December 18, 2017

Dates for Stanley Stick set: report

In the absence of any meaningful games the past two weeks, has learned some key dates for Sunday Morning Road Hockey events.

The Stanley Stick will be contested April 29 and May 6. That’s the same time frame as last season, when the championship window was extended a week as a result of the extended mid-season hiatus because of snow and ice on the court.

A source close to the league said the early designation for the two-game championship series that concludes the road hockey season should give roadsters plenty of advance notice for vacation planning and child birth. Recent Stanley Sticks have been plagued by indifferent attendance due to conflicts with booked vacations and poorly-timed pregnancies.

Previously the dates for the Stanley Stick haven’t been announced until February or March.

“Most employers require employees to book their vacation time early in the new year,” said the source. “Now roadsters will know with certainty when not to take their vacation.”

The dates also avoid conflicts with other events that could affect attendance, such as the Vancouver Sun Run on April 22 and Mother’s Day on May 13. While the former hasn’t had a huge impact on the Stick, some roadsters have used their participation in the annual 10km run to miss key late-season games; others, like Lak Attack and Beckenbauer, have famously made it to the game after completing the downtown event.

“The two Sundays in between those days are pretty much the last free stretch for an unhindered Stanley Stick,” said the source. “If we wait beyond those dates we start to run into long weekends and summer holidays.”

After a dismal turnout of only four roadsters Sunday, the league is now on a two-week break to allow players to enjoy the holiday season without fear of the sting of the evil orange plastic ball. The season resumes Jan. 7 with the annual Shrimp Ring Bowl, the highlight of Sunday Morning Road Hockey’s social calendar.

Posted by jaysuburb at 07:53 PM | Comments (10)

December 03, 2017

Half-court game no joke for goalie

In the half-court game, the goalie has no friends.

That’s when Joker thrives.

The veteran goalkeeper said he “can’t get enough” of the improvised demigames that mean he’s facing shots from any player at any time.

“I like the action.”

In fact, Sunday he liked it so much, he threw down a challenge when the pace flagged, asserting he hadn’t been beaten on a wrap-around play in more than three years.

Lak Attack answered with aplomb, whipping out from behind the net to Joker’s left and squeezing the ball past the stunned shotstopper, much to the mirth of the rest of the players gathered for yet another half-court game as a number of key veterans continue to be awol.

“It was a given that I would score,” said the slippery centreman.

And playing the half-court game affords the creative players the luxury to try new moves because the game isn’t on the line. In fact, there is no real game.

“You can experiment,” said Lak Attack. “You get to make a few moves, try to get your timing.”

For his part, Joker is also working on aspects of his game.

He said the unrelenting nature of the half-court game, in which a teammate becomes his opponent every time the ball turns over, affords him the opportunity to hone his focus, build the stamina of alertness required to sustain him through the long, grueling season.

“It takes a lot to stay focussed when you’ve got shots coming at you from every side,” he said.

Raining those shots at every opportunity is the key to success in the half-court game, said Lak Attack. In fact, with every man playing for himself the game is stripped to its core elements.

“Sometimes it’s just as simple as shooting it on net, get a rebound and hopefully it goes in,” said Lak Attack. “That’s the fundamentals of this game.”

That’s good news for a goaltending workaholic like Joker.

“I’ve got to be on my toes,” he said.

Posted by jaysuburb at 09:34 PM | Comments (14)