Fighting Does Cherry have it right?

Everybody says fighting needs to be taken out of the game, but to some degree I have to agree with Cherry. Hockey is an intense game filled with emotions, its a game filled with hard hitting, fast moving players, and up until recently the occasional fight. Not dissimilar to the real world fights happen. In talking with many officials, and some people who have been involved in the game for a long time many of them believe that there is a place in the game for fighting. However, the consensus amongst them is this, fighting should only happen at elite levels, and both combatants should be willing, when the officials jump in the fight is over. To some degree we have to agree that having a little bit of fighting in the games had a certain degree of ‘control’ in that you knew if you made a dirty play or ‘cheap shot’ there was going to be some sort of reparation to be paid. It kept guys under control as opposed to now, where dirty shots seem to be on the rise.

The questions becomes, is there a place for fighting in the game?

Check You Head

For the hockey community and proponents of physical hockey, the 2009-2010 season has been a tough one. First we start with the Liambias hit on Ben Fanelli, a hit which everyone agrees was dangerous, however, some argue that the year long (OHL career ending) suspension handed down to Liambas was too much, others thought it was just right .

 Then fast forward to Jan 14,2010 Zack Kassian‘s debute for the Windsor Spirfires following being traded from the Peteobrough Petes on Jan 10,2010. Zack Zassian a Buffalo Sabres prospect, selected 1st round, 13th overall, layed a rather ‘dirty’ hit on Matt Kennedy, where he clearly left his feet to lay the hit on the unsuspecting Matt Kennedy skating up-ice. Matt Kennedy is a Carolina Hurricanes prospect selected in the 5th round (131st overall). Currently Zack Kassian sits suspended indefinitely pending an investigation by the Ontario Hockey League’s commissioner David E. Branch.

On January 17,2010, Patrice Cormier who was Team Canada’s Captain in the recent World Juniors Tournament during the Christmas break, layed a dirty hit on Mikael Tam. Currently, Cormier sits suspended indefintly pending a review by the commissioner, as well the Quebec provincial police are investigate to determine whether charges will be layed. This is not the first elbow Cormier has delivered of this sort, at the World Juniors he layed one against Anton Rodin of Sweden in a  6-2 victory by Team Canada. Cormier is a prospect of the New Jersey Devils selected in the 2nd round, 54th overall in 2008.

These three incidents are leaving a lot of people wondering, when the leagues are going to ‘step up’. The WHL, OHL, and QMJHL all have penalties for checking to the head. The question is, are these penalties working? Based on these incidents many say, NO. Others are calling for the NHL to step up and introduce a checking to the head rule to protect the players. Whatever happens, these incidents leave a scar on the sport.


Welcome to Toronto

NOTICE: The information provided in this document is not guarenteed to be free from error or omission. For legal advice contact a lawyer. The information is provided for informational sake, CHN and its employees DO NOT claim any responsibility for any liability resulting from the use of this information.

For those of you that are visiting Toronto this holiday season here is a guide to help you anwser some of your questions as well as make your trip enjoyable.

Quick Facts
Population: 2,503,281
Area: 630 km² (243.2 sq mi)

Toronto, while not the capital of Canada (that would be Ottawa) certainly is regarded as the financial capital of Canada, home to the larges Canadian stock exchange (the Toronto Stock Exchange or TSX). Toronto is the capital of the province of Ontario. Toronto has many nicknames ranging from hog-town ( a reference back to the pork processsing in Toronto), T.O. (a reference to the city and the province it resides in Toronto,Ontario), Megacity (a reference to the amalgimation of the smaller cities), and finally the Big Smoke (the reasoning unkown, presumably a nomiclature brough by early Bristish immagrents).

Transportation
The main east-west highway in Toronto is the 401, the main north-south highway being  the 400, both by the province of Ontario. Traffic can range from extreamly busy to empty, during inclment weather traffic becomes extreamly congested.  The 407 serves the norther portion of the Toronto region, it is however , a tolled road. As such users are billed, those without a transponder face additional charges. Information on the 407 can be found on their website.

There are road closures if weather isn’t condusive to driving. As such closures are availble on the Ontario Ministry of Transportion website, or on the City of Toronto website.

Public transit is also managed by the Toronto Transit Commision (TTC) and the GO Transit.

Roads in Ontario have speeds posted in Kilomerters per Hour. See conversions below.

50 km/h = 31 mi/h
80 km/h = 49 mi/h
100 km/h = 62 mi/h
Border Crossing and Cutoms
Crossing the boarder can be a rather involved process, in Canada border security is the responsibility of the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA). Border wait-times are available on their website. Security at the airports is managed by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, there are restrictions on what can be taken on board, please consult their website.

Shopping
Toronto is home to numerous shopping centers its largest malls are Yorkdale, Eaton Center (downtown)Vaughan Mills, and Sherway Gardens. For sporting goods consider visiting National Sports or ProHockey Life (located at Vaughan Mills) among others.

Laws and Police
Be advised that laws in Canada differ from the United States. One notable difference is that in Canada impared driving is a Criminal Offense should you be charged you will be detained, your license will be suspended. All persons entering Canada have their right guarenteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In Ontario the used of radar detection devices is prohibited. Should you have one disconnect it and place it in your trunk. The use of seat belts is mandatory.The consumption of alcohol is also prohibited in public.  Legally you are required by Ontario law to report any motor vehicle accident where $1000 or more in damage occurs. Smoking is prohibited in all building in Ontario.

Policing in Toronto is handelled by three different police forces. Toronto has its own police serivce, responsible for most of its policing. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) also polices provincial highways and small towns. Finally, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is Canada’s national police force responsible for large interjurisdicional crime as well as international crime. Should you need EMERGENCY police assistance call 911.

Hospitals and Healthcare
Healthcare in Ontario is paid for by the goverment provided you have an OHIP card. If not you are required to pay for your healthcare unless you are from another Canadian province. Toronto is home to many hospitals, the Hospital for Sich Children specializes in advanced care for people under the age of 18, St. Micheal’s Hospital is one of two regional truma centers in Toronto, the other being Sunnybrooke Health Science Center. All hospitals in Toronto have emergency rooms. These “truama centers” are concerned with more serious injuries and life threatening situtaions.

Fire and Ambulance services are provided by the City of Toronto for a fee. If you are in need of EMERGENCY medical assitance dial 911.

Alcohol
In Ontario the legal drinking age is 19, it is illegal to supply someone under that age with alcohol. The sale of Alcohol is restricted in Ontario, alcoholic beverages may be purchased at the LCBO (Licqour Control Board of Ontario) and beer may be purchased at The Beer Store.

WELCOME TO TORONTO, ENJOY YOUR STAY!

Tough Economic Times Impacts Hockey

Hockey tournaments during this Christmas season have been hit by the economic crisis. In the GTA alone all the tournaments have been hit. The GTHL Challenge Cup (former Bell Challenge Cup) has been reduced from 32 to 16. The Don Mills Tournament has also been cancelled. Tournaments across GTA have been hit by the current economic crisis. Hopefully the recession won’t last long, and the team and clubs will be able to recover from the economic crisis.

Hockey season ramp up!

A month and a half in and the season is if full swing. You probably have got into your game/practice routines. Hopefully, the season is going well for all. However, as the season ramps up, so does the pressure to perform. Remind yourself why you play hockey, is it for fun or to sign an NHL contract? If you find yourself in the latter of the two situations I suggest you seriously evaluate the plausibility of attaining an NHL contract.In light of that, it is important to dream and aspire to higher visions. However, parents, players, and coaches, if a player has a bad game it certainly isn’t the time to jump on them or yourself. I would suggest thinking about a plan of attack for the next game, take it one shift at a time. Certainly can see the result of constant pressure on a player. Take Canadian gold medalist Stephan Legein who earned himself a gold medal with Team Canada. He decided that hockey wasn’t for him presumably because of the pressure and is rumored to currently work at a pizza parlor in St. Catherines. Remember that you don’t want to be the pressure that causes yourself/someone to quit. Keep plugging away this season, you efforts will pay dividends at some point.

Communicating with Referees

While some may think the ability to communicate with referees is unimportant it says a lot about a player. A scout will being to ask questions if they see that a player has an inability to communicate with referees. Referees are some of the hardest people to communicate with due to the nature of their job, however, it is possible and will lead to a more enjoyable game. Any referee worth their weight should be willing to communicate, and anyone that doesn’t shouldn’t be refereeing, provided you are calm and not abusive. Here are some timps and tricks on how to communicate with a referee, many of these tips apply in everyday life:

The Approach
When approaching a referee, do not charge towards them, skating fast puts the referee’s mind into a defensive state, he may (and probably interpret this subconsciously as aggression or an aggressive move). Proceed calmly, not yelling, or making drastic/offensive movements. Next when talking to a referee keep your hands down. Again bringing your hands up is another sign of aggression. Flailing arms isn’t going to do anything for your case, nor is it going to leave a good impression with the referee.

The Introduction
Much of the introduction is going to be appearance, the referee is going to judge whether he is going to talk to you based on how he perceives you. You appear to be angry or enraged he is not going to engage in conversation, which is probably better for both parties because it is going to end up in penalties or animosity. If you want to talk to the referee, and your coach or some of you players are acting like idiots tell the referee that you see that what your coach/players are doing is wrong. Acknowledge that there is a problem with these players, and inform the referee that all you want to do is talk. If a referee knows that you are reasonable and can see that your players/coach are not acting reasonably he will talk to you.  Remember that in any disagreement cooler and calmer heads will always prevail.

The Talk
If the referees decides he is willing to talk to you, he will usually give you the floor. Now that he has decided to talk to you this means he believes that you are a reasonable person, and feels that you’re acting in the best intentions. Don’t ruin it by making a comment like “you know there are two teams out here”, “you suck”, “open your eyes”, and so on. As your question, try and keep the question short and non-confrontational. Remember the referee has the right to terminate this discussion at anytime. Remain non-confrontational.

Tips for The Talk

  • Remain calm, even if the referee doesn’t they are human and get get angry.
  • Use humor, make sure it isn’t going to offend anyone, but every referee doesn’t mind a good laugh
  • Listen, don’t interject, if the referee interjects let him, then continue.
  • Be logical
  • Be empathetic to the referee’s position. He may miss calls, and he certainly isn’t perfect, but don’t tell him that.
  • Do not curse, swearing can give the referee the impression that you are becoming aggressive.
  • Do not raise your voice, although you may want to make yourself heard the rest of the rink doesn’t need to hear, and frankly you are going to be making the referee look bad and he isn’t going to take kindly to that.
  • If dealing with a younger official, DO NOT talk down to them, some of them get incredibly offended as they are qualified, many of them do higher level hockey and don’t like hearing from some minor hockey coach how they don’t know what they are doing.
  • Look into the referees eyes, and step down from a top the bench so that you can speak to him face-to-face.
  • Do not try and make a circus of the conversation drawing parents standing behind the bench in. It will not help your case with the referee.

The Conclusion
Always end the conversation with “thanks ref”, or “OK I understand”. It may have been the most useless conversation and the referee may have been the biggest dick going but make him think it was productive.

Do’s and Don’t’s

  • Be mindful of delay of game penalties, as a player coming off the bench isn’t permitted to talk to the referee.
  • Don’t ask to talk to the referee after every whistle, they are goign to end up saying no.
  • Don’t think you are right, because most times coaches are wrong, referees spend a lot of time studying the rulebook, you certainly don’t want to burn a bridge with a referee on account of argueing a rule book situation when he is right.
  • Remember the referee is always right, even when the rulebook said he is wrong. Telling him he is wrong or being condesending about it isn’t going to do anything.
  • If the referee is unapproachable, talk to a linesman or his partner and see if you can tell him all you want to do is talk. If the referee is being unreasonable his linesman will tell him. Plus a linesman is the referees peers, and if the linesman agrees that the referee is being unreasonable he will help you.
  • If the referee says there is not going to be any discussion don’t try and make one, if he says next whistle he will talk next whistle, if he says end of the period he will talk at the end of the period. Don’t force yourself on the referee, he isn’t going to be receptive.
  • Don’t burn a bridge when you don’t have to, if you can build rapport with a linesman do it. A linesman holds a lot more power than most believe. The referees usually listens to a linesman who says the team has a problem and this team is usually pretty good.

I hope that this helps, remember referees aren’t robots, they are human, put yourself in their shoes and think how you would react.

OPJHL Starting a Private School League?

Today on Network 54 the news dropped. Rumour has been around that Upper Canada College had purchased the Bancroft Hawks who has their membership revoked for allegations of mismanagement and embezzling money. Today it was confirmed! This makes Upper Canada College the third private school to enter the OPJHL the other two being most recently Villanova Knights and St. Michael’s Buzzers originally. Beginning in the 2008-2009 season Upper Canada Hockey Club will begin to operate. They will be holding training camp on July 26th and 27th as well as August 9th and 10th. One has to wonder what kind of talent is available to them after most (if not all teams) have had their tryout camps.

It assumed that the team will be operating out of the new arena constructed at Upper Canada College.The following pictures are of the proposed arena.

If you visit Upper Canada College’s website regarding the new arena you will find some rather interesting information. On the board of directors for the construction of the new arena is Harvey Shapiro. For those that don’t know Harvey Shapiro is the owner of the GTHL and OPJHL Toronto Jr. Canadiens. Interestingly enough if you try and visit the Toronto Jr. Canadiens website, it does not exist. Although there is NO rumour of the sale of the Toronto Jr Canadiens it sure seems a little interesting.

For more informaiton about the Upper Canada Jr. Hockye Club visit www.uppercanadahockeyclub.ca

For more informaiton about Upper Canada College visit www.ucc.on.ca