Gordie Howe

My Moment With Gordie

They called him Mr. Hockey and for good reason. The only professional hockey player to play the sport in six different decades and one of the greatest ambassadors you could ever ask for, Gordie Howe was and still is hockey. As news of his passing spread across the hockey world today, I was reminded of a particularly fortunate experience I was able to share with him.

In the early 90’s my father signed me up for the Stars Hockey Camp in Guelph. It was 2 weeks away from home where I would stay in a dormitory with complete strangers and while I was completely terrified about it, I also really wanted to go. Luckily for me, my father signed up for the adult hockey camp and was around for the entire 2nd week, which was a very welcome sight.

One of the main draws of this particular Stars Hockey Camp was that we had the chance to learn the game from some current and past NHLers. My group had players like John Tonelli, Chris Chelios and of course, Gordie Howe. This wasn’t just them coming out for 5 minutes, signing autographs and leaving, either. They were very serious about this and stuck around the whole time to teach us as much as they could.

After one of our sessions I was able to stick around to watch my dad’s group take to the ice with Gordie Howe. While Mr. Howe was trying to talk to the guys at center ice, one of the goalies had skated a few strides out of his crease and began to heckle Gordie, going on about how he’d never put a puck pass him. Calmly, Gordie took a step back from the group and nonchalantly flipped a puck from center ice over the goalie’s head and into the net. The group on the ice cheered wildly as the goalie hung his head in shame and returned to his coach. Gordie added a “You happy now?” before returning to his group and it something I will never forget.

Had that been the end of my camp experience I would have gone home a very happy kid, but there was still one more surprise waiting for me. While eating lunch in the cafeteria with my dad the next day, a man approached our table and asked if he could join us. I can really begin describe the looks on our faces as we looked up to see Gordie Howe standing there but I’m guessing he had a small chuckle inside to see it. Just imagine one of your idols asking if they can sit and eat with YOU instead on the other way around and then capture that face.

My dad and I were the envy of the entire camp that day as we sat and ate lunch with Mr. Hockey. The thing that struck me as most amazing about Gordie Howe was that he could have stayed in the back and had lunch with the other stars but he chose to come out and have lunch with the campers. At lunch that day he answered all of our questions, told us stories, asked about our lives and signed autographs for anyone who approached him at our table, and he never once made us feel like he didn’t want to be there.

I count myself lucky to have had this experience and am not sure I truly appreciated it until years later when I learned more about how truly great Gordie Howe was, not only as a hockey player but also as a human being. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten.

Movember NHL Duncan Keith

Movember + NHL + VISA Checkout = More Money For The Cause

As you all know, the Movember movement is one that is close to my heart and something that I genuinely enjoy raising money for each year. This year I had the special opportunity to team up with the NHL, Movember and VISA Checkout to promote some great new tools that make the Movember season a lot more fun!

Throughout the month of November the NHL has added some very cool MoBro Tools to the Movember website. First you get to choose your NHL star from names like Duncan Keith, James Van Riemsdyk, Jonathan Bernier and Patrice Bergeron, and then you can select from creating a meme, video or voice message where the NHL star will promote your Mo! I was hooked from the moment I created my Duncan Keith Mo Commercial. Yes, he called me an awesome dude, and yes, I ate it up!

Further to the awesome MoBro Tools that are now available, if you use the VISA Checkout option when making your donation, VISA will donate an extra $10 to Movember! You don’t even need a VISA card to do this as it also accepts Mastercard and just note that you will be charged an extra 0.30 but it’s worth it for the extra $10! If that wasn’t enough, every time you donate using Visa Checkout you’re eligible to win a trip for 4 to the 2016 NHL Winter Classic in Boston!

Well, what are you waiting for? If you feel inclined to give, please visit my Movember page and I will be grateful for whatever amount you can spare. If you just want to go have some fun and make NHL commercials, you can head to the MoBro Tools page to do that and don’t forget to share with your friends!

Duncan Keith Movember

Podcast ~ Discussing The NHL Playoffs, We Day & Letting Children Explore


I am always excited to join CJAD’s Ric & Suzanne for their “Family Matters” segment and this week we started out by discussing how I am going to convince my son to cheer for the same sports teams I do. From there, I shared my experience from attending Free the Children’s “We Day”.

We also talked about the Ottawa mother who made the difficult decision to leave her severely autistic son at a government office and we also discuss how to build self esteem in your children. You can find the recording below.

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A Thank You Letter To The National Hockey League

This half finished post had been sitting in my drafts folder since September 20th. I hesitated at the time and figured I’d hold off because I knew that the NHL and the NHLPA would come to a quick agreement and I’d have my hockey back by now.

Fast forward two months and not only is there no hockey, but there is no end in sight to this latest lockout. The fact that I can even refer to this as the “latest” lockout should be enough to make both sides of this debacle, hang their heads in shame. That doesn’t seem to be the case though. The NHL is currently going through its 4th work stoppage in the past 2 decades and this fan, at least, is growing tired of the charade.

While I understand that having your salary cut is not something most people would find an acceptable practice, when your salary is 4.5 million dollars and your job is to entertain fans, you can probably see where the general public would find the lockout to be a tad ridiculous. You might also understand how annoying it is to listen to the childish back and forth banter about how you’ll divide the 3.3 billion dollars in revenue.

Most of you don’t know this about me, although you probably assumed because I am Canadian, but I am one of those crazed lunatic fans that worships his team through the good and the bad times. I have shirts, underwear, socks, hats, signed photos, framed jerseys and a million other NHL products lying around my house. Last week, I wrote about how I’m not very superstitious. That doesn’t apply to my love of hockey.

I have been so frustrated with my team’s play that I have actually walked out of games in disgust, only to sit in my car in the parking lot, listening to the remainder of it. I actually had an argument with my wife over which team our son would be pushed to cheer for, the local team or the team Daddy likes. I’ve even switched clothes midway through a game, to try and jolt my team’s chances. These are certainly not the actions of a sane person, but I can assure you that this is how a lot fans, and even a few friends of mine, react to watching our teams play. I know the die-hard’s see where I’m coming from here.

I won’t even get started on my obsession with hockey pools. When you know your team’s depth chart, down to who would get called up if you lost 5 goalies to injury, it may be time to take a step back!

A funny thing happened yesterday, though. While listening to the local sports radio station talk about the latest snag in negotiations, I started thinking about all the things I’ve accomplished throughout what would have been the first month of the NHL season. Without the NHL, I hadn’t worried about the standings or how my pool teams were doing. I didn’t spend 3 hours doing research because some 15 year old kid in Russia might be the next big thing and could make for a nice sleeper pick.

In fact, I’ve done more of the things that make me happy, as opposed to watching hockey, which usually just stresses me out. I’ve spent way more quality time with my family, I got yard work done, I spent more time writing for this blog and I generally didn’t even notice that anything was missing. It has been an eye opening experience for me and in a way; I have the NHL to thank for it.

So, I’d like to formally thank the NHL and the NHLPA for their continued greed. I feel like my blinders have been lifted and I can now see that my time and money is better served being spent on other things. I know I’m only one fan, but when you start losing the support of the die-hard fans, imagine what the casual fan and especially the American fans are thinking.

Best of luck in digging yourselves out of this mess. I’ll probably still watch some games once they return, it’s not hockey’s fault that you can’t get your shit together. However, I can promise you that I’ll be keeping my wallet in my pocket when it comes to attending games and buying merchandise. I’ll spend that time and money on my family instead, like I should have been doing in the first place.