The Absolute Best Hockey Instructor on the Planet: Dusan Kralik’s Creative Hockey development


I just signed up my middle and only child who plays hockey for March break hockey camp with the absolute best hockey instructor on the planet, Dusan Kralik, and his Creative Hockey Development program.

My son, you see, is entering his 3rd year in organized hockey, his 4th year skating at all, and all of his improvements have been due to his desire to get better (certainly not to my pushing him) and because Dusan is an amazing human being.

Dusan, has a very lengthy background in hockey, and he would have been a fantastic pro player if it wasn’t for injuries.

Instead of moving past hockey, Dusan moved to Canada from his native Slovakia and wound up playing on my ball-hockey team where we won a whole bunch of championships.  Playing with one healthy hip, Dusan was magical in the arena, and when I finally got to see him on the ice, I was in awe.

He’s incredibly talented, unbelievably gifted, and he’s trained many, many current NHL players whom you might have heard about – Subban, Tavares, the Tanev brothers, just to name a few.  In fact this past April, he trained Conor McDavid prior to the World Cup.

If he can train them, he can train my son.

Dusan is not just an on-ice genius, as he has presented at International Coaching Symposiums, has had many a conversation with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, and each summer he travels to Carolina to train the Carolina Hurricanes prospects.

Dusan, is a future GM in the NHL, so it’s best to get him while he’s still training!  Dusan travels worldwide to train – I know he trained the Israeli Hockey team, as well as the men’s and woman’s hockey teams for Seneca College.

His website is under construction, but I strongly recommend you follow him on Facebook, here; https://www.facebook.com/CreativeHockeyDevelopment/

If I’m lucky, he’ll let me assist at the camp as I did last year with some of the coaching (not on ice), or I’ll just look forward to watching the expert work his magic with a bunch of wide-eyed kids.

 

This is GREAT! Now only if I could add more hours in the day…


All things being considered, the past week was a pretty darn good one for The Urban Daddy.

He has the WWE Network.

He found Impact Wrestling.

He gained 8 points in his hockey pool.

 

The only problem is that there is not enough hours in the day for all of these “events”.

 

I showed my kids the WWE Network and they cannot quite understand the concept of 24/7.

“Every time I turn to that channel, there is wrestling on…”  Yup.  For the kids that means they get to see all the wrestler I have been talking about for years, and they get to see the wrestlers who belong to the wrestling figures they play with.

For me, it means no more reality TV when I morph into The Urban Daddy at night time.  No more Kardashians, no more Honey Boo Boo, nothing to do with fixing household problems, no more cooking competitions, and no more I can’t believe I was… (pregnant / fat / thin / dead / an alien / a boy / a girl…)

As the Miz would say, “Quiet on the set.  Quiet on the set!”  AWESOME!

 

As for Impact wrestling, at the start of the new year (2015) Impact left Spike and headed off to nowhere land with a Canadian World Champion and other Canucks on the roster without a TV deal for us Canadians.  More importantly, Impact has FINALLY ditched the “TNA” part of their name (Total Non-stop Action) and the most important change was the removal of their terrible announce team!  I’m okay with Taz, and Josh Matthews will grow into the role, but I hated the old announcer whose name thankfully escapes me.

Now I found out that Impact has set up a Canadian-only link so we can view their shows.  The link is here:

http://www.impactwrestling.com/videos/Canada

I’m watching their most recent show now!  It’s apparently updated Saturday mornings at 10am.

YAY!

 

And finally, I’m out of last place in my hockey pool, thanks for some key players who have gotten hot (Kris Letang, Alex Barkov, Wayne Simmonds, to name a few).  I’d be much higher than 10th out of 15 teams if I had selected better goaltenders.  I chose the Edmonton Oiler goalies, who remind me of that old joke out of Detroit when the Red Wings had a struggling Chris Osgood and Mike Vernon as their backstoppers.  The comment was that the Wings were going to play Osgood or No-good, and the Oilers goalies have me so far in dead last in all goalie categories that my other 2 goalies, Robin Lehner in Ottawa and Kari Ramo in Calgary cannot help me out of.

I need a goalie.

Other teams want all my good players for little in return because they know I’m ready to shed salary, but I’m waiting for a really good return so I can make up some group this year and have the best group ready for next year.

 

So, who needs sleep?

WWE, Impact, and all the west coast hockey games…

Awesome!!

What Is In Your Child’s Hockey Bag?


I’m new to the concept of being a “hockey parent”.

A year ago my son could not even skate, and today he’s in a Learn To Play hockey league and he’s doing just fine, thank you very much.  For a child who doesn’t like to watch hockey, or know much about the sport, he has become the complete opposite of me, who was a diehard hockey fan, but never played the sport.

Growing up in the Great White North, I never really learned to skate and I never played ice hockey as one would expect every Canadian man, woman and child would have.  At all.  No organized hockey, no shiny, I’m not sure if I was even on ice with a stick and puck more than once or twice in my entire life until I turned 20 and decided to help coach a kids ice hockey team (at 5am and 6am on Sunday mornings).

I helped teach the kids to be better hockey players – skill-wise, understanding the game and reminding them to be nice on the ice and not to play dirty or take short-cuts, and they taught me to skate.  I had taken and completed my level-one Coaching Theory Certification for a Canadian Coaching Certification, and I liked the coaching which I did for 6 years until other things came along.

Fast forward to the children, and to my chagrin, my kids never took an interest in the sport so I was off the hook… Until last year.

Now, we happily take him to his practice / game and he loves it. (Although I still can’t get him to watch hockey on TV, or to call he puck a puck and not a ball).

But over the last couple of weeks he’s forgotten things in his hockey bag – neck guard one week, then his hockey pants the following week – so I made him write down the contents of his bag so he won’t forget anything  from now on, and this is what I got:

Top of the page “Hockey”

Underneath the title started the list;

“helmet”

“Jersey”

“Neck g” (guard?!?)

“Chest pad” (Looks like it was a chess pad first)

“Skates”

“Jok” (giggle – Jock)

“Socks”

“elbow p”

“leg Protect” (or shin pads)

“gloves”

“pants”

Nice!

I added the water bottle, towel, skate towel, and pj’s to wear underneath).  I also told him for the umpteenth time that in Grade 3 we had to pick French names for French class, and since my name, Warren, doesn’t really have a cool French name, I wanted “Guy” for Guy Lafleur, but my best friend – a HUGE Canadiens fan – chose Guy so I got Jacques.  Jacques Strappe was name French name for the next 2 years… UGH.

Oh, and he scored last game.  Could not have been more proud!  Of him and for him.

#3

Nowhere To Go But Up: ESPN Ranks The Toronto Maple Leafs the worst sports franchise in North America


ESPN The Magazine has released its “Ultimate Standings” for 2014, ranking sports franchises in Major League Baseball (MLB), The National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL) and the National Hockey League (NHL) according to a variety of categories and in a couple of them, the Toronto Maple Leafs ranked dead last at 122, and fared poorly in most of the rest of them.  Great.

To come up with these rankings, ESPN took the following steps:

First: Consulting firm Maddock Douglas surveyed 1,002 North American fans to form 25 criteria for what you want most in return for the emotion, money and time you invest in the 122 MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL teams.

Second: Teaming with NetReflector, an opinion research firm, ESPN.com asked fans to rate their home teams in each area and more than 101,000 did.  They grouped grades into the categories listed below.

Third: In order to determine the “Bank for the Buck” calculation, ESPN.com used calculations developed with Oregon’s Warsaw Sports Marketing Center to figure how well teams turn fans’ money into wins.  Then they combined each team’s score across all categories into a weighted average.

The Categories, plus the highest ranked team and the lowest ranked team.

Affordability
Price of tickets, parking and concessions
1. Memphis Grizzlies (NBA)
122.  Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

Coaching:
Strength of on-field leadership
1. San Antonio Spurs (NBA)
122. Florida Panthers (NHL)

Fan Relations
Courtesy by players, coaches and front offices toward fans, and how well a team uses technology to reach them
1. San Antonio Spurs
122. New York Knicks

Ownership
Honesty; loyalty to core players and the community
1. San Antonio Spurs
122. Florida Marlins (MLB)

Players
Effort on the field, likability off it
1. San Antonio Spurs
122. NY Knicks

Stadium experience
Quality of venue; fan-friendliness of environment; frequency of game-day promotions
1. San Francisco Giants (MLB)
122. NY Islanders (NHL)

Bang for the Buck
Wins in the past year, per fan dollars
1. Indiana Pacers (NBA)
122. Toronto Maple Leafs

Title track
Championships won or expected within the lifetime of current fans
1. St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)
122. Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA)

A review of the ESPN website revealed that The Leafs fared poorly in every category. They placed last in both bang for the buck and affordability; second-last in title track; in the bottom 10 in fan relations, players and coaching; and 105th and 109th in ownership and stadium experience, respectively.

Possibly because this was done by ESPN and the majority of the respondents came from the US, all Canadian teams fared poorly in their rankings with the exception of the Montreal Canadians who appeared in the top half of the list. Here are the rest of the seven teams’ rankings at 55 out of 122.

The other Canadian teams ranked as follows;

Toronto Raptors – 74

Toronto Blue Jays – 81

Calgary Flames — 89

Ottawa Senators — 92

Winnipeg Jets — 97

Vancouver Canucks — 112

Edmonton Oilers — 115

 

The last 2 teams were the New York Knicks at 121 and the Toronto Maple Leafs at 122.

At least at last there is nowhere to go but up.  At 121, the Knicks could drop.

It was a deja vu on Friday… First cat pee, then rotten fish and chicken. UGH.


I knew Friday night that it was deja vu all over again.

Déjà vu is the experience of feeling sure that one has already witnessed or experienced a current situation, even though the exact circumstances of the prior encounter are uncertain and were perhaps imagined

Here was how I arrived at that situation, beginning with my Friday evening, when I went to see the Toronto Rock lacrosse game at 7:30pm at the Air Canada Centre, arriving home by 10:30pm, or just in enough time to go to hockey.  The plan was for me to race home,grab my hockey bag, pick up my buddy and head over to play some ball-hockey.  I’ve been playing in ball-hockey leagues for over 20 years, so I have done this before, but this was the first game after a lacrosse game and I had the subway to keep in mind as I travelled from downtown to mid-town Toronto. 

 Planning in advance, I brought up my bag from the basement and placed it on the coffee table in the family room, but I already knew something was wrong when I started to look inside for my required equipment.  Something that happened to me before, a long time ago was happening again.

Some background to put this story into context:  

When my wife and I got engaged, I moved in to her condo with her and her 3 cats.  The oldest one of these cats, the queen, was not very fond of change, nor did she particularly like anyone who took away her sleeping spot on the bed – so me.  She wouldn’t hiss or growl, but instead let out a long “MEOWWWWWWW” and with that she thought she was speaking English and those words were not kind at all.  In hindsight, they were probably threats.

Anyways, this cat showed us her displeasure after my second day living there when she emptied her bladder on urban mummy’s shoes which were sitting at the front door.  This was no accident.  It was a targeted attack because from that day forward, whenever we left shoes out at night, they were attacked.  All the while I suspect she was planning the biggest attack for me.  

One day I grabbed my hockey bag from the laundry room – or the front hall – I do not recall, and there was a foul smell and my bag was dripping.  I suspected that my water bottle had tipped over and I had forgotten to close it, since this had happened before.

I loaded my stuff in the car and raced over to the arena.  I arrived in the change room and proceeded to unload my equipment when the guy sitting beside me started to sneeze like crazy. 

He spun to me and asked me if I had cats. 

“Yes”, I replied, my wife does, “why?”

“I’m deathly allergic”, he said, “and my eyes are red now so I have to move to the other side of the room… Sorry” and with that, up he got and away he walked.

I then proceeded to take out my equipment and it was all wet.  My jersey, wet.  My towel, soaked, my socks, wet, jock, wet, gloves, wet… It was going to be a rough game since all my stuff was wet but my team needed me to play.

It was only once I was completed dressed when I looked back into my bag and noticed that the “water” that had spilled from my bottle was in fact yellow in colour…

BING.

The coin dropped.

The light went on.

The elevator hit the top floor.

That #$&#%$&$%&% cat peed in my hockey bag and now I’m fully dressed and about to play in urine. 

Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

But my team needed me and I had to go out so I sucked it up for the team and played.

Fast forward to Friday night.

All three of those cats have since passed on and we have a newish cat who is not a very nice cat but he has never peed on anyone’s clothes.  There was a different issue at play here.

On Wednesday, my wife noticed that our standing freezer in the basement had turned off and fully defrosted, thawing everything that was inside of it including 9 giant salmon heads which I picked up for our nanny to feed her Thursday play group.  The melted ice, and blood and goop from the fish, and chickens which thawed leaked all over the floor in the storage room, and sitting on the floor in that room was, you guessed it, my hockey bag.

Now I’m not sure if that crap got sucked into the back through the bottom or if someone dropped a towel inside but this bag smelled horrid and was not only wet, but it was sticky. 

I removed a lot of the stuff that I did not need to play and I left it in the laundry room, but this team also needed me Friday night and I thought how bad could it be compared to cat pee.

Let me tell you… It was worse.

I got to the arena, changed and very reluctantly put on some very wet, very smelly equipment.  As I slid my hands into the gloves, not only were they wet, but they were slimy and for a good 10 minutes while warming up, I could not hold my stick and my gloves were always sliding off.  I even tried rubbing my hands in the faces of my opponents to see if it would deter them from destroying us, but it didn’t.

I was the stinky guy, but very much unlike the stinky guy who never cleans his equipment or washes his clothes.  I was the stinky guy covered in rotting food who squished too.  It was so bad, I could not even place my head down on the bench for fear that I would catch a whiff of my own jersey.

On the bright side, we only lost 10-1.

I raced home, showered a VERY long and very hot shower and ran all my equipment and hockey bag through the wash twice with a lot of soap.

Tonight, I have another game and before that game I intend on washing my stick, mouth guard, helmet and water bottle.

UGH.

It was deja vu of the worst kind.

I told this story to my wife and she said in both instances she would NOT have played.  In both cases my team needed me.

Would you have played?  Would it change your decision if you knew your team needed you there and playing? 

meowwwwwww