In an effort to become a better writer I'm starting a blog. It will mostly be my take on the amateur teams I see and my photos, I may have a few hand-knit photos and stories as well.
The 2018 NHL Awards Las Vegas
Our view from the Hard Rock Hotel in Las VegasLas Vegas skyline the day before the awards.
After years of being an NHL fan I finally made the decision to attend the NHL awards. Call it a life long dream, or maybe it's just because my first hockey tour is in the same year, or maybe it's because I've decided to take a new route in my life. For whatever reason I decided this year should be the year I attend. I guess the finally decision was when Luongo was nominated for the Mastertson Award, I'd cheer for that guy no matter what, but the Mastertson award is quit an honor to be recognized by the writers for.
Though Luongo was one of the reasons I came, he wasn't the only reason I enjoyed the awards show, especially since he didn't win. The awards show was fun to watch live, and at the same time very sad. It seems to me that when you play it all side by side it was a tough year for hockey. Between the Humbolt Broncos bus crash, and the Parkland shooting, it was quite depressing to hear all of this recapped. There was however a positive to take away from the awards. This year the NHL announced, the Willie O'Ree Community Hero Award. O'Ree was the first black NHL player. For him to be the first black NHL player with an award named after him was even better. When I looked up at the stage and saw O'Ree there, it made me happy, and frustrated to see it took until 2018 for him to get an award named after him. Oh well better late than never I suppose.
Plane tickets to Las Vegas from pretty much anywhere are cheep, and I was sure to buy them early, in April.
Hotels in Las Vegas are also very cheep because there are so many. But booking early you can always score a deal through Booking.com. We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel mostly because the awards were held at the Joint.It's a very lovely and spacious hotel. They had a gym and a pool. The pool was 100 degrees, and the gym was small, but I got some cardio in so I would say it got the job done.
My Packing List (not everything but these are the must haves)
Polaroid Snap Touch
Aeronaut 45 (too many jerseys for the Synapes 25)
Luongo Team Canada 2010 jersey
Luongo Panthers jersey (photo below)
Flip Flops (that I forgot and never used, LOL)
Attending the awards
I can't speak to past years but this year I spend quite a bit. QUITE MORE than I wanted to spend on an awards show. I think it had to do with the Golden Knights success, and the Capitals winning their first Stanley Cup. But let's just say if I purchased my tickets during the playoffs I would have spent a lot less, but I very much doubt I would have been able to attend the after party.
Not a bad venue but you are limited on what you can bring in. They didn't allow us to bring in our hockey sticks, but they did allowed cameras. And a few fans even brought in their pocket knifes. I guess hockey sticks are a weapon in the States. Funny enough signs are allowed, go figure. Very pretty and the lights were very done up. Very small as well I believe it only seats 4,000. We were in the lower level because we spent way too much on our tickets.
Each attendee received a program, which I'm keeping for my scrapbook, in color which contained a play-by-play of the awards. It was a great show and Boyle made me cry. Hell pretty much every part made me cry at one point or another.
After the show Vanessa spotted Daniel Sedin and he was nice enough to take photos with the both of us. So happy to see them one last time. I said go Canucks and he just laughed.
I also spotted Kevin Weekes and took a photo with him but it didn't turn out :( Kevin if you're reading this I think that was the most disappointing part of the night.
James Norris Memorial Trophy (1954)
Frank J. Selke Trophy (1978)
Jack Adams Award (1974)
William M. Jennings Trophy (1982)
Art Ross Trophy (1948)
Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy (1999)
Calder Memorial Trophy (1933)
Willie O'Ree Community Hero Award (2018)
NHL General Manager of the Year Award (2010)
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (1968)
Ted Lindsay Award (2010) Previously known as the Lester B. Pearson Award (1971-2009)
Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award (2007)
King Clancy Memorial Trophy (1988)
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (1925)
Vezina Trophy (1927)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1924)
The Red Carpet
It is free to stand on the red carpet but you have to get there early, and I mean early. The couple in front of us said they got there at 10AM. We got there around 1PM, thankfully they were nice enough to let me in front when Luongo came out so he could sign my jersey... Aww Luongo... we'll get to what he said in another post, because what happen on the red carpet was so great it needs it's own post.
The After Party
So as I mentioned above the very expensive tickets came with tickets to the after party. It was fun, all the free booze we could drink. We looked around for players; I spotted Boyle and pounced. Vanessa took a very crappy photo of us and we were on our way to more drinks. We saw Bettman near the drink line, booooooo!!!! Vanessa wanted a photo with him but I shamed her so much for it she decided to pass. I can't stand that guy! We met some really cool locals, and went to the downstairs bar to have drinks with them. The best part was what happened after that... But that is a story I can never share online, as they say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and what happened after I parted ways with my dear new friends and oldest best friend will forever stay in Vegas.
My First Hockey Roadie
Just a short recap of my first hockey roadie.
On March 22, 2018 I woke up to a screaming alarm clock. I knew if I didn't make the first flight it would sent the entire tour back. It was 3:30 AM and I still had a few last minute items to pack. The bulk of the items were packed, but there were a few just in case items I needed to add. I somehow managed to get into the shower, I hoped it would help wake me up, I didn't drink coffee because I figured I could sleep on the plane easier without the caffeine high. 4:20AM I finally made my way to the airport parking. My flight was on time and scheduled to leave at 6:20AM. I very nervously got into the shuttle not knowing what the line would be like, or if there would be more traffic to face as we approached the airport. The shuttle driver stopped and got out to help everyone with their bags. I remember feeling a sense of relief and calmness as I smiled and walked happily pass the luggage check in with my back pack and tote bag. The line was very long but was moving swiftly due to the low TSA security check.
At 5:05AM I made it inside the terminal. "The hard parts over." I thought. I reached into my back pack and switched out my coat for my New York Rangers blanket, grateful I brought it along, even if it did take up way too much space. I think when you are away from home sometimes you need something to make you feel at ease, for me it was the blanket and my two moose friends. 5:50AM we started to board the plane. There was a young woman sleeping on the floor using her luggage as a pillow, I remember thinking, "That will be me in Chicago in an hour or so.". I slid into the first aisle seat I could find. Unfortunately this was right next to the wing which made for a very noisy flight. I just sighed and placed my blanket over me. I would soon be in Chicago and see my favorite game.
We landed about 8:20AM and I still needed a nap. Vanessa wasn't due in for a while, Alma was still at work, and we couldn't check into our AirBnB until 3:00PM. So I decided to scope out a good place to sleep. I found a very quiet area at the very end of the terminal and set up sleep camp. About an hour later I was awoken by screaming laughing children. Why they picked me to bother when they had the entire area to theirselves is beyond me. I have slept through screaming babies so I tried to make the best of it and get some sleep, I had a very long night ahead of me. Finally at about 12:30PM I woke up and decided it was time for pizza. Alma, my old friend from San Francisco, text me to let me know her boss let her off early, and I later got a text from my AirBnB saying my room was ready. "This is perfect!", I thought I would have plenty of time to get to the AirBnB shower and still be early to meet Alma for Chicago style deep dish pizza. This simple task would soon prove to be not quite so simple as I thought.
I took the long walk to the train station, it's in the airport but I feel like I walked a mile to get there. I got on the train and got off at the stop the man at the airport advised me to. I then pulled out my cell phone to route me to the AirBnB, a 10 minute walk, easy. Not easy in a city like Chicago however. Not only did I get lost but my phone died in the middle of my journey and I had no way of charging it. Note to self always, always, always, bring your remote charger on these road trips. ALWAYS! As I was sweating walking through the city of Chicago not having a clue where I was going, I remember thinking, "What on earth did I do before the days of GPS?", I also thought, "The blanket you remember but the remote puck charger you forget! Dumbass!" FINALLY a glimmer of hope I spotted a mailman if anyone knows where this street is it's a mailman. I stopped him while he was exiting a house and he said the street was so small if I were to blink I'd miss it. This was a small jester but it did help me to remember not all people are bad. Even when you are walking around Chicago in a Luongo hoodie.
I finally made it to the AirBnB and rang the bell as I still had no cell phone. I was greeted by my host, a tall dark-haired man with an accent. I explained to him my journey and he didn't seem to care one way or another. He opened the door and gave me the key. A very small studio but perfect for two broke girls on a roadie. He told me to message him if we needed anything. I charged my phone and immediately called Alma. I was sure she was worried. Shew was relieved to hear I was alright and informed me she had been drinking and to take my time. I showered and let my phone charge. I got out of the shower and sent Vanessa a text to let her know I was safe and there was only one key to the AirBnB, and that I would leave the door unlocked. She showed us as I was doing my makeup. I was so happy to see her, so happy about the journey that awaited us, and so very happy for the personal journey that awaited me. I hugged my best friend and headed out the door to see my old friend.
I greeted Alma with a smile and a very long hug. We chatted and had great Chicago style pizza. She mentioned she had never been to a Blackhawks game before and asked it Vanessa would mind if she tagged along. I respectfully asked Vanessa's opinion about the situation and she was find with it. Good thing the two of them got along well. I wasn't surprised by this at all.
We took an Uber to the game and printed our tickets. I'll post a more detailed post about the arena in a later blog. We had drinks and watched the Canucks kill the Blackhawks in one of the best games I've seen them play all year. Del Zotto even scored!!!! So much fun.
After we went for drinks at a sports bar and then back to the AirBnB for a rest before the drive to St. Louis.
I awoke fairly early to Vanessa sleeping. I showered and went for coffee. I got Vanessa a drip and a yogurt, and myself and iced house coffee. I walked back to greet her and check out.
On we went to St. Louis. The road trip was a short five hour drive. Vanessa and I chatted and listened to music, while I knit. We arrived in St. Louis around 4:00PM about three hours before puck drop. What a pretty town. Very old English looking, if that's a thing. We checked into our very beautiful hotel. I was so hungry and Vanessa really wanted to shower. I couldn't find a microwave and Vanessa couldn't get ready fast enough, first world problems!
We Ubered to the game, BIG MISTAKE! We were next door! LOL life lesson learned. The game and the fans weren't that great, I'll touch more on this later in a future blog, but the Canucks lost and we got rained on, but we were still smiling at the end because Vanessa got on the jumbotron for her last game and I got to see one of my favorite NHL teams play live.
The next morning we checked out and had lunch at the ballpark. Then we went to Knitorious in St. Louis to hunt for yarn.
Vanessa and I also went to the Casino before she dropped me off to the airport. It was quite different.
March 25, the 3rd and final stop on this roadie, Dallas, home... for now.
I took my friend Austin to the game. Del Zotto gave me a puck, and WE WON!!!! It was great. The boys kept banging into me for warm-ups and showing me lots of love. Del Zotto was all sneaky and signed a puck for me, what a sweetheart!!! I'll get into this more later in my Dallas post.
Anyway that's pretty much it. I've been working like crazy so I'm sorry this post it so late. Stay tuned for my arena reviews and subscribe to know know when I post. And of course feel free to comment on what you think, good or bad I just want to know who's reading.
My Hockey Tour!
31 teams, 16 states, 5 provinces
2018 will mark the completion of my best friend, Vannessa's, hockey tour. I have always been envious of her, being able to travel to different hockey arenas. It took some time, but great for her she did it! Since I go to a hockey arena each year, mostly for her, I decided the end of her tour would be the beginning of mine, it is after all, on my "Life List".
The start date will be March 22, 2018, we are going to the Blackhawks vs. Canucks in Chicago, or Shitcago as I like to call it. United Center! I hope my first game on this very long tour will be a great one! The Canucks have been playing great hockey against the Blackhawks this season, and for any Canucks' fan that's just good to see. Strong in D, strong on the PK, it feels more, and more like a team every game. I just want these boys to get it together and win a cup.
While knitting one night and looking up Shitcago hotels, I was texting Vannessa on one of my knitting breaks just to give my hands a rest. During this texting relay (Vanessa and I have tons of these as she gets very lonely on the road from time to time.), I came up with an epic idea. At the time I just tossed it out to Vannessa to see how she felt about it. The idea was to add St. Louis to our trip. I have always wanted to do a hockey roadie, like the cool kids in Vancouver, and there was no time like the present. So I pitched the idea to her and she said she would try her hardest to meet me in St. Louis, the last stops on her hockey tour.
There is not another person in the world I would want to spend this tour with other than Vanessa. We met on the Canucks facebook, we stalked the Canucks together, we laughed at the funny warm up moments, we cheered during the great times, and cried during the not so great times. Once I even threatened to beat some crazy Dallas Stars' bitch up for her. Friends like that are hard to find, so for her friendship and loyalty I am very grateful.
I even got a new camera to document the adventure, Polaroid Snap Touch Instant Print Digital Camera With LCD Display with Zink Zero Ink Printing Technology, most rinks won't let me take in my SLR, one reason I love Dallas, they rarely care what I bring in.
Looks like I'm starting my hockey tour off with a bang! Three games in four days, three cities in four days! Excited doesn't even begin to describe it. I feel like I did the very first time I saw Luongo go down in a butterfly, the way I felt at the age of four when I saw my first hockey game. I feel young and alive again. I feel as if I can take on anything.
So what are the top 10 things I MUST bring on the first leg of my hockey tour?
1.) Canucks away jersey (Has to be the away jersey!) I don't wear this jersey much but a roadie seems like the perfect time to start wearing it.
2.) Luongo Canucks hoodie (Best find Vanessa has ever spotted for me in Texas of all places.) The good thing about it is my jersey slips right over it.
3.) Polaroid camera (See above.)
4.) Laptop. I need a way to blog and print tickets. I went back and forth between the ipad and the laptop. There are pros and cons for both but the laptop (today anyway) is wining.
5.) A sharpie. You never know who will be staying in your hotel during a roadie/hockey tour so keep a good sharpie on you at all times. I use a liquid type because it looks great on my jersey but you will have to put it in your TSA 3-1-1 bag.
6.) Gordie Moose, and maybe Marty. (See photo below.)
7.) My knitting. I can get a lot of knitting done on the plane.
8.) My Tom Bihn Synapse 25 because I don't like to check my bags.
9.) My Tom Bihn Travel Cubelet, because most arenas have restrictions on the size bag you can bring in. I don't want any surprises, the game is quite far from our Airbnb.
10.) A sign folded up. I can't go to warm-ups without a roadie sign.
11.) Warm boots because it's cold in the arena. (I know I said 10 but boots!)
My journey to minimalism... Or how I accidentally started to feel like myself again.
Around the end of December 2017, I was trying to find a new vegan cookbook online, mostly because I have pretty much eaten all the good things from the cookbooks I already own. Variety always helps you stick to a diet plan. So I stumbled on Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious Recipes, by Dana Shultz, a book I have yet to buy mind you. I remember thinking, "Minimalist? Sounds like another crazy hipster fad." Why do the hipsters mess everything up?
Anyway I digress. While searching for the book, Amazon, lovely Amazon, gave me a list of more minimalist, and decluttering books. I thought to myself. I need to read more, and get rid of this crap I never use. So this search led me to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo, I thought 12,000 + review?! I have to give this 4 hour read a chance. That was a bust as I have no time to read, I work two jobs! So I later downloaded the audio book, so I could listen on my way to work and at the gym. It really was life changing... (I'll touch more on this later, in a future post. Future me is so good at doing things.)
I'm still getting rid of A LOT of excess stuff but I couldn't help but wonder about other takes on minimalism. So I brought The Minimalist Mindset: The Practical Path to Making Your Passions a Priority and to Retaking Your Freedom, by Danny Dover, and that was also life changing because it not only focuses on clutter in your home but minimizing EVERYTHING. I'm, as the book recommends, am starting with my debt.
I thought to myself, "Nothing bad can come from me reading more and more about how this has effected others." So I brought another book. Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life, by Joshua Fields Millburn, and Ryan Nicodemus, I looked at the front cover and thought, "Man what a bunch of knobs!" but I decided to read it anyway because I was watching some YouTube video I read about one bag travel. The book itself wasn't the best I have read. But these guys have many great points that I did find helpful, plus that Josh is a good writer, see their blog, theminimalists.
The point I'm trying to make here is on my journey to find, and own less, I found more, I found life. Now I hope you aren't looking for a magic answer, because you won't find it here, this is my blog, so you are welcome to read my journey, but you will have to read their books to find your own.
So I started creating my "Life List" as Dover called it in his book. The list itself is insane and I have no idea how I'm even going to get out of debt, let alone do anything on this crazy list. OMG I'm turning into a hipster!!! Someone get me some hockey sticks!!!
Sorry guys this blog sounded a lot better in my head before I wrote it down. But as I said in my previous blog I HAVE to post it no matter how bad I think it is, because posting it and getting it out is FAR better than never posting it at all.
The Game Three Photos You Will Only Find Here... And Why
My first seasons with the Dallas Ice Jets ended with a very difficult game three lose to the Texas Brahmas (or 'Texas' as the league likes to call them). One player was cut in the face and received a concussion, another with a hurt shoulder, and I watched another take a tough check and go to the box.
There I stood in my photo spot powerless to do anything about the outcome. As the clock wound down on the power play to the Brahmas in the last final minutes I stood there frozen, not shooting and hardly breathing, just waiting; waiting for a goal, waiting for some miracle to keep them in the playoff run. Sadly my wait was in vain.
As the clock ran down everything seemed to be in slow motion. Somehow I managed to raise my camera and take shots of my team. You can talk to 100 sports writers and photographers and they will probably all say the same thing, "There is nothing like watching the team you follow all season long go down in the playoffs." But they will also give you the sound advice to, "Keep going." This to me means there will always be great moments, like the SICK SAVE Tyler Hough made in the Pink In the Rink game, or the beautiful goal Chris Schutz scored (Can't remember which game but the goal was so great!), or the stellar passing between defensemen Bryan Siersma and Spencer Roth. But at the same time there will always be low moments. It’s the low moments that keep you employed in the NHL and AHL. Local newspapers love to see defeat. You learn best from defeat, even if you don't realize it at the time. On this day, at this game it took everything in my power to keep shooting.
So call me a girl, but we all know how hard it is to see the people you have grown to like as individuals so disappointed. "It comes with the job," says a Vancouver Canucks sports writer, "It's never easy, but it should never be easy if you are doing your job right."
So I shot, and I shot; and as my eyes welt up with tears I shot some more. In the beginning of every game you wonder if you can continue to shoot the loses, I answered my own question game three by shooting the young players' final moments.
The following photos are for any new sports writer or photographer still wondering if they made the right choice. At the end of the day the client will employ you to shoot the game and not get emotionally attached to the team. This is your job and the more you do it the better you become. I love those young men and everyday they make me want to write better and shoot better, for this I am grateful!
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