Intro to Ice Hockey

In an earlier post I talked about how I had been doing ice skating lessons. The object was to move into Ice hockey at some point.

Well some point arrived.

I have been doing the Intro to Ice Hockey programme at the Ice house in Melbourne ( It is supposed to be a “from zero to hero” programme over 10 weeks.

I have enjoyed this much more than just the ice skating classes. I really don’t have any need to know how to do advanced figure skating things. Puck handling, checking and of course scoring is what I’m interested in!

I have always been a big fan of the NHL and my team the Anaheim Ducks. But since starting ice skating I have become much more interested and involved. I’d love to travel back to Anaheim and go to a Ducks game at Honda Center.

The into to ice hockey programme has been great way to get into a sport that is not well supported here in Australia. It is a very steep learning curve to go from useless at skating to ice hockey hero. The programme is run by some players from the Melbourne Ice organisation headed by defensive player Matt Armstrong who is a Canadian import and forward Tommy Powell.

It takes 5 weeks of skating before we actually get a stick or any protective equipment other than the gloves and helmet. This helps to get us to concentrate on actually skating properly rather than stuffing around with the stick and puck.

In that 5 weeks we need to at least improve on our skill in the following:
– falling down and getting straight back up
– forward skating
– backwards skating
– c cuts
– skating on our outside edge
– crossovers
– hockey stops on both sides
– switching from forward to backwards skating
– turns

I was ok at most things apart from crossovers, backwards skating and hockey stopping on my left foot.

After week 5 we got to put on the equipment and grab a stick. That was interesting and felt quite strange when we first went out on the ice. Suddenly with a stick in my hand and some extra bulk I was useless (or more useless) at skating again.
This is what we were here for though so it didn’t take long to get into it.
I think my puck handling skills are better than my skating skills I just now need to be able to skate fast enough so I can actually get the puck!

Falling over is actually more like fun with the pads on. With this in mind; me and a friend ordered some stuff online.

I now basically have an Anaheim ducks uniform minus shoulder and elbow pads, a helmet and a stick. I can’t wait to try them out on the ice. We are going to be doing casual lessons at Oakleigh this semester starting Friday so I’m looking forward to it.


Andy Carroll to Liverpool, my 2 cents

I went to bed the other night,  happy that Newcastle were in a good position in the premier league. We were unbeaten for 2011 (2 wins and 2 draws) and we were doing it without our best striker in Andy Carroll. Both draws should have been wins too with heartbreaking injury time equalisers coming from the opposition. So things were only going to get better right?

Wrong. This is Newcastle United after all.

Fat Cockney Bastard

Fat Cockney Bastard

Mike Ashley AKA the Fat Controller, AKA Fat Cockney Bastard etc etc. Doesn’t seem to enjoy success, in fact I am almost convinced he bought the club because as a Spurs supporter he hated us and wanted to destroy us. Now he has discovered there is money to be made selling off your best players and that also serves his purpose of killing the club. Next will be Nile Ranger, he will get more game time now and will eventually hit some form. FCB will see us as player factory for the big clubs and like his sports direct company the hard workers get paid a pittance only to be shown the door (CH).

I put most of the blame for this on FCB but Andy Carroll is not blameless in this either. He had a 5 year contract with NUFC. He could have dug his heals in. At least could had ridden it out till the summer. I’m not sure I believe what has been written about how he didn’t want to leave and was pushed etc etc. In the end it all comes down to money. Both parties wanted it more than they cared about the club.

So I have a AC #9 shirt for sale, really cheap, only wore it once (down to the pub to watch us draw with the Mackems). I think from now on I’ll have to keep them blank, or maybe get my own name on it.

It will be hard to watch him running around in the scouser red. Lets just hope he doesn’t score against us. Life goes on and NUFC will go on long after FCB leaves (hopefully it can survive him). As has been said on twitter, at least we arn’t Mackems.


Ice Skating

For the last 5 weeks I have been doing Ice Skating lessons at the Ice House in Melbourne

Before the lessons, I hated ice skating. I was one of the people that would stumble around the edge hugging the wall. I had 4 year old kids zooming past me and getting annoyed that I was in their way, pretty soul destroying.

First we learnt to fall down correctly, I thought I had plenty of experience at that, but it was good to learn how to not hurt myself doing it. I then finally learnt how to properly balance on the ice, it’s kind of like learning to ride a bike for the first time, it seems impossible until it just clicks. It still requires concentration (and bending your knees!!) but I’m getting better every week.

After 5 weeks I can now skate forwards and gather up some fairly good speed but not quite ready for speed skating competitions. I can turn, glide and kind of do a hockey stop (that’s a work in progress).

I bought these last night, they make a massive difference:

Reebok 2k Hockey Skates

Reebok 2k Hockey Skates

Sharper blades, more comfortable and light. I’ll be ready for Ice hockey in no time 😉 (that’s the ultimate plan but I have quite a way to go).


Oh what a feeling! Collingwood, AFL Premiers 2010

Premiers 2010

After 20 years of heartache, disappointment, a little joy and plenty of insults from opposition supporters, finally we again can say we are the premiers!!!

It just feels so good. Nothing can spoil my mood this week. The party will continue for quite a while I think.

What a great year it has been for everyone associated with the mighty pies. We beat the bulldogs twice, thrashed Essendon on Anzac day and then again in the return match, flogged Carlton twice, then beat St Kilda and Geelong in the second half of the season to finish minor premiers for the first time since 1977. What an omen that turned out to be with the drawn grand final 4 weeks later. Luckily the replay result went the other way this time.

I was very lucky to be able to attend both grand finals. What an experience. I will remember them for the rest of my life. Such great moments. Such great heroes. Like Alan Didak, with his pectoral muscle torn from the bone; kicking a miraculous goal in the drawn match from over the boundary, then the brilliant smother and goal on his non preferred right foot in the replay. Heath Shaw’s unbelievable smother to deny St Kilda their first goal of the match. Dale Thomas was brilliant in both matches and kicked a great goal from 50. Pendle’s Norm Smith medal, Jolly dominating the ruck and kicking some great goals. Maxwell now a premiership captain; lead by example, saved the game for us in the draw with a desperate dive to deny a St Kilda goal and then later a brilliant mark deep in defense when the saints were pushing of the winning score. What a special player Steele Sidebottom will be, close to best on ground in the grand final in only his second year. Ben reid playing on with a fracture. There is just so much more to talk about. I will do a full wrap up in another post after I have watched the dvds a few hundred more times.

The after match celebrations were sensational and for me very emotional. I had tears in my eyes quite a few times during the last quarter and then after the game. I hugged complete strangers and also family members. We went over to the Westpac centre and enjoyed a few “quiet” beers and reflected on what the boys had achieved. Then it was off to Aami park to see the team and the cup. Lionel Richie was great (and I usually like death metal haha!) I think our celebration song will now always be “dancin’ on the ceiling”. We got to see the “shimmy” again and some great dance moves from Harry O and Daisy.

I went home about 10pm so I could be ready for the family day the next day and get to the newsagent nice and early for 2 copies of every paper. I even bought the Herald Sun which I had previously vowed never to buy again after the “Didak killed my son” front page a few years ago.

The family day was huge, so many people, so much money being made by the club selling merchandise. This is what I have collected or bought so far:

– 3 “knight” premiership posters, I plan to get one professionally framed
– 2 of the posters handed out at the game
– Grand final records from both games still in the plastic, as well as records from every final.
– 2 copies of each paper from Sunday morning
– The dvds of both the drawn grand final and the replay
– The souvenir magazine
– The sticker from yesterday’s Herald Sun
– A premiers t-shirt
– 2 of the premiership cup pins

I’m sure there will be plenty more to come.

I’ll try to catch up with as many of my pies supporting mates as possible in the next few weeks. It will be great to have a few beers and cherish this wonderful year of football.

GO PIES!!!!! AFL PREMIERS 2010!!!!!!!!!!!