VK Basketball

Today, we talk about basketball, yes basketball. Specifically we are looking deeper into the incredible work that is the non-profit organization: VK Basketball. What exactly is the VK Basketball program? They work to create accessible basketball programs to kids and young athletes at no cost, and are looking to expand their program. It is admirable to see an organization put the dreams and needs of children first.

Let me share a glimpse into their incredible work:

In their own words: “We have created VK Basketball, a not-for-profit organization that provides athletes with an opportunity to play basketball during the spring and summer. Our mission is to give back to the community through accessible programs while creating a culture of excellence executed through basketball.

Our programs started in March of 2016 and in our first year we had 56 athletes from the Greater Vancouver area. We decided to start our program with girls varying in age from ages 10-17, but we hope to include a boys program in the near future. Our athletes attended camps and tournaments in BC, Washington, Oregon, and California.”

Wouldn’t it be amazing if both girls and boys across BC and beyond had access to this program or more programs like it? Programs like this that work to help both the child succeed and put no extra financial stress on the parents, are incredibly special. Kids should not have to worry about the cost but rather actually enjoy being a part of a team and programs like this one. In order for programs like this one to succeed, they need the help of the public

You can help with their aim at expanding their program to reach even more kids heading into this new year. Click the link below to find out how you can help them reach more kids and have a chance to win a one of a kind Vancouver Canucks experience on the road!

VK Basketball Auction

** The auction goes through October 7th. Signing up for the auction does not obligate you in any way, but by signing up you will be helping great cause in VK Basketball while also helping kids be healthy and have fun in safe environment.

IF you win the auction, you win the following Road Game Experience:

Two (2) Lower Bowl Tickets to the Calgary Flames vs. Vancouver Canucks game — Saturday, January 7th @ the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Flight From Vancouver to Calgary for Two (2).

Dinner in the Chrysler Club.

Two (2) jerseys (choice of Flames or Canucks jerseys).

Morning skate viewing (subject to discretion by either team).

Hotel stay for one (1) night at the Fairmont Palliser Hotel.

Click the links below to see the work they do in action:

VKB North Shore News story.

U13 Video

U17 Video

Please take a few minutes to visit their website (vkbasketball.com) and/or follow their journey on twitter (@VKBasketball). Thank-you, VK Basketball for the work you are doing with youth throughout the province! Here’s to growing your program and many more years of success!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L

Vancouver Canucks: 2016-17 Season Thoughts

The Vancouver Canucks 2016-17 season is nearly upon us! With the season, comes the endless debates, opinions, expectations, headlines, rumours, trades, prospect growth, predictions and everything in between. As we approach the upcoming 2016-17 regular season, all I ask is one request: let’s stop judging other hockey fans.

It is no secret that I am clearly a Vancouver Canucks fan but everywhere I go, that doesn’t seem to stop people from telling me how to cheer or what my expectations should be for any given game or the upcoming season. I know that being a hockey fan means being subjected to many hockey debates and I love that aspect, I really do. What I do not enjoy is someone telling me HOW I should think or HOW I should cheer/not cheer for my team or WHAT my expectations should be. I love a good hockey debate and always will, but there is no way someone else can deem what MY expectations are.

I am well aware of the disastrous season that was last season and all of the injuries or circumstances that led to it. I am well versed in the stats of this team for last year and seasons that preceded it. I do not need constant reminding of the win/loss record in the regular season or from past playoff performances. If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know that I go into every season without any expectations, but rather to enjoy every step of the 82-game (+playoffs when qualified) wherever that journey may lead or end. I love everything about this game. I will be supporting the team through the good, the bad, the milestones, the heartbreak and everything in between. There are no days off for this fan. There is nothing that you can say that I haven’t heard before and there is nothing that will sway my support. The Vancouver Canucks are my team, end of story.

I know there are countless questions around my team this season and moving forward. Do I understand that some consider them to be in a tailspin or multi-year rebuild? Yes. Even so, do I look forward to the upcoming 2016-17 regular season? Absolutely, every year regardless of what the “experts” tell me the odds are, the start of hockey season feels like Christmas to me and that feeling never gets old. Do I realize that there are countless questions regarding my team for the season? Absolutely.

Going into the 2016-17 regular season, one of the biggest questions facing the Canucks is can they maintain a healthy lineup for the entire season? We all know how last season went in that department and we all know that maintaining a healthy lineup is key to get to the playoffs and go on a playoff run. Every player attending camp is hoping their hard working summers translate to success on the ice all season long.

Do I realize that goal-tending is always a question? Yes. Can Miller get back into Vezina form or will Markstrom continue his NHL growth and step forward? Both options depend on how hard each athlete works and if both stay free of injury. The Canucks defense is faced with its own questions now that Hamhuis is no longer on the blue line. The pressure will fall to Edler, Tanev, Hutton, Gudbranson and company to bring their best both defensively and offensively every game.

Do I realize that behind the Sedins, the Canucks desperately need secondary scoring to help balance the offensive load? Absolutely. The offense will need to step up as a group just as much as the defense this season. Players like Sutter, Horvat, Baertschi, Virtanen, Hansen & Burrows will all have to help share the offensive load.

Do I realize that some people consider the Sedins are “too old”? Yes, but I also know from the experience of watching the Sedins the last 15 years that they always rise above and prove their doubters wrong, every single time. This year is no different, they may not be “young” but they cannot be overlooked with their skill set every time they step on the ice. They are two of the classiest players on and off the ice and Canucks fans are incredibly fortunate to have witnessed their entire careers thus far. This season will mark yet another milestone in their careers as they are both poised to surpass 1000 career points.

I know the season is a long road and that from the outside looking in, the Canucks are a long shot for the Stanley Cup, let alone the playoffs but that won’t stop me from supporting them every step of the way. As we move forward, let’s cheer together, debate everything we love about this game, but please let’s not tear each other down or tell one another how to be a fan of this game and the teams we all love. We may cheer for different teams, but at the end of the day, we are all hockey fans.

Here’s another incredible year of hockey!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

World Cup Here We Come…

It’s true that the World Cup of Hockey does not have the same hype as the Olympics but it will feature some incredible hockey by some of the world’s best players. The pre-tournament games have come to a close and the competition is set to begin when the puck drops in Toronto on Saturday, September 17.wch2016-1

An international hockey tournament that means watching hockey a few weeks earlier than usual? Sign me up! If the tune up games were any indication, we are in for some great hockey no matter who ends up winning the event. Will you be joining fans from around the world as the games begin?

Eight teams: Canada, United States of America, North America, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Europe. Much like the Olympics, World Juniors, and World Championships; teammates become rivals and rivals become teammates. Each team will face it’s own pressure in the competition.

Team Canada has the weight of an entire country on its back to win a championship on Canadian soil once more. Canada may a favourite in the tournament and have incredible depth on their roster but they will need to play disciplined if they want to win on home ice.

Team USA would love to steal Canada’s thunder on Canadian soil. Lots of talent on the USA roster that under John Tortorella’s coaching will put an aggressive effort every night. The USA is a team not to be taken lightly as they go into the tournament as one of the major contenders.

Team Russia has the pressure of winning after missing out on hockey medals at each of the previous two Olympics. With players like Ovechkin and Malkin at their helm, Russia will aim to get back on top of the hockey world.

Team Sweden has the pressure winning another international championship.Will the Sedins and Eriksson be able to continue shaping their line chemistry? Will Henrik Lundqvist find his form or will another goalie emerge as Sweden’s star?

Team Finland though no longer having Teemu Selanne on their roster, but they do have the young Patrick Laine. Finland is still a team to never be counted out, they are feisty and always have fight left until the end.

Team North America may be comprised of a youthful roster, but they are team that will put the pressure on every team they face and could just surprise everyone. They should not be overlooked. Question: if they do go on to win, would both Canadian and USA hockey fans be happy to share the victory?)

Team Europe is a team that may be overlooked by many as a contender in this format but once the tournament begins, anything can happen.

Team Czech Republic is always up for a good challenge and the same will true going in to the World Cup games.

When the puck drops, who will you be rooting for when the puck drops on September 17th? Leave a comment below to cheer on your team!

Tournament Games Schedule:

September 17: Team USA vs. Team Europe.// Team Czech Republic vs. Team Canada.

September 18: Team Sweden vs. Team Russia.// Team North America vs. Team Finland.

September 19: Team Europe vs. Team Czech Republic.// Team Russia vs. Team North America.

September 20: Team Finland vs. Team Sweden. // Team Canada vs. Team USA.

September 21: Team North America vs. Team Sweden. // Team Europe vs. Team Canada.

September 22: Team Finland vs. Team Russia. // Team USA vs. Team Czech Republic.

SEMIFINALS (Single Elimination Games):

September 24: Semifinal #1

September 25: Semifinal #2.

FINALS (Best of Three):

September 27: Game #1.

September 29: Game #2.

October 1: *Game #3. (*if necessary)

Hockey is BACK and it feels GOOD. Here’s to an exciting few weeks of hockey before the NHL gears into full swing come October!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

 

 

Welcome Home, Manny!

manny-malhotraIt has been heavily speculated ever since former Canuck, Manny Malhotra officially announced his retirement from the NHL, that he would be hired by the Vancouver Canucks organization in some capacity. The fans have been in a frenzy ever since hoping that it would come to fruition. Today the team finally made it official by announcing Malhotra has been hired as a development coach. Welcome home, Manny!

For most fans, it was a welcome homecoming. Not many players know the art of a winning faceoffs quite like Manny. 991 NHL games of experience to his name along with his knack for winning face-offs, his utter perseverance and absolute determination every step of that journey will go a long way in him teaching and coaching young players in the organization.

I can still remember that fateful game in March of 2011 when a puck went askew and hit Manny Malhotra in the eye. The silence that followed was deafening as the team, entire arena and everyone watching from home held their collective breath bracing for the worst. It was shocking, disheartening and terrifying. In one seemingly innocent moment, Manny’s playing career was put on hold indefinitely. It’s an injury that you hope to never witness or experience.

Fans, media, players and Manny all wondered if he’d lose his sight or if he’d ever be able to play the game that he loved again. He did indeed make a comeback late in the 2011 playoffs and again the following year before being shutdown by the Canucks management due to the potential risk. It’s hard to argue when they had his best interests and health at heart, but you can also see the other side that Manny was not ready to say good-bye to this game he loves. He did continue to play for a few more seasons in Carolina, Montreal and within the Columbus Blue Jackets organization before announcing his retirement this fall.

Manny Malhotra was and is a consummate professional on and off the ice. His story is one of inspiration for any player looking to carve a path in the NHL. Every time he was on the ice, he gave everything he had for every second of every shift he played. He always had his teammates backs, he knew his role and he thrived in it. Now in his newest role, he has the opportunity to help others find that same niche and thrive when they hit the ice and as they look to cement their place in the NHL.

Here’s to wherever this new chapter leads, and on behalf of all Vancouver Canucks fans, welcome back to the team, Manny! You were missed!

Can you feel it?  The season is just around the corner, 38 days and counting. Hockey is coming.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Mind Right

Today, at Nucksaid, I’m going to talk about something that is important to every Vancouver Canucks and hockey fan: mental health awareness. It is a conversation that we need not fear and a conversation that needs to happen everyday.

A few months ago, I introduced all of you to an aspiring hockey player and youth advocate for Mental Health Awareness: Myles Mattila(Myles to Go).

Recently Myles has launched his latest mental health initiative: Mind Right. It is based in Prince George, British Columbia and geared towards the Cariboo Cougars organization(1 of 11 teams in the BC Major Midget Hockey League). It aims to educate the players, coaches, staff, parents and supporters. The aim is that this program will one day reach every team in the BCMMHL, wouldn’t that be amazing?

Wouldn’t it be even more incredible if programs like these were province wide not just for hockey teams of all ages, but for all kids and adults alike? Yes, it would and we can help make that so by continuing the conversation, helping programs like MIND RIGHT gain recognition and be inspired to help end the stigmas that surround mental health.

If you would like to learn more about the Mind Right program, please follow their journey on both the website and twitter.

Twitter: @CCMindRight      Website: http://www.MindRight.info

Whether you are a young hockey player, or someone who loves the game or know someone who could benefit from this program or one like it, please take a moment to learn more about Mind Right. It’s inspiring to see steps like this program move forward in BC and hopefully lead to many more in the near future.

Together, we can help keep this conversation going and know that as Myles so wisely told me: “it ain’t weak to speak”. To those reading this, if you or someone you know needs help, help will always be here when you are ready.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.