This weeks throw back thursday is dedicated to David Dalliday. As you can see, Dave started his illustrious career with goaltending in mind, but after a couple clappers rang of of his “trapper”, he decided to forgo the pads and took up his position on defence. Dave took his toe down approach to the slapshot and turned it into a 3 year OHL career with the Mississauga Icedogs and Owen Sound Attack, and eventually moved on to the Uniersity of PEI where his steady defensive play and impressive physique earned him the nickname “Pillar”.
These days Dave is teaching in both the classroom and at CHE’s Summer Hockey Camps in Peterborough, so if you haven’t already signed up, make sure you call our office for available spots, and don’t forget to say hi to Pillar at the camp.
After a fine performance in the Memorial Cup Championships this past Sunday, this weeks Throw Back Thursday is dedicated to the scariest person, best fisherman and most successful coach I know, the assistant coach of the 2014 Memorial Cup finalist Guelph Storm, Bill Stewart.
Bill Stewart, or “Stewie” as I affectionately call him is the scariest human being I’ve ever met. I mean look at the image above and imagine skating down the wing towards that intimidating creature. That’s him smiling. He’s incredibly happy to have his picture taken, especially in the uniform of his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs. Stewie made his first strides in the NHL for the Buffalo Sabres in 1977 after being drafted 68th overall after a well traveled junior career. Known for his rough and tumble style, Bill had soft hands and heavy mitts and went on to have a relatively successful professional career bouncing between the AHL and NHL for 9 years before truly finding his calling in Italy. After 7 seasons in Italy he was able to get Italian citizenship and played for the Italian National Team in the 1992 and 1993 World Championships as well as the 1992 and 1994 Olympic Games.
After a lengthy playing career, Stewie pursued his next calling where he stood behind the bench and scared the hell out of his players until they played exactly how he wanted them to. His coaching career took a more linear progression than his playing career,. and he seemed to rocket from Ontario Jr B, to winning an OHL championship with the Oshawa Generals, to coaching in the AHL and finally a stint with the New York Islanders all within the first 4 years of retirement. Though the NHL job didn’t last for long, he quickly rebounded the following year taking the Barrie Colts to the Memorial Cup finals where they ultimately lost. After a questionable incident involving Vladimir Chernenko hiding in the equipment bags under the bus travelling over the US border, Stewie took his brilliant coaching style over to the German Elite League where he immediately won a Championship in Mannheim, where he may or may not have faked a heart attack during the finals to buy an extra timeout.
Terrifying I know!!! Finally, after 8 years in Germany and some heart to heart talks with CHL Commissioner David Branch, Stewie is back at the helm with the Guelph Storm along with fellow CHE hockey camp instructor Mike Kelly. Together for the past 3 years, they built the Storm into a veritable force to be reckoned with and the team to beat heading into this years Memorial Cup tournament. Ultimately they lost by 1 goal in a crushing defeat to the Edmonton Oil Kings this past Sunday, in his 3rd appearance in the Memorial Cup finals in 5 years as a coach. That’s right. 60% of the time he’s spent in the OHL has ended in the Memorial Cup finals.
From everyone here at Canadian Hockey Enterprises, we want to send a hearty congratulations to Bill Stewart, Mike Kelly and everyone else in the Guelph Storm organization and we look forward to seeing both of you at the Peterborough camps this summer.
Once again, don’t forget to vote for the latest and greatest CHE tournament location. Nashville once again made it through however (and not surprisingly) Honolulu took over the spot formerly held by Halifax. Halifax is great but….come on….Hawaii!!!
I’m sitting about 20 rows up at the Peterborough Memorial Centre watching the Petes take on the visiting Windsor Spitfires on a typical Thursday night of OHL action. I never went to many games, but when CHE councillor and family friend Steve Webb was in town with the Spitfires it was as good a reason as any. And finally, midway through the 3rd period, a quiet skirmish in the corner quickly erupted as Webby and Petes tough guy Matt Johnson squared off at the far end of the ice. Giving up 7 inches and 25 pounds, little Webby (comparative term) did more than hold his own as he fired his fists as quickly humanly possible for a minute or so until both players fell to the ice on top of a pool of blood. “Looks like Webby caught him.” said my dad as both players left the ice in front of a roaring crowd, the home town boy having beat up on the local teams goon. Until we ran into him after the game, we had no idea how wrong we were. “Got a fresh zipper Crow.” Steve says to my dad in a wraspy voice with a wry smile and a wink. He was never the biggest, fastest or strongest player, but there’s one thing that Steve Webb figured out early and did really well: stuck to his roll.
Drafted 176th overall to the Buffalo Sabres in 1994, it took just 2 years for Webby to make his mark in the NHL with the New York Islanders where he quickly gained the respect of his team-mates and the local community. His hard nosed, blue collar style was exactly what the Long Island fans were looking for after years of sub par teams. But it was during the 2002 playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs the he really made his mark, much to the chagrin of the Maple Leafs faithful. He made such an impact with the Islander fans a packed Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum chanting his name after he annihilated Darcy Tucker into the boards. (Tucker had earlier taken out Islanders captain Michael Peca who missed the rest of the series). For a self proclaimed ‘slow skater, bad passer and poor shooter” he had a fantastic career in Long Island. And some dedicated fans have even compiled a video of his impact (literally & figuratively) here. (NSFW + volume)
These days, Steve has taken his desire to help out his team mates and transferred those skills and desires to helping out people in need in his community. He started to take part in organizing fundraisers for student athletes, super long bike rides for cancer and all kinds of community activities. He founded the W20 Foundation in 2007 in order to help student athletes in need be able to attend the college or university of their choice. W20 is encompassed within Team Up 4 Community and continue to help local athletes take the steps necessary to achieve their dreams. (http://www.teamup4community.org/) He also works with the NHLPA as a divisional representative and from time to time he even graces us with his presence at one of our Adult Hockey Tournament or Camps. Usually he goes to Lake Placid…he really likes Lake Placid.
Look at those beautiful, blonde locks….and complete lack of protective equipment for his upper body. That would be NHL great and CHE staff member Gilles Gilbert, star of today’s edition of the CHE blog.
If you’ve ever brought a team to one of our adult or youth tournaments, especially Montreal or Lake Placid, chances are you’ve met Monsieur Gilbert. In fact, he’s probably yelled at you to hurry up and get your team ready so your game starts on time, because if there’s one thing Gilles is known for, it’s his extreme respect for punctuality….and his perfect penmanship, I’ mean look at that signature!
Born in Saint-Esprit, QC just outside of Quebec City in 1949, Gilles was a fantastic athlete from an early age, excelling in hockey as a goaltender in the winter and baseball as a pitcher in the summer. By the time he was 17 years old he had both the MLB and NHL knocking on his door and had to make a choice, ultimately choosing to pursue a career in hockey. He was drafted 25th overall by the Minnesota North Stars in 1969, but didn’t really find his groove until he was traded to the star studded Boston Bruins in 1973 where he helped take the team to the Stanley Cup finals and being invited to the All Star game that same season. He played 6 more seasons with Boston before trying his luck with the Detroit Red Wings for his final 3 seasons.
Known for his athleticism and cat like reflex’s, Gilles still holds a couple of NHL records: points percentage earned by a starting goalie (0.843) and most consecutive wins by a starting goalie (15) both attained during the 1975-76 season where he had a record of 33-8-10. It’s always a fun time when a current goalie gets to 13 or 14 wins these days as we get to watch Gilles yell at the TV, cheering adamantly against said goalie. We get to see a similar demeanour every time Don Cherry replays their overtime game 7 loss (Gilles was in net) against the Montreal Canadiens in 1979.
Since his retirement, Gilles has worked with CHE as an instructor for our Adult and Youth hockey camps, and as a rink manager/celebrity during our adult tournaments. That’s right, this NHL great will be the kindly gentleman handing out game sheets and room locks this weekend in Montreal, but ask him for an autograph and he’ll be happy to give you his time. Always a professional, no matter what his profession is.
We’re going back….way back….all the way back to Halloween 2011.
For this weeks Throwback Thursday we’re going to keep it in the family for the Halloween edition with a hockey twist. It was October 30, 2011 and my little 4 year old nephew Owen was pumped about the spiderman costume he was going to wear the next day. A little too excited. He was literally bouncing around the rec room displaying his natural ability to shoot webs from his wrists and subsequently end up at that location that his energy and exuberance got the better of him. A one foot wide table/bar, placed against the back of the couch would be little spidey’s undoing. As he tried to pull himself onto this table he so recently caught with his webs, the narrow bar leaned back until it overcame Owen, knocking him on his back and landing right smack on his tiny, tiny nose.
The result was less than pleasant and young Owen was rushed to the hospital with a broken nose, a small cut requiring some stitches and a couple of beautiful shiners. And the worse thing was, his face was too sore to wear the spiderman mask. Luckily Owen comes from a family with a rich history of bloody noses and black eyes. He comes from a hockey family and soon the tragedy was turned to triumph as the red and blue spidey costume was replaced with the red, gold, black and white of an Ottawa Senators jersey, and just like that, a hockey goon was born.
By far the most rewarding part of my job is the interesting people I get to work with and for throughout the year. Over the years at Canadian Hockey Enterprises we have created a stable staff members so incredibly varied and interesting it’s always great seeing some long time friends in the hotel lobby. Whether it’s listening to Gilles Gilbert complain about light beer, or seeing Murray Price stroll through the lobby in Banff wearing strictly neon apparel, our unique staff members are what makes our tournaments so great.
Then there’s Rob Ralph, or Ralphy as he’s affectionately known.
Seen here in his natural habitat, a young(ish) Rob Ralph, sporting a beautiful red suede brimmed CHE souvenir hat, tries to convince a flock of females to give him their leftover food.
Rob has been with CHE since the beginning and it’s his sense of humor and exuberance that makes him a pleasure to work with. Always willing to play the roll of class clown, Ralphy always has that timely story, joke or commentary to cut the tension in the room., most of which revolve around food. When he’s not working tournaments you can find him replacement workers on buses past picket lines, selling hot dogs in Bracebridge or dancing to disco…anywhere he can find it. If you’d like to see a little bit about Ralphy you can friend him on facebook here and see some of his hilarious and valuable insights, or take a look at this article about his sons, but mostly talks about Rob’s history (here) including his time performing as Ogie Ogilthorpe/bus driver in a live action Slap Shot Tour.
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.
I was fortunate enough to stumble upon this classic shot of Jim Bedard in the Niagara Falls Sports Hall of Fame located at the brand new Gale Center Complex in Niagara Falls. Beyond listing all of Jimmy’s outstanding accomplishments as a goaltender, this photo highlights something he’s not as known for; that beautiful flowing mustache.
Having played professionally from 1977-1992, starting with the Washington Capitals and finishing his career in Finland, Jim is currently the goalie coach with the Detroit Red Wings and will be working with CHE at the Goalie Camp July 29 – August 3 in beautiful Kelowna, BC. (spots still available) Though you won’t get to see that fantastic duster, or his flowing hair, you can get a glimpse of the demeanor and expertise Jim brings to his coaching clinics by watching the following link. Click Here.
Finally some action I can follow. In this brief clip of game 4 of the 1933 Stanley Cup finals between the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers, the first thing I noticed was how slow everything happens. You can still see the grit and determination necessary to win the cup, but the action itself moves at a pace that could be followed by a first time viewer.
I’ve played hockey my entire life at various levels and now work at a hockey company and get to see what all of the kids coming up are doing now. That said, I had a hard time following the play during the recent cup finals; it was just too fast. With all of the positive advancements in equipment technology and rule changes brought in to make the game more exciting, I fear they’ve created a game too quick for a non-hockey fan to get a grasp of. Perhaps its time to bring back FoxTrax to help all of us keep track of what’s going on in the new, superfast NHL.
If you’ve participated in a youth or adult tournament with CHE, you may or may not have noticed that there is always a Lefty Wilson Division. Since 2002 we’ve made a point of commemorating the great man who graced our office and tournaments with his humor, good nature and wonderful stories.
Lefty was the trainer for the Detroit Red Wings from 1950-1982 and was instrumental in the adoption of goalie masks, including Terry Sawchuk’s iconic mask covered in stitches. He also served as the emergency backup goalie and played 3 NHL games; 1 for the Red Wings, 1 for the opposing Toronto Maple Leafs and 1 for the opposing Boston Bruins. As you can see by his closed eyes in the Red Wings picture, he wasn’t terribly fond of getting hit by the puck.
In 1987 Lefty joined the CHE staff. He was our designated trainer during tournaments, which primarily consisted of him telling players they weren’t actually hurt and to get back up. He helped us put together meal tickets in the office, often bruising his hand from the incessant stapling, to the point where we bought him the automatic stapler which we still use today. More than anything, he provided staff and customers with a never ending string of laughs. With patented G rated lines such as “go scrub your kilt”, “lord love a duck” and “keep your head up kid” as he raised his left fist and pointed the stub of his right index finger at you.
Everyone who every knew or met Lefty misses him dearly, especially the staff at CHE. So if you get a chance today, have a drink in his honor but don’t forget to say his patented toast: “Over the lips and past the gums, look out liver here she comes!”