Congratulations to Martin Langlois of Delson, QC who has won our Trouve Une Glace contest to play a round of golf with NHL great Gilles Gilbert!

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Adult Camp #TBT

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Man Paul looks great in that tracksuit!

Found this beautiful old brochure for our Adult Hockey Camps in Lake Placid, NY for Throw Back Thursday.  Strange thing is, 12 years later our 2013 brochure design has changed quite a bit, but all 3 faces on the 2001 brochure will be back in Lake Placid this October 10 – 13.  In fact, I’m pretty sure this picture perfectly captures the halfway point of the 26 year relationship we’ve had with both Dean Gervais and Richie Macias who’ve attended almost every camp in Placid since the beginning.  We have some fantastic, long time relationships with many customers from the different aspects of our business, but there really is nothing close to the bond that’s held between CHE and our adult campers, and the adult campers bond with each other.  So if you’re in love with the game, like travelling, eating great meals and meeting new people drop us a line as we still have a few spots left in Lake Placid this year.

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Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

The Enforcer Debate

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In recent years the NHL has made significant strides to protect it’s players through rule changes and increased suspension time.  Suspensions are getting longer every year, and new rules this year include players being forbidden from removing their own helmets during a fight, which they’ve already figured out as seen here.  Looks silly doesn’t it?  Like they’re politely removing each others helmets over tea before they punch each other in the face!

The disciplinary committee will be busy today after watching last night’s brawl between the Sabres and Leafs (click to watch), and the travesty of it all will be David Clarkson (who barely got into it) will almost certainly receive the longest suspension of everyone for leaving the bench.  Watch that video a couple of times and it seems pretty obvious the entire event was ignited by another player coming off the bench, he just did it during a shift change.  Take a quick look at the opening of the video and it’s pretty clear that John Scott, a giant at 6’8″, 270 lbs, was sent out with the clear intention to beat up somebody on the Leafs.  I don’t think it mattered who it was, but the fact that it ended up being Phil Kessel, who at that point had more goals in the game than Scott has had in his career brings the enforcer question to the forefront.  And so the question begs to be asked, if everyone knows that John Scott is nothing but an enforcer sent out to fight, shouldn’t the brunt of the blame and penalty fall on the coach and organization?

Shouldn’t Ron Rolston receive equal if not more punishment than David Clarkson?

As Damien Cox so profoundly pointed out here, hockey was not the only physical game being played yesterday, but where the old guard agree that hockey players need to be tough and also protected, others sports like football or rugby view fighting as a lack of toughness.  There are no offensive linemen who can’t block, run or tackle, but are instead sent out on the field to literally beat up the quarterback.  It would be ridiculous.  So why do we tolerate the same role in the culture of hockey?

The fighting debate in hockey has been going on for a long time and has many advocates with good points on both sides. However, there really is no debate as to whether enforcers should be allowed to exist in the league.  700 of the worlds most skilled hockey players should not have to worry about some angry giant like John Scott taking exception with one of their super stars.  If players aren’t able to compete on a regular shift throughout the game they should not be allowed to dress at all.  There are plenty of skilled players in the minors that can fill that 4th line position without losing any toughness or having a bench warmer take up space.  If the NHL really wants to stop incidents like last nights brawl, the first step has to be to penalize the coaches and organization who dress their enforcers.

Please share your thoughts whether you agree or disagree as I’d love to get some feedback on this issue.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

CHE Camper Lights Up Petes

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The OHL season opened up last night, and though there was a lot of hype surrounding Mississauga Steelheads exceptional player Sean Day, it was the Kingston Frontenacs Darcy Greenway that started the season with a bang.  The Frontenacs were in my hometown of Peterborough last night and they held nothing back as they romped the Petes 11 – 4, with Greenway netting 3 along the way to take an early lead in this seasons scoring race.

Darcy was a long time CHE camper, attending our Elite and Jr./College programs in Peterborough every summer for at least 6 years.  You could tell from an early age that he was very skilled, but it was his attitude and work ethic that always made him stand out.  After a couple of great seasons averaging just under a point a game, it looks like he’s been working hard during the off season and is on pace for his best season yet.  Keep up the good work Darcy, we’ll be keeping tabs on you as the season continues.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Montreal this Winter!

As days begin to get shorter, the thermometer drops and the leaves begin to fall, my head always turns to thoughts of warm sandy beaches and crystal blue lagoons, but as good as that hot sun will feel on my skin, it’s always going to be painful on my wallet.  Seeing as how it’s winter for 6 months here in the great white north, I thought I’d focus this week on one of Canada’s most iconic; Montreal!

1. It’s closer and cheaper than Europe!

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Take a trip back in time as you take a horse and buggy ride along the cobble stone streets of Old Montreal.  There’s something magical about walking past a 400 year old stone building or sitting down at a restaurant that’s been run for generations that you just can’t get anywhere else outside of Europe.  Now imagine everyone is speaking French, there’s shoulder height snow banks, seasonal light displays and the misty haze of blowing snow and it can actually feel like you’re in 18th century Paris.

2. Catch a Habs Game.

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See all those banner?  Those aren’t just there to add colour to the ceiling.  The Montreal Canadiens are the oldest and most storied hockey franchise in the world with a record 24 Stanley Cups.  Though the old Montreal Forum was taken down 1996, the atmosphere at the Bell Centre definitely gives justice to Les Habitant, and even the most mundane mid-season game has the palpable energy that most cities only experience during the playoffs.

3. Fewer Crowds

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No matter what time of year it is and no matter what your culinary pedigree, there are a couple of things you must eat if you’re in Montreal; a Montreal smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz’s, a fried bologna sandwich from Wilensky’s, and a poutine at La Banquise.  Try getting into Schwartz’s on a sunny July afternoon and you’ll be staring at a line around the block, but head into Montreal in the winter and you can try all of Montreal’s unique cuisine with limited to no wait times.

4. World Class Public Parks

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Immediately west of down town, this 764 foot Mont Royal is one of Montreal’s largest green spaces and provides spectacular views for the down town and St. Lawrence Seaway beyond.  You can head up just for the view alone, but if you’re feeling more active you can go tobogganing, tubing, skating, cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing and even take a ride on a horse drawn sleigh.

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Or if you already have your skates and are right in the down town core, you can head over to Parc La Fontaine and go for a skate on the canals.  You can see Montreal in it’s true form as buildings and monuments from the old world mix with the beautiful modern architecture of this brilliant city.

5. Nearby Ski Resorts

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Montreal sits just south of the Laurentian Mountains and the premier resort of Mont Tremblant is just an hour and a half drive from the city.  If that’s a bit too far for a day trip Morin Heights, Mont Gabriel, Mont Olympia, Mont Habitant, Mont Avila & Mont Saint-Sauveur are just 40 minutes away on highway 15 towards Tremblant.  You can stay in town and head to Mont Bruno if times a factor, or head east of the city towards Bromont, Sutton and Owl’s Head Resorts all just an hours drive.

So this year, as the falling leaves turn to snow flakes and that longing for warm weather and fruity cocktails starts to creep into your brain, maybe think of taking a trip closer to home and experiencing some of the culture, activities and excitement that Montreal has to offer.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises

Top 5 Mondays!

Introducing a new feature to the CHE Blog, each Monday I’ll post a Top 5 _____ to get the week started off right.  To celebrate the first full NHL season in a couple of years, we’ll start with:

Top 5 Exciting NHL Events in 2013/14!

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1. Sochi 2014

I know, it’s not exactly an NHL sanctioned event but there will be plenty of NHLer’s in attendance and it’s going to be amazing yet again.  One simply has to turn on TSN to watch Bob Mackenzie and James Duthie argue over which of the amazing centermen is going to snag that 14th forward position and you’ll quickly realize it’s the top hockey event on this years calendar.  There’s just so many story lines:  Will the big ice be a factor?  Can Canada defend on foreign soil or will is be Torino (7th place finish) all over again?  Will Russia be able finally be able to win it’s first Gold medal in the post Soviet era after literally dominating the event from 1954-1990 (19 Golds, 7 Silvers) and their recent successes at both the World Jr and World Championships?   Will a team comprised of mostly KHL players (only 26 rostered Russians in NHL this year) be able to compete against the NHL’s best?  Or will the Swedes, Fins or Americans be the eventual winners?  It’s a tough call, but one thing that’s for sure is that the hockey is going to be amazing, like a bunch of All-Star games but players, coaches and fans actually care, watch and cheer.

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2. Winter Classic!

After being cancelled last season due to the lockout, the New Year’s Day game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium at the University of Michigan.  Finally we’ll be able to watch the best team in the league (Detroit) play the team all of my friends and family painstakingly cheer for year after year, and so will the 110,000 lucky fans in the stands.  Hoping to build off of last years success, the Maple Leafs are looking to show they really were just one, jaw dropping implosion away from making it to the finals.  Having both teams compete regularly in the same divisions will definitely heat up the intensity and it’s looking like it will be the best Winter Classic yet.

There’s also the new Stadium Series at the end of January to look forward to but certainly not with the same hype. There will be the Kings vs. Ducks at Dodger Stadium (good luck with the ice), Rangers vs. Devils followed by Rangers vs. Islanders at Yankee Stadium, and Penguins vs. Blackhawks at Soldier Field.

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3. Red Wings in the Eastern Conference

If you paid any attention to point number 2 you’ll know the Detroit Red Wings are definitely my favorite hockey team in the league, and have been ever since the imperial reign of Ken Holland began in 1997.  That said, I’m definitely not alone in my excitement to watch the mighty Wings battle it out against Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Boston on a regular basis is going to be completely different than hopefully catching them battle the Anaheim Ducks at 11pm EST.  There’s going to be four original 6 teams in the same conference and even the perennial underachieving Maple Leafs seem to be getting their act together and I’m extremely amped to finally watch Detroit on Hockey Night in Canada.  I mean common, look how much love Grapes shows them in the playoffs!

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4. John Tortorella in Vancouver

In a move that almost no one saw coming, the Vancouver Canucks kicked off their off season acquisitions by bringing John Tortorella in to motivate the team of fledgling super stars.  Tort’s is a bit of a mystery to me.  He seemed to be able to get the most out of his star players in Tampa in 2004 when they won the cup, but all reports out of NYC were that the Rangers best players just wouldn’t perform for him.  When you’ve got Brad Richards in the press box as a healthy scratch in an elimination game in the playoffs you know that something is not right.  He earned $12 million last season and sat out the last game.  Obviously things didn’t work out in NYC and Tortorella was let go pretty swiftly, but having him land in Vancouver was on no one’s radar.  The Canucks and especially the Sedin brothers have often been labelled as soft, adversity avoiding superstars.  It’s going to be very interesting to see how they respond to Tortorella’s coaching and communication style, it literally could go 100% one way or the other.

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5. Can Sidney Crosby play an Entire Season?

Believe it or not, it’s been 4 years since Sid the Kid played an entire NHL season, and the last time he did, he won the Rocket Richard Trophy, Stanley Cup and Olympic Gold.  Building off his success in 2010, Crosby started the next season playing and scoring at an era defying pace that included a 25 game point streak scoring 50 points during that time.  Then BOOM! (literally)  The leagues best player went down with a concussion and almost single handedly opened the hockey worlds eyes to the dangers of concussions.  All reports coming from the Crosby camp say he’s 100% healthy and stronger than he’s ever been, and though it’s unlikely he can match his heroics from the Vancouver Olympics, it’s the first time since 2010 that there aren’t any health questions coming into the season.

There are many other things to get excited about this hockey season, but I think this top 5 is proof enough that it’s going to be a season to remember.

Graydon Crowley

Canadian Hockey Enterprises