a step backwards and do the same?
Yes, in my opinion, the Oilers adding an all female dance team to their game presentation is not a step forward.
A few years back, I collaborated with my friend, film maker, Andrew Lavigne. We wrote a game presentation pitch designed for the Vancouver Canucks because we saw the need to freshen up what we considered a tired, old bag of tricks. Unfortunately, our pitch query was lost in the shuffle during the Chris Zimmerman administration. Then both Andrew and I became busy with other projects.
All I can say is I challenge any team with a cheer squad to let Andrew and I work our magic to prove there are much better ways to entertain 18,000 hockey fans during TV time outs/intermissions without resorting to mini skirts and gogo boots.
24 7 HBO: The Winter Classic Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Watching this series makes me think one thing: man, do I want to be a hockey fan in the United States or what! What drama...this kind of attention and story telling could be huge for hockey in America this season.
Then I think about our upcoming Heritage Classic event in Canada and I'm not really moved at all: Flames vs Habs...yawn. We need our own version of 24/7. But, knowing Canada, Rick Mercer would do the show and it would be a laugh a minute! Seriously though the presentation would be Ron MacLean soliloquies peppered with Canadian alternative rock tunes and a dash of Don Cherry.
Canada only has six teams to choose from, and because its looking like the outdoor game event will become an annual to-do, just like the Winter Classic in the States, it's likely we'll foster some unique Heritage Classic rivalries in good time.
What's really surprising to me is by this February, Canada will have two Heritage Classics under its belt, and the so called "Canada's team", the Toronto Maple Leafs, will not have played in one. How can that be? Don't worry, they'll catch up...
The Leafs have bid on hosting the 2012 game, and apparently the Vancouver Canucks will bid for 2013.
Okay...back to being busy, just not as busy as last week.
Winter Solstice will soon be here. So...how about a little sunshine courtesy of a bobblehead?
I wanted to take a special bobblehead shot of number 19, so one warm and sunny morning I woke up extra early and headed out to the West Dyke Trail in Richmond, BC (across the water from Vancouver International Airport) with the Markus Naslund statue safely stowed in my backpack.
The shot above was the one that I placed in Mesh Galleria (my website art gallery). Here are some of the others I took – I loved the brightness of the sun at that point in the morning...it was a fun time.
Yesterday I listened to a telephone interview with Markus Naslund. He was asked how he felt being back in Vancouver. He said it felt like he was "coming home".
This week the Vancouver Canucks will be retiring sweater number 19 and celebrating the hockey career of long time Canuck, Markus Naslund during a very special pre-game ceremony at Rogers Arena on Saturday Dec.11,2010. This week, I will offer up some of my personal Nazzy moments I’ve collected over the years ,as I celebrate one of the Canucks most talented players and one of my all time favorites.
photo by Lisa Ovens
by Lisa Ovens
I've decided to begin with an excerpt from my first book, Hockey & High Heels. It's from the 2002/03 season, a time of pure excitement for hockey in Vancouver. A time when the legendary sell outs began. A time when the city was fascinated by a trio of "brothers from other mothers" who lit the lamp, over and over again. The following is a page from my game diary that was published in the book... I was so impressed with a goal that Markus Naslund scored (but mostly I was impressed with the way he scored it) that I wrote about it as an example of the importance of playing with patience. It became a highlight reel goal, and I was so pleased so see it happen right in front of me.
Author's note: My mom, Stella is in this excerpt, and I should offer a little of her back story so everyone who didn't read the book will understand: my mom was the youngest of 18 children and she was a child of the Depression - it'll all make sense as you read on...
Game Diary January 26, 2003 Phoenix Coyotes vs. Vancouver Canucks
I was thrilled to host my mom for tonight’s game. Although we went to countless football games starring my brothers, this was the first time we were going to a live professional hockey game together. This was special. Plus, I bought the single seat beside us for Stacey as a birthday present. Also, today was January 26th, Phoenix Coyotes’ managing partner, Wayne Gretzky’s, birthday. Hope your birthday was a great one, Wayne! But, would the Canucks spoil the Great One’s day, by defeating his Coyotes?
Mom, Stacey, and I dined in the Brew House Grill, high above the ice, before the game. This gave us an opportunity to catch some of the Super Bowl on TV. As I watched the football game, I couldn’t help but think of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs just around the corner. The Canucks hope to prove themselves as a Playoff contending team, an elite team, and a team to be taken seriously. Could this be their year?
Only one puck made it past either goaltender tonight. The sold out, Canucks crazy crowd had been quite anxious for a goal. Thanks to the statisticians, the people whose job requires them to record EVERY possible streak or slump any given team could find themselves in, the Canucks have been held in a ‘not scoring the first goal’ slump for the last 11 games.
Finally, this ‘not scoring the first goal’ slump came to an end, and this goal happened to be one of my favorite goals this season. It all happened where important work is done during a hockey game. Bertuzzi had passed the puck to Naslund, positioned in "the Office" behind the Coyotes’ net. Naslund stood there for a moment. Would he go to the left, or to the right? Oh, he’s going left, no right, NO, left, again. The Coyotes were doing their job defensively as Markus faked his moves, back and forth.
I turned to my mom on my left, and said…
Lisa: Mom, what do you think Markus will do? Mom: He doesn’t have room to do anything right now.
I took a sip of my beer, turned to my right, and asked Stacey…
Lisa: What do you think Markus will do with that puck?
Markus is still there, faking left, then faking right.
Stacey: Hmmm, I’m not sure. He could try a pass and possibly assist on a goal, but Nazzy doesn’t have an open lane to make such a pass. Jimbo Jumbo Peanut, Lis?
Lisa: Thanks, Stace.
I ate my peanut and looked at Markus. He was still behind the net. He’s going right. NO, left again. I looked at my mom again. She’s sitting on the edge of her seat. But she’s a patient woman. She once told me that when she was a child, they only had one toy to play with, and she literally had to wait days for her turn to play with it. Mom was the wife to my impatient father. A mother to us children whose catch phrases included, ‘Are we there, yet. But, I want it now. I can’t wait…’ My mom is the most patient person I know. But Markus Naslund was quickly becoming a close second.
Oh, he’s going right, again.
The Coyotes’ goaltender must be growing tired of shaking his head from side to side. Markus Naslund made everybody wait. More importantly, he made himself wait. Finally, the time became right. He snuck around the right side of the net, and with a flick of his wrist, roofed the puck right into the corner. Yes!
These days, I don’t know which is faster: Hockey, or Life itself. But, I do know patience is a virtue, a skill required, yet often forgotten, in both arenas.
The good peeps at farparker.com have launched a new Facebook Page and to add a little sizzle to the launch, they have a Roberto Luongo Team Canada Jersey to give away to a lucky fan. Once Far Parker reaches two hundred facebook page fans (by Dec. 20th, 2010) all names will be put in a hat (but really it will be a hockey helmet, knowing far parker) and a draw will take place. Join up and who knows, you might win an early Christmas gift from Farparker.com!
Hockey is a religion for many fans. It was passed down to them at an early age; often by hockey fanatic parents or older siblings. For us, we know it’s the greatest game on earth, and we’ll happily share that with anyone in earshot. That’s what we do.
These days, its not often I come across a complete hockey newbie, but as it turned out a couple of weeks ago, a newbie’s request slid across my desk at H&HH.com’s headquarters. A reporter with the Tampa Bay Tribune was researching a story on hockey/ female hockey fans, and she came across my website (hockeyandhighheels.com) and hockey books. She requested a telephone interview to include in her story. Being an avid baseball fan, hockey was completely new to her. After the baseball season ended, she decided to give hockey a try by purchasing a ticket to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s annualHockey & Heels event.
We had a good chat. It was very exciting to speak with such a new fan again. She seemed to be “getting it”, getting why we are all so crazy about this great game. With the latest rendition of the Tampa Bay Lightning off to a good start, I hope she continues her immersion into hockey. To read Tampa Bay Tribune reporter, Michelle Bearden’s story, please click the following link...
Here's a great story: Vancouver Canucks Nation's Queen Mother Fan! She's 85 years old and could teach younger, fairweather fans a thing or two about riding the Canuck roller coaster; coping with the streaks, the slumps, the notorious Canucks bandwagon and the ache and pains that come along with it.
Friday night, the Canucks will be in Chicago to take another kick at the can at conquering their "Blackhawk related issues". Go Canucks - you've played well in the Madhouse before...you can do it again! (That's applying some of the Queen Mother's Canuck fan advice)
In part three of my suggestions, I went looking for some hockey inspired apparel, and came across some fun new looks for the hockey fan and/or player in your life.
But first, to briefly recap the guides...
Part One highlighted two artisans: Michelle Reaney of Thunderpeep Designs (the designer responsible for the look of my two hockey books) and her Polar Nights line of paper and fabric products imprinted with her original designs. And the other Artisan, Ann Carney, jewelry designer and creator of the FanBangle sports bracelets. To get the full story and see their work please click here for Gift Guide Part One.
Part Two covered the items available from my own Hockey & High Heels Collection, including the Two Book Set, VIP Badges and Hockey themed blank greeting cards. To see it all and do a little online shopping, please click here for Gift Guide Part Two. Please note, both hockey books are only available from the shop @ Hockeyandhighheels.com.
Now for Part Three...
Fans of Vancouver Canuck/Team USA member, Ryan Kesler should know he has a line of sporty clothing, developed with a local Vancouver company, First Star. These aren't just clothes: they are wearable technology that happen to look pretty good.
This women's top has grown on me. The authentic hockey lace near the shoulder, at first look was a little different, but the more I see the more I like it. There is a guy's version as well. Model RK-204 $59.99 First Star tech includes Moisture System Transference (quick drying) Bio Sense Fit (hugs your curves) and BACT-OUT (helps keep your clothes smelling good for longer) Model RK-204 $59.99
Well the ladies might enjoy this photo, and seeing their guys in Ryan Kesler brand underwear. These briefs have all the same attributes listed above. In other words they keep dry, hug curves and will smell fresher...for longer?
Well, don't just buy him one pair! Model RK 201 $21.99
For the complete Ryan Kesler RK17 line visit firststarsports.com. First Star Sports also has a local retail store in downtown Vancouver: 851 Hornby Street, 604-681-6828
She Plays Hockey is an Ontario based hockey clothing company that focuses on the hockey playing female. They have a great online shop, and today I am featuring their cute T-shirts with sassy slogans and quotes. Quotes like these...Sugar and Spice, but not on the ice, My Goal is...to Deny Yours (for goalies) and Pretty to Look at. Hard to Catch. T-shirt shown: Boys Wanted, Ladies regular fit, 100% cotton, $17.99. Click here to check out She Plays Hockey online store
Bela Hockey, Cammi Granato's company that outfits girl hockey players in gear and apparel made just for them, has introduced an inspiring gift set called "Granato's Gold". Includes an Air Mesh youth jersey, a personalized youth stick, a Katie cap, skating socks and practice socks.
Granato's Gold $84
Choose red or blue
And in the spirit of girls and sports, I present the "Girls Can't What?" Christmas ornament. Girlscantwhat. com is here to remind everyone that girls can do stuff, lots of stuff, anything they put their mind to.
So, now I'm hear to remind everyone that Girls Can Play Sports. They don't have to sit on the sidelines or be content with waving the pom poms. Girls, get busy and get into the game!! Okay, I'm off of my soap box. Thanks for listening :o)
It's that time of year: shopping for special gifts for those special people in your life. If you are looking for something fitting for the hockey crazy women in your life, check out these gifts ideas from the online shop at Hockey & High Heels
For the Love of Empty Net Goals and Hockey & High Heelsby Lisa Ovens The H&HH adventure continues into Lisa's new book, For the Love of Empty Net Goals! For reviews and other information,please click here
I love listening to hockey people talk hockey, so I tune in whenever I can for insight that as a fan, I don’t have. This week, Ray Ferraro, a former player, current broadcaster, husband of Hall of Fame player Cammi Granato, and owner of the best nickname ever – Big Ball of Hate – held forth on NHL Live. He was asked about the Penguins and their problems with winning at home in their luxurious new stadium with all the bells and whistles. We, as emotional fans, are seeing all the downside. Fleury’s struggles, defensive lapses, the team trying too hard to entertain the home fans are all reasons that have been thrown out there.
But listen to someone who is unbiased give his opinion and it might put a new perspective on yours.
Consol Energy Center
Ray says the Pens are about as “at home” in their new digs as their opponents. They haven’t played many games there yet and, haven’t gotten accustomed to the bounces off the boards. The ice has been a problem at times, and of course, that affects both teams, but the Pens have to deal with it in practice too.
When we add in the loss of Jordan Staal for the whole season so far, we can see that the other players have had to move around and adjust. Toss into the mix two new defensemen, the departure of Sergei Gonchar and that big loss on the power play, and there are more reasons to expect problems. Not excuses, just problems, problems that need to be solved.
But now the Pens seem on the verge of overcoming at least some of the difficulties at home. The team has now won three of its last four at Consol Energy Center. The overwhelming support poured onto the ice by the fans in his first game at home after not playing for a while spoke volumes about the fans and how we really can influence the game. With Fleury’s lack of confidence, not to mention, lack of play, the first game back could have been iffy. But the fans weren’t about to let that happen. Before the puck even dropped, loud chants of “Fleury, Fleury, Fleury” cascaded down from the rafters and into the ears of the Stanley Cup winning goalie. After the game, he thanked the fans in the arena and told them how important that support was to him.
Crosby is playing like the Crosby we all know and love now. Malkin is improving every game and Kris Letang is doing it all. The new defensemen are fitting it and I’m sure the players are still getting used to new teammates. Before much longer, barring anything else crazy, Staal will be back making a huge impact with his play. Now about that power play – still a problem, but it’s got to get better, right? Maybe the guys will want to pick it up as HBO comes to town to film every aspect of everything hockey. At the least, maybe we’ll get to see the strategy behind the power play.
Heinz Field, home of the 2010 Winter Classic
I can’t wait for 24/7 on HBO. How cool will it be to hear what’s said in practice and to see what the guys do away from the rink? I’m even curious to see the differences between what the Pens do as opposed to the Caps. Four weeks of the show just won’t be enough! But then the show will culminate in the Winter Classic at Heinz Field. I can’t wait for that either! After traveling to Edmonton for the Heritage Classic between the Oilers and Habs, I thought I would never spend that much time outdoors in freezing temperatures again. But how could I pass up the Pens and Caps at Heinz Field? I’ll dress in layers and hope to find Bailey’s to add to my hot chocolate!
So thanks, Ray, for making me think less like a fan and more like an analyst. You’ve made me feel just a little better about the “home” team.
Last weekend I had a lengthy telephone interview with Sarah McNeil, hockey writer from Chickswhogiveapuck.com. I swear we could have talked hockey ALL day! Follow the link below to read the "Chick to Chick" interview...
Chickswhogiveapuck.com was founded by Courtney Beckham and Sara Stylkowski in February 2010. With a small army of female hockey writers, Courtney and Sara's hockey site cover every hockey league of interest, including International hockey tournaments, the NHL, the CWHL (Canadian Women's Hockey League), The AHL and more.
NHL fanatics can get the latest on their favourite teams as most all 30 teams have a chick assigned as a beat writer. make sure to "favorite" the Chicks and add it to your hockey site surf schedule!
One of the delights of hockey fandom is shopping for hockey themed gifts. We're all fans, and most of us have at least one hockey fan in our lives that is very special. And searching for the perfect hockey gift to bestow can be a joyous occasion all on its own.
Lisa's Annual Gift Guide Part One highlights originality courtesy of two very talented designers: Michelle Reaney, owner of Thunderpeep Designs (she designed both of my hockey books) and jewelry designer, Ann Carney.
I love to support independent companies, so I'm pleased to present Michelle and Ann's high quality creations that you won't find anywhere else!
The FanBangle us $55(version shown)
Jewelry designer and FanBangle creator, Ann Carney offers sports fans a unique line of sports inspired jewelry that goes from hectic work day, to dinner, to ARENA with style!
Each FanBangle bracelet is hand-crafted with sterling silver and Swarovski Crystal in your team's colors and anchored by an officially licensed team logo charm in sterling silver. The bracelet feels good on the wrist. It has weight and will add a little sparkle to your game night outfit. Several styles and prices available.
The FanBangle is a great gift idea for the ladies who probably already own a team jersey, hat, scarf and tee. Don’t let their wrists be naked!!! Available in most NHL team colors. To order your FanBangles, please visit the website here: FanBangles
Thunderpeep Designs 2011 Calendar usd $ 11.25 sale price!
This is the "Spirit of Hockey" in a gift...Thunderpeep (Michelle) is a former goal tender, and long time hockey fan. She's inspired by everything Finland/Scandinavian, and her Polar Nights Collection is a "must See".
The Peep's original patterns are delightful, and have been applied to this unique and fun desktop calendar, plus note paper, note cards, greeting cards, fabric storage buckets, and the most adorable pocket tissue pack holders you'll ever see (great to have on hand inside chilly hockey rinks on winter mornings).
"The Manon" Tissue Cozy usd $3.75 sale price!
the perfect stocking stuffer!
See the entire Polar Nights Line and select some unique gifts created by one awesome hockey fan! Click the following link to visit