Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Martin Gélinas - My favorite hockey player

Between the NHL Draft last Friday and the Free agent day this Friday, I have been inundated with hockey news. It's everywhere.

It has gotten me thinking of my favorite NHL hockey player - ever. Martin Gélinas.

How did he become my favorite player? Here is the story.

Back in 1987-1988, he was playing for the Hull Olympiques of the QMJHL. One day, I was minding my own business at my grandmother's looking at the French newspaper when I noticed a picture of my dad's aunt with a hockey player, Martin Gélinas. I was 14 and I had started to really love hockey, so I asked my grandmother about the photograph.

She explained to me that for a few years now, my dad's aunt had been boarding hockey players at her place during the junior season. I was of course very impressed by this. Martin immediately became my favorite player, what can I say, I'm easy. Hehehe. I do still have that newspaper clipping somewhere in one of the boxes packed for my move.

I watched the draft that year to see where he would be picked. I didn't have to wait long as he was picked in the first round by the Los Angeles Kings. I was very happy for him and couldn't wait for the season to start.

Marty never did play for the Kings, and here's why. He was part of the biggest trade in NHL history to that point. Yes, I do mean the Wayne Gretzky trade. He was one of the players sent to Edmonton. I was happy for him as he'd be playing for a Canadian Team.

Marty did not make the team full time during the 1988-1989 season, so he was sent back to the Hull Olympiques for another season. I don't know WHAT I was thinking at this point because I never did go watch him play any junior games, nor did I ever ask my dad to go visit his aunt. You have to know that Hull is a few minutes away from Ottawa, across the river.

My only explanation for this is that I was an Ottawa 67's fan and considered the Olympiques rivals to the 67's.

Throughout his NHL career, I followed every season he played. From winning a Stanley Cup in Edmonton, to being traded to Quebec, to getting picked up on waivers by Vancouver (should have been Ottawa) and going to the Stanley Cup Finals, to playing for the Carolina Hurricanes and another Stanley Cup Finals, to playing for the Calgary Flames and yet another Stanley Cup Finals (where I still say Calgary should have won ;)), to playing for Florida and finally for the Nashville Predators. Last I heard, he still works for the Predators in some capacity.

For many years in a row, it was rumored that he would be traded to Ottawa, which of course never happened. How happy do you think I would have been?

I did receive a Christmas card from him one year after a letter I had written him, and I did finally get to meet him after a few Sens game in Ottawa and got some things autographed. My dad's aunt also gave me all the hockey things he left behind at her place. One of them being a hockey puck from his 50th goal with the Olympiques in one season. I still have it by the way.

Until the day he retired, I was always the devoted fan and always will be. Some of my friends might even say I was obsessed. I even turned into a 12 year old one day but that story will be for another time.

I haven't seen him in years and he probably doesn't remember his billet's niece in the least, but I would love to be able to see him again one day and maybe give him back his hockey puck and tell him how much I enjoyed watching him play the game he loved.

Julie / @Flip_4

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Dad!

Yes, I realize that Father's Day has passed, but someone asked me what my favorite memory of my dad from when I was a child was. I thought about it for a while and couldn't come up with just one thing. I thought I would share a few of the reasons why my dad is so awesome.

When I was a child, we'd go to my grandmother's house on Sundays and on a few of those occasions, my dad would go to Ottawa 67's hockey games with my uncle. I would beg him to take me, and he would usually cave. (I am his oldest daughter after all). It was never about going to the hockey game because I have to admit that I HATED hockey at the time. It was all about spending time with my dad.

When I came to my senses a few years later and became a hockey fan, I absolutely LOVED the Montreal Canadiens. Hey, the Ottawa Senators weren't back in the NHL yet. My dad effectively brainwashed me ;)

On April 1st 1989, my dad and I drove to Montreal to go watch the Habs play the Philadelphia Flyers. What made that day even more special to me was that my dad made sure we left really early from Ottawa so that I would have a chance to see the players as they walked into the Forum. He just did that because he knew how happy it would make me.

I did see some of the players come in - I even walked right into Eric Desjardins. That was slightly embarrassing. I got Russ Courtnall's autograph and I cared about nothing else after that. It was one of my favorite times ever.

On another occasion, he took the day off work so that he could come with me to go watch a practice for the Ottawa Senators that I had been invited to. This practice was taking place at the Nepean Sportsplex during the week. When we left, I asked him if he knew where the Palladium (now ScotiaBank Place) would be built. He decided he would show me where it was. So we drove to Kanata where there was a truck in the middle of a field and nothing else around. I don't find the arena that far anymore, but it sure seemed far from the East End that day. He could have said no, but decided to make my day better.

As my friends are well aware, my all time favorite hockey player is Martin Gélinas. He is now retired as a player and works for the Nashville Predators. At the height of my...shall we call it...obsession, my dad always did whatever I asked him when it concerned "Marty". We would go to his games against the Sens at the Ottawa Civic Center and would stay after so that I could get stuff signed. My dad's aunt gave me the stuff Marty had left behind when he went to the NHL. He was staying with her when he played for the Hull Olympiques. He even went to a Hull Olympiques game once and bought raffle tickets because the winner would get a Gélinas jersey. He didn't win, but it's the thought that counts.

I'm sure my dad thought I was crazy on more than one occasion, but he never let on. He always showed me that what was the most important for me was also important for matter how ridiculous it might have been.

I spent a lot of time with him in the car getting a ride to friends', work, hockey games, concerts, school, appointments etc. I don't remember him ever being annoyed at driving me and my sisters around although I am sure he must have been at times. He just did it without blinking, he actually still does.

If my dad thinks that doing something will make me or my sisters happy, he will be more than happy to oblige.

There are oh so many more stories, oddly enough, usually revolving around sports, but it would take too much space to write them all :)

He is a great dad and grandfather. I will always appreciate everything he has ever done for me and undoubtedly will keep doing. I don't think I will ever be able to repay it all.

Thank you Dad,

I love you.

FYI Mom: I know you also had a hand in all those events and many more. You had to stay behind to take care of my sisters and for that I am grateful too. You are a fantastic mom and I wouldn't change a thing about my childhood. You were around for everything and took care of us like no one else could.

I hit the jackpot in the parents lottery and I am more thankful than anyone could ever know.

I LOVE you both.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Power Outage

I was sitting at home yesterday, minding my own business and liking it, when the power went out.

You should know that I am currently living with a friend until my house is ready and don't know where she keeps everything...and to top it off, she was out of town.

Here I am - with a laptop...on my lap of course... that is no longer connected to the internet, a television that isn't working, no land line phone and a dead cell phone.

All of a sudden I felt so disconnected to the outside world, that was frankly 20 feet away outside the front door. It wasn't even yet dark out and I had that moment of panic if you want to call it that. What should I do now?

Are you kidding me? Have I become so dependent on my electronics that I can't figure out what to do in a power outage? It's not like this is the first one I've been in. (oh, and it lasted all of 2 hours) I went looking for a flashlight in case the power didn't come back on soon - and finally found one.

I realize now that I truly must get a life that isn't so connected to these electronics.

What did I wind up doing you might ask? I sat outside, my cell phone getting charged in the car, enjoying the summer evening. I watched the sun set, and watched all the families come outside and spend time together. It was really amazing. All of a sudden, the world seemed to slow down around me.

I think I should do that more often...not lose power, but enjoy life without so many electronics.

Of course, I am saying this while I'm sitting in the house on the laptop, watching a soap opera, with my cell phone charging next to me.

On to the next power outage...or a week at the cottage.

~DeGa~ / @Flip_4

Monday, June 13, 2011

Me...the procrastinator

Hello again friends!!

When I first started this blog last year, I truly had every intention of writing as often as I could. As you have noticed I'm sure, I haven't really kept up with the practice.

I wrote a total of TWO, I repeat TWO blog posts.

Let's move on to Take Two of this blog!!

Here are the promises I am willing to make...

1. I will not let an entire year go by before posting another blog...although I cannot promise I will post every day or even week.

2. I will write about interesting me anyway.

Examples of what *I* find interesting:
a) Hockey
b) Nascar
c) My family
d) Music, Movies, Books, Television Shows, Soap Operas

All in all, it will be a mish mash of many different topics.

For now, those two promises are enough...mostly because I have to go and move my car out of the driveway.

I hope to keep everyone entertained. Let me know what you think.

Thank you,

~J~ / DeGa