Shockers Post First Win

Saskatchewan ShockersThe Saskatchewan Shockers have had a rough beginning to the season.  Through the first two and a half weeks of the season, the Shockers compiled an 0-13-1 record.  The mood among the fans at Potash Arena was best summarized by a sign that read, “We Need a Saskatche-WIN!”

The Shockers finally fulfilled that request this week by posting a 3-1 win over their fellow Canadian club, the Hamilton Pistols.  The crowd erupted in a rowdy standing ovation as the final seconds ticked off the clock and the Shockers dogpiled at center ice.

“Finally!” exulted goalie Zeke Zagurski, who made 39 saves to seal the victory.  “We’ve been waiting on this one for too long.”

The team celebrated with a parody of the NHL’s traditional Stanley Cup celebration.  Center Napoleon Beasley, the team’s captain, retrieved a garbage can from the clubhouse and skated a lap around the ice while holding it in the air.  The Shockers then passed it off to one another, with each teammate taking a victory lap as the fans roared.  “Yeah, it was a little silly, maybe,” said Beasley.  “But we were all ready for a release.  It’s just been so hard, coming up short every time.”

Coach Myron Beasley, Napoleon’s father, praised his team for maintaining their competitive spirit.  “I mean, we knew we weren’t going to lose them all,” said the Shockers coach.  “But it’s been a struggle.  I give the guys credit; they haven’t put their heads down or stopped trying.  They’ve been working hard to get to this day.  And it’s fun!”  As Beasley finished speaking, the played doused him in a beer shower.

In the other locker room, Pistols coach Ron Wright praised the Shockers’ effort.  “We all knew they were going to get this win sometime,” Wright said.  “Obviously, we’d hoped that it wouldn’t be us who gave it to them.  But they earned it; they dug in the corners and kept the pressure on, and that was the key.”  Wright did find the Shockers’ postgame celebration distasteful.  “I mean, for God’s sake, it’s one win,” said Wright.  “Show a little pride!  If my players ever did that for a meaningless regular-season game, they’d be walking the bread line the next morning.”

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SHL Quote of the Week (Week 2)

“I feel like we should be running away with this, but our shots just aren’t going in.  I’ve started checking to see if they’re sticking a sheet of Plexiglas in front of the goal.”

SHL Player of the Week – Week 2

Hamilton PistolsThe SHL selected Hamilton Pistols LW Steven Alexander as its Player of the Week.  For the week, Alexander posted 9 goals and 2 assists, leading the Pistols to a 4-2 week that moved them into a second-place tie in the East.

Steven Alexander
Steven Alexander

“Alexander is a misunderstood genius,” said Pistols coach Ron Wright.  “He’s creative, hard-working, and he’s not afraid to throw a punch when it’s necessary.  Other people might get more attention, but we wouldn’t be where we are without him.”

His linemate, C Rod Remington, put it more simply: “He’s money.”

Interview of the Week: Ryan Airston

Dakota RapidsOur interview of the week is with Dakota Rapids LW “Flyin’ Ryan” Airston.

SHL Digest: We are here today with “Flyin’ Ryan” Airston, a player for the Dakota Rapids.

Ryan Airston: Hi, everybody!  It’s cool to be here.

Ryan Airston
“Flyin’ Ryan” Airston

SHLD: We’re happy to have you here! So, one of the most popular questions people have is: how are you so fast?

RA: Well, every day I skate 50 laps around the arena to work on my speed.  Also, I eat a lot of carrots, because bunnies eat carrots, and they’re fast.

SHLD: Many people don’t know about your fluffy bunny ranch and your love for bunnies. Can you tell us a little more about that?

RA: Sure!  I come from a long line of bunny ranchers.  At my ranch back home in Manitoba, we’ve got over 200 bunnies.  They’re so cute!  The fluffier, the better.  Sometimes I just go in there, grab a couple bunnies, and hug them.

SHLD: Wow, that is a lot of bunnies! I am glad you have something that inspires you.  Many players don’t have something so unique!

RA: Thanks.  When I was a kid, a lot of guys made fun of me.  They called me “Bunny Boy.”  But then I started skating past them and scoring goals, and they stopped laughing.

SHLD: So, switching topics: how do you think your team has been doing?

RA: I think we’re off to a strong start!  It’s a tough division – Michigan and Anchorage are really good – but we’ve got the best offense in the league.  We’re going to be hard to beat!

SHLD: It is true, your offensive statistics are quite impressive. Are there any areas in which you think the team could use improvement?

RA: Well, Coach is always telling us that we need to hit more guys.  I don’t know about that, but we play so fast and we can get burned sometimes.  We’ve got to take care of the puck in our own end.

SHLD: Lastly, if you could say anything to the other teams in the SHL, what would you tell them?

RA: I’d say that we may not be the biggest or the toughest guys, but you’d better watch out, because we’re going to blow by you and on to the championship!

SHLD: Good choice! Well, good luck to you and your team; keep going fast! Thank you so much for letting us have an interview.

RA: My pleasure!  It was neat talking to you.

Igloos Host Sled Dog Show

Anchorage IgloosThis week, the Anchorage Igloos hosted a special dog show at Arctic Circle Arena before their game against the Saskatchewan Shockers.  The show featured local sled dogs, including animals that have run in the Iditarod and other famous races.

The dogs were judged on the basis of appearance, temperament, and talent.  Three Igloos team members served as judges: C Jake Frost, G Ty Worthington, and coach Sam Castor.  The winning dog was Blitzer, an 8-year-old Alaskan Husky who has run in the Iditarod twice.

Blitzer
Blitzer

Frost said that he found the whole experience educational.  “I learned that sled dogs can run over 20 miles an hour,” Frost said.  “That’s almost as fast as I can skate!”

Worthington said he’d learned that dogs like reindeer meat.  “I’ve had venison before,” said the goalie, “so I get where they’re coming from.  It’s tasty stuff!”

After the judging, the fans who showed up had a chance to pet the dogs and get autographs from the players.  Castor admitted that the dogs appeared considerably more popular but added, “Once we’ve been here awhile, hopefully that will change.”

Galaxy Players Go Cow Crazy

Washington GalaxyOn the surface, it seems like things are going well for the Washington Galaxy.  The team has been at or close to the top of the standings throughout the season to date.  But beneath the surface, according to sources close to the team, a tension is building.  The source of that tension: a chocolate-theme jingle performed by a trio of singing cows.

This week, the Galaxy came to Hershey to play the Bliss.  Coach Rodney Reagle, figuring it was a good opportunity for the new team to bond, brought the Galaxy in a day early and took them to the Chocolate World exhibit at Hersheypark.  In addition to creating their own candy bars and tasting a variety of different chocolates, the team went on a ride that explains how Hershey’s chocolate is made.

singing-cows-of-hershey
The (real) singing cows

One of the most notable aspects of the ride is a trio of female cows (Gabby, Harmony, and Olympia) that sing about the glories of milk chocolate.  The players all agreed that this was a highlight of the experience.  Little did they know that it would be the bone of contention in the days to come.

Casey Thurman
Casey Thurman

According to team sources, Galaxy LW Casey Thurman, D Kevin Buchanan, and F Gene Kennedy were especially fond of the song.  And ever since, the three have taken to serenading their teammates with the jingle, in falsetto, everywhere the team goes.  In the locker room before games, on the team plane, in restaurants, everywhere.  The three players even bought pink boas to match those worn by the cows.

Kevin Buchanan
Kevin Buchanan

Needless to say, the constant singing has not been equally appreciated by all teammates.  In particular, C Drustan Zarkovich reportedly threatened to kill the singers with his stick if they didn’t stop singing during a particularly long plane flight.  The threats and complaints have reportedly only encouraged Thurman, Buchanan, and Kennedy to keep it up.

Gene Kennedy
Gene Kennedy

“I mean, it was funny at first,” said star LW Jefferson McNeely.  “But there’s a point where it’s too much.  I mean, you see three grown men walking down the street, singing in high voices and wearing pink boas… it’s weird.  They’ve even started calling each other by the names of the stupid cows.”

Apprised of McNeely’s criticism, Thurman (“Gabby”) responded, “I’ve never had more fun in my life.  I think in my soul, there’s always been a singing cow waiting to get out.”

For his part, Reagle doesn’t regret the bonding trip.  “It’s the kind of thing the guys will be talking about all season,” said the coach.  “Maybe eventually one of the guys will snap and start choking someone, and then I’ll have to intervene.  But for now, I’m cool with it.  Besides, I’ve heard them sing, and they’re not half bad.  Of course, they’re not half good either.”