CHL Update: Zoomies Coach Sparks OT Win with Wacky Speech

The Colorado Springs Zoomies have been one of the CHL’s strongest teams since the league’s inception.  They made the playoffs in 2016 and 2017, only to lose in the divisional round.  This season, Colorado Springs is mired around the .500 mark, but they’re hoping to get hot in the second half and win their first title.  If they do reach the promised land, the Zoomies may look back on this week’s comeback win – and coach Artie Gambisch’s unusual inspirational speech – as a turning point.

On Wednesday, Colorado Springs rallied after blowing a third-period lead and snatched a 3-2overtime win over the contending Idaho Spuds.  After the game, several of the players pointed to a between-periods Gambisch pep talk as the key to the comeback.  When asked what the coach had said, the players were a bit vague.  “It’s hard to describe.  It was… a work of art,” said RW Joel Hagendosh, who scored the game-winning goal.  “You should ask him about it.”

Artie Gambisch

Accordingly, the reporters asked Gambisch about the speech in his postgame press conference.  After a long laugh, Gambisch said, “I don’t know.  I feel like it should just be between me and the boys.”  Upon follow-up questioning, however, Gambisch elaborated.

“I was telling them not to give up hope just because we had the lead and lost it,” said Gambisch.  “I told them that they shouldn’t be afraid, that fear is the only thing that could hold them back.”

Gambisch’s tempo and volume picked up as he got into the rhythm of it, “I told ‘em, ‘If you’re afraid you can’t win it, kill that fear!  Stab it right in the heart with a rusty jackknife!  Be brave!  Punch a lion in the nuts!  Fear is useless!  Fear is temporary!  Glory is forever!”

Pounding the podium, Gambisch shouted, “You deserve greatness!  Kill anyone who says you don’t and build your castle out of their bones!  Now go out there, grab this game by the throat and choke it to death with your bare hands!!”  The assembled reporters broke into spontaneous applause as Gambisch grinned and said, “That’s what I told ‘em, basically.”

The Colorado Springs players were just as charged up by the speech as the reporters.  “It was the most inspirational thing I’ve ever heard in my life,” said D Ernie Blake.  “When he first got going, we weren’t quite sure what was happening.  We were looking at each other like, ‘Is he having a stroke? Do we need to call 911?’  But then we got into it, and we got pumped up.  By the time he was done, the other team didn’t stand a chance.”

“If General Patton had given that speech to the troops,” said G Sonny Kashiuk, “World War II would have been over in a week.”

“That speech… man, I get chills just thinking about it,” said C Foster Culp.  “He got me so fired up, I was ready to run through a brick wall.  In fact, I was gonna go find a brick wall and run through it, but my teammates kind of grabbed me and guided me out to the ice instead.”

Asked what he planned for an encore, Gambisch said, “I didn’t.  You mean I’ve got to find a way to top that?  Oh Jesus.  I should have saved this one for the playoffs.”

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2019 CHL All-Star Rosters

The day after the SHL’s All-Star Game, their minor league will be holding its second annual All-Star contest.  The game will take place at Wasatch Arena, home of the Utah Owls. The rosters for the game, along with each player’s current stats, are below.

WEST ALL-STARS

Coach: Patrick Chillingham (Minnesota)

 

First Line

LW: Veikko Sikanen, Omaha (16 G, 19 A, 35 Pts, 42 PIM, +16)

D: Rodney Black, Idaho (19 G, 10 A, 29 Pts, 10 PIM, +6)

C: Dale Wilcox, Idaho (13 G, 25 A, 38 Pts, 16 PIM, +16)

D: Brady Prussian, Idaho (15 G, 13 A, 28 Pts, 16 PIM, +6)

RW: Adriaen van der Veen, Omaha (16 G, 23 A, 39 Pts, 6 PIM, +16)

 

Second Line

LW: Terry Cresson, Idaho (11 G, 22 A, 33 Pts, 16 PIM, +16)

D: Laszlo Cierny, Minnesota (6 G, 19 A, 25 Pts, 46 PIM, +2)

C: Foster Culp, Colorado Springs (16 G, 16 A, 32 Pts, 12 PIM, Even)

D: Lowell Sharkey, Omaha (4 G, 19 A, 23 Pts, 12 PIM, +8)

RW: Harris Wondolowski, Utah (15 G, 24 A, 39 Pts, 18 PIM, +2)

 

Third Line

LW: Gabriel Swindonburg, Milwaukee (19 G, 10 A, 29 Pts, 34 PIM, -4)

D: Trevor Lockwood, Omaha (12G, 14 A, 26 Pts, 29 PIM, +11)

C: Lloyd “Goofy” Banjax, Utah (13 G, 19 A, 32 Pts, 10 PIM, -6)

D: Craig Werner, Utah (7 G, 17 A, 24 Pts, 12 PIM, +2)

RW: Joel Hagendosh, Colorado Springs (13 G, 20 A, 33 Pts, 63 PIM, -13)

 

Goalies

Hobie Sanford, Milwaukee (7-8-3, 2.02 GAA, .931 save %)

Curt Freeze, Minnesota (12-8-1, 2.07 GAA, .924 save %)

 

EAST ALL-STARS

Coach: Jeffrey “Swampy” Marsh (Virginia)

 

First Line

LW: Alan Youngman, Baltimore (18 G, 22 A, 40 Pts, 22 PIM, +17)

D: Ambroz Melicar, Baltimore (11 G, 25 A, 36 Pts, 10 PIM, +2)

C: Tucker Barnhill, Baltimore (17 G, 30 A, 47 Pts, 24 PIM, +17)

D: Elvis Bodett, Oshawa (14 G, 8 A, 22 Pts, 19 PIM, +12)

RW: Steve Brandon, Cleveland (19 G, 12 A, 31 Pts, 24 PIM, +2)

 

Second Line

LW: Yuri Laronov, Virginia (16 G, 15 A, 31 Pts, 16 PIM, -5)

D: Teddy Morrison, Maine (8 G, 13 A, 21 Pts, 14 PIM, Even)

C: Hilliard Macy, Oshawa (15 G, 18 A, 33 Pts, 12 PIM, +15)

D: Casimir Druzek, Virginia (2 G, 20 A, 22 Pts, 27 PIM, -4)

RW: Sidney Archer, Baltimore (15 G, 16 A, 31 Pts, 2 PIM, +17)

 

Third Line

LW: Marty “Fish” Pescatelli, Hartford (12 G, 16 A, 28 Pts, 39 PIM, -9)

D: Roscoe “Ruckus” Corbetta, Virginia (6 G, 12 A, 18 Pts, 70 PIM, -5)

C: Tanner Brooks, Virginia (19 G, 12 A, 31 Pts, 10 PIM, -5)

D: Burton Cullidge, Cleveland (1 G, 15 A, 15 Pts, 42 PIM, -4)

RW: Felix Delorme, Hartford (15 G, 13 A, 28 Pts, 14 PIM, -9)

 

Goalies

Eugene Looney, Cleveland (8-7-0, 1.79 GAA, .925 save %)

Jonathan Crane, Maine (9-9-2, 2.06 GAA, .917 save %)

Shockers Hold Night to Honor “Bananas Foster”

This offseason, C Foster Culp left the Saskatchewan Shockers in free agency and signed with the Seattle Sailors.  He was not widely missed by Shockers fans or management.  After showing considerable promise as a rookie, he stagnated over the next two seasons, never breaking the 20-goal mark or surpassing the 31 points he amassed in his first season.  He was far better known for his screwball off-ice antics and bizarre quotes than for anything he achieved on the ice.

Foster Culp

As a result, when Culp returned to Saskatchewan for the first team in the season’s second week, the Shockers didn’t do anything to mark the occasion.  After the game, the center admitted that he was miffed at the lack of recognition.  “I mean, I wasn’t expecting them to retire my number or anything, but why wasn’t there a Foster Culp Night?” he asked reporters.  “I gave these guys three years of my life, and I don’t get even a gold watch or anything?  Not cool, man.”

When informed of Culp’s displeasure, Saskatchewan coach Myron Beasley barely managed to stifle his laughter.  “He thinks we should have a night for him?  Typical Bananas Foster.”  Beasley explained that “Bananas Foster was our nickname for him in the clubhouse.  Don’t get me wrong, he was a nice guys and a decent player.  But his elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor, if you know what I mean.  We’ve got some loose screws on this team, but Foster was something else again.  We were just glad he didn’t wind up in prison.”

But in the wake of the exchange, some Shockers fans emailed and tweeted at the front office urging them to make “Bananas Foster Night” a reality.  And given their past difficulties with promotions, the team saw an opportunity for an easy win.  “If the fans want Bananas Foster Night, for whatever reason,” said GM Cooper Matthews, “then Bananas Foster Night they will have.”

When the Sailors arrived at Potash Arena on Tuesday, Shockers fans greeted Culp (who was a healthy scratch for the game) with cutouts of his face and stuffed bananas, giveaways from the team.  And between the first and second periods, the team played a “tribute” video of Culp, with clips of him fumbling passes and shooting wide of the net interspersed with reminders of some of his more outlandish incidents, including the time he caused the team to be detained at customs with a smart remark about smuggling drugs, the time he was arrested for joyriding a baggage cart at the airport, and the time he microwaved a burrito for too long and caused the team’s practice facility to catch fire.  In between, the video included clips of some of Culp’s post-game quotes, such as “If you can outscore your opponent, you’ll win most times” and “Practice is like masturbation: it’s okay if you have to do it, but it’s not as much fun as the real thing.”

After the video was complete, the crowd gave Culp a standing ovation and tossed their bananas onto the ice.  Culp stood, blew kisses to the crowd, and took several sweeping bows.  And after the game, a 2-1 Shockers win, he expressed appreciation for the tribute — sarcastic or not.

“When I first heard they were gonna do Bananas Foster Night, I was afraid they were going to set me on fire,” said Culp.  “But this was cool, feeling the love of my people.  A piece of me will always be here.  Literally. One time I took a puck to the mouth and lost a couple of teeth, and I think they’re still here somewhere.”

Beasley also paid a compliment to his former player.  “Strange as it seems, I do miss Foster a little sometimes,” the coach said.  “Then I remember all the dumb stunts he pulled, and I got over it.  But there’s no question that he’s one of a kind.  He’s the only guy who wouldn’t get to play on his own tribute night.”

Shockers’ Practice Arena Damaged by Fire

The Saskatchewan Shockers will need to find another venue for their practice skates for the next several weeks, as the locker room at their practice facility was badly damaged by a fire.  The culprits: Shockers C Foster Culp — and a microwave burrito.

The Shockers held their usual off-day practice Thursday morning at Harbour Landing Arena. During a break in between sessions, Culp decided to microwave a couple of breakfast burritos he’d purchased at a nearby restaurant on the way in.  “I always get a little peckish in between skates,” Culp explained later, “so I always make sure to get myself a little something-something to snack on.”

Foster Culp

One problem with Culp’s otherwise sound plan: The burritos were wrapped in aluminum foil, which the center neglected to remove before turning the microwave on.  Presumably, the foil began sparking, and the sparks landed on the inner paper wrapper around the burritos, causing them to catch fire.

Not that Culp noticed; he’d set the microwave and wandered off to find a drink.  But a few minutes later, he thought he smelled something burning and returned to the microwave, to discover that it had become a ball of fire.  He stared at it, transfixed, but took no action as the fire began to spread to the counter on which the microwave sat.

At that point, RW Brad Stevens noticed either the smell or the smoke and went over to examine the situation.  He saw Culp staring at the conflagration and said, “Dude, fire!”  Culp responded, “Yeah, I know.”

Stevens tried again: “Dude, put it out!”  Culp said, “Uh, with what?  I don’t have a hose.”  Stevens pointed at the fire extinguisher on the wall and said, “Use that, stupid!”

Culp snapped out of his trance, ran to the wall, and grabbed the extinguisher.  But rather than point it at the fire and start spraying, Culp took the extinguisher and hurled it at the fire.  Unsurprisingly, this had no effect.

By the time G Zeke Zagurski grabbed another extinguisher and brought it over to the scene, the fire had spread to the adjoining wall and the team was forced to evacuate the area.  The fire department had to be called in, and by the time they extinguished the blaze, the locker room had suffered an estimated $250,000 in damage.

When asked about the incident, coach Myron Beasley put his hand over his face and sighed.  “Foster… he’s a piece of work, he really is,” said Beasley.  “I don’t know if he got dropped on his head a lot as a kid or what.  But he thinks… different than you and I do.”

Culp was chagrined by his mistake.  “Obviously. knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t do that again,” said Culp.  “But I needed those burritos!  Who hasn’t needed a burrito from time to time?”

Shockers Players Detained in Airport Hijinks

Saskatchewan SmallA pair of Saskatchewan Shockers found themselves in hot water this week after a mischievous prank at the airport went awry.

The Shockers were feeling pretty punch at the end of a long flight home from Quebec on Friday night after toppling the Tigres 4-2.  The second half of the season has been a slog for Saskatchewan; after getting off to a better-than-expected 14-15-1 start, the team has lost 15 of 20 since.  So it’s little surprise that players might be looking to blow off some steam.

As they were leaving the plane, C Foster Culp and backup goalie Shawn Stickel decided to have a little fun.  They slipped down the stairs from the jetway, snuck onto the tarmac, hopped into the baggage tractor, and went for a joyride.  They were on the loose for about 10 minutes, merrily eluding airport personnel, but were ultimately stopped by a blockade before they could make it onto the runway.  The kerfuffle caused a 30-minute ground stop at the airport, in order to avoid endangering passengers.

shawn-stickel
Shawn Stickel
Foster Culp
Foster Culp

After being stopped, Culp and Stickel were taken into custody by airport security, and after questioning were detained overnight by the Saskatchewan police.  Coach Myron Beasley bailed the pair out the next day.

This isn’t the first time that Culp has gotten into trouble on the Shockers’ travels.  Last season, he caused the Shockers to be detained at the airport for several hours after jokingly telling customs officials that he had brought guns and drugs with him on the plane.  This incident was taken considerably more seriously, with officials threatening to press charges for the escapade.  (At press time, it was not clear what charges, if any, the pair might face.)

As the center later explained, it all began innocently enough.  “We’d been caged up on that plane for hours, and Shawn and I just wanted some fresh air,” Culp told reporters.  “We figured we’d just go outside for a bit, have a cigarette maybe, and that was it.  But then we noticed all the cool little trucks and things that go zipping around there, and we thought it would be fun to take a ride.”

Culp said that originally, they had planned to take one vehicle each and have a drag race on the runway.  “But the baggage cart was the only one close by, so we decided to just take that and go Thelma and Louise.”

“Needless to say, alcohol was involved in the incident,” Beasley said.

The Shockers fined both Culp and Stickel for their antics.  “I mean, I get it,” said the coach.  “Long flight, tough season, guys are going to get lubed up and these things can happen.  But it’s embarrassing to the team, and it’s a problem for everybody in the airport.”

The coach added that he felt the overnight detention was appropriate.  “It gave those guys a chance to dry out,” Beasley said.  “Which they clearly needed.”

Shockers Get In Trouble at Border

Saskatchewan ShockersThe Saskatchewan Shockers found themselves in hot water with the TSA thanks to a smart-aleck player.  The Shockers flew into Grand Rapids this week for a game against the Michigan Gray Wolves.  While the team was going through customs, an official asked Shockers C Foster Culp if he had packed his own luggage.  Culp replied, “Actually, the clubhouse guys pack our bags for us.  But the bag with the guns and heroin, I packed that one myself.”

Foster Culp
Foster Culp

Culp’s flippant answer led to the team being delayed at the airport for an additional five hours.  Three hours were spent on a complete search of all of the Shockers’ luggage, and coach Myron Beasley spent the next two hours convincing the officials to release Culp from detention.  The team didn’t get to their hotel until after 3 AM, which was likely a contributing factor in their 5-1 loss to the Gray Wolves the next night.

The Shockers fined Culp $1,000 for his antics.  During his postgame press conference, Beasley said, “I should have just let them keep him in jail.”

Culp apologized to the team, saying, “It’s the kind of thing that you think is funny after a long day and a long losing streak.  I made the mistake of thinking that those TSA agents might have a sense of humor.”

Culp started the season on Saskatchewan’s third line, and was promoted to the second line based on his solid play.  Beasley said that he did not plan to punish Culp by benching or demoting him: “I assign lines based on merit.  Foster might be a knucklehead, but he’s a good player.”