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.

XP PSP s01e13: NHL Trade Deadline Roundup

March 8, 2014 Leave a comment

Larry Fisher

Larry Fisher from the Kelowna Daily Courier called in for episode 13 to debrief all the action from the 2014 NHL trade deadline. We talked Martin St. Louis for Ryan Callahan, Roberto Luongo to Florida, Gaborik to LA, Ryan Miller to Buffalo, Jaroslav Halak all over the place, Vanek’s path to Montreal, Edmonton’s moves of Hemsky and Bryzgalov, the non-moves of Brodeur and Kesler, and we both pick our winners of the day.

Follow Larry FisherXP PSP, and host Dave Cunning on Twitter.

Visit www.larry-fisher.com 

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

Download_on_iTunes_Badge_US-UK_110x40_1004https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/xppsp/id643817929

XP PSP s01e12: Justin Bourne debriefs Sochi 2014 hockey

March 3, 2014 Leave a comment

In episode 12 of XP PSP, Justin Bourne from The Score dropped by to debrief the Sochi 2014 Olympic hockey tournament with me, and discuss it’s implications on the NHL moving forward. We talked about Canada’s route to gold, USA’s fall from grace, Backstrom’s Olympic suspension, how it affected Sweden’s outcome and why team doctors weren’t regulating his intake better, whether Canada’s win justifies all the heavily critcised roster adjustments the coaching staff made, who steps into Steve Yzerman’s role next Olympics, who Canada would send if the NHL chose not to participate in the 2018 Olympics, what the alternative to the Olympics as a best-on-best tournament would be, how John Tavares’ Olympic injury affects the decision for the NHL to return or not, how it affects the Islanders going forward this season, how Olympic performances affect NHL players finishing their NHL season, and more.

Click here for the XP PSP audio podcast at Podbean

Download_on_iTunes_Badge_US-UK_110x40_1004https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/xppsp/id643817929

The cheapest Stadium Series tickets left; TJ Sochi T-Shirt

February 27, 2014 Leave a comment

With the puck about to drop on the final 2 games of the 2014 NHL Stadium Series, TiqIQ.com has passed along some interesting data on average secondary market ticket prices for the March 1st Blackhawks/Penguins game in Chicago at Soldier Field. If you were planning on attending, but haven’t bought a ticket yet, here’s what you should expect to have to shell out:

-Current average ticket price for Saturday’s game: $230.77 (down 18% this week and 67% since its peak on 9/23/13)

-Cheapest ticket currently listed: $91 (originally $139), Section 432

-Most expensive ticket currently listed: $845 (originally $325), Section 308

Soldier Field Stadium Series seating

All I know is, if I’m gonna cough up $825 to sit in a seat in the farthest section away from the ice in the stadium, my seat better come with an open mini bar, and the NHL Network installed into the back of the seat in front of me.

Comparatively, here are the average prices for the previous four Stadium Series games of 2014, as well as the upcoming Heritage Classic, ranked from most expensive to least:

-Yankee Stadium – Rangers/Devils – $244 ($89)

-Yankee Stadium – Rangers/Islanders – $206 ($43)

-Winter Classic – Red Wings/Maple Leafs – $156 ($57)

-Dodger Stadium – Kings/Ducks – $199 ($117)

-Heritage Classic – Canucks/Senators – $182 ($74)

For more on this data, visit TiqIQ.com, follow TiqIQ on Twitter, or contact TiqIQ’s Director of Marketing, Stefan Mersch, at stefan@tiqiq.com.

*************

Speaking of buying things hockey related, I know a t-shirt worthy catchphrase when I hear one, and thusly I put one on one. After TJ Oshie’s unfathomable shootout performance against Russia, “TJ Sochi” was one of the best nicknames to emerge from the Sochi 2014 Olympics, so here’s what I did with it:

TJ Sochi shirt

 Visit my Etsy store and make this shirt yours before everyone forgets about that fateful night in Sochi! It may even help to cover the American shame of losing the bronze medal game 5-0 and finishing fourth, after posting a video like this:

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