Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hockey in September and Scotland-Pipe in the Haggis!

For those of us desperately needing a hockey fix by September, grab your passports and cross the pond for Scotland's Gardiner Cup. In those long months since the end of the 08' season the Gardiner Cup offers an early and distinctive treat. The Edinburgh Capitals and the Belfast Giants will meet the Hamilton Bulldogs and Toronto Marlies in a tournament in Edinburgh on September 24th, 26th and 27th. Hockey in beautiful Edinburgh, kilts, haggis, bagpipes and single malt whiskey, what is not to love about that package?

The tournament is named for Charles “Chuck” Gardiner the first Scot named to the NHL Hall of Fame. It is expected that the series will be available by net feed and by audio link. It will be the first time an American Hockey League team has met head to head with a British Elite team. It looks to be an interesting match-up.

Although on opposite sides of the ocean, there is more contact between these leagues than one might think. Several familiar names have been part of the Belfast Giants roster over the years, starting with this year's addition of Sean McMorrow, Ed Courtenay, and former NHLer Theo Fleury. Next month a member of the current Giants roster, blueliner Davey Philips, will be attending the Chicago Blackhawks prospect camp.

Tickets for the Gardiner Cup games are available through the Edinburgh Capital's box office, http://www.edinburgh-capitals.com. The Belfast Giants website at www.kingdomofthegiants.com has a helpful line on out-of-town games and lodgings for those thinking of making the trip. From all the publicity it looks like not only will there be hockey in September but quite a party being planned. What could be better!

For the full story linkage below:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Belfast Giant Walking Amongst Us!

A couple of days ago this came across my desk courtesy of Craig Shillingday our contact in the British Elite League. It appears we shall have Davey Phillips, an upcoming British blueliner and a Belfast Giant walking amongst us at prospect camp next month. The word from Ireland is that if he stays in Chicago it will be blow to Belfast's hopes to take the Elite League this season. However, they are looking forward to seeing how the local favorite stacks up to North American talent.

Linkage to the Belfast Giants site announcement below:


Ivy King Cup Challenge

Saturday night while the city enjoyed it's first night of summer the UIC Pavilion rocked with Ivy King Cup championship featuring the Manic Attackers against the ladies in red and last years Ivy King Cup winners the Hell's Bells. It was a intense match as these old foes know each other well,however, at the end of the bout the Manic Attackers emerged the winners winning 137 to 115.

Thus ends the regular season for Chicago roller derby. But derby addicts take heart for the travel season is about to begin, The Windy City Rollers All Stars presently ranked second nationally in Women's Flat Track Derby Association will be meeting teams from other cities in the US. There is a July bout scheduled please see http://windycityrollers.com site for scheduling and details. Be there or be square!

As always here are images of the bout:


Monday, June 15, 2009

We are going to the playoffs, baby! Force Defeat Detroit Demolition 26:6.

"We are going to the playoffs, baby!" It was more of a primal scream than a acclimation , then she repeated the war cry and left the room. Yes, the Chicago Force are going to the Independent Womens Football League playoffs. Starting in two weeks after yesterdays commanding win over the Detroit Demolition 26:6. Chicago's ladies of the gridiron are, you could say very excited at the prospect of setting foot on the run to the big dance, the National Championship in Austin, Texas, July 25th.

Sometime tonight after weekend results are in data will be analyzed, a complicated formula will be calculated . Early tomorrow Force team owners will find out if they will have home field advantage for the first round game scheduled for June 27th. Or if they will have to pack their bags for a away game and fight their way to Texas the hard way.

Yesterdays game started out with uneven play in the first half . The Force just didn't seem to “click” there were poorly thrown balls, missed passes and incomplete blocks. The coaches must have inspired the team at half time as they were on the money in the second. Detroit went home loosing by 20 points and the Force to a party celebrating a playoff birth.

As always, here are images of the game.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Talkn' Derby To You! Manic Attackers defeat Hells Bells 112:87, Fury dominate Double Crossers 93:87

So there we were, standing looking at a blue and white poster that simply read"Talk Derby to Me" Yeah, that's right up our line, skates,speed, contact bring it on! So we contacted the Windy City Rollers and found ourselves in track side "Suicide" seats with our guide, guardian angel and teacher of all things Roller Derby "Flash Hottie" last Saturday night. Yes, Hottie has a another name that she signs her checks with but in the derby world everyone has their roller derby name and that is how they wish to be known.

Hottie was assigned to us by the team to keep us safe and teach us about the intricacies of the game. First we were were guided to our seats they would be in the "suicide" section. So named because skaters come around the bend in the oval track at 25 miles per hour and can take out the very rows of seats we were sitting on. However, these seats afford the best view of the game, would we like to move to higher ground? Nothing doing, suicides it would be!

One of the things that struck me about the bout is that everyone connected to the organization seemed to be having a good time. The party atmosphere is infectious. The team support staff seemed genuinely concerned that we come to understand the game and feel like part of the party. The basics are pretty easy Pivots play defense, Blockers well, block. Jammers, these are the truly skilled skaters that weave through the pack lap the field and score. Jammers are the only players that can score. Should you forget a cheat sheet is handed to you at the door along with the nights list of skaters. No names that could be found on a birth certificate but monikers like Loco Channel, May R Daly, Ruth Enasia. As Flash Hottie explained to me taking a name expresses publicly your game face, it was a key part of the culture of the game.

The bout began and all images of 60's Sunday Morning Roller Derby quickly left my head, there were no gratuitous fights Saturday night. These ladies are athletes playing a contact sport they take very seriously. With three practices per week they have to be in great shape. Roller Derby is a contact sport with speed oh yes, enough to make any hockey or football fan take notice. Chicago should be noticing, June 20th the playoffs will be at the UIC Pavilion and bragging rights and the Ivy King Cup will be awarded. Last year the Rollers All Stars were runners up in the 2008 WFTDA Championship, this year they mean to change that. I for one wouldn't get in their way.

As always here are some images of the bout.