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Canada’s ’72 Summit Series team establishes online presence; Josh Harding gets Upper Deck tribute card

September 6, 2014 Leave a comment

Team Canada 1972 launches new website on Summit Series anniversary Online presence released one month before reunion for new legacy project

72 Team Canada 1972 has launched its new online presence on the anniversary of Game One of hockey’s historic “Summit Series.”

Launched in the evening of September 2nd, TeamCanada1972.ca comes exactly 42 years after the first puck was dropped in the eight-game series against the Soviet national team.

Throughout September, TeamCanada1972.ca will revisit the Summit Series with original content and analysis, honouring milestones and events.

The new website – joined by Facebook and Twitter pages – are the first components of the team’s new national legacy campaign, the “28,800 Project” (coined after the total number of seconds played in the series). The legacy venture involves returning the story of Team Canada 1972’s legendary comeback victory to the country’s national dialogue and enshrine its intrinsic lessons of teamwork for all Canadians.

“It’s our way of giving back,” notes Brad Park, Team Canada 1972 defenceman and Hockey Hall of Famer.

Park will join his fellow team-mates at a reunion on October 2, when Team Canada 1972 holds a gala event – “From Legends to Legacy” – to celebrate the official launch of the 28,800 Project.

More about the team, the gala and the legacy venture can be found throughout TeamCanada1972.ca.

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Josh Harding, the Inspirational Minnesota Wild Goalie, Receives a Special Tribute Card from Upper Deck!

As part of Upper Deck’s Heroic Inspirations campaign, Harding will be featured on a collectible trading card he autographed and inscribed for charitable purposes

 HardingJosh Harding is a goalie for the Minnesota Wild® who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in November, 2012. In his first game back post-diagnosis, Harding faced the Dallas Stars™ and stopped all 24 shots for a 1-0 shootout win. Harding was awarded the 2012-2013 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for his perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. With that, he became an inspiration for the MS community and hockey fans everywhere. To pay tribute to Harding’s courage in the face of such adversity, Upper Deck has created a “Heroic Inspirations” trading card that Harding has autographed and inscribed.

The goal of the card is to give people suffering from MS hope and to raise awareness for Josh Harding’s charity; Harding’s Hope (www.hardingshope.org). To start the campaign, Upper Deck has inserted 25 of the cards into packs of the 2014-15 NHL® O-Pee-Chee series. Harding included his signature and an inscription on these cards, “My inspiration is my father.” Harding has signed and inscribed other versions of the card with some of his other inspirations. These additional autographed and inscribed cards will be available with a donation to the charity through the Harding’s Hope website at the start of the 2014-15 NHL® season.

“I’m excited for Upper Deck to join my team to raise awareness for Multiple Sclerosis and to raise funds for people living with MS,” said Josh Harding. “The more I learn about MS, the more I realize how important it is to have a team. The point of adding inscriptions to the cards is to share that you cannot fight MS alone, you need to look for inspiration from your team. I’m hopeful that by sharing some of my inspirations on these new Upper Deck cards, I can help others stay positive and find inspiration.”

“Not only is Josh Harding an incredible player, he has transcended the game by performing at a high level while being challenged by symptoms of the disease,” said Jason Masherah, president of Upper Deck. “Harding serves as an inspiration and people marvel at his accomplishments. We hope that hockey fans and fans of Josh’s story will want to collect his autographed and inscribed ‘Heroic Inspirations’ cards. He truly is an inspiration who has an incredible story of courage, hope and perseverance to share.”

Upper Deck has produced other “Heroic Inspirations” cards in the past for other inspirational athletes. Harding’s card is the first in the series that features an autograph from the athlete and an inscription. Upper Deck’s 2014-15 NHL® O-Pee-Chee arrives in hobby and retail stores today!

About Harding’s Hope

Harding’s Hope is a nonprofit founded by Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding, 2013 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy Winner. Harding’s Hope is raising awareness about multiple sclerosis (MS) and raising funds to support people living with MS. Josh Harding founded Harding’s Hope because he was thankful for the support he received from family, friends, medical staff, and the hockey community after his MS diagnosis. Harding quickly recognized that not everyone living with MS has a team supporting them, and that many people are faced with making a choice between paying for MS treatment or meeting day-to-day expenses. Harding’s Hope is not funding MS research. Harding’s Hope is focused on supporting individuals and families living with MS who are struggling with the costs of treating the disease.

You can help Josh help others. Read more at www.hardingshope.org or Twitter (@HardingsHope) or Facebook (Harding’s Hope).

Find more information on Upper Deck at www.upperdeck.com, www.UpperDeckBlog.com or follow us on Facebook (UpperDeck), Twitter (@UpperDeckSports), and YouTube(udvids).

 

 

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Talking With Brett Bulmer: His 9 Game NHL Experience, Pressure to His Help Slumping WHL Team Win

November 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Hi folks!  Below is the companion piece to the last article I wrote about WHL players leaving their junior teams for NHL clubs.  Brett Bulmer played 9 games with the Minnesota Wild this season, before being sent back down to the Kelowna Rockets.  I talked with him a few days later.  Enjoy.   -SDC

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[originally post in the Kelowna Daily Courier newspaper on November 7, 2011; also featured on www.kelownarockets.com on November 7,2011]

Tantalizingly close: Brett Bulmer discusses his brief stint in the NHL

MONDAY, 07 NOVEMBER 2011 02:00 DAVE CUNNING

Playing in the NHL may be the dream of every young Canadian kid, but with only 690 spots available, there definitely isn’t room for everyone.

Kelowna Rockets forward Brett Bulmer got to live the dream this fall, playing nine games for the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.

In those nine games, he registered three points and six penalty minutes. It was even reported Bulmer had beaten out six-season veteran Eric Nystrom for his spot on the Wild’s main roster in training camp.

“It was amazing,” Bulmer said of his stay with the Wild before his season debut with Kelowna on Friday. “To play the nine games and to be around all the NHLers was pretty cool. Everyone there was really good to me. It was cool to be around guys who have been there a long time. It’s something you dream of as a kid. To play in the NHL as a 19-year-old was very special.

One can imagine that playing against men in the world’s most highly regarded hockey league is a little different pace than competing against players who are 20 years old and younger in major junior.

You don’t really have too much time with the puck, and you’ve got to make quicker decisions,” Bulmer said. “I just jumped into it and I got better as I went along. It’s actually almost easier at that level because the passes are always on your tape. You always know where you have to be because they’ll let you know. It’s very professional and everyone wants to win every night.” 

Minnesota elected to send Bulmer back to Kelowna before playing a 10th game, which meant the Wild avoided having to count the first of Bulmer’s three-year contract towards their salary cap this season.

Although a little disappointed to not have stuck with the big club, Minnesota left Bulmer optimistic that’d he’d be back.

Brett has his sights set on returning to the Wild next season, after he carries out the marching orders given to him by Minnesota with the Rockets this season.

I’m disappointed because I did a lot of work to try and stay there,” Bulmer said. “It’s not a bad thing, though, because it’s just a year to grow. It was a matter of them wanting me to get lots of playing time this year. I probably could have made it as a third or fourth liner, but they want me to be a guy that can play more diverse roles once I make it for good. Nineteen is a big year to develop, and I can still get a lot better. They told me I’m a big part of their future. I want to be a guy they can build their team around one day, but I need to work hard here this year to make that a possibility.”

Bulmer took the Wild’s orders seriously, scoring four points in his first game back (two goals and two assists). He also averaged a plus-one rating over the Rockets’ two-game weekend homestand against Portland.

The output was welcomed by Ryan Huska, Kelowna’s head coach.

It’s important, of course,” Huska said. “He’s a guy that brings a lot to the table for us – not only with his offensive ability, but with his size up front. It’s something that we had missed and it’s nice to have him back.”

Bulmer’s return also adds leadership to the team. He wore an ‘A’ on his jersey in both games this past weekend against Portland.

He’s going to be a part of our leadership group,” said Huska. “He has to be because he’s the guy with a lot of experience for us.” 

Now as a WHL player with NHL experience, Brett is also fully aware of the extra pressure and high expectations on him to perform. Especially on a team that desperately needs offensive production and wins.

I love pressure,” said Bulmer. “I thrive on it, so it’s not something I worry about. I like to be the go-to guy. I’m glad to have everyone look to me to do something. Every night I’m going to go out and do my best for the team and try to help us win. I’ve got a leadership role here, and I’m happy to do it.”

Dave Cunning is a former semi-pro hockey player turned writer, coach and personal trainer. Read his blog on the web at https://davecunning.wordpress.com and follow him on Twitter.

Sports Shorts: Brian Burke Getting Trump-ed, Hometown Hockey Allegiances Query, Basketball Beaks, Marion Jones, and more.

December 1, 2010 5 comments

Sometimes while watching late-night hockey highlights, I’ll zone out and come to again right in the middle of NBA highlights.  As I shake the cobwebs, it’s always a mad dash to get that channel changed asap to something more worthy of my attention (so, pretty much anything else on any other channel, except more NBA highlights).  So, here are some recent sports observations…

Does Brian Burke not ever have 5 minutes to comb his hair and freshen up?  Can we give this guy a 10 minute break for a shower so he can clean up and make himself presentable?  I know it’s a hair-tearing-out environment in Toronto these days, but come on Burkey, you’re getting a little Donald Trump-ish.  I’m sure the potential pending sale of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment isn’t helping either. 

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So the Canucks were the heavy pre-season prediction favourite to win the Stanley Cup, then they lost a few, won a few, lost a few more, and now the discussion is that this may be Alain Vigneault’s last season as Canucks coach if they don’t deliver.  Oh, predictable Vancouver bandwagon dumpings…

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If a team moves, and then a new team starts in the same city, should fans cheer for the team that used to be there (which is inherently the same group of people that left), or stay true to the city and cheer for the new one?  Example: Atlanta Flames move to Calgary, become the Calgary Flames.  Atlanta eventually incarnates the Thrashers; so should those original Atlanta Flames fans now return to the homeland and cheer for the Thrashers, or are they justified in staying Calgary fans?  Same scenario in Minnesota (North Stars to Dallas, Wild now in Minny), and Colorado (Rockies to NJ in ’82, Avalanche sprout up) in recent history.

Mitch Pollock is the inspiration for the "Mitch Pollock Made Me Hate The Calgary Flames" facebook group.

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Based purely on talent and consistency, the Detroit Red Wings are the most overall dominant team of the modern age of hockey, agreed?  From the Yzerman and Federov era to the current Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Franzen et al generation, all mixed in with a handful of Stanley Cup wins, it’s tough to argue this isn’t hockey’s version of the New York Yankees.

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The people who broke into Pat Burns’ widow’s car and stole his stuff booked themselves a one-way, non-refundable ticket to hell, did they not?  I’m still rattled at the Hall of Fame that they couldn’t do that guy the favour of waiving his mandatory waiting period or whatever so he could enter the Hall of Fame WHILE HE WAS ALIVE.  3 Jack Adams Trophies for coach of the year honors (on three different teams), and a Stanley Cup; are there deeper pre-requisites for HOF entrance? 

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I recently saw Marion Jones’ ESPN 30 for 30 special… does it say more about Marion Jones and her athletic ability that she walked on to a WNBA with very little previous basketball experience (played with UNC); or less about the WNBA, a league that is supposed to boast the best female basketball players in the world, yet people can just walk on and make their teams, as Jones has done with the Tulsa Shock?

Bye-Bye Byng, Dallas Deterioration, Jersey Originality FAIL, and the PIM Ploy.

January 31, 2010 9 comments

Is it just me, or did the Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, and Colorado Avalanche all get lazy when it came to 3rd jersey design time?  Maybe they just had nothing at the deadline, and blindly approved blue uniforms; when blue isn’t even one of their official team colors?  Did the Predators just rip off a Maple Leafs symbol and stitch on that stupid prehistoric cat with the major incisor issue? Did Florida not notice that Chicago, Minnesota, St Louis, and Pittsburgh all already did the emblem with the symbol in the middle and team name circled around it, and that the Blues and Pens already did it with the same colors?  How many people in the NHL were asleep at the wheel here?   

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If I were the type of person who was looking for players to make my team better, why in the world would I want to be on the lookout for a player with a lot of PIM’s?  Isn’t getting penalties, sitting in the box for varying periods of time, and making your team play with a man down because of your error, and increasing the likelihood of being scored on, a bad thing?  It boggles my mind that players will get chosen over others based on this stat, because the player with high PIM’s is supposed to make the team “tougher”.  There are lots of players who play a physical style that can make a team tougher and don’t have to sit in the penalty box to show it.   I just saw a sidebar on TV that said Keith Tkachuk moved into the top 5 all-time PIM leaders with just shy of 2200.  Errm… congrats, Keith, you sat in the penalty box for 36 games worth of time.  Thanks for helping out…

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Now that Wayne Gretzky and Joe Sakic have both retired, and Pavel Datsyuk has won the trophy three years in a row, is it time to do away with the Lady Byng Award for the NHL’s most gentlemanly player?  Does anyone in the league care, or aspire to win it anymore (did they ever?)?  Like WWE did with the European and Light Heavyweight championship belts; maybe the NHL should slowly stop talking about it, never show it on camera, and very sneakily just phase it out.  In the era of the Sean Avery’s, Steve Downie’s, and Dan Carcillo’s, maybe the NHL should in contrast introduce the Johnny Knoxville Award for biggest jackass of the year; as hockey tips slightly closer to “entertainment” for the sake of selling the game in an American market, and is certainly not dissuading the behaviour.    

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Marty Turco is the most over-rated goalie in the NHL.  For a guy considered for Team Canada a few times, he really doesn’t ever get it done, does he? 

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Speaking of Dallas Stars, Mike Modano seems to be just hanging on to that spot of his (and a few other classics in the league, I might add) in Dallas, doesn’t he?  He’s earning his keep, but as that era of players seems to be drawing to a close, it’s enough to wonder how much longer he can keep from going the way of the dinosaur.  He’s always been a really good player; recently I heard him described as “the best skater I ever saw” by a former NHL’er.  For some reason, he could never keep that Captain’s “C” on his jersey.  I always secretly liked him as a player (it helped that he wears my number); but as an American, my Canadian pride refused to allow it.   

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