Archive for the ‘Gray’ Category

Gray’s Earliest Hockey Memories

August 5, 2009
Logo by Gray from Couch Tarts

We’ve become buddies with quite a few San Jose Shark bloggers through Battle of California and CLS. Generally, they seem to be incredibly high quality people who deserve more post-season bliss than their seemingly great team has been able to produce.

Gray from Couch Tarts is one of our SJBFFs for sure (hell, she even concocted that adorable logo) and provided this week’s Earliest Hockey Memories entry. Make sure to follow the Couch Tarts and try not to make more than a couple obligatory Shark Week jokes. These nice people have suffered enough.

Like a lot of other American kids, I grew up living and breathing baseball. Sure, football existed too, but I didn’t care about that. It was all baseball. These were the days of the Bash Brothers in Oakland, and the ’89 world series. If you lived in the East Bay and didn’t love baseball, you were pretty damn weird.

And yet, somehow, hockey slowly started to trickle into my sub consciousness. I don’t remember how or why, maybe it was the Mighty Ducks movies, maybe it was watching Strange Brew too many times, who knows, but my friends and I suddenly developed a strong desire to play hockey. (ok, it was the Mighty Ducks movie) We went to a sporting goods store, got sticks, (the best bright plastic on wood that 15 dollars could buy), a bag of orange plastic pucks and set up a small soccer goal at the end of my friend’s drive way and started to play.

We didn’t really know how, but we knew hockey players hit each other, so the games usually revolved around how hard we could check the opposing player to the ground before stealing the puck and scoring a goal. Rules were generally ignored in favor of shin hitting mayhem, unless of course someone thought you scored a goal unfairly. Then a huge debate would be started, usually ending with someone shooting a puck at someone else, and generally in a very tender spot. (as a girl, I got the best part of this deal) After all, what was hockey about if it wasn’t about beating up the other side?

Later on, in middle school, they added street hockey into the PE curriculum. We’d play on the basketball courts, with only slightly more attention paid to rules and positions than to checking. Classes were co-ed, so we weren’t supposed to make contacts, but the boys always did. I’m sure some of it was an excuse to hit girls in the chest and feel their boobs. The Sharks had come to town by this point, but it was still rare to find someone openly discussing hockey in school. Fans existed, but I didn’t know many.

Once in high school I had little time for impromptu games on someone’s street, and I generally forgot about hockey. I didn’t get to my first NHL game until after college. Anyone who thinks a California kid can’t fall in love with hockey is dead wrong. It might take us a little longer to get there, but when we eventually get to a live game, we’ll be hooked. Even if it means making more Mighty Ducks movies.

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Wrap Around Curl shares her Earliest Hockey Memories

July 15, 2009
Logo by Gray from Couch Tarts

By some fortuitous bit of dumb luck, we’ve managed to swindle some of our favorite hockey bloggers to write guest posts for CLS. Still, it never gets old when we get to bring in someone for the first time.

Such is the case with our prolific pal Wrap Around Curl. Her hilarious, occasionally “Man Candy”-oriented work would be impressive enough if you simply followed her self-titled blog. Yet WAC spreads her seeds of sass all over the blogosphere, most notably as a correspondent for CLS favorites Puck the Media and Pension Plan Puppets. WAC makes Lance Armstrong look like some random slacker from Austin, TX, doesn’t she?

Anyway, we’re glad to welcome WAC to the world of CLS guest posters. Make sure to follow her work.

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For me, well I’ve been going to hockey games since I was in utero. My mom went to Chiefs games all the time. Well, they were the Flyers then. And it was more of the Slapshot era of hockey, the rivalries brutal and fights broke out in the stands. The Flyers played in the Spokane Coliseum which was affectionately called the Boone Street Barn and the team often, The Boone Street Barn Burners. Cowbells were common cheering props.

But she went to hockey games all the time and still went when she was pregnant with me. And even after I was born she still took me. The season ticket holders she sat by had made me a baby blanket and other stuff. (I have the blanket somewhere in storage.) I didn’t get to go to too many Chiefs game when I was younger. But I do remember being about 7 and sitting front row and screaming and pounding on the glass. I loved it. I wanted to play hockey as a kiddo but my mom couldn’t afford it, and I got mad when I found out that they don’t let girls fight. I can’t even ice skate but I’d certainly allow a strapping young defenceman, say Luke Schenn, teach me how to skate.

I started going to more and more games in high school with a few friends. And when I was a freshmen in college I used my financial aid money for season tickets. And the last person I dated started going to hockey because I went all the time. We eventually split and I lost the season ticket seats in the breakup. Terrible, truly. He decided to take random chicks to hockey (one of them does crosswords during games) and I still went to games, proudly and on my own. I have my season ticket a few rows behind the visitors bench now. And I haven’t missed a Chiefs game in about three seasons (I left a wedding reception early once for a game, its ok the cake was already cut). I treasure my player magnet collection and hate Cheerstick and Buck Night so hard. I tolerate Chuck a Puck.

People seem to find my love and adoration of my junior hockey team amusing. Well, given my location that’s all I have for hockey. But really it’s the best. The young talent, it’s wonderful. And the Chiefs alumni list is pretty amazing (here’s the alumi list) These kids are amazing. They play hockey because they love it and not for the paycheck.

Last years team that ended up winning the Memorial Cup was astounding. Dustin Tokarski – I am convinced will be quite the goalie in the NHL, if only he would stop getting overlooked because he might be a tad short for a modern goalie. He’s 5’10 to 5’11 depending on which stats you are reading. Drayson Bowman is just waiting to rule the Carolina Hurricanes. Ondrej Roman is going to be a tremendous goal scorer if he can get out of the Czech Republic. I keep dreaming that former captain Chris Bruton (he errrr was the one who dropped the Memorial Cup…) will return to the Chiefs as a coach. But because of the void I live in, people loving other NHL teams doesn’t seem so strange. There are people here who love the Red Wings (Mike Babcock used to coach the Chiefs), the Wild, the Canucks. Even the Predators and Lightning. If I wear my Nordiques jersey to a game, people smile.

It’s the homegrown fanbase and traditions that make it. There’s the special way we celebrate goals. And the Teddy Bear Toss. My friends and I make shirts for players and they are so flattered. They are some really great kids. And I am happy to pay 13 bucks a game to see them play. It’s rough following junior hockey because well, they can get injured. Then there are those who age out or have to be traded because of the overager rule. I’ve cried many times over players moving on. But I come back every season, ready to embrace the new players and to buy new player buttons. This season I will go through the hard process of deciding on a new “hockey boyfriend” since Tokarski is done as a Chief, after setting many new records. I’ll treasure my Chiefs sweater the boys signed. My friends and I have rituals for games, reading the program in a specific order. After most games we go to the same places for food and often a Chief or two will be there with his family and we’ll send him a basket of deep fried Oreos. We have to take care of our boys.

I even made the long journey to Montreal to see who was going to draft Jared Cowen. Sitting there with the Leafs crew, I sobbed my eyes out when the Senators picked him. Everyone was nice and comforted me and told me it was going to be ok, even though I have to hate him now. I’m happy he is going to an organization that will love him but I wanted him in the blue and white. I hope that Jared will have another season or two with the Chiefs before leaving me for Ottawa. Am I a member of the Leafer Nation? Of course. But my truest team is the Chiefs.

Meet the Artist

July 14, 2009

Starting tomorrow, CLS will begin a series that features the earliest/fondest/original hockey memories from some of our favorite hockey bloggers. Expect these great stories each Wednesday, ideally through the regular season.

Like we did with Earl Sleek for our Hockey Orphan feature, we decided to ask one of our favorite hockey artists to create the logo. We’ve had Gray and the Couch Tarts gang contribute quite a few posts already, but if you aren’t familiar make sure to check out their great San Jose Sharks blog.

Gray’s artwork caught our eyes from the beginning, but particularly during the playoffs.

After seeing great logos for each playoff series we must admit that we became smitten. We’re not art majors by any stretch, but we smile every time we see these adorable, expressive pieces of art.

Make sure to check out Gray’s Web site, where you can place custom orders or purchase one of her striking pieces.

Seriously, this is some great stuff.

We cannot thank Gray, the Couch Tarts and our contributors enough. Thanks everyone!

Coming Wednesday: The great Wrap Around Curl shares her memories.