Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sleeman Open

Woke up quite early at Vince & Valerie's place when i went downstairs Vince was already making us fried eggs on croissants , and might i add they were very yummy ! Everyone was ready to rock and head off to Victoriaville which was about 1.5 hours drive from where we were ... didn't seem that long , i was pumped anyways . The whole ride i was getting myself more and more worried about impressing these guys and getting comfortable playing at their level . If i didn't mention these guys mostly played some form of pro hockey , i didn't ....

Our first game was against this team called Les Agents Libre , they were all young guys . I was still confident that i was on a really good team . They hadn't played together as a team in 13 years and as the team organizer Etienne put it that he was happy to wait so long so he could play with them . Etienne was the team physiotherapist but always a huge fan of hockey , he has also been a trainer with a few National Jr. teams . Etienne felt it was a good time as he may have caught up in skill level with the guys . On the ride to Victoriaville we met up with Alex's family and a couple other guys from our squad . We played at this rink called Arena College Claretain which is apparently a private school and 1 of 3 rinks in Victroriaville which has a population of roughly 60,000 people as i was told .
Back to the hockey ... when i get to the rink i soon find out i am the ONLY non french speaker at the tournament and everyone seems to be amazed by this guy here from Toronto , and yes i wore a Leafs shirt to the rink LOL ! We get into the dressing room and all the guys are having a great time re acquainting themselves and the jokes start flying around in French ... i backed into a corner and got dressed and started praying :) We stepped onto the ice quite early and had a long warmup ... some may say that was not a good idea as these kids we played were FAST !!! After the first period we are already losing and i am not feeling too confident about my play ... things got worse and then we went into the dressing room between 2nd and 3rd period and it was quiet . I wouldn't doubt that these guys were wondering why Alex brought this shit goalie . We got back on the ice and things didn't end up any better as we ended up losing 8-3 . After the game we had a beer in the room and headed back to Etienne's place to order some food .
I got a ride with Etienne and we acquainted ourselves and he assured me that i wasn't that bad but i think he was just being really nice :) We all put in our orders for food and i got a lasagna , which was tre tre bon !!! our next game was at like 5 pm and we had some time to chill . I don't think the next team is gonna be any easier and i know i have to step up my game if i want to feel more welcomed on this team .
Since we lost our first game we already knew we had to play 3 games today , the 3rd being a quarter final game . If we lose that 3rd game we don't play tomorrow and it is a 1 day tourney for us . We don't want that ! When we get to rink we find out that the team we are playing are a fast team too that tied the 1st team we played ... you could only imagine what was going through my head ... OMG . The second team was called Les Touristes if we beat them we cross over and play 3rd place team in other conference and that is what we were going for . We stepped on ice had a lighter warmup and began playing , we went down 1-0 then tied it up and soon gave up the 2-1 lead ... i was actually playing really good making some big saves and holding us in there . We jumped into the lead and went to the dressing room .... on a personal note i could feel that the team was beginning to like my play much more this game and the guys were more vocal with me at this point . We got on the ice and were winning 4-3 when they tied it up ... we took a lot of penalties in this game too and eventually the tying goal was while we were killing a penalty . With a minute left in the game i was waved to the bench for the extra attacker as the team decided to go for the 2 pts instead of 1 which would have meant nothing . We gave up an empty net goal and i was kinds disappointed to take the loss over the tie , strategically we did the right thing but after the effort i put out it was a bit of a sour taste .

After showering and getting dressed we headed out to a resto/bar called Cactus , we had a pint and some food there and spoke about what we need to do in our next game . I had some wings w/fries and let me tell you there was way too many fries LOL ! great food and good atmosphere there i would highly recommend it ! As we were sitting there the guys all assured me that we will win our quarter final game and i believed them , these guys are not used to losing . As a team playing for Concordia they were at one point ranked #2 in Canada !!! not an easy task and no you don't lose alot to get to that point LOL . We were crossing over to play the 2nd place team from the other pool which we all felt would be the weaker of the 2 pools as the 2 teams we had played looked much better then the teams we watched in other pool . I did know that the goalie we were about to play is a pro and i watched him make some ridiculous saves earlier in the day . My confidence level is high and i am ready for the challenge ! The weather outside was crazy , we were actually sliding all over the place when we left Cactus ... and Etienne had his winter tires on already as it is mandatory in Quebec to have winter tires on during winter !!! 
When i get to the dressing room i hide in corner and get into my own world ...there is no chance i am losing this game and i know i have to put on a great performance to win this one . We step on the ice and it is all buisness , i can see it on everyones face that we weren't here to play , we were here to win ! At the intermission after 1st period we were tied and soon went down 2-1 ... it was a serious goalie battle between me ant the keeper for Team Sleeman . back and forth breakaway after breakaway were saved , opportunities shut down !!! i must have made about 4 crazy breakaway saves and he equalled me the whole way ... i had to hold us in there , i knew we would get that goal back and we did :) When we tied it up i knew it was all over for them as long as i did my job . We soon scored our 3rd and 4th goals to go up 4-2 and i knew with a minute left that we had won ... unfortunately i gave up another goal but we got the win and we were going to play tomorrow in semi final which meant a lot to us . 

After the game we headed out to this Irish Pub , listened to some really really bad live music and drank beers . At this point after finally winning i felt like a part of the team :) We were all joking around having a good time , they were all telling me about some dressing room pranks that some of the guys have pulled . Some are kinda x rated stories ... might have to get into that some other time though LOL . After last call we headed out for poutine and witnessed this super drunk chick totally tackle a whole row of chairs in her crazy stumble ... it was like watching a train wreck hahaha. Drunk , filled with poutine and happy to be part of this team we head off to Etienne's place to crash . i seemed lucky to get the bed ..... 

tomorrow we have our semi final ... i need my rest :) 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Trip to Quebec

Yeah i know i am a few days behind on this story ... i actually took my laptop but didn't even pull it out of my bag i was so busy ! Anyways .... Friday i got dropped off at DelaSalle Arena here in Toronto to meet Alex , his son had a hockey game there so it was the best option to meet and my gf had plans so she dropped me there early as i never mind hanging out at a hockey rink :) Alex was surprised to see me there before he even got there as we planned to meet at the end of his sons game whom actually plays with another teammates son from my Ghetto Blaster squad ... so David was there too , we all had a good chat watching the kids play . 

After the skate we had to go pick up Alex's wife , daughter and dog . Alex and his wife Anick took turns driving out to Quebec , when Anick was driving it was like we had a dance party going in the van , it was actually fun times with the kids singing and everyone was genuinely having fun and i am pretty sure we were all excited to be going on this road trip :) Our first destination was to Montreal where we will spend the night with one of our team mates as most of the guys on our team actually live in the Montreal area . Vince was our host for our first night in Quebec .... he also played for Concordia as did most of the guys on the team i was joining ... here is his Hockey DB check it out ! 
The moment we pulled into the driveway Vince and his lovely wife Valerie were there with big smiles awaiting us ! We stepped into the house and were shown our rooms then i was asked if i enjoyed some time in the jacuzzi ??? umm yeah ! Only problem is i didn't bring a pair of swimming trunks on this trip so Vince tossed me a pair of trunks and in i went with beer in hand . Alex , Vince and myself sat in there joking around for who knows how long , it felt like over an hour i would say .... i think we had 2 or 3 beers while sitting in the tub getting all water logged . 

We had a curfew that we had to keep LOL i think it was 3 AM or something like this , we stepped back into the house had another cold one then called it a night .. our first game was the next morning and the drive to Victoriaville is about 1.5 hours or so .... 

at this point i already know that the competition will be good at this tournament ... i am going to need to play some top notch hockey to impress the guys as i am sure they have all seen a good keeper or 2 in their day ! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday

Today in our neigbouring country people are attacking each other for the opportunity to buy something much cheaper then usual .... over here in Canada (particularly in Toronto) there are some stores observing these sales going on south of the border and are putting on some decent sales as well . I personally was hoping to go to Dukes Source for Sports today to pick up a Warrior goal stick , they are 40% off !!! Unfortunately my gf wanted and needed to take the car to work today so she could get back on time to take me to meet Alexandre .

 I have a couple sticks and the newer one i have seems to have some bad luck .... when i am lazy and i don't drop a knee to stop pucks coming in they seem to backspin off the heel into my net .... yeah they are real shitters , embarassing to have happen goals ! i really really hope this shit doesn't happen to me this weekend , it happened on Tuesday , it happened in Iceland , i just don't like the luck that stick holds . Now remember i am a goalie with many many superstitions and yes i washed the bad luck out of my gear this week LOL ! My gf is already on her way to work and she probably won't like this but i might force her to drive me buy the shop to get that stick .....

Tonight i have to meet Alexandre at DelaSalle Arena to head off to Montreal , originally i thought we were leaving early and kept today off but now we are leaving in evening and possibly staying until Monday instead of Sunday ... i don't mind :) I am pretty sure tonight we are stopping in Montreal for the night and tomorrow morning my first game is before noon , so i am not sure how long or what time i have to be up tomorrow to go to Victoriaville but i am sure i will find out more on the ride.... hey i did find out that the name of this tournament is Sleeman Open ... Sleeman is a brewery here in Ontario, pretty good beer to try if you ever visit :)

At the moment i am trying to decide whether i should take my laptop or not ... it might be better if i brought it so i can post some pictures with my blogs .... i am pretty sure the guys i am going to play for would enjoy that more too . Really looking forward to meeting my team mates , eating some poutine and drinking some good Quebecois beer ! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Quebec Hockey Tournament

Quebec is not another country but it is not exactly close to home for me ... in Europe i would be crossing a couple countries to get there LOL . Next weekend i have a tournament in Victoriaville , Quebec which is between Montreal and Quebec City . One of my new team mates this year invited me to join his team out there .

Alexandre Charette was captain of the Concordia Stingers CIAU team in the late 90's and actually played pro hockey in France after that , we are very lucky to have him on our Ghetto Blasters squad here in Toronto . Always smiling and making us laugh with his Quebecois accent ... above all he is our leading scorer . Alex had been reading my blog during my trip to Europe and asked me when i arrived if i would come to Victoriaville with him . He offered to drive me there and even put me up with somewhere to sleep for free ... basically this is a free trip .

I gladly accepted and have been trying to get as much info as possible , as Alex had asked that i write a blog about the team and the tournament . Hoping to get some more info about the team and the tournament , it looks like i will have to get caught up on the 8 hour drive out there on Friday . At the moment i know that our first game is 11 AM Saturday morning and the final is on Sunday afternoon ... our team name is the Stingers and i am almost certain that the whole team played together for Concordia so we should be really really good .

Last night i got lit up pretty bad at the rink so my confidence is not exactly at a high ... i have a game tomorrow night hopefully things change . It is always a mental battle for us goalies , going into this tournament i will want to be playing at my best ... winning tomorrow will help but making some big saves will make things much better !

When i get more info i will try to make another post before i head off to La Belle Province :)

Aurevoir ! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ghetto Blaster 3 Year Anniversary

3 Years ago today on November 14 ,2009 i put a squad together that played a team called the Meat . We beat them but that doesn't matter . The win made me want more . It seems like yesterday that i got this rag tag bunch of guys that were all looking for a new team to play for and started the Ghetto Blasters . As usual i have to thank Greg Majster for coming up with the name and all the logos for my team ! Thanks Stro ! Unfortunately Stro does not play for us anymore as he has opted to play in a co-ed league instead of playing more competitively . Not his fault i don't blame him ....

Over the 3 years we went from being a team playing in an artist league to a team playing in 2 leagues which are both very competitive ... i mean its not pro but its still good adult hockey ! We went from playing 1 night a week to 2 and have a squad of over 30 skaters to pool from for all of our games and tournaments which we plan to attend . Speaking of tournaments we will be holding our 4th annual Ghetto Classic Tournament on June 21 -23 , 2013 hope to see you all there . If you would have told me 3 years ago that all this would be happening in my life i probably would have said no ... running a team and a tournament is a job , an unpaid job but someone has to do it . The main perk for me is the pride i have when i know guys are happy to be a part of this club/team . .

Every year we will gradually grow , this summer i will probably enter us into 2 leagues to accommodate all the guys on our squad that want to play summer hockey as i am sure most if not all will want to . If guys want to play i am more then happy to organize it , more hockey for me :)

Keep it Ghetto !

Monday, November 5, 2012

Is there Ice Hockey in Montevideo , Uruguay ???

For the last few days i have been working on organizing a trip to South America ... At first i was really into going to Brazil to play but unfortunately the price for flights from Buenos Aires to Rio are quite expensive . I mean they are cheap compared to what i am paying to fly down there but when you add it up and then add on another $800 makes it much more expensive :(

The main reason i am going to South America is to play hockey in the "End of the World Tournament " which is in Ushuaia , Argentina ... way down in Patagonia where it is cold . Recently i found out that i would have to join a club ($60) pay the yearly fees and that would make me eligible to play in the tournament for the club i sign on with ... there is someone at the moment looking for a club for me . There is a group of guys from Chile in Punta Arenas that want me to come there and help organize a team for this tournament ... if all goes well i think i will ! If the tournament organizer will allow them entry then things will be really amazing :) I can then fly to Ushuaia and take a bus to Punta Arenas and really see Patagonia , meet my team mates and travel back with them which is always fun travelling with a group of hockey players . I am hoping and praying that this is all possible as it is probably the only way that all of us can play together ( me. Timo and Andi ) at the moment there are 3 of us looking to do this crazy trip ! If anyone else is going to join us they have to commit soon ... or they will have to organize their own hockey experience LOL . this is not going to be easy ...

Right now today i am looking online for any info if there is any ice hockey in Montevideo , Uruguay ??? i found an ice rink in a mall there on the 6th floor ... no pictures just stuff online and mention of it on the shopping mall website . The flight from Buenos Aires to Montevideo is only $155 which is nothing compared to paying $800 to fly to Rio . Honestly i would love to go play in Rio and i have connections to play there on their small ice pad ( 3 on 3 ) but to pay an extra $800 on top of all the other flights is just impossible unless the flights get cheaper ... i will keep my eye on it . If i can get a cheaper flight then i know the guys in Rio would like to hold a mini tournament there for us .

This is being planned for July ... i am sure between now and then this trip will change LOL today i am hoping to find a rink in Montevideo and hopefully i will get a good idea when the tournament will be held and if we can play for this team from Punta Arenas .... i will be extremely happy to add Argentina and Chile to my collection of flags on my stick bag ! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Quebec , Puerto Rico and South America

Things have been very relaxing since i have been back home ... and no i still have not spoken or chatted with Rainer online ..lost him 13 days ago ! Since i have been home i have been on a good winning streak last night was the cherry on top as i played for my friends team and we beat a team i lost to in Iceland ...3 Buds and a Rum . In the next 3 weeks i will be off on my next adventure with one of my new teammates .

Alexandre Charette is one of my new Ghetto Blasters . he played pro in France and before that was the captain of the Concordia Stingers ice hockey team back in the day . His team mates have stayed in touch over the years and are planning a tournament together and needed a goalie so they asked me with the promise that i write about them .... no problemo !! Free ride out there and a place to stay makes it next to impossible to say no doesn't it :) I am trying to find out the name of the tourney and any other info i can get like team mates names etc... so i can start a good buildup for the story . I asked to get some info and hopefully it finds its way to me sooner then later . At the moment i know the tournament is in Victoriaville, Quebec from Nov .23-25 ...when i find out more i will write about it but until then your guess is as good as mine .

After Quebec i am planning to hopefully visit Puerto Rico from Dec.13-18 ... at the moment they seem to have a few problems with their arenas and their situation there . These rinks might not be open for very much longer so i have to take advantage and head out there as soon as i can ... would be a shame to see them close but it will be a bigger shame if i never get the chance to go out there to visit these rinks ! Puerto Rico seems like a neat little place to have a mini vacay !

The big trip i am really working on is for July .... South America ! Looks like i am going to try to start in Buenos Aires , Argentina then make my way over to Ushuaia, Argentina to play then i am trying to convince my travel buddies to come to Punta Arenas , Chile to jump on the new ice rink they have there ... don't bother looking for it , i don't think there is anything online from most of these rinks down south ! Not too long ago i figured out there is a rink in Montevideo , Uruguay .... now if there is hockey is another question ....

Lots of time to plan the big trip but i will need it ... have to make sure i make the most of this travel as it is a long trip down there and a once in a lifetime trip. If any of my friends reading this want to join me , just message me and let me know ... i am sure the guys down there are more then excited to have a bunch of hockey players visiting them !

Gotta get back to researching these trips :) 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Conclusion

The last i heard anything about Rainer was from this taxi driver that confirmed that Rainer was still drunk when he picked him up , and i knew that he dropped him off at Baker Station .... i can only hope that he found the bus and was told the pick up was a couple blocks over .... Timo and myself woke up in Augsburg and we checked the flights and the next one was supposed to land when i was leaving for home , this means there is no chance of me saying bye to Rainer :( it is really sad for me thinking i have been travelling with Rainer for almost a month and i don't even get to say good bye ...

Timo takes me out for breakfast before taking me to the airport in Munich , we go to this nice little coffee shop and have a sandwich and some pastries with a cappuccino ... at this point i am kinda wishing i saw more of Augsburg ... Timo i will come back to visit and hopefully play hockey there with you some day ! The ride to Munich was filled with us talking about what could have happened to Rainer ????

When i get to the airport i am sent this way and that way until i find out where to really go . Dragging my gear around isn't so bad but when i have a 3L bottle of beer in my bag that weighs roughly 8 kilos it makes it a bit tougher .... I got the bottle from Melanie Blume for my bday and there was no way i was leaving it behind . I brought a spare bag that i put some of my gear in to carry onto the plane so i could make room and weight for this monster bottle ! Thanks Melanie !!! I was lucky to meet a really nice person working at Lufthansa that helped me make sure my bags made weight :) i was also lucky to get there early enough for my flight that the airport was not so busy .

I waited to get on my flight and wasted time by buying some chocolates and a bottle of Bombay East Gin .... never tried or seen this bottle before ! it will look good in my collection of alcohol which i hardly ever touch at home ... yeah i know you have been reading about all this drinking i have been doing but in reality i don't drink so much at home ....only on special occasions or on trips ! When i boarded the plane i found a movie to watch , not much choices :( so i started watching the newest Spider-Man movie and 1 .5 hours into the movie we finally left ... this is the second time i have departed for Toronto from Munich and this is the second time that my flight was delayed ... last time was 25 hours this time was 1.5 so not so bad except i had a connecting flight to catch . I was stuck in the middle of the middle row and it was not the most comfortable , the people beside me were a bunch of bible thumpers that came from some "mission" and the girl right beside me seemed to be super crazy as she sat there the whole flight and never watched any movies and just sat there looking forward the whole flight ... my best guess is that she has something against watching movies or listening to music .... she must be super hard core religious ... i think i will try to avoid her ;) she might be scared of me if i open my mouth LOL

So i land in Montreal and confusion hits me in the worst way ... my ticket to Toronto has a time on it and i assume it is departure time and i show it to someone and they tell me i can still catch the flight , i am so confused ... i have to get my bags , clear customs then clear security again and the time on my ticket is about to pass !!! when i get to security one of the guys tells me i won't make the flight but to rush through the lineup so i did ... security searches my bag and finds the bottle of gin sealed in the duty free bag . They have to check it just in case its a bomb ... now the bag is totally sealed but they have to poke a hole in it to test it ??? yeah it totally makes sense ??? somehow on the flight i must have found the materials to turn this bottle into a bomb and somehow i did it without opening the bag and somehow i sealed it too !!! makes total sense LOL

I caught my flight and when i arrived in Toronto i begin to get messages that Rainer has landed in Germany :) ok so he is alive ! Kathleen picks me up and when i get home i go online to find out some of the story of what happened to Rainer ..... Now this is all speculation as to this date i have not yet spoken to Rainer ! So here we go ....

Apparently when Rainer got dropped off at Baker Station he was robbed by 3 guys at knife point !!! yeah that is something we figured would happen to him .... good thing he is safe . Apparently he went back to the amazing hostel we stayed at and they would not let him stay there , so he found somewhere else to stay . Then he goes to sleep and wakes up with his backpack opened with his valuables missing from there too ... robbed twice !!! I am sure there is more craziness that i have not heard of ... i am sure of it ! he figured out he had enough points with Lufthansa to get a free flight home but from another airport which i don't know which one ... there are a few airports in the London area ! Everyone was worried for him , when he got to Germany i got a few messages on Facebook and a couple texts letting me know he is alright .... and instead of taking it easy in Germany he decided to go to Thailand  .. so today i am not exactly sure what happened to Rainer , i am sure in the next week i will know some or at least more of the story ... until then it is all speculation .

This all happened over a week ago now ... at the end of the trip i was almost happy to be going home but i am more happy to know that Rainer is ok .... Through thick and thin Rainer will always be a friend of mine , even when he is doing all this crazy stuff ! that is what makes most of my trips with him so interesting LOL .... if you are looking for a good adventure go play for the Rainman All-Stars ;)