The 17th Initiative — Month Two: The Lookout Society

Angus here wants your blood.
Angus asks you to donate a Comfort Bag to the Lookout Society.

The 17th Initiative is a way of teaching my daughter about the powers of volunteerism and giving. Each month in 2015, on or around the 17th, we will connect with a charity or community organization of some sort. We encourage you, the reader, to do the same. Time, materials, money — whatever you can contribute, to whatever cause you believe in — use #17thInitiative if you want to share your good deeds on social media.

After meeting some of the good folks at the Now That’s Ugly Society, my daughter and I donated a few bucks to the Children’s Wish Foundation this month. We were hoping to raise a little bit more than $50, but we’re not here to focus on negatives. Fifty is better than zero, right? Besides, you can’t put a dollar value on the awareness you raise by talking about a cause. Children’s Wish is awesome. (You can still bump this figure up, if you’re keen, by throwing a few bones here.)

Little Kira has been diagnosed with leukemia — consider making a blood donation in her honour as she fights the good fight!
Little Kira has been diagnosed with leukemia — consider making a blood donation in her honour as she fights the good fight!

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be involved in a couple of projects:

  1. Donate blood in support of Princess Kira, a two-year-old recently diagnosed with leukemia. There’s a all-day blood drive on Superbowl Sunday at Blacklock Elementary in Langley, or you can book through Canadian Blood Services anytime and make your appointment “in Support of Kira” (Partners for Life #INSU806630, if you want to associate future donations with this drive as well).
  2. Assemble a “Comfort Bag” for the Lookout Society, an organization that provides housing and support services for members of BC’s homeless population. My daughter and I will gather some of the items from the Winter Donations Wish List posted on the Lookout website (and shared below), pop it in a dollar store tote bag and donate it to Russell Housing Centre in New West. We encourage y’all to do the same!

The 17th Initiative will continue throughout 2015, so please feel free to comment or contact us with suggestions for ways to engage in the community as we move forward. If you’re already involved in causes or events, please share! Again, use #17thInitiative on Twitter and Facebook (or even Instagram, I guess, but I’m not on there myself).

For those who wish to give items other than cash, the Lookout Society has a donation suggestion list.
For those who wish to give items other than cash, the Lookout Society has a donation suggestion list.
Month 2 - Lookout
The Lookout Society provides housing, assistance and support services to members of the roughly 3,700 homeless people in the Vancouver area.

 

 

Weird goals

Matt Ustaski, pinball wizard
Matt Ustaski of the Wisconsin Badgers scored what is likely the strangest goal of his collegiate career on Friday, potting one from 190 feet. Sure, teams score empty netters all the time, but the Matt O’Connor was still on the ice for the Boston Terriers at the time. The BU keeper skated out to start a counter-attack as the Badgers made a defensive change, but his pass careened off of defenseman Brien Diffley and into his own net.

It was very nearly UW’s biggest win of the year — they’ve only won twice in fourteen games — as Ustaski’s goal gave the Badgers a 3-1 lead with less than three minutes to play against the #2 ranked Terriers. It wasn’t to be, however. BU would score twice with O’Connor on the bench, including the tying goal with 2.2 seconds left, and would eventually win via the dreaded shootout.

Continue reading Weird goals

Somebody Approved This: 2015 NHL All-Star Jersey

In an age of hyper marketing, intense competition and tightly controlled PR, it’s amazing that truly horrible ideas can still make it past the brainstorming stage. Whether it’s the nightmare of design by committee or just a conflagration of mediocre talents pulling the wool over the eyes of out of touch rich CEOs, we occasionally see awful designs rolled out in an underwhelming explosion of anticlimax. Today, we analyze the most recent NHL obscenity with the resurrection of Somebody Approved This.

Recently, the National Hockey League apparently decided to just give up on their All-Star Game. “Screw it,” I imagine Gary Bettman saying, laying arms crossed inside a coffin while Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly nourishes him with the blood of the eternally youthful Jaromir Jagr. “If the fans want to turn this thing into a farce by voting in an obscure Latvian member of the Buffalo Sabres with 42 career points then we shall give them their farce!” Enter the latest in somewhat sorta hockey jersey-looking apparel. The 2015 NHL All-Star jersey, brought to you by Zellers.

BMX hockey tribute jackets? Nope. These are the actual 2015 NHL All-Star Game jerseys. Not even Chris Withers likes them.
BMX hockey tribute jackets? Nope. These are the actual 2015 NHL All-Star Game jerseys. Not even Chris Withers likes them.

Continue reading Somebody Approved This: 2015 NHL All-Star Jersey

Whitecaps FC fans licking their lips for first kick

First kick is still months away, but the Whitecaps still managed to steal some ink away from the return of Roberto Luongo this week. The 2015 MLS schedule was released (along with the signing of Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard to the LA Galaxy), giving local soccer fans a case of the tweets. Thankfully, they’re much more pleasant than the trots, which have plagued TFC fans since Jermain “Bloody Big Deal” Defoe was linked to no fewer than four Premier League teams over the Christmas break.

But I digress. This is about the Whitecaps, their newly minted contract with Uruguayan striker Octavio Rivero, and the 2015 MLS schedule. The PDF file is below for your perusal, and doesn’t yet include Canadian Championships or Champions League matches — that’s right, baby, the Caps are reppin’ CONCACAF this year! — but let us give you a few dates to circle on the ol’ calendar right here and now.

Continue reading Whitecaps FC fans licking their lips for first kick

Torts + Gillis > Iron Mike?

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Canucks fan who misses the regime of Coach John Tortorella and President/GM Mike Gillis. Around these parts, they’re nearly as reviled as Coach Mike Keenan and…  Acting GM Mike Keenan.

There are loads of similarities. But who was worse? The answer doesn’t come as easily as you might think.

Three of the most hated men in Vancouver hockey. Photos cribbed from an AskJeeves search.
Three of the most hated men in Vancouver hockey. Photos cribbed from the interweb..

Continue reading Torts + Gillis > Iron Mike?

Woke up to some Head on Xmas morning

Vancouver sports fans have a few things to unwrap under the tree this year, indeed. The Vancouver Whitecaps, Canucks and Giants are all giving in the spirit of the season. To start, this is for you, ladies…

Octavio Rivero may not win the Golden Boot next season, but he should look good on the end of those Mauro Rosales crosses. Photo cribbed from the interweb.
La Cabeza  may not win the Golden Boot next season, but he should look good on the end of those Mauro Rosales crosses. The ladies tell me he looks especially good after scoring. Wait, what? Photo cribbed from the interweb.

Continue reading Woke up to some Head on Xmas morning

Camilo out for the season — boo hoo, amirite?

There’s no love lost for Camilo round these parts. The man broke his contract with the Vancouver Whitecaps prior to last season, sparking a year-long search for a decent goal scorer. Sure, the Caps made the playoffs, and did so in dramatic fashion, but they sorely missed the diminutive Brazilian in the striker position.

How Whitecaps fans spent the 2014 season: openly hating the man, but equally desperate to see some consistent goal-scoring. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
How Whitecaps fans spent the 2014 season: openly hating the man, but behind the whatevs we were eager to see some consistent goal-scoring. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

The blue and white saw offensive production drop by a full eleven goals without Camilo. In 2013, the Caps were the only teamwith a positive goal differential to miss the post-season; a year later, they were still in the black (thanks to a wonderful improvement on the back end) but had the lowest GD of any playoff team.

Would number 7 have stepped in the way of the LA Galaxy in their quest for a storybook ending to Landon Donovan’s career had he stayed? Unlikely: the Whitecaps may have gotten shut out in both away games versus the Galaxy this season, but they didn’t fare much better last year with Camilo in the lineup. It’s also not his fault that Coach Robbo elected not to offer Kenny Miller a contract extension in favour of giving the young horses in the stable a chance to run.

What if and if only aside, it was that very lack of scoring finish — I’m looking at you, Darren Mattocks — and a bizarre bit of refereeing that ultimately did the Caps in.

Continue reading Camilo out for the season — boo hoo, amirite?

The 17th Initiative — Month One: Now That’s Ugly

Help PITH raise a modest $250 for the Children's Wish Foundation by January 17, 2015.
Help PITH raise a modest $250 for the Children’s Wish Foundation by January 17, 2015.

Despite what the news tells you, good humans far outnumber the bad. Indeed, for the most part, people are pretty generous. There are good works all around us. Case in point: the folks at the Now That’s Ugly Society, who have spun a modest ugly sweater bash each December into a full-blown movement in support of the Children’s Wish Foundation. But more on them in a moment.

Like most parents, I want to inspire in my daughter a desire to share. Whether it’s ideas, cookies, emotions, toys, information… All of these things ought to be passed around and celebrated. If that can be done with a minimum of screeching “IT’S MIIIIIINE!” that would be just awesome.

The folks from the Now That's Ugly Society fundraise for the Make a Wish Foundation, and have loads of fun along the way. Check 'em out at http://nowthatsugly.com/.
The folks from the Now That’s Ugly Society fundraise for the Make a Wish Foundation, and have loads of fun along the way. Check ‘em out at http://nowthatsugly.com/.

I’ve been thinking about this since before she was born, and right now is a prime time to expose her to the powers of kindness, generosity and volunteerism. Now That’s Ugly is just the latest amazing project to catch my eye — to wit: I saw a story on the CBC, and was hugely inspired. I even said so on Twitter:

So many kinds of awesome, right? Only, rather than cramming everything into the holiday season — when loads of people are giving and doing good works — I thought we could branch out into the rest of the year. I put numbers in a hat — well, okay, the Ugly Christmas toque you see above — and out came 17.  And so, the 17th Initiative was born.

I've never claimed to be good at this logo designing thing.
I’ve never claimed to be good at this logo designing thing.

Once a month, starting on January 17th, 2015, we’ll do a small act of kindness in the community, and we’ll invite you along to join us.

17 January 2015 — We’ve set a modest goal of raising $250 for the Children’s Wish Foundation, through the good folks at Now That’s Ugly. Please consider tossing a couple of twonies at this amazing organization that helps seriously ill children build hope and joy in the face of tragedy and loss. We challenge all hockey bloggers, guest posters and readers to donate a minimum of $5, either to this fundraiser or to a children’s charity of your choice.

Milla and I will be doing these things whether folks join us or not, but wouldn’t it be nicer if we could all give together? Please use the hashtag #17thInitiative in your social media-ing.

Five straight for the Vancouver Giants

The Vancouver Giants won their season-high fifth straight game Friday night, turning in what Brendan Batchelor lauded as a high point in his stint as the team’s play-by-play man:

Mason Geertsen scored his third of the year on a power play to open the scoring in a 6-3 win over the Victoria Royals. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Mason Geertsen scored his third of the year on a power play to open the scoring in a 6-3 win over the Victoria Royals. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

From Mason Geertsen’s third goal of the season late in the first to Tyler Benson’s third period shorty, the Giants played a solid 60 minutes and were full marks for the 6-3 win. Six different G-Men scored, and Payton Lee made 26 saves in the win.

Look for some colourful Christmas wear on Saturday night, as these same two teams do the second half of the home-and-home on Ugly Sweater Night at the Coliseum. We at Pucked in the Head dare you to have as much fun as these five beauties:

These beautiful Aussies were some of the most vocal ugly sweater wearers at a 2012 Giants game — we at PITH challenge you to outdo them this year! Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
These beautiful Aussies were some of the most vocal ugly sweater wearers at a 2012 Giants game — we at PITH challenge you to outdo them this year! Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Or even these folks:

The folks from the Now That's Ugly Society fundraise for the Make a Wish Foundation, and have loads of fun along the way. Check 'em out at http://nowthatsugly.com/.
The folks from the Now That’s Ugly Society fundraise for the Make a Wish Foundation, and have loads of fun along the way. Check ‘em out at http://nowthatsugly.com/.

It’s a bit of an ironic time for the Giants to go on a tear, as their crosstown NHL brethren in blue and green are in the middle of their longest losing streak of the season. The Canucks still sit high in the standings, however, based upon a strong first quarter. The Giants, on the other hand, languish at the bottom of the Western Conference despite garnering a full ten points in the last five games.

Still, it’s probably not a coincidence that the run comes with a new coach behind the bench. It’ll be interesting to hear at the end of the season just what Claude Noel brought to the room that Troy G Ward didn’t:

Giants win third straight on Teddy Bear Toss night

One of hundreds of stuffed animals that hit the ice when Jackson Houck scored at 2:18 of the third period. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the head.Jackson Houck scored the shootout winner for the Vancouver Giants on Saturday night, but it was his period goal a full period earlier that made the fur fly. His one-timer from just left of Saskatoon goaltender Nik Amundrud gave more than 8,000 fans reason to rain down teddy bears for the Vancouver Christmas Bureau, and inspired a record thirty-seven and a half alliterative phrases from play-by-play man Brendan Batchelor. In addition to the toy collection for underprivileged children, proceeds from in-rink fundraising also benefitted the CKNW Orphans Fund and The Province Empty Stocking Fund.

The Blades can thank their goaltender for the point they earned this night; the Giants dominated possession for the first 40 minutes, but were unable to ripple the mesh behind Amundrud until Houck bobbled a one-timer into the back of the net at 2:18 of the third period.

Despite being badly outplayed, the Blades never trailed in the game. Amundrud made 38 saves in the loss, plus two of three shootout attempts. For his part, Payton Lee saw very little action in the first half of the game, but came through when it mattered; he made two point-blank stops on Soshnin, and another late in regulation on Blades top scorer Alex Forsberg. He also stymied all three Saskatoon shooters in the skills competition.

Thomas Foster drives to the net to earn an assist on a late game-tying goal. His Giants would win the game in a shootout. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Thomas Foster drives to the net to earn an assist on a late game-tying goal. His Giants would win the game in a shootout. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Also scoring for the Giants was Jakob Stukel; defenseman Arvin Atwal had two assists in the win. Scoring for the Blades were Nikita Soshnin on a power play and Josh Uhrich  off a Giants defensive miscue.

The win was the third in a row for the G-Men — it marks the first time they’ve done that since the opening three games of the season, and brings head coach Claude Noel’s welcome-to-the-Dub undefeated streak to two games. Getcher red hot highlights, which mysteriously fade from a platoon of teddy bears to a fight at centre ice, here.

The Giants top scorer, Carter Popoff, was kept off the score sheet this night, but his Giants won 3-2 in a shootout. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
The Giants top scorer, Carter Popoff, was kept off the score sheet this night, but his Giants won 3-2 in a shootout. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

The Giants next home game is Wednesday, December 10th against the dirty, rotten, stinkin’ Prince Albert Raiders; Saturday the 13th is — besides a horrible idea for a sequel— Ugly Sweater Night against the utterly revolting Victoria Royals.

Just a sample of the toys that littered the ice after Jackson Houck's early third period goal. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Just a sample of the toys that littered the ice after Jackson Houck’s early third period goal. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.