Back in 2018, I was paid $250 to play hockey. No, it wasn’t on a professional tryout contract with a minor league team, but rather for a television commercial. That said, they would recruit practically anyone who owned hockey gear — including me, a guy who had been playing for less than five years at the time.
“Hockey is for everyone” is a wonderful message of inclusion and diversity from the NHL. While it is important that they lead the charge in this effort, there are many inclusive leagues throughout North America. The Madison Gay Hockey Association, in Madison, Wisconsin, is one such league. The MGHA makes sure everyone feels welcome and encouraged to join, regardless of their skill level or orientation.
Maggie Augustin works as the Member Relations Liaison for the MGHA. Being a leader wasn’t always in her blood, but playing hockey helped her discover more about herself than she ever imagined. I recently spoke with Maggie about her work with the MGHA and how hockey has helped forge her into a leader.
KYLE SCULLY: How long have you been a part of the organization?
MAGGIE AUGUSTIN: I have been a skater since fall of 2016. Before that, I had attended some games in the stands just to get a feel for the organization and hockey itself.
KS: What drew you to the league?
MA: My partner introduced me to the league. They said, this is what I do during the winter, it’s really fun and exciting, and it’s so much more than just a sport; it’s a community. So, they kind of put the bug in my ear and that’s why I started watching them play and getting a feel for it. I was 30 at the time and even though I’m athletic, I wasn’t sure I would like it. I had very little experience with hockey, and to me, everything looked so fast. I had no concept of positioning or anything like that, so I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to learn it.
I’ve been playing recreational hockey — or beer league, as many call it — for about six years now, and I’ve seen my share of crazy stuff. I recall one game being cancelled because the Zamboni broke down in the middle of the ice. Another time, I remember a guy getting kicked out of the game because he was trying to fight with his own teammate. But the craziest thing that has happened is when I had a teammate get up and quit playing on my team — in the middle of a game.
Chris Chelios is the greatest American-born defenseman to play in the NHL. He may be the greatest American to ever play hockey at any position. Chelios spent 26 seasons in the NHL, breaking in with the Montreal Canadians at age 22 in 1984, winning numerous accolades along the way, and finally retiring at age 48 in 2010.
Also, Chris Chelios is my favorite hockey player of all-time. So, I am not sure why it took me this long to review “Chris Chelios: Made in America,” penned by Chelios and former USA Today hockey writer Kevin Allen in 2014. Nor can I guarantee that this will be a totally unbiased review of his book.
Regardless of how you feel about Chelios — hockey fans either loved him or hated him for his physical, almost reckless style of play — his book is an enjoyable memoir of his storied career.
On Monday, the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Boston Bruins 6-5 in a game that came down to literally the last shot. Travis Konecky, shooting second-to-last, scored in the fifth round of the shootout. Then it was Brad Marchand’s turn for his shot. Only, he forgot to take the puck with him.
Marchand overskated the puck, and the Flyers won the game. This was after the Bruins blew a 5-2 lead, making Marchand’s mistake even more epic. He is the first player since the shootout was instituted in 2005 to overskate the puck on a shootout attempt.
“I was just trying to get going and just missed it,” Marchand told NHL.com. “I know the rule, you touch it on a penalty shot, it’s your shot. Unfortunate. It’s a tough way to lose on a play like that.”
But on Tuesday, Marchand — instead of showing a little bit of humility, or even taking a joke like he is sometimes willing to do — decided to tweet a photo of himself hoisting the Stanley Cup in 2011.
— Brad Marchand (@Bmarch63) January 14, 2020
Of course, the peanut gallery that is Hockey Twitter had to get involved and razz the Rat.
November 20, 2019
Earlier today, I was a guest on the SiriusXM NHL Radio talk show “Under Review,” hosted by Mick Kern and Peter Berce. We talk about the hockey movie “Mystery, Alaska” as well as my article for The Hockey News about that film. We also talk about the Puck Junk Podcast and the new line of Puck Junk t-shirts. The segment is a quick listen — just 15 minutes.
You can listen to “Under Review” everyday on SiriusXM Radio or online here. ■
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.
It was the original Winter Classic. Two teams facing off and getting back to their roots, playing shinny outdoors on a frozen pond under a grey, wintry sky. Only in this story, one team is the New York Rangers and the other is a group of amateurs from a small town. Mystery, Alaska, the classic underdog story of pros versus joes, turns 20 this fall.
Why does the movie Mystery, Alaska resonate with fans two decades later? Perhaps because it is one of the few movies that gets its hockey right. With all due respect to The Mighty Ducks and Youngblood, there are no silly knuckle-pucks or ludicrous stick-swinging duels in this film. Many people with deep hockey roots were involved in the making of Mystery, Alaska – and it shows. Producers Howard and Karen Elise Baldwin were the owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the time and had previously owned the Hartford Whalers. Scriptwriter David E. Kelley was the son of an NHL executive and the captain of his hockey team at Princeton. Brad Turner, the film’s assistant hockey co-ordinator and hockey double for Russell Crowe, played briefly for the New York Islanders and had an eight-year career in the minors. Several former players from the University of Calgary also contributed as Rangers players or as hockey doubles for the Mystery characters.
The Baldwins’ first film to involve hockey was the Jean-Claude Van Damme action flick Sudden Death. It came out in 1995 and had a hearty serving of hockey action. But in Mystery, Alaska, hockey was the main course. Oddly enough, the idea for the film came during a meal.
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.
Y’all ready for some pickin’n grinnin’??? If there was one thing I could collect more than hockey-related vinyl records, it would be guitars. Like, any guitars; doesn’t have be hockey-related. My wife put a cap on my collection, and I’d go real broke, real fast doing that. But I do want to share something that crosses my path that could be worth the cold, hard cash.
In the years 1999 and 2000, Fender made a limited run of guitars for the teams in the league, all limited to a maximum of 100 per club and painted with the team’s logo, plus another potential 100 featuring the NHL shield. Continue reading “Fender NHL Telecaster Electric Guitars”
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Last week Thursday was National Video Game Day, so Ron Barr and I talked about sports video games, from Tennis for Two and Pong, to Double Dribble and NHL ’94, all the way to current games like Madden 20.
Collectors Corner airs Friday nights at 9:25 p.m. CST. Find a nearby radio station that carries Sports Byline USA here, or stream online here. You can also listen to past episodes here.Special thanks to Sports Byline USA for providing the audio clip.
The California Golden Seals have a long and storied history as the worst hockey franchise in the NHL’s 100-plus years of existence. So long and so storied, in fact, that it took author Steve Currier over 400 pages to document all of it in his book, “The California Golden Seals: A Tale of White Skates, Red Ink, and One of the NHL’s Most Outlandish Teams.” If you love a good story about a bad team, then this book is worth the read.