Category Archives: Sports

In which I admit to myself who I really am


It’s time for me to come clean and admit it. I’ve been fighting this for years, but it’s getting harder and harder to hide it and pretend that I’m something I’m not. I just can’t go on living this lie. The irony is that I’ve become that which I have been making fun of for years. I suppose the easiest way would be just to come out and say it.

I am a fair-weather fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Whew, I feel better already, just having gotten that off my chest.

I was never one to watch EVERY SINGLE Leafs game on TV, but I would watch as often as I could. I paid attention to where they were in the standings. I knew most of the players’ names, where they played, and how they were doing. If they made a trade, I at least had some clue whether it was a good one or a bad one. But none of these things are true anymore. I know they’re having a terrible season and have decided to begin the rebuilding process, but not much more than that. I hang my head in shame.

Way to go Dion! And, um, #42!I blame lacrosse. I started watching the National Lacrosse League in 2001 and have gotten deeper and deeper into it every year since. I started blogging about it in 2005, and have since written for three lacrosse blogs (including what are probably the two most popular indoor lacrosse blogs anywhere) and started my own. I wouldn’t call myself a lacrosse expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I am reasonably knowledgeable about the NLL teams and players. But paying that much attention to lacrosse has taken up all of my sports-related free time in the winter, and hasn’t left me much time for hockey. The rest of my free time is spent with my family and none of them are hockey fans. If I have to choose between watching the Leafs lose play and watching Elementary with my wife, well, the Leafs lose (pun intended). But if there’s a Rock game on, sorry honey.

It’s also easy to blame the fact that the team has been anywhere from not very good to terrible for the last decade.

I still pay some attention to the Leafs. Though I may not know all the players, I know Dion Kessel and Phil van Reimsdyk and such, the big names. And I have watched bits of games here and there, just not as much as, say, 10 years ago. But I know that if the Leafs were to go on some crazy winning streak, I’d be right back there, watching the games, talking about them on social media, and maybe even blogging about them.

Don’t get me wrong: I have been a Leafs fan all my life, and that will not change. When they win the Cup in 2021, I will watch every game of the playoffs and I’ll be as excited as everyone else. I know there are people who lose their passion and are all “I used to be a Leafs fan, but now I don’t care if they win or lose” and I can’t imagine saying that, especially if the team starts doing really well. I do still care, I just don’t have the time to pay as much attention as I used to. But given the way the team has been playing this season (so I hear) and the fact that they’re rebuilding, I imagine I’ve got several more years of suckage before they have a chance of really contending. And that’s assuming the rebuild is actually successful. So it seems unlikely that I’ll be watching much hockey until then but when they’re good again, boy, I’ll be right there. As long as the weather remains fair.

Not a word of a lie: There’s a Leafs game on right now, and I’m going to watch it.

Update: Watched it. They lost. Sigh.

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TSN vs. Sportsnet


Old TSN Logo

TSN debuted in Canada in 1984, and I was immediately hooked. Suddenly we could see Blue Jays games on TV on more than just Wednesday nights and weekends, and Sportsdesk (later SportsCentre) showed highlights of the previous day’s games in just about every sport. Could TV get any better than that?

That’s all there was for sports TV in Canada for 14 years. In 1998, Sportsnet came along, and I basically thought of it as the poor man’s TSN. They did show NHL games, but I found the sports news / highlight show was less polished than the guys over at TSN. For years, Sportsnet remained, in my mind, a distant second to TSN in terms of quality. A year later, a third station, The Score, was created, but it was mostly highlights and a score ticker. They were a distant third.

Fast forward fifteen years. Despite the fact that I tend to watch more baseball than hockey and Sportsnet definitely shows more baseball, I still preferred TSN. If I’m looking for sports highlights, I still instinctively head to TSN. In my mind, they’re the seasoned veterans and these Sportsnet guys are just TSN wannabe’s.

But are they really? Let’s compare.

TV Radio Other
TSN_CanadasSportsLeader TSN
TSN2
Habs regional
Jets regional
Toronto
Ottawa
Montreal
Winnipeg
Edmonton
Sportsnet Sportsnet East
Sportsnet Ontario
Sportsnet West
Sportsnet Pacific
Sportsnet One
Sportsnet 360
Sportsnet World
Toronto
Calgary
Sportsnet Magazine

TSN has five radio stations while Sportsnet only has two. But until I began researching this article, I forgot that TSN Radio even existed. Meanwhile, I’ve listened to The Fan in Toronto for years. I’ve subscribed to Sportsnet Magazine since it debuted in 2011; TSN has no print media at all.

TSN rarely shows baseball anymore, while the majority of Blue Jays games are on one of the Sportsnet channels. TSN has more hockey, though not for much longer (but I’ll get to that later). TSN shows the CFL and the occasional NFL game, Sportsnet shows more NFL. TSN has basketball, Sportsnet doesn’t. Sportsnet has tennis, TSN has golf. TSN has the advantage of being partially owned by ESPN, so they sometimes simulcast (or rebroadcast) ESPN programming. TSN and TSN2 showed some lacrosse last year, though I know the Toronto Rock paid for their games to be shown. Sportsnet used to show the Rock home games until a few years ago, and last year they showed a couple of Calgary / Edmonton lacrosse games but I don’t know who paid for that.

Both stations have daily news / highlight shows. Sportsnet’s version might have lacked polish in the first year or two, but that’s long since been cleaned up. And of course, each one occasionally shows things like wrestling, and even dog shows and spelling bees.

For the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and the 2012 games in London, Bell Media (owners of TSN) and Rogers (owners of Sportsnet) teamed up to show as much of the games as possible. I have to admit it was pretty weird seeing TSN people talking about what was coming up on Sportsnet, and Sportsnet people telling you to go to TSN to watch a particular event. Both networks did an excellent job and it became clear at that point that Sportsnet was no longer “that other sports network”. If they were still second to TSN (and even that wasn’t clear), it wasn’t by much.

And now Rogers has signed a deal with the NHL for sole rights to broadcast games in Canada. TSN will still show a few and Hockey Night in Canada will still exist on CBC for at least a few years (though Rogers will produce it), but the vast majority of games will be on the Sportsnet channels, likely with multiple games on each night. What’s more, Rogers is a telecommunications company and so the NHL will be counting on them to bring the NHL to tablets and phones, and there will likely be some easy way to watch games live over the internet.

With this deal, Sportsnet has proven that they are major players in Canadian sports broadcasting, perhaps even supplanting the mighty TSN as top dog. I almost want to apologize to Sportsnet for not giving them enough credit over the last few years.

Help the Iroquois get back in the blue


I don’t write about lacrosse here very often anymore, since I have a separate lacrosse blog. But this is an important issue and, dear readers, your help is needed. I’ve posted this article there as well.

In 2010, the World Lacrosse Championships (field lacrosse) were held in England. A controversy erupted when the UK refused to allow the Iroquois Nationals team into the country. The Iroquois team is entirely separate from the Canadian and US teams and is one of the top teams in the world. The team uses passports issued by the sovereign Haudenosaunee nation*. Citizens of the Haudenosaunee consider themselves neither American nor Canadian, and have their own passports which, I believe, are accepted in Canada and the US and recognized by the UN.

* – Haudenosaunee is the native word for the Iroquois people, which consists of six Native American tribes (known as the “six nations”) banded together in New York and southern Ontario.

Iroquois players

Originally, the UK refused to grant visas to the players because there was no guarantee that the US would allow the players back into the country. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got personally involved and offered to grant US passports to everyone on the team but they were determined to travel using their own passports. Clinton then granted the team a waiver that effectively constituted the guarantee the UK was looking for, but they refused to change their minds. As a result, the team missed the entire tournament.

The tournament is held every four years, and the next one will be held in Denver in July of 2014. While travelling to the tournament will not be a problem this time around, the FIL (Federation of International Lacrosse) has decided that since the Iroquois did not compete in the last tournament, they will be seeded 30th. This puts them well out of the Blue division, which traditionally represents the top six teams from the previous tournament. Many lacrosse people, Iroquois and otherwise, are protesting this decision. There is only one reason why the Iroquois team was not in the top six, and that reason had nothing to do with lacrosse – it was entirely political. Punishing the team for decisions that were not only unfair but beyond their control only serves to legitimize the UK’s decision.

It’s not just the Iroquois team that would be affected by this decision. Lacrosse is hundreds of years old in North America, but it’s quite new in a number of countries that are participating for the first time. Consider the countries that are just good enough to make it to this competition (think the German or Latvian Olympic hockey teams in 2010) and then find out that they are in the same group as the Iroquois team. If your position in the next tournament depends on how you do in this one, do you want to be disadvantaged by having one of the strongest teams in the entire tournament in your division when they really should be a few levels up?

The game of lacrosse was invented by Native American people many hundreds of years ago in eastern North America. The Iroquois people are directly descended from those people – in a nutshell, this is their game. Should the Iroquois team automatically be put into the top division just because of that? Honestly, no. But it does earn them some respect from the lacrosse community. That in addition to their play in other competitions should earn them some flexibility on the part of the FIL.

The Iroquois have earned their place among the best lacrosse teams in the world. They should not be punished because of a purely political incident.

The Iroquois flag

An online petition has been created to attempt to convince the FIL to reverse this decision and allow the Iroquois team to play in the top division, where they belong. I am asking my readers to please sign this petition and help restore the Nationals’ rightful standing as one of the top lacrosse teams in the world.

Update: The FIL has voted and decided that the Iroquois will be in the Blue division in 2014. I don’t know whether or not the petition had anything to do with the decision, but it’s not unlikely that the outcry from the lacrosse community was a factor. Thanks to everyone who signed the petition!

Movie review: Crooked Arrows


There are lots of sports movies out there, and some are iconic for a particular sport: hockey has Slap Shot; baseball has Major League,The Natural or Field of Dreams; football has Any Given Sunday, Friday Night Lights, and Rudy; boxing has a ton including Raging Bull and the Rocky series; basketball has Hoosiers; and the list goes on. But lacrosse didn’t really have anything; there hasn’t really been a movie that included lacrosse as an integral part of the film. Any mention of lacrosse in movies such as American Pie was generally tangential, and usually involved US prep schools. And there has certainly been no film that looks at lacrosse from a Native American point of view. Until now.Crooked Arrows

The plot of Crooked Arrows isn’t exactly groundbreaking. It follows a relatively tried-and-true formula that has worked in a number of other sports movies, that of the underperforming team that gets a new coach / owner / manager who turns things around and makes them champions. Think Major League with middies. The difference here is that at the beginning, the coach doesn’t particularly want to be there either – so rather than Major League, perhaps A League of their Own might be a more apt comparison. Gradually the players start to adapt to their new playing style and gain confidence in their coach and themselves, and the coach realizes that he needs the team as much as the team needs him.

The coach in this case is Joe Logan (played by Brandon Routh, who has distant Native background), a half-Native whose father is on the tribal council. Logan is a former lacrosse star who is coerced by his father into finding his spirit by returning to his roots and coaching the reservation’s hapless lacrosse team. As you would expect, he encounters resistance and is pessimistic about his chances of success but gradually wins the team over. After that, it’s fairly predictable: most of what you might foresee happening does happen, and nothing really happens that you don’t see coming.

That said, I didn’t care how predictable it was. Even if you know the destination, how you get there can be entertaining and fun. There were a number of funny lines, particularly the stuffy rich mom of one of the prep school players who asked “when did the Indians start playing lacrosse anyway?” or the double-entendre “wisdom” of the coach – “if you don’t go into the forest, you don’t have any balls”. The characters you’re supposed to dislike (opposing team’s coach and players, greedy developer) are sufficiently slimy, and you do like the characters you’re supposed to like (coach’s sister and father, love interest, team benchwarmer). The scenes of lacrosse practices and games are exciting, and though they don’t go over the game in much detail (this is a film about the team and the community, not so much about the game itself), you do get a pretty good idea of how fast and exciting lacrosse can be. You find yourself cheering for the Crooked Arrows and are genuinely happy when they are successful.

When I saw the film, I was curious how accurately the Native issues in the film were portrayed. I have no Native blood in me, and I’m not even sure if I’ve ever set foot on a Native reserve, so I can’t personally speak to that. But I did talk to someone who can, and was assured that the movie was accurate and realistic. The reservation in the film looks like any small town in rural America, so anyone looking for fields of tepees and wigwams may be disappointed, as they would be on a real reservation. But the fact that Natives are featured so prominently in a so-called “Hollywood” film is somewhat unusual in itself. Another recent movie that includes Native Americans in a prominent role is the popular Twilight series, and indeed the actor that plays Joe Logan’s father in Crooked Arrows also plays Jacob Black’s father in Twilight. I did notice that the Native characters in this film seemed a lot more upbeat and generally happy than the grumpy werewolves in Twilight, though I suppose if there were vampires living nearby I might be grumpy too.

One thing I really liked was the juxtaposition of the scenes of Native warriors from 800 years ago playing lacrosse with scenes of the Crooked Arrows team playing now. This was a very effective way to remind the viewer about the history involved with the game and the fact that to the Native community, lacrosse is not just a fun game or a sport that they invented, but an integral and important part of their way of life, and has been for hundreds of years.

Those in the lacrosse community have known this movie was coming for a while now, and the @crookedarrows twitter account was quite active in keeping followers informed on the progress of writing, casting, filming, post-production, and when and where the movie was playing. The filmmakers even managed to squeeze in a few cameos including some of the biggest names in lacrosse: Zack Greer, Brodie Merrill, Paul Rabil, and Gary Gait (though Gait wasn’t mentioned by name as the others were).

In a nutshell, I really enjoyed Crooked Arrows, as did my sons (12 and 10). Lacrosse fans will enjoy the action, but you don’t have to be a lacrosse fan to enjoy the movie.

The Leafs and Raptors need a Terry


A little over three years ago, I wrote an article about the General Managers of the Leafs, Raptors, and Rock. The Leafs had just hired Brian Burke as their new GM, and it seemed that the Toronto media had already decided that he was going to save the team; in fact, I facetiously referred to him as Our Saviour for a while after that. Bryan Colangelo had been the Raptors’ GM for a year or two, and had done a pretty good job of turning around the mess that Rob Babcock had left behind. The Rock still had Mike Kloepfer as GM, and the team sucked.

My article suggested that the Rock needed to get rid of Kloepfer and hire themselves a “Brian” who would overhaul the team and make them not suck, which Burke and Colangelo were obviously about to do with the Leafs and Raptors. One of the suggestions I gave for who could take over was Terry Sanderson, and another was Jamie Batley. Ironically, less then four hours after I posted that article, the Rock did fire coach Glenn Clark, who was at least part of the problem, and Batley was hired as coach. The rest of the problem was solved at the end of the season when Mike Kloepfer resigned. A month later Sanderson was re-hired as GM. The next season (2010), the Rock went to the Championship game and in 2011, they won it all. We’re now midway through the 2012 season, and the Rock are tied for first place in the Eastern division. I’d call that mission accomplished.

I could pat myself on the back for predicting the Rock’s next course of action (kind of – I suggested Sanderson though I said it was unlikely), but the original point of my article was lost. It wasn’t so much that the Rock needed a new GM,  it was that the Rock needed to do what the Leafs and Raptors did and replace their rookie GM who screwed the team up with a proven veteran who could turn it around. The Rock did that, but the Leafs and Raptors haven’t had nearly the success that we all envisioned when Our Saviours came to power.

In the 3 seasons prior to Burke’s being hired, the Leafs had 91, 83, and 81 points and missed the playoffs every year. In the two full seasons since, they had 74 and 85 points and missed the playoffs every year. This year they’re on pace for 83 points and missing the playoffs. They don’t have any first-round draft picks for a couple of years because of the Kessel trade, so the rebuilding process will be continuing for a long while.

Update: My timing was off. The picks involved in the Kessel deal were for the last two drafts, so that’s done now. Thanks Faisal for the clarification!

Bryan Colangelo was hired by the Raptors in February 2006, six years and a week ago. In the first couple of years, Colangelo looked brilliant. The Raptors finished first in the Atlantic division the very next year, and Sam Mitchell was named Coach of the Year and Colangelo Executive of the Year. The Raptors lost in the first round of the playoffs, but made the playoffs again the next year. They lost again in the first round, and then things went south quickly. They haven’t made the playoffs since and haven’t really been much of a threat at all. Last season they were a hopeless 22-60 and this year they’re not much better at 11-25.

Barring miracles, the Leafs and Raptors are not likely to win championships during the Burke / Colangelo eras. I’m not suggesting firing them now, though I think the Colangelo era has run its course and unless the Raptors start turning things around on the floor very soon, Colangelo should be done at the end of the year. I don’t think Burke has done a terrible job; he’s acquired some players who have been great like Phaneuf and Lupul. The fact that the goaltenders play like Turk Broda one week and a turkey sandwich the next isn’t entirely Burke’s fault. I’d give him another year or two to right the ship but unless obvious improvement is made, he’s gone too.

Three years ago, I said that the Rock needed to find their Brian, and they did. Now the Leafs and Raptors need to find their Terry Sanderson.

In Lax We Trust archive


I was part of the inlaxwetrust.com writing staff for almost five months, and wrote 23 articles in that time. Here are links to all of them. I’m not posting this because I expect you, dear reader, to read any of them. This article is mainly an archive for my own use so that if I want to link to one of them, I can easily find the link here.

However if you do want to read one or two, the Salaries of Lacrosse Players one was very popular (especially among lacrosse players!), and the entry draft one too. My personal favourites tended to be the funny ones – I had fun writing the “looking forward” one (more satire than comedy; let me know in the comments (here – comments on that article are closed) if you’re one of the few that got the “price is right” joke) and the one about lacrosse movies. For more analysis and less comedy, I also liked the NLL Awards article.

 

Update: In June 2012, In Lax We Trust changed hosting companies and became inlacrossewetrust.com. When that happened all of the archives were lost, and so none of the links below will work. I wish I had saved copies of the articles before this happened but I didn’t. As far as I know, all of these articles are gone forever.

Title Description
NLL Season Preview: Philadelphia Wings I investigate the personnel changes and preview the offense, defense, and goaltending of the Wings in the (then-upcoming) 2012 season.
Other Stories from the NLL Hold Out List There was a lot of talk about the NLL Hold-out list because of the drama surrounding Anthony Cosmo, so I made up some other stories. Teddy Jenner didn’t like this one.
Salaries of Lacrosse Players Probably my most popular ILWT article – several NLL players retweeted the link to this one. I compare the salaries that NLL players make with those of other pro athletes.
Teachers and Firefighters in the NLL Almost all NLL players have jobs outside of playing lacrosse, but it seems that a lot of them are either firefighters or teachers.
NLL Off-Season in Review: Colorado Mammoth Review of the changes made by the Mammoth after the 2011 season.
NLL Off-Season in Review: Buffalo Bandits Review of the changes made by the Bandit after the 2011 season.
NLL Off-Season in Review: Calgary Roughnecks Review of the changes made by the Roughnecks after the 2011 season.
NLL Off-Season in Review: Washington Stealth Review of the changes made by the Stealth after the 2011 season.
Upcoming Lacrosse Movies Some ideas for movies that could be made involving lacrosse. Another fun one.
NLL expansion: Just say no Another writer suggested that the time might be right for the NLL to expand. I disagreed.
A look back: Looking forward to 2002 Satirical article on how the future of the NLL might have looked in 2002.
Trivia contest answers Former NLL player and current radio host Teddy Jenner won the contest.
In Lax We Trust Trivia Contest A year or two ago I won a lacrosse shaft in a contest, so I came up with some trivia questions to give it away.
Renaming the NLL Awards If the league were to rename its MVP, Rookie, Goalie, etc. awards after people like the NHL and others have done, who would they be?
Behind the scenes at the NLL entry draft I enjoyed writing this mock conversation among the GMs at the entry draft.
Parity in the NLL: Who do we make fun of now? Which team do we make fun of as the laughing stock of the league? There really isn’t one.
The biggest surprises from the dispersal draft Some surprising picks from the Blazers dispersal draft.
Farewell to the Blazers Kind of a post-mortem on the Boston Blazers.
More New Rules Being Considered by the MLL The MLL announced that they were considering using lacrosse sticks with heads that lit up to indicate who has the ball. This was such a silly idea that I came up with some other potential silly rules the MLL might think about.
Last year’s NLL blockbusters: John Grant and Matt Vinc Analysis of the trade that sent John Grant to Colorado and Matt Vinc to Rochester.
Last year’s NLL blockbusters: Tracey Kelusky Analysis of the trade that sent Tracey Kelusky to Buffalo.
Last year’s NLL Blockbusters: Josh Sanderson Analysis of the trade that sent Josh Sanderson from Calgary to Boston.
Lax Links 8/5/11 My first article for ILWT. Marisa used to do a daily list of links to stories from around the lacrosse world, and she asked me to put the list together on that day.

The Hockey Hall of Fmae


Considering I’ve lived in or near Toronto almost my entire life, and have been a hockey fan for that entire time as well, it’s somewhat surprising that I have only been to the Hockey Hall of Fame twice. The first time was in the summer of 1991, and I have a short story about that visit. The second time was this past weekend, and I have a few things to say about that as well.

Overall, if you’re a hockey fan the HHOF is a must-see, though I’m sure that statement surprises nobody. There are hundreds of pieces of memorabilia from over 100 years of the NHL and from around the world. Here’s a picture of the stick and gloves Sidney Crosby used to score the “Golden Goal” in the Vancouver Olympics, as well as the puck itself:

The Golden Gloves

There’s also this thing:

The Cup

Back in 1991, I visited the Hockey Hall of Fame when it was still located at the old Exhibition grounds. My friend Beth and I were at the CNE and decided to check out the Hall while we were there. When we got into the trophy room, the Stanley Cup was sitting in the middle of the room on a table similar to this one. There was no security anywhere to be seen; the closest thing was another table nearby where there were two teenaged girls siting. They had a Polaroid camera and would take your picture with the Cup for $10. I assume they worked for the Hall, but maybe they were just resourceful.

Beth and I walked around the Cup looking at the inscriptions, when one of the other visitors said aloud “I wonder how heavy it is”. He put his arms around the Cup and lifted it. Beth and I took a step back to let the security guys through, and put our hands over our ears to protect ourselves from the wail of the sirens, except… nothing. No security guards, no alarms, nothing. The girls with the Polaroid didn’t even look around. The guy who lifted it said something like “Huh! Not that heavy” and put it down again. Of course, I took the opportunity to do the same thing, something every Canadian kid dreams of doing: I hoisted the Stanley Cup. It’s not that heavy.

When we were there last weekend, I did not attempt to lift it, as there was a security guard there. I asked the security guard how many replicas there were, and if this was one of them or if this was the real Cup. He gave me an interesting answer: there are two Cups and neither one is a replica. There’s the “presentation Cup”, which is the one the winning players raise on the ice, and the one they take back to their home town. And then there’s the one in the Hall (he had a name for it other than “replica” but I don’t remember it), which is an almost-exact, well, replica of the presentation Cup, though there are a few names spelled differently on each one. To me, this sounds like there’s “The Cup” and “the replica”, but the guy at the Hall said that both are officially “The Stanley Cup”.

The Cup and the rest of the trophies are usually kept in a place called the Great Hall, but it’s closed for the next couple of months for renovation. They moved the trophies elsewhere so we could see them, but it means we didn’t see the complete list of Hall inductees. There were a number of displays for individual inductees like this one for Mario:

IMAG0220

There were stats and facts and a signature and jerseys and a stick and even a box of Corn Flakes with Mario on the front. There were similar displays for Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Denis Potvin, Luc Robitaille, Roger Neilson, Ace Bailey (which included one of his golf clubs (?)), Borje Salming, and a bunch of others. There was a computer listing just about every town in Canada; you could select a town and find out what NHL players were born there. Guess who’s from Waterdown? Well, nobody. But I grew up in Pickering, Ontario, home of both Glenn Healy and… um, nobody else. OK, I guess I can admit it. I am from the same town as everyone’s favourite hockey douchebag, Sean Avery. We even went to the same high school, though he would have started at least five years after I graduated.

There is also a large section of the Hall for international hockey, including the Canada Cup, the Summit Series, various IIHF tournaments, and the Olympics. There are jerseys from just about every country – did you know Ireland had a team? Greece? Mexico? South Africa? Canada won four hockey gold medals in a row at the Olympics from 1920 to 1932, but would you believe their streak was broken by none other than Great Britain in 1936 – the most recent of only two hockey medals Britain has ever won?

One thing that surprised me about my visit to the Hall is the number of mistakes I found. Canada didn’t win any hockey gold medals from 1952 until 2002? That can’t be right. Seriously though, thinking back to all the places I’ve visited including castles in the UK, various chateaux in France, museums and other touristy things in London, Edinburgh, Paris, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Vancouver, Toronto, and others, the number of mistakes I found was zero just about everywhere. I’m sure I’ve seen errors but I can’t think of any offhand, and I’m sure I’d have remembered if there were more than one in the same place. At the HHOF, I found at least four in the couple of hours I was there.

In the same room as the Stanley Cup was a big timeline, listing all kinds of events relating to the NHL. The timeline included not only dates of NHL events, but birthdates of future NHL stars, like this one:

Ken Dryden error

Winning the Cup first and the Calder second is a pretty impressive feat, but doing them 55 years apart is even better. This next one contains two mistakes:

FoxTrax

The first mistake is not so much a factual error as one of punctuation (“it’s” should be “its”). The second mistake was FoxTrax itself.

There was a display of the “lucky loonie” from the Salt Lake City Olympics, although in the middle of the description they spelled the word “looine”. I’m sure my dad pointed another one out to me but I forget what it was.

On a somewhat related note, there are also the misspellings on the Stanley Cup itself – a number of players have their names spelled wrong, and there’s even one team spelled wrong (Leafs is spelled “Leaes” in one place). Former Oilers owner Peter Pocklington famously put his father in the list of people to have their names engraved on the Cup, and when this was discovered his father’s name was X’ed out.

Anyway, as I said the HHOF is a must-see for any hockey fan. There are the trophies and memorabilia and lots of information and stats, a couple of short movies, and some simulation games for the kids – two where you are taking shots on a net, one where you are standing in a net where real pucks are flying at you (similar to the commercial below), and one where you’re standing in front of a virtual net trying to react to virtual pucks. There’s even a section on collectibles and NHL branded products – hockey cards, toys, lunchboxes, bobbleheads, cereal boxes, stuff like that.

My dad and I spent two or three hours in the Hall. QA issues aside, it’s quite the interesting place, and when combined with dinner at the Marché upstairs and a Rock game after that, made for a fun day.

HHOF TV commercial