NHLTweetup: An International Success!

If you follow me on Twitter, you will probably have heard NHLTweetup. Last night was the start of an international event to celebrate the start of NHL Playoffs and the battle for the Stanley Cup. NHL’s thePortal teamed up with fans on Twitter to create an international multi-city celebration with over 20 cities participating.

NHLTweetup origin

NHLTweetup goes international!

The idea was started by @dani3boyz, expanded by @Hockeyskates and quickly backed by @umassdilo (Michael DiLorenzo, Director of Corporate Communications for the NHL). The idea snowballed from there. I registered NHLTweetup.com and quickly set up a site for the organizers to be able to promote and coordinate their local event. Twitter users from the US, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand started organizing their own Tweetup in their local city. The NHL sent goodie bags and prizes to some of the first locations to sign on, and some of the local organizers were able to round up some of their own prizes. The @NHLTweetup account was created to help promote the event, managed by @dani3boyz.

Twitvite.com even set up a special “NHLTweetup” tag on their home page to help people find their local NHLTweetup.

Twtvite.com's Collaboration

Twitter users used the #NHLTweetup hashtag to stay informed of the current happenings surrounding the event. One crafty fan, @kicksave20, used his awesome design skills to create the @NHLTweetup avatar and nametags for the hosts to pass out.

NHLTweetup’s started taking place last night, with NYC being the main location with thePortal sponsoring the event as well as having the Stanley Cup on site! NHLTweetup attendees from all the cities used the Twitpic site to send their live NHLTweetup pictures for everyone to see.

As an organizer, a Twitter user, and a hockey fan it was truly amazing to see everyone come together to make this happen. Thanks to everyone involved!

Playing goalie: why do they do it?

Goalies have a reputation for being crazy, insane, or a little “off”. What drives an individual to jump into the position? Is it an inherit personality trait? An unfortunate accident? I have my own reasons, of course, but I wondered what makes other people do it? I asked a few goalie friends of mine, and got some interesting responses.

It was an accident. Most of the people I talked to were former defensemen. Me too, I suppose. One day the goalie can’t show up, or the team loses a goalie, and the next thing you know you’re volunteering to strap on the pads. I find that you either take to it right away, or you don’t like it.

They love the thrill. Being able to trash-talk to friends about stopping all their “weak” shots is certainly fun if you’ve got friends that can handle it. (Hehe!) And there’s the ecstatic feeling of making that one stupendous save that makes everyone in the arena cheer. I’m sure every athlete regardless of sport or position knows what that feels like.

Bring on the pressure. Probably the most logic-defying reason to play goalie is actually enjoying being the last line of defense for the team. A player can not score goals and the team can still at least tie game, a defenseman can miss a check or a pass and the team can still win, but if a goalie errors more than once, it could easily spell defeat. A goalie is relies on the skill of his team to win the game as much as the team relies on the goalie to play to perfection as much as possible.

Personally, I’m a mix of all of the above. I started playing hockey when I was 22 and played defense my first year because I was one of two people on the team who could kind of skate backwards. Our goalie announced she was leaving at the end of the season and I volunteered to be goalie next year if we didn’t find another one. I played street hockey that summer in preparation, as well as some pickup here and there. I took to it right away and absolutely loved the pressure, the glory and the action. Don’t get me wrong, my team was horrible, but it certainly gave me a lot of practice. šŸ™‚

Thanks to joecwik, joeboughner, hockeycardshow, kezbat, GhostOtaku, alaskanchick and jasonboche for their responses.

8 Annoying Oversights Arena Designers Make

Normally I detest top X lists, but I started making this one in my head tonight as I parked in an arena for a late game, and I figured it would be a fun post for a Friday. šŸ™‚

1. The parking lot is 5 miles from the front door. Seriously, hockey players and especially goalies have to carry a lot of crap all the way from the automobile to the door. There’s a reason a ton of hockey bags have wheels now, but that doesn’t make it okay to require us to walk to the arena from Timbuktu. And wheels suck in the snow.

2. The doors are “regular” size. Dude, hockey bags don’t fit through doors very easily. Oversized doors and/or working sliding doors are an amazing invention. Use them!

3. Stairs between the ice and the change room. (OMG, I have become Canadianized, I don’t say “locker room” anymore!) Believe it or not, I’ve seen this on a few occasions. And one arena near Waterloo, Ontario actually super narrow stairs with a turn-around in the middle of the flight of stairs. Try getting through there with goalie equipment on. I’m 5′ tall and it’s a squeeze.

4. No visible board for change room numbers. Even worse is when they make you give your keys for a room key, and it’s a late game, so the attendant is no where to be found when you need to get your keys back.

4. No bar. For Pete’s sake, this should be a requirement!

5. No benches or viewing area. If it’s a super-cold rink, the very basic glass dividing the foyer and the rink is much appreciated by fans.

6. Boards that are ridiculously high — not suitable for jumping over. There’s an arena (in London, Ontario I think) that, I kid you not, the boards come nearly up to my neck. Not only that, but the doors are half the size of normal. Line changes are not swift.

7. Tiny change rooms. You have to have enough to fit 10-15 hockey players and their equipment.

8. I saved the best for last. Only a urinal in the change room. No toilet. I’m not kidding. Almost as bad is when there’s no door!

I’m sure there are more. Feel free to add your own!

Congratsā€¦Ducks?

I’ve always maintained that Alfredsson is a weenie. His antics in Game 5 were no exception.

I was rooting for the Ducks in the series, but only by default. The only team in the NHL I absolutely can’t cheer for is Ottawa, and Alfredsson is the reason for that.

Someone please take him out back and give him an attitude adjustment.

Winter hockey rules.

Wayde and I took a half-day off today to go see the new LOTR movie. It turns out it’s not playing anywhere within an hour of us, so we decided to take advantage of the gorgeous day to go skate at the local outdoor rink. Now, I’ve been wanting to do this since I moved to Ontario. I’ve never played hockey outside and thought that it would just be the coolest thing ever. And it was. It was so, so, so awesome. And the rink is really close to us, within walking distance.

We got there and it was covered in snow, so we helped shovel a bit off. Then we put our skates on and when I went out on the ice I immediately decided I needed to put my pads on. It just feels too weird skating in my goalie skates without my pads.

Here are some pics from the afternoon:

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Waterloo Eagles vs. Port Stanley Whatevers

We tied yesterday 3-3. Two of the goals on me were on breakouts. One of them shoudld NOT have been a goal, but the ref was a dumbass. Typically they blow the whistle when the team that has a delayed penalty call on them touches the puck. But I guess this ref didn’t know that and let the opposing team get two shots on goal. Hrmph. The last goal was a power play goal for them.

It was a good game though. It’s really nice to be on a team with so many talented players.

Next week we’re playing in Sarnia. Sarnia has one of the best teams in the league and usually it really sucks to drive 2 1/2 hours one way to get your ass kicked. But I’m hoping it won’t be an ass-kicking this time. I wish it was a little later in the season so I’d have a few games under my belt, but I’ll manage. We’ll manage.

Oh yeah, I made the AA team. But I’m sure you guessed that already. Yay!!

Tried out for an AA team!

Sunday night I went to a “tryout”, if you could call it that, for a women’s team here in Waterloo. It’s an AA level team, which is really really cool!! It was actually the first game of the season for them, but the coach is new and has been extremely busy with getting married, so he didn’t have time to get a practice time in (except for one, which I guess he didn’t call the new players) to see what the new talent is like. So, he decided to let the new players “try out” in the first game of the season. I’m new too, obviously, so I don’t know how many new people were there, but I know some of the older players were commenting on how many new faces there were. The coach had told me that he didn’t care about the stats right now so that’s why he didn’t mind having the first game essentially a tryout.

I don’t know what their goalie situation is like. I was the only one there, so maybe there is no competition for me, I really have no idea. I know their goalie from last year is pregnant, at least that’s what I heard, but I don’t know if there are any other goalies looking for a team. The league has lost a few teams in the last two years, including my own, so I would think there would be some goalies looking.

There was another girl there from my St. Clements team, which is the team that folded this year. She was easily the best player on our old team. I was surprised, but happy to see a familiar face. I talked to her a bit and she said that she doesn’t thing anyone from our team is playing this year. Aside from her and I of course. Wow.

The game went well. The team, the Waterloo Eagles, were very good. It was actually pretty uplifting to see the talent in front of me! Even with never having played together before, everyone was passing well and making great plays. We dominated the other team, but they got some great chances too, so it could’ve gone either way. We won 3-0! Yay! A shutout during my first, and I hope not only, game with them!

I’m still playing in the rec league, but I’m kind of worried that if I do make the Waterloo Eagles team, the rec league will find out and kick me out. That’s what happened two years ago when I first moved here. I was looking around for some hockey to play and found the rec league. I joined and then tried out for the Tri-City Bandits who were a BB team in the competitive league. I mentioned it to one of the people on the board (I guess) for the rec league, and she wanted to know if I made it on the team. When she found out that I did, they told me I couldn’t play in the rec league anymore because they don’t allow goalies that play on competitive teams in their league.

I don’t get it though. This year, the rec league has 14 teams and 13 goalies. I’ve already played more total games for other teams than I have for my own, so you’d think they’d want as many goalies as they could get. I just like playing hockey, and it’s not like I’ve won every game I’ve played in! It’s the whole team as much as it is me, so I can’t really win a game for a team, right?

Another thing is that the rec league starts way before the competitive league. So, since I didn’t know if I’d be able to find a team, and pretty much assumed that I wouldn’t, I joined the rec league. I wasn’t happy about it, I really wanted to play competitively, but if given the choice to play in the rec league or not at all, well obviously I’d choose to play. I didn’t even find out about the Waterloo Eagles possibly needing a goalie until I had played 2 or 3 games in the rec league. I guess what I’m saying is, I didn’t know what options I had, and still don’t really because I don’t know if the Eagles want me as their goalie.

The Eagles have a practice on Friday. The coach told everyone that if we don’t hear from him during the week, to be at the practice.

Oh, and let me tell you about the coach. I thought he was awesome. That’s my first impression. He was very business-like and focused on the game. There wasn’t much joking around on his part and he seemed to be trying to be that way on purpose. I thought I detected a hint of a smile sometimes, like he was trying to suppress it. He did say one thing that was funny. After the first period he asked me, “Yeah, where is the rest of you?” after someone called me “Sprout”. Heh. Anyway, I really liked that he was so focused. It was nice to have someone that spent the time to explain exactly what we should do and had a specific plan. I just hope he wouldn’t be a dick if the team lost a game. A certain amount of dickitude is good, but I mean total asshole is bad. Like another coach I won’t name here…thank God he’s never been my coach.

Enough blabbing outta me. Can you tell I’m excited about being back in to hockey? šŸ˜€

Hackey Yak Forum

Hey, all you hockey fans! I now have a Hackey Yak Forum for hockey lovers to chat, chide and blast about “hackey”.

I’ve been running an e-mailing list for about 3-4 years now and we have quite a few vocal members. It’s a fun list. We talk about trade rumors, recent games, who sucks, who doesn’t, pretty much anything hockey related. I’ve sent out an announcement to the list letting the subscribers know there’s a new forum, so hopefully it wil lbe well received.

If not, that’s okay. I don’t plan on retiring the e-mailing list.