Shockers Set SHL Record with 11-Goal Game

There’s no denying that it’s been another long season for the Saskatchewan Shockers.  They fell out of contention from almost the beginning of the season, and they were mathematically eliminated with almost three weeks left.  They unleashed yet another disastrous promotion on their fans, this time a poorly designed kids’ activity book.  Until this week, perhaps the most notable event of Saskatchewan’s season was when one of their players accidentally set fire to the locker room.

That all changed on Friday, as the Shockers finally delivered a season highlight worth celebrating.  They may be having a season to forget, but Friday was a game to remember, as Saskatchewan set a new SHL record for goals in a game in an 11-5 thumping of the Dakota Jackalopes.

“We sure know how to deliver excitement, huh?” said Shockers coach Myron Beasley with a huge grin.  “You saw more goals in this game than you’d see in a week watching Michigan or Anchorage.  You want fun, come see us!”

C Elliott Rafferty pointed out that Saskatchewan had scored 11 despite the fact that no player managed a hat trick.  “That’s a testament to the kind of depth we have here,” the center said.  Rafferty, C Napoleon Beasley, and D Dick Bradshaw each scored two goals, while LW Troy Chamberlain, D Wyatt Barnes, RW Brad Stevens, D Ed Francis, and RW Andrew “Lucky” Fortuno got one apiece.

The game was not a blowout at the beginning; at the end of the first period, the score stood 4-3.  The Shockers peppered Dakota goalie Buzz Carson, but the Jackalopes fired 19 shots at Oliver Richardson and put three behind him.  In the second period, Saskatchewan blew it open, scoring five unanswered goals and sending Carson to the showers.

The Shockers came into the third chasing history, but it seems that no one was aware of it.  The PA announcer made no mention of it, and the fans and benches seemed equally unaware.  Eight and a half minutes into the period, Chamberlain snapped a shot past new Dakota netminder Christen Adamsson for Saskatchewan’s tenth goal, tying the SHL record, first set by Dakota against the Shockers last season.   Five minutes later, Barnes buried a rebound to set a new record.  The crowd roared its approval, but again, no mention was made of the new record.

It wasn’t until after the game, when a journalist who had looked up the record asked about it, that the Shockers discovered what they had done.  “Hey, we’re famous!” shouted Beasley when informed of the record.  “That’s really cool.  Now we’ll be able to go to the record books and point and say, ‘Hey, I was part of that.'”

“This team is more dangerous than people think,” said Rafferty, who had two assists in the game in addition to his pair of goals.  “We’ve got some real snipers here.  We’re a young team and we’re still learning, but games like this show what we’re capable of.”

Heinz Doofenshmirtz

Owner Heinz Doofenschmirtz, whose passion for his team is well-known around the league, was ecstatic with his team’s performance.  The owner reportedly came into the locker room after the game and gave each player an $1,100 bonus check in recognition of the record-setting performance.  “I believe he’s doing a few laps around the ceiling about now,” said Beasley.

For the Shockers, the game was a welcome bright spot in an unremarkable year.  For the Jackalopes, it was yet another reminder of a season gone wrong.  Small-market Dakota spent heavily in the offseason to build a team that could contend for a title.  Instead, the Jackalopes have turned in another so-so season, and ownership has signaled that they intend to cut payroll next season.

Jackalopes coach Harold Engellund, whose job is reportedly in jeopardy, responded wearily to news of Saskatchewan’s record-setting performance.  “Well, congratulations to them,” said Engellund.  “They’re a team on the rise and they deserve it.  But that’s not a record you really want to be part of, not on the other end.  If this is what we’re remembered for this year, that’s not too good.”

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Shockers Screw Up Another Promo With Error-Filled Kids’ Book

The Saskatchewan Shockers, to put it mildly, have had a rough time coming up with successful promotions.  In 2015, there was Japanese Night, in which the team started a sumo wrestler in goal; the result was an awkward embarrassment.  Last season, there was the Kazoo Night fiasco; that game nearly turned into a riot, with fans chucking malfunctioning kazoos onto the ice.

This season, the Shockers decided to try a simpler, less dangerous promotion: Kids Night.  In an effort to draw in younger fans, the Shockers offered discountered tickets for fans 12 and under.  In addition, they raffled off the opportunity for kids to work in a variety of positions, including on public address announcer, in-game entertainment crew member, usher, reporter, and ceremonial first puck dropper.  To cap it all off, the team offered a giveaway: a Shockers-themed activity/puzzle book.

The day itself largely went off without a hitch.  The PA announcer repeatedly mangled the name of LW Tadeusz Adamczyk, and the puck dropper accidentally flung the biscuit onto the bench instead of dropping it on the ice, but otherwise things went smoothly.

The trouble started when the kids got home and started looking at their activity books.  The book was riddled with errors and problems.  For instance, the word search was missing several of the terms that kids were supposed to find, and the grid spelled out multiple curse words.  The scramble that was supposed to contain the names of Shockers players instead contained strings of letters that didn’t spell anything.  Multiple pages were printed upside down, and the page that was supposed to list the answers was missing entirely.

Irate parents took to social media to vent their displeasure with the book.  “My kid cried for 45 minutes bc he couldnt get the word scramble right,” said one fan.  “Turns out it was all garbage, like this team!!”  Another highlighted the obscenities in the word search and tweeted, “So I guess u think this is ‘appropriate’ 2 give 2 kids???”  The Shockers initially claimed that “some fans” might have received misprinted copies, but it quickly became clear that all of the books contained the errors and omissions.

Heinz Doofenshmirtz

It turns out that, rather than hiring a professional company to design and print the books, team owner Heinz Doofenshmirtz outsourced the job to a relative who “wants to make kid’s books someday.”  He never provided proofs of the work before printing, and the Saskatchewan front office apparently never asked for any.  Nor did they check the finished books before handing them out.

“Yeah, we had a few problems there,” said Doofenshmirtz.  “The one time I really needed a self-destruct button, we didn’t have one.  How ironic.”

The Shockers have destroyed all remaining copies of the book, and are reportedly looking for a way to compensate the children who may have been upset or traumatized by the event.  “I was going to put a bouncy castle on the roof of our arena and let the kids play on it,” said Doofenshmirtz.  “But it turns out there are some liability issues with that, and our insurance company dropped us after the whole Kazoo Night thing.  So we’re working on it.”

At least one person from the Shockers had no problem with the promotion.  “I don’t see what all the fuss is about,” quipped coach Myron Beasley.  “I found the word search very educational.”

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 Stumble to Finish Line

Saskatchewan SmallIt’s fair to say that the second half of this season was a disaster for the Saskatchewan Shockers.  After a surprisingly strong 14-15-1 record in the first half, the Shockers collapsed in the second half, posting a 7-23-0 mark.  That record included a pair of seven-game losing streaks.  Their late-season misadventures ranged from a stick getting wedged in the boards to a pair of players getting arrested after taking a joyride at the airport.  Their dismal half came to a suitably disappointing close, as the Shockers stumbled through a memorable final week.

“We took a big step forward this year,” said Saskatchewan coach Myron Beasley.  “It just doesn’t feel like it right now.”

The week began on an embarrassing note, as the Shockers lost in overtime to the SHL’s worst team, the expansion Seattle Sailors.  The win allowed Seattle to tie last year’s Shockers for the fewest-ever points recorded in a season with 23.  (The Sailors did wind up setting a record for fewest victories, finishing with 10 vs. the Shockers’ 11.)  Seattle won only two of its final 27 games; both were against Saskatchewan.

After the game, Beasley called the loss “kind of humiliating, to tell you the truth.”  Little did he know how much worse it could get.

The next night, the Shockers hosted their rivals, the Dakota Rapids.  The Rapids soared in the second half (19-8-3) while the Shockers cratered, and this game starkly illustrated the team’s opposite trajectories.  When the shelling stopped, the Rapids had set a new SHL record for goals in a game, pounding the Shockers 10-4.  Stickel, one of the stars of the airport misadventure, started in goal for Saskatchewan and surrendered all 10 goals. Beasley took some criticism for subjecting his backup netminder to such a pummeling, although he later admitted, “I kind of lost track of the score after a while.  I didn’t know it was that bad.”

On Tuesday, the Shockers watched Michigan outshoot them 42-18 and clinch the West division title with a 3-1 win.  In many ways, it was the highlight of the Shockers’ week.  “At least we got to see someone having a good time,” said RW Brad Stevens.

The next night, the Shockers were in Anchorage, and Stickel was back in net.  The result was another thumping, with the Igloos winning 8-2.  Stickel’s last two calamitous outings swelled his GAA from 4.61 to 5.29.  “I think I’m kind of going deaf from the goal horn going off in my ear so many times,” he said after the Anchorage fiasco.

The Shockers closed out the season at home, and managed to salvage a shred of dignity, beating an imploding New York team 6-4.  But even in victory, Saskatchewan lost.  The win dropped the Shockers out of the second spot in the draft, allowing them to finish a single point ahead of Quebec.  In a shallow draft, the slip could cost the Shockers dearly.

Despite the second-half swan dive, the team announced that Beasley will return as coach next season.  “There were some guys offering me condolences after the announcement,” admitted the coach.  “But I’m happy about it.  After all, it means I still get paid!  Yippee!”

Beasley added in all seriousness that he was optimistic about next season.  “I know these last severaal weeks were kind of a slog,” the coach said, “but I think it’s made us stronger.  Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?  We’re not dead yet.”

Questionable Calls Spark Bliss-Shockers Rivalry

Hershey SmallSaskatchewan SmallTuesday’s contest between the Hershey Bliss and the Saskatchewan Shockers was expected to be a fairly humdrum affair between two sub-.500 teams in opposite divisions with no real rivalry with each other.  What unfolded instead was a surprisingly physical contest that left both teams furious and calling for suspensions.

“Well, that escalated quickly,” said Shockers LW Troy Chamberlain.  “We’ve got ourselves a good old-fashioned hate going now.”

The controversy centered primarily on the actions of Saskatchewan’s Mark Clark, a fairly obscure third-line winger.  Clark has a reputation as a scrappy player despite his diminutive size.  Hoping to neutralize Hershey’s high-scoring “Love Line,” Shockers coach Myron Beasley sent Clark’s third line out to match up against them.

Twice in the first two periods, Clark was whistled for high-sticking against Love Line members.  In the first period, Clark went up for a high puck and caught Bliss LW Lance Sweet in the nose.  Late in the second, Clark nailed Hershey C Justin Valentine above his left eyebrow.  In neither case did Clark draw blood, head referee Scott Jackson assessed Clark a single minor for each offense.  The Bliss argued that he should have at least received an additional minor, if not a major, for what they felt were deliberate attempts to injure.

“If it happens once, okay, maybe that’s an accident,” said Bliss coach “Chocolate Chip” Barber.  “But twice?  And both against our top guys?  That’s targeting, and that’s dirty.”

Lance Sweet
Lance Sweet

Early in the third period, Sweet got his revenge on Clark, tripping him in front of the Saskatchewan bench.  But Clark fell awkwardly against the board and wound up injuring his leg.  He didn’t return to the game and is expected to miss at least two weeks.

This time, it was the Shockers who were agitating for a major call, or even an ejection.  But again, Jackson only called a tripping minor on Sweet.  The crowd at Potash Arena booed lustily as Clark was helped from the ice, and some even tossed beer cups and hot dog wrappers on the ice.

“That was outrageous, the lack of a real call there,” said Beasley.  “Our guys hits your guy up high a couple times, doesn’t even draw blood, and so you slew-foot him and put him out for weeks?  And all we get is a lousy minor?  That’s garbage.”

The crowd was mollified somewhat after Saskatchewan rallied to win the game.  But as soon as the final horn sounded, both teams engaged in a shoving match as they skated off the ice.

After the game, both Clark and Sweet defended their actions.

“I play hard, but I play clean,” said Clark.  “Sometimes in a game, your stick slips and you hit a guy on accident; that’s hockey.  But I’ve never gone out there intending to hurt somebody.  But I guess Sweet over there wants to be judge, jury, and executioner.”

“That’s exactly the kind of crap we’re trying to get out of the game,” said Sweet of Clark’s actions.  “Send a low-skill thug out there to try to hit the other team’s stars.  Yeah, I wanted to send a message, let him know we were onto him and we didn’t appreciate it.  He took a bad tumble and wound up hurt.  I feel bad about that.  But I can’t say I feel that bad.  Live by the sword, die by the sword.”

After reviewing tapes of the incident, the league declined to issue suspensions, but did fine both Clark and Sweet $500.  “We didn’t see any evidence of reckless play or deliberate attempts to injure,” said SHL Commissioner Perry Mitchell.  “But both Clark and Sweet engaged in needlessly provocative actions that increased the likelihood of a major incident or serious injury occurring.  We’ve warned both teams not to try to resume hostilities the next time they play, and we’ll be talking to all our officials about strategies for de-escalating in situations like that.”

Both teams proclaimed themselves dissatisfied with the league’s decision.  It remains to be seen whether tempers will cool off before the teams meet again in two weeks in Hershey.

Hips Don’t Lie for Shockers Coach

Saskatchewan SmallLast week, Saskatchewan Shockers coach Myron Beasley saw his team’s season heading down the drain.  After opening the season with a surprise 2-1 win over Michigan, the Shockers had dropped their next six games in a row.  Beasley felt his team’s spirits drooping, as their hopes of improving on last year’s dismal 11-48-1 record flickered.

“I knew I needed to do something to shake things up,” said Beasley.

Myron Beasley
Myron Beasley

First, Beasley needed to find a target for his team to shoot for.  “I wanted it to be ambitious but achievable,” said the Shockers coach.  “Taking the division lead would be awesome, but we’re not there yet.  On the other hand, back-to-back wins aren’t enough.”  He decided that a .500 record would be a suitable benchmark.

With that decided, he needed to think of a good incentive.  SHL rules forbid coaches from offering players cash bonuses or gifts outside of their contracts, so that was out.  A team trip to Las Vegas was nixed by Shockers owner Heinz Doofenshmirtz.  So Beasley concocted an unorthodox alternative.

“I told ‘em that if they could get to .500, they’d get to meet Dr. Coconut,” the coach said.  At first, the response was less than enthusiastic.  “I think they were worried that maybe Dr. Coconut was my nickname for my junk or something,” Beasley admitted.

The coach then explained what he meant: If the team could reach the .500 mark, Beasley would don a coconut bra and grass skirt and dance in front of the team.

“I’m not allowed to give them dancing girls if they win,” said Beasley.  “But I could give them Dr. Coconut.”

The coach figured that he might have to fulfill his promise in a month or two, if the team did well.  Little did he realize that the Shockers were about to take off.

The day after Beasley made his pledge, Saskatchewan recorded a shocking 3-2 win over Anchorage.  That was the beginning of a 5-0-1 streak that brought the Shockers up to the .500 mark.

“Wow, I didn’t realize Dr. Coconut was such a powerful incentive,” the coach remarked.

But after the Shockers recorded another win over Anchorage on Tuesday to raise their record to 6-6-1, Beasley remained true to his word.  As the players gathered in a circle cheering, the coach emerged from his office, wearing the grass skirt, coconut bra, and a head mirror (“because he’s a doctor, after all”).  He proceeded to sway his hips to the tune of “Timber” by Ke$ha as his players cheered wildly.

“I got to admit, Coach has got some moves,” said LW Troy Chamberlain.

Beasley laughed as he recalled the scene.  “Was it a high-school motivational tactic?  Yeah, maybe,” he said.  “But sometimes that’s what you need.  And it worked!”

The Shockers proceeded to drop their next two games after meeting Dr. Coconut.  Beasley vigorously denied that there was a connection, and vowed that should the team make it back to .500 this season, he will dance again.

“Stay loose and have fun, that’s my motto,” said Beasley.

Shockers C Napoleon Beasley, the coach’s son, was asked if he found his father’s dance routine awkward or embarrassing.  “Well, sure, a little,” said the younger Beasley.  “But my dad’s always been weird, so I’m used to it by now.”