Sun continues to shine. Golf continues to be played. Hockey is underway. Life is GOOD! Let’s get down to business.
Take 1: It usually happens as the year goes on but I’ve quickly regretted a Take already… the less than 20 shutouts.
I should have known better. The talent between the pipes across the MJHL deserved better. There’s already been six. SIX!
I’ve been wrong before and I may be wrong again… but I hope I’m not THIS wrong again. Sorry goalies.
Take 2: There have been some lopsided scores across the league and a trend that might be concerning to some coaches is how the veteran players react to being down. Losing sucks but how you handle losing can send either a positive or negative message to the younger players on the team. A tone can be set, and I think so players are missing it and it could be something that gets worse for some teams before it gets better.
Take 3: Will Smith nailed it, it’s the Wild Wild West. Every game could go either way and that is great for fans, especially those watching from a distance, cheering for teams in the East. I can say without a doubt I’ve said “oh, wow” to just about every score update that comes out of that division. One or two teams will separate themselves, I’m sure but for now, keep flipping that coin every game!
Take 4: You know who are the worst kinds of people? The ones who win 50/50 multiple times a year. We get it, you’re lucky. Yeah, it’s random and all that but still. Doesn’t it feel like the same person or group wins constantly? I remember back in the day (I’m 33, I can say that), when take-home was $1500-$2000. It would be awesome to see that in every arena, so get your 50/50. If you’re tired of seeing the same people win, buy more, that’ll help.
Take 5: I saw a short clip of a Winnipeg Ice vs Brandon Wheat Kings game where the announcers from both sides somehow ended up over top of each other on the same broadcast. As you’d expect, it was hilarious and painful. As a broadcaster, I can tell you we’ve all had problems getting on the air or having to deal with a wonky connection. One time while he was broadcasting for the Portage Terriers, Cody Buhler and I almost had to join forces to do the game together. It all worked out and both broadcasts were able to get on their respective airwaves, but we did agree it would have made for an interesting call. Jerry Springer meets Slapshot.
Take 6: I LOVE the new hybrid icing and I’m embarrassed to say it took 6 games for me to notice. What a great, great change. There’s nothing that ruins my mood like soft icings. I mean, why have continuous action where there could be a slick breakout pass or turnover, when you can have a whistle and a faceoff all the way down at the other end? You have players that can flat out fly and it’s showing with the new icings. Here’s hoping it remains safe for all and keeps the play going because we came to watch hockey, not a puck-dropping display.
Take 7: I’m worried about some teams drawing fans. I’m really hoping it’s because of the nice weather, people want to spend time outside. It’s affordable for the family, it’s great entertainment and you should want to support your teams. There is some serious talent league-wide, and I promise, there will be moments where you go “oh wow, that’s incredible” and you’ll be hooked. Check out the schedule and make a plan to go watch a game.
Take 8: Steinbach is finally (FINALLY) getting a new rink in the next couple of years, but which town deserves to also get an upgraded complex? Neepawa has put a lot of work into their arena, and it looks good, even if you got to broadcast from the crowd area behind the bench. There are heaters, so that’s a win. Waywayseecappo is pretty great for fans and players. I’ve always loved Selkirk’s rink. Portage, Dauphin, Virden, the Blues, they’re all in another class because of their amazing facilities. If you could snap your fingers and have millions of dollars to spend on an MJHL arena, I’d put it in Swan. Sorry, OCN, you probably deserve a new one too but in this fantasy world, there’s only one and it goes to the Stamps who could use a new stable.
Take 9: I’ve already been wondering aloud about the trade deadline. It’s a while down the road yet, but it’s fun to think about. I’m a huge trade deadline guy, in any sport. I would like to see the MJHL do a trade deadline YouTube show or something. I mean, it could end up like all the others where the people involved would end up staring and having nothing to talk about for a few hours. I’d still watch it though.
Take 10: I can’t wait for the MJHL/SJHL Showcase. There’s just something about seeing all the talent from different teams come together and show off. The players love it and with it being in Manitoba this year, I think the fans are in for a real treat. It’s about time it’s in the MJHL region and we as fans should not waste this opportunity to show our support.
Take 11: Celebrating the players of the month is awesome. I think it’s great to focus on the accomplishments of those who stood out in a month. Each team should submit like an “unsung hero” to the league or do their own. It’s not always about stats, but the little things that either help a team win or bring the team closer together. Let’s get that going for each team.
Take 12: Who’s the coach of the Niverville team going to be? I mean, who’s the next coach that will get an MJHL job? It’s not often you hear about names of the up-and-coming coaches, but I think we should be focusing more on that. When it comes to the newest MJHL franchise, I know I’m waiting for announcements. I’d like there to be one a month just building hype around the team. It’s kinda quiet. Let’s get some info cooking here to get excited about. Something. Anything. Not silence.