Saturday, October 31, 2015

New York Tourist

It's so hard to write when you don't have the time to . These past few days have been hectic to say the least . Never had any time to do any writing yesterday so here we go ... On Thursday we all met up and went for breakfast at the breakfast joint up the road which was great . It's really needed for these crazy walking days . We then headed into NYC and arrived much easier not travelling in rush hour and so much cheaper too :) $26 return ticket in peak hours and $19 during off peak ... When we got off at Times Square we popped into Disney Store and the NHL store (again) then if my memory serves me well , I think we all split up and a small group of us went to Rockefeller Square where the staff seemed much nicer then anywhere else . We had to book a time and had a few hours to kill before we could go up the tower so we headed to Central Park . 

The park was nice ! Great day out ;) weather was beautiful and we found the ice rink ... Not the one I played on , I never knew there was another rink on the south side . This one was big and oddly shaped , unfortunately full of water from all the rain the day before :( after all this serenity we headed back to hit up the Apple Store and on the way a bunch of "rappers" gave Mark's son Harry a cd for free then turned around and asked for money ?!?!? Mark said I thought it's free and the thugged out rappers kept bugging until Mark gave them $2 ... Now apparently all of the others encountered these entrepreneurs and one of the lads felt threatened and gave them $20 ... If you encounter these guys near the Apple Store on 5th Avenue , just avoid them as they will hassle you ... Don't accept their cd !!!

After that mess we headed back to Rockefeller Center where there is another outdoor ice rink for skating only which apparently costs $25 to skate on !!! There is no chance I'm paying that to skate on this rink ... Just another tourist trap just like most of the rest of this city . We got in our elevator and headed up where we had a brilliant view of the city ;) it was worth the ride up ! 

Time was of the essence and we had to head over to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to watch the Islanders play the Hurricanes . First we need food so we stopped in the Appleby's across the street where I think we all ate burgers . Fries portion was weak but the burger was juicy . I wasn't drinking really until I got into the rink . 

The game was great , fast action and a few goals with a lot of great saves at both ends . Unfortunately the Isles lost in OT ... The 3 on 3 OT was insane ! Unfortunately the atmosphere sucks since the Islanders fan base is on Long Island and the team has just been moved to Brooklyn . Arena was almost half full and the rink just doesn't look right in this setting , as most of you know the Barclays Center was not built for ice hockey :( I personally hope they move back or this team might just fold with these attendance figures ...

We were supposed to have a bus drive us back to Westbury where our hotel is but instead of a bus we had a couple limousines and a van ... I got in the limo ;p we were almost hit by a fire engine then we hit a pot hole and everyone looked at each other realizing how hard the thump was then we all carried on as it seemed fine ... Next thing you know there is some loud noise which stops and we thought it was just ribbing on the road 
making this vibration which stopped , we had a flat . Next thing you know we are at the tire repair getting the wheel replaced .  The excitement never stops here  ! But my day did as we all went straight to our rooms upon arrival ... Next day of tournaments last day so we need the rest ... 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

New York Blueliners Halloween Tournament

These early morning are usually right up my alley but this tourney is a bit too early with our first ice time at 7:45 am :( the tourney is run by a bunch of cops ... Yes police . This is their 2nd year running it and I am gonna do my best to bite my tongue as I write this ... I have to say that it seems more then a bit disorganized . The host team showed up to play us at 7:45 without a goalie ???? We waited almost a half hour to start the game which wiped out any time we would have to relax between games . When their goalie finally showed we started off rough going down 3-0 immediately ... I did not play great and couldn't find my rhythm with the odd shit happening . I was kinda pissed that the home team would show up without a goalie and didn't have a good warmup but that is not really any excuse for my play . We have a couple ladies on our squad and one plays D ... She was out of position a few times so I had a chat with her and she did exactly what I asked and that turned around the whole day for us if you ask me . We mounted a come back in this game that was supposed to be 30 minute stop time , it ended up becoming a 40 minute stop time game and with about 10 minutes left we scratched our way back into a 4-4 tie but then the "ref" who is in no way a real referee (didn't even wear stripes) made a really shit call when I froze a puck and one of their skaters slashed the puck into the net by whacking me ???? To this moment I don't know why in the fucking hell this bell end didn't blow the whistle ! That was the winning goal ... We lost 5-4 to the host .

Now we get to the room an find out this 5 tram tournament is a 4 team tourney because a local team dropped out this morning or something ... This means we now get to play 3 games in a row with no rest ... How crazy is that ? Well I didn't even have time to take off my chesty just refilled my bottle and back on the ice . This French team came out hard but that didn't last long as we pounced on them and kept scoring goals as our defensive unit constantly thwarted any form of offense they tried to muster . Not much to say aside from the score ended up being 10-1 ... My play improved a bit but I can't seem to catch a puck . Stopped a couple break aways but for the most part I was a spectator . At the end of the game I looked at the clock and it was 10:45 am ... We have been on the ice for 3 consecutive hours ....

When I got to the room I took my chest guard off and changed my tshirt as it was weighing me down . That is about all the time I had before the tourney rep comes in rushing us out to play again ...this is ridiculous ! The 3rd game of the day was against the mixed team that Daz put together for the tourney ... He put 2 teams together ... This team was called Sudden Death . We jumped to an early lead on them and never looked back , we didn't pump them hard as they did have the fire power to push back and they did score a couple decent goals on me and I felt I played my best game of the day but let in my weakest one while hugging the post ... Nobody really knows how that puck went in but it did :( I think the final was 7-4 in our favour so we ended up in a 3 way tie at the end of day 1 ... Sudden Death beat the local team so all 3 of us had 2-1 records but based on +/- we are in first ! 

Day 2 is on Friday at Twin Rinks on Eisenhower and with one less team you would think our start time would be later ... Makes sense to ditch the early times right ? WRONG ! For some reason they ditched the later times .. Why I don't know and really I don't care because it's just not organized very well . I'm having fun but there is no beer or food at this rink , not that I have time to eat . Most of the guys left their gear at the rink but I opted to bring it to my room as it seems to me that these guys could easily lose my stuff . Goalies showing late , local teams bailing , early ice times with no rest , no refs , no beer .... I'm just stating the obvious things that make me see this being very unorganized . I'm sure the effort is there but I would be hard pressed to see teams wanting to come to try this tourney out . As I said earlier I'm writing this trying to be as friendly as I can about it but the obvious is hard to hide ... 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tourist day in NYC

Yesterday I woke up in my hotel room that I'm sharing with Lofty . He went out for a jog and when he got back I was told we are all leaving to head into the city . I got ready and headed out to meet the rest of my team mates . Some guys walked , we took an uber to the train station . The train into NYC from Westbury was $26 US dollars for a return ticket :( yeah wasn't prepared to spend that much to get into the city but it is what it is and we're here now . The train was rammed as it was rush hour ... We all made it one piece though and headed straight to Madison Square Garden for our guided tour . The tour itself was neat but our guide was a total cunt ... She was so full of herself and told us how everything at MSG is the best in the whole world ... Please get off your pedestal ! This place isn't that great but it's definitely full of history which intrigued me more then anything . I'm almost sure that I wasn't the only one that felt this way about the presentation this horrid notch put forth ... She was rude and totally not friendly at all ... Kinda like most New Yorkers hahaha :) 

Immediately after we left MSG we headed to the Empire State Building which is also a beautiful piece of architecture ... This wasn't a guided tour but you could feel that stupid New York attitude from all the people that worked here too ... I'm sure they know they are assholes but still relish in their own filth ... Too much pride and arrogance makes this city a turn off and it always has but nothing's perfect , especially New Yorkers ! We got to the top of the tower got some pics and went back down the elevator and that was pretty much it ... As I said beautiful architecture makes this a must see ! Try to ignore the arrogant people in this city though :) it's hard , I know lol ! 

My phone died soon after we left the ESB and we headed down to go visit the Statue of Liberty . Some of the group opted to go drinking and we settled to keep touring around the city . The ferry to the Statue of Liberty was quick enough and we wandered around the island looking at the statue there in all her glory . Wish my phone didn't die or I would have some pics to show but it did . Oh well ... When we caught the last ferry back we decided to go up to ground zero which is to say the least very depressing to say the least . But I had to go ... Unfortunately the museum line was so ridiculous that we aborted any idea of going in , we have another day of site seeing planned so it should fit in nicely on that day hopefully . 

My favourite part of the day was after all this when we went to the NHL store ! Yeah my kinda scene :) hockey !!! Great store with all kinds of knick knacks that kept us all entertained until we decided to head out to get a bite to eat ... At this point we were all dead from a really long day of walking ... Remember we headed over durin morning rush hour ? We caught the 11 pm train back to Westbury , so roughly 14 hours walking . Most of our group were sleeping on the train :) but we all made it back safely and honestly I think everybody enjoyed themselves .... I will write about the tournament tomorrow or tonight if I can squeeze the time in ... It's time to have a beer now ... Peace 

Monday, October 26, 2015

One of those days ...

And the adventure begun this morning when I caught my Uber to the airport . This time I'm on my way to NYC to play in a tournament for the Island Monkeys from Sheffield , England ! The ride to the airport was great and I figured if i get there early enough I can finally use one of my Maple Leaf Lounge passes which I have because I'm an Aeroplan Member with 25K status ... Only problem with these passes are all the stipulations ... Basically they are only eligible for use if flying to certain airports :( fortunately flying to NYC makes it eligible . YAY ! 

When I got to the airport I went to the counter checked my bags with not problems then had to go past the entrance for US customs to get to my entrance which is a stupid waste of time but that's the way they want it ... Of course I have to drag my bag through US customs so they can search it !!! The paranoia is just ridiculous :) finally dropped bag had to wait in another line to do some automated bullshit and therm are some customs officer and yeah finally I can get into the lounge . It's always ridiculous flying into the USA ALWAYS !!! I really hate the bullshit they put you through.

It's all good though ... I'm going to the lounge where there should be some free food and a nice place to chill ? WRONG ! It's Monday morning so every twat in a suit is perched up in the lounge with hardly any open seats :( the food selection was ... Hard boiled eggs , muffins and croissants :( I think saw some yogurt too ... How fucking lame ? Ok I grabbed a coffee bitched to Kathleen about it and found a seat to get my shit together . When I finished my coffee I left ... Now that would have cost about $40 if I didn't have a pass ??? Was it worth it ? No , not even remotely ... 

When I get to my gate they start boarding . I got to my seat and then this mouth breather ( honestly ) sits beside me , she puts on her neck rest thing which has a phone pouch on it ! Remember this is a long 50 minute flight :) she then passes out and commences mouth breathing ... I should have took a pic of this because you all would howl with laughter but I didn't ... I should have though ! The flight wasn't bad , I watched first half of Jurrassic World which was good and I will watch second half on flight home ... Yeah that's ghetto lol :) 

Arrived at JFK and caught an Uberto my hotel which is in the middle of nowhere with no bar or restaurant ( remember Friaco ?) . Not very pleased with this place but whatever ... I decided to go find the closest place to shop which is a Target that is a 5 minute walk ... There is no fast food joints near here so I opted for the Pizza Hut Express in the Target ... Now I am not sure why they call it Express when it took 10 minutes to get pizza .... Does that make sense ? And I was the only one there before lunch so it's not like this place is getting slammed ... It's just poorly run . When I finally got my pizza , beer and beef jerky I headed back to my room ate the za and the jerky chugged a couple beers and passed out . 

At the moment I am so bored that I'm considering going back to sleep ... Kinda hoping the rest of the guys get here soon . Maybe I will chug another beer and stare out my window some more ? 

I can either stare at the watertower or the construction site ..... Yeah this is a room with a view lol ! At least I know I won't be this bored tonight ....

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Bye Bye 40

Everyone is probably wondering what the heck i'm up to right ? Or maybe i'm just being delusional LOL ... i'm not as important as i think i am , really i don't think i'm that important but i do think a lot of people i met this past year are and i figured for my bday today i would celebrate the people that made my 40th year on this planet a memorable one .... the whole thing with turning 40 was not very easy on the mind . I mean i am not about to start playing 40+ hockey as i love competing but the main problem is the realization that i need to get into shape to compete with kids half my age ! This past year a lot of things have changed in my life with the main one being that i joined a gym , and i actually go 3 times a day when i have days off ... yes i am being dead serious !

The biggest thing that happened this year unfortunately wasn't good ... when the one i love the most was smoked by a cyclist in London , England .... things changed , i had to skip a trip to take care of her and when i decided to take off when she was feeling better a few of my so called friends disapproved and unfriended me . I lost money ,work and friends but mostly Kathleen was not well and that was far worse then any of the bullshit that others were costing me .... for those wondering , she needs another surgery :( coming in the next year unfortunately and the cyclist took off .Kathleen is by far the most important person in my life , without her there is no Travelling Goalie . How many of your wives would let you take off for weeks at a time like she does . Sorry for the picture sweetie :P

The year wasn't filled with tragedy , it just seemed to be a British type of year though since i went over there 4 times during my 40th year ... every time i went i got to watch the Villa with great friends like Richard Pilkington who i met in Toronto and will forever be a Toronto Lion even though he moved to Benalmadena,Spain which we had the pleasure of visiting after Kathleen began feeling well enough to travel . That trip was great as we went on a little road trip to visit Gibraltar which was a good experience for the both of us and i got to skate at the Kings Bastion Leisure Center which hopefully someday will have ice hockey on their curriculum . ? It's a small rink but would be suitable for 3 on 3 hockey ... only problem is all the glass around it .... i hope to someday strap my pads on there but until then i will have to wait and see just like the rest of ya ! 

I'm always trying to make connections and this year i took a shot at turning my travels into a television show :) we filmed an episode out in Montreal but unfortunately things didn't work out according to the people i shot this with :( no big deal though , the experience was great and i am happy to say i made something with some great friends that we were all proud of . Who knows someday it might end up being released but for now it will stay as a fond memory of great things that happened during my 40th year . Skating in that cave is probably one of the highlights of my life ... i hope to do it again during my 41st :) Along the way i had to make some new contacts for possible episodes and i was happiest to meet up with the head coach of the Indian National Ice Hockey Team , Adam Sherlip ! This guy goes beyond to make things happen ... i met him at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto while he was volunteering for this charity called 5 Hole for Food , great hockey related cause . I am glad to say that i met a guy so dedicated to something he believes in and he does a great job through his Hockey Foundation charity . Unfortunately he does not like onions and i'm the dumbass who invited him over for dinner and forgot that fact DOH ! 

Of course that episode we shot was highlighting my Moroccan friends . I couldn't have a year in my life without seeing Adil El Farj ... damn i hate the Habs so much but i still like a couple of their fans ! How many times did we meet this year buddy ? i think i came there to shoot my episode , then with Kathleen for Just for Laughs and you came to Toronto to drop off your Moroccan National Team game worn jersey at the Hockey Hall of Fame :) yeah that was pretty cool ... too bad that Moroccan restaurant we went to here sucked ... what was it called ? Sultan's Tent or some shit LOL ! Adil was one of the friends i mentioned earlier that i was supposed to meet in Europe for IIHF World Championships except he didn't rip me off or charge me for tickets i didn't use LOL ! I'm happy to say we are still buddies and i am hoping to help them start their first adult rec tournament in Morocco this coming year :) 

As i said i went to England quite a bit this past year ... to watch the Villa . My favorite past time and only the best way to get drunk ... with all my crazy Villa family ! This past year i went to go watch Villa last December (Crystal Palace away , Leicester home ) then in May (Burnley home, FA CUP FINAL ) again in August (Bournemouth away ,Man U home) and last but not least in September (West Brom home,Birmingham City home ) .... 8 games is not too shabby ? So many people to thank but mainly i have to thank Paul Harris who is the chairman of the Kidderminster Lions for getting me most of these tickets and giving me safe passage on your bus even though i'm sure some things happened to me on the bus back from Bournemouth which no one is telling me about LOL ! I have to also thank Simon Leach from Chicago for setting me up with Matthew Haywood , he sold me the ticket to the FA CUP FINAL at face value when others were selling them for 100 times the value , i still owe you a few beers Matthew ( meet me in Lions Lounge in December when i'm back ) . I also have to thank Ben Mitchell for allowing me to experience Casa Mitchell and its surroundings like the Hollybush :) and of course i can't forget Karl McNelly who is a new Villa fan and is always there to pick me up from Ben's to take me to the Vine in Baggies land while i'm wearing Villa tops LOL ! what a mess i left there last time hehehehe..... 

Yeah this year i finally cut my hair off too ... hopefully it covers someone else's bald spot in the future :) it should hopefully make someone feel more comfortable then i did ... and no i don't miss the long hair , i hated combing and brushing and my bath tub seems much happier too since its not clogging it up anymore ... yeah gross ! 

A trip to England usually means a stop by to see one of my good friends ... Dazza ! Yeah thanks to him i have had a few good nights in Sheffield ... on and off the ice :) there was that time i almost played out as a skater , wow i am so glad the rink mucked that ice time up LOL . Thanks to Dazza i had the honour to finally go up to Scotland and skate there (as a goalie ! ) he hooked me up with Robin Elliot who along with his family made me eat haggis ?!?!?! ok they didn't make me eat it but they prepared and put it on a table in front of me and i ate ... yes it tastes yummy (yuck) its always great visiting people that live in foreign countries and going over for dinner . That meal definitely sticks out in my memory as probably the most memorable meal i had as a 40 year old :) Robin also hooked me up with enough hockey to kill a human and along the line drove me back and forth and honestly he was one of the best hosts i have ever encountered ... if you want me to come visit and play in your country , contact Robin and take notes ! Thanks for everything .... also have to thank the clubs there especially the North Ayrshire Wild who let me skate with them , good luck to you and all the other clubs . Scotland was one of the most beautiful countries i have ever visited and i would love to go back . Just don't throw me back in prison ....

so for my birthday these are most of the people i would like to thank for making 40 a good memory ... i know there are way more to thank but that would be a book not a blog post :)