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Sports Then and Now

Archive for the ‘Hockey’

The Zamboni: Baddest Maintenance Vehicle in Sports! 0

Posted on November 30, 2015 by Mike Raffone

The ZamboniMy guess is that the look and speed of the sports world’s most famous maintenance vehicle is the same now as it was back then, making it a perfect entry for today’s Sports Then and Now blog.

Driving this clunky ice resurfacing machine on wheels would satisfy nearly every hockey fan’s fantasy.

Who hasn’t yearned to climb behind the wheel of this giant tractor and take charge on the ice?

Perhaps the baddest maintenance vehicle in all of sports, whose top speed runs at just a mere 9 miles per hour, the Zamboni cruises in

The boxy Zamboni tractor scrapes, collects, washes, resurfaces and smooths the ice for hockey games and skating competitions.

In addition, the monster machine sprays and then squeegees 140 degree water and transforms once rutted and scarred ice into a shimmering surface that mirrors polished glass.

Founded by Frank J. Zamboni in Southern California in 1949, the Zamboni ice resurfacing machine has become the standard throughout arenas around the world. Approximately 200 custom made machines, at a price of $75,000 each, are manufactured each year.

The Zamboni’s iconic fame has extended beyond the boards of the hockey rinks it resurfaces. In the classic sitcom Cheers, Carla’s husband Eddie supposedly got run over by a Zamboni.

And, in a Peanuts comic strip, a fictional miniature Zamboni once cleaned the ice in a birdbath for Snoopi’s pal Woodstock

This heavy duty “bad to the boni” machine is dear to all who have watched it perfectly restore chunks and grooves in previously pock marked ice during intermissions at NHL, NCAA an biddy league games.

All the while these same hockey fans were dreaming they were ones behind the wheel of the Zamboni chugging down the ice at a speed most people walk…backward.

Now what fan could possibly argue that the Zamboni ranks as one of the best things about sports?

MIKE on sports!

Teaching Future NHL Players 0

Posted on October 11, 2015 by Jeremy Biberdorf

Youth HockeyTracing the growth of elite hockey players is more difficult in some ways than following their counterparts in football or basketball. Unlike the other two sports, hockey does not have a major college following in much of the United States, so it can be difficult to find the best up and coming players and track their development. In fact, the top NHL players come from many different places, not just elite hockey schools. Some play professionally overseas before joining the NHL, and others are recruited from semi-pro and varsity leagues.

However, those who prefer to follow players from college to the pros could do worse than the Canadian hockey school the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame. This boarding school for boys and girls provides general education, but also has a top-notch hockey program that lures players from all over the world. The college has produced countless professional players over the years, including some of the biggest names in the NHL. Read the rest of this entry →

World Cup of Hockey 0

Posted on October 05, 2015 by Michael Ramos

hockey skatesAt this point it’s going to be something that they’re doing for the first time in 12 years and a lot isn’t known about it. There are several details that have been brought out by the NHL and a lot of fan and player reaction. In this article we’ll cover what it means for the regular season, what’s known about it at the time of writing and whether or not anyone’s going to tune in.

Fan Reaction

So here’s the thing: fans simply love hockey. They love to watch it, support it, talk about it, buy up popular merchandise, and remember all the best times that have happened in the history of the game. That’s precisely why this whole affair is going to be a bit of a mixed bag for the fans of the game. Part of the reason that they may love it: it’s hockey. But seriously, it’s going to be a whole bunch of the best players in the world competing at an extremely high level for country and for respect.

Here’s the problem though, the timing will cause it to coincide with pre-season. Although that doesn’t necessarily sound like a bad thing to the casual fan, as most people who follow the game know, there’s a huge amount of subtle teamwork that makes or breaks a season. Without the level of teamwork and cooperation that is engendered by gelling together during the pre-season (at the very least) players are going to be missing cues and making mistakes.

I mean just take a look at the Russian International team from the ‘70s and ‘80s, it was all the same guys. They were inarguably great players but they were made significantly better because they knew each other. They were able to read each other’s intentions and movements in ways that their opposition couldn’t. This allowed them to run circles around teams of talented people who didn’t know each other. Read the rest of this entry →

Will the Defending Champion Los Angeles Kings Be Left Out of the NHL Playoffs? 15

Posted on February 15, 2015 by Dean Hybl
If the NHL Playoffs began today, the defending champion Los Angeles Kings would have no chance of repeating.

If the NHL Playoffs began today, the defending champion Los Angeles Kings would have no chance of repeating.

If the NHL season ended today, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings would be left on the outside looking in at the 2015 playoffs. However, a recent hot streak has the champs back within striking distance and they still have a chance to make the playoffs.

Beyond the Kings, the race to the Stanley Cup seems wide open with many teams capable of hoisting the Cup. The top sportsbooks at rate several teams as good bets to claim the title.

Of all the major sports, regular season success historically has been the least important to the eventual champion in the NHL.

You need look no further than last season when the Kings were sixth in their conference and their finals opponents the New York Rangers fifth in theirs during the regular season only to pull out big wins at the right time during the playoffs.

So far this season, the Nashville Predators have the best record in the league at 38-12-6. Quite a turnaround for a squad that won 38 games all of last season while missing the playoffs for the second straight season. New coach Peter Laviolette and 20-year-old star Filip Forsberg (with a team best 50 points) have the Predators on track to finish first in the conference for the first time in team history. Read the rest of this entry →

How NHL Goalie Masks Evolved – From a Joke 1

Posted on January 10, 2015 by Ashley Andrews
Gerry Cheevers was the first hockey goalie to give masks personality.

Gerry Cheevers was the first hockey goalie to give masks personality.

When NHL goalie Gerry Cheevers sarcastically rebelled against his coach in a 1968 Bruins practice, he unknowingly changed the face (literally) of hockey forever.

Cheevers admittedly faked a head injury in that practice after taking a shot to his then plain-white fiberglass mask in hopes of cutting practice short, which the eccentric goalie was apparently fond of. When his coach found him perfectly healthy in the locker room, he demanded Cheevers get back on the ice.

It was then that Bruins trainer John Forristall decided to add a little flair to Cheevers’ “injury.” Gerry and John jokingly cooked up the idea to draw a line of ten stitches across Cheevers’ mask where the puck hit, completely oblivious to the statement they were making. The joke stuck and by the end of the season Cheevers’ mask was covered in black stitches, heralding the evolution of the goalie mask beyond mere functionality.

Now known as the grandfather of modern mask design, Cheevers’ crude stitched mask served a dual purpose; protection and personality. Protective gear in the NHL before the 1960’s was, well, irrelevant. Goalies almost never wore masks in games, and those who did were often scrutinized when masks became more popular. Cheevers’ inaugural design highlighted the importance of protective equipment (especially after the current Hall of Famer said it made him a braver and better goalie).

The stitched mask brought another unintended element to the ice. For the first time hockey was given a shot of creativity. Goalies especially saw an outlet to show whom the man behind the face-embalming mask was. Read the rest of this entry →

NHL Betting Tips on Who Will Win This Season 10

Posted on March 14, 2014 by Riley Allen
With a healthy Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins are a good bet to win the NHL championship.

With a healthy Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins are a good bet to win the NHL championship.

This season’s NHL looks like being another very close run affair, with several sides appearing to real contenders for play-off success. It is no surprise to see names like the Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins right in there amongst the betting favorites at bookmakers sites, as all of these are proven winners, but they all look to be in exceptionally strong form. The Penguins have outclassed everyone in the Metropolitan Division, where they are sixteen points clear at the top, and the other two are also top (albeit by closer margins), so which side should the smart punter pick?

It is hard to ignore the form the Penguins have been showing, and the bookies haven’t – as Pittsburgh are in place as hot favorites to win the Stanley Cup on 6/1. Chicago are the holders of the Stanley Cup though, as well as the Western Conference, and with the latter looking almost certain to be retained they will fancy their chances of keeping the former as well. At 7/1, the bookies see them as almost as likely as the Penguins to win it, while the Bruins are at 10/1. They could have a showdown for the Eastern Conference with Pittsburgh which, in turn, might give further indication of who will win the Stanley Cup – so waiting until then and playing ice hockey casino games is a strategy with much to recommend it. Read the rest of this entry →

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