He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

A few years ago, my brother and I watched a Blue Jackets game in Columbus. It was a warm night, so we found a nearby restaurant near the arena that had an open patio to sit and drink beers.

We had to wait for a hostess to seat us.

She slowed her walk as she approached us, giving each of us a long look up and down. We asked to sit outside.

Grabbing two menus, she said brightly, “Oh, I know a perfect table for the two of you!”

She walked out on to the empty patio, made her way to the back, and pulled some chairs from a secluded table near a hedge.

“Uh, cool,” I said, “But I think we’d rather sit out front where we can watch girls walk by,” I said. “I realize I’m too old for that, but it’s all I have at this age.”

She looked surprised. “Oh, of course! Girls!” she said, pausing before she said “girls.”

She sat us out front and started to walk away.

“He’s my brother,” I called out, smiling.

She didn’t turn around.

I could see the air quotes above her head: “Your ‘brother.’ Right.”

NHL Introduces Stanley Cup Spin-Off Product Lines

The Stanley Cup is one of the most beloved trophies in all of sports.

Most sports create a new trophy every year, but the Stanley Cup is the same.

The NHL even has a special “Keeper of the Cup” who is tasked with taking care of it as it winds its way through the hockey world.

Like the sport it represents, the Cup is inclusive and friendly. As a result, people have done some strange things with it, and the NHL is taking advantage.

For example, after the Los Angeles Kings won the Cup in 2014, several players took pictures with their babies sitting inside the Cup bowl. Now hockey fans can go online and buy Stanley Cups Baby, a replica Cup complete with blankets and a pillow, perfect for placing baby in while the family watches hockey on TV.

In fact, two different babies have been baptized in the Cup over the years. Working with various religious organizations, the NHL has now installed Stanley Cup Baptism Basins across Canada and the US. A baby is dipped in Molson Golden Ale and then wrapped in an appropriate team blanket.

100 Days

The winning team is given 100 days each year to do with the Cup what they will. In turn, each team gives each player one day for them to do what they want with it, within bounds set by the “Keeper.” In 1991, Pittsburgh Penguin Phil Borque decided to see if the cup would float in Mario Lemieux’s pool. It did not. The NHL now offers Stanley Cup Inflatables, a line of inflatable floats for the whole family.

After winning the Cup in 1905, the Ottawa Hockey Club partied a little too hard, kicked the Cup into the city’s Ridieu Canal and forgot about it. They realized it the next day and dove in the water to get it back. The NHL proudly sells the Stanley Cup Fishing Boat Anchor, perfect for keeping you in place while you knock back Molsons and fish for Northern Pike.

Getting Jacked

The Montreal Canadiens have won the Cup more than any other team. Maybe that’s why when they won in 1924, and removed the Cup from the car to change a flat tire, they forgot it on the side of the road. The NHL now offers Stanley Cup Tire Jacks, a fully functioning tire jack that looks like a collapsed Stanley Cup. When you turn the crank, it begins to expand and lift the car off the ground.

Speaking of Montreal, the Montreal Wanderers forgot the Cup at the home of a team photographer in 1907. His mom made it into a flower pot. This inspired the new line of Stanley Cup-shaped pots, planters, and window boxes for the hockey fan with a green thumb.

Dance Dance

The Cup has also visited many bars and nightclubs. The Edmonton Oilers once took the Cup to a strip club after their win in 1987. The same thing happened when the New York Rangers won in 1994. That’s why the NHL has introduced the Stanley Cup Dancing Stage. Dancers do their routines while moving around inside a giant replica Stanley Cup bowl. The curved edge makes it much easier for drunk patrons to throw money in without dropping it on the ground.

These are just a few of the innovations the league has created. The NHL is constantly testing new Stanley Cup concepts based on actual experiences of the Cup itself.

Kings Beat Rangers in Game 2 in 2nd Overtime and I’m Exhausted

This is another wild series for the Kings. I think they like to let the other team get ahead. They are loco in la cabeza.

On Saturday night they got behind early and eventually tied it up. Then they played for what seemed like 2 days until they scored in the second overtime and won 5-4.

Remember, these are the guys that won 3 playoff series this year in Game 7 on the road. Don’t make any bets that won’t happen again.

Medical News: Doctors Installed The Hockey Heart Monitor in My Chest

hockey heart monitor - 600w

Medical news: My doctor had to implant the new Hockey Heart Monitor in my chest. He said one more Stanley Cup game will kill me without it. After testing, he told me my heart rate has been rising to 1000 beats per minute during overtime periods. If my heart fails during a game, the Hockey Heart Monitor is patched in directly to a local heart surgeon to speed up a transplant.

Sochi Olympics: Bring On the Hockey!

A commentator at the Sochi games said Russia will measure the success of these games by how well the Russian men’s hockey team does. It reminds me of growing up in Canada. In 1972, they set up an 8-game series Team Canada vs. Soviet Union.

It was tied with 3 wins each and 1 tie going into game 7. The series became much more than hockey, it was a matter of national pride on a massive scale. The final game was tied 5-5. With 34 seconds left, Paul Henderson scored the winning goal. It was pandemonium in Canada. I can’t describe it. The whole country ran into the streets and out on the frozen lakes screaming and yelling. Cities crumbled. Moose and beavers ran around in circles. It was great.

I didn’t think I’d experience anything like that again. Until we moved back to the States and watched the Miracle on Ice at Lake Placid in 1980. That was even crazier.

Bring on the hockey!

Lord Stanley and the Cheerleaders

Joe Ditzel With Stanley Cup

It was 610am in the morning and cold. OK, maybe not for you but for us 38 degrees is like an ice age.

I was walking back from downtown where I went to get some cold and flu pills. I strolled past the little ice rink they have at LA Live, a restaurant/hotel/entertainment complex across the street from Staples Center where the Kings and Lakers play.

They had taken down the big Christmas tree that stands in the middle of the rink through New Year’s. Now there was Kings signage in the middle.

Hockey just came back to town after the strike and they were gearing up their marketing.

The sound of hockey sticks and skates echoed through the plaza as a group of players batted a puck around. There were some pretty girls playing as well. What’s going on here?

Right in the middle of one section of ice was a raised table with…wait a minute…is that…the Stanley Cup?

As in, Lord Stanley? Won by the world champion Los Angeles Kings?

Yes, it was. I moved around to the street side to see why it was sitting on the table.

Turns out the girls were Kings cheerleaders and the players were just regular dudes. They were shooting some kind of promotional video. But there was a lull in the action. I thought, wow, there’s no one out here in the cold breaking dawn except me, these dumb guys playing hockey, some very hot cheerleaders and the Stanley Cup.

I doubted I would ever get this close again.

“Hey, do you mind if I come over the boards to get a picture?” I yelled as I climbed over. It’s best to ask permission for something as you are actually doing it. I also knew they wouldn’t mind. Hockey is different than other sports. If this was a Lakers event there would be security everywhere. With hockey you just join in. They waved me closer.

One thing that struck me right away. The names on the cup are tiny. I know that every team that has ever won is printed on there. Well, the names are small and the older years look worn down and faded, almost rubbed off.

I asked one of the cheerleaders to take my picture. I almost asked if I could pick it up and hoist it up like I just won the series. Normally the NHL doesn’t mind if fans do stuff like that. There are legendary stories of where the cup has been and what has been done to it. But the video guy had it ready to go for his shoot and he was getting impatient.

Plus, I was a uninvited guest at their party. I just stood behind it with my hands in the pockets of my golf jacket.

All those years I played hockey in Canada as a kid and my first time with the Stanley Cup is in Lost Angels.

For us it’s been feeling like Canada lately, anyway.

Press Spin

Two boys are playing hockey on a pond in a park in Toronto, when one is attacked by a rabid Rottweiler. Thinking quickly, the other boy takes his stick, wedges it down the dog’s collar and twists, breaking the dog’s neck. A reporter who was strolling by sees the incident, and rushes over to interview the boy.

“Young Leafs Fan Saves Friend From Vicious Animal,” he starts writing in his notebook.

“But I’m not a Leafs fan,” the little hero replied.

“Sorry, since we are in Toronto, I just assumed you were,” said the reporter and starts again,

“Little Jays Fan Rescues Friend From Horrific Attack,” he continued writing in his notebook.

“I’m not a Jays fan either,” the boy said.

“I assumed everyone in Toronto was either a Leafs or Jays fan. What team, do you root for?” the reporter asked.

“I’m a Montreal Canadiens fan,” the boy said.

The reporter starts a new sheet in his notebook and writes, “Little Kid from Montreal Kills Beloved Family Pet.”