Meet Frank Corrado.
He’s all smiles here after a big win back in January with the Kitchener Rangers (OHL). Frank had just been traded from the Sudbury Wolves, a smaller market team from the league’s opposing conference.
Outside the Rangers dressing room, Frank showed me something I have yet to be seen replicated by another hockey player – a Twitter-handled stick. Look closely and you’ll see @frankcorrado22 engraved on the shaft.
If his impressive stats weren’t already memorable enough (18PTS, +21 in 28GP for Kitchener) or his skill on the guitar (yes he can strum a few chords), I definitely won’t forget Frank and that stick.
Four months after this photo was taken, the 20-year old defenceman made his NHL debut and went on to suit up for the Vancouver Canucks in their opening playoff series. Here’s what he had to say about achieving his lifelong dream:
Q: You’ve been from the OHL, to the AHL, to the NHL in only a few short weeks … tell me about how much of a whirlwind this past month has been for you?
A: It’s been such a crazy month. It’s hard to imagine that you could be playing in the NHL playoffs when you’re playing junior, and to get the opportunity was a dream come true. There’s been a lot of travel and new faces but it’s been the time of my life.
Q: You said you always dreamed of playing on Hockey Night in Canada as a kid, what was it like to finally realize that dream?
A: It was surreal. I never missed a Saturday night game on HNIC, so it was truly special to be playing on the broadcast that I grew up watching and loving. The trainer Mike Burnstein even gave me the HNIC towel, what a great touch, everyone sees them during the interviews so it’s a nice gesture and I’ll always have that to remember it by.
Q: Describe your first NHL playoff game/series – how surreal was it?
A: It was very intense. These guys just want to win and it shows. This [the Cup] is what everyone plays for and it’s what you dream of winning. Its tough to soak it all in right away but I’m sure I’ll look back this summer and really appreciate how great the opportunity was.
Q: In 2011 the Canucks selected you in the fifth round, 150th overall, did you anticipate making the jump to the NHL so quickly?
A: I really didn’t. I just try to take it day-by-day and work hard and do the right things to get to the next level. To get the opportunity so quick is very satisfying, it feels like hard work is paying off. It’s never over though, you always have to keep pushing harder and working harder to stay at the NHL level and that’s my philosophy and it won’t change going forward.
Q: What’s been your “welcome to the NHL” moment?
A: They’re all NHL moments. Being here is a huge eye opener. The way you get treated in the NHL and especially with the Canucks is second to none. They really take care of their players and it makes you more comfortable. Being in battles with NHL players is a great feeling and seeing the huge crowds definitely gets you going.
Q: You started the 2012/13 season playing for the Sudbury Wolves in small town Northern Ontario, in a rink with an infamous stuffed wolf hanging from the rafters. Fast forward to the end of the season and you finished playing in front of a sold out crowd at the HP Pavilion in California … are you still wrapping your head around that?
A: Its starting to sink in. Sudbury was such a great place to play and I’ll never forget my time there. It’s where I grew so much as a person and player and I will always call it my second home. A lot of former Wolves are in the NHL now and it shows that playing in that city , there’s a great opportunity to play in the NHL.
by Tieja MacLaughlin (@Tieja_Mac)
Inspired by Sportsnet Friday Night Hockey columnist Patrick King (@SNPatrickKing), I went ahead and devised my own list of award winners from within the Canadian Hockey League. The categories, slightly varied in nature from Mr. King’s, have little to no relevance…but I hope at the very least, they provide you with a laugh!
Here are my top 10 newsmakers from the first half of the 2012-13 season:
1. Best hair - Kevin Raine (@makeitraine20)
London Knights’ defenceman Kevin Raine. Yeah, it’s hard to compete with that…
2. Best tweeter - Griffin Reinhart (@GriffinReinhart)
3. Best fight – Mark McNeill vs Mathew Dumba – Oct 2 2012
4. Best celly – Sam Mckechnie (@sammck12) and Brady Ramsay (@bramsay12)
Looks like Sam Mckechnie and Brady Ramsay were on the same page at the Lethbridge Hurricanes’ annual Teddy Bear Toss game.
5. Best dressed - JT Barnett (@JtBarnettAZDK)
Arizona native and Kelowna Rockets forward JT Barnett is always one step ahead of the fashion game. And his stylish threads aren’t all he’s known for, JT is also an electronic dance music producer.
6. Fan favourite - Nathan Mackinnon (@Mackinnon9)
Whether fans are dressing up as babies to taunt this 17-year old, or they’re praising him as the next Sidney Crosby, Nathan Mackinnon is turning heads with the powerhouse Halifax Mooseheads – one of the top ranked teams in the nation.
7. Celeb look alike - Justin Bailey as Rob Evans
Kitchener Rangers rookie forward Justin Bailey may just be the younger version of male supermodel Rob Evans.
8. Hockey mom of the year - Karen Sylvester-Ceci (@67sHockeyMom)
Mom to Ottawa 67′s defenceman Cody Ceci, Mrs. Ceci certainly doesn’t shy away from showing support of her three hockey playing sons. Without a doubt the largest entourage at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the Ceci family in their barber poles colours, cheered on as Cody was selected 15th overall by the Ottawa Senators. There’s no love like the love of a hockey mom!
9. Best name - Storm Phaneuf
The league’s most unique name comes from this Blainville-Boisbriand Armada netminder.
10. Best pet - Tempelton James Rychel
Tempelton James Rychel is the most recognized kitty on Instagram. Kerby Rychel (@Krychs) – the owner of this fluffy feline – is a top prospect eligible for this year’s NHL draft.
The NHL and the Players’ Association announced today that federal mediators would help in the formation of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
I’d say this is one of the rare positives that have come out of the lockout negotiations. It’s clear both sides cannot come together and find a resolution. If a mediating group cannot help end the lockout – nothing will. The league can’t afford to push back the season much longer.
Let’s hope for an NHL season!
As we flip the month on our calendars over, November 1st appears to be just another regular day for many of us. However when it comes to hockey players, November may be one of the most anticipated months of the year.
November 1st marks the first official day of Movember – a campaign giving hockey players and men all around the world permission to grow goofy moustaches in an effort to raise funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer.
One of those eager moustache-growers is Montreal Canadiens prospect and current Hamilton Bulldogs right winger, Brendan Gallagher.
Gallagher – the former captain and all-time leading goal- and point- scorer for the Vancouver Giants – has taken a particularly special interest in this cause, as it hits close to home for him. In 2010, his Grandfather passed away as a result of Prostate Cancer, the most common type of cancer affecting men. It is in his memory that Gallagher has created his own Movemeber page.
“My Grandpa came over from Ireland as a young adult with no money to his name and worked very hard to eventually raise a family of five,” said Gallagher. “He had two girls and three boys, who all played competitive hockey.”
One of those three boys was Brendan’s father Ian, who also serves as the strength and conditioning coach for the Giants.
“My Grandpa was a very hard working honest man and it didn’t matter what he was doing he wanted to be at his best. My Grandpa Matt taught these things to my Dad; and they both taught me those lessons. Everyday I use them, whether I’m playing hockey or just living my day to day life.”
Last year Gallagher, a point-per-game player, presented a cheque for $7140 to the BC Prostate Cancer Association – a collective effort of pledges from friends, family, teammates and fans, in addition to his own donations.
Above and beyond the pledges this year, Gallagher himself has vowed to donate $250 for every Bulldogs win during the month of Novemeber and an additional $20 for every Giants win.
The significance of the $20? Well, there’s a bit of history behind that.
“One of my fondest memories growing up playing minor hockey was seeing my Grandpa in the stands at almost every game,” said Gallagher. “Afterwards he would be waiting and I would run over to him. Every game, win or lose, he had 20 dollars for me.”
Bearing an ear-to-ear grin, Gallagher’s high-energy and heart-on-his-sleeve style of play makes him an endearing athlete to cheer for. At 5-foot-9 and 182 lbs, he plays nearly twice his size with a positive attitude that inspires all of those around him.
“When my Grandpa passed away my Dad told me one thing that I will never forget. He said, “You may not be able to talk to your Grandpa again, but he will still live on in the way you live your day-to-day life using the lessons he has taught you.”‘
Gallagher brought that wisdom with him when he suited up for Team Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championships between Edmonton and Calgary Alberta, an event he wished he could have seen his Grandfather – an Edmonton native – attend.
“We always talked about that tournament and I know he would have loved the experience,” said Gallagher, who went on to win a bronze medal. “But in a way he was there because of the life lessons he taught me to get to that point.”
With the inspiration of his Grandfather’s memorable words, Gallagher cracked a spot on the Canadiens affiliate roster this season. He recorded his first professional point last month – an assist on a Blake Geoffrion goal – in a game the Bulldogs went on to win in a shootout.
As an exciting young prospect, you can watch Gallagher on home ice at the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton. To track his mo-progress or to donate, you can visit: http://bit.ly/QacK5l
My roommates and I dress as locked out NHL players for Halloween last night. At this point we can only poke fun at the situation and hope the owners and players attempt to meet and salvage some of the season.
Meet Brett Beebe…the Chris Hemsworth’y’ guy on the left over there. He’s just your average California surfer kid playing NCAA Division I hockey and winning CCHA Championships.
Wait, what? That doesn’t sound right – a Southern Cali kid in skates?!
Actually, Brett – the Western Michigan senior from Redondo Beach – is anything but average.
Picking up a winter sport in the winterless state of sun, sand and surf isn’t all that sets him apart though, so too does his character. A kind-hearted and well-spoken “jock”, the 22 year-old has been through one battle that no one should ever have to experience.
Brett’s mother passed away this summer following a two and a half year bout with breast cancer. Without a doubt his biggest fan, she proudly filled the role of number one hockey mom. Mrs. Beebe, albeit new to the job coming from a family with no hockey background, was never shy in sharing the enthusiasm her son had for the game.
She touched many lives as both a teacher and a friend, which wasn’t difficult to see at a funeral service that saw 3,000 people flood the local church to capacity. Her passion for life was infectious, as Brett best remembers.
“The one thing I will never forget is the last time we spoke to each other. She had started to fade in and out of consciousness and could barely recognize people when they walked in her bedroom. I had never experienced anything like that before. I went up to her and grabbed her hand while her eyes were closed and said, ‘I love you mom.’ She opened her eyes so wide and said, ‘I love you too baby’ and gave me a hug. It brought the biggest closure to the situation I could have asked for. It was the last thing she said to me and it was something so simple we said to each other millions of times, but that was unbelievable.”
With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we see many teams lend their support in an all-pink game, to raise awareness. Brett’s personal campaign “Long Hair, Don’t Care” has raised over $25,000 to date and has had support from athletes such as Detroit Lions running back TJ Duckett and US Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson. There are also other stories of cancer survival within the hockey community including the mothers of Philadelphia Flyers Max Talbot and Adirondack Phantoms Jason Akeson.
Brett’s current and former teammates and their families have turned out in huge numbers along the way, including even those he’s only briefly laced up with. It’s a huge part of what makes the hockey community so special – the lifelong bonds that are formed.
“Hockey is by far the greatest sport in the world because of one thing, the journey. Every single hockey player has a dream of how his life will go and where he will end up along the way. Rarely does that road map ever take the exact routes players have plotted out, which is the beauty of the sport. Hockey players get to live in some cities they have probably never heard of and meet some amazing people along the way. No matter if you play for a team for one day or tens years, you know on the ice everyone has your back and you have theirs.”
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so let’s not kid ourselves. At some point, once we get past all the anger for this happening again, we’ll go back to watching hockey every night. In the meantime here are five developing sports storylines to help you get your fix:
5.The Young Quarterback Era:
Once dominated by older quarterbacks prone to dominating through experience, poise and the thinking of the game, focus has shifted in the NFL world. Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III…hell, you’ve got Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow on the same team (a debate for another day). These young, dynamic, pull you out of your seat quarterbacks are taking over. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss them.
4.The CHL Is Strengthened:
For those fans in a Major Junior hockey market, why not slide down to the arena and pay 75 bucks less then you would for an NHL ticket? Tons of these kids are going to be the ones you’re paying out the behind to see in 5 years, so get a head start.
3. The NBA Kicks Off:
October 30th marks the start of another year on the hardcourt. With the player movement over the off-season, fans can look forward to taking a gander at their new-look teams. Will Steve Nash finally grab his elusive NBA title with the Lakeshow?
2.The American Hockey League:
The last time the AHL welcomed this amount of NHL experience into it’s ranks, Jason Spezza ran away with the scoring title and turned into the player everyone expected him to be. Some people thumb their nose at AHL hockey…why? Sure the lights are a little dimmer and the players a little younger, but last time I checked the object of the game is still to put the biscuit in the basket.
1. MLB Showdown:
And then there were 3. With Detroit waiting to face the winner of the NLCS (St. Louis/San Francisco), fans are in for an ‘October Classic’ like no other. One of the coolest sub-storylines in this one is former Cardinal’s catcher Mike Mathena epitomizing the ‘player’s coach’ and managing his former team all the way into the end of October.
The news came out of nowhere. It was a normal Tuesday afternoon. We knew the players and owners were meeting in Toronto, but thought nothing of it because no progress was made in the last month. Then all of a sudden news started streaming out on Twitter that Gary Bettman and the owners made a new proposal that was highlighted by a 50/50 split in hockey related revenue (HRR). Also the schedule would still be 82 games and start November 2. Whoa, that came out of the blue.
When the news broke people thought hockey was back for sure. Everyone figured the players will accept the deal because of a split in HRR. However, that’s only a small part of the deal. So when players didn’t give a warm reception to the proposal, no one should have been surprised.
Tuesday was just a starting point and the good thing was that it was something. To that point nothing was happening. Now there is an opportunity for negotiating that can get the season started in about two weeks.
Fans should be excited by the news. Personally I miss not being able to watch hockey on a weekday night on NBC Sports Network. At the same time fans shouldn’t get too excited. There is still a lot for the players and owners to discuss and it will take some time for an agreement to be made. At least they have a talking point.
It sounds rather heroic – a straight-shooter like Dave Cameron saving a young reporter like me from the stranglehold of death.
Alright, it may not exactly have been that dramatic.
But it was courageous nonetheless.
It was a cold winter night. The kind of cold good for two things: snuggling up with your hunnie, or watching hockey. I was at the Kitchener Auditorium, for the latter of course. The IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) had staked out the facility for an exhibition game prior to the 2011 World Junior Championship in Buffalo, NY. Team Canada and Team Finland were slated for a pre-competition tune-up and I couldn’t miss it.
I arranged to collect interviews and compile a few features for a junior based website. This was particularly exciting for me, as it would be the first time my reporting was done on camera.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous. A good nervous though, more like butterflies in the stomach.
The game went on and the building was absolutely electric, probably the loudest I have ever heard it. Red and white decor, Canadian flags and noisemakers flooded the place.
Naturally, the victorious Canadian players and team staff were overwhelmed by media at the game’s end. I remember my first real experience in a ‘scrum’. The last time I was in a scrum was with my 9th grade rugby team. I didn’t know what to do. But I made it out alive.
I remember wanting to interview every single person, player, coach or staff affiliated with the team. This was so surreal to me, this was Team frickin’ Canada!
We must have been there forever, waning out the crowds. As we finished up with Team Canada, we decided to venture over to Finnish territory to catch-up with a few of their players.
Now, for everyone that is familiar with The Aud, you know that typically both the home and visiting teams are accessible on the same side of the arena.
But on this particular occasion, the visitors took a dressing area on the opposite side of the rink. Meaning we had to get to the other side. A pretty easy task, you would think.
Not the case.
I’m still unsure of who suggested it, but one of the fine gents I was working with thought it would be much easier to just cut across the ice as opposed to dodging all the intricate blockades and walking around the concourse. I mean, we had pretty much closed the place down – there were no fans in the stands, so why not?
Keep in mind this was my first on-screen gig, so I was dressed to the nine’s prepared to record my stand-up. I’m talking pant suit, kitten heels and camera-ready make-up and hair.
I latched on to my cameraman’s arm as we made our way across the ice. Now that the fans had left, the players had taken to the suites for a bite to eat and a meet-and-greet with their families. So we had a bit of an audience.
Inch by inch (in my heels) I made my way, I was rather proud of myself at how far I had gone without flinching. I got too confident.
I must have been three feet from the opposite boards; three feet from safety. Just as I took my next step I felt it, I was slipping.
Everything kind of went slow-mo from here. What was worse than the embarrassment of the situation was the legitimate fear that I could get seriously injured here. I was headed straight backwards, teed up for what I was only imagining to be my skull cracking against the sheet of ice.
I couldn’t pull the camera guy down with me; he was holding thousands of dollars worth of equipment. He valiantly tried to help me catch my footing, but it wasn’t happening…then up behind me came a set of helping hands.
As the anonymous man lifted me up, I swept my hair away from my face and I recognized him. I had fallen into the arms of Team Canada’s head coach, Dave Cameron. It was like a scene from a movie. Where had he even come from?!
He assisted me to the bench and assured I was OK. The guys were sharing a couple laughs. Me? I was stunned shocked.
We did find the Finnish players and I did finish my stand-up but my-oh-my, the most memorable moment was without a doubt Dave Cameron in his hero’s cape. Thanks Dave. I owe you.
Well it’s official folks, we’re locked out. But not to fret! NHL aside, there is still plenty of hockey action for us all to admire.
I’ve been covering junior for years; bogging down arenas since I was practically a toddler…and there’s some good stuff there, trust me.
Many fans don’t follow the Canadian Hockey League religiously, but granted this season I think we’ll find a few more mosey over. I’ve done you guys a favour to get you up to speed and educated on the league – I’ve compiled a short synopsis of each team, best described by song title.
Song Pop starts with the OHL’s Western Conference.
London Knights – Power by Kayne West
It starts with the Hunters, the ex-NHL’er team owners. They want to win. Period.
Plymouth Whalers – My Time is Now by John Cena & Tha Trademarc
Yup, I chose a WWF wrestling song. Dig it. These guys have been on the brink of greatness for the past couple seasons. With big name NHL draft picks in Tom Wilson (Washington), Rickard Rackell (Anaheim) and Stefan Noesen (Ottawa), this is poised to be their year.
Kitchener Rangers – You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC
The city of Kitchener is blue collar. So is it’s hockey club. They’re known for being one of the hardest working teams in the league. Agnus Young rocks one hell of a concert and these boys rock one hell of a game at the Kitchener Aud.
Sarnia Sting – Wanna Get to Know You by G Unit
Everyone knew frontman 50 Cent was going to be the most successful member of G Unit, like Beyonce was to Destiny’s Child. That’s kind of how the Sting sell themselves – they market one big-name, kick ass player. That player was most recently Nail Yakupov and prior to that they had Steven Stamkos. Now that Yaku is gone to the bigs, I want to get to know the guy that steps into that star role.
Saginaw Spirit – Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen
Standard song for a standard team. Does anyone really even know why there are American teams in the CHL anyways?
Owen Sound Attack – I’m Bringing Sexy Back by Justin Timberlake
When the Attack won the OHL Championship in 2010-11, they were welcomed home by their fans with a wicked parade/party. They want to bring that sexy party back. Plus I’ll bet the ladies think Buffalo Sabres prospect Daniel Catenacci is single handedly bringing sexy back. Wait, what…?
Guelph Storm – Take a Little Ride by Jason Aldean
Guelph is a mid-sized city nestled among rural area. The Storm dressing room plays a constant stream of country jams, so it would be no surprise to hear a little Jason Aldean in there. It should be interesting to see where the team goes this season with six drafted players, mixed with young guns like Jason Dickinson.
Windsor Spitfires – Mo Money, Mo Problems by Biggie Smalls
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds - Small Towns and Big Dreams by Paul Brandt
Bad headlines this off-season, but the fightin’ Hounds handled their business with good PR as usual and continue to make strides on the ice. Hockey runs in the Dubas blood.
Erie Otters – Sparks Fly by Taylor Swift
They deserve a cute song. They’ve got a couple spark plugs in Stephen Harper and Connor McDavid, who are on the draft watch. McDavid was granted exceptional status to play in the league and is already a high projected pick for the 2015 NHL draft.