Category Archives: WOHL

The Golden Boot – 2020

So…here we go eh?  Another year in the W has passed and the season ending tourney played out in all its sporting glory.  Even in these strange times, the show must go on, no?  Buckle up boys, and I’ll do my best to chronicle how this year’s event went down.

There were some moments that my interpretation or memory of you may want to dispute, but since we have no official protest mechanism in the WOHL, you’ll just have to submit a comment at the bottom of this tale and hope you find some mates who agree with you (although I doubt it will change this official record).

In a twist that made my work here easier, the teams today were left as-is from the second half – no re-draft for the tournament!  Who said old guys are set in their ways?

9:00: Puck Drop – White vs Black 

Without any bias, I will say that the Black team was really built for a day just like this.  We finished up the season without a loss in the final 2 weeks and had momentum on our side.  Sadly, that went sideways early when White’s Reg Leland scored 31 seconds in.  Frickin’ guy should be named Reg Leach with those goal-scoring hands of his.  Year after year, he just scores.

With the defense-first philosophy both teams were built on, it was no surprise this one stayed a low scoring affair.  Black had 7 break-aways that became 1 on 1’s with Cowie, Schwindt and Culbert’s speed on the White blue-line. (Hmmm…a white blue line, that’s odd, eh?).  Even Ireland appeared to be staying right there with his peers in this respect – admirable given that speed isn’t really his thing.  Interesting that none of these break-aways were thwarted by a back-checking White forward.

Dan Dawson ripped one home from the blue-line with a buck fifty to go and this one ended in a tie.  Nothing like a tie to confuse the dressing room talk about who has to beat who in the next 5 games to win the prize.

9:50: Red vs Gold

Ok, we all knew it was game-on when Frey and Farrell (in his first game back from an upper body injury) dropped the flippers on the first shift after Farrell gave Frey a bit of a face-wash after a whistle.  Both teams hammered the boards with sticks as the warriors skated to the sin-bin, in a show of old school hockey appreciation.

Gold scored on the resulting power-play (Farrell took an extra 2 for slashing his own teammate Warmington on the way to the penalty box, showing just how pumped up he was to be playing again).

In a play that surprised everyone, Scott Murie scored to tie it with Eckmeier dropping back to cover for him.  (As I said, strange times we live in boys).

The score stayed tied until about 10 minutes to go with Meyer and Brunkard trading big saves with flashes of leather, pad stacks, and Dryden leg-kicks.  Then, Murie scored again to give red the lead. Sadly, doing a pony-ride the length of the ice afterwards a la Theo Fleury and being mobbed by the Martin brothers didn’t sit well with Gold who then mounted a furious counter attack resulting in a goal by Kirkland on a pretty pass by Rajna.  There have been some beauty pairs in this wonderful game of ours over the years (think Hull and Oates, Trottier and Bossy, Yzerman and Errey (Peterborough Petes in early 80’s), Gretz and Kurri) but has there been a better pair than Kirdland and Rajna?  I think not.

Just when it looked like a second consecutive tie might be in he offing, Trimble banged in rebound off a Domzy point blast that secured the win for Gold late.  But a coach’s challenge sent this one upstairs and the goal was waived off because of crease violation and Game two likewise ended in a tie!  Oh the intrigue!

10:40: White vs Red

Scottie Bowman once said that the 3rd game of any series is the key game.  Not sure if that applies to a round-robin tournament with 4 teams but let’s go with it for dramatic effect.

So…no surprise about the story line here – Meyer vs Taylor between the pipes.  Sort of like Caesar Maniago vs Alan Bester – just really, really entertaining goal-tending.  (Yes, it was a goal-fest with White outlasting Red 6-5).

Reg Leach had a pair for White, continuing his tear, as did Paola with Culbert and Richardson getting singles. Interesting stats side-note is that Cowie tied a WOHL record by picking up 7 assists for the White side’s 6 markers.  Yes, there is some question about the accuracy of this but the league verified this post-game so congrats Chris!

Red’s contributions came from up and down the line-up, but their defense-last philosophy didn’t help them in the outcome of this one.  Eckmeier got the hattie, Mr Knicely had a single and Chris Martin also scored after playing catch with his brudder on a pretty passing play (but yes, he was still behind the offensive red line in the corner when he took the shot).  Defensemen had assists on all 5 Red goals, almost tying Cowie’s individual stats on the other side.

11:30:  Black vs Gold

Clearly, the dressing snacks pre-game played a role in this one.  Both teams looks sluggish and tired and old, which when you think about it, kind of describes our stage of life so let’s own that look, shall we?

Gold opened the scoring on a fine 5-touch play that went from Aldous to Taylor to the Millionaire (sorry Brent, after 5 minutes of switching screens to try and spell your name correctly I just went with word that is easier to spell) to Hilko and then the other Taylor.

Gold scored again to go up 2-0 half way through and Black’s goose was cooked because we all know first goal usually wins and a 2-goal lead could reasonably trigger a mercy rule in these tournament games.

But wait!  With our season on the line, Black stormed back with late goals. Duncan did one of is patented end-to-ends, cut across the blue, pivoted to his fore-hand a ripped a wicked snapshot off the iron and in.  After the net stopped crying from the pain, Black came back again in short order and Bernie, with those silky mitts, knocked in a rebound reminiscent of Dino the Dog Cicerelli.  (Bernie’s 578 WOHL goals now have him 9th on the all time list by the way.)

In a move that eerily harkened back to a WOHL game from years past, Gold pulled their goalie in the last minute thinking they were down a goal.  Russell Hon, cross-eyed from lack of sleep after the recent arrival of a baby in his family, showed resilience and fired the biscuit 180 feet into the middle of the yawning cage with just 3 second left on the ticker to secure the win for Black.

Asked for a comment about how Gold got confused about the score in such a key moment, Rajna stormed off the stage at the post-game press scrum.

12:20: White vs Gold

White decided to leave it all out there in their 3rd and final game and came out flying.  Could have been the summer sausage, or the veg, but they were good.  Very good.  Kernel lead the way, as leaders will do at big moments.  He scored early on a pretty feed from Buchanan and the duo followed that up with another beauty two shifts later with Kernel getting the helper on Jamie’s ripper from the slot.

Down two, Gold’s crafty d-man Ian Taylor threw off his stay-at-home defensive armor and decided to join the rush.  Every rush.  Like every friggin’ rush, even those rushes where his team didn’t have control and it wasn’t really a rush.  Yes, as Gord Down wrote in The Lonely End of Rink, “Oh to join the rush!”  In fact, Taylor joined the rush so often it could only mean one thing – his brudder was in the opposing cage.  Sadly, the crest on said brudder’s jersey must have looked like a bulls-eye to him as every shot he took hit baby brudder right about there.  (Kudo’s to Andrew – it’s probably all he gave him).  However, the elder Taylor bro did wildly miss the net on one of his shots and it caromed out the other side where Hilko slammed it home to cut the lead in half.

It looked like it might end this way until the other gold Taylor, in his office in the neutral zone, snared a long lead pass from the old brother Taylor, and he proceeded to go 5-hole on the breakaway to tie things with two to go.  Taylor from Taylor against Taylor.  Karma is definitely either a babe or a bitch, isn’t it?

Sadly for White, Gold continued to press and forced that most hideous of mental errors in the W, the “last minute icing” with Gold’s tender out for the extra attacker.  I won’t name names here because I really didn’t see what happened by two rumours circulated post game: 1) goalie Taylor tried to score on the empty cage so he could finish the game tied with his brother in points and 2) Cowie tried to score thinking one more point would break the all-time tournament record for points.

Anyhoo…Gold was awarded the penalty shot, and Rajna, still steaming from the prior game’s goalie-pull debacle, pulled off a beautiful Forsberg to seal the win in dramatic fashion.

Come on!  Who isn’t excited about how this is going so far??!!

1:10: Black vs Red – (last game of the tournament too!)

A classic grudge match closed things out.  Match-ups were everywhere, with both teams shuffling like heavyweights looking for the advantage.  Gerson vs Thomas, Doerbecker vs Chevreau, Abbot vs Warmington, Duncan vs the Martin brudders, Further vs Bowra – cagey veterans, speed vs strength, hockey IQ vs will to win.  Clearly, there was no tomorrow today.

Heimpel was huge early and stunned Red with his wide speed being too much to handle and turning that into a pair of goals before the game was 5 minutes old.

Doerbecker and Abbot traded goals from the point leaving Black with a 3-1 lead.  But it wasn’t to be for Black.  Red stormed back, with Doerbecker going to coast to coast for his second of the game against his boyo in net to cut the lead to 1.  Tim Martin then fired one of his beauty wristers top corner to tie it.

Yours truly had a chance to win the drink for the Black side with 3 minutes to go but I toe-picked on a break-away from centre ice and swam to the bench embarrassed afterwards.  The puck went the other way and shortly afterwards, Warmington drilled home the eventual winner.

When asked post-game if he sees any comparisons between his shot and Mr Mathews of the Leafs, Warmington agreed there were some similarities.  Ah, the greats eh?

And The Winner Is…?

I’ll let you boys take it from here.  I hope you get over the aches and pains quickly lads.  Have a good summer, keep your stick on the ice and hopefully we’ll all be out there again soon.

 

 

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Fantasy, Great Games, oldtimers, tournaments, Uncategorized, WOHL

I’m ready to go Coach, put me in!

Sometimes taking a bit of a break gives one some perspective. I’ve written a total of 4 posts in just over the past 6 years here on Rink Tales.  Time truly flies.  A couple of those posts were written about 4 years ago while my mind was hyperventilating with the prospect I might not be able to play again after a shoulder injury.  One of the posts was post-Humboldt and writing something felt almost obligatory.  And then there was a single random post last year where I kinda felt like I wanted to write again…but apparently didn’t.

Well, like Mario comin’ out of retirement in the 90’s, I’m ready to go again and am looking forward to flooding the rinktales ice with as many good hockey thoughts as I can come up with.  This week was hot as heck but lovely as summer can be here in Southern Ontario and the smell of hockey just seemed to be in the air for me.  I broke a skate blade about 2/3 of the way into my Friday afternoon shinny session, I started watching Letterkenny and bumped into a fellow WOHL’er this week where we traded stories of glory days past and to come.  That’s an August hat-trick if there ever was one.

Stay tuned, we’ll be right back after the intermissions

1 Comment

Filed under Philosophy, Pre-game, Smells, Summer, WOHL, Writing

To The Victor (Orange) Go The Spoils

A nice piece for Team Orange’s trophy cabinets.  To think, with a different bounce or two in the first game, that this could have been a white puck.  Next year baby, next year….

orangepuck

Leave a comment

Filed under Trophies, WOHL

The Symposium

Ah, the annual Monday after.  After the end of the WOHL season that is, and the Monday after is when the annual symposium is held at the Central in Elmira.  The WOHL band will play, the  chicken wings will be trotted out, former stars like Lloyd will be present in the shadows, having passed with the torch with failing hands to the younger oldtimers in the WOHL several years back.

There will be the speeches, the formal awarding of the Golden Boot (hockey’s other highest honour), talk of things that went wrong on Saturday past for Blue, White and Red and right for Orange.

And at the end, we’ll all go home wondering what we’ll do this Thursday night and counting how many months / weeks / days it really is until September.

Leave a comment

Filed under Trophies, WOHL

Lizard Liquor, Racoon Roadkill and The Great Pumpkin

Charles Schulz would have been proud if he’d been in Elmira today.  The creator of the Peanuts comic strip was an avid hockey fan.   However, as well as creating Charlie Brown and his merry band of carousing guy buddies, his colourful pooch Snoopy and some pretty saucy young dames, he also gave life to the unseen character known as the Great Pumpkin.

And so, had he been in Elmira today, he would have witnessed something almost as rare as a spotting of the Great Pumpkin itself, and that is the victory of the Golden Boot by the W’s Orange team (aka. Pumpkin).   It is well known lore in the W that Orange is a cursed colour to play for.   As Warmington said after the game, if you play for Orange, that should be worth about a 20 goal handicap before blades hit the ice.

But today was their day, from the jamming home of a goal on their first shift against my mates on White to their 3-0 record when all the games ended, today was a beautiful day to be Orange.

However, the W’s season finale isn’t really about winning.  (Ok, we all try pretty hard to win and White thinks it really should have won but that’s a topic for a different day).  No, the finale is more about enjoying all the good things that come from a bunch of like-minded blokes laughing and joking their way through a half a day each year to finish off a season.   During the regular season, you get maybe 15-20 minutes before and after each game to socialize (less if you’re me or Tim Ireland, more if you are the Sedin Twins, Jimmy David or Bernie).  On the day of the season ending tournament, you get to know people better.  Here’s a sampling of stuff I didn’t know when I woke up this morning:

– Warmington once picked up a road-killed racoon and threw it in the back of his Ford station wagon one winter night thinking he would give it to one of his buddies who traded coon pelts.  However, he promptly forgot about it, traded the Ford in one fine spring day before the thaw and heard later about the discovery coming as it did after some strange aromas needed to be investigated on the used car lot.

– Fulch’s Dad once decided the campground-sold firewood wasn’t for him and headed down the road into the bush, found a log to throw into the back of the wagon and drove back to the campground only to scare the beejeezus out of his travelling companion uncle when they discovered, much to the pain of his snake-fearing uncle that there was a snake’s nest in the log.  While “Snakes-in-a-Car” isn’t the snappy Hollywood title that “Snakes on a Plane” was, the fact that this was for real made it a better story

– someone’s hockey bag once had a nest of mice in it and they decided to leave their home while the owner and bag were en route to the rink in the car.  Again, this even less scary than Snakes-in-a-car but it has does have a charm of its own as hockey-bag stories go.  Upon hearing this someone commented “Where the hell does he keep his bag?”

– Ref Rich indicated that ref’ing some college girl games enabled him to learn that not all girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice.  While Rich doesn’t get intimidated by anyone in the W and is quite happy to laugh off any of us who get wound up at him for his calls / non-calls during the season, I think I heard his voice quiver a little as he described some of these college-girl games

– lastly, and I’m a bit biased in favour of Pat’s story-telling abilities, his story about a business trip to China was just as funny to me on the third telling as it was in the first.  (On the third go, we were sitting in Red’s dressing room eating their food and drinking their bevies after it had become clear they weren’t going to help us win by beating Orange in the final game).  In this particular yarn, which is too weird to be made up and proves that truth is stranger (and funnier) than fiction, Pat outlined how business on this particular trip seemed to get done during the big lunch and dinner feasts that had the eatees drowning in all kids of booze.  (In fact, I believe the Indonesian fellow who fell off his chair may have in fact actually drowned).   One morning after a particularly heavy feast the night before, one that Pat described by stating things were getting “pretty cloudy at the end”, they entered some chairman’s private dining room only to discover what appeared to be a five-gallon aquarium with a dead lizard on a stick, half in / half out of the aquarium, with all manner of fungus and seaweed and ginseng and other assorted life forms bubbling and growing.  “That’s ugly.” Pat suggested to his Canuck sidekick.  Ugly would have been fine had it not turned for the worse after lunch when the ladles came out and the hosts started pouring this unique brand of kool-aid into glasses for the businessmen to drink.  Makes a nice pull on on a cold beer after a game of hockey to chase down some smoke-cured sausage seem so civilized doesn’t it?

And so, another year is in the books.  The Golden Boot goes to Orange.  Here’s to Monday night’s symposium where we relive today one more time over chicken wings and just enough vegetables to make ourselves believe we’re eating healthy and staying in shape for next season.  And here’s to the second Monday in September when we open up those musty hockey bags and, after checking things first based on the what we learned from the tales above, throw on our gear to begin a new season.

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, Friendships, oldtimers, Quotes, Smells, tournaments, WOHL

A Final Blue Victory

Blue closed out the season tonite with another win – the third in a row in another solid effort.  Post game, the jerseys were thrown in a heap, torches to be past to a new set of blue warriors who will wear them on Saturday at the season finale.

We all agreed it was a great second half.  The Sedin twins / Sundin sisters providing comedic relief and offensive punch every night, Kernel pushing those same twins / sisters with his savvy hockey leadership skills and the rest of us playing as role players play – hard, full of promise, willing always to take one for the team.

But one by one, as we pulled our gear out the door, our colours changed.  I turned white, some went red and orange and a handful stayed blue.  On Saturday, Blue are the bad guys.

Leave a comment

Filed under WOHL

What Makes a Great Hockey Team?

Good refreshments.  And so, with the White team gelling nicely via email this week in anticipation of Saturday’s season close-out tournament, the talk was decidedly around who was bringing what to the rink to replenish the machine between games.   I’m almost embarrassed to say that I don’t think Martha Stewart could have planned this any better.  The only thing I didn’t read someone bringing was a table cloth and some doilies.

On the upside, man does not live on ice alone.  And so on that note, our list so far includes gatorade, water, mennonite sausge, portugese sausage, various cheeses, nachos and dip, assorted fruits and veggies (seriously, who drafted that guy?).   Blue, Orange, Red – look out.  If nourishment alone can fuel a team for victory, we’ll be tough to beat.

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, tournaments, WOHL

True Blue

Some games are painfully difficult, some are wonderfully simple.  You’ll note I didn’t use the word “easy” to define the opposite of difficult.  No game is ever easy for an old-timer.  Let’s leave it at simple.  Tonight’s game was a good example of simple.

Red has owned us the last few times we played them, but not tonight.  We scored early and often and cruised to a 6-2 win.  The hockey gods were good to us tonight.  Our tender was awesome and made some solid saves as we rolled in some nice ones at the other end.  Red’s tender was also good but it was just one of those games where, when he looked left, the puck was on the right, when he went down, Jonesy and McTavishy shot high.

Pucks went to the net and good things happened.  Pucks hit legs and went in instead of hitting legs and staying out.  Pinches at the blueline kept pucks in instead of turning into breakaways for the bad guys.   Simple stuff and at the end, a win for Blue.   We all agreed it was a very good game.

Leave a comment

Filed under The Gods, WOHL

Let The Tournament Begin

The much anticipated email from the freshly-minted captains of this year’s end-of-year WOHL tourney were sent yesterday.  And the verdict is…White is the new Blue.

Yes, I’ll be trading in my blue sweater for a white one late Thursday night.  White looks solid,  really solid.  As much as I’ll have blue tatooed on my chest forever, it is just a wash-off tatoo and by post-game Thursday night, I’ll be as white as white on rice.

The year-end tournament is an epic event and one all WOHL’ers look forward to.  Five hours on a Saturday where each team gets three 40-minutes games.  In between, there is a literal feast going on since most of us will have skipped breakfast to get to the rink on time as well as a figurative feast of trash-talk, taunts and hockey blarney.

And of course, we get to play hockey.

Leave a comment

Filed under tournaments, WOHL

Happiness

It was a crazy long hard weekend of work.   Not many hours sleep and a fair bit of angst that go hand-in-hand with a large system conversion I have been working on with a client.  Monday, the morning-after, is always ugly even  when such an event goes well and today was no exception.

However, I was able to scoot out of the office by 7:45, get home in time for a bite and then got to Elmira in time for my 9:00 game.  Blue came out on top so on that basis alone, I’ll call the day a roaring success.  It’s good to keep work and hockey in their proper relative priority and perspective.   Some people love their work.   I, other hand think they call it work for a reason.  For me, work is not happiness.  But hockey is.

Leave a comment

Filed under WOHL