Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hockey Themed "Return It" Recycling Ad Spot




This ad spot makes me laugh, every time! 

But seriously, folks...remember to recycle...

To see more of their videos, visit Return it's website

Monday, June 25, 2012

The $20,000 Hockey Puck




By Lisa Ovens

As a hockey culture enthusiast, I’m always fascinated by the artistic things people do with hockey. I’ve draped my body over plenty of hockey stick furniture crafted by individuals who’ve dubbed their work functional art. I’ve gazed at more than my share of hockey paintings too. I’ve even created my own showing of hockey art photos. But when I came across the $20,000 hockey puck I was instantly excited. How many artists out there work in vulcanized rubber??

Vancouver artist Robert Chaplin did, and I fell in love with Rondelle (French for hockey puck), a carved puck inlaid with polished gold. Before I get into a “Starry Night in Canada”, I should talk about Robert’s all time hockey stats. “I had the shortest hockey career ever,” says Robert “The skates hurt my feet. I was cold. My mom said if I was going to be a baby about it I should quit. So I did.”

And that’s when Robert devoted his brain completely to art. That’s not to say he doesn’t have hockey in his life. Rob is one of the founding fathers of the Blood Alley Road Hockey Association in Gastown (an historical Vancouver neighbourhood). Although the association is currently dormant, Robert has fond memories of playing road hockey. “When I figured out I was actually a left-handed shot, I finally felt some joy when playing hockey.” Beyond road hockey, Robert has one NHL ritual. “I watch one hockey game per year, the Stanley Cup Final.”

I did meet his brother Malcolm at one of Robert’s shows. Malcolm lives in Northern BC, and plays on a rec hockey team. Malcolm told me his team plays a variation of dump and chase. It’s called dump and wait. I asked Robert if he’s ever seen dump and wait in action. “What?” was his reply. Never mind. Now for Robert’s art stats.

Robert Chaplin is an elected member of the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts, has a BA in Fine Art, is an award winning published author, an expert sculptor, has had work sold at Christie’s in New York, and has created one of the most beautiful object du hockey I’ve ever seen. The fact that it is also an official NHL puck makes it even sweeter for this hockey fan to hold in her hand.

I slowly run my finger tip around the swirls, until I stop at each gold inlay star. Six stars, just like a team’s five skaters and goalie. The largest inlay is the moon, and its face makes me giggle. Yes, this puck is something to hold. The future owner of Rondelle may have trouble putting it down.

Robert may not know the finer points of dump and chase and the lesser known dump and wait, but he has created the perfect setting for hockey on the face of this puck – a starry night, a game to play… and the moon is your biggest fan.

Robert Chaplin's official website click here
also, visit royalcanadiansnowflake.com to see Robert's latest carvings

 The $20,000 Hockey Puck article was previously published on farparker.com

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings and their Fans!!

BC player, Willie Mitchell hoists the Stanley Cup!

                                                  

The best part of this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs? 
Watching the champions win it at home in front of their dedicated Fans.
Woot!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Feeling Purple?



by Lisa Ovens

A funny thing happened to me Wednesday night during the third period of Game Four. It was still 0-0 on the scoreboard and I was hankering for a goal. So I tweeted, "Think I'll leave the room for a bit, in hopes it will encourage a goal to be scored." I went outside for a short walk. I walked back inside, and sure enough, not one, but two goals were scored! First the Devils broke the deadlock, and then a minute or so later, the Kings tied it up, creating a new deadlock. The Devils went on to score two more, winning the game 3-1. Then Phil Pritchard, the guy that has one of the coolest jobs ever, packed up Stanley and headed to the airport.Yes, I guess they brought the Cup out too soon (it was still o-o when they showed Cup curator, Pritchard putting it on a table somewhere in the bowels of Staples Center).

And speaking of Pritchard, who is also VP of the Hockey Hall of Fame, wouldn't this be the best contest ever...

Win the opportunity to be Phil Pritchard...
 and accompany the Stanley Cup on one of it's many journeys!!

Just another way the Hockey Hall of Fame could engage us. Anyway, Game Five takes place in New Jersey on Saturday June 9th...which seems so far away. I can imagine Kings fans will take this time to relax a bit. I can imagine everyone was on pins and needles right up until Wednesday night's game was out of reach. Hang in there, regal ones!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Random Hockey Bits




by Lisa Ovens

Can the New Jersey Devils Stop the Regal Ones...Even Just Once?

As much as this is about a possible Kings sweep to win Lord Stanley's Cup, it is also about the New Jersey Devils winning their first game of the series. Devils fans, welcome to the nightmare Canucks and Blues fans went through in rounds one and two. It's "one game at a time", time. Although the Canucks managed to win their Game Four, the comeback came to a close early into OT of Game Five. Martin Brodeur is going to have to steal this game for the Devils after the 4-0 loss in Game Three. Only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs managed to climb their way out of a 0-3 hole in Stanley Cup Final history.


Rest in Peace, Vladimir Krutov

Vladimir Krutov, who played just one season for the Vancouver Canucks, has passed away in Russia at the age of 52. Krutov was one third of the world famous KLM Line (Central Red Army). His story is an interesting one, as it shows just how challenging it can be for a foreign player to adjust to playing overseas in the NHL. Vancouver Sun story link





Did You Know...

If a final round series has the potential to end before a seventh game, The Stanley Cup and the Con Smythe trophies will remain in a nearby hotel room, and will not be brought into the arena, until it's looking pretty obvious the series leading team is going to win it.


Look at Me...Look at Me!!!

Every year, during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, we hear how the NHL prefers various non playoff NHL related news stories to be kept on a temporary "down low" so as not to take the spotlight off one of sports most grueling quests for a championship. In the last half of the playoffs, two high profile players have made a splash...

Now, I am going to give Detroit Red Wing, Niklas Lidstrom a pass here for announcing his retirement after 20 amazing years playing for the Wings because,well, he was such a fixture during the post season. He's a four time Stanley Cup Champion and the first European born player to win the Con Smythe Award as MVP of the 2002 S.C. Playoffs. The Wings have made the playoffs for the last 21 years in a row, making their playoff appearance streak the longest in professional team sports, and you know Lidstrom has something to do with that. So yes, it is just fine he announces his retirement at this point in time because everyone should know when a superstar like Lidstrom decides to hang up the skates.

What don't we need to know about right now? Whatever the heck is going on with Tim Thomas's career!
Thomas is no Nik Lidstrom, and shouldn't have chose this point in time to announce his "sabbatical from the game". It just shows us, once again, that Thomas has little respect for his peers, especially the ones currently playing in the Stanley Cup Final, a place where he was, this time last year. Roberto Luongo, what were you thinking "pumping this guy's tires" a year ago?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's Not What You Know...

      

by Lisa Ovens

Well, we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Game One of the Stanley Cup Final round is in the books, with a sweet overtime victory for the LA Kings. I’m sure the women and crew from Whilethemenwatch are also feeling some relief after getting their first Hockey Night in Canada show under their belts.

Like many, I was surprised that a show that openly discussed topics often banned on hockey message boards was getting this kind of exposure. However, I wasn’t one of the people to boycott the show last night. As concerned as I was about how this show wound up on HNIC, I still planned on giving it some time before I got into the game.

Over the last ten years I have studied women related sports ventures and the careers of various hockey media women. In my second book, For the Love of Empty Net Goals, I created a special section listing milestone achievements, firsts, failures, female hockey jersey debacles, and issue riddled marketing campaigns to name a few. Whilethemenwatch is another entry to throw onto the research pile.

Now, onto my experience watching the first period of Jules and Lena’s Whilethemenwatch…

 
For readers in the United States, here is a photo of the set up as it looked on my computer screen. Ladies on the left, game on the right. I also had the game on my TV as well, which was running ahead of the online stream.

A B&W skit opened the show, with Lena and Jules channeling Lucy and Ethel having a telephone chat, gossiping about "these two women who were going to be hosting a new show on HNIC". Eventually they hang up because the game was going to start so they had to go take care of the men.Obviously this opening  was their way of responding to several days of backlash. Then the real show began.

Show hosts, Lena Sutherland and Jules Mancuso had some help from producer/camera operator Sonny, as well as Jamie Ordolis, Senior Producer of CBC Live, who sitting off to the side. As you can see the set was pink with white, but instead of the girls sipping from martini glasses, they were holding big, manly coffee mugs. There was plenty of chatting, with Sonny either fielding hockey questions from the hosts, or he was reining them in towards something that was going on during the game. They all seemed to have a nice rapport going, and the host themselves seem to be very friendly women.

At times I was distracted by the twitter feed scrolling down the right side of my screen, but it did serve a purpose. Everyone loves prizes, so the show became interactive, getting viewers involved by tweeting photos of them watching the game and who they were watching the game with to be used as an entry to win some swag. I did see some tweets from people getting involved amongst all tweets, good and bad for #whilethemenwatch.

The one bit I liked was when they spoke about a cheer that had something to do with the movie, Scarface. I thought the cheer sounded kind of cool, and I even tweeted asking for the spelling of the word they cheered, but never got a response. Wish I could share that with you.

Once the Boyfriend of The Game portion of their shtick began I really wanted to stop watching, but it seemed to go on and on. For me, it was bizarre and somewhat unpleasant to see two grown women get into such an elaborate procedure in order to choose the best looking players on the ice. I realize the premise of the show has been set up as if we are eavesdropping on them “while the men watch” and they obviously had to add some props into the Boyfriend mix because this is taking place on camera. But this kind of content, along with the "Hall Pass" game really belongs on a Cougar Dating website.I did find myself getting more into the game itself at this point. Couldn't help it: I love hockey, and it was hard to stay with their talking .
The finer points of Boyfriend of the Game
 
After the game, I spent some time reading the twitter comments directed at Jules and Lena’s show. I didn’t spend any time with the horrible insulting tweets, because no one deserves that kind of treatment, but instead focused on the more constructive ones written by women.

It is clear to me that a female run hockey show, with the right content, could be accepted by both female and male hockey fans. It was clear to me ten years ago when I started my Hockey and High Heels project. I wouldn’t have started writing my first hockey book if I didn’t discover there was a community for it.

Watching the WTMW debut last night did inspire me. I'm inspired to share the knowledge I've gathered from ten years of “Watching Women Watch Sports”, and go beyond consulting with hockey teams. It inspired me to develop my own ideas for shows that I’ve written down over the years, and I encourage other female hockey content writers to do the same. If we are not pleased with a show like Whilethemenwatch, and know we can do better, we should make it happen. 

When I looked at what Jules and Lena have accomplished in a year, I was both impressed and baffled at the same time. Myself, along with other women hockey content creators know how hard it is to get a foot in the door. In my column yesterday I asked out loud in the CBC's direction, just how did this Whilethemenwatch concept make it onto Hockey Night in Canada’s platform? Finally I found the answer in an article posted on avclub.com earlier today. It was in an interview conducted by John Semley (link is here). Here's the telling excerpt...

AV Club: How did this deal with the CBC come about?
Lena S: It was through a friend of my husband. There were some emails back and forth, and the CBC asked us how we could work together for the Stanley Cup Finals.

There you go, people...It’s a classic case of  “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” 


               

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hockey and High Heels on WhileTheMenWatch and CBC


by Lisa Ovens


I have to admit, I just didn’t know where to begin with this latest hockey fan crisis involving Whilethemenwatch and CBC’s Hockey Night inCanada. This whole thing just seems like an April Fool’s joke. The CBC is offering up a choice platform for two women to provide "gossip show" style commentary during the Stanley Cup Final? Two women reaching out to non hockey fans that view the game more as an inconvenience that requires coping skills? Two women who went on TV, and when asked for a sample of their work after being shown a photo of the Sedin Twins, said “Do the Sedins’ curtains match the carpet?"  Yep, this does feel like a prank and I so wish I was being fooled for real.

Whether online or face to face, there are always guys and gals in the crowd that are going to seriously question a woman's knowledge and commitment to the game. Where's the card we can flash that instantly proves our hockey cred*? "Logic clearly dictates that the needs of many outweigh the needs of the few." Yes, I'm playing the Spock quote card. However, I have low expectations from Lena Sutherland and Jules Mancuso to use their new found power with WTMW on CBC to help us out with the credibility issue after they inadvertently catapulted us back to the Fifties. What are you gonna do?
Like WTMW, I came out of left field with my first book Hockey &High Heels, so I truly knows what it is like to stick your neck out into the world of hockey entertainment, as Lena and Jules are doing with their partnership with CBC Sports. So It’s hard for me not to mention a few of my own experiences as they relate to this story. In my case, along with a lot of good, I also saw some hand wringing, eye rolling and insults because of the title (mostly from women online) and I even had a cyber stalker for a little while. But none of that compares to what I have read about Lena, Jules and the CBC over the last few days. Here's what I am thinking about the CBC.

Come on publicly Funded CBC...

There are plenty of women available who have the talent to deliver quality hockey content suitable for the masses. Hockey minded women deserve to be working in hockey and they deserve to be a part of North American hockey’s biggest event, the Stanley Cup Final. How Jules and Lena wound up being the chosen ones riding the coat tails of the longest running show in the history of sports is beyond me.

I am well aware that the CBC/NHL contract expires in 2015. We saw the CBC lose the HNIC theme song, what else could be on the block in the near future? Obviously strengthening the HNIC brand is vital between now and then. Although I think it is great to see HNIC tinker with their presentation and content, they clearly are out of touch with, well, everything!

The other day I was speaking with Pens hockey writer, Jan Snyder, and she reminded me of the sparkle/studded NHL jersey crisis of 2010. When pressed, the NHL’s merchandise department admitted they didn’t really know what women hockey fans wanted. How do two big companies like the NHL and the CBC completely miss the mark in this day and age?

Often, women are referred to as the elusive female market or the lucrative female market. That’s what we are. Women have this massive purchasing power that is known and lusted after in corporate boardrooms, the world over. Yet, for some reason, as the CBC has demonstrated, the other power we possess is completely ignored. And by other kind of power I mean being in a position to show them what the key looks like and how to use that key to unlock the door to this highly desirable market.

So, I have to ask CBC... are we in this situation because of an old boys' club judgement?  Or, and I highly doubt this, are the Whilethemenwatch women working for free? Don't you think it might be more beneficial to target the casual male and female hockey fans first and then tackle the ones that are forced to cope with hockey in their house?

Coming later today...Part Two  The Aubrey O'Days of Hockey, Lena and Jules!

* My Hockey Cred...

Ten years ago this summer, I began work on a hockey book titled Hockey and High Heels- A Different Kind of Hockey Book. To make a long story short, H&HH website launched 2004,  H&HH book launched 2005, added hockey blog to website in Fall 2006, did my first hockey event for women 2006 (Everett Silvertips) Went on to do events with the Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, plus consulted with other teams, 2010 Winter Olympic Blogger, launched a second book, For the Love of Empty Net Goals- My Adventures Living Hockey, and most recently spoke at the Buffalo Sabres Hockey n Heels event March, 2012. Currently I'm learning how to walk again after seriously breaking my ankle thanks to an outdoor skating accident in Florida.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

NHL Hockey: Is It All Bunged Up?


The once mighty puck cries out for help as it tries to find its way to the net


 by Lisa Ovens

A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with my friend Rory. The subject of shot blocking came up. Rory's solution: "Penalize the players that go down to block a shot. They can block all they want standing up, but as soon as they go down, blow the whistle." Well, that's one way to look at it. Blocking shots is the latest poster child for what's ailing the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and it certainly has many people worried and upset. Most of the upset people are standing on the sidelines now that their teams have been knocked out of contention for Lord Stanley's Cup. But there is more to this than just the blocked shots.

Legendary coach, Scotty Bowman put his CSI skills to work and pinpoints defensive strategies utilized by the late Roger Neilson ( during his coaching days with the Toronto Maple Leafs) as the blue print for what we are seeing right now. (click here for the Globe and Mail article). World's greatest female player, Hayley Wickeneiser has also weighed in on the Playoffs, and she's bored. I have to laugh at this because usually it's the guys calling the girls game boring and unwatchable. (Click here for Hayley's story)

Scotty's final words on the matter... "There's nothing anybody can do about it." I guess that's what a guy with a team like those win hogging Montreal Canadiens of the 1970's would say. Which is probably why Roger Neilson cooked up and deployed his defensive strategy in the first place: he was trying to beat a virtually unbeatable team! So my next question is, who's going to be the Roger Neilson today? Who's going to try and UN-bung this trend, so we don't see a bunch of  General Managers on an off-season prowl for free agent shot blockers and worse, a bunch of coaches mimicking this style next season (should it win the Cup).

I feel sorry for the guys on the point when it is "shot block time"...all they do is pass it back and forth to each other trying to see a shot that just isn't there. The Point men are desperate and have lost their mojo. The pain delivered from a hard shot is not enough of a deterrent. Maybe the puck also needs be ablaze with fire, or equipped with those exploding dye packets used to foil bank robberies.

When I think back to those days watching the highly skilled trio of Marcus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi and Brendan Morrison. When they had to play Jacques Lemaire's defense first Minnesota Wild, they often had to dump and chase, because of the Wild's Neutral Zone Trap. Sometimes they would lob the puck high over the Neutral Zone because that was where the glut of Wild sweaters were, waiting to stop the Canucks from skating the puck into the zone.

Well, what if, instead of firing hard shots from the point that will most likely be blocked, the point guys gently flip the puck up, nice and high, in the general direction of the net, over everyone's heads in the "Offensive Zone Clog", and let the puck fall where ever it may; at the very least, getting it bouncing around for someone to do something skillful and/or wacky in the name of a scoring chance. Or we could always hope two of the defenders both lunge for the puck at the same time, only to fall like Keystone Cops. I think it would be more exciting to watch these lobs inside the offensive zone, than to watch the two guys at the point repeatedly pass the puck back and forth, searching for an unavailable shooting lane. I don't know, but maybe these offensive zone lobs  would somehow shame the shot-blockers (and the Coaches who clog them) enough so they'd think..."this isn't the way this game is supposed to be - what are we thinking?" Yep, there's nothing like a good shaming to set some people straight.

So there. Scotty Bowman, this "anybody" has come up with a new strategy!

But, maybe this idea is not good one. The thought of all the potential high sticks batting at a lobbed puck is a dangerous one, though it would draw some penalties. But it could be worth a try, and its the kind of solution that doesn't involve a new rule or a messy red dye.

Gosh...I ended with a rhyme ;o)



Monday, May 14, 2012

Memories: Hockey & High Heels Event with the LA Kings




by Lisa Ovens

I have a soft spot in my heart for the Los Angeles Kings. Don't get me wrong;  I would prefer my hometown team, the Vancouver Canucks to be playing in the Western Conference Finals right now. Even though the Kings handily bounced the Nucks out in round one, I won't hold any grudges or cheer against them. Because one of my coolest Hockeyandhighheels.com days was spent with the Los Angeles Kings and some of their most dedicated fans.

I had successfully pitched the Kings about hosting an event for women, and their fan development department got busy and planned a full day of activity for female hockey fans. Cool thing number one...The Kings utilized my logo and name, Hockey and High Heels in their event marketing materials. Having a cult following/somewhat obscure hockey company nestled on the fringe of the multi- billion dollar Sports Entertainment Industry, well, that kind of plug was pretty special for me. Yay!

Once the press release arrived, another little bonus...one of the activities listed was a " Social hour with Luc Robitaille and Lisa Ovens".  Yep, that was particularly thrilling for me, because how often does a person get their name included in the same sentence along with a Hockey Hall of Famer, a Stanley Cup winner, and the highest scoring left winger in NHL history?  It was October 2007, and at that point in time, the Kings were still in a rebuild mode, and Robitaille had just taken his front office position as President of Business Operations. There was definitely a buzz about this, and one could easily sense that Robitaille was going to be a great fit in this role. And me? Pretty fine with my role in that sentence and sharing a social hour with the dude :o)

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon in late October as the guests began to arrive. Hilary, the event planner even let me register a few of the guests.That was when I met, face to face, a season ticket holder, Nadine, (pictured here on the right). Coincidentally, she had emailed me before the event was even confirmed to share how much she had enjoyed reading my book, and even extended an invite to catch a Kings game with her should I ever be in LA. That was pretty sweet of her (especially of her husband, who would have to be kicked out of his seat on my behalf. And their seats are good: I believe she said "we sit so close we can see THEIR EYES"). And then voila, two weeks later she was buying her event ticket, and we'd actually get to meet sooner, rather than later!

Aside from the game we watched at the end of the day, one of the bigger highlights was our 1.5 hour skating clinic led by former King, and current radio commentator, Darryl Evans. This part came after a tour of the Kings locker room (this was pre- castle facade entryway - dang!). The Kings had done this type of clinic for men, but this would be the first time it was ever offered to female Kings fans. It was during the clinic that a third cool thing happened: I did an on ice TV interview with Fox Sports, and half way through,  Bailey, the Kings mascot showed up! It was Bailey's first season and the very first mascot the Kings ever had; thoughtfully named after the Kings own Garnet "Ace"Bailey , their Director of Pro Scouting who had died in the September 11th terrorist attacks.Needless to say, but it was an honor to meet Bailey during his inaugural season. Hailing from Las Vegas, Bailey the Mascot was a pretty good skater, too. As were the Lady Kings, a local hockey team that participated in the event. Darryl worked us pretty hard, and even though Heidi Androl left the ice on a stretcher ( no, it wasn't due to exhaustion, it was part of a comedy bit for Kings Vision), all of us skaters were energized, with many women asking about possibly having a second because it was so darn fun.

After touring the many special  rooms, lounges and club sections at Staples Center (egad, there's plenty of them, all polished and perfect, ready to pamper the elite and the famous), we gathered for the social hour. I had the opportunity to speak, followed by Darryl and then Luc. During Darryl's talk it was very evident that the women in the room were serious Kings fans and incredibly knowledgeable ones at that as they grilled him about player personnel and other hockey operation concerns. Oops...a tiny rant is about to begin... So often, certain Canadian hockey fans (and even the Canadian hockey media) question the intensity of hockey fandom in the NHL's sunbelt markets and the Kings aren't immune to this. It's frustrating that they can't wrap their heads around the fact that fans exist south of our border that are just as dedicated and committed to the game as many Canadians are. End tiny rant. Anyway, back to the event... Luc was a lively speaker with a delightful sense of humor, and was genuinely excited about his new position and the changes in store for the Kings organization. I did get a photo with him, which I won't post here, mainly because I was wearing my cheesy " hey, look I'm posing with a hockey celebrity" smile ( so goofy, it shall remain in a hidden folder along with a similar pic of me and Mattias Ohlund during a Canucks event taken the previous season).

I do have this photo with Heidi Androl after the social hour. We were getting ready to do an interview that I kind of wish had happened before the clinic, because my hair was so much better then. But look at Heidi's hair. Should have asked her how she managed to combat the post hockey helmet look.

The game that night was versus the Edmonton Oilers (also was the late game on Hockey Night in Canada).  I had packed my special 3.5 inch "Oiler Killer" shoes (at the time, the shoe stat was 5-1 when the Oilers and I were in the same room - ha cha :o) As a group, we had great seats, and I sat with three regal King fans; one with the best name ever, Lisa, and a couple of cool Kings bloggers, Connie and Kairu. The three of us had a blast. I even made them take turns playing my Sau Ya Goule drum ( a fan accessory that I don't leave home without).

 Staples Center is a fantastic arena, and I did my best to check out as much of the concourse as I could during the intermissions. Oh, another cool thing: during the second period, Hilary collected me and led me down close to ice level so she could introduce me to a season ticket holder and fan of H&HH so I could sign a copy of my book for her. A memorable moment for sure, and man, she had a pretty sweet view of the ice. I'm talking "Nadine territory" here!

I should take a moment to mention that fact that Hilary Hodding, is a dynamo Fan Developer and event planner - she roved around the arena throughout the game, checking in on her other clients, making sure they were enjoying their in-game experience. I have been fortunate to be behind the scenes at a several of these events, and for those who may not realize, let me tell you how hard the sales and marketing departments work, game in and game out.

As the shoes expected, the Los Angeles Kings won the game 3-2. Then I had to go. But the final cool thing would happen the following day, after I arrived back in Vancouver. The first thing I did was call my mom. And before I could say anything, she blurted out...

Mom: Lisa...you were on Hockey Night in Canada!
Lisa: Seriously?
Mom: Yes. It was the start of first intermission and I headed to the kitchen for a snack. All of a sudden I heard Scott Oake say 'Hockey and High Heels" and then Kelly Hrudey said "I love it!' I ran back to the TV and they showed several clips of you and the girls on the ice skating and puck handling!

The next day I tracked down someone at CBC in Toronto with the authority to send me a DVD of the HNIC clip. To this day I do not know why Hockey Night in Canada didn't interview me like Fox Sports did, but at least I can listen to Kelly Hrudey say he loves Hockey and High Heels over and over again!!!

My day with the LA Kings will always be remembered. After what seemed to be an eternity of re-building for this team, I am truly happy for the Kings and their resilient fans as they embark on the next round of the journey, the Conference Finals. I know all too well, what it is like to see your team finally make it there again after such a long absence. And I will stop right there and simply say it is to savor the thrill of being one of the Final Four.

Now, I do have a little bit of a problem as far as cheering goes. The other half of the Western Conference Final is the Phoenix Coyotes. Another team I have a place in my heart for. They were the first ever NHL franchise that I teamed up with for and H&HH event. Gotta write another "Memories" story!

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Not So Super, Supermoon Photo

                                     The supermoon, as seen in Kerrisdale, a Vancouver neighbourhood

by Lisa Ovens

Growing impatient while waiting for Saturday Night Live to start, I went outside to shoot the moon. I wasted no time taking this photo. I am still learning how to walk again, and I feel vulnerable being outside at night walking with a crutch. So it was a quick shot with my Nokia N8 phone.

I did enjoy this brief moment, knowing that a few hours later, the moon would be over the yard, and I could gaze at it from the safety of the patio. After SNL of course. Eli Manning killed.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Plight of Women Sports Fans Continued...






By Lisa Ovens

Silly Soccer man Says Stupid Sentences and gets himself Suspended...Quote from an MLS Soccer podcast earlier this week...



"It's fine if you're a female and you want to be a super-fan. Clearly go for it, that's your choice. But there is something to be said for how appealing that might be to the other sex. Having a woman that's such a fan, like painting your face, tuning in to every podcast. I don't know how many males would be into that.
It's great that in Kansas City there are a lot of women in the stands, it's great, but for the guy who wants maybe a serious relationship... If you are following just casually, but if you're such a die-hard, I don't know, it comes a point that it is a bit of a turn-off"Spoken by MLS's very own Simon Borg. I believe that is the guy in the photo...






 The came the official MLS Statement on Offensive Comments...


During the latest episode of the ExtraTime Radio podcast on MLSsoccer.com, one of the hosts -- Simon Borg -- made inappropriate remarks regarding female fans of Major League Soccer.  These remarks were unacceptable and in no way reflect the values of MLS, its clubs, players, staff, or MLSsoccer.com. We apologize on behalf of our organization for those remarks.  Respect for diversity is a core principle of MLS and we are proud of the diversity of our League and its fans. Mr. Borg will be suspended from his position at MLSsoccer.com for seven days, effective immediately.  All MLS employees undergo diversity and sensitivity training on an annual basis, and Mr. Borg and the entire MLS Digital group will receive additional sensitivity training promptly.




Is that a seven day suspension with or without pay? Some dudes seem to clue in a little faster when it hits them in their wallets. My heart sinks a little when I hear stories like this. Why is it that some guys just can't accept that many women are passionate about sports? And considering Simon Borg really went out of his way to insult specific customers of the company he works for, why didn't MLS just fire his ass, and replace it with someone who is more gifted with their gab? 

So many of us just want to lose ourselves in our favorite sports, forget our daily stresses and blow off some steam at a sporting event. We're just sports fans...that is all.

After last fall's Vancouver Whitecaps marketing campaign, and this latest MLS downer, I will continue to withhold my money and not buy a scarf or a ticket. However, if the MLS wants my guidance on future campaigns...I'll be happy to help out, and not piss off half of their customers in the process.

 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Round Two TV Market Match Ups



By Lisa Ovens

You see, for diehard hockey fans recently bounced out of the playoffs because their team lost their first round series, wondering out loud about the size of TV Markets is a popular activity. I guess it helps mask the pain they are feeling after some of the epic oustings we witnessed during this year's Quarter Finals. So, they turn to the rankings of TV markets in order to decide which teams actually “deserve to still be playing” and in some cases; bolster their NHL Conspiracy theories arguments. However, many fans don’t actually look up the TV Market rankings.

When the Phoenix Coyotes eliminated the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Florida Panthers appeared to be in the driver's seats of their  first round series with the New Jersey Devils, many a fan jumped to a "Stanley Cup Final conclusion" featuring those two teams, and it wasn't pretty: plenty of these speculators felt the Coyotes and the Panthers don't deserve to be in the Finals. If they did check out the TV market rankings, they'd see the Coyotes are in the 12th largest market, and the Panthers reside in the 16th largest. That's not too bad! Yes, I did the research, and this is how the TV Markets are matching up in Round Two…

Let’s see, in the East we have Number One Seeded TV Market, the New York Rangers vs. Number  Nine TV Market, the Washington Capitals. In the other Eastern Conference Series, Number Four TV Market, Philadelphia Flyers up against New Jersey Devils, who appear to have one foot in Number One  (Ranger’s market) and the other foot in Number Four (Philadelphia’s market) Yep, Stanley Cup parking lot parades, no unique TV Market to call their own…nothing comes easy for those Devils.

Out West, the high flying Los Angeles Kings, tops in Left Coast TV numbers (the Number two US TV Market) vs. Number 21, the St. Louis Blues. Phoenix is looking steady at Number 12 , vs. the smallest Round Two TV Market (29th), the Nashville Predators.

The best part about the four Western Conference teams: none of them have won a Stanley Cup, therefore one of these virgin teams is guaranteed at shot at winning it all this year! Both the Kings and the Blues have played in the Stanley Cup Finals: the Blues lost three years in row (1968, 69 and 70) and the Kings were finalists in 1993, losing to the Montreal Canadiens (that was last time a Canadian based team won the Stanley Cup). The Predators and the Coyotes have yet to make it to the Finals, and considering they are playing each other right now, one of them isn't going to make it any further than Round Two :o(

Out East, the Capitals are the last remaining Cup-less team in this year's Playoffs, only tallying one appearance in the Finals (1998, and they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings). Who knows how this is going to play out, but  if the Capitals make it all the way to Round Four, then one of the final two teams will bring The Stanley Cup home for the very first time. Trust me...this is one story line that will keep many of the fans in Canada watching. What else are we gonna do?

Happy viewing :o) 
 






Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sami Salo...100th Career Playoff Game!

                                              Sami Salo...at Canucks Superskills, late 2000's


By Lisa Ovens

Since smart Canuck fans are going ONE GAME AT A TIME right now,  tomorrow's Game Five, being only one game, is actually a special occasion for defender, Sami Salo: it's his 100th career playoff game! 

It seems like yesterday I saw a news feature on Global TV welcoming Sami Salo to the Canucks roster after a pre-season trade involving the Ottawa Senators back in 2002 (Canucks sent forward Peter Shaefer to the Senators).

Now, almost ten years later, the tall, lanky number 6 has the opportunity to celebrate a milestone game by launching cannon after cannon from the point. At least that's what I am hoping for. During the most recent Canucks Superskills Competition, Salo won the hardest shot with a 102.7 MPH ripper (that's 163.5 k/ph). I know he is concerned about hurting other players with his high powered shots from the point, and I can totally appreciate that, but dang, those are certainly highlight reel goals to me each and every time.

I met Salo once, at a Canuck STH event while he autographed a frame for me. He's very laid back. Yet, some how, in my mind's eye, I could see him cranking up the speed metal during his down time. During his early days in Vancouver, I spotted Salo, his wife and a baby shopping for jewelry at The Hudson's Bay Co. I didn't bother them, but I did smile and nod as I passed them by. Those have been my only "brushes with Salo".

Aside from those typical Sami Salo goals, my other favourite Salo Moment was a 1st intermission interview he did after the Canucks played a particularly crappy period against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Sportsnet's Dan Murphy asked him what was up with the Canucks play, and Salo responded, very matter of fact like, but in his soft spoken Finnish accent,  "Their kicking our asses out there." How often do we hear a player say that during an interview? That moment always sticks out in my mind. More so than the multiple times I've seen Salo on the ice, writhing in pain from the many injuries he has sustained as a Vancouver Canuck. Those I prefer to forget, because, well, those moments are so painful to watch. He is famous for all the injuries (one time he had to miss a game due to an off-ice snake bite), so I have to wonder if someone out there has collected the screen shots or footage of his on ice mishaps, and then editing them into a 30 second spot of OUCH.

It's only one game, and I am dedicating my experience watching this one particular Stanley Cup Playoff Game Five in 2012 to one of my favorite defensemen to ever don a Canuck uniform, Sami Salo.

 GO SALO GO!!...launch those rockets and make the Los Angeles Kings' heads spin just enough that Doughty and friends wet their shorts a tiny bit  ;o)


Sunday, April 15, 2012

We’re Waiting…




By Lisa Ovens
I saw the above poster on a power pole near my home yesterday. I am guessing these “This is Our Home: Celebrate Responsibly” PSA posters are displayed around the city as a reminder of last year’s Stanley Cup Final Riots.

Well, Canucks…we’re waiting to celebrate. How can we show off our ability to celebrate responsibly without a win at home? Now that the Canucks are trailing 0-2 in their Quarter Final Playoff Series with the Los Angeles Kings, we fans must look elsewhere for celebration. Personally, I have discovered half price hockey themed Easter chocolate…

Like this hollow chocolate, goalie helmet….YAY!



Or this classic foiled, hollow chocolate, hockey playing Easter BunnyWOOT!



Okay, so we are unaccustomed to losing two home games in a row at the start of the playoffs. Perhaps this anomaly should be accepted, even welcomed as a sign that this year is going to be a different run. That maybe, just maybe the boys need this adversity at this very moment in time in order to establish their winning formula that will take them deep into the playoffs again.

The Canucks finished tops in the league. They have home ice advantage throughout their entire run. That’s about the only perks they have here in the West. After being in the East for the whole season, the glimpses I did get of the Western Conference told me that there isn’t that much of a difference between 1st seed and 8th.  Any WC team has the ability to go all the way. Well, maybe not the Sharks (tee hee – I can’t help it!).

Game Three is tonight. And I am all out of chocolate. Come on Canucks, please don’t force me to celebrate the great deal I got on a new doormat yesterday!

In case you are wondering…the doormat was only $2.77…YOWSA!

GO NUCKS :o)

Friday, March 2, 2012

It's Buffalo Sabres Friday!



by Lisa Ovens


It’s Buffalo Sabres Friday in the Lounge. Yesterday, during my usual hockey surfing session, I spotted a poll on Canucks.com. Fans were asked "Which upcoming game are you most looking forward to?" I had a hunch the Sabres would run away with this one. And they did…

Buffalo Sabres
43.26 %
Dallas Stars
8.43 %
Winnipeg Jets
26.97 %
Montreal Canadiens
15.73 %
Phoenix Coyotes
5.62 %
The Canucks and the Sabres will be forever linked in the hockey:  they are expansion sisters, or if you prefer… expansion cousins. They both share a 40 year Stanley Cup drought, (although some opinionated folk will state it is only the Canucks suffering from some sort of a curse). Up until the  2011 Stanley Cup Final, the Sabres and the Canucks also shared the exact same number of times to the big show: two.

They even share some of the same hockey fans because we are all related, being born in 1970...many Canuck fans will cheer for the Sabres from a distance just because of that.


Now another link, or another reason to slot the Sabres into the “Fave Eastern Conference Team” category; and that link is Cody Hodgson. On Trade Deadline Day, I wasn’t able to check the days events until after 9pm EST, and yes, I did a double take on the Hodgson trade headline. I immediately went to CDC mesage boards, and wouldn’t you know, but the darn thing was down. I still don’t know why it was down, but it is my guess that it crashed due to a massive Knucklehead cyberspace gathering to discuss the big news.

Hodgson's first appearance as a Canuck was in the Summer of 2009 at a season ticket holder event. I was there, and happened to catch him on the floor meeting fans and posing for photos. I stood off to the side and watched him work the crowd, and I was very impressed. How often do we see a guy in his late teens in professional sports, oozing ambassador- like qualities? Yes, people, Hodgson was oozing. He appeared way beyond his years, like an old soul, chit chatting with a steady stream of adults and children. He was so busy with his diplomatic duties it was difficult to get a good shot of him, so the one above will have to do…

Best of luck in Buffalo, Cody Hodgson. May you continue your ascent to NHL stardom by being the best Sabre you can be.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Happy Trade Deadline Day!



Need something to do between trade announcements? Read this handy dandy NHL Q & A guide to the transactions...click here!


 

Monday, February 13, 2012

A New Spin on Hockey Art: The Riot Paintings

   This is not the work of Eli Schryer Allen...it is just my 
basic photo editing at work in order to have 
an image to accompany this post.

by Lisa Ovens

If you've followed this blog or have visited the art gallery on my website, hockeyandhighheels.com, you'll already know of my interest in hockey inspired works of art. I even have a collection of my own work.

Recently a new artist has contributed to this category, and his subject matter just might be deemed controversial by some viewers (Canuck fans in particular).

Eli Schreyer Allen, a fifteen year old Vancouver artist is showing his 2011 Stanley Cup Riot water colors at Emelles Restaurant on West 7th Avenue in Vancouver. The pieces showcase rioters, police and some good Samaritans;  a good selection of those involved, one way or another, in downtown Vancouver on that fateful evening, June 15th, 2011.

As hockey fans know, that horrible riot impacted the lives of many; causing physical harm, fear, heavy stress and millions of dollars in damages to our beautiful city, tarnishing Vancouver's image once again (costly rioting also occurred after the1994 SCF). So, there will be those that just won't get what Eli has done. Over the last few months, a slow motion parade of rioters charged are making their appearances in court, and the search continues to nab the countless other BAD SEEDS...well, these are the scenes many of us would rather see, eight months removed from the devastation.

I have only viewed some of the pieces online, and after looking at the over-sized heads of the figures I was reminded a little of Stewie Griffin's clone (Bitch- Stewie) featured in an episode of The Family Guy. The colorful paintings are complete with paint splatters. This is Eli's lighthearted offering after one very dark and scary night, and then countless hours viewing riot image galleries plastered around the net.

Art collectors and the just plain curious may want to attend the auction of Eli's work on February 24th, 2012. The "Come to Vancouver: It's a Riot" auction takes place from 7pm to 9pm at Emelles (177 west 7th Avenue). Living with Dyslexia, Eli is raising money to cover his expenses for the special education he requires at the Fraser Academy.

As for Eli's work: you can decide for yourself by clicking here.
For John Colebourn's Vancouver Sun news article covering Eli's show, please click here


Monday, January 30, 2012

Makin' the Bed...



by Lisa Ovens

I'm sure we've all been there at least once before. You know...the time you were invited to a party, and you didn't really want to go. There are a variety of reasons: you've been having a lousy week or maybe it was just a crappy day, or you find out someone you don't want to see will be there and you cringe at the thought of  making small talk with that person. But your friends insist that you go. You've run out of excuses, and surrender to your friends and agree to go, but you go under protest and secretly plan to bail after one drink.

You  arrive and quietly tell the host you've got this thing, and the thing's happening early the next day so you can't stay long. Four hours later you are one of the last people to leave. You ended up having a super swell time with everyone and wonder why you were so dead set against going in the first place. After all,  It was just one night of your life. No regrets.

Tim Thomas's politically driven decision to not join his Stanley Cup winning teammates at The White House may have seemed like a good idea at the time. Sadly though, a time may come, much later in his life, when some things that he used to think mattered won't mean a darn thing anymore...and winning the Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins probably won't be one of them.