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)