Total Hockey I fnally got a chance to visit Kevin (Shea) at Total Hockey in Bowmanville today. It's not the biggest place, but the displays/exhibits are very attractively designed. There's a distinctly different feel to the place, compared to the Hockey Hall of Fame: it's more accessible.
The HHOF feels more like a museum, with the predominance of glass display cases, but Total Hockey feels more...homey. I mean, there are sticks and skates and things that aren't in cases, and I loved the memorabilia/collectible area living room design!
Also, I just liked the use of different materials (fabrics, tapestries, etc.) and styles. I thought the giant Richard and Bower cut-outs--like table hockey figures--were a unique concept. Don't know why exactly, but I particularly admired the look of the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast section (if you put on the headphones, you can actually hear old broadcasts). It's very simple--a curtain, stools, and hanging headsets--but attractive.
Now, it's been a while since I went through the interactive/game section of the Hall, but I think Total Hockey's got a more varied collection of activities. Don't get me wrong, the Hall's Shoot Out and Shut Out games are really cool, but I like how the Total Hockey games allow you to test specific skills.
The goaltending activity, for example, tests your ability to both observe and react. After you press the blue button (top right corner), one of the yellow buttons will light up. You have to hit the button for another one to light up, and so the process repeats for 30 seconds. Of course, this simulates stopping pucks coming from all different directions. It's pretty challenging. Not only do you have to be able to quickly identify which button is lit, you also have to be able to respond quickly to hit it. Not to mention there's a degree of flexibility required to go from top to bottom, left to right.
There's also an activity that tests your puckhandling skills. Basically the game has a bunch of circles on the floor and you need to move the puck over the different circles which light successively in a random order. The goal is to finish all the circles and to return the puck to the centre in the shortest period of time. I was really terrible at that! When Kevin demonstrated, it took him 24 seconds to complete, but it took me 50 seconds!! ^^;;
Of course they also had a slap shot game to clock the speed of a shot. I thought I was bad at the puck handling, but I was even worse at the slap shot! It was pretty embarrassing. Even with Kevin there to give me tips, I couldn't get the puck up, much less moving towards the net with any speed! The fastest I managed (after dozens of tries) was 26 mph. @_@ Half of the time I couldn't even get the puck up to the net! Oh well. Kevin said it just means I need to practice more--maybe I should go to Total Hockey more often. =P
Apart from those three games, they also had some things to test your hand and leg strength. The hand strength one was this thing that you just had to squeeze to see your grip strength. For leg strength, you just had to stand on a mat and jump as high as possible for the machine to measure the height of your jump. I thought these two were really good ideas because even self-conscious kids/people who don't have any experience hockey sticks can do these activities without feeling too exposed/awkward.
Apart from the games, I had a lot of fun taking pictures of myself in the little photo set available. There was even a handy-dandy ledge that made it easy for me to set my camera up with the timer to take the pictures by myself!
So, all in all I enjoyed my visit to Total Hockey! It's a great little gem of a place for hockey fans. I just wish more people knew about it! I mean, the Hockey Hall of Fame is great and I love it, but Total Hockey's got its own unique appeal/feel.
Leaf fans, here's an event you don't want to miss *snicker*:
Just a reminder that Wade Belak will be signing at Untouchables next Sunday - March 4th - from 2-4pm. Tickets are $10 per item. We will have photos and pucks available for purchase at $5 each.
Worried about waiting in line? Advance tickets are available at the store! Your calling time will be on the ticket so you can show-up just before that time instead of committing your day to waiting in line!
This is our first autograph session and we really want it to go well; more sessions will be sure to follow if we get a good reception for Wade Belak! Even if you're not interested, please consider telling any Leafs fans you know who might want to stop by!
Sakic Hits 600-Goal Milestone! Woohoo!! I'm so thrilled! Sakic became the 17th player in NHL history to score 600 goals in Thursday's 7-5 win against the Calgary Flames!
The only regret I have is that I didn't have Centre Ice to be able to watch the game. I mean, sure it was an empty netter so it wasn't a super-cool goal or anything, but it's a major milestone for my favourite player, and, as a fan, I feel that I should have been watching him achieve it.
And of course the victory against Calgary is HUGE. I mean, the Avs totally need the momentum considering that tonight was their first of FIVE games against division rivals within exactly one week. (Yes, I think the NHL schedule makers are absolutely insane and/or sadistic.) If they can't win the majority of these games, particularly the one against Minnesota (their nearest division rival currently occupied a playoff spot), their already slim chances of making the playoffs are going to get even slimmer.
ARGH. Darn the Avs for playing themselves into such a poor playoff position!
. . .
In other news, Forsberg is going to Nashville. *sigh* It's a little depressing to see such an illustrious player get shunted around this way. This is my Avalanche bias talking, but I really think he would've been better off staying in Colorado, even with a significant pay cut. I mean, at least he would've been appreciated there, regardless of his performance/health.
But yes, you can read more of my thoughts on both tonight's (Thursday's) game and the Forsberg trade on my MVN site: http://mvn.com/nhl-avalanche. I'm pretty pleased with myself, actually, for managing to get the game recap/Sakic's 600th goal post up within half an hour of Yahoo and Colorado Avalanche.com's posts. Hopefully this prompt post helps to make up for the pathetic job I've been doing of updating my MVN column in recent months. ^^;;
Whodathunk... It's disconcerting, but I have to admit that one semester of teaching has done a lot to put a damper on my hockey mania. I mean, I still consider it a passion, but I've got to admit, it's no longer natural for me to spend nights watching hockey, and even when I'm free I often schedule my time for things other than HNIC.
On the bright side, I guess it's a good thing that I basically had some balance forcibly injected into my life. I mean, there's nothing like feeling like you have no free time to make you realize the importance of pulling yourself away from the computer and television and spending time with friends and family.
I've got one game lined up for the rest of this season: Colorado @ Buffalo. It's on March 7 and I've got 3rd row seats! Again, another good thing about not spending as much time on hockey is that I truly appreciate and look forward to going to games in a way I didn't before (I think I was starting to take going to games for granted, last season).
Anyway, I've still got to find someone to come to the game with me... My mom suggested that I invite my dad (I don't think he's watched a game live before) but I don't know... It may sound a litle mean, but I'd like to go to the game with someone who'd really appreciate that they're 3rd row seats!
Any takers? =P (Of course, this probably isn't the best place to ask since I'd bet my 5-month "hiatus" has killed off most of my readership, such as it was. Oh well...)
Neglect... Many apologies for the neglect! As you can see, getting a job as a teacher wreaks havoc with one's hockey life. The Avalanche played in Toronto this year, and because I was teaching I didn't even TRY to get tickets to the game.
How sad is that?
Other ways teaching has messed with my hockey life:
- I didn't have time to plan for my hockey pool draft - I don't have time to manage my hockey pool team (hence I am currently 11/13) - I don't have time to watch hockey games, so I didn't buy the Centre Ice package - I don't have time to watch games, so I didn't buy a mini-pack from Buffalo this year
Sad, sad, sad, sad, sad!!
Anyway, I will be done in February (I was only hired for one semester) so I expect to be posting regularly again then!!
One Step Forward... ...two steps back!! Each time I think that John Ferguson Jr. has earned my respect--like signing Kaberle to a long-term deal, refusing to trade Steen, picking up Raycroft, and dumping Belfour and Domi--he does something stupid like RE-SIGNING WADE BELAK!!!
I don't know if all the intelligent wheeling and dealing in the world can make up for re-signing Belak not once, but TWICE when faced with an excellent opportunity to dump him.
Maybe JF Jr. feels like he needs an enforcer type player now that Domi (who was playing a much reduced role anyway) is gone? But surely there are more skillful "grit" players out there than Belak, who's such a defensive liability for the Leafs, by rights their opponents should be paying for some of his salary!!
ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH... I don't know if I can take another season of Belak.