A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘hockey

[ISL] “From sand beach to frozen lake, meet the guys of the Cayman Islands pond hockey team”

The Toronto Star‘s Curtis Rush writes about the Cayman Islands’ hockey team, staffed heavily by Canadian expats.

After trading long Canadian winters for the perpetual summer of this luxurious Caribbean tax haven, Bill Messer was content to enjoy the soft sands and warm waters of island living. The only thing he really missed was hockey.

So in 2003, when he saw a television report about the nascent World Pond Hockey Championship, he began plotting a strategy to get a team from his adopted home ready to play in his native country, Canada.

The initial response to his inquiry, however, felt like a cold slap in the face.

The tournament organizer, Danny Braun, warned Messer in an email that it was frigid up in Canada and that hockey was a very fast, very rough game.

As he read the email, Messer said, he realized that he had not made it clear to Braun that he was Canadian.

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Written by Randy McDonald

February 16, 2017 at 9:30 pm

[LINK] “China Wants To Be The Next Hockey Heavyweight”

Over at Vice Sports, Sheng Peng describes the heavy investments being made into China into making China a hockey superpower. Russia is playing a particularly large role, in providing training and guidance, but there are also influences from Europe.

There is no Chinese word for “puck.” In fact, the most literal translation for “bingqiu”—Chinese for hockey—is “ice ball.” The Chinese are about as familiar with hockey as Wayne Gretzky is with badminton.

Yet off the West 4th Ring of Beijing on Sept. 5, 2016, the Kunlun Red Star were taking the ice for their home debut at LeSports Center. The Red Star are the newest franchise of the Russian-based KHL, thought to be the second-best league in the world after the NHL. In other words, what were they doing here?

[. . .]

China wants to flex again, as it did during the 2008 Summer Olympics. This time, the country is training to be a hockey heavyweight. Like Russia, the United States, or Canada. Really.

China has the capital. And right now, it has the motivation: In just six short years, all eyes will once again be on Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

China, as host country, will have a chance to field squads for both the men’s and women’s ice hockey tournaments. In arguably the Games’ most prestigious event, the hunger to be able to stand toe-to-toe with the best in the world is naturally greater. Not that far behind, also, is the specter of the “sick man of Asia”, which has dogged the Middle Kingdom’s last century.

But how can China transform its IIHF 37th-ranked men’s national team, which plays literally three rungs below the elite, into a unit with even a puncher’s chance in 2022?

Written by Randy McDonald

November 29, 2016 at 9:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto is good at sports — get used to it”

I have to admit that I like the optimism of CBC News’ Benjamin Blum, purely for reasons of municipal patriotism. Is this liking well-founded, sports fans?

Yes, you read the headline correctly.

This goes beyond the city’s reputation for unearned bravado and the usual bandwagon jumping that comes with success. There’s tangible support for this claim now.

Toronto FC’s 5-0 thrashing of New York City FC to reach the East final in the MLS playoffs, coupled with back-to-back ALCS trips for the Blue Jays and the Raptors’ run to the conference final in May have Toronto actually feeling good about its pro sports teams. Hell, even the Maple Leafs are fun to watch!

The last time Toronto’s sports teams collectively were this successful was in the early 1990s when the Jays won back-to-back World Series titles, the Argonauts won a Grey Cup with nickname hall-of-famers Rocket Ismail and Pinball Clemons and the Maple Leafs… well, only Wayne Gretzky and Kerry Fraser know for sure what happened in the 1993 Campbell conference final.

So how did we get here?

Written by Randy McDonald

November 7, 2016 at 8:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Return of road hockey to Toronto’s streets brings echoes of childhood”

The Toronto Star‘s Jim Coyle describes street hockey as a rite of childhood in Toronto.

In the winters of our childhood, and late autumns and early springs as well, every day after school and all through weekends, our little street in Toronto’s east end might as well have been Maple Leaf Gardens or the Montreal Forum.

We were part of the ball-hockey legions who turned the cry “Car!” into as Canadian an icon as the call of a loon. Looking back, how innocent we were of all that we were learning while simply having fun.

What delightful news, then, to learn that Toronto city council decided Friday to alter rules that had threatened road hockey and, in contemporary times, basketball as well.

Play will be allowed on roads with speed limits of 40 km/h or less during daylight hours between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Nets will now be allowed on the road as long as they don’t block driveways or impede sightlines for cars and pedestrians. They must be removed when play is done.

None but the dullest of bureaucrats could ever have imagined that all that was going on in those games was play.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 22, 2016 at 8:59 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Quebec City’s NHL dream most viable with franchise relocation”

The Globe and Mail‘s Eric Duhatschek suggests that, to get a local hockey team, Québec City would be best advised to look for a team ready to relocat.e

Is Quebec City a viable business if the buy-in is $500-million (U.S.), which at Tuesday’s exchange rate is about $680-million (Canadian)? Consider that when the ownership in Winnipeg bought the distressed Atlanta Thrashers in 2011, it paid a quarter of the expansion amount – $170-million (U.S.). And that was at a time when the loonie was above par.

Winnipeg has been a smashing success at the box office. Every game is sold out; the love affair with the Jets is as strong today as it was when commissioner Gary Bettman originally announced the move.

But even at that, Winnipeg is a mid-market team that has to stick carefully and efficiently to a budget. The franchise remains on solid ground, though the loonie’s value has since fallen to 74 cents and player salaries are all paid in U.S. dollars.

But what if the buy-in for the Jets had been four times higher, as it would be for expansion teams? Could Winnipeg keep operating in the black if the cost of financing the Thrashers purchase was that high?

No.

And however well the Quebec City franchise does at the box office, in merchandise sales and local television revenue, the market could not spin off enough cash to make a $680-million (Canadian) buy-in work. That is the NHL’s concern, even though Quebecor, the prospective buyer, has deep pockets.

So, while Bettman always discourages the relocation of teams, it would make far more sense for Quebec City to pursue an ailing franchise whose owners are weary of mounting losses. At that point, the cost of the transaction becomes a different financial equation – simply a business deal between an eager buyer and a motivated seller, with the price to be mutually negotiated.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 20, 2016 at 3:16 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • blogTO reports on five up-and-coming Toronto neighbourhoods.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly discusses one issue of migrants: where is home?
  • Centauri Dreams considers globular clusters as locations for starfaring civilizations.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes hot Neptune HD 175607b and brown dwarf Gliese 758b.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the importance of Neandertal genes in the modern human immune system and notes the climate impact of eclipses on the climate of Titan.
  • Geocurrents maps crime in California.
  • Language Log notes the popularity of “they” used in the singular third-person.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money suggests tariffs could play a useful role.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a map of the biomes of an Earth where the continents were tilted 90 degrees.
  • Nicholas Whyte notes J.R.R. Tolkein was a teacher of Mary Renault, and that the two writers were fans of each other’s work.
  • Cheri Lucas Rowlands shares photos from England.
  • Peter Rukavina notes his work in assembling a Schedule for Charlottetown transit.
  • The Russian Demographicsd Blog notes a global survey on the importance of religion in different countries.
  • Torontoist looks at political turmoil in pre-1837 Upper Canada.
  • Towleroad notes a gay couple that got on kiss cam in a Kings game.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests nationalism in Tatarstan is on the point of boiling over, notes the dire demographics of even large Russophone communities like those in Latvia, and notes the arguments of a Ukrainian who suggests the example of Belarus shows Russian should not be given official status.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Antipope Charlie Stross wonders how technologically advanced a civilization could become without literacy.
  • Crooked Timber notes paleocon Peter Hitchens’ take on the history of England.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on the growth of pebble-accreting planetesimals.
  • Geocurrents maps Tokugawa Japan as a multi-state system, perhaps not unlike the contemporary Holy Roman Empire.
  • Inkfish reports on crows given cameras which track their tool use.
  • Language Hat notes some remarkable Gothic graffiti from Crimea.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the very high levels of public debt in Brazil.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog and Window on Eurasia wonder what will happen if Russia’s future turns out not to be Belarus, but Ukraine.
  • Spacing Toronto notes the time the Stanley Cup got stolen.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russians now perceive Ukrainians as separate, looks at the hostile Russian reaction to pan-Turkic nationalism, and notes that the origins of Russia’s Central Asian migrant workers have been changing.