More Funny Hockey Commercials

My last post was a smelly hockey equipment commercial. If you could relate to that, here’s another one for you.

There are actually quite a few hysterical hockey commercials out there. Unfortunately for Americans, many of them seem to get released only in Canada. And If you don’t look for them on the Web or have a source like The HockeyShirtShop Blog, you may never see them. But hey, I’m here for ya! For example, the first three links below are McDonalds commercials only released in Canada. Below those are just a few of my favorites.

McDonalds commercial #1
McDonalds commercial #2
McDonalds commercial #3

ESPN Security
Figure Skater
Spitball
Roller Girls
Ice Bath
Stud Goalie
Hockey Baby
Bowling

MarkMore Funny Hockey Commercials

Funny Smelly Hockey Equipment Commercial

If you’ve played hockey, or have a child that plays, you know just how stinky hockey equipment can get. I came across this commercial that just cracked me up. It’s really gross! So watch it at your own peril.

Speaking of stinky hockey equipment, here’s a link to one of my t-shirt designs that happens to address this particular olfactory offense – “Smell My Bag” Disgusting? No doubt. But it happens to be one of my best selling t-shirts. What is wrong with you people?

MarkFunny Smelly Hockey Equipment Commercial

One More for the Pittsburgh Fans

I certainly never intended this blog to be a rah-rah site for my personal favorite teams. So to all of you that aren’t Pittsburgh fans, I apologize and ask you to indulge me one more time. It was just such an unusual year. A friend sent me a link to this video and I had to share it with all you Penguins/Steelers fans out there.

Also, if you get a chance, check out my Pittsburgh t-shirt designs “got ‘burgh?” and “The Joy of Six“.

MarkOne More for the Pittsburgh Fans

Hockey Critter Classic: A Wilderness Slapdown

Hockey Critter Classic: A Wilderness Smackdown
I always loved the ‘Dogs Playing Poker’ paintings. You know the ones I’m talking about. Imitated often over the years, the originals were commissioned by the advertising firm of Brown & Bigelow around 1900 and painted by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge. Prints of the the paintings have hung in bars and dens all over the country for over a hundred years.

I was thinking the other day that it would be cool to have a print of animals playing hockey to hang in my den. So I set about creating just such a scene. Today I released “Critter Classic: A Wilderness Smackdown”. A gathering of competitive critters mixing it up on a frozen pond as the sun sets on a beautiful rural setting. Perfect for the wall of your den, too.

“Critter Classic” is available as posters, framed prints, t-shirts and a variety of other gifts. It makes a unique gift for the hockey fan in your life.

MarkHockey Critter Classic: A Wilderness Slapdown

Hockey Heroes: Oh, What a Night!

Bobby Orr, Sidney Crosby, Mario Lemieux, Denis Potvin
We all have those special sports moments that we’ll never forget. Not the ones on TV. The ones you were actually a part of. The historic game that you can say, ‘I was there!’ A no-hitter, a World Series or Stanley Cup game 7, A Super Bowl, a game where an athlete did something so special that it became legendary. I saw Henry Aaron hit a grand slam once. That’s one I’ll always remember. But there was one special night that I will hold dear for the rest of my life. Not because anything spectacular or historic happened on the rink. But because, well, let me explain.

It was November 25th, 2005 – just a routine regular season game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Florida. A friend of mine works for the local cable company and managed to secure tickets in the club box for the Friday night game. I was very excited, being a Penguins fan. I was going to get to see Mario Lemieux and the new kid, a rookie named Sidney Crosby. Yes, it was that short period of time when both of these splendid hockey players were on the ice together. That alone would have made this night something very special, but the little surprise that came later took it to the level of once-in-a-lifetime.

Right before we left for the game, Kary, the guy that scored the tickets for us, got a phone call from his boss. He was told that we were going to have to share the box with a couple guests. We were already trying to squeeze three families into the box, but hey, the tickets were free. What were we going to do, complain? We got there early and went down rink-side to watch the teams warm-up. I had a crappy little camera with me and took some pictures. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get Mario and Sidney together in the same frame – something that bums me out to this day. But it was cool watching them up close. I remember Mario was the only one out there without a helmet.

When we went back up to the box to sit down, it was still just our three families. We each had sons that played hockey. They were all 13-years-old at the time. About 10 minutes before the game started, two distinguished-looking older gentlemen came in to join us. One, I recognized immediately, it was Denis Potvin. He was currently the color announcer for the Florida Panthers, and of course a Hall of Fame defenseman. The other guy, well, it was none other than Bobby Orr.

Bobby Orr couldn’t have been nicer. He patiently posed for pictures and signed pucks for all of our kids. Then he sat down and watched the game with us. He chatted with the kids throughout the night – a total gentleman. People were brought in and out of our box throughout the night. He pleasantly signed magazines and pucks and shook hands with folks that must have known somebody who owed them favors. He was gracious and patient throughout – exactly what you hope your hockey heroes to be. So for those of you that have not had the pleasure, rest assured that Mr. Orr did not disappoint.

So, there you go. That’s my sports highlight story. Sitting in a club box with Denis Potvin, Bobby Orr, watching Mario Lemieux and the rookie Sidney Crosby play together on the ice. Not bad, eh?

Thanks, Kary!

And on that note, this week I released a new eBrush Design t-shirt design for Hockey Shirt Shop. It’s called ‘Hockey Hero’ and should be vaguely familiar to those of you that rock the video game console as well as the ice. Check it out here.

MarkHockey Heroes: Oh, What a Night!

Honda Hockey Parents Commercial

hockey taxi bumper sticker
Like most folks, I used the commercial breaks during the Stanley Cup playoffs to answer the call of nature or grab some munchies for the next face-off. But there was one commercial that I watched almost every time it ran. Honda, which coincidentally has been my family’s vehicle of choice for many years, has picked NHL fans as a target group recently. They ran a wonderful spot about parents toting their hockey-playing kids around, through snow, in the wee hours of the morning – hours when there’s no one else on the road but truckers and hockey parents. It was a comfortably familiar commercial for those of us who intimately know the routine.

There are a few bumper stickers in the eBrush Design collection that go hand-in-hand with the spirit of this commercial – and perhaps just as comfortably familiar.

Hockey Taxi
(Endless Shift) Hockey Taxi
Driver Carries No Cash (Kid Plays Hockey)
I Have No Life (My Son Plays Hockey)
Caution: This Vehicle Makes Frequent Stops at Hockey Rinks
What’s Life Without Goals (Play Hockey)
Hockey ATM

MarkHonda Hockey Parents Commercial

New t-shirt design! ‘Hockey Players Walk On Water’

hockey players walk on water
This morning I released a new design for Hockey Shirt Shop and eBrush Design. If there are any out there that doubt the general supremacy of hockey players over all other athletes, I offer this design. It makes reference to direct evidence that hockey players are not your run-of-the-mill jocks. Hockey players walk on water. What other sport can say that? Get this new hockey design on a t-shirt or one of the many other hockey gifts available through HockeyShirtShop.com or this direct link to my fulfillment service at Zazzle.

MarkNew t-shirt design! ‘Hockey Players Walk On Water’

Hockey Photography: A How-To Guide

Hockey Action Photography Guide
Your son, daughter or grandchild plays hockey. You gotcha a camera and are fixin’ to take some great hockey pictures of him tearing up the ice. Boy are you going to be disappointed. If you don’t end up with a bunch of blinding flash reflections off the glass, then you’ll probably score some really nice shots of the safety netting. And even in a best case scenario, you’ll get a memory card full of very dark blurry images of what looks like might be a hockey player, but could just as easily be Sasquatch.
Been there, my friends. And it ain’t pretty. But if you’re really determined to take good hockey action photos, listen up. I’m gonna tell you exactly what you need to do to make it happen.
TIGHTEN YOUR LACES: You could pick a much easier hobby
First, let me say, you shouldn’t feel too bad that you failed so miserably in your initial attempts at taking hockey photos. What you are trying to do is one of, if not the hardest of all sports to photograph. Heck, photographing any sport is hard enough. Most of the time they just won’t stop moving around. I say ‘most of the time’ because golfers move so little you can often use time-lapse photography. But hockey photography presents the ultimate challenge – trying to stop lightning fast action in dimly lit rinks, often through scratched and scuffed plexiglass. That’s a combination that sends even pros, possessing the best cameras and lenses money can buy, into fits of frustration.

BREAKOUT: How I got my start

In my case, it all started with my stubborn attempts to take some nice photographs of my son playing hockey. I’m sure you all already know how that went. Fortunately, during my career as a design director for a newspaper I’ve worked with some fantastic photographers that generously answered my onslaught of questions and got me going in the right direction. With their help and the proper equipment, it wasn’t long before I was taking acceptable hockey action shots. I soon parlayed that into a money-making venture that has allowed me to not only pay for my photographic equipment, but much of my son’s hockey expenses. For three years, I operated a successful action hockey photography business through my website, eBrushDesign.com.

FACEOFF: It all starts here

I could drone on endlessly about all the different things that will help you take great action hockey photographs, and I will. But I’m going to give you the biggest secret right up front. If you ask most folks why they can’t get good shots of their kids playing hockey they’ll say it’s because they don’t have a good enough camera. The truth is, you could have the best camera made and still not be able to take good hockey photographs. If you don’t remember anything else you read here, remember this. The single most important factor in photographing good hockey action is the lens. Yes, you will certainly need an SLR camera – you know, one of those cameras that you can change the lenses on. The better the camera, the more features, the faster the auto-focus works and more frames you can shoot per second. So the camera you use can certainly make a difference. But without the right glass, nothing else matters.

THE HAT TRICK: The three key camera settings and what it takes to get them

First off, if your camera has a ‘Sports mode’, forget about it!  It may be fine for baseball but it ain’t gonna cut it for hockey. We’re talking Manual mode here, folks. You can try TV mode (shutter priority), but I highly recommend finding the right settings in Manual mode (M) and making adjustments from there.

Photography is all about light. As you probably already know, the size of your aperture determines how much light gets to your sensor. The shutter speed determines how long it gets in. You balance those two factors for the desired effect – stopping action or depth-of-field. Obviously, stopping action is most critical in getting good hockey action shots. So, let’s start there. If you’re subject is 8-years-old, you can probably get away with setting your shutter speed at 1/250 of a second. If you are trying to shoot an 18-year-old, they skate a lot faster – hopefully. You are probably going to need to use at least 1/320 of a second.

OK. You’ve got your shutter speed set. Open up your aperture as far as it will go (the lower the number, the bigger the hole). If you’re using the lens that came with your SLR, you’re going to find that your photos are way too dark. This is because the lenses that usually come with the cameras aren’t very fast. In other words, they don’t have apertures wide enough to let the amount of light in that you’ll need in that 1/320th of a second.

This is the point where we separate those of you that really want to take these photos yourselves and those of you that should probably just buy them from someone like me – the wheat from the chaff, if you will. I shoot with Canon, so I’m going to talk about specific Canon lenses here. If you shoot with Nikon or something else, rest assured that there are equivalent lenses for almost all camera makers, and third party lens makers like Sigma and Tamron that make lenses for them all. The key here, however, is finding a lens with a very large aperture and the right focal length for shooting hockey. To keep things simple, I’m only going to recommend two lenses. There are others that might work for you in different situations but I can personally recommend these two. The important thing to keep in mind is that, no matter what, you are going to need something that has a aperture of f2.8 or lower to take good hockey photos. Here is the easy part: buy a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom lens or a Canon 135mm f/2.0 prime lens (here are excellent reviews of these lenses: 70-200 f/2.8 and 135 f/2.0 ).  And now the hard part: expect to spend $1,350 for the 70-200 zoom (there is also a version of this lens with Image Stabilization for around $1,900 – a great feature, but of no use when shooting moving objects) or around $1,100 for the 135mm prime. See what I meant by separating the wheat from the chaff? OK, for those of you that have decided to continue reading, the primary difference is that the 70-200mm is a zoom lens. I’m assuming you know what that means. The aperture can open up to f/2.8 all the way through the focal range. This is very important, and why this lens is so expensive. This is the lens you’ll most commonly see being used by professionals shooting hockey. It’s much bigger and heavier than the 135mm I mentioned. But it does give you the advantage of the zoom, so you can better frame the action that is closer to you as well as further away. The 135mm is a fixed focal length, or what is referred to as a ‘prime’ lens. It doesn’t zoom. It is fixed at 135mm. But it is faster, at f/2.0, than the 70-200 and the images are sharper – amazingly sharp. It is also much smaller and lighter, which starts to matter when you’ve had to hold your lens pointed at the action for any period of time. Because the focal length is only 135mm, you are only going to be able to fill the frame on about half the rink. However, if your camera shoots at a large megapixel size, you can tighten your compositions later in an image editing program.

The third setting that can help is the ISO. This used to refer to a particular film’s sensitivity to light and could bring more light to your images. In digital cameras it works a little different but the results are basically the same. To simplify, let’s just say that the higher you set this, the more light you get. But the grain or ‘noise’ in your image will also increase. It’s a trade-off. And each camera is different. You’ll have to experiment with this one. But figure on being able to set your ISO to around 800 with acceptable results.

LIGHT THE LAMP?: What about flash?

What about using a flash?, you may ask. Well, first off, a flash won’t reach all that far and won’t recharge fast enough to keep up with the frames-per-second speed of your camera shutter’s potential. You can’t use them to shoot through glass because all you’ll get is a big white reflection of the flash. Not to mention, it’s really annoying to the players. Ask any goalie how he feels about strobes going off in his eyes when he’s trying to glove a slapshot from the point. Some professionals set up strobes in the rafters that are synchronized to their cameras. This can produce fantastic results, but most likely, you will never have that luxury.

SHOTS ON GOAL:  Where should I stand to get the best shots?

Ah, your shooting location. Kind of an important factor, no? Depends. Obviously, if you can talk your way onto the bench or the penalty box, do it. Anytime you can avoid having to shoot through glass or netting, you are in a much better situation. Shooting through the glass can work. In fact, sometimes you can get great shots you can’t get any other way. Behind the goalie, with a skater driving right at you and lifting one just past the goalies glove. You’re not going to get that angle from the bench. But when you shoot through the glass you have to first find a clean area – not always easy to do. You must also keep your lens perpendicular, and as close to the glass as possible, to cut down on reflections. And even with all that, you’re still going to lose a full stop in your exposure. So that fast lens you bought just got a little bit slower. Shooting through the safety netting is equally tricky. Depth-of-field will blur the netting and almost make it seem to disappear – almost.

STICK TAPE: A few more equipment details.

Here are a few more settings for you to dial in. Remember, with many of the pro-sumer camera models, you can save all of these settings so you can bring ’em all back after they’ve been changed to take pictures of your dog.

Set your auto focus to the ‘AI Servo’ setting on a Canon camera or ‘Continuous Focus’ for Nikons. This makes your camera continuously refocus on a subject that is moving towards or away from you.

Set your drive mode to High-speed Continuous shooting. Depending on your camera, this will let you shoot several frames per second, or a entire sequence of shots as the action is occurring.

And finally, I want to touch briefly on rink lighting. Every rink is different. In fact, even on the same rink the lighting changes from spot to spot. You can’t always see it with your eyes, but the camera does. Often the type of lights used can throw a cast on your images. I’m not going to go into detail here, but reading up on how to use your camera’s white balance adjustment can be a big help in this area.

SHOOT-OUT: Now go out there and make it happen!

So, there you go. You now know all you need to know in order to go out and get acceptable action hockey photographs. I say ‘acceptable’ because to get ‘great’ ones will take practice, timing, opportunity and mastering your camera. It also helps greatly to know the game of hockey so you can anticipate where the action is going to happen. Now go out there and capture these moments. They will never happen again.

© Mark Buzek
eBrush Design

Please stop by and see my custom design work at Hockey Shirt Shop – the place to find that unique hockey gift for the hockey player in your life!

MarkHockey Photography: A How-To Guide

Recommended Hockey Blog

A quick post to recommend a very nice hockey blog I came across, For The Love of Hockey. It’s a collection of very interesting minutiae from around the hockey world. Loaded with how-to videos and links to fascinating items from all over the web, this blog will undoubtedly be a frequent stop during your hockey browsing.

MarkRecommended Hockey Blog

Can’t Wait Until Next Hockey Season

You know, I wasn’t always a hockey fan. I grew up in Ohio, about 30 miles from Pittsburgh – before the Mario Lemieux days. It was a relatively poor little coal mining town and nobody had the money to play hockey. So I wasn’t really exposed to it. It was football country, Steeler country, and that’s what I played.

My exposure to this outstanding game didn’t really happen until 1999. I was 39-years old. My son, who was about 7 at the time, used to watch the Mighty Ducks movies over and over again. In between screenings he would go onto our screened-in back porch and slap a hockey puck into the door of my daughters big plastic play house. When he missed, pucks tore through my screens letting all the bugs in Florida in.

I signed him up for an outdoor roller hockey league when he was 8 and the rest is history. Nine years of inline and ice hockey, traveling to tournaments around the country. He’s 17-years-old now, my screens are all fixed, and I’m a huge hockey fan. It happens that way when you are immersed into a magnificent sport that you’ve missed out on much of your life. Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I could turn back the clock and play the game myself – one of the few regrets in my life.

What frustrates me now is that so many people are missing out on this wonderful sport. Hockey’s popularity hasn’t exactly grown by leaps and bounds in this country. But it’s certainly no secret to the rest of the world. If they could only get past the notion that it’s just a bunch of fighting and see the beauty of the game. The speed and the grace that these athletes display is nothing short of astounding.

It’s June and I just saw my beloved Penguins win the Stanley Cup. I’m still on a hockey high. There really is nothing quite like the Stanley Cup playoffs, is there?. Now we’ve got months of nothing but baseball and it’s steroid-ridden players lulling me into summer slumber. I’d almost rather watch golf – or the grass grow.

So here’s to hockey, and waiting for next season, when we can all wake up and witness the excitement and raw fury of the this most magnificent sport once again.

Now, in the spirit of self-promotion, I must mention that one of the best ways to keep the hockey spirit through the long, boring Summer is to score yourself a hockey t-shirt from Hockey Shirt Shop! So stop on in, where it’s always hockey season.

MarkCan’t Wait Until Next Hockey Season

New! Go with the Flow hockey hair t-shirt

go with the flow hockey hair
I’m very excited to announce a new hockey t-shirt design at HockeyShirtShop.com.

The ‘Mullet’ certainly had it’s day as the official hair of hockey. But those days have gone the way of the leisure suit – sorry Mr. Melrose. Today, ‘The ‘Flow’ is the way to go. Locks of flowing hair, cascading out from under your lid. Damn, you look good!

‘The Flow’ comes in 4 colors: Gold, Red, Blue and Monochrome, on a variety of shirt styles and dozens of products.

Stop by the shop and let it flow, today!

MarkNew! Go with the Flow hockey hair t-shirt

Miracle Hockey Skate Dryer

hockey skate dryer
I used to be on a product panel for the newspaper I work for. It was called ‘The Man Panel’. We would write comical reviews on mostly whacked-out products for men. However, every once in a while we’d get something that was actually pretty cool to review. In one such case, I was assigned a product that I simply can not recommend highly enough. It’s not really a hockey product per se. But that’s probably because they didn’t think of it. But if you like dry skates and gloves, this is your ticket to Xanadu.
It’s called the Peet Shoe Dryer, and it has made my hockey-playin’ son a happy camper. I’ve even given it as a very popular birthday gift to his friends. It uses the basic physics principle of warm air rising to dry your skates with absolutely no noise, lights or anything to even indicate it’s actually working. In fact, I was dead sure it wasn’t working the first time I turned it on – which consists of simply plugging it in. However, when I came back a few hours later, the previously soaking wet hockey skates were not only dry, but warm and toasty like a load of laundry right out of the dryer. And as an invaluable added bonus, it removed most of the hockey stink! How cool is that?

I recommend searching at Amazon.com. You’re probably going to pay around $30. But if you or your kids are a hockey player, it will be thirty of the best bucs you’ve ever spent.

Original ‘Man Panel’ review of the Peet Shoe Dryer

MarkMiracle Hockey Skate Dryer

On Marian Hossa

marian hossa
I spent a large part of this season being pissed off at Marian Hossa for turning down a larger contract offer from Pittsburgh to sign a one-year deal with Detroit, because he felt he had a better chance there to win the cup. It was insulting to Pittsburgh and it’s fans, who felt they had a pretty good chance themselves of carrying around the big trophy all summer.
I went through the playoffs routing against Detroit for the same reason. I wanted him to regret joining the Red Wings. As it became apparent that the Pens themselves might actually make it to the dance, I began to push for the Wings to make it, too. How sweet would that be? The team he bailed out on beats him and the team he thought he had a better chance with.
Well, it happened exactly like that. Funny, though, how winning makes you charitable. Overnight, my feelings about Marian Hossa have changed. I started looking at his story more objectively. I began to realize that what he did was actually  the converse of what I have disliked about so many professional athletes that have left my favorite teams for more money elsewhere. We, as fans, make emotional investments into these players. And when they tell us again and again that money is more important that their teammates, the cities they represent and winning, well, we feel betrayed. It is personal to us on some level.

Hossa did leave the Penguins. But he did it for an admirable reason. He actually took less money for what he felt was a better chance to win. How often have you actually seen a player do that? So now I feel bad for him. Now, I feel bad that he wasn’t rewarded for his winning-over-money decision. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly wouldn’t have wanted this one to end any other way. But It would be nice some day to see a player that makes a similar decision have it work out for him.

MarkOn Marian Hossa

Stanley Cup Champions!

Pittsburgh Penguins logo
Well I’m basking in the glow of a Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup championship today. The exciting thing is, they should only get better. With their core of young stars, it certainly looks like the Pens should be a solid contender for the cup for years to come. As I said in an earlier post, it’s sure good to be a Pittsburgh fan these days. Now if the Buccos could just get it together 😉
Looking for a championship t-shirt, hat or other type of gift? Check out my favorite Pittsburgh fan store ‘The Pittsburgh Fan’ and do a little crowin’
And don’t forget my Pittsburgh gift designs got ‘burgh? and The Joy of Six

MarkStanley Cup Champions!

Surreal Hockey Images

hockey photoshop
I do a lot of digital imaging in Photoshop in my professional life as a designer. We’re always passing around cool images that other artists have created – impossible situations created with multiple photographs. If you enjoy looking at this type of surreal photographic images crafted by talented Photoshop wizards, check out Worth 1000 – as in ‘a picture is worth 1000 words’. Below are the links to a series of hockey-themed images submitted as part of a contest. You can see them all by clicking the links below or using the drop-down menu at the website.

SET 1 SET 2 SET 3 SET 4 SET 5 SET 6

MarkSurreal Hockey Images

The Story of Blackhawks Compassion

There are lots of great hockey stories out there, but this one has always resonated with me. It is another of those that was passed around in emails, from an anonymous author. But it’s a true story, and one that all hockey fan should read. So if you happened to miss it, here is the story of Blackhawks compassion . . .

In the middle of a grueling six game road trip where a very young hockey team is away from home, the third game of the trip ends late on a cold Canadian Saturday night. This is the only break on the trip and the three days between games allow them the only break to get back home in their own beds for a couple of days before going back on the road. A scheduled commercial flight waits for them at Toronto’s International Airport for the short flight home; they could be home by midnight. This plane departs on schedule, but without a single member of the hockey team.

Back in the locker room a vote is taken after the game was complete, and a unanimous decision is made by this young team to skip this flight and stay one more day. They make arrangements to check back in the hotel and on a frozen Sunday morning charter two buses that have no heat and begin a journey two hours straight north into a sparsely inhabited Canada, but where hockey is its passion. They arrive at their destination to the surprise of the teams general manager who is there attending his fathers wake.

After a few emotional hours, this team boards the buses and head back for a two-hour trip back to Toronto. On the way they ask the drivers to stop in a tiny Canadian town because they are hungry.

To the shock of the patrons and workers at this small hockey town McDonald’s, a professional team walks out of two rickety buses and into the restaurant, which just happens to have pictures of two members of this team on its wall. The patrons know every single one of these players by sight being fanatic fans of hockey in these parts. One can only imagine their amazement of the locals seeing and entire professional hockey team sit down and have a meal in their tiny little town in the middle of a hockey season. After a while they board the buses and catch their same flight 24 hours later, giving one day to their general manager.

Have I made this up, is this an excerpt from some fictional book? No this a true story of the Blackhawks last Saturday night and they decided to attend Dale Tallon’s fathers funeral. Its amazing that such a good story can be found nowhere on the internet, and not even mentioned in the Chicago papers.

Had one of the Blackhawks got into a fight and punched some drunken loser in a Toronto bar it would be plastered all over papers and the television.

This being said, its hard to imagine any professional football, basketball or baseball team doing this, but the members of the Blackhawks claim any “hockey” team would have done this. This is one reason I continue to be a big hockey fan, and another reason I am excited about this Chicago team.

I thought I would share as this story appears to have gone unnoticed.

Hockey players are special athletes. I created this design in honor of hockey players everywhere.

MarkThe Story of Blackhawks Compassion

Is your kid’s hockey taking over your life?


God knows where they come from, these chain emails that get passed along between us. I get a bunch of them from friends. Most of them suck. But every once in a while, there’s one that hits home. Here’s a cute one that I saved. I thought I’d share it with you.

IS YOUR KID’S HOCKEY TAKING OVER YOUR LIFE???

    You base the next purchase of your new vehicle on whether it will hold six kids, six sticks, and six hockey bags.

    You know the location of every Tim Horton’s within a 400 mile radius.

    You relate directions to places by the nearest arena.

    Knows every single kid on every single team your child has ever played on… But doesn’t have a clue who his school mates are.

    You feel lost when you have a free weekend.

    Your spouse waits until you decide where to sit and then chooses a spot on the opposite side of arena.

    You become a partner in a skate sharpening business to save money.

    Can justify complaining about someone who gives hundreds of hours of volunteer time to your son or daughter.

    You ground your kids for a week (except for hockey practice).

    Can rationalize spending $159 on a Synergy for a 9 year old but won’t spend $5 on a Birthday card for his wife.

    When someone asks how old your children are you respond, “I have a ’94 and a ’97.”

    Has had to use a grandparent to take kid #1 to a tournament because Dad was in a Different province with kid #2 at a tournament and Mom had kid #3 two provinces away in a 3rd tournament all in one weekend.

    Has more miles on ’05 minivan than a ’66 Chevy.

    Practices make up a very large part of your social life.

    You buy gloves according to how loud you can clap in them.

    You find yourself missing the parents of your child’s team mates during the off-season.

    You refuse to make any plans with your friends until you check your kids’ hockey schedule.

    Takes out a home loan to pay for all the equipment and expenses.

    Plans birth of next child so he has a good hockey birthday.

    New baby’s first word is Zamboni.

    All computer passwords begin with “hockey” or contain child’s number.

    Has been barred from more than one rink on more than one occasion.

    Purchases new $135.00 stick because old one “didn’t have any goals left in it.”

    Knows a few 5 year olds that are good but “lack focus”.

    Has had kids ask if Christmas is “home or away”.

    Asked to decide between try-out and first communion – asked church what his options were.

    Received a letter from AAA Automobile Club and called for more info about tryouts.

. . . And boy do I have a t-shirt that perfectly compliments this blog entry. Welcome to the ‘I Have No Life (my son plays hockey)’ collection!

MarkIs your kid’s hockey taking over your life?

It’s good to be a Pittsburgh fan

Pittsburgh Penguins logo
I’ll apologize in advance for this partisan post, but it’s really good to be a Pittsburgh fan these days. I was thinking about this the other day. My son, despite having been born in Florida, is a rabid Steeler and Penguin fan. I guess that’s my fault. I grew up about 30 miles from the Steel City and along with my father before me, have always bled black and gold. But I don’t think my son realizes how lucky he is. Certainly the fans in cities that have been waiting decades to even come close to a championship know just what I’m talking about. It just doesn’t happen all the time. And here is my 17-year-old son, with a couple Super Bowls and now 2 Stanley Cup finals under his belt. I just hope there’s not a draught of any kind on his horizon. I’m afraid he just might not be able to handle it.

So, for all you Penguin fans out there, I found this really cool poster of this year’s Penguin studs. It features Sergei Gonchar, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, Jordan Staal and Sidney Crosby. The 16×20 poster is available at AllPosters.com for $34.99. I’ve seen it for a lot more at other places. If you’ve seen it for less, please post a link in the comments.

And here’s a shameless plug for two of my Pittsburgh t-shirts: got ‘burgh? and The Joy of Six

MarkIt’s good to be a Pittsburgh fan