Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Comprehensive beginners' introduction to MY culture

Dear reader,
Until now, I have somewhat neglected my duties as an Ambassador! I should be representing MY hockey culture and way of life to those who are reading this blog. I have found the perfect video to introduce an absolute hockey beginner to hockey culture, Canadian hockey culture, Canadian culture, and Ottawa hockey culture...MY culture.
Here is a list of the words and phrases that will help you in understanding the video. Please watch carefully and look up any terms you don't understand online (maybe wikipedia would help). I think this video and vocabulary could serve as anyone's introduction to the culture I know and love.
The Hockey Ambassador

Ottawa - Birthplace of the Stanley Cup

Rideau River

Lord Stanley

Stanley Cup

80 years ago


Senators Fans

HNIC (Hockey Night in Canada)

HNIC Music - Theme

1992 - Senators Reborn

Don Cherry - Don Cherry's suits, Don Cherry's straight talk

Ron McLean




Rock 'em Sock 'em


Oh Canada

Oh Canada in French

Playoff Beards

The Maple Leaf and the Canadian flag

1927 - last win over Boston 3:1


Face Off

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Discovered Hockey Archive Footage Online

Yesterday I was reading D'Arcy Jenish's great history of the Montreal Canadiens, "The Montreal Canadiens: 100 Years of Glory" (you can expect a book review when I'm finished, but so far I'm really enjoying it). I got the part when in 1945 during a playoff match between the Canadiens and the Leafs, Maurice "Rocket" Richard scored a dramatic winning goal and fans got so excited they threw everything they could find on the ice: hats, pennies, fruit, bottles, programmes and even something called toe rubbers (I've looked it up and they're rubber casings people used to put over their shoes to protect them in the winter snow and slush).

I started thinking how amazing it would have been to have been there when Maurice Richard scored that goal; to have heard the cheers, seen the chaos on the ice, smelled the smoke and booze of the Forum at that time, ducked those toe rubbers... So I thought I'd have a look and see if there was any footage of hockey at that time. Though I didn't have much luck on youtube, I discovered a wonderful cache of archive hockey footage on the CBC Archives site.

The site is run by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and funded by the Canadian government. It contains a huge number of radio, television, text and photographic archives of Canada's political, cultural and sports history. In the sports section, there is an entire site dedicated to hockey.

Sadly, I couldn't find the desired Rocket footage, because the CBC only began to televise hockey games in 1952, just a few years after that crazy night.

However, I was able to watch other great footage of Richard from the era and listened to some great radio interviews, including one with Gretzky, Richard and Gretzky's dad on him scoring 50 goals in 39 games.

The CBC Archive footage is available over internet anywhere in the world, so please check it out http://archives.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/

Thursday, 2 July 2009

S- PUCK - tacular!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For any hockey fan this period that encloses July to October is what I could call limbo. It’s not happy nor sad, it is just there. NHL is over, Basketball is over, Football is also over, and we are left with things like golf and tennis to entertain our sports time on TV. Of course one could also re-watch all the passed games, but lets talk about it, watching old games just puts me puts me on the mood for new ones which on be here before October. So NHL is over, Pittsburg Penguin won the cup, and for my dear Senators we were left with the hope, of maybe next year.

Everything seemed calm and settled, until today, when I had the unexpected visit, one to make any hockey fan green of envy.

I had two NHLers over for some drink. Two of the greatest Calgary Flames players: Perry Berezan and Colin Petterson, they were here, on my living room, drinking my beer, laughing at my jokes, and I had, for a couple of hours, the honor of having the glorious Stanley Cup ring on my middle finger. The ring is huge, magnificent, and HEAVY! I think that most of its weight has to do with the effort and the amount of soul that was dedicated to the games that led to victory. I must confess that it was very difficult to give the ring back to its owner, although I know that you must deserve one of those, you must battle for it on the ice. I was left with a picture of it and some great memories of the visit, plus new friendships, the guys are really great: very charismatic, down-to-earth people with a lot in common with me, especially when the subject is Hockey.

Just more prove that the guys are awesome, not that they need any... but they can serve as an example, they have just come from a trip to Afghanistan, where they went to visit the Canadian army camp, and play a little hockey with the soldiers. I know it does not sound much, but if you had been in Afghanistan like those guys are, you would know that it means everything to know that some of your idols care about the job that you are doing, they care to the point that they go there and visit you. Great guys these two.

I would also like to use this posting to make a public thank you note to Perry and Colin for all the memorabilia, and the care that you guys presented me with.
Thank you guys, you are the best!!!!!!!

This is Nicholas Wright posting from the Embassy of Hockey in London