Archive

Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Jeju Cup scores big, puts hockey on the map in Jeju, South Korea

July 25, 2014 Leave a comment

faceoff

Photo credit: Douglas Macdonald

I think we might have made hockey a thing on Jeju Island.

The Inaugural Jeju Cup was a stunning success. We amazingly met our fundraising goal of 1,000,000 KRW to benefit the Jeju Inline Academy with purchase assistance of their first set of goalie equipment, which we hope to acquired soon. Besides that, Jeju went from having zero hockey to six teams and 40 players in the span of nine months, featuring a tournament filled with players from Canada, the USA, England, South Africa, and Korea — some reconnecting with the game, and many trying it for the very first time. Backgrounds aside, everyone had a great time, and there were many requests for another event to be hosted in the near future.

But don’t take my word for it, here’s the coverage our tournament got from all over:

event rundown by the Jeju Weeklyhttp://www.jejuweekly.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=4231

the event made news in my hometown of Kelowna, BC Canada too, as Wendy McLeod of KelownaNow.com wrote us up: http://www.kelownanow.com/columns/sports/news/Sports/14/07/19/Okanagan_Hockey_Player_Brings_Canada_s_Sport_to_South_Korea

Locally renowned photographer Douglas Macdonald — who’s had his shots in National Geographic and Getty Images — captured our event through his lens too: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.247836218748279&type=1

If you’d like to support the ongoing growth of hockey in Jeju, South Korea, consider picking up one of our t-shirts, which we sold out of at the event and had to re-order due to their popularity: https://www.etsy.com/shop/davecunning

And you can always join the Jeju Islanders’ Facebook group if you want to keep up with our team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/jeju.island.hockey/

IMG_4526-4

Photo credit: Douglas Macdonald

Is the World Cup worth it? Infographic lets you be the judge.

July 7, 2014 Leave a comment

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup now whittled down to its semi-finals,  and Brazil, Germany, Netherlands, and Argentina ready to square off against each other to see who will play for soccer’s richest prize, it seems like a good time to evaluate whether the tournament has been worth what Brazil paid to get it. The hosts were (and always are, not unlike Olympic hosts) heavily criticized for their expenditures a midst troubling economic times for its citizens — especially considering that hosts get very little money back at tournament’s end,  or over the long term.

The folks at 188betblog.com have made an infographic showing the costs that many host countries paid for past World Cups, and the returns the event created for both the host and FIFA. You’ll be interested to know how expensive it is,  and you may even start questioning whether hosting the World Cup is actually worth it in the long run or not — if you weren’t already prior to seeing this evidence.
*********

WorldCup infographicThe 2014 World Cup is one of the biggest international sports events of the year, rivaling the Winter Olympics in Sochi held in February.  The World Cup is a celebration of football, a sport beloved by millions — if not billions — of fans from all corners of the world.

Fans are embracing the World Cup, but FIFA and other tournament organizers were concerned about the costs spent preparing for the tournament.  Many of the costs were tied up in stadium construction or investments in infrastructure.  On the flip side, the work stimulated thousands of jobs for the national economy.

But do those costs pay off over the long term? Economists predict Brazil will spend at least £8.6 billion ($14.5 billion), with some experts predicting the cost could even double that estimate.

If the total cost is finalized at the minimum projection, the bill will still be astronomically above the tabs for previous World Cup tournaments.  For example, South Africa spent approximately £2.6 billion ($4.5 billion) on the 2010 World Cup – only a fraction of the projected costs for Brazil.

What’s more concerning for the Brazilian economy is that history is not a comforting guide.  According to International Business Times, South Africa made back only 11 percent on a £2.6 billion ($4.5 billion) investment to host the 2010 World Cup – falling far short of initial estimated profits.

The same post mentions Brazil’s plans to bring home approximately £6.5 billion ($11 billion) in revenue from the 2014 World Cup.  Even if Brazil hits that goal, the revenue will still fall short of making back all the money invested into hosting the tournament.

The cost vs. benefit debate dates back to previous World Cups as well, with many experts questioning if hosting the World Cup is in a country’s best economic interests.  As costs and expectations continue rising with each passing year, is the payoff to host the World Cup really worthwhile?

Inaugural Jeju Cup charity street hockey tournament!

June 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Jeju Island’s first street hockey tournament (that I know of) is going down.

On July 13, 2014 players of all skill levels from all locales are invited to be part of a full day of street hockey action — to declare a Jeju Cup champion, and to push towards the goal of raising 1,000,000 KRW (approxmiately $1000 CAD) in July 2014 to be put towards buying the Jeju Inline Academy (JIA) their first set of goalie equipment.

To reach that goal, we’ll have mini-game prizes, silent auction items, t-shirts for sale, concessions, and our registration fee that gets you a full day of tournament games, and lunch. Or you can just straight up donate by clicking on this PayPal Donate button:

If you’d like to be a part of the competition and the effort, fill out this registration form:

TO COMPLETE YOUR REGISTRATION and secure your spot in the tournament, please transfer 20,000 KRW via bank transfer at an ATM to:

Jeju Bank 18-02-312272

OR pay through the above PayPal donation link, or pay me cash directly when I see you.

To get to the rink, get yourself to the Jeju City bus terminal on the 1132 highway. Head south a few blocks and fade a little east. It’s right beside the swimming pool in the Sports Complex. Here’s a map:

rink map

Here’s a look at the one of the shirts we’ll be selling at the event:

jeju islanders shirt

This and other hockey themed shirts are available to order through my Etsy Store, and all proceeds on them in the month of July 2014 will go towards meeting our goal.

Hope to see you at the rink!

 

 

Help CCM recover 2000 new pairs of stolen Tacks

June 20, 2014 Leave a comment

 

tacks

A whole bunch of new skates have gone “missing”, and their manufacturer needs help getting their goods back so they canget them on your feet where they belong.

CCM Hockey needs your help in finding 2,000 pairs of its new CCM Tacks hockey skates, which were stolen in transit from Vancouver, BC to Saint-Laurent, QC during the week of June 16, 2014.

On June 13, 2014, 2 of the 3 containers in transit made it to destination at CCM’s warehouse in Saint-Laurent, QC, whereas the missing 3rd container was later declared stolen and recovered by Montreal police without its contents.

A police investigation is currently taking place, but CCM is kindly asking for your assistance in spreading the news. You can help by sharing this story and photo on your own website(s) and/or social media pages, by keeping an eye out for online sales of these skates, or by not fully trusting the next guy you see peddling new CCM Tacks out of the back of his van.

Questions, comments or leads can be directed to Bernard Côté by phone (514.273.3793 ext 236; Mobile. 514.502.7159) or email: bcote@exacto.ca

Kings/Rangers Stanley Cup Final stats analysis & predictions.

June 4, 2014 Leave a comment


LAKvsNYRThere is a lot of statistical data out there to help compare the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers ahead of their 2014 Stanley Cup Final meeting, and an incredible number of rabbit holes one could venture down when attempting to analyze all the data made available. With stats gleaned from NHL.com, here’s a brief look at the the teams’ 2 regular season meetings from the categories I find most important, to show how they stack up versus and solo so far in the first 3 rounds of playoffs.

HEAD TO HEAD October 17 (Staples Center), November 17 (MSG)

  KingsLOS ANGELES KINGS NYRNEW YORK RANGERS 
Wins 1 1
Goals 2 — Muzzin (1), Toffoli (1) 3 — Richards (2), McDonagh (1)
Assists Richards (2), Voynov (1) Nash (2), Stepan (1), Boyle (1)
Power Play 0-3 0-8
Penalty Kill 8-8 3-3
Penalized Players/PIM Doughty (6), Clifford (5), Mitchell (4), Williams (2), Lewis (2), Brown (2), Bench (2). Asham* (5), Stralman (2), Brassard (2), Pouliot (2), Boyle (2).
Goaltenders Quick** Lundqvist
SA 28 59
Saves 25 57
SV% .893 .966
TOI 59:21 118:59
Pulls 1 1

Despite an even head-to-head record, NYR seemed to have a slight statistical advantage when playing each other.

*No longer on NYR’s roster.

**Quick only played 1 of the 2 games. Ben Scrivens played game 2, and is no longer on LA’s roster.

2014 PLAYOFFS

Games Played 21 20
Home Wins 5 6
Road Wins 7 6
Goals, PG AVG 73 — 3.48 (1st) 54 — 2.70 (8th)
GA — AVG 60 — 2.86 (9th) 45 — 2.25 (2nd)
PPG — % 17 (1st) — 25.4 (5th) 11 (5th) — 13.6 (10th)
SHGA 1 2
PK% 81.2 (9th) 85.9 (2nd)
Total PIM 272 (16th) 200 (14th)
PIM PG 13.0 10.0
Shots AVG 30.7 29.4
Shots Against 30.3 28.0
Blocked Shots 314 (4th) 331 (2nd)
OT Record 2-2 2-1
Hits 898 (1st) 587 (2nd)
FOW — % 735 (1st) – 52.9 (2nd) 601 (3rd) – 47.5 (12th)
Leaders Goals (Gaborik -12), Assists (Kopitar -19), Points (Kopitar -24), +/- (Williams – +11) Goalie Wins, Save % (Lundqvist)

With a slight edge in playoff statistics, LA seems to have the advantage through 3 rounds. They should dominate in face-offs, hits, goals, assists, points, +/-, shots, on the power play. Despite LA’s touted defensive domination, it’s actually NYR that leads the two on the penalty kill, PIM, goals against, shots against, blocked shots, and goaltending.

Of interest: Rangers are 100% when shots are even, and when leading after 2 periods.

By the numbers, this series may be closer than many assume. With more category leads in the above categories, I am giving the nod to the LA Kings to win the 2014 Stanley Cup. But those are just numbers — let’s see what the games actually bring!

Why Canadians should be cheering for the LA Kings to win the Stanley Cup, again

June 2, 2014 1 comment

2014_Stanley_Cup_FinalsIf your team has been eliminated from the playoffs, it can be tough to choose another squad to root for while the remainder of the post season plays out. One way some people prefer in choosing an adoptive team is to go on player nationalities. With the Montreal Canadiens being the only team based in a Canadian city to qualify for the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs, and having been eliminated in the Eastern Conference Final, many Canadian fans may wonder whether it’d be better to align with LA or New York. I posted this same breakdown in 2012 when the LA Kings met the New Jersey Devils in the Final, and below you’ll find the 2014 edition. Hopefully it will help corral some of you lost, wandering hockey souls towards the appropriate roster while you try to pick up the shattered pieces and ease the pain of your true team’s season gone sideways.

LOS ANGELES KINGS

The active roster of the Los Angeles Kings features 24 players – 16 of them are Canadian, 5 are American, 1 is Russian, 1 is Slovakian, and 1 is Slovenian. Add 1 Canadian if you count head coach Darryl Sutter. The Kings have 1 more Canadian in their lineup than the Montreal Canadiens did – the only team based in a Canadian city that made this year’s playoffs.

Representing Canada (67%: +7% since 2012): Jeff Carter, Kyle Clifford, Dwight King, Jordan Nolan, Mike Richards, Jarret Stoll, Justin Williams, Drew Doughty, Willie Mitchell, Tanner Pearson, Tyler Toffoli, Brayden McNabb, Jake Muzzin, Robyn Regehr, Jeff Schultz, Martin Jones (Darryl Sutter).

Representing the USA (28%: -7% from 2012): Dustin Brown, Trevor Lewis, Matt Greene, Alec Martinez, Jonathan Quick.

Representing Europe (12.5%: +.05% from 2012): Slava Voynov, Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik

Assessment: Predominantly CANADIAN.

**NOTE: If LA wins the Stanley Cup, Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty will have won both Olympic gold and the NHL crown in the same season — aka the DCC.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

NYRThe active roster of the New York Rangers features 27 players – 13 of them are Canadian, 7 are American, 5 are Swedish, 1 is Norwegian, and 1 is Swiss. Add 1 Canadian if you count head coach Alain Vigneault.

Representing Canada (48%): Derick Brassard, Dan Carcillo, Derek Dorsett, Dominic Moore, Rick Nash, Benoit Pouliot, Martin St. Louis, Justin Falk, Dan Girardi, Kevin Klein, Marc Staal, Cam Talbot, Brad Richards (Alain Vigneault).

Representing the USA (26%): Brian Boyle, Ryan Haggerty, Chris Kreider, JT Miller, Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh, John Moore.

Representing Europe (26%): Jesper Fast, Carl Hagelin, Oscar Lindberg, Mats Zuccarello, Anton Stralman, Henrik Lundqvist, Raphael Diaz.

Assessment: Predominantly CANADIAN.

**NOTE: If NYR wins the Stanley Cup, Martin St. Louis and Rick Nash will have won both Olympic gold and the NHL crown in the same season — aka the DCC.

 

CONCLUSION

If you’re basing your newly acquired team allegiances upon the nationality content of each team, here’s how you should focus your cheering:

-If you are Canadian, and want to cheer for the highest volume of Canadian players, you should be cheering for the LA Kings in the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals, because they have the majority of them.

-If you are American cheering for Americans, the LA Kings again are your huckleberry.

-If you’re European cheering for Europeans, you should side with New York.

So with all that being said, who do ya got? Leave a comment to state your allegiance.

KINGS RANGERS faceoff

Hockey’s alive and well in Jeju, South Korea. Here’s another reason why.

May 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Well yesterday was amazing.

It was then that I told you all about a ridiculously generous donation that Warrior Hockey made to us in Jeju, South Korea to help grow hockey on our island. As I post this the next day, that afore mentioned post has been viewed over 25,000 times in more than 20 countries, and the meter’s still running. That’s 15,000 more times than my second highest viewed post — which has had a year and a half’s head start on it. That first day total was received more views than I had in 2009, 2010, and 2013, respectively. On Twitter it got more than 20 retweets and favorites, on Facebook it got 120+ likes, 20+ comments and shares, and on Reddit Hockey, it had around 2000 up votes, and got over 300 comments — many pledging to purchase Warrior products in the future, or mentioning they already have because of the story. Truly, there is no better way to Warrior them gratitude than by having a whole bunch of people boost their business. So endless thanks to all who read, commented, shared, have and/or will pick up some Warrior gear to help me say thanks. Beyond that, the post got mentioned by Sports Illustrated, Puck Daddy, and some other major hockey media outlets. Like I said, amazing. That was one of those moments where you realize how cool the internet can be.

But as cool as that all was, I’d be remised not to mention another benefactor who has assisted hockey in Jeju too. Canadian Ball Hockey Korea (CBHK), a group based in Seoul, also made an extremely generous donation to us, shipping us a pile of their experienced sticks, balls, and nearly two full sets of seasoned goalie equipment. It is because of this that we no longer have to share sticks and play posts. One of our awesome Jeju teammates hauled bags worth of stuff from Busan (where CBHK bused it to from Seoul) via airplane to Jeju, and we’ve had no shortage of players, goalie volunteers, or people with cars willing to help haul the gear to the rink and back yet.

CBHK gear

I’ve played on a lot of teams in my time, and this is unquestionably one of the most cool and selfless. The fraternity of hockey players is truly a worldwide phenomenon — whether it’s with people in your own town, or with people on the other side of the world that you’ve never met, hockey players from all backgrounds seem to want to help the game grow when they have the opportunity to make it happen.

So another big thanks, this time to our teammates from CBHK in Seoul for their help in kick-starting hockey on Jeju Island, South Korea. If any of you readers find yourselves in Seoul, be sure to get in touch with them and try to get yourselves in a game sometime.

And of course, if any of you ever  find yourselves in Jeju, the same offer stands for you to come and find us to play a little puck!

hockey

 


Warrior is the best hockey company out there. Here’s why.

May 21, 2014 12 comments

Playing hockey all your life then moving to an island in Korea that is void of the sport certainly has it’s challenges. But where there’s a will there’s a way, and I need to take this blog post to recognize Warrior Hockey as someone who has become the way for me and others in my community.

When I moved to Jeju, South Korea in 2012, there was literally zero hockey here. No one playing any version of it, and no one that I knew yet that even watched it or kept up with a team. I essentially resigned to the notion that I may not see or play hockey again until I returned home to Canada, eventually.

Slowly, hockey people began to emerge. As we learned of each other’s presence, we began to gather. Sometimes to watch, sometimes to discuss, and eventually to start playing. A Facebook group was started. An inline hockey rink, shop, and kids inline program was discovered. A half built ice rink at Branksome Hall Asia was uncovered as well. Cheap sticks were bought from China, and a ball was sent from Canada. Interest incubated, and before long, we had street hockey games going. Low numbers, but high level enjoyment. I began to play and coach again. Hockey began to hatch around these parts. It became apparent to me that hockey could really happen here, if we gave it a good push in the right direction.

But a major hurdle was the equipment. For a casual hockey tire-kicker, buying a hockey stick for $40-50 in order to try out the sport for the first time was just not feasible. A small handful of us had bit the bullet and bought some, but we did not have the resources to clear the equipment hurdle and provide everyone with sticks in hopes of spurring the interest of  island inhabitants to give our sport a chance.

That is, until Warrior came along.

Though I was constantly sending out S.O.S. messages to hockey companies like Bauer, CCM/Reebok, Easton, and others for months prior, it was Warrior — and only Warrior — that not only sent me a response, but appeared willing to assist our cause. After explaining my intentions to Warrior brand manager Keith Perera on Twitter in 140 characters or less, I was put in contact with Daniel Park, the CEO of Warrior Korea. Mr. Park contacted me via email and expressed interest in visiting our community to assess the state of hockey and whether Warrior could be of assistance to its growth in Jeju.

After flying down and visiting for a day of touring our blossoming hockey grounds, it was not long after that my living room was transformed into this:

Unable to form complete sentences for most of the day, I think I mentioned something about it being like Christmas morning a whole bunch of times.

Without giving you an entire list of inventory, in short, Warrior straight up donated us sticks, helmets, gloves, pads, and bags to help hockey grow and flourish in Jeju, South Korea. It was nothing short of amazing. Warrior has helped us put hockey sticks in the hands of new players that otherwise would not have even tried the game.

So where do we go from here? Well, for starters, if you live in Jeju, come play hockey with us. Join our Facebook group, it’s regularly updated with game times and locations. If you have, or can acquire inline skates, join our inline hockey team. If you have kids in Jeju that want to learn how to play hockey, join the Jeju Inline Academy (email: 6774rlacjfqo@hanmail.com), where I coach. And for goodness sakes, the next time you’re in the market for hockey equipment, please consider Warrior first. Visit warrior.com and/or your local hockey shop and pick up whatever you need (if you’re in Kelowna, Canada, I recommend Chevy’s Source For Sports). They make everything you need, short of skates, and it’s all solid gear. If it works for the likes of Zdeno Chara, Henrik Zetterberg, Jonathan Quick, and other bonafide NHL stars, it’ll work for you too. Your support of them will go a long way in helping me say thanks to a company that cared enough to support us.

If you’re anywhere in Korea and want to buy Warrior gear, shoot Daniel Park and email at ryoma67@naver.com

Thank you Warrior!

JIA

UPDATE: This post was mentioned by Sports Illustrated in a post of theirs on May 22nd, 2014.

2nd Quadrennial Double Championship Challenge!

May 20, 2014 5 comments

cup goldWell it’s getting on in the 2014 NHL playoffs, and it’s about time to dust of the old Double Championship Challenge for it’s second quadrennial go-round. If this seems Greek to you, click here to catch up on what the 1st Quadrennial Double Championship Challenge was all about. You may recall Rich Abney walked away with a championship t-shirt and four years of bragging rights in 2010 after picking the Chicago Blackhawks’ Canadian Olympic team members to win gold and the Stanley Cup in the same season.

So let’s have at it — cast your votes on who will win this quadrennial’s crown as outright best in the world.

Here’s who’s left:

Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp – Chicago Blackhawks [note: Keith & Toews can repeat as back-to-back DCC champs]

Drew Doughty, Jeff Carter – Los Angeles Kings 

Martin St-Louis, Rick Nash – New York Rangers

 Carey Price, P.K. Subban – Montreal Canadiens

Here’s who’s eliminated:

Marc-Édouard Vlasic, Patrick Marleau — San Jose Sharks

Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz — Pittsburgh Penguins

Jay Bouwmeester, Alex Pietrangelo – St. Louis Blues

Ryan Getzlaf , Corey Perry — Anaheim Ducks

Matt Duchene — Colorado Avalanche

  Jamie Benn — Dallas Stars

Patrice Bergeron — Boston Bruins

Here’s who did not qualify: 

Roberto Luongo — Vancouver Canucks

Mike Smith — Phoenix Coyotes

Shea Weber — Nashville Predators

John Tavares — New York Islanders

And unlike 2010 when Corey Perry joined Canada’s World Championship roster after winning Olympic gold in Vancouver, there are no players or staff that are representing Canada twice in the same season this time around.

Who’s your pick? Leave a comment to let us know! Choose correctly and you’ll be eligible to win an exclusive prize from Serenity Now…The SDC Blogs.

Rules: To enter, leave a comment on this post with your name, your pick, and where you’re from. One vote only — no do-overs. Those who select correctly will be entered into a draw for the grand prize. Good luck!

 

XP PSP s01e14: San Jose Sharks’ Matt Irwin interview

March 29, 2014 Leave a comment

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

He may not be a household name just yet, but San Jose Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin may work his way into your mental NHL player directory yet. Now in his second NHL season, the 26 year old British Columbian is continuing a trend from his amateur career that has seen his point totals, ice-time, and contributions to his team’s success dynamically increase every year.

Irwin spoke with me at length about his long road to the NHL and what he’ll have to do to stay there, the tough decisions he was required to make and small window of opportunity he had to live out his dream, past teammates that helped get him where he is now, current ones that help make him better, what the San Jose Sharks will have to do to win their first Stanley Cup, what it takes to be consistently inserted into a lineup full of Olympians, All-Stars, and Stanley Cup champions, and more.

Click here to listen to the XP PSP audio podcast at Podbean

Download XP PSP on iTuneshttps://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/xppsp/id643817929

Click here to read the written version of this interview on The Score’s Backhand Shelf.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 814 other followers

%d bloggers like this: