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 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”, We 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 recreation hockey team. Malcolm told me his team plays a variation of  the 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 on the ice: five skaters and one 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 to see Robert's latest carvings

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

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.

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?