Kukla's Korner Hockey
Since speaking with the Shnarped Hockey guys last October – right before they very successfully pitched to the Dragons’ Den - their fan engagement platform has really taken off. Shnarped connects fans to their favorite hockey teams and players, and has 100 NHL players plus 1000 NHL prospects using the platform. And now this hockey season, more fans have received messages from NHL players on Shnarped than on Twitter – pretty impressive.
As founders of a charity called Hockey Players for Kids, Dustin Sproat and Kyle Hagel (who currently plays for the AHL’s Portland Pirates) recognized a problem with how fans were trying to communicate with players. They saw lots of positive messages being directed towards players on Facebook, and lots of negative messages directed at players on Twitter. Obviously players appreciate the positive notes, but Facebook isn’t designed for interaction with strangers and so most of these messages would go unanswered.
Shnarped solves this problem by providing a positive, youth-friendly community for fan interaction. A top-notch news and stats database provides up to the minute information about any and all players (making it great for the fantasy hockey guru), and the players that are ‘verified’ on the platform can very easily respond to their loyal fans via their core interactive feature, the pound.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
The fishing trips always bring out that smile his sons love and cherish.
Gordie Howe never was one to sit around, and that hasn’t changed even as dementia roils his health. He turns 86 today, an event that will appropriately be celebrated in Detroit, because no city ever has celebrated Howe more. He reigned here as a local hockey folk hero for three decades, defining what it meant to be talented and tough.
Howe doesn’t come to Detroit a whole lot any more, because he cannot be on his own. He has spent the past four months in Lubbock, Texas — staying with his daughter, Cathy, and her husband, Bob — escaping the harsh winter that would have impeded his physical activity. The man who six decades ago dominated opponents in hockey remains a man who doesn’t like to be still.
Keeping Howe active can be as simple as buying a rake, but there’s nothing better than getting him onto a body of water.
TORONTO (March 26, 2014) – Pat Quinn, Chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame, announced today that Columbus Blue Jackets President of Hockey Operations and recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award (2009), John Davidson, has been appointed to succeed Jim Gregory (HHOF Class of 2007) as Chairman of the Selection Committee, effective April 1, 2014. Davidson’s extended term appointment was confirmed along with three new members of the Selection Committee at the Directors’ meeting held earlier today in Toronto.
"You get a premium education with the opportunity to go compete for a national championship in a large city that really has no professional sports team. There's a lot to be offered up here."
-Urban Meyer, head coach of the Ohio State University football team, located in Columbus, on recruiting a player to OSU.
More from Brian Stubits at the Eye on Hockey.
added 6:58pm, via Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch.
Urban Meyer said he is a fan of the Columbus Blue Jackets of the NHL and the Columbus Crew of Major League soccer, and in a text message sent to The Dispatch today he wanted to make it clear he misspoke in an interview with an Atlanta newspaper last week in which he was quoted as saying Columbus had no major league sports.
“I have great respect for both the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Columbus Crew organizations,” Meyer wrote today. “The intent of my comment about football recruiting was that Columbus doesn’t have professional football. I should have made that point clear, and I do apologize for the misunderstanding.
“I am pulling for the Blue Jackets in their playoff drive and I wish the best for the Crew under its new leadership.”
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
For all those who spoke Tuesday, all those who painted wondrous picture with words of who Terry Trafford was and why his life was so important, no one could really explain what happened. No one could explain how this young man, so funny, so full of mischief and pranks, so blazingly fast on the ice, so beloved, so full of friends, so loved by many — and always, said Payne, “with a smile ... he could make you laugh in a split second” would then take his own life.
The small room at the funeral home was not surprisingly jam packed. The hall outside the room, where almost as many people could look through the window and hear the words, was equally crowded. A few members of the Saginaw Spirit sat in the front row, wearing their bright blue uniforms. But not all the team was there. And the coach, Greg Gilbert, and the general manager, Jim Paliafito, were stunningly and inexcusably absent.
At the front of the chapel, the autographed jersey beside the casket was not from the Spirit, the team that sent him home and then told him not to come back. It was a Toronto Bulldogs jersey, a summer-league all-star team top, with autographs all over it. A memory of better times.
I would say I would loosen up a little bit the rules about the fighting fines. That’s what I would loosen up. Because today you go to an ice hockey game, and the one thing they’re waiting for is a fight, you know what I’m saying? So if they could set it up something like that in the NBA. That if there are two guys and they have a problem, if they could just separate everybody. And these two people that have problem, if they could fight ...
During the game. Quick, 15-20 seconds, throw few punches, then referees jump in and break this thing up. I think the game ... these two guys, they resolved their problem. They’re both suspended and they’re leaving. But end of the day, they fix the problem between each other, fans are super excited, and I think that would be a pretty cool idea [chuckles].
-Marcin Gortat, NBA player for the Washington Wizards on allowing fighting in the NBA. More from Gortat, but only a little more on fighting, by Kyle Weidie at ESPN.
from Neil Davidson of the CP at Yahoo,
Perched high in the Bolshoy Ice Dome, music director Ray Castoldi is constantly taking the temperature of the fans below.
If they are already on their feet or chanting, he leaves them alone. If the atmosphere needs a jolt, he turns to his organ or sends White Zombie's "Kernkraft 400" or Darude's "Sandstorm" pumping through the PA to get the party started.
It's a skill that has taken the 51-year-old Castoldi from the Super Bowl to the Sochi Olympics.
His day job is music director at Madison Square Garden, where he plays the organ and DJs at Rangers, Knicks and Liberty games. But he has travelled the world with his keyboard and laptop.
from Bill Plaschke of the LA Times,
When American T.J. Oshie scored in the eighth round of a shootout to give the U.S. a 3-2 victory over Russia in a first-round Olympic hockey game Saturday night, it was a devastating ending for the several dozen fans crowding into the So Leone sports bar in downtown Sochi.
But the group of mostly middle-aged men did not immediately leave. They picked their chins out of their chests, stood slowly from their couches and chairs, and lined up in front of the two Americans sitting meekly in the middle of the room.
Then, one by one, they shook our hands.
Far from the carefully painted faces and organized cheers at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, the Russian sporting soul was on display in a dark, wood-lined room with two giant televisions, one small dart board, and a lifetime of angst.
The So Leone sports bar was 35 minutes up the Black Sea coast from the game between Russia and the U.S., but it pounded with a cramped and honest pulse of a nation on edge.
"This is our sport, this is our life," said patron Denis Puzyrez, standing at the bar in a rumpled T-shirt and hopeful stare. "Even if we fail in everything else in Olympics, if we win hockey, we win the Olympics."
Some guys get all pursy around the mouth when you suggest this, but figure skating is infinitely harder than ice hockey. Every four years at the Winter Olympics, figure skating fans have to listen to a lot of nonsense about how their sport lacks legitimacy. The puckheads don’t understand that the people in Lycra doing curlicues are actually the better skaters, with the stronger legs, and the superior athletes in a more pressure-packed pursuit.
-Sally Jenkins of The Washington Post where you can continue reading...
In 1987, travelling with the Canadian national team for an event in Moscow called the Izvestia tournament, during the darkest days of Soviet Russia, where you couldn’t even find a restaurant, let alone get a decent restaurant meal, centre Marc Habscheid made a fabulous point: These sorts of experiences were good for professional athletes because once they went back to their regular lives, maybe it wouldn’t be such a tragedy if their restaurant steak came out medium instead of medium-rare.
That’s the challenge they’ll face here, too. It isn’t going to meet the standards they’re used to – and that may not necessarily be a bad thing.
-Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Maik in Sochi. Read more from Duhatschek.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
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