Tag Archives: hockey

On Don Cherry and Europeans in the CHL

Pig

Hockey talk. CHL banned European goalies back in 2013. It was meant to force Canadians to develop their own goalies instead of drafting talent from Europe. CHL still allowed two imports per CHL team, but those were limited only to forwards or defense men. I personally don’t think there’s anything particularly wrong with the way Canada has been developing goalies, it’s just that we’re not giving them the chance to step up to the next level, and prior to 2013, teams have just been opting (safely but lazily) to draft European talent.

Don Cherry, a Canadian hockey legend, recently came out and said that he’s all out against Europeans playing in the CHL. He says that ultimately, despite the Canadian spirit of embracing foreigners and immigrants, each team has two spots that are leaving out Canadians, with their own dreams of making it big in the sport, in favor of Europeans. Now, I’m trying to understand the protectionist and conservative attitude that he’s taking, but some people’s reaction to his comment is bit overblown, in my opinion.

First off, racism and bigotry are heavy charges. So I would need more egregious evidence of this before I start calling Don Cherry names. I think Don just simply sees the CHL as a development tool for Canadian talent, a means to an end, and that we should be using that tool to develop our own talent, to reward our own. We shouldn’t be giving that opportunity, how little that may be, to players from other countries. Thus, the argument of “it’s just a game, let the best player play” doesn’t hold water when you’re trying to get the Canadian players to be the best. That is exactly the logic behind the CHL goalie ban. Canada wanted to develop its goalies. I believe Don Cherry’s comment was made in that spirit. I also don’t see connections between this protectionist attitude and Canada’s open-arms approach towards immigration. We welcome immigrants from all countries thinking that they’ll prosper and be wonderful Canadians. Everyone CAN be a Canadian. I’m not sure if Radim Salda who hails from Czech Republic and plays for the Saint John Sea Dogs would be applying for a Canadian citizenship anytime soon. That’s not what the Europeans are in the CHL for.

With this in mind however, if every other country started taking Don Cherry’s attitude, we won’t see Canadian players play anywhere else. As a compromise, I think the limit to two players per team is fine enough as it is. It allows Canada to develop talent where it needs to develop and brings in talent overseas without overcrowding the teams with foreigners. The CHL, much like any other sport with free agency, is still fans basically cheering for clothes. Not everyone from the Halifax Mooseheads hail from the province much less the city (I think there’s only one player from Halifax.).  It’s not a ridiculous situation where no one in the team is from the country they’re supposed to be representing as implied by their team name. I read some news yesterday about an eSports team, the London Spitfire, which despite having “London” in the name, is owned by a company in Los Angeles and 100% composed of Korean kids. Now, I don’t blame them for just having Korean kids. ESports is unavoidable here, and Korean kids happen to be the some of the best in the world. But the London Spitfire is obviously aimed solely at winning. It does not share the patriotic notions that Don Cherry has. It couldn’t care less about British kids playing videogames unless they’re better than Koreans.

Back to hockey. North and South Korea recently agreed to compete as one team for the women’s Olympic hockey competition. Now this is a good olive branch for both countries, especially after months of escalating tension stoked by Donald Trump. But a part of me can’t help but feel bad for half of the South Korean team who not only have been working hard to be part of the team, but they were bound to compete in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity where South Korea, a country where hockey is not popular, is guaranteed a spot in the competition for being host. The Korean equivalent to Don Cherry must be going nuts.

I share Don Cherry’s sentiment. I feel bad for the Canadian kids left out in favor of foreign talent. Those are kids who will have to work harder, settle for other things, or just simply give up on the sport. But in the end, those are just two spots in big teams in a big league. They’re small sacrifices in the altars of inclusion and good hockey.

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Goodbye 2016

puppet

2016 was not the most horrible of years, but it was one I’m not that very happy with. There are many celebrities who have died, but that’s all part of life, and I’m sure all years have their share of wonderful people dying that year. Personally, I happen to like Scott Weiland, but I can’t really blame 2016 for his death. There are disappointments over politics, but I believe the worst that the Trump election could be is still yet to come. He’s still a person with his own will and conscience. He can make the next four years good or as bad as people fear he would.

That and I have to remind myself that I am a Canadian. It doesn’t do me too much good to follow American politics too closely. I can disappoint myself with Canadian politics just as well. (Why did Trudeau have to approve that damned pipeline?)

I haven’t done too many art shows this year, but that’s a mixture of luck, with not many art shows coming my way, and with me not being as aggressive with my work. Work-wise, not much has changed. But I’m content where I am. I’m just glad I’m not struggling as many people are. And as for personal matters, I only have myself to blame for any failings last year.

I met a couple of scumbags last year too. Boy, were they scumbags!

As for good things, two nieces were born last year. My sister as well as my sister-in-law both had daughters. It’s good to see their families grow. My sisters are making sure their lives in North America are turning into a particular Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song. My good friend, Alicia, visited me last year.  We went to Japan with her and her boyfriend. It wasn’t without its bumps, but it was good to see one of my oldest friends. I happened to save someone who fell on the subway station while they were here too. I guess that’s something.

I also found one of the best beaches to go to last year.

Here’s hoping that 2017 would be better. So far, with Canada losing to the US in the Junior Hockey championship game yesterday, it’s not off to a good start. But perhaps that’s just an early glitch.

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The Maple House

Maple House

I was ready to do my best Gordon Ramsey and rip the restaurant apart. The fact that the first thing I saw was a promotion for Guinness at the door didn’t do well for first impressions. The last time I checked, Guinness was Irish. I was afraid that the restaurant would be what I often found to be a lazy representation of Canada in food festivals in the Seoul. The last international food festival I went to, the Canadian stall was selling hot dogs, Budweiser, and churros. Pretty disappointing.

In any case, I kept an open mind. At the very least, I was hoping to find Canadian beer, particularly Alley Kat. At the most, I’d be surprised to see if they serve perogies. I’ m sure they will have poutine, as it is basically the go-to food that people here would often answer outside of maple syrup when asked what food comes from Canada.

Vancouver

The entrance was a good touch. Very Vancouver airport. I almost expected to see First Nations bone and soapstone sculptures. Instead of sculptures however, they had frames of Canadian cities and hockey teams.

Winnipeg Jets

The Winnipeg Jets is represented. Unfortunately, it reminded me of the lunacy of having a human rights museum in Downtown Winnipeg. If you want to attract tourists, why would you build a museum with such a depressing theme? “Forget Edmonton Mall! Let’s fly to Winnipeg instead and see the human rights museum!”

Jets losing

Inside on a giant screen, they’re showing a broadcast of the Jets losing to the Senators. This feels very familiar.

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The beer selection is pretty good. They have Alley Kat, which they used to serve in many bars in Seoul but later dropped by everyone. Some of the bars I frequent have been disappointing me lately with the quality of beer they serve. Either the selection of the beer on tap is unimpressive, or it’s not that cold, or they give me a headache. Maybe it’s the cleaning fluid or the nitrogen in the tanks to give it head. I don’t know. So far, from the selection alone, this looks like a good place to have a drink.

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I didn’t know that sriracha was particularly Canadian or that it would work well in a hot dog. Surprisingly, it was pretty good. Impressed.

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They had spinach dip. Again, something you don’t see in many places around Seoul.

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I tried the smoked duck with blueberry. It was pretty good. I would definitely order it again. The duck might be too rare for the locals. Duck in the country is often served on a grill and cooked to a crisp, so I’m not sure if people would like it as much as I did. I was quite surprised at how reasonable the price was considering the part of town we were in.

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They had a fair selection of poutine, but I wasn’t in a poutine mood.

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They had Nanaimo bars which is excellent. The spelling on the ingredients for Beaver Tail might seem like a mistake, but I believe I just found my awesome rap name: Cinammn.

Mail box

The mail box is a nice touch.

The food was impressive and the price was very reasonable. I would come here for the beer, but the food and the price of the food are just icing on the cake. The owner took great lengths to make it feel very Canadian. The hockey on screen is good. It’s just too bad that Canada’s been having a pretty terrible season. I’d definitely come here again to try some of the other items on the menu, I just hope that it doesn’t get too crowded once more people learn about the place.

In a scale of 1 to 5 Body Breaks in terms of Canadianness, I give it four.

Body Break Rating

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Like Ghosts

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So the Winnipeg Jets are out. We barely made it in the playoffs. I was hoping one win would at least legitimize our team being included the playoffs, but being swept by the Ducks kinda says it all. We weren’t ready for the playoffs at all. I’m a little bit disappointed, but following the Jets, I kinda expected something like this going in.

Looks like Keith Olbermann is also in the camp against Mayweather. I hear ya, Keith. But before you generously label Pacquiao as the better man, let me remind you that he is part of what keeps his home country poor, a “governor” who doesn’t know a thing about politics, someone who was used by former president Arroyo, another president whose years were plagued with corruption and fraud.  He’s one of the most absent congressman in the country. But when he’s not training or promoting fights, he’s voting against women’s rights and contraception. There’s no good man in that ring on Sunday.

An old episode of This American Life introduced me to the wonderful musical stylings of Jo Carol Pierce. In an episode titled “Teenaged Girls,” she talks about suicide and her relationships with men and Jesus. Rennie Sparks also tells the story about a girl growing up and dealing with peer pressure. She’s one half of The Handsome Family band which many people would know from the opening theme of True Detective. It’s great radio if you could find it, an enlightening look at the fairer sex, some awkward tales of growing up, all without getting too unsophisticatedly feminist about it.

Now I’m off to get my period.

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Suddenly Sports

Winnipeg_Jets

NHL playoffs.

Five Canadian teams have made it to the playoffs. To pairs have been set against each other, so regardless of the outcome, two Canadian teams will make it to the next round. Surprisingly, the Winnipeg Jets made it to the playoffs as well. They made it despite the Evander Kane controversy, and how many fans were predicting doom and gloom after they star was traded to the Sabres. Unfortunately, despite making it to the playoffs, the Jets have so far lost the first two games, all due to dumb shenanigans on the ice. The games have been quite physical, but the Ducks have been playing it smarter, keeping their defense tight and taking advantage of power plays.

A good friend of mine said that the Jets goalie, Pavelec, reminded her of their goalie from almost twenty years ago, Khabibulin. Both are stars, and the team hung on to them as their key to doing well in the playoffs. Unfortunately, goalies only keep the other team from scoring, and they can only block so many shots. The Jets have dragged behind the Ducks in shots taken. And if they don’t step up their game, and maybe keep the shenanigans to a minimum, then maybe we won’t be repeating the last time the Jets underperformed at the playoffs.

Here’s hoping we learn from our mistakes and score a win next game.

I don’t talk much about sports, but there’s only hockey, which I’ve grown to love the longer I’m away from Canada, and boxing.

The problem with the boxing is that as impressive as Wladimir Klitschko is, there just isn’t much media hype over heavy weight fights despite him being the undisputed heavyweight champion.  And as for the Mayweather vs Pacquiao match, I can’t  push myself to root for either fighter for reasons outside of the ring. Mayweather just comes off as a scumbag. There’s the domestic violence stuff, but there’s  also the obnoxious way he talks and flaunts his money around.

As for Pacquaio, I would argue he is worse than Mayweather despite maintaining a rather clean image. This is a man who doesn’t appear to be able to say no to anything. Who made him a congressman? No wonder the country is where it is at the moment. The man dropped out of high school (albeit due to poverty) and has no legislative background.  I realize the Philippines has a habit of electing celebrities to politics, but at some point a person has to say no and not take everything he’s offered. Also, his politics is dumb and disgusting. He is against same-sex marriage. He is also against the use of condoms, and abortion. That just won’t work in a country that’s over-populated and with high unemployment rate. I realize the country is mostly Catholic, but governments should be run by learned leaders, not by close-minded athletes and religious zealots.

Excellent fighters, horrible human beings.

Oh well. Back to hockey!

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Olympics Schmolympics

Cicada

Cicada done in my usual style.

I’m not a big fan of the Russian government lately nor the Olympics being held in there especially with all of the troubling news coming out of the country. Despite this however, the Olympics cannot be avoided, and I cannot say that I don’t feel a bit of joy for the way Canada’s performed, especially with the two hockey golds and the women’s curling gold by a team from Manitoba. Yay Manitoba! A couple of things however:

After the Canadian women beat the Americans in hockey, #fuckCanada began trending on Twitter. It escalated more when the Canadian men beat the Americans a couple of days later. Really? “Fuck Canada?” “Our bacon is better than yours?” I know a lot of it is done in good humor, but most of the stuff I read is not really witty nor funny. If anything, it just sounds like whining or status fillers by creatively empty people. And really? How can you say, “fuck Canada” when you can’t even place bronze? Maybe you’re better off just saying “fuck hockey.”

Now, I don’t know for sure, but I doubt if the Swedes are going “Fan ta dig, Canada!” after getting silver yesterday.

Speaking of reacting badly to losing. I’m annoyed at the South Korean reaction towards the Kim Yuna loss to the Russians. First off, everyone and their mother is suddenly an expert, an expert in a sport that is notorious for shady, subjective judging. Second, the mob mentality of Korean netizens is ridiculous, even going so far as to mocking the 17 year-old Russian winner. If there were some discrepancies, then attack the institution… attack the way figure skating scores their athletes… don’t attack the athletes who work hard and devote their life to the sport. When Roy Jones Jr. was robbed of Olympic gold in 1988, the venom was not towards his opponent Si Hun Park, but towards the judges and the institution who made it happen. Si Hun Park, for his part, looked rather ashamed of the “victory” and never boxed professionally afterwards.

I’m also annoyed at people justifying their ravenous anger about it with, “I’m Korean!” I know you are. But Kim Yuna is not your daughter, and her triumphs and losses don’t affect you unless you let it (by devoting so much time hating, arguing, searching the internet, posting on forums, photoshopping, and signing petitions). I’m a Canadian, and I don’t take the losses of Canadian athletes personally. And I’m also open to counter arguments since I’m not a professional judge or anything. Heck, I’m open to counter arguments to anything! But personally, I heard “I’m a Korean!” many times not just as a reason for someone being angry due to some perceived athletic injustice, but as a sweeping counter to a reasoned argument. No one spat on a flag nor insulted a nation. It is blind regionalism and thick-headedness.

And really, a million South Koreans signing a petition to investigate the loss? Really? How about those same million being concerned with something worthier like I don’t know… the recent UN report about what’s happening up north?

Now I might be accused of regionalism with the way I started this entry, proclaiming joy over the way Canada performed in the Olympics, but hey, I’m never bitter whenever the Jets or the Bombers play poorly.

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