Johnny Hockey: Will Skate for Skittles

Johnny Gaudreau is the first athlete, of any sport, I’ve followed from their collegiate career into the majors.  I was first introduced to his greatness when the Boston College Golden Eagles competed in the 2nd Annual Three Rivers Classic college tournament hosted by Robert Morris University.  I went into the tourney an RMU fan but ended as a fan of BC.  From the second they stepped on the ice, it was clear to see that they were on another level of talent and the team to beat.  They shutout Bowling Green in the first round and defeated Penn State 8-2 for the championship that year.  After seeing his gameplay throughout the two games, it was no surprise that Gaudreau took home the titles of tournament MVP and my favorite college hockey player.

Going back to the beginning, the Calgary Flames ran a story on Gaudreau this season speaking to how he got his start on the ice.  His father, Guy Gaudreau, was the hockey director at the local ice rink and encouraged Johnny to skate by using a line of skittles.  From there Gaudreau spent every moment he could on the ice, perfecting his skills, and most importantly to him at the time, his goal-scoring abilities.  Gaudreau has commented on his goal-scoring mentality saying, “As a kid, I was pretty shameless about it.  I’d spend entire games cherry-picking along the blue line, waiting for the puck to pop out so I could go for a breakaway.”  Anyone who has watched a youth ice hockey game knows the type of player who was the team cherry picker.  They also know that it was those players who went on to play elite hockey and continue their careers at the collegiate or Minors levels.

Johnny Gaudreau played for the Boston College Golden Eagles for three years after making the decision to hold off on transitioning to the NHL after his sophomore year to be able to play a year with his younger brother Matthew Gaudreau.  He will certainly never be forgotten by the BC Men’s Ice Hockey program or their fans any time soon.  I could write an entire article series on his nominations, awards, and titles Johnny held with BC.  To highlight a few of them, he was the Hockey East Player of the Year in both the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, an AHCA First Team All-American in 2012-13 and 2013-14, Hockey East Tournament MVP in 2012, USA Hockey National College Player of the Year in 2014, and probably most impressive was Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner in 2014, after being a finalist in 2013.  In his Junior and final year with BC, Gaudreau tallied 80 points playing in all 40 games with a +42 and a 31-game point streak, leaving him with the third-most total points for a season in Boston College history.

During his sophomore year at BC, Johnny had the opportunity to represent Team USA at the 2013 World Juniors Championships in Russia.  Team USA went on to win the gold medal, and Gaudreau was named to the Media All-Star Team and one of the Top 3 U.S. Players.  He earned Player of the Game accolades for his game play during the 7-0 win against the Czech Republic, with the hattrick.

Gaudreau was given the name “Johnny Hockey” during his collegiate career and unlike another college athlete (*cough Johnny “Football” Manziel cough*) he has lived up to the title.  He was drafted in the 4th round (104 overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft by the Calgary Flames, who may not have known it at the time that they drafted the future face of their franchise.  Being a small player, he has worked and proven himself to be an elite NHL player.  So far in his NHL career, he has put up 127 goals and 243 assists for 370 points in 376 games with a +27 and 108 of the points coming on the powerplay.  He’s on par for the current season to surpass his previous highest point total in a season at 84 points in 80 games from the 2017-18 season, as he currently sits at 82 points in 64 games thus far.  His young trophy collection holds the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded to Gaudreau for the 2016-17 season.  In his rookie season, he was also a finalist for the Calder Trophy.  He is also a 5-time NHL All-Star, deservingly so, helping the Flames to their first playoff appearance after a 6-year drought and now they sit in 1st place in the Western Conference and 2nd in the League.

Throughout his successful and fame-filled career, Johnny Gaudreau remains humble and grounded.  Growing up in New Jersey, he was a Philadelphia sports teams fan which is about the only negative thing I can find about him (#’BurghProud).  Family is clearly important to him as he put off his NHL career for a year to play at the collegiate level with his brother Matthew.  His dad always tries to make the Flames’ annual dad’s trip and you’re sure to see the Gaudreau family fan club in attendance whenever he’s in town playing the Devils or Flyers.  His dog, Bailey, is just as popular as he is in Calgary (see for yourself on her Instagram account @lil_bails13_).  Johnny ensures he gives back to the communities that support him through playing in charity games like the Comm Ave Classic between BC and BU alumni and riding in the Calgary Stampede parade.

While every NHL Star has their haters, Johnny Gaudreau is harder to hate than most.  Despite his size, he plays a big game, making up for his lack of height in heart and maybe one day Hart???  Over the years I’ve become a bigger fan of individual players rather than teams with Johnny Gaudreau always being in my top ten (he currently sits in #2 among active NHL players and #1 for forwards).  This article is pretty much one big THANK YOU to Johnny for introducing me to the BC Eagles and Calgary Flames.  It’s been an honor following his young career thus far and I can’t wait to see what he’s going to do next.

Thanks for reading JMSO fans!  Don’t forget to share your opinions, leave questions, comments, topic suggestions, and feedback in the comments/replies/DMs.  Keep it classy!

-A. Kam

 

Check out https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/johnny-gaudreau-hockey-calgary-flames for a great read with a lot more personal input and background on Johnny Gaudreau!

Other sources used:

https://bceagles.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=2165

https://www.nhl.com/player/johnny-gaudreau-8476346

https://teamusa.usahockey.com/worldjuniors2013

NHL’s Most Hated Players

Every sport has their heroes and villains both on and off the field/court/ice.  More often than not, the heroes and villains are also the sports’ superstars and/or one and the same.  Let’s look at one example in Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  He is a hero in Pittsburgh, leading the team to three Stanley Cup victories during his captaincy thus far.  He is a superstar in the NHL being the recipient of 2 Art Ross trophies, 2 Harts, 3 Ted Lindsey awards, 2 Maurice Richard trophies, and 2 Conn Smythes.  Crosby also ranks highly on the list of NHL’s most hated players due to his success, game play, and “cry baby” antics.  Superstars tend to be in the media constantly which draws more attention to their mistakes and mishaps, such as Crosby slashing off Methot’s finger, or more recently Malkin taking batting practice with Raffl’s head.  If Tanner Pearson would have committed either offense, most people would be like “who?” and then not care after the sentencing occurred instead of bringing it up time and time again.

Other heroes, superstars, and villains in the league that hold at least one of those titles include:

Alexander Ovechkin, enough said.

Brad Marchand, I mean who licks opponents just to do it?!

Tom Wilson, his suspension history is reason enough.

Ryan Reaves, is a bully really a bully if they’re bullying a bully?

P.K. Subban, he’s at the middle of all the dramatics and theatrics but yet he’s always the innocent one.

Drew Doughty, his play is as unruly as his hair.

Evgeni Malkin, don’t poke the Russian bear.

TJ Oshie, he skates a fine line between playing hard and playing dirty.

Corey Perry, he’s an accomplished aggravator.

James Neal, same as Oshie with questionable hits and actions.

Ryan Kesler, he plays a big game and talks a bigger one.

Antoine Roussel, he plays a physical game with a short fuse.

Andrew Shaw, described as dirty, reckless, and dangerous with cheap plays and one-liners.

Milan Lucic, credited as a protector of his teammates and takes on fights and penalties so they don’t have to.

Zac Rinaldo, known for his head-hunting abilities who loves a short 5-game vacation and takes them frequently.

Scott Hartnell, mostly when he was with the Flyers and Blue Jackets.  He’s kind of dropped off the radar since then.

Many say Matthew Tkachuk, but I believe Brady Tkachuk will quickly replace his brother on these lists.

They say if you have haters, then you must be doing something right.  I would say that if you have haters based on your performance and successes on the field/court/ice then you must be doing something right.

Did I miss anyone who deserves to be on the list?  If so, reply in the comments with your additions, deletions, and opinions!

Thanks for reading! Keep it classy JMSO followers.

-A. Kam

 

Reference:

https://www.hockey-reference.com

Stronger than Stigma

Hockey. It’s more than just a game.

It’s not always what happens on the ice that counts. The league and individual teams plus the players and their families contribute a lot of time, money, and effort into charitable projects and foundations. This year, on January 30th, Bell Canada is sponsoring their annual Bell Let’s Talk Day to raise awareness surrounding mental health and raise money to support mental health initiatives in Canada. Since 2013, the Canadian NHL franchises have publicly supported Bell’s efforts by hosting Hockey Talks campaigns.

It seems like another NHL player is diagnosed with a concussion every week, making their mental health an even more important factor in their overall health and well-being. Former NHLer Daniel Carcillo is a leader among alumni, speaking out about his own struggles and fighting for those who have lost their own fights. Carcillo advocates for more effective strategies of determining and reporting concussions in the NHL. He shares his thoughts on the matter daily @CarBombBoom13 and through his foundation http://www.chapter5foundation.com. Their mission is to help athletes discover their new purpose and transition into life after their sports careers end.

Earlier today, Carcillo shared this tweet from @DalaiLama, “We should practise by showing affection and helping one another. It is a mistake to pursue happiness and to seek to the avoid suffering by deceiving and humiliating other people. We must try to achieve happiness and eliminate suffering by being considerate and good-hearted.”

It’s time to #EndTheStigma that athletes need to be tough of the time and put on a front for teammates, family, fans, and the media. There are so many programs, foundations, movements, and efforts to spread the importance of mental health and raise awareness. In addition to Bell Let’s Talk Day, Hockey Talks, and Chapter 5 Foundation, there is Do It for Daron (http://www.difd.com/) a youth-driven and focused movement, Bring Change 2 Mind (https://bringchange2mind.org/), and many more.

There are many ways, we as fans, friends, family, and strangers can support these movements and those battling with their mental health and well-being:
TALK ABOUT IT – Start a dialogue, not a debate
BREAK THE SILENCE – Talk about how mental illness touches us all in some way                directly or through a friend, family member or colleague. Stories of lived experience          are the best way to help eradicate stigma.
LISTEN AND BE KIND – Support mental health and anti-stigma programs in your                community.

On January 30th Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell will donate more towards mental health initiatives in Canada by contributing 5¢ for every applicable text, call, tweet, social media video view and use of our Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. For EVERY Tweet and Retweet containing the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, 5 cents will be donated. It’s something small we can all do to make a difference.
It’s time to be #StrongerThanStigma together.

-A. Kam

 
https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/bell-lets-talk-day
https://www.nhl.com/canucks/community/hockey-talks

2019 NHL All Star Game Preview

Tonight is the 2019 NHL All Star Skills Competition and the NHL All Star Game is set for tomorrow.  The six categories for the skills competition are as follows:

Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater

Enterprise NHL Premier Passer

Ticketmaster NHL Save Streak

Gatorade NHL Puck Control

SAP NHL Hardest Shot

Honda NHL Accuracy Shooting

With some new names attending their first All Star Game, it’s going to be fun seeing who will be competing in which event and the victors.  My picks for each would be Connor McDavid for Fastest Skater as he has won it the last two years.  I’m going with Giroux for Premier Passer and you gotta go with Fleury for the Save Streak.  Johnny All Star is taking home Puck Control.  After that slash, Keith Yandle for Hardest Shot and always take Sidney Crosby in an Accuracy Shooting competition.

As for the All Star Game, the Metropolitan Division seems to be the favorite going into the weekend.  However, the Pacific Division has the players to put up back to back wins.  I’m going with the Metro versus the Pacific in the finals and as long as Letang is defending for the Metro, the Pacific is winning it all.

Here are the full rosters for each team.  The coaches leading from the benches this year are Jon Cooper, Paul Maurice, Todd Reirden, and Bill Peters.

Atlantic

Jack Eichel, Sabres

Nikita Kucherov, Lightning

Auston Matthews (C), Maple Leafs

Jeff Skinner, Sabres

David Pastrnak, Bruins

Steven Stamkos, Lightning

John Tavares, Maple Leafs

Thomas Chabot, Senators

Keith Yandle, Panthers

Jimmy Howard, Red Wings

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning

Central

Patrick Kane, Blackhawks

Nathan MacKinnon (C), Avalanche

Ryan O’Reilly, Blues

Mikko Rantanen, Avalanche

Mark Scheifele, Jets

Blake Wheeler, Jets

Gabriel Landeskog, Avalanche

Miro Heiskanen, Stars

Roman Josi, Predators

Devan Dubnyk, Wild

Pekka Rinne, Predators

Metropolitan

Sebastian Aho, Hurricanes

Cam Atkinson, Blue Jackets

Mathew Barzal, Islanders

Sidney Crosby, Penguins

Claude Giroux, Flyers

Kyle Palmieri, Devils

John Carlson, Capitals

Seth Jones, Blue Jackets

Kris Letang, Penguins

Braden Holtby, Capitals

Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers

Pacific

Johnny Gaudreau, Flames

Clayton Keller, Coyotes

Connor McDavid (C), Oilers

Joe Pavelski, Sharks

Elias Pettersson, Canucks

Leon Draisaitl, Oilers

Brent Burns, Sharks

Drew Doughty, Kings

Erik Karlsson, Sharks

Marc-Andre Fleury, Golden Knights

John Gibson, Ducks

Jake Guentzel

Jake Guentzel has always been good, but this season he has taken his game to another level.  Already, he has surpassed his goals total for a season and we’re just at the halfway point.  He was named NHL’s 3rd star of the week for this past week.   Not to mention his contract extension that made us all smile and seemed to kick start an offensive streak in him.

Guentzel is all over the ice: defending well in his own zone, putting pucks in the net, and providing support to his linemates.  Last year it seemed that he was always getting hit, hit hard, by opponents.  This season he takes hits better and doesn’t leave himself as exposed when on the boards and in corners.

He’s embraced his spot on the team and in the city of Pittsburgh.  We’re loving what he’s giving and can’t wait to see what the remainder of the season has in store for him.

NHL Countdown: Tonight is the Night!

First things first: Tom Wilson was finally suspended for a reasonable amount of time for his offense.  Although, I don’t see how he is allowed to continue to play in the NHL, or why he would want to.  As the league mentioned, Wilson has not made any attempt to adjust his playing style.  I don’t understand how he would want to play in a league he clearly does not respect.  It’s not just an isolated incident or directed to just one team or player, he intentionally throws illegal hits at every opponent that dares to skate near him.  Maybe this will be a wakeup call for him to change his game.  Hopefully he’ll decide the NHL is no longer for him and move on.

Sadly, the Calgary Flames started the season with a loss while going 0 for 7 on the powerplay.  It seems that this is a recurring issue as they draw penalties left and right (many thanks to Johnny Gaudreau) but they just can’t seem to capitalize on them.  It wasn’t all bad though with Mony back, feeling and looking good on the ice.  Also, with the freshly stitched “A” on his chest, Tkachuk put a tally in the goal column last night.

Finishing up the preseason yesterday morning, Haie put up a good fight against the Oilers, who ultimately won in overtime.  It seemed that the Oilers would dominate after the first minutes of play, but Haie came back and their rookie goalie made some big saves in his league debut.

With a quick first goal to start the night, Comtois put the Ducks on the board in his league debut.  Not even Erik Karlsson on the blue line was enough to keep the Ducks from defeating the Sharks 5-2.

With the great John Tavares and Auston Matthews keeping his first game streak alive, the Toronto Maple Leafs topped the Canadiens 3-2 in overtime.

Tonight, the Pittsburgh Penguins are tasked with holding off the Capitals, who shut out the Bruins last night with an impressive 7-0 score.  I believe the Pens are ready for the task.  They know what to expect from the Capitals: a hard-hitting, fast-paced game with big goals and a lot of shots.

The Penguins’ lines are stronger than ever and hopefully Murray worked on his glove side during the offseason.  There’s a lot of talk about Sprong being placed on the fourth line, but I believe it’s the best place for him at this point in his career.  He didn’t have the strongest training camp and still has a lot of learning to do.  Being on that fourth line with Matt Cullen is the best opportunity for him to grow his game, gain some grit, and really show his work ethic.  Besides, who would you take off of the first line for him to play with Crosby?  Certainly not Hornqvist or Guentzel.  Hornqvist is ready to go and always lives up to his name and his game.  His net-front presence is unmatchable and compliments Crosby’s ability to get the puck to the front of the net.  Guentzel’s stickwork and passing skills work extremely well alongside Crosby as well and he has certainly earned his spot on the top line.  One last note, I fully believe that Chad Ruwhedel has earned his spot on the team and should be paired up with Maatta for opening night.

That’s all for now!  LETS GO PENS!!!!

NHL Countdown: Meet My Teams & Players

Teams:

Pittsburgh Penguins

I grew up a Penguins fan but didn’t start to seriously follow them until I was around 13 years old.  Since then they have won 3 Stanley Cups, made many playoff runs, and drafted/traded for some big names, a few that are still in Pittsburgh.  No matter what happens, I will die a Penguins fan (unless they ever hire John Tortorella as a coach then I’m jumping ship and losing all respect for the organization).

Calgary Flames

I didn’t start following the Calgary Flames until Johnny Gaudreau joined them after his time at Boston College.  It also worked in their favor that they had Deryk Engelland at the time.  Since then, the organization has grown on me and I have liked the majority of their players, trades, and acquisitions.  My favorite that occurred over this past summer was trade that brought Noah Hanifin to Calgary.

Carolina Hurricanes

Jordan Staal being a Pittsburgh Penguins was ultimately what starting my being a fan of the Canes.  Through Jordan, I started to follow Eric and in turn the Hurricanes.  Jeff Skinner kept me a fan of the Hurricanes along with Jordan being traded to them for Sutter and the youngest Staal, Jared, playing for their AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers.  I have not been a fan of their trades recently as I don’t believe they are smart moves for the organization.  I would hate to be Sebastien Aho, playing on a team with high expectations for you that isn’t trying to put together a winning team around you.

Boston College Golden Eagles

While not an NHL team, the BC Eagles are why I’m a fan of many NHL players.  I started following BC when they played in Robert Morris University’s 1st annual Three Rivers Classic.  Johnny Gaudreau, Patrick Brown, and Kevin Hayes impressed me with their on-ice presence and skill and I’ve been following them and the Eagles ever since.

 

Players:

Olli Maatta:  He is the epitome of Finland’s development program, has overcome so much in his young career, and continues to improve his game.

Jordan Staal:  J. Staal was an easy Penguin to like.  He was always a dependable third-line center that produced and could kill a penalty.

Sergei Gonchar:  Gonchar was my very first “favorite player” and Penguin.  I don’t know why I initially started to like him but his well-rounded game play is why I continued to follow him even after he left the ‘Burgh.  He wasn’t gone for too long though and very few people were happier than I was to see him hired on as a defensive coach.

Johnny (Hockey) Gaudreau:  Johnny Hockey loves the game and plays it well.  His work ethic is what made me notice him at the Three Rivers Classic.  He was all over the ice while still complementing his teammates and setting them up for opportunities.  Despite his accomplishments and phenomenal collegiate turned NHL career, he remains humble.

Marc Andre Fleury:  I have never, nor will ever, understand how any fan of hockey can hate on Fleury.  The guy is a magician on the ice, a trickster with his teammates, and the ultimate family man.  I will forever be thankful for all Fleury and his family have for the city of Pittsburgh both on and off the ice.

Beau Bennett:  Beau Bennett had such promise, but his injuries definitely had a significant impact on his career.  I liked his game play with the Penguins, now I admire how he has acclimated to his changed career path and his sense of humor/personality through it all.

Noah Hanifin:  Hanifin is a BC alum and an up-and-coming defenseman in the league.  I enjoyed watching him on the ice for BC and the Canes and I can’t wait to see what he will bring to Calgary this year.

Conor Sheary:  aka Lil’ Conor worked hard every second he was on the ice and rarely lost a battle in the corner boards despite being quite smaller than some of his opponents.  I’ll miss seeing #43 in a Penguins jersey.

Honorable Mentions: Jeff Skinner, Matt Cooke, Deryk Engelland, Brian Gibbons, Matt Niskanen as a Penguin, Jayson Megna, Cam Atkinson, Eric Staal, Brandon Sutter, William Nylander, Kevin Hayes, Bobby Farnham, Dustin Jeffrey, Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis, Alex Tuch.

 

NHL Countdown: It’s More than a Game

It’s not always what happens on the ice that counts.  The league and individual teams plus the players and their families contribute a lot of time, money, and effort into charitable projects and foundations.  Especially over the summer, the aforementioned parties go above and beyond serving their hometown and franchise areas with the work that they do.

Here in Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation partners up with many local charities and businesses to serve the surrounding area.  One of their biggest, ongoing efforts has been Project Power Play.  “Project Power Play takes advantage of the growing popularity of hockey in the tri-state area by affording young players access to newly constructed, outdoor, multi-use athletic facilities in partnership with Highmark.”  Basically, they build Dek Hockey rinks in parks and recreation areas in and around the Pittsburgh area.  Their latest Dek was built in Youngstown, Ohio earlier this month.  They also team up with the Mario Lemieux Foundation (MLF) to host a 6.6K run and 3.3K walk every October that starts and ends on Fifth Avenue (RIP Mac Miller) in front of PPG Paints Arena.  Additionally, the MLF works to provide X-Boxes, games, and other entertainment to those in/at Children’s hospitals in the area by sponsoring the building of Austin’s Playrooms named after Austin Lemieux.  Similar Foundations exist in accordance to all the other 30 NHL teams.

During the off-season there are different charity games that take place throughout the US and Canada that are hosted by NHL players themselves or different colleges/universities/organizations that invite NHL players to compete in.  Mentioned in a previous post (justmysportsopinions.com/2018/08/28/comm-ave-charity-classic-bc-cause-i-wouldnt-wanna-bu/) is the Comm Ave Charity Classic that takes place in Boston, Massachusetts every year hosted by either Boston College or Boston University.  They invite back alumni to draft two full rosters of mostly NHL players to support the Compassionate Care ALS, Pete Frates Home Health Initiative, and the Travis Roy Foundation.  Henrik Lundqvist and Mats Zuccarello of the New York Rangers host their own Summer Classic in Norway where they invite players from around the league and draft their own teams.  This event “aims to assist children and young people in challenging situations around the world.”

Like Zuccarello and Lundqvist, NHL players take it upon themselves to create their own foundations and give back to their communities.  In Pittsburgh, Kris Letang would probably be the guy that stands out when it comes to servicing the community as a family.  The family volunteers at various events around the city and Letang collaborates with Edgar Snyder and Playworks, making appearances at floor hockey and other field day type events.  Players around the league also participate in community events such a PRIDE Parades and the Calgary Flames ride in the Calgary Stampede parade every year.  The NHL as a whole also comes together in support of their Hockey Fights Cancer and Hockey is for Everyone initiatives.

The hockey community comes together in many ways to support one another.  The best example of this would be the follow up of the community after the Humboldt Broncos tragedy.  From the league and NHL teams to online apparel companies and fans around the world, an astronomical amount of support was sent their way.  The surviving members were invited to the NHL Awards this past June where there was a tribute to those who were lost including Head Coach Darcy Haugan who was awarded the inaugural Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award.  The GoFundMe created to support the surviving members and the families of those who didn’t make it, reached over $15 million.  Contributing to this total was various online apparel companies such as Everything Hockey that created and sold decals, and other companies t-shirts and hoodies, where 100% of the profits were donated to the Humboldt Broncos.  Similar actions and support was sent to Vegas and Stoneman Douglas High School after their respective tragedies.

Overall, the ice hockey community is arguably one of the strongest and most supportive in the world.  We come together to support one another in amazing ways.  Get involved today in your local foundations/charities/events by checking out your team’s or favorite players’ foundations.

 

For more information on the above foundations and charities, check out the links below.

https://www.mariolemieux.org/austins-playrooms/about-austins-playroom/

https://pittsburghpenguinsfoundation.org/program/project-power-play/

http://summerclassic2018.com/en

https://humboldtstrong.info/

NHL Countdown: Is it October Yet?

We’ve been saying it since the end of last season: Is it October yet?  So, here are 10 reasons why it needs to be October already.

  1. Summer is great to see the players being people but, it’s time for them to be hockey players again.
  2. There is nothing like hockey season for hockey fans and we’re ready for it to be hockey season.
  3. Sooooo ready for hockey player antics. We can’t wait to see what the guys get up to this season and who will be the pranksters vs. the pranked.  Fleury needs to bring the fun to Vegas this year!
  4. We need something to do with our lives at 7pm ET every night. Starting in October we can watch hockey almost every night until June.
  5. Rivalries are real. It’s harder to hate on other teams and their fans when they’re off the ice doing charitable work and all.
  6. Perfect shirsey and jersey weather. Shirseys during the day, jerseys when the sun sets.
  7. On-ice bromances are back! Hockey provides the world with the best bromances, it’s a proven fact.
  8. All hockey starts up. Prospects are playing everywhere: AHL, ECHL, QMJHL, OHL, NAHL, IIHF, etc.
  9. We are one month closer to playoff hockey. No further explanation needed.
  10. Hockey apparel will be back in stores and who cares about football anyway?!

Comm Ave Charity Classic: BC, ‘Cause I Wouldn’t Wanna BU

Boston University hosted the 4th Annual Comm Ave Charity Classic on Friday, August 24th 2018 in the Walter Brown Arena.  The Charity Classic was setup by Boston College Alumni Pat Mullane and Andrew Orpik where they invite fellow alumni now playing in the NHL/AHL to compete for a great cause.  “Current and former NHL players face off in this BC vs BU alumni hockey game in honor of Pete Frates, Dick Kelley, Travis Roy, and all those who have been affected by ALS and spinal cord injuries. All proceeds benefit Compassionate Care ALS, Pete Frates Home Health Initiative, and the Travis Roy Foundation. The game has raised over $180,000 since its inception in 2015.”  This year’s Classic set a record raising $78,432 to be added to the sum of past years.

Outside the Walter Brown before the event, the players had to walk from the parking garage across the street to enter the arena where swarms of children and fans waited to greet them.  The players all stopped to get pictures and sign shirts, programs, and other memorabilia while still carrying their bags, gear, and sticks.  And since it was at an intersection, we all got to see a lot of children almost get hit by cars.  A grown man also stopped one of the players in the middle of the street to sign his program while cars were trying to drive through the intersection.  Like it’s cool, he wanted his autograph and everything I get that but let’s not put his health and career at risk by getting him hit by a car on his way to a charity game, okay?

At the beginning of the game itself, Travis Roy spoke, welcoming and thanking everyone for their attendance and support.  He kept his speech short and sweet as he was ready to watch some quality hockey.  Also going on was a silent auction and basket raffle of autographed memorabilia of the present alumni and ticket packages for each school.  Additionally, they sold Comm Ave Charity Classic t-shirts and I was super happy to see they were donated (I assume, they were donated with it being a charity event and all) by ’47 brand as their shirts are suuuuuper soft and durable.

Being a Pittsburgh Penguins fan, it was fun to watch all the new, current, and former Penguins compete with and against each other as they were well represented.  Nick Bonino played for Boston University while Brooks Orpik, Brian Dumoulin, Brian Gibbons, Jimmy Hayes, and Philip Samuelsson participated as Golden Eagles.  Being one of the newest Penguins, Jimmy Hayes had a lot of pressure placed on him (mainly by myself) and he held his own out on the ice.  Although, little brother Kevin put on a better show.

The outcome of the game could’ve been better but Boston University topped Boston College 10-5.  However, Boston University couldn’t field a full roster with just their committed alumni for this year’s Classic so they invited NHL players Jimmy Vesey, Ryan Donato, and Adam Gaudette to play for them.  It was a good thing they did as the three put up five of BU’s goals.  So technically, BU’s alumni only scored five goals which means that they did not beat BC but tied them 5-BU, 5-BC, 5-Harvard/Northeastern.

Overall, this was a really great experience and the trip from Pittsburgh, PA for the game was definitely worth it.  I highly recommend that everyone attend a type of charity game like this one!

 

 

2018 ROSTERS

Boston College

Joe Pearce / G / 2007 / Boston College

Mike Mottau / D / 2000 / Florida Panthers

Ian McCoshen / D / 2017 / Florida Panthers

Noah Hanifin / D / 2018 / Calgary Flames

Mike Matheson / D / 2016 / Florida Panthers

Brian Dumoulin / D / 2013 / Pittsburgh Penguins

Jimmy Hayes / F / 2012 / Pittsburgh Penguins

Brian Boyle / F / 2007 / New Jersey Devils

Kevin Hayes / F / 2014 / New York Rangers

Stephen Gionta / F / 2006 / New York Islanders

Brian Gibbons / F / 2011 / Anaheim Ducks

Colin White / F / 2019 / Ottawa Senators

Chris Kreider / F / 2013 / New York Rangers

Paul Carey / F / 2012 / Ottawa Senators

Patrick Brown / F / 2014 / Carolina Hurricanes

Zach Sanford / F / 2018 / St. Louis Blues

Philip Samuelsson / D / 2013 / Charlotte Checkers

Chris Venti / G / 2012 / Boston College

Ryan Fitzgerald / F / 2017 / Boston Bruins

Nathan Gerbe / F / 2009 / Columbus Blue Jackets

Brooks Orpik / D / 2002 / Washington Capitals

Boston University

Charlie Coyle / F / 2014 / Minnesota Wild

Brandon Hickey / D / 2018 / Buffalo Sabres

Matt Grzelcyk / D / 2016 / Boston Bruins

Kevin Schaeffer / D / 2007 / Providence Bruins – Retired

Brian Strait / D / 2009 / New Jersey Devils

Adam Gaudette / F / Northeastern 2019 / Vancouver Canucks

Clayton Keller / F / 2021 / Arizona Coyotes

Danny O’Regan / F / 2016 / Buffalo Sabres

Nick Bonino / F / 2011 / Nashville Predators

Jack Eichel / F / 2019 / Buffalo Sabres

Ryan Donato / F / Harvard 2019 / Boston Bruins

Drew Melanson / F / 2018 / New York Rangers

Jimmy Vesey / F / Harvard 2016 / New York Rangers

Jay Pandolfo / F / 1996 / Boston Bruins

John McCarthy / F / 2009 / San Jose Sharks

Evan Rodrigues / F / 2015 / Buffalo Sabres

Charlie McAvoy / D / 2019 / Boston Bruins

Mike Condon / G / Ottawa Senators

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://commaveclassic.com/

https://twitter.com/CommAveClassic