Sunday, August 30, 2015

Cold Blooded Sports

People always ask me about my travels and one of the big questions i get asked is , how do they get equipment over there ? Yeah that is a great question , so on my last trip out to Scotland i went to visit Cold Blooded Sports to find out what it takes for them to get equipment and what the costs are .  The results from my questions were not even remotely surprising . Obviously the question about goalie equipment was tops on my list . Chatting with Pamela Maclean & Eden Davidson because shop owner Steven Gardener was busy sharpening skates as hockey season is upon us and tryouts were a plenty in this part of the world . I found out that all the distributors don't send out equipment for sizing ??? yeah kinda tough if you go buy a set of pads and they show up and they don't fit right ... can you imagine ? 

This small shop has a lot of heart though and i am really happy i visited them and personally saw first hand how much they do for their community to help the game grow . When i got home i sent them a few questions which they happily answered ... here are a few of them ....

Is there any specifics you would like me to mention about how long you guys have been in business or what made you mad enough to try opening a hockey shop etc ? 
Cold Blooded Sports was established in August 2011 and the store opened on 12th December 2011. After a very quick planning period, we opened our doors to cater for the Christmas rush. In hockey season 2012-13 we sponsored the local Elite league team Braehead clan until last season (2014-15). We have also sponsored of 2 local recreational hockey teams, Paisley Blackhawks and Glasgow Mustangs, since season 2012-13
Our latest sponsorship is with the east coast team, Edinburgh Capitals. We are also personally sponsoring James Wallace, a young Scottish player as well as 3 of the Solway Ladies: Amanda Murdoch, Michelle Howie and Ruth Wallace. The Solway Ladies team is a new female team, playing and competing in the English ladies league and are based out of the Dumfries Ice Rink. We are continuing our sponsorship of the local recreational teams Paisley Blackhawks and Glasgow Mustangs.
Our latest press release blurb is:
“Cold Blooded Sports are Scotland’s newest ICE HOCKEY and FIGURE SKATING specialists. Established in 2011, the CBS team works hard at providing a friendly informative service supplying all your Ice Sports equipment. They cater for everything from hockey boots to figure skates, protective equipment to sticks. With a highly trained team of technicians, they offer high quality skate maintenance, tipped as one of the best in the business. The team have exciting new projects in the pipeline so keep your eyes peeled!!”
I think you guys mentioned that you all still work other jobs also to maintain ? what are your "other" professions that you left behind . any specific stuff will help me make this better . 
Steven now is full-time with the shop for the last year. Prior to that he was a sports coach with a local sports centre. He started working in the ice rink/sports centre as an ice steward when he was 17 and was moved to a dry sports centre to be a sports coach when the ice rink closed. He has also worked as an Ice technician in Braehead Arena as the same time as starting the business and maintaining his job with the sports centre.
Graeme and Patricia (Stevens Mum & Dad) were both involved with the Paisley Pirates during their time playing at the Lagoon Leisure Centre. Patricia was Treasurer for the supporters club for many years and a huge pirates fan. Graeme was the equipment manager for the team for many years through their time playing in the lagoon. When the rink closed in 2006/07 they fell away from ice hockey, until the shop was started and the Braehead Clan starting playing at Braehead Arena.
I was a pirates cheerleader until I was 18 and a big hockey fan of the Paisley Pirates during their time at the Lagoon but fell away from it around 2001. I was working towards a Business degree from Uni of the West of Scotland when we started the shop in 2011 and graduated in 2013. I currently work as a part-time Secretary with the Uni.
Steven and myself decided to utilize the skills we had together and start Cold Blooded Sports. Steven has the equipment knowledge and understanding of the sport, and myself with the Business Degree and admin skills to help run the business. With the amazing help and support from the family we make a brilliant team. We have grown rapidly and are going from Strength to strength.

Tell me more about Hector , your mascot also please . 
Hector was designed by Graeme (Stevens Dad). Hector was designed and released as a CBS brand, where not only will it identify the shop but it will be the start of our own clothing and apparel range that will grow into many many more products.
Hector is a mean hockey-playing Eskimo, but we also have the mean weight-lifting Hector for our gym clothing range coming soon.

Its pretty clear that these guys have committed themselves to this project ! If you are ever in Scotland looking for a stick or even a good skate sharpening  PLEASE don't hesitate to visit these guys . You won't be disappointed . And if you are a hockey rep out there for Bauer or Koho maybe think about sending this shop some gear to use to fit goalies properly , help them help you guys sell your stuff !

On a final note , Cold Blooded Sports is starting to brand their own clothing ... i got a couple awesome t-shirts and a hat from them , this jersey i'm seen wearing was given to me by my good friend Robin Elliot who actually introduced me to this shop so i gotta thank him and all the people at Cold Blooded Sports for being so amazing , keep up the great work ! And yes we can't forget Steven's little apprentice Eden :) 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Flight From Hell

That smile above didn't last long as the next day after I had to wake up with a hangover practically still drunk and had to check out and catch an uber to the airport ... Saw the dickhead night manager at the hotel which didn't brighten up my day either and headed to the airport . I booked to fly home with air Canada but the carrier ended up being United who don't give a damn about my Air Canada status which allows me free equipment handling and want me to pay $ 350 U.S. to bring my stuff ... I almost ditched my sticks and at the end of it just had to pay $75 to have their handlers treat my big like a punching bag :( yeah hey beat it up ! 

Security lineup was fine and it looks like I got a preferred seat with more legroom ... Hold on this is not the rainbow , this is the gates of hell ! Yeah you would think this is my lucky day right ... WRONG !!! I get on the plane there is 3 seats in the row and nobody is beside me or beside the guy in front of me until the last second when  a couple comes on with their 2 little children . The husband sits in the aisle seat and has one of the little demons in his lap while the mother is in the row in front of me has her demon with her ... These 2 little demons screamed like banshees the whole flight and needed 100% attention the whole flight for 7 hours I saw the airline attendants giving them the evil eye and looking at me with condolences while many times I saw other passengers looking at them with death threats surely be in cast their way with Jedi mind tricks LOl ... I can joke a bit now but really I have never heard 2 little humans scream so much . All I wonder is why airlines allow babies to travel for free ? Is it worth making the paying customers suffer ? Do I need to pay to ensure this punishment? I almost ran off of that plane :( 

When I landed in Newark I had to get from terminal C to terminal A and our plane arrived early thankfully because it took me 2.5 hours to get from one gate to the other ... I had to clear customs , grab luggage , drop off luggage then clear security to get on a bus to another terminal which I had to leave then go upstairs to clear another security point and then find my gate which I am not even remotely joking when I say this but there is no signage for any of this at all and in fact some flight boards didn't even say which terminal my flight was leaving from ??? Newark airport = Mega EPIC FAIL !!!!!! Note to self ... Find another way to travel from Birmingham like walk to the coast and use my bag as a floatation device would be better then what I endured ... 

Oh I forgot to mention that the gate called me on the loudspeaker ... Can Adriana Mizzi come to the gate ... Umm its Adrian and A is my middle initial . They apologize and tell me my bags been damaged ... Great thanks ! I go back to my seat and a few minutes later they call for fucking Adriana Mizzi again .. Wtf !!! This time they bump me to business class :) ok things are getting better ... This flight was comfy and a nice snack and yeah it helped but then we landed . We sat near the gate for a half hour ? Wanna know why ? ... Another flight was boarding an they couldn't let passengers cross each other . Yup very co-ordinated it seems .

Had no problems at security even the stupid machines gave me no problems and I got a taxi which ends up taking the long way and when I ask where he's going he tells me 427 is jammed and we will take 27 ... I told him that the 2 come together anyways and he say one of his friends told him to do that ? When we pass 427 it's empty and flowing and there was no traffic ??? I'm done with taxis man ! When we arrive I didn't tip him as most uber drivers don't take tips and it's got me thinking that I'm not gonna tip taxis anymore , they are scum bullshit liars anyway that are against uber so why do I want o support them anyways so that's my stance in protest . 

The reason I wanted to sleep on my long flight was so I would have some energy for my Ghetto Blaster semi final game which I have to play within hours of landing . The reason that half hour delay got to me was because I didn't sleep on the first flight so I hoped to take a nap at home ... That was all I wanted ... And when I got to the rink to play my game , yup you guessed it ! I played amazing and we won 3-2 and really I stood on my head :) as a goalie sometimes I have no clue why but I play my best in my worst conditions . If you are a goalie reading this you probably understand and if you aren't you probably just think we're crazy anyways . Hahahaha! 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Last Day is The Loneliest

Yeah it's been a great trip but just as everything else there is an end coming and yesterday was my last day of my fantastic trip to the UK . Waking up knowing that the party is over kinda sucks but you get used to it after awhile . My agenda yesterday included getting some packing tape to repair the hole that Lufthansa created in my bag and as usual I had to load up on McCoy's crisps and Galaxy chocolate bars to bring home ... Yes I know I'm supposed to be on a diet but I just can't resist LOL ! First things first though , I'm hungry :) 

So I head out to grab a bit and right before I leave I get a message from Richard and we decide to meet up for a couple pints , I gotta eat first though ! On my way to New St I see all these owls that are decorated very artistically and it's quite nice to see all the city enjoying them . All these artists did a great job ! I wanted to go to a Wok & Go which Chris Fetters showed me last time and the other day I looked for it and couldn't find it , so this time I googled it and of course it took me to a shop that was now closed and here is the kicker ... I didn't think it was here anyway ? Thanks Google , you are as useless as ever ... Pizza was on my mind also and bang there is a nice Italian joint there so I pop in and notice they have pepperoni on the menu which is kinda rare outside of North America . 
I'm not exaggerating when I say the pizza at La Vera was beyond fantastic , anyone from overseas visiting and craving pepperoni pizza should try this stuff out ... I even told my server how amazing I thought it was ... She looked surprised :) 

After pizza I headed to The Windsor which is a pub and met Richard , we had a few pints and chatted with a Kenyan fella about pretty much everything ... It was nice but I had to say bye as Richard was to start making his trek back home ... Gonna miss ya buddy ! Always a good time hanging out with ya and I'm sure I will see ya soon ... Now I'm alone again ... Went to Poundland and did my one stop shopping for tape , crisps and chocolates and decided to head over to the Birmingham Markets to see if I could find some curry or scratchings or a new Villa belt buckle which I didn't but opted to wander about and see the shops to kill time ... Yeah I needed to walk off the pizza too lol ! After all that walking I needed a nap hahaha ... So I headed back to my hotel to squeeze in a few zzzzz's . 

When I woke up from my slumber I had made plans to meet Karl for a few last pints but again in my mind I thought to grab a bite to eat .... We were supposed to meet at 9 but that turned into 10 and I ended up gorging myself at 5 Guys which was way too much ... In fact I  still full now the morning after :) part of me wanted to drink and the other part wanted to sleep ... After much discussion between my two alter egos I settled for getting wasted ;p well not too wasted . So I sat in Victoria Square kinda a bit depressed knowing that this is it . Then I headed over to The Railway and had a pint ... Karl showed up then his mate Steve showed up and we finished up and moved over to the carribbean restaurant which for th life of me I can't remember the name atm ? Took half hour to get 1 yucky beer then I bounced and went to BrewDog for some real beer :) chugged a couple pints and that was it ... Said my byes around 1 am and walked past all the extremely drunk people to get to my hotel ... Funny thing is people drink so much here they actually have ambulances sitting at the taxi stand to give you options to leave LOL ... And yes I saw a few taking the unhealthy option . Oh to be young and dumb ... Too bad I'm just an old fool hehehe ... With 3 hours sleep I'm none the better right now am I ? 

Bye Birmingham ... As usual I'm gutted to be leaving ... The road can sometimes be lonely but I always know I have friends in good 'ol Brum :) 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

What A Mess !!!

Had to wake up early to catch my bus from Glasgow to Birmingham . There was much to plan as I had so many people to meet up with ... My cousin Paul was to meet me at Digbeth bus station and we were supposed to go to my hotel to drop my equipment off and check in , then we were gonna go meet Richard for a pint at The Windsor Pub . After that I had to get over to The Aston Social to go meet some other friends then off to the Lions Lounge to meet Paul Harris with my tickets which is where I was supposed to meet my buddy Karl with his ticket ... That was the plan that took me days to sort out ! This would have been perfect if my bus arrived on time 2:30 pm . 
That didn't happen ... 

So when I got on the bus I was tired and planning to sleep and yeah as you see in the pic I had a big lad passed out on me and that didn't last long but was funny none the less ... The guy was nice enough and all the people on the bus were friendly with each other . Unfortunately we were all gonna be delayed due to some accident on the M6 . See they don't do things the way we do back in Toronto , if there is an accident you just simply block a lane or 2 . That won't work here apparently LOL ! So they just close down the highway in both directions ???? Yeah talk about fucked up ! This put our bus on a 1.5 hour delay :( my cousin waited from 2:30 pm until I arrived at 4 pm . We jumped in a taxi and got to my hotel by 4:30 ! This is a 10 minute drive regularly but due to this road closure the whole city is almost at a stand still . It was announced earlier that the motorway should be open by 4 ... Never happened . 

Meeting Richard at the pub ? Yeah that idea went away and now it's just lets get to the Lions Lounge to get our tickets and meet up ! I wanted to get there for 5 originally so I tried rushing by calling an uber ... I got around the corner , paid £5 and decided to take the train ... New Street Station is a disaster of unreal proportions and we squeezed onto the train by 6 pm , yeah time is just burning away ... Every minute that passes is one less pint :( finally arrived at Villa Park and got into the Lions Lounge by 6:30 pm ... I met Matthew Haywood who set me up with my FA Cup Final ticket and bought him a pint , Richard , Ronnie and Dawn met me in there too and even saw Elvis ... Yes the one and only ;) no sign of Karl yet though ! 

Me and my cousin got to our seats for kickoff in the Lower Holte and I held my phone in my hand waiting to hear when Karl would arrive at the late gate . When he did I rushed down and missed the only goal of the match that Manchumpster United scored ... Fuck ! We got to our seats and watched the rest of the game which Villa lost 1-0 ... I was hoping for a better result but it is what it is . My take on the game was that the club doesn't look like the hapless bunch they were last year under Paul Lambert . They didn't give up and we didn't sit back which makes for better entertainment ate the least . I'm still positive about the season ahead for us Villans to cheer for ... Bluenose scum think we spell out fan base name wrong apparently they know how to spell ? Inbred bastards ! 

After the match we headed to the Lions Lounge had a pint then headed to the Aston Social to have another but we're not allowed entry because apparently they were trying to close ... At 11 pm ? And the place was still bouncing inside so I'm not sure if the doorman just didn't want me in or not but regardless that sucked ! Probably won't go there again after that reception .... The doorman was an asshole ! And that wasn't the only doorman I had to deal with that night . 

We walked my cousin to the bus and saw him off then walked over to my hotel ... Jury's Inn on Broad Street which is a jungle on weekends ! Karl had to use the toilet so I offered to use mine , when we arrived at my hotel there was a doorman ?!?!? He asked for my name , hotel room and all this shit and I told him I'm a fucking guest here ! Told him my friend needs to use my toilet and he told me he can't ? He is not allowed upstairs ? What The Fuck ! So I approach the counter at front desk and I tell whoever it was there that as a guest I don't appreciate this treatment , he snidely tells me it's for my own protection and I told him that I can protect myself and I don't need this harassment ... The guy was not dressed up and I assume he was the night manager , he spoke to me like an asshole would and I told him I would write about this ... He clearly said go ahead so here it is ! After I'm done writing this I will go downstairs to leave my business card and I will send this to his superiors . Maybe being a dickhead to your paying guests is not a good idea ? Maybe having a security guard with a guest list at the door is a little too much ? How about just locking doors and guests can use their cards to get in just like the Hotel across their road ? And most of all don't fucking tell me that I can't bring my friend up to my fucking room !!! I paid for it and he's not staying . Or how about this ... Teach your manager to treat paying customers with respect instead of acting like a piece of shit ! 

I like the Jury's Inn , my room is nice and clean but I'm sorry that experience last night really didn't make me want to come back . I expect to receive some form of compensation or at the least an apology for being treated like shit ! 

Maybe I was just a bit upset after all this day's events but at the end of it I'm a paying customer and I should be treated with respect . And as I told the idiot at the front desk ... I'm a writer and I will write about it ... Nuff said ! 

Friday, August 14, 2015

I Tried Haggis

Here I am on the bus on my way to Birmingham writing about yesterday's adventure and let me tell you first and foremost , I wish I stayed in Scotland longer ! The people I met and the thugs I have yet to do make me already yearn to come back and trust me ... I'll be back ! 

I started me day yesterday by bumping into the cleaning lady who was quite apologetic over not cleaning my room and i have to thank her for leaving me a nice care package with Irn Bru and chocolates :) as much as I bitched about the Hilton the other day I have to admit that it was quite convenient staying there . As soon as you step out front of the hotel there was a hop on hop off tour bus stop ... So that's what I did ! The tour cost £13 for a 1 day pass and is £15 for 2 days . I really wish I took the 2 day pass and got on the day before because I found out soon enough that all the museums and galleries were free entry , and unfortunately I didn't have time to do any of them as my main purpose yesterday was to see the city , and get a nice bottle of single malt Scotch . 

The tour was great and the city is beautiful especially with the luck I had , it was a gorgeous day ! Unfortunately I wasn't the only one that thought so and the bus' we're all rammed with tourists ( I hate tourists) but it is what it is and it's the best way to maximize my little time . By the time I got done the west end of the city I was hungry and opted to get off near Buchanan Station to get some food and possibly hunt down that bottle . At first I wanted some pasta but then I couldn't find so I opted for a Subway sandwich . I was a bit surprised that when I asked for my sauce which I always get mustard and sub sauce , for those wondering what sub sauce is its oil and vinegar basically like Italian dressing ... Well this place didn't have either :( so i opted for light mayo and some strange vinaigrette . It wasn't what I am used to but there was no turning back at this point . As I sat there I contemplated my next plan of attack ... I was gonna go to a pub called the Pot Still but figured I should not be drinking since I have ice time later in the day ... Yeah I haven't had a drink yet in Scotland . 

I decided to head back to the bus to finish my tour then I changed my mind and darted into the liquor store I passed to look for a bottle that I would not be able to find back home ... I found a bottle called Knockado and I bought it for £30 . I'm happy ! So I just have to get back on my bus now to finish the tour and get to my hotel for a quick nap before I head out to Paisley Courts to pick up my hockey gear ... Did I mention my stuff is drying in a court ? Well not in it but in a room beside it lol ! Yeah I stank it up , gotta mention that Billy was a top lad helping me out there :) Hey Billy ! Hope the smell is gone by now hahaha .  

I was invited over to Robins for dinner with his lovely family as you can see above they are quite the humorous bunch ! The main thing was to have some haggis , umm yeah I tried it but let's just say it's not for me ! I can still taste it and I'm lucky I didn't toss it up on the ice later that night . Along with the haggis I had some Irn Bru which is a soda pop they love here in Scotland which tastes quite good and to top it off I was given a tablet which looks like fudge but isn't ... Haven't tried it yet but I will soon enough . Next time I have to try beef olives and some square sausage and I'm pretty sure I've done the Scottish traditional meals /treats . 

I don't usually eat so close to ice time and it really hurt me when I got on the ice ... I played like shit and really there is no excuse. I skated with the Irvine Flyers who are a rec team that I will hopefully get a game with when they hopefully come over to Toronto this coming year . Just message me if you guys are coming . Would love to have a game between you guys and my Ghetto Blasters ! 

And at last I got to have some beers ! After the last skate on my last night in Scotland I was treated to a few pints and a glass of Scotch . It's only fitting that I drink until 1 am get to my hotel by 130 and wake up at 615 am isn't it ? Yes it is and it was well worth it . Thanks to the guys that came out , hope to see you all soon ... I gotta take a nap ... I'm beat . 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Doing hard time

Another day in the life of The Travelling Goalie :) yeah it's tough . Sometimes I feel like a prisoner LOL ! Who am I kidding right ? Yesterday I slept in took it easy and walked over to Vodafone to top up my SIM card ,only problem was that the place I went to was an office and not a shop . So I had to walk another 20 minutes into the city center on Sauchiehall St. which is a pedestrian only street for a bit of a stretch filled with shops where I found my Scottish backpack flag and a nice magnet for my fridge :) once I got my phone sorted I had to find a place to eat ... J D Witherspoon is always a good choice with their £2.99 breakfast which sure as hell beats the £13 they wanted at the hotel !!!! Not exactly happy with my hotel service as the cleaning lady woke me up at 9 am ?!?!? Wtf ! Really don't you know people are actually fucking sleeping , don't you have a list and do I really have to put a do not disturb sign for you to leave me alone ... What year is this ? 1980 ? Stupid shits never cleaned my room over the day and left a bag full of linens in the hallway ??? Is this self service here ! Get the fuck out of here ... Thanks for the shit service Hilton Garden Inn ... I won't stay here again ! 

Enough of my rant :) I had my nice meal and began to feel lonely ... When you travel alone you have these moments and if you don't you must be a robot or something cold . I don't know it just came over me that I wished my gf was with me wandering about trying to see the city and I lost my train of thought and started wandering ... Then I ended up at Central Station where I actually had to get to later on anyway to head out to meet Robin in Paisley near his work , where my gear was drying and where I did some hard time lol ! So I got my ticket then walked out and heard bagpipes :( immediately I started to well up and got teary eyed thinking about my grandfather who I loved dearly . At his funeral bagpipes were played and it's something that triggers memories , so I'm lonely and now I'm almost in tears . I was going to do a hop on hop off tour but instead opted to walk along the River Clyde and talk to my gf , it helped clear my mind and did me some good . 

After my walk about I decided to head back to my room that was not cleaned and I took a nightmare filled nap :( must be the withdrawal hahaha ! When I woke up I got ready to head off to the station to catch my train and meet Robin who has been such an amazing host for me here , I honestly can't say enough good stuff about this guy and I'm sure I will babble good things about him as the days go on ! I truly met a good friend with a good heart ... Again thank you for everything and thanks Daz for hooking me up with him . 

Robin has sorted all my hockey out and driven me around and stayed up late and yeah just amazing . We passed by his friends hockey shop called Cold Blooded Sports which I will write more about when I get home . Solid place with great people working hard to make it a reality . Got a couple goodies from them too which I will proudly fashion for you all in the next few days . Then we headed off to Robins place for a quick cuppa tea :) I will do a full write up about the shop when I get home with links so you can all check it out if and when you come over .

So my first night here I skated with a rec league team and tonight it's time to step it up as I'm skating with the North Ayrshire Wild who compete in the SNL ( Scottish National League ) which is the next level down from the pro Elite League ! When I walked in the room I saw a lot of really young faces and man did I feel old and of course I still didn't understand half the things people were saying ... Crazy Scottish accent LOL ! So I concentrated on getting my gear on and to be honest I was a bit nervous but quickly got comfortable when I jumped on the ice . Got a good stretch in and I was the first out of the 3 goalies to jump between the pipes ... No fear ! These guys were pretty good and quite fast , it's a full contact league so nobody here can be a pussy as toughness is needed . It kinda felt like a tryout as team officials were there signing people up for the team and filling out the league requirements . Apparently there are teams that will let skaters play for free and there are teams that charge fees and of course the issue with playing for free is that you aren't guaranteed to play if the team has players they rather play so naturally you would think guys would just sign up and pay and get more ice time and with these guys they have a gym to use and a great coaching staff . As I said though there is the free option and more then likely some of these kids will opt for that and will spend the upcoming season rotting on a bench :( if they even make the bench . That big free sign is the kicker though and unfortunately the ones that opt for this might not play this season and by next season they might not even be playing ice hockey anymore ... I hope that some of the young lads read this and realize that staying with this club is probably their best option ! I wish the North Ayrshire Wild a good upcoming season as they kick off in 3 weeks . If I lived here I would want to play for you guys :) I enjoyed the ice time and I thought the coach was straight forward with no bullshit and that is the kind of leadership every team needs . Thanks to coach Steve and the rest of the guys and the organization for giving me the opportunity to skate with a proper SNL team . 

All in all yesterday was an emotional roller coaster and today as I write this I am in a much better space so I'm gonna get up off my bed soon and do that hop on hop off tour and grab some breakfast ( not at the Hilton!) I might even go do some Scotch tasting at the Pot Still this afternoon and hopefully I will be fine for my last ice time here in Scotland . After tonight's skate I am going for drinks with the guys and tomorrow I head to Birmingham very early so I should pack up before I get too drunk HAHA! 

I'm doing some hard time here ! :p 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Country #31 ... Scotland

What a great day I had yesterday ! Love it when I get the chance to earn another flag on my stick bag and I owe it all to a few people for helping me . If it weren't for Daz introducing me to Robin Elliot then I doubt I would have got here , but first I had to make my way up here :) 

I woke up yesterday on Dazza's couch in Sheffield , well just outside of Sheffield :) and he had to get ready for his trip to Tachov, Czech Rep. we went for breakfast at my favourite breakfast joint ... The Tinsley Trans Cafe ! Love the food and I especially love the atmosphere , hockey decorates this old greasy spoon ! I've been here before and surprisingly the owner remembered me LOL . When we walked in he said hello to Daz then looked at me and said I remember you ! You're The Travelling Goalie ;) yeah it put a big smile on my face . Perfect start to my day . After cleaning my plate off I had to say bye to Daz :( always sucks saying bye to good friends but I know I will see him and most of the rest of the Sheffield gang in New York for Halloween . Daz dropped me at the bus terminal and I waited for my coach to Glasgow . Thanks for everything Daz , sorry I stole your towel accidentally . Lol ! 

The bus ride was not so bad , same shit as usual when you get on the bus there are people sitting in aisle seats with no one at window or people with their luggage on the aisle seat ... I considered asking one of them to shove over just to burst their bubble in their pursuit to sit alone but instead I saw a smaller guy to sit near and opted for the space over teaching someone a lesson :) the bus made stops all the way up here and made a pit stop for us a few hours into the trek . We were not allowed to bring hot food on the bus so I had a ham sandwich which was alright . While getting back on bus a big early I was asked by some people about my hockey bag and the silence was gone ;) most of the people on the bus started asking about my travels etc... It was fun ! And it definitely made time fly a bit faster . 

When we arrived I tried to get an Uber but I don't think there is that service here so I opted for a dreaded taxi ! It wasn't bad paying £7 but knowing it would be half price with uber always kills me . Hate paying more for the same type of service , at least the driver was nice enough . Got to my new home for the next few days ... The Hilton Garden Inn which is right on the river is a nice hotel but I didn't have much time before Robin came to pick me up as I had a skate with a club called the Mariners . 

Robin is a goalie and an SNL ref ... Scottish National League if you were wondering ! He picked me up and right away I could feel that we would get along :) I forgot my beers in my room and told him , he said he couldn't drink a beer anyways as there is Zero Tolerance here for all drivers !!! Yeah interesting eh ? Robin works at the courts here and the last thing he needs is to be arrested :( so being the smart guy he is , he doesn't break those rules ! Which leaves me in a conundrum ... How do I go for a few pints with him ? We haven't figured that out yet but it's in the works ;) 

Super sniper Iain Forsyth put a few past me on the night :) 

When we arrived at Auchenharvie Leisure Center we walked in and met the team manager who also works the pro shop there and right now I really wish I knew his name cause he was a great guy ! I'm sure I will get everyone's names as they add me on Facebook over the next few days lol ! So The Mariners have an A and a B team and they skate together to maximize ice time . When I walked in the dressing room it was rammed and I made my way through the maze of bags . I was surprised to see guys in the room half an hour before the skate as back home my team mates show up at the last second ... I guess the guys here dong take advantage of things like my skaters so back home ! When I settled in I said hi and the guys asked me which city I'm from in Canada ? Toronto ! And most of the guys chimed in as they went there to play before and love it ! Obviously I couldn't understand half the stuff they were saying with their thick Scottish accents LOL . It was nice to be accepted like that regardless . We got on ice and the teams were split with the A team at one end doing drills and the B squad at the other end . I faced a lot of rubber but felt good about my play even though I was kinda wiped out from the travel and my gear was still soaked from last night . There was a drill that frustrated me a bit but I shook it off and then they made me do skating drills :( ouch ! Did I mention the sit-ups and push ups ? Yeah they worked me but to be fair I need it :) 

Both teams have games coming up this weekend so they kept their squads separate for a scrimmage which ended up being almost an hour . I skated with the A team so I started scrimmage with them . We won 5-0 and I switched ends and played for the B squad who were more beginners but they weren't bad . I made some nice saves for them but couldn't get the W as we lost 2-4 which was respectable and I was happy to direct traffic out front during the game , these guys and the one girl listened which always helps ;) the club thanked me when going off the ice and I felt as though I made a few new friends which is always amazing . It's one of the benefits of playing sports ! 

The guy across me in the dressing room was from Brampton and there was another guy that popped a nice goal on me that I got along with well . Too bad the guy beside me had a pulled groin , I could feel his pain . The guys skate hard but are respectful towards each other just as they should . The one glaring thing missing ... No beer in the room :( yeah nobody wants to get arrested for having a beer then driving home plus the rink doesn't allow it ... Not like that ever stops us back home eh :p when we were heading to the car the team managed presented me with a couple team mini jerseys to hang in my trophy room /garage . I want to thank you and the rest of your Matiners squad(s) ! You guys have a great organization , keep up the great work and good luck in your coming season . 

So as I said before , Robin works at the courts and when I say courts I mean the court with a judge and prisoners etc... We passed by and dropped my equipment off there ???? Yeah my gear is drying in a small room just outside a court where murderes and rapists are being convicted ! This obviously is a first . How many of you have dried your gear in a court ? Hahaha! 

I should get off my ass and go out to do some sightseeing now . I'm back on the ice tonight with another club :) 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Don Valley Vikings

Yesterday I woke up in Bitmingham and I went down to the front lobby to ask for a late checkout and they were really nice and let me stay until 1 pm as my bus was leaving at 1:45 so I didn't want to check out and end up sitting at the terminal for hours . You would think there was some form of communication between the front desk and cleaning services ? Well apparently there isn't ! I had to get up 3 times to tell housecleaning that I have a late checkout and the last time I had a rude woman who I ended up telling to fuck off and leave me alone after she made a snyde remark to me as if I was working for her ! Yeah I put her in her place ... Overall though my stay at the Holiday Inn Express at Snow Hill was very good . The free breakfast is awful though ... No bacon :p

Took an uber to the bus terminal . No I can't take public transi and I can't walk it ... Honestly can you drag 75 lbs of gear around for 20 minutes ? And have you ever stood on a packed train with a goalie bag , sticks and a backpack ... If you haven't I suggest you try it before judging my decision to take uber ... For the cost it's worth it . Trust me ! When I got to the station I grabbed some munchies and soon after the bus loaded . May I just bitch about one more thing ? ... I hate people that sit in the aisle sit with window seat open because we all know that you are being assholes ! If you wanna sit on your own then rent a fucking car and drive asshole . Actually as I'm sitting on a bus now the person near me is doing the same and I hate it . Should've asked her to move .hopefully she get some monster of a human sitting on her at the next stop LOL ! I guess that's what I get for travelling ghetto . 

Her bag is too important to go under the coach and overhead , and there is no room on the floor beside her feet right ? If you are this person, I hate you :p 

I arrived around 430 pm and Dazza gathered me at the terminal and we went for some kebab and chips , I couldn't even eat half of my food there was way too much ! Sarah showed up when we arrived with our bounty of food and we all chilled out before our 10 pm ice time with the Don Valley Kings . These guys are a great organization from Sheffield recently celebrating a big championship ! They will also be my team mates in NYC at the end of October as I'm gonna go play for them . I know most of the guys like Jonesy ,Jack ,Rikk and the rest are all cool guys too that seem to all get along for the most part . Last time I skated with their B team but this time they brought out most of the A guys and they were pretty good ! 

So as of recent I have joined a gym and I've been killing myself to get in shape ... It's not easy ! And for the last 2 weeks I have not been on the ice but I've been in the gym like 15 times (seriously!) so I had mixed feelings hoping all the cardio I have done would help ... It didn't :( after the warmup I was gassed . It was also my first time on ice since cutting my hair short so my mask felt weird on my head but enough of the excuses , I played like shit for the first 30 minutes then it all came back and I wasn't gassed and the puck wasn't getting past me so much and I felt more and more like normal as the ice time went longer then the hour we had booked . I lost count of the score but I think it was pretty much a tie or we might have won but really it didn't matter because we all had fun . It was also cool that Ergun Gokce who I met in Senden, Germany years ago took the time to drive up from Derby . Great seeing you buddy ! Still think you should have scored on that breakaway :p 

All in all it was a great skate with a lot of great people that made me feel welcome as I probably should anyways . I've been here 3 or 4 times to skate with these guys . Did I mention that Dazza runs this team? Maybe that's why everyone is so cool with a guy like Daz as their leader I can see why guys are the way they are ! 

After the skate we grabbed a couple tins of Stella and shot this shit until we crashed , thank you Dazza and Sarah for letting me crash there (again ) also thanks for sorting my ice time and setting me up with your mate in Glasgow who I'm on my way to see right now ! Thanks Don Valley Vikings , look forward to seeing most of you in a couple months . I especially loved finding that selfie on my phone when I left the rink HAHAHA !!!!


Monday, August 10, 2015

Back to the story at hand ...

Right now I'm on a bus to Sheffield for my first ice time with my good friend Darren Allott aka Dazza !! Gonna get on the ice with some familiar faces before heading to Glasgow , Scotland :) earlier I woke up with a bunch of messages about my Ghetto Blasters losing our playoff match and I got a bit carried away and forgot to write about yesterday . 

I spent the night at Casa Mitchell's aka Ben Mitchell's place :) thanks for letting me crash on your couch buddy ! I woke up feeling fine but I guess that's because I ralphed half the booze in me out the night before ... Unfortunately Ben was feeling shitty and slept in while I wrote my blog post and watched footie . Once the sleeping bear awoke he took me to the Holly Bush and I got on the piss while we waited for Karl McNelly to come get me (again) he was on the rough side too :( but in true trooper fashion they both sucked back a few with me ! 

Last time I was here with the same situation Karl picked me up and took me to this great Indian BBQ joint called the Vine in West Bromwich or for those of you that don't know it's Baggies Land . Now I have nothing against Baggies but they didn't like seeing me walk into this fine establishment with my Aston Villa top on ... Regardless to say I did it again hahahaha !!!! No dirty looks this time and no comments as I was ready to tell them to "mind the gap" as I was instructed to do ... Right Ben ? 

Anyways I wasn't feeling so awesome and I left the establishment with a messy bathroom ... No I'm not gonna describe it you sick fuck lol ! And after that I left as fast as possible :) We decided to have one more pint so we went to BrewDog and of course I had a lovely Punk IPA which I really should bring home with me . I can't say enough good things about this Brew Pub just do me a favour and make sure you all go there if you ever end up in Brum , don't think twice ! Just do it ok ? 

My stomach was still twisted and I had to escape before making another messy mural and said my good bye to Karl and next thing you know I was in my hotel room back at the Holiday Inn Express at Snow Hill ... I left my gear there for my Villa adventure to Bournemouth instead of dragging it around with me ... If you travel with gear and wonder what to do with it if you are taking a non hockey related side trip then always consider using the same hotel and take advantage of their storage room ! Obviously this only works if you are coming back lol ... Do yourself a favour and call them to see if they can accommodate or not as you never know what is going on until you call . I can say now that I'm glad I did that rather then leaving it at a friends place and having to chase them down ... Been there and done that and trust me it's a pain in the ass relying on people . 

I think I should take a nap on the bus now ... I feel safe knowing the Kiddy Lions aren't around to take amazing pics o me while I'm sleeping HAHA ! Yeah I know you're taking the piss :p


Just waking up to hear the horrible news about my team back home . We had a playoff game last night and we were winning 6-2 and blew the lead and lost 8-11 . You ask how the fuck does that happen? Well I will tell you and I wasn't even there . My team has this thing where they think scoring wins games ... Yes it does but at certain times you have to know when to sit back and frustrate the opponent . So even though I wasn't there I can say I know our defence kept rushing the puck and our forwards never drop back and I'm sure there were 5 or 6 breakaways because of this . This is not team hockey ! It's fucking shinny ... Before I keep ranting about this you red to know the team we played was the last place team LMAO ! 

I see that the other team used an ineligible player they played 1 game this season when the rule in the Westwood Hockey League states every player must play 5 games to be eligible which means the league is supposed to call that game ineligible and default the game which means we should get the win and go through to the next round . It's up to the league to uphold their rules so I expect to get an email at some point stating so but if not there will probably be a nice blog post in the near future about the league ... Knowing I would be absent and that goalies need to be eligible also , I added a back up goalie to our squad and even got him eligible . We are a team that follows the rules strictly . The Westwood hockey league should realize we have been there for 3 years now and if this does not get changed then we probably won't return as their prices went up this season quite a bit anyway ! 

This happens all over the world with politics over ruling rules that leagues have made up . Some teams can follow them and some teams must follow them with rules being regularly broken for certain individuals ... I might get this excuse which I heard last winter ... That guy actually played for them for years so we will let him play ? What really ! So he couldn't show up all season but now he wants to play in the playoffs ? Last winter we made it to the finals in the DMHL ( downtown men's hockey league ) the team we faced in final was last place team in regular season which is 6 or 7 months long . They beat us in Game 1 and had a skater that was ineligible and of course he scored the winner ... When I approached the league convenor he told me that guy has played for them for years and used to run the team , he moved to Edmonton and just moved back ... Obviously this is a new rule that the rest of us weren't privy to ? So they let the guy play ... We went on to beat them but imagine the horrible taste in my mouth when k confronted the league only to hear this bullshit politics for beer league hockey ... How about this for a rule . Stick to your rules ! 

I will be sending this to the Westwood Hockey League and  I hope they will uphold their own rules . 

Do The Right Thing and forfeit that game , no bullshit excuses please ! 

Sunday, August 9, 2015


Set my alarm to wake up at 5 am and my alarm went off at 5 am but for some reason it was set to German time ... I used my iPod Touch and the last time it was in was there so it makes sense kinda ... Still it was shitty . I killed time and headed down to the lobby to check out , store my hockey gear and get the beers I left in the fridge in the office ... Yeah the guys working at the Holiday Inn are cool ... Then I called Uber and headed to the Broadwaters Inn in Kidderminster. When I arrived Ben Mitchell was there but had to go pick up people at the train , which I should have taken together save cash but whatever ! It is what it is now ;) so I started drinking , it was 7 am .

The bus for Bournemouth left at 8 am . If you are wondering what I'm talking about then let me fill you in . I am an Aston Villa supporter and at this moment I was going to watch the season opener vs. Bournemouth which is historic as its their first game ever in the top league . Ok so i am at the back of the bus drinking my 4 tall tins of BrewDog beer (YUM!) having such a good time , everyone was bursting with excitement and we all had to piss , maybe that was what was making us burst hahaha ! 

Obviously we went to a pub when we arrived and it was packed with Villa fans which is always amazing ... I saw so many of my friends including Craig Allsop who told is the pub next door was a sports pub so we all went there to watch Man U(re) play Tottenham who scored an own goal to lose the game :( that's when the Jäger bombs started flying , after I left the pub as I'm walking to the ground I spewed hard and just kept walking , yeah I know I shouldn't have chugged 4 Jäger bombs in a row ... Oh well , pass me a pint ! 

The games atmosphere was nice , haven't been to this ground since 2008 as I am a partial supporter of the Cherries also ... Their fans were awfully quiet though and were out sung by 1200 Villa fans which is nothing new since we have the best fans in the world ! The game itself was pretty good , both teams had chances but Villa capitalized with a beauty header from a corner by our new boy Rudy Gestede . Great start for our new striker ! Rudy ! Rudy ! Rudy ! We all went bonkers when the ball went in ... Young Gaz ended up on the seats in the row in front of us LOL !!!!

When we left my good friend jet lag showed up and I passed out on the bus ... Of course me mates had to take advantage of the situation so they took pics of me while they were doing shit to me like putting their fingers in my mouth LOL , fucking guys hahaha ! Thanks for putting it on Facebook too . When the bus approached our  drop off I was woke up and I forgot Peevers flag on the bus . I'm sure it will find its way back to me ! The night was still young so Ben and myself hit the pub and basically stayed until it closed as we had some great conversations with the locals mostly talking about Villa , great little town Stourport is ! On the way back to Casa  Mitchell's we stopped for some munchies and that was that my day has come to an end , but what a day ?!?!? I got wasted , puked , watched Villa win , passed out and had friends abuse me while I slept ... Would you say I'm having fun? Just a normal day with me Villa mates ! 


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Back in the UK

Alright so I haven't written anything in a while and you are probably wondering what I'm up to ? Or maybe you aren't but you are reading this anyway ... Alright you twisted my arm ! I'm in England and I'm gonna head up to Scotland to play some puck this week ... This is where you ask why and I don't answer because it's a stupid question . Or maybe I just tell you anyways but you should realize it's mainly because I'm addicted to putting flags on my stick bag , close enough eh lol ! 

I flew over with Lufthansa ... As you can see above the baggage handlers fucked up my bag , again ! Seems to be a regular thing with Lufthansa ? Yeah it's almost as if I should expect this airline to lose or destroy my shit ! Maybe it's my fault ? I mean I don't know how tough it is being a baggage handler ... I never went to school for it or studied the art but I do know if I see a bag with wheels I don't usually pick it up ... Why would you ? There are friggin wheels on It lol ! Can't win all the time ....

The flight over was meh , I had a couple beside me that made me want to choke myself ... Couldn't tell who's head was up who's ass but I can tell ya that they must have just met hahaha ... And by now they probably broke up . Best wishes :) didn't get much sleep on the plane and when I finally arrived in Frankfurt my main issue was finding a plug to juice up my phone . Always the same shit here , finding a power outlet is like finding money ... I looked and searched high and low and finally hid behind a Lufthansa counter and blissfully powered up my phone as I will need it when I land in Birmingham to call an Uber .

Of course I couldn't get an Uber at BHX so I settled for a black cab and paid through the teeth . When I arrived at Holiday Inn Express at Snow Hill I looked attack the driver and said "no wonder Uber is doing well" , the taxi didn't love it but I couldn't care less . Fuck you taxi driver , I'm the one paying ;) back to the story ! I had to get my ass over to Vodafone to get my phone sorted then I had to go to the bus terminal to get my tickets for my coming travels then I had to get my new Villa top :) yeah I am going to watch a couple games hahaha ! 

I met up with my buddy Karl McNelly at BrewDog Pub which has amazing beer , we had a few then crossed the street to have some jerk chicken at Turtle Bay which was so yummy then we went back for more beers at BrewDog :) before I headed back to the hotel I grabbed a few tins to take on the bus to Bournemouth ... Which reminds me , I gotta head out now to meet my buddies to head south now ... The adventure continues :)