No time to dilly-dally, let’s giddy up and get into the Takes quick.
Take 1: Oh, baby am I ready for the MJHL Showcase. It’s going to be a blast seeing all the teams in action, having all the coaches and GM’s around each other and of course, the scouts there to see the talent across the league.
I’m willing to go on the record now and predict a new record for people wearing golf shirts/long sleeve shirts with team logos. Never before will there have been more in an MJHL arena then there will be come the start of the Showcase.
Take 2: I may be a little biased cause I’ll be there for all three days, but I can honestly say there isn’t a single game I want to miss over those three days. Every matchup looks good and I can’t wait to watch as East meets West for the first time this year.
If you can, you’ll have to come down to see more than just one game a day. Try for two, three or even do all four! Who doesn’t want to watch hockey at 10:30 in the morning?
Take 3: Come to think of it, 10:30 is really early for a hockey game. I’m not even thinking about the getting up for the game… I’m thinking about how you come down. Most of the game days are pretty set but now, guys will have lunch and dinner off but have like a pre-game breakfast. They have to go to be knowing they have another early game the next day. That may be the hardest part is readjusting after they just played a morning game.
Take 4: If I could cast a vote for the MJHL MVP right now, it would be Blues captain Brayden Foreman. That guy just does so many things right and he make it look effortless. His skating really impressed me. He can handle the puck through traffic at high speed and make it look easy.
There was an old football player named Eric Dickerson and in college, someone said he was such a smooth runner, he could place a Coke bottle on his head, let him run and he’d never spill a drop. Foreman might be able to do it too and on skates no less.
Take 5: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… thank you bus drivers. The weather over the weekend was just terrible, yet every team got where they needed to go safely. A huge thank you to the bus drivers across the MJHL for taking on that responsibility. Players and staff always thank the drivers when getting off the bus after games. We should all thank them. They are amazing people.
Take 6: Have you ever gotten a message from someone you haven’t talked to in a while, get really excited only to see you made a mistake and they are pointing it out? Ever happen to you? Happened to me. Long time Dauphin Herald writer Doug Zywina shot me a message the other day just to point out my wrong use of “their” vs “they’re” in a sentence. Haven’t heard from him in a long time. Doug’s a pal, we go back to my time working at CKDM in Dauphin, talking with him at Credit Union Place and it’s always great to hear from old friends… wouldn’t hurt to start the sentence with “hi” next time, but whatever. He’s a New Jersey Devils fan, he’s feeling pretty good about himself lately. Jokes aside, thanks for the writing lesson, Doug. Can’t promise I won’t make that mistake again, but I’ll try!
Take 7: Another thing I’ve said before and I will say it almost every broadcast is, I don’t envy linesmen having to drop the puck for faceoffs. I’ve watched a number of games over the years where sticks are coming in hot and the great people working the lines get their hand smacked like they were caught by mom reaching into the cookie jar. Not all draws are terrific drops of the puck and if you don’t like it, go take the courses, work hard, get good, make it to the MJHL and drop the puck yourself.
I’ll tell you, dropping the puck and getting hit with a stick is on the list of why I wouldn’t be a referee. Also on that list is all the skating, the getting hit with pucks or massive players, the constant criticism, the travel, the fact the game is way too fast and it’s just super hard.
Take 8: I found out Jamie Roy who does the in-arena announcing at Steinbach Pistons games will be doing the in-arena voicing for the Showcase. Jamie is really, really good. He makes sure he gets all the players names correct, he’s got a clear voice so everyone will hear correctly what they need to know and he’s a likeable guy.
WARNING: He may say the three stars in French. Don’t be scared, it’s just kind of his thing. We have to put with it in Steinbach and now so do the other teams. Kidding, it’s actually a neat thing that many people compliment… so he says.
Take 9: How cool are those Farmery team cans? I mean, they are so well done! They look awesome and having them be sponsors at games is a great idea. They have full cases so you can get every team. I know other leagues are jealous that we have those.
Take 10: I don’t know how they could pull it off but wouldn’t a mini skills competition be really cool to see at the Showcase? You could do just a couple events like fastest skater, hardest shot, breakaway challenge and give goalies points for effort or saves. Could make it so each team picks one player to represent their team in a category. Do it like round robin or in groups of three until you crown a winner. Could you imagine the noise the teammates would be making from the crowd? I think we need to make this happen for next year.
Take 11: Out of all the people that will be around in Portage for big three-day event, I’m most looking forward to speaking with Commissioner Kevin Saurette. We haven’t really heard much from Mr. Saurette since the start of the year and I’m really looking forward to finding out how things have been going, the challenges he’s been quietly facing, how he thinks things have gone to this point and a whole lot more.
Take 12: Across the MJHL there are so many incredible women working to make their teams better. For young girls, the Showcase is a great opportunity to see them in action and maybe even get a chance to chat with them. If a young woman has a passion for hockey and wants to work in the MJHL, talking to Lana DeBeer, Alison Deneweth, Lydia Pongoski, or Kate Wiens is a great place to start. They can tell you how they got where they are, what you need to do to get into hockey and answer any questions you may have. They are incredible talents and great sources of knowledge.