Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Back to square one

You would figure by this point i would have this next adventure planned out ... i was almost sure it was set in stone a few weeks ago that i would leave June 19th heading to South Africa then to Morocco and ending in Spain . WELL that has changed :( my Moroccan friends are telling me the stop playing in June and most of the children won't be there as they will be on holidays . If you ask me i will tell you that the children that are still there should not miss out because the others are on holidays , but really it won't matter what i say . I have tried to contact Khalid about this but he is a busy man and in all truths i have been told it is disgustingly hot and i should avoid going anyways LOL .

So i started looking elsewhere , first 2 choices were Egypt and Kenya . Further research led me to not feel exactly safe going there ... usually i contact someone in a country that is not the safest to be alone in without any knowledge and get assurance that i will be fine , that its safe , etc.... when i spoke to my contact in Kenya i was told to take the threat serious . Ok so they are hunting westerners there and from what i read being in public at any time won't be safe ... no bars, no clubs , no malls , no restaurants  so really what kind of trip does that sound like . Doesn't sound so great . At the best i would love to go there in the future but for now i am going to pass , i like my head where it is ... attached to my body :)

Egypt ... well i am not too sure about Egypt either . Not sure if it has anything to do with Westerners but i have been warned to steer clear of there also ... really its a shame that most of Africa is in turmoil and i wish to find another African country to link my trip between South Africa and Spain . If anyone has any suggestions feel free to leave a comment !

The good news is that my good friend Timo will be joining me , i will push my dates to accommodate his time . Pushing the date gives me an extra week to extract blood for money , yeah work LOL ! Someone has to pay for these trips hahahaha . I am hoping to get some ideas to finalize this trip soon .... we were talking about Dubai , Turkey , Portugal ... it would be ideal to find a tournament somewhere in south Europe but more then likely it is not possible since most rinks are closed during the summer ..... i have approximately 5 days available to go somewhere and earn another flag on my bag :P

and the search for hockey continues .....

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The IIHF Channel ?

Yesterday i was tripping around looking for games to watch , obviously i caught some of the Lev Praha game . But i was wondering ... how awesome would it be if there was a channel dedicated to international hockey ? Obviously all games wouldn't be live and there could be news segments for each of the major league over the day to fill the schedule . I for one would subscribe to it !

It would be good for the game to have something like this as most of the people i know here in Canada have no clue what EBEL is or if the top league in Sweden is SEL or SHL . Something like this would help people reach out globally to watch and cheer on new clubs in countries that some of us might never have the opportunity to visit . Hopefully someone with tons and tons of cash is reading this thinking it would be a great idea .

Obviously i would want to see all levels of IIHF competition shown on this channel too . Recently i have been streaming games like Australia vs. Israel only to have a picture that i couldn't enlarge with absolutely no commentary , at least there was a feed for that . There are lower level championships like the Challenge Cup of Asia that i would love to see and the only way i think that will ever happen is if the host country puts the time into airing it or if there was an IIHF channel :) yeah i know what a great idea eh ?

Who knows this might already be in the works ... i couldn't promise that everyone would be so gung-ho to rush home to watch an Augsburg Panthers game but it might be a start to introduce hockey as a global sport  . The rest of the world knows about the NHL , believe it or not . Yeah i know some people that can't believe people in Kenya know what a puck looks like .... case in point that stupid Molson Canadian commercial where they give a bunch of Indonesians hockey sticks .... i am pretty sure they have hockey there , yeah i am positive .... I've played there ! This is something i would love to see changed , i would love it someday if everyone was more knowledgeable of the other great hockey leagues and teams around the world .

Lets see if someone out there with the right connections reads this ....

Friday, April 18, 2014

Almost Time to Start Booking

Its always weird when trying to book flights , i am almost at the point where i can start booking ... only problem is i need to confirm with my hosts that the days i have chosen match . When i get to South Africa i wanna make sure i get my maximum ice time along with maximum experience .... i mean its a long friggin flight and i am not sure how often i will get the chance/opportunity to go down there . I spoke with the GIHA yesterday ( Gauteng Ice Hockey Association) which is the governing body for the area i will be visiting . They are associated with the SAIHA (South African Ice Hockey Association ) ... i gave them my potential dates that i would love to be there helping at any capacity , whether it is teaching adults to skate or helping kids .... obviously if there is a goalie around wanting some pointers i will be more then glad to do that also ! I was a bit surprised when i was asked what i needed/wanted to go to South Africa ??? When i responded that i am paying my own way i was told that most people that contact ask for upwards of $10,000 . This obviously makes me sick that there are so many people out there trying to see the world on someone else's pocket book !!! The whole point of these trips for me is to help . Help doesn't usually come with a price tag . Most of us should realize that playing ice hockey is not a cheap thing , and not all the families of these children playing in other countries are rich ... we should not treat them like money trees ready to pluck .

Yesterday i also decided to make my trip longer to accommodate the wishes of my friends in Morocco . Khalid Mrini has asked me to visit for 10 days this time . Khalid once again is the President of the Moroccan Ice Hockey Federation . Now i have to figure out my itinerary not only in Morocco but in South Africa also . In South Africa i am looking at safari's , visiting cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town , possibly going skiing in Lesotho ... yeah it is a lot with not enough time .... i may have to add more days pending on what my travel buddy(s) want . Same thing in Morocco as i really want to visit Marrakesh, Fez and some other great cities along with being available to do as many ice times with the kids there again . It will be a looser schedule in Morocco as we went with the flow last time and i see that being the best bet to maximize experience there :)

The last and easiest part of the trip is Spain ... i will fly to Barcelona to join the Rainman All-Stars at a tournament . Hotel is booked and everything is organized by Rainer , i already have paid for most of it so its the least of my worries . Really looking forward to playing with old friends at the end of a long trip ... Dom , Rainer and Melanie i will see you all in Barca . So at the moment i am looking at flights from Toronto -Cape Town , Johannesburg - Casablanca , Rabat - Barcelona , Barcelona-Toronto ..... won't be cheap but it will be worth the trip . I can't guarantee that this won't change from now until the day i actually book everything but this is pretty much the preferred route . Oh yeah there will be many stopovers on those routes :( hoping to get some Lounge Passes to use for my longer stops . If you are willing to donate any to me please let me know , the more the merrier :)

This is gonna be a great summer ... crazy part is that when i come home i will stay for a week then head off to Texas to meet up with fellow Aston Villa Supporters ... we are all going to watch our favorite football team play a couple exhibition matches ... and at the moment i am not decided if i should bring my gear or not LOL ... more then likely my bag will be destroyed (or lost) by that point hahaha!

Saturday, April 12, 2014


My head is hurting .... last night i went out and got wasted :P not for nothing as i usually don't go out here in Toronto . I save my liver for my trips , but last night was special . Last week my Ghetto Blasters won our first winter title . Unfortunately i had to work the morning after at 4 am so the celebration was held off ... at least for me . I heard a few of the guys went out to do it up LOL .

We waited to see if my Tuesday team would win the title in the other league to decide on a team party . We lost on Tuesday , if we would have won we would have had to play in the facility championship today which means we would have had to put off the party for another week ... that was not the case though as we lost our Tuesday night championship :( yeah it sucked but we have to be proud that we made it to the final . Both teams made it to the last game which is great for the club . So one of our new guys (Steve) stepped up and got us a party room at his condo just off Queen W . which is lined with bars and clubs .

There was about 12 of us that showed from both squads which is great , i brought the trophy out and we got pasted . Of course we only had the party room for a certain amount of time which was basically for the pre drinking . The room was great with fussball, pool table , big tv and all the amenities to assure an entertaining start to the evening . We were drinking out of the trophy for a good amount of the night but Brad was the champ . Our token Australian :) He was drinking out of the trophy at the bar all night LOL . We ended up at the Midpoint where Eric took good care of us as usual .... as soon as we showed up the shots were lined up.

Of course i lost everyone and don't remember paying at the bar LOL .... i might have but i am not sure . I do know i ended up at Pizza Pizza eating chicken wings with Takacs and Brad . And i faintly remember being yelled at by some crazy chick that i don't know . Pretty sure we took a cab back to my place and here i am on the couch ... i never even made it up to my bed . Yes my head is hurting .... but it was worth it hahaha .

The Ghetto Blasters are Champs and that is something definitely worth celebrating !