Ken Daneyko Throws Hockey Glove at Four Year-old Girl

It’s true.  I was on the ice.  I witnessed it first-hand as the NHL tough guy, Stanley Cup champion and a player Bruins fans loved to hate slid his glove off his hand and propelled it towards 4-year-old Jenna. And it wasn’t just once.  In his own words Daneyko said “I must have hit her four times”….and he seemed to enjoy it!  I guess we all knew “Dano” loved to drop the gloves.  Has retirement has really gotten to the 20-year veteran?

Well if Daneyko is guilty as charged, then so are Grant Marshall, Jim Dowd and Bruce Driver.  All four came out on Sunday as the Devils hosted a “Game Day Camp” for young girls in the area and the description above was nothing more than a modified version of the game of tag.  All gloves were tossed gently(ish), skaters were encouraged to catch them if they could and no little hockey players were in danger in any way.  It was outright fun. Quite frankly, I think the 4 Devils alumni were having at least as much fun as the players.  I really can’t say enough how pleasant they were to be around and how engaged they were with these little hockey players.

In addition to the official representatives from their organization, the Devils invited 4 members of our 1998 U.S. Olympic team to take the ice.  Vicki Movsessian, Alana Blahoski, Jenny (Schmidgall) Potter and I had the privilege of leading 2 sessions of drills and games before taking in the 1:00 game versus Tampa Bay.

Game Day Camp is a fairly new program that invites local players to join Devils alumni for a clinic in the morning followed by an afternoon game.  It’s a great gig and I was thrilled to see they held a special one geared towards the girls.  I hope they keep it up.

Grant Marshall with N.J.

A few highlights and memorable events:

  • We found a stray pink daisy laying on the ice.  Poor little Riley has lost her hair elastic (Happens all the time, right guys?)
  • Although no players were endangered during our game of tag, little Jenna was definitely spooked by N.J., the Devils’ mascot
  • Grant took a nice slash across the shin from Mary (Yes, it was intentional…and hilarious. He took the puck away from her during a game of monkey in the middle. What did he expect?)
  • For my 2 1/2 year old son, his first NHL experience included skating on the Devils’ practice sheet, watching the game from a suite and showing up on the jumbo-tron during the first intermission (it’s all down hill from here, buddy.)

Thanks to the Devils for a great day!  A special thanks to Mike Merolla who jumped through hoops to make sure my family arrived safe and sound.

WorldFit 2011 Is Off And Running On Cape Cod

Last week I had the pleasure of returning to my hometown of East Falmouth on Cape Cod to help kickoff WorldFit 2011 at Teaticket Elementary School.  Teaticket school is the beneficiary of an amazing physical education instructor, Carrie Shanahan.  Mrs. Shanahan, has done an incredible job for the students, faculty and staff of the school  in terms of helping getting people moving.  She has spent hours creating and holding fundraisers in order to build a new playground, to have a walking track installed on the playground and to generally bring awareness and action to health and wellness at her school.

Knowing that, there should be no surprise that she was my go to person when I was looking for a school to adopt for WorldFit 2011.  As expected, she has done an awesome job getting the kids on board, registered with the program and excited to log as many miles as they can in the 40 days of the program.  We kicked off the program last Wednesday. It was a ton of fun and as a thank you/reward, I put this short video together for the kids.

If you like what you see, you should take a look at the WorldFit program and mark your calendars to sign your school up next year!

Women’s Hockey Players Step Up for World Fit 2011

World Fit is an intiative with a mission to combat childhood obesity. Started in 2009 by three-time Olympian, Dr. Gary Hall (swimming), World Fit matches Olympians and Paralympians with local community leaders and schools. Together, the athletes and leaders work to encourage the students to log as many miles per day as they can in 40-days. The goal is the impress upon these students, at an early age, the importance and benefits of leading a healthy and active lifestyle.

I first learned of World Fit back in late summer 2010 when I connected with Gary through a LinkedIn Group. Immediately I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. In addition I sent out a bit of a recruiting letter to my teammates from 1998 and a few other Olympians and Paralympians that I have come to know. It just seemed like something everyone would be interested in and perhaps a few would even jump on board.

Tonight I was checking out the World Fit website to see how things were going. I browsed the list of registered Olympic and Paralympic athletes out of curiosity. I was sad to see that only 2 of the 6 New England states were represented. I was, however, heartened to see that of the 2 states participating (CT & MA) 4 of the 5 athletes came from the world of women’s ice hockey. AJ (Mleczko) Griswold (MA), Jamie Hagerman (MA), Sue Merz (CT) and yours truly (MA) are all registered and ready to offer whatever help we can to help battle what many experts say has become an epidemic here in the U.S. Chris Bailey, a two-time Olympian from New York is also registered as a mentor.

I know I am excited to challenge and support the students of Teaticket School in my hometown. I’ll be keeping an eye on those other 3, too. I have a feeling we’ll be giving them a run for their money.

Just left a pretty lengthy comment on an…

Just left a pretty lengthy comment on an article pretty much mocking the induction of Mel Davidson into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame. It appears to be moderated so we’ll see if it actually gets published. Just in case it does not, here is a link to the article.

And, here is the comment that I left:
From what I can find, Tony, it appears that Claude Robinson was inducted into the Canadian Olympic HoF in 1960 – Why? Well, the only Olympic experience I found was that he “managed” the men’s hockey team in 1932 in Lake Placid. Look back at those results and you will see that the only *real* competition the Canadians faced was when they played the Americans. Sound familiar?

Now, Robinson contributed to the game of hockey in Canada in other significant ways, but this is the *Olympic* Hall of Fame you are discussing, not the Hockey Hall of Fame. I’d argue that Mel’s Olympic contributions best those of Robinson in that way.

I think you have to consider the era of the game when measuring the impact of a player, coach or builder, etc. In 1932 men’s hockey was in their third Olympics and had a long, long way to go in terms of parity…women’s hockey just completed their 4th. People like Mel have helped give legitimacy to the women’s game by pushing her players to be the very best. The U.S. and Canada are simply leading the way, the very same way they did on the men’s side. One might argue that it is early to add induct Mel, but I don’t think you can dismiss what she accomplished during her Olympic career. Regardless of what the competition was (or was not) doing, the women of Canada have always been a source of great Canadian pride during the Olympics because of the high level of skill and intensity they bring to the ice. Mel was there for years challenging and supporting them.

Riding the train, heading to work and re…

Riding the train, heading to work and realizing that I really need to update this blog. There have been a couple of exciting things going on with the Boston CWHL team. A great event on Cape Cod this past weekend and a fun piece highlighting the New Hampshire connection to the team. That story will be shown very soon on New Hampshire Chronicle. I’ll try to add more details soon.

Ray of Hope Shines for Russian Women’s Ice Hockey

Anyone with an interest in the sport of ice hockey has heard or read about the current state of the women’s international scene. It is apparent to all that the sport is in need of parity. Those heavily invested in the game are working hard to that end.

Women’s ice hockey had the attention of some of the smartest and most influencial people in the sport as it was highlighted at the World Hockey Summit this past summer. Talks at the summit resulted in some progress, but throughout this entire discussion there has been one glaring and disturbing thread. It emerged early on, before the closing of the Vancouver Games when Vladislav (Slava) Tretiak made a statement to Canada’s Hayley Wickenheiser indicating that it was his belief that women in Russia had “no interest” in playing ice hockey.

The reason that this was such a disturbing statement is the Tretiak is the major influencer for all things hockey in Russia. If he doesn’t believe in it, what chance do they have?

Wickenheiser and Tretiak met again during the Hockey Summit and had a similar discussion. This time she fired back a bit more and put a little pressure on him to help make thigns better.

Hayley Wickenheiser:
“I asked him (Tretiak) the same question and his comment was: ‘You know, women don’t want to play hockey in Russia.’ And I said, ‘but yes they do.’ And he said, ‘yeah, but we only have 300 players.’ And I said, ‘it’s more than nothing.”

I find this clip (posted in March 2010) encouraging because it illustrates 2 points. One, there are definitely women in Russia interesting in playing, competing in and growing the the sport of ice hockey and, two, there are coaches who are willing and able and wanting to help.

Molson Comes Through for CWHL With End Of The Year Support

Had my first Canadian Women’s Hockey League Board meeting last night. It was really great to meet the other Board members and I was very excited and encouraged to learn that Molson offered up a very nice end of the year gift to the league.

Molson Supports CWHL

Molson Supports The CWHL

The CWHL, still very young, is hoping to grow into a league where female players can both play beyond their college and university years and perhaps make a living doing it. Support from Molson and the many other sponsors and supporters we have is critical. We appreciate each and every one of them, yet continue to need additional financial support. The idea that one day the young girls playing in youth leagues today might have the opportunity have a paid career in this great sport is what motivates us, so a great big thank you to Molson and all the others for helping to keep the vision and dream alive.

This is a presentation that I put togeth…

This is a presentation that I put together for the Boston based club. The purpose is to emphasize that it is going to take the effort of all players (and many others) to make this league a success and to provide some thoughts and ideas on how I feel they can do this most efficiently. The #1 challenge the league (and specifically the Boston team) will have is getting the word out and getting people to come see the games. I sincerely believe that seeing these teams play in person and the opportunity for young players and fans to meet these women will result in a growing and loyal fan base. Something every non-recreational league needs.

Growing the Canadian Women’s Hockey League from Colleen COyne on Vimeo.

Pepsi and NG Farrell Latest To Team Up With CWHL

Two encouraging updates regarding the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) have developed recently. This league, although founded in 2007, is truly in “start up” mode. On paper and in theory, they have the makings of a successful league. They have some of the best female hockey players in the world participating on 5 teams. They just expanded into the United States adding a new team to Boston. The women participating in this league are more than great athletes. They are educated, personable conscientious and generally great role models that any parent should -at any chance- take their daughters to see.

What they don’t have (like any start up) is a ton of money for marketing or exposure in the media (traditional or new). So, when a company like Pepsi steps up in support of the league it is a very good sign. Pepsi recently contributed cash and product in Support of the league’s Clarkson Cup tournament. The money will ensure that team travel expenses to the playoff tournament are covered and the product will be used to support the teams during the competition. So, thank you to the folks at Pepsi.

The other recent development is the addition of Vancouver-based Ng Farrell. This sports and culture marketing company will be using their clout and knowledge to spread the word in the western provinces of Canada, increasing awareness and hopefully drumming up some additional monetary support.

So, a couple of positive notes to wrap up 2010. I am looking forward to much more activity like this in 2011.