The theme for this year’s Hockey Day in Canada is Volunteerism. There are over 3000 hockey rinks in Canada*, and over 1.5 million hockey games played* in those rinks, every year. The countless volunteers involved in those games, in all those rinks are responsible for keeping the Hockey Machine humming along. Today, I too, salute these hockey volunteers for giving their time, their hearts and their smiles to this great game.
It’s an unofficial celebration day in Canada, and I for one will campaign that this day becomes a national holiday. One day that simply honours our nation’s desire to play, and nothing else.
How I celebrated Hockey day in Canada...
My day started with sleeping in, so I missed the opening of CBC Sports 13 hour, live broadcast covering the 7th annual Hockey Day in Canada. I turned the TV on to see a serious segment about heart attacks in hockey rinks. And then the subject matter brightened as the live broadcast roamed from sea to shining sea capturing everything hockey. All six Canadian NHL teams are featured in three games peppered throughout a day filled with stories, interviews and happenings around the country, with the small town of
Nelson, BC in the coveted role as CBC Sports headquarters for the day.
During the Canadiens/ Senators game I turned on my computer, logged onto www.cbcsports.ca and headed for the online store. I ordered a HDIC toque. I then noted the new Don Cherry 18 video contained Coach’s Corner highlights; the first time ever. This prompted me to call my friend Michelle. You see, for over a year, Michelle has been suggesting CBC do this for Cherry’s videos. I had to call her and tell her. Then I invited her to attend a HDIC party at Hockey & High Heels world wide headquarters.
I had hoped to play some road hockey today, but with the unusually cold temperatures and blotches of black ice everywhere in my Vancouver neighbourhood, I decided against a grudge match with Michelle. Okay, the fact that Michelle is an injured goal tender had something to do with it as well.
Michelle is one of the three graphic designers who designed my book, making her a special member of this Grassroots Hockey Movement called Hockey & High Heels. (Yes, we are a movement now, spreading hockey fun to fans all over the world, doing our part to grow the game, one woman/ fan at time.)
Michelle has become my hockey buddy since Stacey became involved in a huge project of her own, in case some of you out there are wondering where Stacey’s been lately. I can’t reveal what Stacey is doing at this time as that is part of the second H&HH book that I am completing for release this year. Let’s just say it’s all good. And if you are reading Stacey, a big Hockey & High Heels Aloha to you and your family in Hawaii!! (Yep, Hawaii – it’s all about hockey and Hawaii around these parts!)
Lisa and Michelle, just before the Canucks/ Leafs game
Like many people I know in Vancouver, Michelle is from Ontario. She’s from Pickering, home of the notorious Nuclear Power Station. I decided I should interview her as part of today’s festivities and get inside the head of a veteran female goal tender who is sitting out from what is the heart and soul of her spirit, the great game of hockey...
Lisa: Michelle, why on earth would you leave Pickering, Ontario, home of the notorious Nuclear Power Station, for Vancouver, BC, a nuclear free zone?
Michelle: I moved to Vancouver in 1997. Just before I moved here, I visited Vancouver in the month of February, and I was able to wear shorts during that visit.
I was sold.
Lisa: Hahaha! After ten years, what do you think of Vancouver’s weather this winter?
Michelle: I love the weather now that it’s actually feeling like a winter. By Easterner standards that is.
Lisa: It’s so weird, I mean...we have “Cold Road” disease – the roads of Vancouver are turning white and riddled with potholes for crying out loud!!
Michelle: Hahaha! It’s not a disease, Lisa. Are you enjoying the white ring of salt dust around you shoes yet?
Lisa: Don’t get me started on the shoe thing. Anyway, I’m the one asking questions. Okay, you are a goal tender, an injured goaltender. What’s the injury and can you give the folks at home an update on when you will return to play...
Michelle: I have a pinched MCL within my right knee (stick side). I’m calling it “My Iginla” because Jerome hurt his knee at the same time I did. I just got word from my physio therapist Suzanne; I will be back between the pipes on Valentine’s Day – woohooo! I am looking forward to eating chocolate ALL day that day, because hey, I’ll burn it off during the game!
Lisa: Sweet! And a big shout out to Suzanne at West 4th Ave Physiotherapy Clinic...she fixed my nagging left arm injury late last season. (Even though the treatments involved some nasty needling – ouch!)
Michelle: I hear ya, been there done that, too...however, this time I was worried that I might not be able to play again this season.
Michelle, now sporting the C, relaxes with a beautiful pillow during the interview
Lisa: So you’ve had some downtime...what do you do to keep busy while you recover?
Michelle: I’m making fun jewelry for my co-workers. This has led me to develop a line of hockey inspired of jewelry.
Lisa: Ooh...hockey inspired jewelry...I like the sounds of that! When can we see some samples?
Michelle: You can see some samples after my trip to Edmonton next weekend.
Lisa: What’s happening in Edmonton?
Michelle: My first ever live Battle of Alberta game, and I am cheering for the visiting team, the Calgary Flames. I’ll be decked out in my Flames attire so I’m a little nervous about how the Oiler fans are going to react to me. I’m going to the game with all Oiler fans in my group. Could be interesting...I’ll be drinking some beer that night for sure!
Hey, can you give me some advice on what to put on my sign, Lisa?
Lisa: Anything colourful about Raffi Torres works for me, and pretty much all other Canucks fans too. Who’s your favorite Flame?
Michelle: Miikka Kiprusoff of course! Who’s yours?
Lisa: (silence) uh....Andrew Ference, of course! That dude has some pretty sweet tatts. Obviously you are ALL goalie ALL the time, do you have any other favorite goalies?
Michelle: J.S. Giguere is my number one favourite. I have an autographed Giggy stick. Whenever I am having a rough patch during my hockey season, I go to the Giggy stick for advice. It might sound crazy, but I did win my first championship when I got that stick.
Lisa: No...that’s not crazy – your are a goalie – we expect your type to talk to sticks, goal posts, the sideboards, the snow piles you create...it’s normal. Okay, it’s no secret your other team is the Toronto Maple Leafs. How does it feel as a Leafs fan, to sit with a Canucks fan, in a Canucks fans home with a giant Canucks puck shaped pillow next to you, on Hockey Day in Canada, and watch the Canucks beat the Leafs 6-1 just now?
Michelle: (silence) Er...if Paul Maurice had listened to me and played Aubin instead of Raycroft, who’s been struggling, maybe the outcome would have been different. Not that it was all Raycroft’s fault, but he didn't do much to inspire his teammates.
Lisa: You wanted the Habs to win today. They didn’t. You wanted the Leafs to win today. They didn’t. Michelle, you and your teams are 0 for 2 on Hockey Day in Canada. Got any predictions for the final Canadian match up between the Oilers and the Flames on this glorious Hockey Day in Canada?
Michelle: The Flames are going spoil my team losing streak today because of the play of Miikka. It’s all about the goalies. Go Flames Go! Come on Lisa....say it with me...
Michelle: I can’t hear you....
And finally, HDIC snacks and beverages...
Normally, for a special hockey celebration like HDIC, I'd be plating delicious appetizers, “event specific” cupcakes paired with Bad Boy sized bottles of Heineken, and maybe a colour coordinated flower arrangement or two. However, Michelle, being in the final frame of a cleanse, prompted me to began an unplanned cleanse of my own on Hockey Day in Canada. It just wouldn’t be fair if I was nibbling on some Pinty’s Salt & Peppers wings while delicately sipping import beer as Michelle drank...water.
Between the afternoon games, I donned my HDIC toque, circa 2004, and headed to my favourite salad and fruit bar. I selected a variety of fruits and really lucked out when I found some Canucks coloured jello cubes amongst the fruits.
I also served a small bowl of trail mix, several pitchers of fresh water and some green tea to enjoy during the Flames/ Oilers game. Yes, it was a little different, but it was the healthiest hockey celebration we have had in some time!
Needless to say... I can hardly wait for the next hockey celebration: The NHL All-Star Weekend – My cleanse will be finished and it will be time for some treats!
Many thanks to CBC Sports for planning another fabulous Hockey Day in Canada.
For more information about Hockey Day in Canada, please visit www.cbcsports.ca
If you would like to see Canada create an official Hockey Day in Canada, please visit the fan forum at hockeyandhighheels.com and participate in the Poll...click here to vote
* Stats found on Hockey Canada website, 2004