Sunday, June 30, 2013

Day 2 South America : My Little Guy

Yesterday I woke up and found put there is no bacon at breakfast in my hotel ... Lol ! I am fine hahaha ... I can call Brazil the 18th country I have played hockey in .Ge' picked us up bright and early and we went to the rink to teach some children . The kids were all very shy and quiet as Ge' told them about us . We put them through some skating drills and they all did well then we worked on their passing and had some fun games :) there were 9 kids there if you don't include us we split them up into 3 teams and we each had a team to play on with them some hockey and honestly I had so much fun ... I felt like a big kid ! The parents all were happy to see their kids having so much fun !

After our skate we came to the hotel and showered up as it is really hot on the ice here ! We were sweaty :) after we got a taxi to drive us to see Christ the Redeemer . Our driver could not speak any English but he was totally amazing . He stayed with us all day and took us everywhere we asked him to go ! It was a great day and it was so beautiful there .

After that we went to Copacabana and ate right near the beach an right beside where FIFA officials were staying . They all drove right by us with police escorts . We began drinking gin and tonics and let me tell you ... Over here they pour a proper drink . Whole glass was gin ... No joke ! We got trashed lol Ge' met us and we went to a couple other bars ... I don't remember much but I do know that I have to get to the rink now so I should cut this short and try to remember more to tell you about later ....

Gotta sober up quick to get on the ice ... Big story of the night was that I got a ticket for confederation cup final ;) I should run but will spread the good word later ... I think I was redeemed ;) 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day 1 in South America

Arrived safe and sound yesterday in Rio de Janeiro and met Andi Tanzer & our host here  Ge' Cardoso was there with him to drive us to our hotel which he arranged for us ! Traffic here is insane it seemed like forever for us to get to Hotel Entremares in Barra . It was fine as we shared hockey experiences and started to get o know Ge' better . This guy is Mr. Hockey here in Brazil and he is one hell of a host , he was with us all day yesterday showing us some necessities in Barra ... Mostly good bars and great cheap food .  We ate at this all u can eat place and was 20 Reals which is the Brazilian currency if u did not know , we all fell in love with the fried banana poppers .... They are like jalapeño poppers except they are stuffed with bananas !!!

Then we started drinking ... We had these awesome vodka drinks with coconut juice in them , can't remember the name as I am quite hung over at the moment lol . Before we got too drunk we went to the arena which is in a grocery store !! It's a small rink but its real ice which is amazing !!!  It could use some more insulation on the ceiling and a door to keep cool air in wouldn't be a bad idea to help run the rink more efficiently as they must lose a lot of cold air without these in place ...if I meet the rink owner I will probably suggest this :)

After the rink we went out for more drinks at Bar 399 and people watched ... I can't lie the women here are quite beautiful ( yeah I miss my gf already ) everyone here seems to hav beach ready bodies and everyone is very nice here :) most people don't speak English here so it is a good thing that Ge' is with us to translate .

It is winter here which means I am in shorts ;) yeah it doesn't get cold here ! Beautiful climate and scenery , what more could u ask for aside from the chance to play ice hockey . If  you are wondering I am up early to go teach some children how to skate with Timo and Andi ... After we are going sight seeing but for now I should get some breakfast will try to write more later but for now I should get going ... First time on ice today and I can't wait ! 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Here We Go !

Today is the big day ... last night the Rainman AllStars came to my house and we partied !!! today i am waking up hungover ( didn't expect less ) and i still have to pack LOL ! Flight doesn't leave until later on so i have the day to get my head together and finalize the last few things i want to take with me .  I can't take much as i don't have much room as usual my gear is overweight so i will need to take 2 carry on bags i will put some gear into a carry on to make weight .

Pretty sure i want to go a bit earlier then 3 hours before my flight to beat the lineups and get some things straightened out ... like i don't want to have to collect my bags in the USA where my connecting flight is , have been trying to check in online and its not working for me ! It keeps asking where i am staying in the USA and i am not staying i am just connecting and there is no option for this ??? i don't care what anyone says it was much better when you just checked in with a human being rather then some stupid machine ... oh well i will get someone at airport to earn their pay cheque today LOL .

It is just such a dream come true to finally be going to South America to play hockey . This trip has been in the works for years , i mean i was trying to get a hold of someone down there way back in 2006 with no results ... only got in touch with some hockey players down there when i found them on Facebook . There is such a long flight ahead of me/us ( me and Timo ) he is still in bed nursing his hang over ... we really had a good time last night :) i am gonna miss my gf and my bed and my couch .... but its all gonna be worth it ! I will be on the road for the next 4 weeks experiencing some things that not many others have ever experienced and in some cases some things that no other people outside of certain countries have ever experienced ... we will be the first non south Americans to compete in both tournaments down there and that is very special to all of us going . We are pioneers in a sense and hopefully we can help promote the game down there and get more of our friends to go down there to help promote and build their programs .

I should start getting my baggage together now , hoping my gear is dry from my last game ..... also hoping all the hotels we stay in have fans for drying our equipment LOL ! The Tanzmanian Devil should be in the air soon unless he already is ? regardless i hope we all arrive safely to meet Ge' Cardoso at the airport in Rio ... he will be our host there ! look forward to meeting you Ge' ! might write something later on about our experiences clearing security ... usually i get a kick out of the whole procedure hahaha ! 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Ghetto Classic 2013 ...

This past weekend the Ghetto Classic Tournament tore through the streets of downtown Toronto . We had teams visit us from Germany, Slovakia and Boston ( the southies :) ... it didn't really matter who won or lost the title as everyone won in the end . Beer was flowing out of that arena and people were smiling all weekend ... i was a bit stressed trying to please the 10 teams that were there but it was totally worth it . The highlight of the weekend for me was when Jokers team owner and former German superstar HEINO! made his appearance . The Germans loved it ! He made his short appearance at The Rhino where we went to watch the Stanley Cup Finals .

Not sure how i am going to top this years tourney next year , at best i will be lucky if these teams all return as it was a great honor having them all participate . Another weekend of great hockey with absolutely no bullshit , people all got along on and off the ice with no fights and no incidents ... and i am pretty sure there were no injuries which is absolutely amazing . Based on the feedback i am receiving already it looks like everyone enjoyed themselves and i would not be surprised if our next edition of the Ghetto Classic will be packed full of surprises but this one will never be forgotten as it was the first time Rainer my brother from another mother was here .
He brought the 3 teams from Europe and has already told me he would love to come back with more teams  . Thank you Rainer , i think pretty much all my friends had a few laughs with you this past weekend , you were possibly the most interesting person to drink with at the rink LOL !

Our CHAMPIONS this year were no surprise as they were both defending their titles ... Easy Company and Hack HC both went undefeated on their way to the titles , both playing in nail biter finals against 2 great clubs that both wanted the titles . Every year the competition gets tougher , and i am sure it will be tougher next year too . If you or your team is interested in joining us next year please contact me , spots are very limited as it is only a 10 team tournament but if you plan on travelling alone to Toronto i always have teams interested in adding skaters . It is hard to say no to a tournament with free food and beer :)

Before i end this post i have to thank all the team reps , referees, arena staff , sponsors and even people that decided to man/woman the BBQ in the rain on Saturday . You guys all rock and i hope to see more of you all before our next tournament , it was great raising a pint with each and every one of you .... now i am going to go nurse my hangover and get packing for my trip to South America :) 


Friday, June 21, 2013

Welcome Party

Just got up not too long ago ... very hung over , possibly still inebriated . Last night we welcomed all the teams visiting us here in Toronto for my Ghetto Classic Tournament which kicks off tonight . We have teams from Boston , Germany ( Europe ) and Slovakia ( nobody from this team showed up ! ) . It is always a painful process organizing events for any reason . At the least you hope that your own team shows up to help host and welcome teams coming here to play with us , but alas not 1 of mine showed up which leaves me thinking why do i even bother with these guys ?

The tournament was set up to help raise funds for my team but every year i think more and more that i am just doing all the work with no help at all ... why do i do this and then hand over the little money i earn to a bunch of guys that have utterly no respect ? Yeah guys that is how i feel right now ! Why wouldn't anyone come out to help me make them some money .... it doesn't make sense does it .

On the bright side the guys that did show up from the Jokers and Sgt. Rock were awesome and did a great job of being representatives for their teams ! We all had fun with a live band playing some great music at Brooklynn  ... have to thank the guys there for being so awesome to us , with multiple shots and amazingly cheap prices ... can't go wrong with a $4 pint of Heineken :)

I am sure that most organizers have dealt with the pains of being left standing around wondering why these things happen .... i am just not going to stand for this shit .... tonight hopefully the guys on my team come out or else it is very clear that they don't give a fuck . yeah i am kinda pissed off hung over and cranky , so i better shut it down eat some food and clean myself up .

These are the pains for most people that are hockey organizers , if you are reading this and you agree with me then do your best to help your team organizer out .... we really appreciate help , even if you just attend events or have beers after games :) its the little things that make me smile ! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The British Invasion

Today the first wave of players coming from Europe to play in my hockey tournament arrive . 2 blokes from England ... Darren and Nick . Nick is the dancing machine in the picture above , will post a pic of Daz aka Darren later on . I met Daz way back in 2008 when i went over to play in a tournament in Bolzano,Italy , he is a fellow Rainman Allstar . We were room mates and it got messy then , i got alcohol poisoning :( it was very messy LOL . I laugh now but lemme tell ya ... it was rough ! I broke my nose at the end of the tournament so the last time i saw him i probably had my hand over my face and wasn't in the best of shape to say the least . A few years passed before i saw Daz again but we stayed in touch through Facebook . Last year in October we reunited in Iceland , i was a bit smarter this time avoiding poisoning myself ... over the years i learned to pace myself a bit better . When we met up in Iceland he brought some other "island monkeys" with him . Please don't be offended by that comment its an inside joke amongst the guys that play for Rainer .

One of the guys that came to Iceland with Daz was Onsy aka Nick . As you see above he is quite the entertainer and i expect to see him dance up a storm this week while he is here . It is such an honour to have these 2 guys joining me here for my tournament . They will be the first Brits to step on the ice here in my tournament ... there will be a lot of firsts this weekend :) Hopefully i can show these guys a good time and get them to come with a full team from the UK , that would be amazing . For now i should stay focused on this tournament .

Remember this is just the first phase so i might only need just 1 case of beer LOL ... tomorrow when the rest come i need way more + some Jaegermeister ! Hoping my 2 mates from England have a safe flight over , i will pick them up at roughly 4 pm . I will bring them to my place where they are staying the night then i will drag them with me to the arena to watch my game ... after we will drink ! Pretty sure they are gonna be jet lagged and the only cure for that is to stay up , drinking helps too hehehe. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

2 More Weeks To Maintain Sanity

Alrighty , so 2 weeks from now my friends from England arrive . They will be the first wave of friends coming here for my Ghetto Classic Tournament . This is gonna get really messy . When they arrive i will bring them to my game , while trying no to drink with them i will be feeding them all the bevvy they could want ... then i will join them , then the madness will ensue . Sanity will be a faint memory by Wednesday night when Rainer and the rest of my friends from across Europe joins us . Yes Rainer , the same Rainer i lost in England on my last trip ( he was lost this week also in Spain apparently LOL ) .

This is not just a tournament , it is a huge social event . Today i am hoping to finalize all of our evening party places .... Everything is within walking distance , nobody has to take their bags home from the arena . Just shower , start drinking and walk away ! But leave your beers in the arena hahaha i know the rest of the world can drink on the streets but it is illegal here :) The last thing i want to do is have to bail someone out of jail on Monday morning , yes they keep you for the weekend here if you get caught ! The beds in there are a bit stiff so i wouldn't plan on making it your residence me i know :P

The other day i had to send some invite to Czech Rep. to help some players get their Visa to come here , first time i have had to do that . i hope to be doing this yearly ! This is gonna be amazing .... if i can i will try to write as much as possible but it may be difficult as i am staying in the hotel with the Europeans ... i just don't think i should be driving on this weekend , every year i do this so it is nothing new . If you are coming to play or watch make sure you come to the bars with us after , that is where the real excitement will be !

For the time being i am going to relish the fact that i know my name and i remember what i did last night ... in 2 weeks that won't be a factor !