Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Backie's Back!

Apparently Capital's forward Nicklas Backstrom's sprained ankle is healing nicely as he contributed to another pre-season win by the Caps over the New Jersey Devils (3-2). Michael Nylander had a stellar evening, making several sweet passes that helped light up the scoreboard. But according to Kukla's Korner, those predatory Chicago Blackhawks are trying to swoop up another Capitals player and they may have our Michael Nylander in their sights. The Caps are still very deep on the bench with Backstrom and Sergei Fedorov, but Nylander would definitely be missed if he is traded.

Speaking of Blackhawks, former Capital Christobal Huet had an ugly night with his new team in a pre-season 7 - 1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Ouch...

You know how Hockey Mom is all fascinated by the whole siblings in the NHL thing. Sergei Fedorov's brother Fedor dressed last night for the New Jersey Devils game against big brother's Caps. Big brother had the night off but I'm sure he was following kid brother's actions on the ice. Yikes, that's a tough act to follow for sure! So cheers to another successful pre-season outing for the Capitals. Hockey Mom is busy getting ready for our first road trip tournament this weekend. Gotta run and make sure the jocks are packed...chat with you all later!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hockey Mom and "The Talk"

Some of my Canadian readers introduced me to their Web site, www.rantingparent.com, which gives hilarious advice on all of the pitfalls of parenting. One of their characters, also named Hockey Mom does this hysterical version of "the talk" (you know the one - the one we parents are having to have much earlier than we had it back in our day).

I had tears rolling down my face from laughter - I love her approach to this incredibly awkward rite of passage:

This Hockey Mom can totally relate - just three weeks ago, I had to sign "the form" myself and the phone is already starting to ring with pre-teen girls calling to ask about "homework"...jeez, some of these young girls these days are more aggressive than the Capital's power play unit!

Talent - Is it in the Genes?

Washington Capital's forward Chris Bourque, son of legendary hockey Hall of Famer Ray Bourque, contributed a power play goal in yesterday's defeat of his dad's former team, the Boston Bruins. This gritty player has definitely been making a case for a spot on the Capital's roster with goals in his last two pre-season games.

Which leads HM to wonder - is athletic talent in the genes of some of the lucky ones? The NHL and its history is full of brother and dad/son combos: the Sedin twins, the Staals, the Hossas, the Neidermayers, the Espositos, the Hulls and of course Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe, who played with his two sons.

Speaking of brothers, one of my twins pulled quite a stunt in yesterday's game. His brother got put into the penalty box for roughing (okay, so the kid pushed him first - yeah right, that's what they always say). So the other one decides to skate behind the referee following his brother all the way to the box - lipping off to the ref about why his brother was going into the box to begin with. All the other parents were like "Oh, that's so cute; he's sticking up for his brother." Hockey Mom in the meantime was mortified and shouted "Son, you'd better skate your skinny butt over to that bench and zip it RIGHT NOW" - or something to that effect. I would've put him in the box with bro if I were the ref - just to prove a point. It's an interesting dynamic - this twin thing. When they first started playing coaches would put them on the same line and all they did was kill each other for the puck.

Now they've finally grasped the idea that this is a team sport and have mastered the concept of passing to each other and that you get credit for assists too!

So since we can't really conduct any lab experience to determine whether or not athletic ability is in the genes of certain families, we'll just sit back and enjoy all the siblings playing in today's NHL and hope that Caps fans are able to see more of Chris Bourque!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Back to the Bears...

After another exciting pre-season victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, the Caps have released more rookies, sending them back to the land of the chocolate kiss to rejoin their AHL mates on the Hershey Bears.

The Capital's new roster updates reflect the reassignments of Greg Amadio, Dean Arsene, Jay Beagle, Francois Bouchard, Sean Collins, Viktor Dovgan, Michael Dubuc, Alexandre Giroux, Bryan Helmer, Maxime Lacroix, Tommy Maxwell, Patrick McNeill, Graham Mink, Travis Morin, Michal Neuvirth, Oskar Osala, Steve Pinizzotto, Sasha Pokulok, Darren Reid and Kyle Wilson back to the Bears. Even though the Caps are so stacked with talent on the bench, I can guess that not making the roster is still never an easy pill to swallow. But judging from what I saw at Training Camp, these guys all have bright futures ahead and Caps fans haven't seen the last of them.

HM needs to get up to a Hershey game this season (between my own kids' games, Caps games, practices and the rest of the craziness that is my life). I've heard they are a blast and of course they take place at the "sweetest place on earth." Hockey and chocolate - two of my favorite things. Add a nice bottle of pinot noir and a paper cup and life is good!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Flash in the Pan for Caps in Pre-Season

Capital's forward Tomas Fleischmann, nicknamed "Flash," started the Cap's pre-season off with a bang by scoring 2 goals in the team's 4 - 1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Capital's faced Stanley Cup winning goalie Cam Ward of the Canes and looks like he got downgraded to a tropical depression after allowing goals from Flash, Matt Bradley (who wore the Captain's sweater) and the boys. Rookie defensemen Sami Lepisto and Karl Alzner got great ice time - with Lepisto logging more than 18 minutes and Alzner racking up 22 minutes. Hockey Mom is rooting for both of these guys in their battle to make the permanent roster.

So congrats to the Caps for a strong pre-season performance! Tonight's lineup at Verizon Center will feature the big guy himself - Alex Ovechkin - along with team mates Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin.

While the Caps were rocking the red in N.C. last night, the red-clad Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings didn't get off to a very good start. Red Wings captain Nick Lidstrom suffered a broken nose after taking a puck to the face. The Wings lost to the Montreal Canadiens 3 - 2.

There was another very scary moment during last night's game when Canadien player Matt Carle was knocked unconscious by the Wing's Tomas Kopecky. Carle was taken off the ice on a stretcher but passed the medical tests and was able to travel home with his team. HM hopes to NEVER have to witness this in one of our youth games (even though it is a totally legal and clean hit):

HM hopes Matt Carle is doing well and back in action soon. Hope to see another victory tonight with Capital's pre-season action against the Canes at 7 p.m.

I miss my Comcast SportsNet Caps coverage (couldn't get last night's game on the radio) - where's Lisa Hilary when I need her? Looking forward to hearing Joe B. and Locker's voices again in a few short weeks!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Interview with Lisa Ovens, Author of Hockey & High Heels - Part Three

In between driving from rink to rink this weekend, Hockey Mom was able to connect with Hockey & High Heels author Lisa Ovens for Part Three of our interview:

Q. When can we expect to see Hockey & High Heels 2?

It’s pretty much finished, but not quite in the can so to speak. There have been delays, but I am really hoping to get it out there before the end of this season. It’s loaded with fun because having fun with hockey is what H&HH is all about. Book one was my rookie year, so book two is my sophomore effort. I do take up playing ice hockey so I’ll be talking about that. But it does have some edgier bits. It’s balancing the serious with the giggles. And if the seeding of playoff teams and the Brady Bunch is any indication of how I view the game of hockey at times...

Q. Can you share some of the experiences you’ve had with female fans across North America? Who are some of most enthusiastic fans you’ve run across?

I have been so lucky to meet some fantastic female NHL fans over the years, and I can say with confidence that they are all equally enthusiastic about their teams and the game in general. And these women are also some of H&HH’s biggest supporters so I am really lucky and thankful. I am always impressed by the number of women who travel with friends and family to see their teams on the road. I have too many stories to share, but I do include some of them on my website’s Hockey & Heels Events for Women section, and in some of the columns.

But I should tell you about a WHL hockey team, the Everett Silvertips (Everett, WA.) There was no hockey in that town until the Silvertips came along in 2003. I appeared at their 3rd annual women only event in 2006. These events played a big part in educating hundreds of fans about the game. When I was there, the coach at the time, Kevin Constantine, shared hockey anecdotes and fielded questions for three hours and these ladies asked him EVERYTHING. It was such a fun environment. At the end of the event I did the book signing and met such lovely women season ticket holders, especially the elders – these ladies just love their team; they said the boys are like their grandsons.

Three weeks later I went back for a Vancouver Giants/ Silvertips game –and I was blown away. We were in our Giants colors and walked into what could be considered a hostile environment, and I loved it! The marketing department had cultivated such a hard core, loyal fan base in just three short years. They ring cowbells in Everett, and have about 7000-8000 (capacity) people in there for every home game, and practically every one of them rings a cowbell. It was insane! About three months after that game, the NHL Draft was in Vancouver. I was sitting there watching Wayne Gretzky make his first selection for the Coyotes, and he announces Peter Mueller, of the Everett Silvertips. I practically jumped out of my seat from this roar erupting two sections over, and there I see, like a half of section full of Silvertip fans cheering, clapping and clanking the cowbells. They made the trip to send the kid off. Sweet!

Q. Where can we find you at H&HH events during the 2008-2009 season? What new teams would you like to visit or help start Hockey & High Heels events?

My goal is to visit every NHL team eventually. There are always going to be some teams that have seen a drop in ticket sales, and they are looking for new ways to invite people back to the arena, or to entice new and casual fans to take a closer look at the game. Out of the teams that haven’t had an H&HH event yet, I would like to visit the Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings, and Carolina Hurricanes this season. For teams that have already adopted this type of event, I’d like to visit the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars this season. Now I have talked with some of the above mentioned teams, and I am also talking with teams in other leagues. Time permits me to do only so many per season, so hopefully I’ll have some confirmations to report soon.

Q. Who are your favorite players in the game today?

Well, I used to like Mats Sundin. Ha ha! From the youth movement, I am a big fan of Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins. I followed his junior career in Vancouver, including the Memorial Cup and the Super Series. At times, during the Habs/ Bruins playoff series, Lucic appeared to not only put the team on his back for his shifts, the dude managed to reach through the TV and grab some of us folks at home and take us along for the ride, too.

I like the Sedin twins, because of their “twin powers”. Last season, they had what became known as “The Shift.” It was something to marvel and can be seen on You Tube. I have many fond memories of the “twins at work” over the years, and I hope the Canucks keep them around after this season. To name a few more, I also like Shane Doan, Markus Naslund, Jerome Iginla, Martin St. Louis, Mattias Ohlund, Sergei Zubov, Nicklas Lidstrom and Roberto Luongo for saving my home team’s collective butts over and over again. Oh, my favorite pest: Jarkko Ruutu!

Q. Who do you think will be some of the top teams in the NHL this year?

In the East, two teams that will feed off of last season’s success will be the Capitals and the Penguins. The Caps now know they have to hang around longer at the post season party, and the Penguins now know exactly what it will take to beat a top team like the Red Wings. The Canadiens will be good, but I think they should be aware of who is behind them in the standings at all times, and if it is an obsessed group of Senators, look out. Hopefully the 100th anniversary doesn’t put the Universe out of wack for the Habs.

Dallas will feed off of last season’s success and remain strong despite Zubov’s recent surgery and Boucher’s sore foot. The Red Wings love the top so they’ll be there too. As far as the Northwest goes; the way this scrappy division is, it won’t be decided until the last game in April.

They might not be at the top, but I really hope the Coyotes do some damage in the Pacific Division and make the playoffs. It’s about time for that, and they might have most of the right pieces to accomplish it. I confess: I am a closet Coyotes fan. I’ll be a season ticket holder there one day. All that sunshine AND hockey? I dare to dream.

For the token over achieving team this season, I am going to pick the Canucks to be that team. Yes, I am really being optimistic on that pick. What else can I do here people?

Q. Finally, which team do you think will win the Stanley Cup in 2009? Do you think the Red Wings will repeat?

Oh those Red Wings. During the playoffs I wrote a piece titled Wing Envy. I think everyone suffers from it, even just a little bit at times. It’s hard to not pick them to repeat. The team is stacked: from the management and the players, all the way down to the little Crazy Bread truck on the concourse of The Joe. Yep, stacked and tasty! The only thing that I can think of that would affect the Wings Universe is the fact it was so easy for them to land Marion Hossa. I don’t know what this means...it’s just a feeling I have...maybe it’s some sort of side effect of the Wing Envy thing...

Well, Hockey Mom, I really want to thank you for getting in touch, indulging me and giving me an opportunity to talk about hockey and my particular involvement in this business. You asked me some questions that no one had asked me before, and I love that. And I hope your readers have enjoyed this interview, too.

We are but a couple of weeks away from puck drop to another nine months of obsessive hockey fan behavior and I want to wish everyone a safe, joyful and exciting season.

P.S. For all you new and veteran gal fans, or even guys looking for a fun gift for your hockey-loving wife or girlfriend, Lisa is offering a shipping special on single copy sales of Hockey & High Heels (just in time for the season)!
To order the book please visit www.hockeyandhighheels.com.

Happy Hockey everyone!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Feds Helps Team Win Inaugural Cup...

In an effort to stoke the competitive juices even further, Capital's Coach Bruce Boudreau introduced the inaugural Gaetan Duchesne Cup series, named in honor of former Capital's player Gaetan Duchesne who passed away at the young age of 44.

Even though he scored on a short-handed breakaway, Alex Ovechkin's team lost in their quest for this cup. For all you new fans out there, "short-handed" refers to one team having fewer players on the ice due to a penalty.

New Cap's goaltender Jose Theodore was instrumental in his team's (Team B) victory. Even though this competition isn't for the king of bling known as Lord Stanley's Cup, it sure is a fun way to get things rolling in the pre-season! Veteran Sergei Fedorov put a fork in it as he scored the winning goal in a shootout victory. Personally, HM loves the adrenaline high of a shootout contest - it's like having a venti triple shot Red Eye and a Red Bull all at once! Unless of course, the shootout involves my kids' team - then I just have to close my eyes, cross my fingers and hold my breath...

Assistant Coach Jay Leach presented the Gaetan Duchesne Cup to Sergei Fedorov at the end of the game who then posed for the above photo with his B-team mates.

And just when Hockey Mom was starting to wonder how I could keep up with the pre-season action, I got the news that WFED 1500 AM radio in the D.C. metro area will cover all the action for us Caps-addicts. Thanks guys and Go Caps!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Just in Time for the Season - Sports Bling for the Ladies!

As all my readers know, Hockey Mom has been kvetching about the lack of stylish apparel and jewelry options for the female hockey fan. So being the resourceful gal that we hockey moms are known to be, I decided to reach out to a very successful jewelry-designing friend and do something about it! So after many nights of brainstorming over many glasses of wine - FanBangles came into being.

Now all the lady fans can show their team allegiance with a fun and flirty sterling silver FanBangle sporting the offically licensed logo of your team of choice. Of course the bracelet also spotlights your team's colors with brilliant Swarovski crystals in your team's color scheme. Of course I have to feature the Cap's version first, as they are the nearest to my heart - but ladies, all the NHL teams are available!

With opening games just around the corner, be sure to order your FanBangle soon - just in time for the puck to drop! I'll be wearing my Caps version in rockin' red for opening night against the Chicago Blackhawks!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Boys are Back in Town!

No need to tell Caps fans that today kicked off the start of training camp for veterans and rookies hoping to earn a spot on this season's roster! After an early morning Pee-Wee game, HM loaded the stinky boys in the car and smelly gear in the trunk and headed down to Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

There were lots of Caps fans in the house to welcome back the boys. The first group to hit the ice included vets Alex Ovechkin, Viktor Kozlov, Matt Bradley, Tom Poti and rookies Chris Bourque and Simeon Varlamov. For a period we sat behind "Papa" Ovechkin who seems to have the same mischievous and playful streak as his offspring. He kept tapping the shoulder of the young boy sitting in front of him and then looking away when the lad turned around. The young fan finally caught on but Papa O. found it quite amusing!

Gabby (Coach Bruce Boudreau) was putting them all through some tough drills and HM witnessed several nice pad and glove saves on the part of young goalie Simeon Varlamov.

Over on the other rink, Assistant Coach Dean Evason was running the show and fans got their first glimpse of new goalie, Jose Theodore. Theodore looked to be on his game as he faced a barrage of shots from Alex Semin, Boyd Gordon, Brooks Laich, Donald Brashear and Sergei Fedorov.

I missed seeing Chris Clark and Michael Nylander hit the ice for the first time in quite awhile after both suffered season-ending injuries last year. They were in the third group along with Mike Green. HM and her posse had to rush back to our home rink for yet another pratice. But we got our Caps fix so it was a great day!

Lest you think this hockey marathon day comes to a close - we stayed for another hour at the rink to watch a friend's son play at the U-18 level. I gotta tell you, that was one of the most chippy games I've ever seen. For you new fans, "chippy" is when there's a lot of unnecessary pushing, shoving and other extracurricular activity. I haven't seen so much hard hitting since the Caps/Flyers playoff series. At the closing buzzer, one player decided to knock an opposing player into the goal's crossbar. I seriously thought they were going to come too blows towards the end. Very exciting to watch though!

So the hockey extravaganza comes to an end for today and we get to get up with the chickens tomorrow morning and head to Maryland for a travel game. What a great day for a hockey fan though....yessiree, fall is finally here folks!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Let's Get Ready to Rumble!

Hockey Mom has been employed in the marketing field for many years now and this is one of the most exciting e-mail campaigns I've seen. A big high-five to the Capital's marketing team for this phenomenal e-mail campaign that would make even the most sports-challenged couch potato want to get in line at the box office!

Check this out - this will get you ready for the season for sure! Go buy those tickets - single game tickets go on sale tomorrow starting at 10 a.m. and I'm sure several games will be sell-outs...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

No Rest for the Weary...

It's almost Friday and looks like another on-the-go weekend for Hockey Mom and the boys. No sleeping in on weekends when you're involved in this sport - no sir! Saturday morning will see us up at 6:15 a.m. for a game at 7:45, then down to Kettler for the first day of Caps Training Camp (yippee!) and back to our rink for a 2 p.m. practice. Sunday morning will be more of the same with a 9:15 game at a rink an hour away. And so it goes...

HM won't be getting any rest anytime soon, but new Cap's goalie Jose Theodore puts rest high on his list of fave things to do when he's off the ice. I caught a bit of Theodore's interview this morning with D.C.'s hockey ambassador of the airwaves, Elliot in the Morning on DC 101. When Elliot asked Jose if he hung out with some of the younger "party animals" on the team, he replied that he'd rather rest during his off-time than hit the D.C. club scene. Maybe HM could have Jose talk to my two about the importance of "rest" before a big game. It doesn't matter how early we have to get up in the morning for a Sunday game, I always get "But it's Saturday night - why can't we stay up late?" Jeez, like the 12-year olds are missing some rockin' 3-kegger frat party because they have to go bed by 10!

There was definitely no rest to be had for the Philadelphia Flyers rookies today as they were routed 7-0 by the Capital's rookie squad. Way to go Caps!

The Flyers are returning home to even more bad news as veteran defenseman Derian Hatcher has suffered a potentially career-ending knee injury. Though I am so not a fan of the Flyers, I hope we'll see Derian healthy and back in their lineup. But for the Flyers rookies, bet it was a long ride home!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Glen Hanlon Lands in Finland

Joining the ranks of others making the leap "across the pond" to play or coach, former Capital's bench boss Glen Hanlon is headed to coach in Finland. Check it out...Hockey Mom certainly wishes him well! I've also heard rumors that former Southeast rival Atlanta Thrasher's coach, Bob Hartley, may be headed to the KHL. Wonder what kind of crazy money they are offering him? I'm a fan of Bob's though - he runs a great hockey camp up in Pennsylvania, Hartley Hockey, and is super involved with the kids!

Speaking of coaches, Cap's head coach Bruce Boudreau has to be excited to see what kind of future talent he has in the wings during tomorrow's Rookie Game at Kettler Capitals Iceplex! Speaking of Gabby (Bruce's nickname, appropriately earned for his gift of gab), I'm sure he'd be incredibly honored to know that he now has an adorable namesake: HM and her hockey boys' 6-week old kitten, Gabby. I need to get her a Cap's collar so hopefully the NHL can produce some pet gear soon (along with a better selection of Capital's clothing for women).

The Rookie Game is sold out but the gang at On Frozen Blog will be blogging live to give all you puckheads not able to get away from the office (myself included) your pre-season hockey fix!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Now You Too Can Have a Caps Car!

The Capitals just announced that Caps fans in Virginia and Maryland will soon be able to take their spirit "on the road" with a Caps-branded vehicle license plate - just the perfect finishing touch for Hockey Mom's little red car! Applications for both states are now being accepted on the Capital's Web site. Maryland fans can sport their team loyalty starting as early as November 2008 with their shiny new plate brandishing the Cap's "Weagle". Design for the Virginia plates is currently underway and plates will be available for the 2009-2010 season. And the other great thing is that some of the proceeds from license plate sales will go to Washington Capitals Charities.

Speaking of my little red car, I opened the trunk today and literally almost passed out in the Target parking lot! My boys left their bags in the trunk after the game yesterday (which they lost 7-1 but they put up a good fight against a higher-ranked team). Needless to say, it was 93 degrees yesterday and that wet equipment just got funkified in there. And my fellow Hockey Mom friend just pointed out the sock hanging from my chandelier (how did that get there?)...oh, the many joys of hockey mom-hood!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ovie Clothes - Just in Time for Camp!

Several posts ago, HM was dissing about the unavailability of the Ovechkin Streetwear clothing line to those who hold the Great 8 near and dear to their hearts - Capitals fans. My fellow gal blogger pal of Love the Game, Don't Like Puck Bunnies informed me yesterday that the Pro Shop at Kettler Capitals Iceplex just got in a small inventory of Ovechkin Streetwear, just in time for training camp. So Caps fans, stock up now - I have the feeling this stuff will be flying out of the store!

Training Camp Rosters are Out - Hockey Season is Upon Us!

In between driving back and forth from the rink today (two practices - one in the morning and one in the afternoon, sort of like training camp), I recieved a press release in my inbox announcing the Washington Capital's training camp roster. Rookie camp starts next week and the highlight of the week will be the rookie game between the Caps and Flyers on Thursday afternoon. Then on Saturday, the big boys hit the ice and we'll get to check out new goalie Jose Theodore up close! Hockey Mom hopes Nick Backstrom is icing that sprained ankle...wish I knew some magic hockey mom remedy to get that fixed right up....

HM plans to be in the house - the house of Kettler Ice Complex, that is - on Saturday to see the guys for the first time since the last playoff game I attended last season. It's been a long, hockey-less summer and I know my fellow puckheads are marking the days off the calendar as well!

As for me, our season kicks off tomorrow. My guys got their new jerseys today and since they are twins, it's a darn good thing one wears a single digit number and the other is a double digit. Two different game jerseys and sets of socks for each kid means more "schtuff" I get to try and keep straight. They are expected to come to games with the correct color jersey on a hanger. Funny, can't get them to put their clothes at home on a hanger! Many of the northern travel team players come to games in a collared shirt, tie, nice pants and dress shoes (which I understand is also done in Canadian junior hockey). I'm all over that - shows respect for the game (and also makes them look oh-so-handsome!)

So here's to Game One of HM's season and counting down to NHL season kickoff!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Never Forget...

As I get ready to call it a night, my thoughts like those of so many Americans on this anniversary of 9/11, are with those who were senselessly lost and with their families.

I just watched this incredibly moving documentary, Seven Days in September, from SnagFilms. It reminds me that although we will never be the same, Americans are strong and compassionate people.

One of the most compelling images of the day for me was three children who lost their father in the World Trade Center on this day seven years ago. The message they conveyed at the memorial service at Ground Zero is that what their father would want most of all is for them to live their lives spreading peace and kindness.

So on this anniversary, I pray for all of those who are grieving and that we all live lives of peace and kindness. And most of all, that the unimaginable events and innocent lives lost that day are never forgotten...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A True Hockey Fighter – Help Fight Children’s Cancers

Hockey Mom wants to introduce you all to a real hockey fighter – someone who has battled something so much fiercer than the game played on the ice…

HM is friendly with another hockey family through our many hours spent at the rink. Dad coaches, both sons play and of course Mom drives them back and forth. The youngest son, Andrew, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in December 2004 at the age of 3 1/2. Today, he is almost 7-1/2 years old, recently started second grade and plays hockey at the Mite Level (a heck of a player, I might add!). More importantly, Andrew completed his 3-year chemotherapy treatment this past February. He is in remission and still goes to the doctor monthly to monitor his blood counts...hopefully, those doctor visits become less and less frequent. Andrew is what I call a true warrior and an inspiration to so many people…

As the family hails from Buffalo, Andrew is a Sabres fan and loves Sabres forward Andrew Peters (shown with Andrew in the photo), who calls him occasionally to see how he’s doing. HM of course ribs them a little for being Sabres fans, so Andrew did admit that his other favorite player is the Great 8 – Alex Ovechkin!

All ribbing aside, it is so important that we continue to fight for a cure for kids like Andrew. Although progress is being made, the fight won’t stop until there’s a cure. This disease mainly strikes children but it has impacted adults too, even in the NHL.

As you all know, the Toronto Maple Leaf’s Jason Blake was diagnosed with the disease last year. The NHL has made the fight against cancer one of the league’s largest fundraising initiatives and raises money to fund research efforts and more through Hockey Fights Cancer. Locally, the Washington Capitals make player appearances and raise funds to help sick children at the Children’s National Medical Center and the Children’s Inn at NIH.

If you’d like to help in the efforts for a cure for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, sign up to walk or make a donation to Light the Night.

Light the Night is The Leukemia Society’s annual nationwide evening walk to build awareness of blood cancers, to celebrate and commemorate lives touched by blood cancers and to raise funds for a cure. Funds raised through Light the Night Walk support the work of hundreds of the world’s best and brightest researchers in their search for better therapies and cures for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Each year, teams of friends, families and co-workers gather in cities and towns across America to walk in twilight, holding illuminated candles.

If you’d like to join Team Captain Andrew or make a donation to his Light the Night Team, you can do so here. Thanks to the NHL for continuing the fight against cancer – hockey fans keep on contributing to this vital cause!

Best of luck to Andrew as he leads his team to Light the Night and continues to fight for a cure – we can’t wait to see you battle on the ice this year, Captain!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Interview with Lisa Ovens, Author of Hockey & High Heels - Part Two

As promised, here is Part Two of the interview with the fun and fabulous Lisa Ovens where she shares how she promotes Hockey & Heels and offers some valuable insight into what makes the female hockey fan so unique.

Hockey Mom has noted before that the female demographic seems to be overlooked as a vital part of the NHL fan base, even though lady hockey fans are probably some of the most enthusiastic fans I've ever come across! Once you get a woman hooked on hockey, she'll make friends with the five women sitting next to her in the manicure station and from there the puck love just spreads like mad!

Q. Why the title “Hockey and High Heels”?

Lisa: I’m often in heels, because I’m not that tall, plus the three “H” alliteration thing seemed to work nicely. And women tend to notice shoe related words. I arrived at the title way back in 2002. Maybe I was na├»ve, but the thought never crossed my mind that people might have issues with the title. I am often labeled a puck bunny, simply because I have the words “high heels” in the title. This makes me laugh because if that were true, then I must be the stupidest puck bunny on the planet! I spent all this time, money and effort writing a book about hockey when all I needed to do was slap on a tube top and stake out the Pan Pacific to meet hockey players. What was I thinking? :o)

Q. How did you go about promoting the book?

Lisa: The Web site went live (not the same version as it is now) about 8 months before the book released and then followed the usual strategies: sent out press kits, review copies, timely ad placements and word of mouth has worked well. I was lucky to get a few media hits including a couple of great reviews from book critics, from columns like yours, Musings of a Hockey Mom, and from many readers who purchased H&HH. The book has been involved in several fundraisers around Vancouver and Vermont of all places. I am grateful for all of this.

The events for women are definitely a great opportunity for me to get the word out about the joys of hockey, and I am so grateful that a few NHL, WHL and ECHL teams have recognized my book as valuable tool to use in their individual marketing promotions. I’m not just promoting myself here; I am also promoting the game. If an H&HH event can steal a few extra headlines for hockey, especially in a city where the hockey team is in the shadow of other pro sports, that’s a good thing.

I launched the book in 2005/06 season while I had a full time career. Now I’d like to make things happen a little faster by putting more time into hockeyandhighheels.com. The audience is growing and I love creating content for visitors to read. There’s “Lisa’s Lounge” where hockey columns are posted by me and Jan Snyder, a wonderful freelance writer originally from Pittsburgh now based in Houston, will be back again for another season with her take on everything hockey. We are lining up some more hockey celebrity interviews for Jan as well as some guest writers. I love taking photographs, so there’s Mesh Gallery for my hockey art photos, and other pics throughout the columns. There will be a page for the 2010 Winter Olympics very soon. I am also talking to advertising sponsors interested in what I am building here.

Q. In your opinion, what makes female hockey fans so different from traditional male fans?

Lisa: Okay Hockey Mom, I tried to keep this answer brief, but it was difficult. I could really expand on this subject because of the amount of research I have done on it. But for now, I’ll focus on one area that is the most obvious difference.

Based on my observations spanning the six years I have been developing the Hockey and High Heels project, the one thing that really stands out to me is most women who love hockey want to share the experience with everybody they know. They have plenty to say about their love for the game and the hockey fan lifestyle. I hear this often. Many of us are natural born promoters, plain and simple. And we are pretty loyal too. I guess that’s why we are often called the “lucrative female market.”

When I think of people who are natural promoters, the traditional male fan doesn’t come to mind. He would rather not invite women into his sports experience, unless of course she’s greased up in a thong wielding a power tool. He likes his hockey in his sanctuary with the guys, where they are free to swear, complain, trash talk, be arm chair GMs, crunch numbers, one up each other, and all that fun stuff. And hey, that’s fine by me. It is not my motivation to mess with someone else’s sanctuary, because I value my own so much.

If there is one thing the traditional male hockey fans have over us natural born hockey promoters is the sports media. Or should I say the traditional male sports media. They pretty much own the mainstream air time, the sports pages in print and online. These guys have the most access to the league, the teams and the games, and are most comfortable with presenting content that appeals to themselves and their disciples: the traditional male sports fans.

Q. How do you think the NHL can better reach out to the female market?

Well, if I were the NHL headquarters and I just read the previous answer about the difference between female fans and traditional male hockey’s fans, I would take a long hard look at my current roster, and take stock of the natural born promoter types on board and how visible they are. The competition is fierce and I can’t afford to not befriend something called the lucrative female market. Then I would email myself and offer me a creative consultant package I couldn’t refuse. Yes!

The events are a great way to serve the female fans, but not every team hosts them, and as far as I know, this isn’t a mandatory promotion. At the league headquarters level, this could be considered a simple and easy step to take to acknowledge their female customers: If the NHL’s promo materials included more shots of women, real women fans watching hockey together and having fun like we actually do, the casual female observers from tweens to seniors will notice and they most likely will think one of two thoughts – “hey, they’re having fun…maybe I might like that too”, or “hey, that looks just like us!” Talk about a win-win situation.

I have another solution to this question in Hockey and High Heels. In fact, I mentioned it three times in three different places. I put it in there to see if anyone picks up on it. We just need the right person to pick up on it. Once that happens, everyone will be pleasantly surprised. I’ve already tried, but it’s a little tricky to navigate. Of course, we could speed up the process, if the NHL wants to help me out.

To put this as nicely, but as firmly as possible...something continues to shackle the NHL headquarters’ creative and marketing departments into either ignoring women, or thinking women are one dimensional. Isn’t it about time they finally get up to speed with their female fans?

End of Part Two...

Another Hockey Mom fist bump to Lisa O. for her great take on female fandom. And to the Cap's Viktor Kozlov for the NHL.com shout out on his scoring prowess in shootout situations!

Stay tuned for Part Three of Lisa's interview...

Fight Club with Capital's Donald Brashear

Check out today's post on D.C. Sports Blog! Apparently, the Capital's enforcer, Donald Brashear (yes, he's the large fella in the photo next to Hockey Mom) gave the members of the media some tips on hockey fighting. Since Hockey Mom wasn't part of the action, I hope NBC's Lindsay Czarniak represented the ladies well! You go girl!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Interview with Lisa Ovens, Author of Hockey & High Heels

Today Hockey Mom wants to introduce you to one of the greatest female ambassadors of the amazing game of hockey, Lisa Ovens, author of Hockey & High Heels.

Hockey & High Heels was one of my very first reads as a new female hockey fan and it is laugh out loud fabulous! I highly recommend this book to any female hockey fan, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned “veteran.”

Lisa is a gal’s gal who covers a season following her beloved Vancouver Canucks accompanied by her best friend and hockey sidekick, Stacey. The book covers everything from the history of the Stanley Cup, the definition of a Gordie Howe Hat trick, how to identify a Playoff Only fan (also known as “POOFs") and more from a unique female perspective.

In addition to the book, Lisa travels around North America participating in various NHL Hockey & High Heels events especially for women. In 2007, she was a special guest at the HH&H events held by the Eastern Conference Champion Pittsburgh Penguins and the Los Angeles Kings. Lisa’s Web site, hockeyandhighheels.com attracts hockey fans from around the globe.

Q.What do you find to be the greatest misconception about female hockey fans?

Lisa: That we have x-ray vision eyes so when we are at the games we spend all of our time looking at the players bodies under their equipment, not giving a darn that the ref made a bad call, putting our best PK guy in the box, and we’re down by a goal in the dying minutes of the third period.

I am sorry to burst everyone’s bubbles, but we can’t see through hockey gear, and most of us do give a darn about the drama that unfolds on the ice before us.

Q.How and why did you decide to write a book especially for the female fan?

Lisa: I was working through a rough time in my life and one evening I turned on a Canucks game, and I thought “ah yes…hockey.” What a beautiful distraction, and one that’s always been there. But this time I was looking at it from a completely different place.

My good friend Stacey was also there for me, and we just started having so much fun with hockey that the idea of a book came up. At the time I felt concern for the state of the game: this was pre-lockout and it seemed every other news story or commentary in the media revolved around dwindling fan bases, limited marketing and exposure, etc. It was all doom and gloom. I decided if they were going to focus on the ones not watching hockey, I would focus on the ones who did.

I figured it wouldn’t hurt if I presented a book that was entertaining and positive, one that highlighted the fan’s experience and the fan’s commitment to the game. And then I thought: what if I made it a fun, light and easy read so a new or casual fan would come away with some hockey information, without being overwhelmed, yet sophisticated enough to keep longtime fans engaged and laughing their butts off.

There was so little on the book shelves from the female (non-player) perspective even though there have been several generations and millions of women in love with the game. I really felt that not only did this book need to be written; it should also be promoted as something special that recognized and celebrated female hockey fans. Yet, I also hoped the guys would enjoy the book, too. It was a tall order, considering the variety of fans I intended to reach: new fans, seasoned fans, American fans, Canadian fans, female fans, male fans.

Based on the many emails I have received, I think it must be working, because I have received them from every kind of fan you can imagine. She says and breathes a sigh of relief...

Q.You have some quirky superstitions just like real NHL players, including having the same gal style your hair the same way for home games. What happens if your stylist is off that day?

Lisa: That would never happen, Hockey Mom. This is a finely tuned ritual. Just as the NHL has special scheduling software, so does my stylist, Brandie.

Q.How did you come up with some of the hilarious terminology featured in H&HH? My favorites are "POOF" and the seeding of Stanley Cup playoff teams ranked according to the siblings in the Brady Bunch!

Lisa: Yes, somewhere, in an oak paneled room, Ken Dryden is saying “Dang, I wish I came up with that Brady Bunch and the seeding of playoff teams analogy – it’s gold.”

Often people overlook the tag line on the book cover:Hockey and High Heels: A Different Kind of Hockey Book. I did some things in there that hadn’t really been done before as far as hockey books go.

Now, about the Brady Bunch: I have this amazing sofa, and part of my craft involves countless hours of lying on it and letting my mind wander. And for some reason, a few of the paths inside my head seem to always wind up at the Brady household. I don’t know if that is a blessing or a curse. The seeding of playoff teams and the Brady Bunch is definitely one of my favorite bits in the book too, because the Brady Kids have nothing to do with hockey. However, once you see them as playoff berths and series, the Brady Kids have everything to do with hockey.

The POOF bit - another H&HH soon-to-be classic. In order to help the NHL attract more fans to the games I created a public service announcement campaign. I decided we needed to work on the people who only watch the playoffs by getting them started earlier in the season. That way the hockey lasts longer for them, and they would be more fulfilled as human beings. The term "POOF" is slowly catching on. Once I hear Bill Clement use “POOF” on national TV, then I will know my work is done.

Next up – Part Two with Lisa Ovens of Hockey & High Heels!

Coming up in Part Two of my interview, I ask Lisa what the biggest difference is between female hockey fans and traditional male hockey fans, how the NHL can better reach the female market, how she promotes the book and she'll reveal the biggest misconception about the book Hockey and High Heels.

And finally in Part Three I ask Lisa about the many fans she’s met around North America, the latest on the sequel, Hockey and High Heels book two, who are her favorite NHL players and who she thinks will win the Stanley Cup in 2009.

Hockey Mom hopes to see Lisa at the Washington Capital’s Hockey & Heels event this season – this event is always a sellout and Lisa would be such a phenomenal addition to an already fabulous event. Stay tuned for Part Two!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Caps Fans Want Ovie Clothes!

So a fellow hockey mom wanted to order an Ovechkin Streetwear shirt for her 17-year old son (who by the way NHL scouts, is a strapping defenseman (6'5 and 225 lbs!). So we find out that Ovechkin Streetwear is only available from certain hockey stores in Canada and it would cost $22 USD to ship a $30 shirt.

Now we hockey moms have no problem spending our hard-earned money on hockey apparel, but I have to draw the line on a t-shirt that ends up costing $50, even if it was created by AO himself! So Ovie, what up? I think the Ovechkin Streetwear line would sell like homemade hockey mom cupcakes at a bake sale if Capitals fans (make that NHL fans in general) could buy the line in U.S. stores. Just a thought - we need to make that happen in time for the Christmas buying season; HM will be first in line!

And speaking of Ovie and the boys, the Caps have released their training camp schedule, meaning that our summer hockey drought will soon be over. Yippeeee! I can't wait to see them hit the ice and am especially excited to see the rookies like d-man Karl Alzner. Even though this time of year is exceptionally crazy for me, it's my favorite time of year with my boys starting their new season and another exciting season (and hopefully, a quest for the Cup) for our beloved Caps!

How About a Hockey Equipment Tax Credit for Single Hockey Moms? (Make that for all sports....)

"Hockey Mom Comes out Fighting" - that was the headline of today's Washington Post. Now before any of you out there jump all over this hockey mom, let me just state once again, that I am not endorsing a particular candidate - merely giving my opinions on this newest nominee, along with how she's brought hockey moms and the great sport of hockey into the limelight. Um, her daughter's baby daddy is a high school hockey player and quite a talented one I hear.

Just kidding, Sarah, about the sports equipment tax credit for single moms or lower income families. Just a hockey mom appealing to another hockey mom! But hey, if we had more affordable sports equipment available to all kids, maybe we could drag them away from the Playstations and cut down on childhood obesity...just a thought.

Hockey Mom thought Governor Palin did a great job considering the firestorm she's been under this past week. She certainly possesses the feisty spirit of a true hockey mom - every hockey mom in North America got a laugh when she said "The difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is lipstick!" She was poised, quick-witted and calm under pressure. Does that mean she can lead the country? Not necessarily. But those are qualities that a real hockey mom must have and they've helped me overcome adversity during some trying times.

Plus, she had to get ready for her speech in the Minnesota Wild locker room at the Xcel Energy Center and being a hockey mom, she probably wasn't bothered in the least by the funky remnant odor of BO lingering in the staging area.

So, Sarah Palin earned some points with me last night. I am still undecided in what is going to be long race - what I'd really like to see is her throw down the gloves with the Cap's Donald Brashear. She'd really earn my vote then, fer sure!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Locker Room Language

*Capitals locker room signs by DDI Signs.

So today my hockey boys made the big jump into middle school. They spent much of the summer in various hockey camps and finished the last one last Thursday. This particular session combined players of all ages and they were in the locker room with many of the Bantam (13 & 14-year old players).

And so begins the age of inappropriate locker room talk about "hot chicks", smelly bodily functions and lots of other ridiculous topics that make the guys from the movie Dumb and Dumber look like Albert Einstein. If there are no coaches or dads present, the raging hormones of pre-teen boys take over and the conversation tends to spiral downward quickly. Of course my guys think everything they hear in the sacred, stinky depths of the locker room is so hilarious that they have to rush home and share the jokes with Hockey Mom (who then proceeds to stick her fingers in her ears and go "LA LA LA LA" until said conversation comes to an end). I've come up with a rule for my hockey boys - what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room. And just because you hear something in the locker room doesn't make it true (or funny). There are some things that just don't bear repeating outside the inner confines of the boys' locker room...

That said, HM would like to be a fly on the wall inside the Capital's locker room (though I'd probably have to plug my ears in there too) - especially to catch the buzz on this upcoming season. The great news is that with the exception of goalie Jose Theodore, most of guys in the Cap's locker room are returning players and share a tremendous camaraderie. We hope to see captain Chris Clark back from injury and contributing to the locker room ruckus and on the ice in a few weeks!

Speaking of camaraderie, for any of you hockey players always on the lookout for a pickup game, HM just got wind of a really cool site: pickuphockeyfinder.com. This site lets you search for or organize pickup games from the convenience of your computer without driving from rink to rink. Look for more cities to be added to this site soon and remember - as so eloquently stated in the movie Mystery, Alaska - "what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room!"