Kukla's Korner

Above the Glass

From the Dub: Are we there yet?

It's hard to believe that it’s almost time for the start of the WHL pre-season. 2014 began on a high note on the ice, as the Portland Winterhawks went on a ridiculous 21-game winning streak that lasted into March. Off the ice, however, it was filled with unexpected changes, fender benders and various misadventures for yours truly. The good news is that the Hockey New Year is about to begin in the Dub, but these final few weeks of the off-season can seem like permanent midnight. As we look ahead to the return of hockey in late August, I’ve found a few ways in which fans can stay sane in the meantime. Top of the list: embrace alternative sports, save the pennies for a triathlon race bike and put the chocolate chip cookies down and walk away..

Embrace the alternatives. I’m officially a soccer fan, not including the non-strategic diving, because the flat-out Oscar winning flops simply must go. After tuning into the World Cup and the Portland Timbers’ frequency this summer, I can honestly say that I’d do it again, largely because soccer fans are just as passionate about their sport of choice as hockey fans. And those German World Cup stars who are about to blow through town for the MLS All-Star Game on August 6 are pretty freakin’ amazing too, so I’m in.

Eliminate can’t from the vocabulary. The most important item on top of my Hockey New Year’s resolutions is to eliminate can’t from the personal dictionary and train for a marathon or maybe even a triathlon. But first, it’s clear I will also need to start a checking account fitness program: 

Save the pennies. My new day job is half a block down from Athlete's Lounge , a store offering gear, clothing and an all around community for serious athletes. If you have $2500 - $6000 to spend on a race bike and several hundred more for running shoes, swimsuits, wetsuits, extra bicycle gear, helmets and race registrations, then becoming a tri-athlete is for you.  However, if you are like me and spend all your free money on hockey, need an app on your phone to remind you what broccoli looks like and you think Pepperidge Farm is the fifth food group, then it’s best to start with the basics:

Put the chocolate chip cookies down and walk away. They are not a food group, do not qualify as "dairy" or "protein" or any other nutrient and are not meant to be eaten in place of breakfast. I didn’t know this until my personal trainer pointed it out, so I’m passing along the helpful tips for my fellow nutritionally challenged fans.

Be grateful. This is the part where I thank everyone who takes time out of their day to read this blog. I read all of the comments and I truly do appreciate everyone who takes the time to check it out and give me a chance. Speaking of giving people a chance: 

Show unconditional love. It’s easy to forget sometimes that the players on WHL rosters are teenagers and young people, like we all were once. You never know what will happen in a season, but a few things are a given: the players will make mistakes along the way. The good ones learn the lessons and become smarter and stronger as a result. The love of fans is also a vital part of player development. As the Portland Winterhawks prepare to meet their new Head Coach/GM and Assistant Coach (thank you Detroit Red Wings), there will be some ups and downs. One thing that remains steady is the support of local fans. I’ll be the first person to give the boys the business if they decide halfway is good enough or decide not to show up during a game at all. But in the end, if they give it their best, I’ll give them my very best. Life and the hockey season are too short to do anything less.

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About Above the Glass

Welcome to Above the Glass, a definitive anti-expert’s guide to hockey. I started blogging in 2009 as part of an effort to learn all 87 rules in the NHL Rulebook in 107 days before the 2010 Olympics, 30 years after I discovered the sport. You can peruse the archival results here. Growing up in Arizona, I didn’t even know hockey existed until February 22, 1980, when the USA played Russia in the Olympics. And just like that, the game of the century changed my life. I still don’t quite understand the icing rule or which faceoff circle goes with what offense, but I do know that every aspect of hockey has something to teach us about life. That’s what you’ll find here, along with my unadulterated passion for the game.

I live in Portland, Oregon, home of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. I invite anyone who wants to know more about hockey in the Rose City to visit here, where I blog exclusively about the Winterhawks. I’ll post an occasional musing about the Hawks, the WHL and junior hockey here as well.

Follow me on Twitter: @AbovetheGlass

Email: samantha@kuklaskorner.com