Thursday, October 17, 2013

More NYC ...

Along my travels i end up doing a lot of really interesting things , not sure if you all know but i have this love for hip hop that i have had since i was a kid . There is this one of a kind hip hop tour in New York called Hush Hip Hop Tours, it is something i have wanted to do for years but whenever i am in NYC i either have not planned for this tour or have had friends with me that were not interested . This past weekend we went to NYC for my bday and the main objective was to do this tour and see some live hip hop shows at the CBGB festival .

Kathleen and myself walked down to the meeting spot where a rep from the tour met us , we waited for the bus and watched the city move past us .... when the bus showed up our tour guide exited the bus and darted across the street ... for those of you that know anything about hip hop our tour guide was the one and only Grandmaster Caz from the Cold Crush Crew and a former member of the Casanova Crew when he was known as Casanova Fly . This tour was really amazing as we went to spots where famous battles took place and we were shown a very good break dancing demonstration along with some really amazing graf pieces . We covered the 4 elements of hip hop on this tour and even spoke about the potential 5th elements :) You hip hop heads can all discuss that one !

We hit up spots like where the first hip hop party was held 40 years ago at 1520 Sedgwick Ave. and we stopped at Rucker Park ( famous street ball ) ... we even stopped for lunch with Caz ... he was a really cool cat , much respect for him and what he is doing ! It is truly a one of a kind tour that you should check out if you are in NYC .... seriously !

Now that took up most of our day there in NYC ... the night was a different story .... still had something to do with hip hop , but this was pure pure luck that i got to do this ! Remember we have passes for CBGB festival , before i left for NYC a friend of mine told me about Ice-T performing there on the Saturday and i found out it was something to do with the festival (thanks Chris ) . So i found the venue and we went ... when we got there we lined up and found out from this photographer named Brad that this was an invite only thing :( we stayed in line regardless ... we also found out that this venue ( Chez Andre at the Standard ) was really really really small . The line started to move and we got in ! At the front door was Ice-T greeting people ???? WHAT !!!!  So i guess we got really lucky as this place probably couldn't hold much more then 100 people and when i started to look around i started to notice some other rappers in the crowd that i recognized . I hit the bar and watched the show as the first MC came out , she was hard core even bought a cd off her .... Narubi Selah . 

Ice-T was the headliner but he brought out so many crazy mc's with him for this show which went a couple hours longer then was advertised . I still can't believe i got into this show , Treach from Naughty By Nature ... Lords of the Underground ... Dana Dane ... Smooth da Hustla ... it was really really amazing and such a great sound system in such a wickedly intimate environment . I was 15 feet from the stage when i was standing at the bar !!! This day was purely hip hop from top to bottom .... heck even after we left the club we walked past a Banksy piece he had done the night before  . We found it in a sewage basin on a construction site :) 

Just one last thing about New York before i sign off ... taxi cabs are such a pain to get , you can't call yellow cabs you have to wave them down and honestly good luck !!! And if you are planning to leave your bags in lockers at bus terminals or any public places , they don't have any . Since 9/11 they banned them in fears of them being used for any attacks .  New York is such a fun adventurous place to be , have fun ! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Letter from Anonymous Person

Morning All ...

This morning i am waking up finding a particularly strange yet interesting email from an anonymous reader asking me to post this ... there is a first for everything so here we go .. check this out .

                                                      Rumour has it...

Rumours normally lack any statement that is not quickly confirmed by both parties . So, when i heard Canadian Tire may purchase RBK/CCM Hockey , i dismissed it as propaganda and misinformation . Mind your, i was surprised when Canadian Tire purchased Hockey Life -even though... it was a good move . It adds future growth and may provide Canadian Tire a unique model to grow their business south of the border .

Canadian Tire is synonymous to hockey . And by growing the sport in the States , it will make shareholders richer . Companies like Bauer,CCM, and Easton , only provide lip service when trying to grow the sport . They are more concerned with taking market share away from each other . Most investors loathe the words "market share distribution" . It provides limited intrinsic value to the company and limited growth. Companies that trade market shares are often referred to as a standard piece of theatrical scenery called "limbo!"

When RBK/CCM slashed their prices on their high-end jerseys , and told me any team that signs a 3 year contract with them , they would provide that team with free helmets the first year , and free gloves the second year , etc . I felt that was an appropriate move to keep their jersey business intact and their brand closer to the consumer. That is something Canadian Tire does well at too . Bauer took a different approach by hiring 'gunslingers' to approach all the teams , and allocating the team business to a select few retailers - leaving out the rest with no piece of the pie , and very little margin to call it a business .

This is where it gets interesting . A friend of mine who works at Athletic Knit on Scarlett Road , told me he has over 100 workers , and is a Canadian Company with quality that speaks for itself . They have been around for over 50 years , and will do whatever they have to do to survive- even if it means they have to change their business model . I told my friend why not sell the business to Canadian Tire . I'm sure there is no problems competing with offshore countries ( plus, all the teams will love them ) . On another note , even SP Apparel from Montreal went ahead and reduced their pricing . Everyday , they are getting close-out lists from companies,and their current products are closing out a lot quicker than usual. And other companies like Kamazu are getting more aggressive than ever .

For my own peace of mind , I had to pursue and find out if this rumour that Canadian Tire is purchasing RBK/CCM is true. So i had lunch with a friend of mine who works at Hockey Life . He said that all this competition was unnecessary . Next year, the prices will tumble even more and it makes no sense what they're doing . He said he buys more hockey equipment that anybody else , and he should the the team business from Bauer . I smiled and told him i heard a rumour that Canadian Tire may buy RBK/CCM. He looked puzzled .

Two days later, a Jersey Representative came into my store . He was excited. He took me aside and whispered that the guys from Hockey Life told him Canadian Tire is just about to purchase RBK/CCM. I was confused by the rumour , and this is why i sign this letter anonymously , in order not to start a rumour ....


* interesting stuff ... that is why i thought i would share this with anyone that reads my blog . and trust me i did not write this , words like intrinsic are words i can't lay claim to using :) 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Hockey Number Birthday

Last Friday i turned 39 ... that is my hockey number so i had to do something special . Being the Travelling Goalie i had the urge to get on a plane LOL so we flew out to NYC that morning . We being me and my amazing, forgiving person that allows me to do these crazy things . SO that means i didn't bring my gear ... there is a silver lining though ... after we went to the Bowery Electric to pick up our passes for the CBGB Festival (movies & music ) and as you can see i started my day with some good Brooklyn Lager :) Oh yeah back to the topic at hand ... i was meeting up with Alex Toul ! Well i was supposed to meet up with him Saturday morning but that changed as my plans were very flimsy and mainly included me having a glass of beer in my hand ... while i was at the Bowery i checked my messages and Alex wanted to meet earlier so we made plans to meet at the hotel . Yeah we went to the bar before the hotel so it was time to check in . Its my birthday give me some slack ok LOL !

We stayed up at Lexington & 45 E at this hotel called Club Quarters which by NY standards is cheap ?!?!?! Listen up the bottom line is NYC is not cheap , i am sure there is a cheap rough way to stay there but for me
travelling with my lady is not the most ideal way to be there ... and yeah NYC is one of those cities that she loves to come to so i haven't figured out the hostel scene but i am sure by the standards of food prices , etc.. that they are not so cheap either .... regardless beer in hand constantly aside from during taxi rides , i was getting nicely pissed up when i met Alex i think i was a good 6 or 7 pints in already .
 Alex is the creator of one of my favorite apps and websites out there please check it out and sign up !!! We met up at a pub called The Perfect Pint which was just down the road from the hotel and let me tell ya , the pints were nice :) It was great to meet up with Alex and talk hockey , they have so many great new ideas and i tried to push a few of my ideas on him too hehehe . But seriously check out Hockey Community and sign up , start posting your tournaments , equipment sales , anything to do with hockey !!! lets bring the world together .

After we left the pub Kathleen and i had dinner reservations at the amazing restaurant called Beauty & Essex
which a friend suggested , very swank restaurant hidden behind a pawn shop . Of course i kept drinking ! Yeah i look pretty plastered in that pic hahaha ... anyways the food was awesome there , i even ended up trying something ... different .... the waiter suggested the bone marrow was one of his favorites and drunken Adrian agreed to try it :( yuck , not only was i drunk enough to order it , i even ate most of it and pretty much regret even thinking about eating that as i write this ... yuck yuck yuck . After dinner we jumped in another cab and flew over to the Leftfield bar to watch some bands performing for the music festival which was in bars all across NYC . There was a band in particular that we wanted to check out and thinking it would be packed based on all the press we thought this band was getting we decided to go early and watch the other bands . Oh yeah the band we wanted to watch was this hip hop/rock fusion band called Apollo Quad . Unfortunately all the other bands were great but not really what we came to see ... good thing there was beer there LOL ! and scotch ... yeah it got messy .

The crazy thing is that the bar was absolutely dead ... we were the only 2 people that watched these guys perform their set . And they were really really good , if you like good hip hop check them out ! I met up with them obviously and they tossed me a cd which i checked out and it is good . They were a bit confused why the bar was so dead too .... anyways the best part was that for me on a personal level i was kinda looking for that kind of atmosphere to watch some bands . We ended the night flagging down a black taxi , after impatiently trying to flag down yellow cabs we agreed to pay $35 for this black taxi with no meter .... i kinda regret paying double for the ride but at least he got me to my hotel . Kathleen claims i was passing out in the cab but i don't remember , by this point i was totally inebriated :) that was only the first day of my weekend in New York .... it gets crazier LOL ! 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

RECAP : Punta Arenas Pt.2

When i was planning this trip there were so many highlights that i had planned for , but what we were about to experience will probably never be matched . Unfortunately i was feeling under the weather , i remember spending a full day running from my hotel room to the pharmacy LOL ... i think i went there 3 times and yes i was battling a bad hangover that day too . The crazy part of this trip was just about to begin as the tournament was upon us and we were about to be a part of Chilean history . 

First we had to start dealing with the press there , we had a few TV shows to go on to promote the tournament . The first one i took all the guys that were on my team , Alejandro brought Ricardo as a translator . We were all excited to be there as guests on the show , basically we were asked one question each like how do you like it here and why did you come here type questions ... very basic . I am waiting on a copy of it to arrive here at some point !

The tournament was finally starting the next day . La Copa Invernada ( Winter Cup ) first team up to bat was C.A.U. ( Club Andino Ushuaia ) they are from Argentina , i met most of them when they visited Toronto so i knew what we were up against . They brought a young squad and some of the guys were from Buenos Aires where they have quite a bit of skaters . Before the game there was this HUGE opening ceremony with an MC introducing us all , the Mayor was there , all the big wigs from the arena and the area we were in ( Zona Franca ) were all there too . Oh and there was about 700 fans there too with a few camera crews and reporters . It was absolutely insane ... we even had our own security guard :) You can't imagine how ridiculously amazing this experience was . When we skated on the ice they had a singer come out to sing the national anthems for Canada, Argentina and Chile !!!! The girl flubbed our Canadian anthem but it was still very beautiful . Kinda wish they sang the German anthem since half my team was from there ... maybe next year :P

After the opening ceremonies i had an interview for live television ... oh yeah did i mention this was historic ???? OH YEAH !!! First EVER live televised ice hockey game in Chile !!!! So the tv crew grabbed me and did an interview at the side of the rink before our opening game . I posted a link for the live feed and so did the other guys and it was amazing to see how many people watched it around the world . Kathleen watched it back home and said it was funny watching us play hockey on TV . It is one of the proudest moments in my life to be a part of such an unbelievable experience . Remember our goal going there was to help the sport grow , based on what we experience ... it will grow .

Once the game started we began our dominance and the fans loved watching some good hockey , when we got ourselves a good comfy lead it became more of a demonstrators event as there were some nifty moves that my team mates put on the Argentines . They were a bit nervous but so were we . The crowd and our television audience got to see a lot of scoring as we won the game 17-5. Remember it is 3 on 3 hockey and trust me when i say this , we really took it easy on them . We didn't come here to kill teams as you may think and we all think the same when i say we didn't fly all the way here to let teams beat us or act like idiots on the ice . We came here to show these guys how to play hockey and they saw some good skaters do what they do ... score goals . After the game we all got together to face the mob as fans and reporters all came onto the ice to congratulate us and our friends from Argentina . It was overwhelming and took about 30 minutes to get off the ice HAHAHA . Fans were taking pictures and asking for autographs . It looks like there is a chance that this sport will grow here . 

I will get more into the game actions in my next post . Its unbelievable how fast time is flying , next week i am off to NYC to celebrate my birthday . Hope to gather some stories from there too ... this time i am travelling with no gear :( 

Have a great weekend !