Saturday, September 29, 2012

Adirondack Kids Day

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The foreword for Haunted Hockey in Lake Placid

      When is Haunted Hockey in Lake Placid, the Puck Hog Volume 2, 
scheduled for release?  Nail-biting time for me!  The manuscript and illustrations have been sent to the printer, so we're hoping for mid-October to schedule the first book signing. I will keep you posted.  Drum roll please....  I'm thrilled to announce author-columnist Stan Fischler, "The Maven," has written the foreword.  I am truly honored.  Thank you Stan! 


Christie Casciano is one of a kind.
Her viewers know her as a crack television newscaster on Syracuse station WSYR-TV.
Christie’s family knows her as a devoted mother of two hockey players, Joe and Sophia .
But The Hockey Maven knows her as a supreme stickhandling cashew who is about as nutty about the ice game as me; and that’s going a long way—say, from Syracuse to the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

What has elevated Ms. Casciano to a plain above The Maven is the fact that she has already written a children’s book—“The Puck Hog”—and among my more than ninety hockey books, not one is geared for kids ages five to fifty.

Having read “The Puck Hog” to my grandchildren—I have five; two in Portland, Oregon and three in Israel—I can attest that it is a sweetheart of a story, and you don’t have to be a hockey aficionado to appreciate it or find it a swell read.

But Christie has gone one better, and this is it; her second winner, “Haunted Hockey In Lake Placid, The Puck Hog Volume 2.”

Believe me, as an author I know that it’s more than challenging to come up with two-straight terrific books on the same essential subject, but this inimitable author has pulled off the trick. And if she does it again after this, that would make it an even better literary hat trick.

No less impressive is Christie’s appreciation and knowledge of the game coupled with a special feel for its artistry in rhythm and her thinking behind the motivation.

When asked what inspired her to pick Lake Placid as the venue, her response said it all:

“It was the location, not any particular person this time round, Lake Placid! It’s such an inspirational place! The Miracle on Ice, what an inspirational story and moment in history.

Our youth hockey experiences are also built into this next story. Youth hockey has been an incredible journey for my family. Watching my children play, meeting so many great families, the dynamics of the game and our weekend adventures have all combined to awaken my creative writing soul!”

Clearly, this gal knows her onions and her pucks. Her literary skills make her the perfect author for any children’s tome, and hockey in particular.

If I had one lasting impression from “The Puck Hog,” it was that I only wish that it had been on the shelf of my local Brooklyn library in Tompkins Park when I was looking for a hockey book one winter’s afternoon in 1939.

Suffice to say that this latest Casciano work will do precisely what her original accomplished; provide a dandy read while creating a legion of new hockey fans.

Stan Fischler, New York City,  2012

Friday, September 7, 2012

Haunted Hockey in Lake Placid

How come a second book? Title?

Haunted Hockey in Lake Placid, The Puck Hog Volume 2 will be released in just a few weeks!  We're targeting a mid-October date. On many of my school visits, children asked whether I was going to write a second one and there was a lot of encouragement to continue the adventures of The Puck Hog team. So I carefully listened to suggestions of school/hockey kids, collaborated with the husband and our two hockey players and decided to create the adventure in Lake Placid.

Of all of the hockey tournaments we've been to, my son's Lake Placid tournament by far was the most memorable.

"Magical" as my ten year old says. From sled dog rides, to pond hockey skating, skating on the Olympic oval and having the team play on the 1980 Miracle on ice arena (can't count the number of times my kids have seen that movie!)we were in non-stop awe of it all. I knew I could write something really exciting because of all the excitement we experienced in the beautiful Adirondack village.


The title was a struggle. We tossed around a lot of ideas and the publisher favored Haunted Hockey for a couple of reasons. The release date will be in October, and the title might draw in a wider audience. Kids love anything haunted.

How did The Puck Hog Do? Were you excited by the success?

  We've done well! Still selling on, and to my surprise, even in cities outside of Syracuse! Chicago, Boston, Tampa? I am pumped! I am most grateful for schools embracing the story and the message and to see schools now integrating the book as part of their character education curriculum. The school visits are most rewarding! I've designed a program called "Read, Write and Assist" using hockey as the hook.  I make it fun for the kids and
engage them in a conversation about standing up for what's right and
the rewards of providing assists to help others achieve their goals.

    The program is about 45 minutes in length and includes lots of interaction (even some hockey plays), a DVD of hockey highlights starring some of the real hockey players who inspired the book's characters.  Prizes, and lots of Q &A's.  

In what way is second one different?

I wanted to challenge myself and take my writing outside of my own experiences. We blend hockey, history and mystery this time around. The first story centered around a selfish hockey player.  This next one tackles the problem of the pushy parent. So hopefully kids will be sharing this one with their parents!   

How long did it take to write?

About 6 months with lots of rewrites and many of them suggested by my kids and lots of input from the husband too!

How do you fit in writing between your broadcasting and parenting.

It's a delicate balancing act. Now that I'm working a late evening shift, I find time to write in the morning after the kids head to school. My husband and children all pitch in with the housework and making sure we're all on the same page with homework, games and meals.  It's a team effort!

 Role of your husband?

He's my inspiration!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Preseason Parent Prep

    Before we delve into a new season, I wanted to reach out to some veteran hockey moms and dads for advice on how to ease into and through the months ahead.  I think you'll pick up on a common theme here.

                           40 teams and counting!

                                                                            by Amy Colclough

    From my little bubble, here is how my family has survived almost 40 different hockey teams between my two sons.

     * Stay focused on the player’s experience. Ask yourself if the coaching staff shares that philosophy and if they don’t try to understand where they are coming from.
     *Are the players growing their skills, leadership, teamwork? My role as a hockey Mom, team manager and scheduler has always centered around a good experience for the players and it has always worked out great. Happy players…happy coaches…happy parents helps keep the sanity intact in the long haul. It’s not always perfect, but in the long run, it has worked well for our hockey families!

       *Most parents feel good about helping out too, so have an environment that is conducive to team work on the parents end of things. Make people feel welcome.
       *Thank the coaches for their time and commitment. We have had coaches over the years that didn’t speak much to goal setting. We have always tried to have our sons set goals for themselves on things they feel they need to work on and what resource/s they might need, other than their focus and hard work/practice, to achieve those goals, regardless of whether the team and/or coaching staff is doing this. This can help them be the best they can be and feel good about it. (and maybe encourage others too!)

       *Saving time and money – we have always been meal planners – cooking a lot on Sunday afternoons for rest of week. We try to all share our evening meal together each night, even if it is only for 15 minutes. We use that time to chat about what’s coming up in the days that follow. You’d be amazed at how much it helps some players…especially if they are anxious about something and it also reinforces that good stuff is upcoming. Be a good listener. So we might cook up 6 or 8 lbs of chicken breast and use it in several recipes throughout the week. When we have a long car ride, we try to pack a meal in a cooler because it’s healthier than stopping roadside and buying junk food or spending that extra money. This usually enables us to afford a really nice dinner while we are on trips. Also we surf the internet to find restaurants in the area we are going and look for coupons. We also car pool where we can, including to practices and games.
    * Let’s face it, if you are not having fun somewhere on this journey, it’ll be a long one. 


                                         SAVING TIME AND MONEY
                                                                                                    by Frank Colabufo 
     As far as saving time… Much of this is in the hands of the coach. Hopefully, your child's coach doesn't keep the kids in the locker room too long after practices and games-even if they don't play well-understanding that parents and siblings are in the lobby waiting to get on with the rest of their lives. On saving money… Hockey is an expensive sport. If your child is a Mite, make friends with a Squirt parent who tends to buy their child really good equipment and see if you can get it at a good price when they outgrow it in a year. Young kids don't wear out equipment before they outgrow it. Especially skates! Trust me. 
       On preserving your sanity… I would remind parents to stay focused on the big picture. Don't live and die with every shift. Try your best to not let your happiness be determined by how well a bunch of 10 year-olds pass the puck on a Saturday morning.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hockey Parent Survival Guide

Tryouts and evaluations are just a few weeks away.  Got your family game plan set for the season?  Here's a checklist from good friend and travel team hockey dad, Bill Huba.   

As a parent who never played hockey, I would suggest:

 *CHECK GEAR: get a coach in whom you have trust and confidence go over the entire contents of your child's hockey bag. Make sure that you have all the requisite equipment, that everything fits, that you know/your child knows how to put it on properly, equipment is in good shape and that you know how to maintain it (I went half a season before I learned you could sharpen hockey skates). Do not be afraid to ask questions.

 * HAVE SPARES: laces, mouthguard, helmet repair kit, tape (paper, cloth/friction, duct, clear), screwdriver, scissors, towel, stick, travel AND away jerseys. Bring an entire set of extra clothes to include socks, sneakers, sweatshirt. This also speaks to the 'Road Warrior' theme below:

 *FOOD: Clif Bars (or like), water/Gatorade, gum at a minimum, always. Full load-out if it's a long journey: cooler, sandwiches, MRE's, etc. Be prepared to have the vehicle decorated with whatever you pack, exponentially factored depending on how many kids are along for the ride. Be mindful of food allergies of any/all occupants. Bring enough for everyone.

*CAR POOL whenever possible. Share CD's, DVD's (if there's a DVD player in the vehicle). Those of us who travel for a living appreciate the value of SIRIUS/XM radio. Be thoughtful - clean out the car before the trip if you're driving. If you're the passenger, offer to chip in for gas/cover a meal. Bring homework, books. Nowadays most kids lose themselves in their iPads, iPods, Kindles, etc, which can be awkward for the kid/parent who didn't bring theirs or doesn't have one. Be a good guest/considerate host - it's a loooong season. Flexibility and a sense of humor go a long way.

CONVENIENCE ITEMS: Paper towels, tissues, basic medical kit, hand sanitizer, pen, paper, cellphone charge cord, Ziploc bags, umbrella, blanket.

* PREPARE: Stay informed, check your email/voicemail/texts. Know where you are supposed to go, when you are supposed to be there. Have MapQuest directions, GPS. Gas up beforehand, check washer fluid. Give yourself enough time - driving two hours is bad enough, don't stress everyone even further by having to do a NASCAR race through terra incognito in a blizzard.

* BE RESPONSIBLE: For yourself and your child(ren) Have your/their glasses, inhaler, medications, money, credit cards, cellphone. Have a current contact list with all coaches/parents info. Dress appropriately - hockey is an outdoor sport played under a roof. Play once at Cass Park in Jan/Feb and you'll never go under dressed again. Make sure accompanying sibling(s) are appropriately attended to - taking care of your kid(s) is not a collective team responsibility.