Monday, November 14, 2011

Hockey in a New York State of Mind

 FINALLY!  A publication devoted to the great sport of hockey in the great state of New York. From stories that will tug at your heartstrings, to impressive accomplishments of some of our organizations most talented kids, to news and notes on youth hockey changes and challenges.   Hockey NYS will keep you in the loop!  The folks behind this online publication are as fascinating as the stories they publish.  I had the pleasure of interviewing columnist, designer and photographer Janet Schultz.  Hats off to this special team for putting New York State Hockey..OUR the spotlight!

 What's your online magazine all about and what are your goals as you continue to grow your publication?
   Hockey NYS is an take-off of what Steve Manson (our publisher) founded 20 years ago--WNY Hockey Magazine. It's geared for youth and amateur hockey players. Our mission is to give youth, amateur and collegiate players the recognition that they don't get from local media. We want to share their stories on and off the ice.

    We learned from several individuals throughout NY that there didn't seem to be a mouth piece for hockey. Yes, there's USA Hockey Magazine but that was national. There's a need in NY to share what happens across the state, a sharing of ideas, getting the word out on tournaments and special schools, clinics, etc.

 What kinds of stories do you want to tell, and how do youth hockey organization submit their ideas to you?

We want everything. We've done stories on tournaments, mainly they send us stuff when they win; but we'd like everything.

We've had special features such as a story about the Buffalo Shamrocks who spend the summer planting, caring for and then harvesting a vegetable garden where the bounty goes to the animals at the Buffalo Zoo, where the garden is located.

We've done a special feature on two sisters who share the net on a team in Saratoga Springs. We'll listen to any idea and take it from there.

I've also tried to do little stories on women's hockey about the history of the growth of teams and organizations.

Anyone who has an idea should just call or email us. I cover women's hockey, youth thru collegiate, and can be reached at 716-751-6524 or and Randy takes care of any type of feature or youth hockey through junior and minor and he can be emailed at

Warren Kozireski is our collegiate reporter.

 Your husband is the managing editor. Please tell us more about him, his background and yours and how your talents combined make this E-Magazine happen?
Randy Schultz
     Randy was approached by Steve Manson when Steve started WNY Hockey Magazine to be a reporter. He took that on as he had been covering the Buffalo Sabres since the beginning. Randy has been a freelance sports writer since his college days including football, baseball, hockey and at one time some basketball. He has written a book on Dominik Hasek, the Buffalo Bills and several children's books on Presidents of the United States and one on the New York Knicks. Those children's books are unique, especially when they came out, because while they are short the material links to websites that give students more information. At one point in his freelance career they were calling him the "King of String" because he was writing for many of the NHL Teams program magazines (which they no longer do with freelancers) plus such publications as Hockey News, Sporting News and even our local papers. He also did the same with baseball working for the Dodgers, Angels (which he still does), and others. Randy has also done radio and tv, especially when we had Adelphia and Empire Sports.

Janet Schultz
I worked in Public Relations for my entire career, from secretary to an assistant director of public relations (actual title Technical Assistant) and also had a desire to be a photographer. Randy helped me get started by getting me to hockey games and then Steve took me on as the photographer for the WNY magazine. When I looked at the magazine I noticed very little on women's ice hockey, and with the Olympics growing the sport; I suggested a women's column, Steve assigned it to me and off I went. It actually is the most popular column in the magazine. I've mainly focused on photography up until this point. I've photographed the NHL and also covered the Buffalo Bills for ten years, did work for the LA Dodgers, Angels, USA Hockey. I also freelance for a local weekly newspaper, not sport tho' I actually cover the school board meetings for them and special events at that school, as a photographer and reporter.

Randy and Steve put their heads together about Hockey NYS and with my background I took on the design, as well as photography and of course, covering the girls/womens side. I had also taken over design of WNY Hockey after an ownership change.

By the way Randy is a admissions recruiter for Niagara County Community College; he worked in Public Relations there also. Actually I took his position when he was moved into Admissions. I retired after 38 years in Public Relations at Niagara County Community College.

   You and your husband had a chance to visit all four sectional meetings involving the State Amatuer Hockey Association. What were some of your takeaways from those meetings and impressions about youth hockey in New York State?

First, it was one of the greatest things we could have done. Each section is a little different but everyone of them is so dedicated to their hockey program.  We're just large and close in proximity to each other where the Central and North are very spread out and teams have to travel farther to play. We were met with open arms at each one. They all seemed enthusiastic and in one case, we know a person was texting a story idea during the meeting because we had it when we got back to the hotel. We thought we go in a present and leave; but we ended up staying for the entire meeting and then have people come up to talk to us after.

We also met in such different venues; first WNY was at Batavia Raceway, with a casino in it and I won $15 after; Central was in a fire hall (I'm the daughter of a volunteer) so I was at home; East was at a great restaurant in White Plains and just a half hour from our daughter's; and North was, where else, in the Olympic Arena at Lake Placid. We plan to do it again when they meet in the Spring.

   What have you found most enjoyable about reporting on and sharing hockey stories?

I've always enjoyed hockey. I didn't know much about it until I met Randy. (I grew up with 3 sisters and a brother; in a rural area where the boys in the neighborhood did play pond hockey; but their mom was from Canada and so I only knew there was this team called the Toronto Maple Leafs, I didn't know anything more about hockey or who they played). Now I love it. I liked going to games, shooting the action and then attending such events as the NHL Draft, NHL Awards and Hall of Fame events. Until I began covering women's hockey. Now I love talking to the girls, watching them play such a great game with style, finesse and professionalism. I also love interviewing the little girls. They love to talk about the sport, how they play. Their enthusiasm gets to you. Yes, I give up NHL Sabre games to go to the Girls High School Varsity games in WNY.

    What was one of the most memorable interviews you've done for your magazine?

Actually all of mine are memorable in one way or another. But there is a special one. A young lady plays in WNY who is deaf. She uses a signer on the bench to help her. She's amazing and is now playing in the Varsity Girls league for her high school. She is dedicated, loves hockey and has one killer smile.

I also just interviewed another girl who is the face of EA Sports 2012 game. She wanted an avatar created so girls playing could be girls. She contacted EA Sports and with much to do, they made her the avatar. By the time I interviewed her she had 44 media outlets talking to her and took it all in stride. She just wanted to play soccer--the summer sport she plays--and get ready for her hockey season which was just starting in midst of all this.

Other was a collegiate player who went to Unganda to help set up a medical clinic. The amazing part of this story was a group of students was to go, they boarded a bus which ended up in a serious accident on the way to the airport. She was playing a hockey playoff game and was going to join them later so she wasn't with them. Obviously the trip was cancelled, they lost an instructor in the accident, but this young lady went on her own; taking all the donations they had, worked with airlines to get everything to the right spot. She's amazing!

Our message is this is a mouth piece for NYS hockey. It's for the youth and we want to share the news about our youth hockey players.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cool Prize from BelaHockey!

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Promoting Reading and Teamwork at SASCS

Local News Anchor Promotes Reading and Teamwork While Visiting SASCS Kindergarteners

Christie Casciano, anchor at WSYR-NewsChannel 9, visited SASCS's kindergarten classes to read her children's book, The Puck Hog, on October 14, 2011.

The Puck Hog is about a children's hockey team and what happens when a member of the team is not playing for the team, but for himself. Even though the book is set on the hockey ice, it is more about the benefits of teamwork than one particular sport, Casciano said. Casciano, who was accompanied by her daughter, Sophia, spoke to SASCS kindergarteners about how sports don't only promote athletic skills, but can help build character, too. Sophia also taught our kindergarteners some hockey moves!

In addition to her fun and interactive presentation, Casciano also introduced her program Read More and Score, which she created to encourage children to read.

By: Russell Cox (grade 11)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Time Out For Our Hockey Refs

    My blog so often features the perspective of parents and coaches. All good stuff. This week, we're taking some time out for the referee. We can't play the game without them, so here's a great reminder of the importance of fair play, courtesy, striving spirit, and grace in losing, from inside the glass.


     We walk into a rink for a game with our bags over shoulders and no sticks in hand. We are instantly identified as “the ref. ” Rather than being hailed as the heroes, the guys who will keep everyone playing by the rules, we're thought of as the mortal enemy of both teams and fans. Time out! We put our skates on one foot at a time and pull our jerseys over our heads, just like your players. But unlike your players, it's rare for us to have anyone cheer us on. That's unless we fall down, get knocked over, get hit with the puck or anything else that causes us harm. Fans seem to enjoy those moments. It's true that a clear undisputed call such as icing or even off-sides receives its fair share of disapproval from all in attendance. Even calling a blatant penalty that is “text book” directly from the rulebook garners a medley of objections, criticisms, and comments. The worst appears to come from the majority of parents, who apparently have never read a rule book ( ). It even happens at the professional level (witnessed as a fan not a ref). The referees are despised and obnoxious fans call out a plethora of comments when they don't like a call. I think it sometimes gets lost on fans, that we officials are only there to make sure the game is played to the highest level and standard which is mandated by the governing league. Personal safety and sportsmanship are paramount next to good positioning and interpreting the rules the best we can in every situation. It is not an easy job!


    Parents need to know that the majority of the referees (myself included) have played, coached or been involved in this game enough to understand that it is one of the most amazing sports to be a part of. Our children, spouses, friends and family come to watch us as well. Are we perfect? Absolutely not! We make mistakes from time to time and that is why we have partners on the ice, evaluations and a reputation to uphold. Things are not always “black and white” in the heat of the game. Most of the more skilled and experienced referees who officiate the higher level games are there because of the merit that they have earned throughout the years.


So,  perhaps in the future, next time you see a ref walk on or off the ice,  instead of saying “you stink” or far, far worse, how about following your mother’s advice “if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all”.  Or, why not to compliment us for the good things we have done as we do this for the love of the game…

~ The “Whistleblower”