Back after a two-week absence (last weekend your contributors were all hanging out together and obviously not-blogging, shame on us), this week’s Sunday Overtime covers some memorable events over the past fortnight.
(featured image from the Vancouver Canucks)
1. The Throwback
There can be a distinct lack of colour and fun in the NHL so this week we’re concentrating on a series of happier or more aspirational events in the league.
Our first story is certainly colourful. During the week, the Vancouver Canucks really leaned into the 80s theme and, for their warm-ups prior to the game against the Buffalo Sabres, they wore these incredible Flying V jerseys.
These jerseys may be an acquired taste but they certainly draw the eye, right? And they caught the eye of one Vancouver native.
For the game itself, the Canucks reverted to their magnificent Flying Skate uniform for the game against the Sabres, eventually running out 6-5 winners in OT (but we won’t dwell on that, out of kindness to one of our contributors).
The best part, of course, is that the Canucks auctioned off the Flying V jerseys for charity, raising money for the Canucks Kids Fund.
Nostalgia + Fun + Charity – what’s not to love?
2. The Call-Out
This week’s Quench Babe of the Week was Morgan Reilly, alternate captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs (and captain of our hearts).
I’m sure we all remember the incident from last season when it was alleged that Morgan Reilly used a homophobic slur on the ice. That was disproven and, since then, Reilly has shown his commitment to being an ally, marching in Toronto Pride, with the Leafs’ GM, Kyle Dubas, and also with current Lehigh Valley Phantom, Kurtis Gabriel.
Too often, the phrase ‘social justice’ is thrown around almost as an insult, as though wanting equality is somehow a weakness. It is not a weakness, and the more often we see men (and women) of privilege calling for equality, the stronger the movement for true social justice will be.
This week, however, along with a number of his teammates, Reilly tweeted to draw attention to a fantastic campaign, in which the Toronto Maple Leafs team up with White Ribbon to end gender-based violence. I cannot stress how important this is, especially given the NHL’s rather insipid domestic violence policy, or lack thereof.
Another critical point is that Reilly, and the Maple Leafs, have articulated the issues they’re attempting to combat. Too often, Hockey is for Everyone is just a phrase, thrown around to sell some rainbow-coloured t-shirts and it’s remarkable to see the pushback even against that minimal effort. It’s refreshing to see Men of Quality explicitly state that they are here to challenge racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. If we cannot name the evils we’re fighting, we cannot be effective in the fight against them.
3. The Toss-Up
On November 28, the AHL’s Hershey Bears held their annual teddy bear toss, which should probably also be known as their annual record-breaking event. To put it into some kind of global context, a taxi driver in Dublin, Ireland, asked friend of the blog, Fi, if she had heard about it.
The premise is that, once home team scores their first goal, the crowd start throwing stuffed animals onto the ice. Last week, those in attendance at Giant Center certainly made it rain. Christian Djoos scored the first goal and what followed was certainly a sight to behold.
Check out Puck ‘Er Up’s instagram post for more videos of the night in question.
In total, 45, 650 stuffed animals were thrown onto the ice, all of which were collected by staff (albeit occasionally obstructed by hockey players gleefully leaping into the piles of teddy bears) for donation to local children’s organisations.
This week’s three-on-three overtime shows us what the hockey community can achieve, in three different markets. Change doesn’t come fast but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
+1 And now to the shoot-out
Where to start? Sometimes, it’s incredibly difficult to know where we, as hockey fans, can even begin to make a difference. One organisation we highly recommend supporting is Black Girl Hockey Club.
Hockey is an overwhelmingly white sport, and it’s an expensive sport, and it is regularly entirely inaccessible, particularly to people of colour.
With the stated aim to inspire passion for hockey among the Black community, and specifically amongst women, please check out the BGHC website to see how you can support this inspirational endeavour.