EppsNet Archive: Hockey

UC Berkeley Roller Hockey

25 Oct 2014 /

Cal hasn’t fielded a roller hockey team since 2011 but the boys (and one girl), including our kid, got a team together this season, rejoined the Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League, and they’re playing their first tournament this weekend, with games against UC Santa Cruz, USC, UC Irvine and UC San Diego.

No scholarships and you pay for your own unis and travel expenses.

GO BEARS!

Cal roller hockey uniforms


Mac Wilkins: What The Discus Can Teach You About Life

28 Aug 2012 /
Modern copy of Myron's Discobolus in Universit...

Modern copy of Myron’s Discobolus in University of Copenhagen Botanical Garden, Denmark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deadspin has an excellent “as told to” story on former Olympic discus thrower Mac Wilkins (What The Discus Can Teach You About Life: Lessons From One Of America’s Greatest Throwers)

Wilkins made four straight U.S. Olympic teams, winning a gold medal in 1976, a silver in 1984, and finishing fifth in 1988. He was also the first man to throw the discus more than 70 meters, and he held the world record for over two years, bettering his own mark three times between April 1976 and August 1978.

Some excerpts:

So one day I go out to train and I say, Oh, what the heck. Let’s just give it a little extra effort today. And I did, and I got better and it went farther. And I thought that was kind of fun. What if I could that again tomorrow? And so pretty soon, I’m hooked on, Can I do it better today? And it was fun. I knew I could get better and I enjoyed it.

It was all about, There are no limits. There are no limits. I have no restrictions. I have no inhibitions. And you can achieve anything that you set your mind to. There are no limits.

I thought that the [1980 Olympic] boycott was a stupid thing to do. We continued to sell wheat to Russia. We continued to sell Pepsi to Russia. We bought vodka from Russia. It was business as usual except for the Olympic Games. And, of course, we only boycotted after we won the ice hockey game in Lake Placid that year. So I thought it was very naïve, and I was very disappointed because I really liked Jimmy Carter. And there’s still a war in Afghanistan, even to this day. So it didn’t do anything.

Is there a moral to the story? Well, probably.

I have so many, so many times when I would fall down or fail. Being a teacher/coach, I have to be … well, it’s exactly like being a parent. You have to be a better person than you really are.


DOGTV

23 Jul 2012 /
Lightning at the Dog Park

I’ve got good news and bad news . . .

The good news is there’s a new TV network just for dogs called DOGTV!

The bad news is the only thing I like to watch on TV is hockey and DOGTV doesn’t have hockey. :(

— Lightning paw


Crosstown Cup: USC 8, UCLA 3

5 Feb 2012 /
At the Crosstown Cup

The Crosstown Cup was on the line Saturday night. The USC and UCLA hockey teams faced off at Anaheim Ice and the Trojans dominated pretty much as I expected.

It was also Senior Night — the last game of the season.

One of the Trojans players is graduating with a doctorate in education, one kid is getting an MBA and two kids are graduating with a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering.

As scholar-athletes, they’re pretty darn good scholars.

As athletes . . . let’s say that they were somewhat less good than my kid’s 18-and-under roller team from last season. Speed, puck control, rink awareness — all limited at best.

They were a lot better than UCLA though.

 

The Victory Bell was in attendance. Something I didn’t know is that the Victory Bell is really loud if you’re right next to it. And by “right next to it,” I mean we were 25 feet away and it was deafening.

 

The fake ID market seems to be booming in Southern California. A lot of underage-looking kids were enjoying a beer at the game.

My wife asked one underage-looking couple, “How do you get beer? You don’t look old enough.”

“Um . . . there is a way to do it,” the girl replied, without providing any further details.


Is it Good Etiquette to Call Someone a Cocksucker?

27 Sep 2011 /

The rivalry between the Flyers and Rangers turned ugly in a penalty-filled preseason game that also appeared to include a homophobic slur from Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds to noted New York agitator Sean Avery.

I suppose that means he called him a faggot. The writer should probably look up the word “homophobic.”

I don’t know exactly when it became out of bounds to call someone a faggot, but I know Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 for the same thing last season.

Is it okay to call a guy a cocksucker? I think that’s okay. It’s essentially the same thing as calling him a faggot, but I think it’s still okay to call someone a cocksucker.

Or to say “Suck my dick, motherfucker.” In fact, I think you could say “Suck my dick, you motherfucking cunt-lipped cocksucker” and still be within the bounds of decorum.

Just don’t call someone a faggot because that’s offensive.


Kids Can Be Good at Anything

11 Sep 2011 /

If they want to. If it’s important to them.

For example: My kid has played hockey most of his life. We know some families where all the kids — boy or girl — play hockey, and almost all of them are good players.

I don’t know any families where all the kids play hockey and they’re all bad. Those families have decided for some reason that it’s important for kids to play a good game of hockey.

Another example: We live in a school district with a lot of Asian families. They don’t care about hockey. In Asian families, it’s important for the kids to be good at academics and music.

You don’t see a lot of Asian guys in the National Hockey League, but you do see a lot of Asian kids at our nation’s best universities.

It’s a parenting challenge — getting kids to assign importance to the right things.


Photos from NARCh 2011 – Ft Myers, FL

22 Aug 2011 /


Hockey Parents I Have Known

27 Jul 2011 /

My kid has played hockey most of his life. I’ve spent a lot of time over the last 12 or so years at practices, games and tournaments with other hockey parents.

I’ll miss the parents who watch and wait without calling attention to themselves, don’t over-celebrate, and encourage their kids while pretending not to be nervous or sad.

I won’t miss the obsessive, out-of-control loudmouths, or the parents who were too drunk to be nervous or sad.


NARCh 2011 – Day 4

23 Jul 2011 /

Semifinal: Devil Dogs vs. Tour Stealth

Both teams played a strong game. The Devil Dogs gave up the first goal, evened it up at 1-1, then allowed the go-ahead goal with about four minutes left.

They had some chances to tie it back up but couldn’t make it happen.

Stealth added an empty-net goal with two seconds left.

Final Score: Stealth 3, Devil Dogs 1

Semifinal: Choice Inline Selects vs. Top Gun

I didn’t see this game because I was watching the Devil Dog semi so I can’t tell you anything about it other than the final score.

Final Score: Selects 4, Top Gun 2

 

Bronze Medal Game: Devil Dogs vs. Top Gun

Three of the four teams in the semifinals win a medal — gold, silver or bronze. One team — the loser of the bronze medal game — doesn’t.

Coming into this game, I was trying to figure out how to convince my kid, if his team lost, that even though they ended the tournament with two losses and came away with nothing, they still played a great tournament — better than all but three of the teams in the country.

As it turned out, I didn’t have to do that.

The Devil Dogs were quite a bit better than Top Gun and dominated the game. They were faster and stronger and got to every puck first.

My boy scored the last goal of the game. I’ve watched him play a lot of games and score a lot of goals over the last 12 years or so but he’s starting college in a few weeks and his future hockey plans are uncertain at this time. It may be the last goal he ever scores.

Final Score: Devil Dogs 6, Top Gun 0

 

Final: Choice Inline Selects vs. Tour Stealth

Both teams are strong defensively. The game was scoreless until midway through the second period. Stealth took a 1-0 lead and the Selects tied it 1-1 with 1:13 left in the game.

It looked like the game was headed for overtime when the top shooter from Stealth fired a perfect wrist shot into the top left corner of the net, past the best goalie in the division, to win the tournament with 1.1 seconds remaining.

Final Score: Stealth 2, Selects 1

 

My expectations for this Devil Dog team started out pretty low. They haven’t been a powerhouse team this season. The goaltending and discipline have been subpar at times.

They hadn’t won a tournament in a while even in local and regional events, so my hopes were not high for their ability to compete at the national level.

At the beginning of the tournament, my hope was that they would at least win a game.

When they won a game, I hoped that they would win another game. Then I hoped they would make the playoffs. Then I hoped they would make the semifinals and then I hoped that they would win a medal.

I just saw all the kids eating pizza in the lobby of the hotel here so I took the opportunity to tell them that they’re great players, they’ve got a lot of heart, and I’ve really enjoyed watching them play.

That’s it from Florida, where the weather’s been great except for the heat, humidity and thunderstorms.

Heading back home in the morning . . .


NARCh 2011 – Day 3

22 Jul 2011 /

Devil Dogs vs. Tour Roadrunners 93 (NY)

The Devil Dogs came into the fourth and final round-robin game with two wins and a loss, needing at least a tie to clinch a playoff spot.

The game didn’t start off well for the Dogs. They trailed 3-1 after the first period, their goalie had let in a bad goal on a long slapshot, and they’d missed on some good scoring opportunities.

They were also coming off a disappointing loss the night before, so I was proud of their mental toughness in coming back to tie the game 3-3 with about three minutes left.

A Roadrunner player took an untimely penalty with 1:37 left in the game. The Dogs were able to control the puck on the power play until, with 11 seconds remaining, they scored on a one-timer off a cross-rink pass for the game-winning goal.

Final Score: Devil Dogs 4, Roadrunners 3

 

Playoffs

That wraps up the round-robin portion of the competition. The top 10 teams get to stick around for playoffs.

  1. Choice Inline Selects (NJ)
  2. Alkali NC (NC)
  3. ISCA Grizzlies (NJ)
  4. Gladiators (PA)
  5. Revision Devil Dogs (CA)
  6. Tour Stealth (CO)
  7. Tour Roadrunners 93 (NY)
  8. Bandits Hockey Club (CA)
  9. Top Gun (NY)
  10. Mile High Mustangs (CO)

The top six seeds go straight to the quarterfinals. The other quarterfinalists are determined by 7-vs-10 and 8-vs-9 playoff games, which both went to the lower seed:

Mile High Mustangs 6, Roadrunners 2
Top Gun 6, Bandits 3

 

Quarterfinal: Choice Inline Selects (1) vs. Mile High Mustangs (10)

The Mustangs were the only team to score against the Selects in round-robin play, although they still lost the game. Chalk up another shutout for the Selects in this one.

Final Score: Selects 1, Mustangs 0

Quarterfinal: Alkali NC (2) vs. Top Gun (9)

Alkali was undefeated in round-robin, including a win against Top Gun, but they are outta here.

Final Score: Top Gun 2, Alkali 1

Quarterfinal: ISCA Grizzlies (3) vs. Tour Stealth (6)

Another upset. The Grizzlies were also undefeated (with one tie) in round-robin. I didn’t like them because the families were a bunch of Jersey Shore loudmouths.

Final Score: Stealth 3, Grizzlies 0

Quarterfinal: Gladiators (4) vs. Revision Devil Dogs (5)

Another poor start for the Devil Dogs. They went down 2-0 in the first three minutes, then rallied to win.

They’re in the semifinals tomorrow morning against Tour Stealth.

Final Score: Devil Dogs 6, Gladiators 4


NARCh 2011 – Day 2

21 Jul 2011 /

Two more round-robin games today, morning and evening . . .

Devil Dogs 6, Detroit Mission Stars 2

Devil Dogs played a great game, best I’ve seen them play this season.

ISCA Grizzlies (NJ) 5, Devil Dogs 3

The Grizzlies are a good, fast team. That said, the Devil Dogs played a subpar game.

Tomorrow is a critical day. Final round-robin games in the morning, after which the top teams start the single-elimination playoff rounds.

By the end of the day, only four teams will be left standing.

If the Devil Dogs win their last round-robin game, they’ll be in the playoffs at 3-1. If they lose, they’ll be 2-2 and could still get a low playoff seed, but it will be a close call . . .


NARCh 2011 – Day 1

20 Jul 2011 /

Devil Dogs 5, MKS (Colombia) 1

The Devil Dogs played their first round-robin game today.

Latin American roller hockey teams typically have a) raucous supporters, b) kids who look suspiciously old for their age, and c) an up-tempo style of play like they’re jacked up on coke, which they probably are.

The first time you see this, you say to yourself, or to someone sitting next to you, “There’s no way they can play at that speed the whole game. They’ll wear themselves out.”

But sure enough, they do play that speed the whole game.

Having said that, the MKS kids all looked age-appropriate, and while they had some fast players, they didn’t maintain the non-stop, end-to-end pace that I expected.


Lasts

26 May 2011 /

My kid plays his last high school hockey game(s) tonight — semis at 7, finals (maybe) around 9.


Predators 4, Ducks 1

13 Apr 2011 /
Pregame warmup

Who will hoist Lord Stanley’s cup?

Not the Ducks, if they don’t play better than they did tonight . . .


Trying Out for Basketball

23 Jan 2011 /

My boy tried out for varsity basketball at Northwood this year. He likes basketball, but he’s never played on a team before.

He plays roller hockey at a pretty high level, and if you break it down to fundamentals, basketball and hockey are pretty similar: you score goals at one end, defend the goal at the other end, and play together as a team.

He practiced a lot and worked out a lot and he made the squad.

I’m proud of him for trying out. When I was a high schooler, I could easily talk myself out of trying anything where I had a good chance of embarrassing myself in front of my peers.

Northwood vs Irvine


NARCh Wrapup

1 Aug 2010 /
Drop the Puck

As expected, Mission Black Ice 93 and the Mississauga Mission Rattlers reached the Bantam Platinum finals, with Black Ice winning 4-3.

The Colorado Kodiaks won the bronze medal, which you could think of as the gold medal for the rest of the field, because no one was in the same class as the Rattlers or Black Ice.

My son’s team, Revision Devil Dogs, had a killer draw: three of their four round-robin games were against the three medal-winning teams. They tied the Kodiaks and lost the other two.

Had they been able to beat the Kodiaks — and the Kodiaks’ goalie made a tough save at the final horn — the Devil Dogs would have advanced to the playoff round and the Kodiaks would have been ousted.

Final thoughts

In a way, I’d like my son to win every tournament he plays because I want him to be happy, but in another way, I don’t really care about winning at all. It’s not the important thing.

If it was, the right thing to do would have been to play Gold instead of Platinum, but by doing that, the team would never really know how good they are.

I’m proud of the boys for having the heart to play against the best teams, even if it meant going home without the medal they might have won playing Gold.

All of the kids have been playing hockey long enough. They have lots of medals.

To me, it doesn’t make sense to stop trying to get better just to pick up one more medal.


Happy 17th Birthday

28 Jul 2010 /

My son turned 17 today at the NARCh tournament in San Jose and he went with his teammates to Applebee’s for dinner.

The boys know that he doesn’t like to be the center of attention for things like having “Happy Birthday” sung for him in a restaurant so I’m sure they made every effort to prevent that from happening . . .


NARCh – Day 2

28 Jul 2010 /

Two more round-robin games on Day 2 . . .

Game 3 – Mississauga Mission Rattlers

Remember when I said Mission Black Ice is the best 16-and-under team I’ve ever seen? I may have spoken too soon on that.

I’ll be shocked if the Rattlers and Black Ice don’t face each other in the final to find out which team is really the best in the universe.

The Devil Dog goalie was great yesterday but not today. He gave up eight goals, should have stopped about five of them, but didn’t get much help from his teammates either.

Final Score: Rattlers 8, Devil Dogs 0. Ouch.

 

Game 4 – Colorado Dynamite

Both teams came into the game with a good chance of slipping in to the playoff round as the fifth and final seed with a victory.

It was a very even game — too even. The game ended in a tie, which eliminated both teams from the tournament.

Final Score: Devil Dogs 3, Dynamite 3

 

Day 2 Wrapup

I thought the boys did great for their first time playing Platinum at the NARCh level.

They’re not ready to win it yet but they I think they showed that they belong, and they got a chance to see what it takes to be the best in the land at their sport.

As a team, there are things that they need to improve on and individually, they need to get stronger and faster.

There are two teams — Black Ice and Mississauga Rattlers — that look clearly better than any other team in the 16-and-under age group. Unfortunately, the luck of the draw had the Devil Dogs playing both of them in round-robin games.

Except for those two teams, it looked like the Dogs could compete with anyone. They were one goal away from making the playoff round, had they been able to win one of the two games they tied.

 

I really enjoyed watching the kids play this season.

Casey’s been teammates with most of these kids for three years now. They’ve improved as players from A to AA and now AAA.

A couple of kids who as recently as last year were the poster boys for not having your head in the game — on or off the rink — have actually developed some leadership qualities, so they’ve improved at things other than hockey as well.

That’s it. See you next season . . .


NARCh – Day 1

28 Jul 2010 /

The Devil Dogs played two round-robin games on Day 1 . . .

Game 1 – Mission Black Ice 93

Black Ice is from New York. They’re a great team. Best 16-and-under team I’ve ever seen. In fact, they’re better than any 18-and-under team I’ve ever seen. What a juggernaut!

The Devil Dog kids looked nervous. They looked tight. They didn’t handle the puck cleanly.

Black Ice was ahead 3-0 after the first period. The Dogs tightened things up and played a scoreless second period.

I wanted to say something encouraging to my boy after the game. “You played them even the second period,” I said.

“No we didn’t,” he replied.

“Well . . . on the scoreboard you did.”

Final Score: Black Ice 3, Devil Dogs 0

 

Game 2 – Colorado Kodiaks

The Dogs matched up better physically with the Kodiaks than with Black Ice although the Kodiaks also had some incredibly fast players.

The Kodiaks went ahead 2-1 with about three minutes left in the game when a player tipped in a shot in front of the net.

The shot was high. Sean, the Devil Dog goalie, thought it was too high — you’re not allowed to tip a shot that’s above the crossbar — but the referee disagreed.

Sean was mad. He took a swing at the puck like he wanted to fling it into outer space, whiffed it, and smacked the referee in the foot.

Normally when you smack a referee with your stick, you’re going to get a penalty. The ref stared at him for a long time, told him to calm down, but didn’t call the penalty.

Thanks, ref!

A couple of minutes later, with less than a minute left in the game, the Dogs scored a late goal to tie the game.

Final Score: Devil Dogs 2, Kodiaks 2

 

Day 1 Wrapup

Black Ice played their second game against The Gong Show, the best team in Northern California. Black Ice won 10-2.

The Kodiaks played their second game against another California team, Mission Axiom, winning 6-1.

The Devil Dogs are playing Platinum for the first time and didn’t get a lot of respect in the draw.

Based on Day 1 results, it looks like the best teams in the division are Black Ice, Kodiaks and Mississauga Mission Rattlers. The Dogs played two of those teams already and their next game is against the Rattlers.

I think the Dogs are pretty obviously better than The Gong Show and Mission Axiom, but they’re not going to play either of those teams.

They should make the playoff round if they win their final two round robin games but that is not going to be easy . . .


A Bad Start

27 Jul 2010 /

The tournament is off to a bad start and the boys haven’t even taken the rink yet.

One boy showed up yesterday with a 103 fever. I’m hearing this morning that his parents took him to urgent care. Nobody knows right now if he’s going to be able to play.

Hang on, it gets worse.

I don’t know who knows it yet but another boy went home late last night. His mom, who wasn’t at the tournament, died in her sleep. She wasn’t the healthiest person but she was about the same age as I am and wasn’t expected to die.

I heard about it this morning from one of the other dads, who’s a friend of their family. He heard about it last night when the boy’s dad woke him up with a phone call.

My son doesn’t know about it yet. He’s still asleep.

I’m trying to think if any of his friends have lost a parent before. I can’t think of anyone.

I wish my wife was here. She’s 10 times better than me at dealing with people and situations. She’d do and say the right things without even having to think about it.

What a shock. Rest in peace.


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