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May, 2011

Monday, May 30th, 2011

The Hangover Part 3: Memorial Cup week in Mississauga.

All I do is win, win, win no matter what…

Mississauga, ON The sun was streaming through the window Monday morning like the whole world knew that it was a holiday. Mother Nature had decided to give us a reason to celebrate by letting up on the constant rain for a couple of days. It was Victoria Day weekend, or the infamous May 2-4, that most Canadians celebrate by drinking waaaaay too much. It was was also the start of the storied Memorial Cup tournament. The tournament was already three games deep, of this I was certain, but what happened following the Majors victory over the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League, I hadn’t the slightest idea.

It was around 8AM the morning after. I had awoken somewhere in Mississauga with absolutely no memory of what had transpired following a few too many tall boys at Hershey Centre Sunday night. I was completely naked in a bed that wasn’t mine, with bruises all over my body, including a suspicious looking handprint on my ass – that is still there to this day, I might add! My clothes were brazenly scattered on opposite sides of the foreign bed, wherein a gentleman caller slept in a similar state of disarray. Though, I suppose I was actually the gentleman caller, since this was his place. Hmm…

My head throbbed and my body was moments away from certain destruction at the hands of extreme dehydration. Why couldn’t I remember what had happened the night before? I racked my brain trying to find even the slightest clue as to how I wound up lying next to a naked man, but came up with a total blank and lots of it. Even in some of my more “veteran” post game experiences, like on my trips to Montreal and Pittsburgh in the 2008-09 season, I still never had a complete blackout. Don’t think the irony wasn’t lost on me either. My first case of total memory loss just happens to occur during the Memorial Cup?! Yeah… hilarious.

I turned over on my side, and tried to go back to sleep. I still felt a little bit drunk, and, well, given the circumstances, I probably still was. My hips ached as they pressed against the mattress. They were bruised to Hell, much like the rest of me. I had clearly missed out on something epic the night before, and I was extremely sad about that. I always had my theories about goalies, but now that I had actually had one, I couldn’t remember a damn thing. It was too unfair. Before I shut my eyes again, a fleck of gold on the nightstand caught my attention. There was a pack of Magnums resting there and waiting on deck for the morning romp. I had never seen one of those before, and I dropped my pounding head back against the pillow in utter defeat. “Fuck,” I thought as I shut my eyes again. “I really did miss something good last night.”

Around 11AM I did the walk of shame hoping that I wouldn’t see anyone I may have met the night before. I headed straight for the A&W. In times like these, a greasy Papa Burger is the only answer. I was discombobulated for days after my Mem Cup tryst. Everything looked so unfamiliar, I’m surprised I managed to make the drive back to Toronto without getting lost. I was clearly suffering from some type of brain damage. It would take two games for me to have a complete inventory of all the injuries I had sustained in the bedroom that Sunday night. By the time I was in my seat for the Kootenay vs. Saint John game on Tuesday evening, I had determined that I had wounds on my calves, shins, knees, thighs, butt, hips, back, shoulders, arms, chest, ribs, and even the side of my face! I even discovered a new neck bruise while I was at the game! Hmm… maybe I was right about goalies, after all.

The WHL vs. QMJHL game had local OHL fans completely disinterested. The tickets were priced lower, and the attendance was probably the worst of the whole tournament. This made me sad. I’ve always been more of a hockey fan as opposed to a fan with specific team loyalties. So, to me, the game featuring teams from the two other leagues in the CHL was a must-see. Plus, what girl would want to miss a showdown between some Western Canadian boys and some French-Canadian boys!? Even though the Sea Dogs had already clinched a spot in the finals, the game turned out to be pretty fantastic, as the Ice came out of nowhere to disrupt the whole tournament, and force a tie breaker two days later.

And, boy, am I glad they did. That Thursday the Owen Sound Attack had come to the end of the line. They failed to ride the coattails of their OHL victory to Memorial Cup success. Since Coach DILF Dave Cameron was off for the night, he was free to roam the Hershey Centre grounds where I was ready to prey on him. It was another sunny day, fortunately for me, as this meant that Mr. Man was working his spring line in a fancy white polo shirt that he had tucked into a crisp pair of khakis, which he really knew how to fill out, if you want my opinion. I had to make it my business to have a proper run in with him. So, as the man headed back towards the building from the sanctity of the VIP parking lot, I decided to venture out of the building at the same time that he was re-entering.

I must have been about 25 feet away from the door as he was about to pass through it. His manly swagger was obviously too quick for my timid, yet giddy, school girl skip, so our timing was way off. Being the true man that he is, he saw me coming even though I was a socially acceptable distance for him to not feel obligated to hold the door for me. Instead Thedavecameron flexed his mighty pythons (BOTH of them), and waited patiently for me to pass through the threshold that he had thoughtfully secured for me.

“Thank you very much,” I squealed, as I tried with all my might to maintain eye contact, and not drop my gaze to his very tempting man-hooter region. “Ooooohhhh, you’re very welcome,” he said with what I refuse to interpret as anything less than a come hither smirk.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

I have loved this man since I was sixteen years old. And not a silly puck bunnyish crush either. Love. Real Love. *Swoon* That moment in the doorway made my entire life! I couldn’t have possibly thought of a better way to end my romantic Memorial Cup encounters, so I decided to behave myself, and not try to top it. This decision is the only thing that saved Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney in the Final that Sunday night. He’s probably my most favouritest GM of all time these days. I really love some of his more recent decisions! I did leave the poor man alone, but I did linger a while to perform my informal bodyguard duties. The Final was sold out, so I was worried he might feel claustrophobic being around so many fans and all! I was ready to catch him at the first sign of a fainting spell. You’re welcome.

The last game of the Memorial Cup was a heartbreaking one for the good people of Mississauga. It was no surprise to anyone that the Sea Dogs had this tournament in the bag, but while the Majors success deserves to be celebrated, it is still devastating to think that they made it all the way to the final game and came away with nothing to show for it – not a Memorial Cup ring, and not even the J. Ross Robertson Cup. Sometimes life isn’t fair, I guess.

Disappointment wasn’t the only emotion running high at the Hershey Centre that night, awkwardness was also a key player. Since there was a game almost every single day since the tournament began, you can imagine how many run ins I had with my gentleman caller throughout the week. I’m not usually awkward about this stuff, but trying to carry on as usual is kind of difficult when all these unanswered questions are swirling through your mind every time you see each other, and you don’t know whether you should feel proud of yourself, or totally embarrassed. What had I done? What had been done to me? How hard did I have to be spanked in order to have a handprint permanently tattooed on my behind a week and counting later? And most of all, is there video footage of this floating around the Internet as we speak? Truthfully, I’m too scared to Google myself to find out! Just know that whatever is out there, it’s probably not my A-game, so cut a woman some slack!

The rain and thunderstorms had thankfully let up for the junior hockey fans, as they gradually grew tired of watching the Sea Dogs celebrate their victory on the ice, and began to pour out of Hershey Centre and into the congestion of cars driving away from another hockey season, and towards a, hopefully, relaxing offseason. However, for the Psycho of all hockey fans, the last game of my 2010-11 hockey misadventure was anticlimactic. I’m not sure what I was looking for this hockey season, but whatever void I was looking to fill, remains a gaping hole of dissatisfaction. Going into the offseason, my future in hockey seems strangely uncertain. While I can’t be sure where the next few months will take me, one thing I know for sure is that now I’m more motivated than ever to test out my theories about goalies. My interest has now been piqued… Be afraid, goaltenders everywhere! Oh baby!

Top Photo: The only picture I have from the day I had my *moment* with Coach DILF!

Bottom Photo: The Saint John Sea Dogs anxiously await the presentation of the Memorial Cup. A lot more speeches when the Mem Cup is being presented than when the Robertson Cup is!

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Saturday, May 28th, 2011

OHL Final: The series we all thought wouldn’t matter.

Mississauga & Owen Sound, ON After the Niagara IceDogs’ heartbreaking loss to the St. Michael’s Majors in the Eastern Conference Finals, I required a vacation to sunny Tampa, Florida to recover from my devastation. The sun did more than just bronze my royally pale skin with an awkward tan, it illuminated the truth, and made me see things in a whole new light. For some strange reason, I started to feel quite bitter towards Niagara. Did we get divorced? Clearly, I was invested somehow. It could just be the pseudocancermones, as I call them, making me crazy again, though, but for some reason I was ready to fly back to Canada and re-join the team I grew up with, the Majors, in their quest for the Memorial Cup, with absolutely no love loss to the absence of the IceDogs. And I did just that.

I missed the first four games of the OHL Championship due to my boondoggle in the Sunshine State. I feel kind of guilty about this now, but I was secretly hoping for the Majors to lose at first, so the series would go to six games, and I could make the Harry Lumley Bayshore Centre my 51st hockey rink visited. In hindsight, I realize the error of my ways. We really should be careful what we wish for.

My trip to cottage country for Game 6 was a bit of a hassle. I had only been to nine other active OHL arenas, and I had foolishly assumed that I had already seen the best of the best. Little did I know that each and every member of the small town of 22K was a ravenous Attack hockey fan. Everywhere you looked both homemade and store bought Attack signs graced window panes, door frames, mailboxes, and pretty much everything you could think of. The game, a do or die situation for Owen Sound, was completely sold out, and the standing room had been sold several rows deep. The bad news was that you weren’t able to secure a standing room ticket by phone, so around 10AM on game day, I loaded up Lynxie with all the essentials, and hauled ass up Highway 10 with hair curlers in effect – quiet, please!

It was around 1PM when I had, THANKFULLY, secured a ticket to the final tilt to be played in Owen Sound for the 2010-11 OHL season. The bad news was that I had several hours to kill before the gates would even open. I divided my time off-roading to a couple near death experiences, and loitering at the quote/unquote “mall,” where I had several run ins with Attack goalie, Michael Zador, which made me question how serious these boys actually were about forcing a Game 7 to keep their Robertson Cup dreams alive. You see, since the Majors were the host of the 2011 Memorial Cup this season, their OHL Final series against the Attack really didn’t matter in the long run, as both teams were Mem Cup bound regardless of who was fortunate enough to be named OHL Champion.

As I would learn at the very loud and cramped arena that night, most Owen Sounders were still in shock over the season their team was having. At the start of the season, they couldn’t imagine placing in first in the Western Conference, or eliminating the very playoff experienced Windsor Spitfires, and lasting even six games versus DILF-O-RAMA Dave Cameron’s unstoppable Majors in the Final. Or at least that’s what they said. I know all of this because, in my section, at least, all the men had decided that I was a lot more interesting than the actual game. I had a line-up of marriage proposals that night, and since they all made me hug them whenever the Attack scored a goal, I had a lot of love to give out as well. The hockey gods had smiled on Owen Sound once more, and the series headed back to the Greater Toronto Area for one more game.

I knew things wouldn’t be good for the Majors that final Sunday afternoon. I’m a bit superstitious, if you haven’t noticed, and, well, the only other time I saw the J. Ross Robertson Cup hoisted was at Hershey Centre seven years earlier. That year the home team, the, then, Mississauga IceDogs, fell to the stallion-esque Guelph Storm in a four game sweep, if my memory serves me right. Future NHLers Daniel Paille, Ryan Callahan, Kevin Klein, Cam Janssen, and Ryan Parent skated the ice at Hershey Center with their make out buddy, J. Ross, held proudly overhead. Unfortunately, their success didn’t translate into a Mem Cup victory, as they were completely obliterated in Kelowna that spring. As I seemed to be having a season of history repeating itself, I feared that history was going to repeat itself at 5500 Rose Cherry Place, and the home team would once again fall in front of a heartbroken local crowd. And so it was written…

In a shocking finale to end the OHL season, the favoured Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors lost the OHL title everyone just assumed was theirs for the taking, but calling the sell-out crowd a “home crowd” doesn’t quite cut it. I had arrived early for Game 7, and yet I still managed to find myself standing for the entire game, but that’s another story. As I sat in the parking lot listening to some music, and waiting for some Divine sign to tell when to enter the facility, I saw car loads, and truck loads, and bus loads of fans pull up to the Mississauga venue in a sea of red and black. It must have been the only game of the playoffs that sold out at Hershey Centre this year, and it was the proud and dedicated Owen Sound hockey fans that had made the 2 hour drive (each way) to support their boys. They dubbed Hershey Centre, “Bayshore South” that afternoon, and I would have to say that was a pretty accurate assessment of the atmosphere in the building.

After the sting of the loss vanquished, it’s no doubt that the Majors found solace in knowing that they would soon get a shot at redemption in the Memorial Cup the following week. With only one day left until the Memorial Cup is hoisted, the Majors are less than 24 hours away from getting the last laugh, as they are to face the deadly Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL in the Final tomorrow night! I know I’ll be wearing my lucky blue thong loud and proud tomorrow. I’m really pulling for these boys! So, until tomorrow, keep that stick on the ice, and such.


Top Photo: Fuck, I hate sitting in the end zone!

Bottom Photo: Game 5 with Hilary in our first game day pic since Phoenix at Pittsburgh in 09-10! Post Hershey Centre poutine a.k.a. the next best poutine to Scotiabank Place in Ottawa!!

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