Thursday, December 12, 2013

Coolest Thing on Ice for everyBODY

by Kristen Powell

Sledge hockey (known as sled hockey in the United States) is a sport that was designed to allow participants who have a physical disability to play the game of ice hockey. Ice sledge hockey was invented in the early 1960s in Stockholm, Sweden at a rehabilitation center. It is currently one of the most popular sports in the Paralympic Games.

The Palmyra Black Knights Sled Hockey Program/Team was founded in 2012. It is a not-for-profit 100% volunteer organization. The program/team was formed to enable youth and adults with disabilities in the Greater Hershey/Harrisburg area to play disabled sled ice hockey.  The program is USA Hockey sanctioned, and affiliated with the Palmyra Black Knights Organization.
The Black Knights Organization, a 501(c)(3) (charitable organization) is defined by its mission to grow the sport of hockey, permitting “everyBODY” to have an opportunity to play regardless of one’s physical disability or their ability to pay.  Our commitment is to offer the sport of Ice Sled Hockey for those individuals ages 5 and older.

Each participant will require a kit, which includes proper protective gear (helmet, neck guard, elbow pads, gloves, shin guards) a sled and sticks; these items costs approximately $1,126 per participant. In addition to the kit, expenses will include USA Hockey annual dues, jerseys, purchase of ice time for practices, scrimmages, games and tournaments.

Currently we have upwards of 15 individuals actively participating and are constantly growing. Our team members include individuals with Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Ehlers–Danlos Syndrome, Spinal Cord Injuries, Autism, and dismemberments; we have several wounded warriors on our team as well.  We currently have 14 active members of our team from who cover Dauphin county, Lebanon county, Juniata county, Schuylkill county and Northumberland county

Our goal with the team is for the participants to have no financial obligation as many are already faced with multiple medical issues.  Surgeries, therapies, durable medical equipment ect are not cheap even with insurance coverage.  So we decided to hold a Celebrity Sled Hockey Challenge to raise money for our team.

We invited local Celebrities (AHL alumni,  TV and radio personalities, business owners, police and fire fighters, newspaper reporters) to play against our team.  Everyone had to play in sleds, no stand up hockey playing allowed.  No experience was necessary as it was more fun to see the Celebs out of their element and our team doing what they do best!!

We started off the game with a donation presentation from the Hershey/Palmyra Sertoma club in the amount of $500. Then our national anthem was performed by an American Idol Hollywood week participant, Courtney Calle.

During our game, we had 24 raffle items ranging from a signed Philadelphia Flyers jersey and AHL Hershey Bears Jersey to baskets filled with local restaurant gift cards and Hockey Mom’s survival kits.  Our club’s youth teams were instrumental in gathering the donations for these baskets.  They came through in a huge way.  I am still in awe at their accomplishment!!  We also sold 50/50 tickets.  After the game, Miss PA Outstanding Teen announced the raffle winners.

All total we were able to raise over $3,100 for our team.  But more importantly, we brought awareness, more fans and hopefully more players to our team.  The celebrities were all smiles during the game and have already committed to playing in next year’s game.  They are ready for a rematch as they lost 5-1.

Kristen N. Powell
Camp Hill, PA  

Monday, December 2, 2013

Hockey Parents Provide Important Assists

Wanted: Reliable parents to work weekends in cold conditions. Must be a good organizer, willing to answer phone calls in the middle of dinner, and keep the peace with dozens of well-meaning, opinionated hockey parents. No pay. Coaches shouldn’t have to take out ads, but it seems every year fewer parents are willing or able to step up and pitch in for the team. Given current economic conditions, many parents are working longer hours and even two jobs, and have less free time to give. But as my wise Italian mother would say after our big Sunday dinners, as we sat there with stuffed bellies, piled up dishes, pots and pans, “Many hands make light work.” She would assign each of us a cleanup duty. Before we knew it, all six of us were out in the yard, getting in some last-minute play before the sun settled for the night. That same simple theory can help your coach run the team, when parents provide assists. The trick is finding the role that is right for you. If you’re level headed, a good organizer and don’t mind fielding phone calls during the week from parents, consider the role of team parent. That job consists of everything the coach doesn’t have time to do. Sound overwhelming? You don’t have to go it alone; take advantage of the diverse talents and skills of moms and dads. You might be surprised how willing parents are to help when given a clear and specific role. Parents who travel a lot might be able to wheel and deal team discounts for hotels and restaurants. Store managers might be able to score plates, cups or deserts for a tournament or team parties. I loved the year a parent with a printing company made wallet sized laminated cards with everybody’s cell phone number and e-mail address. Skills in the kitchen can come in handy when your team needs to whip up meals for tournaments and fundraisers. I will caution though, sometimes finding the right role can come by trial and error. For example, running the clock for a game takes a very brave soul. You’ll find out very quickly if you can handle it the first time you mess up on the penalty minutes and become the object of ridicule and angry shouts from the stands, “Clock! Clock!” If you can turn a deaf ear to it, you will find yourself with the best seat in the house! When kids see parents working hard for the team, parents in turn may see that same spirit and enthusiasm translate on the ice.

Monday, November 25, 2013

High on Hockey and Life

Aaron vivlamore

Great message by youth hockey player Aaron Vivamore!

Putting the Ho Ho Ho into Hockey & The Holidays

The holidays are almost here and for hockey families the calendar is as stuffed as a stocking hanging from a mantle on Christmas morning. This time of year present a dizzying array of demands for us: practices, tournaments, plus the parties, family gatherings, shopping, baking, school concerts, decorating, and cranky kids. Whew! But just like a hockey game, winning efforts come to those who plan for the holidays. So here are a few tips from my life and the lives of my hockey friends:)

Having a visual game plan can be one of the best ways to keep the family a bit more sane and organized during the busy holidays. I use a dry erase calendar to keep my home team in line. Purchased at any office supply store, be sure everyone can see it by placing it in a spot like your kitchen or family room. That way you can all be on the same page and work as a team to tackle the many tasks of the season. Mark down work, school, hockey and family commitments and schedule holiday shopping, baking and even gift wrapping.

Even Mrs. Claus has time to cook during the holidays and Pittsburgh hockey mom Dana Vento, with A Hockey Mom Reviews, says you can do the same. Her advice? “Pick a two hour time slot before the hockey madness begins and cook ahead and freeze those meals in zipper freezer bags. Throw on two pots of soup (veggie and chicken), and make a batch of meatballs! Don't forget to whip up a bag of taco meat! This all freezes well and can be the difference between collapsing at home with a warm satisfying meal or waiting in a restaurant and not scoring points because you are tired and cold from the rink! “

Vento also suggests a stop at a warehouse club for snacks can be a real time and money saver, “You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of snacks on hand for the time between tourneys. Yes, be that team mom! All those little elves need food! “

Vento reminds us how a little holiday cheer can go a long way in the locker room too, “Don't forget the coaches with gift cards to their favorite coffee shop-- you want them pleasant right? No Bah Humbugs allowed in the locker room.”

To keep the season smelling fresh, Vento also likes to stock up on her favorite brand of hockey bag air fresheners to keep the funk out of the bags and out of the car, “You don’t want to scare off Santa and his reindeer with hockey stench.” Good call Dana.

You can count on conflicts in the schedule, so setting up a car pool might be the next best thing to Santa's sleigh. Parents are usually always willing to pitch in and help shuttle the kids to their destinations. Make sure you return the favor.

Let’s not forget about warmth during this long, cold season, “It is important that the hockey mom/dad doesn’t freeze because we are not used to North Pole winters. Grab one bag and toss the following items inside: hat, gloves, blanket and an extra sweater or jacket. These items will keep you warm while you’re at the rink and if they never leave your car, you are sure to have what you need, when you need it,” advises Vento.

Stressful? Sure. But we can handle it. We're hockey families. Here’s wishing you an insulated odor-free stocking full of great hockey for the holidays!”

Hockey fraternity rallying around paralyzed player

Monday, 11.25.2013 / 7:00 PM / NHL Insider

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Pittsburgh native Kevin Kenny may not be playing the game he loves for quite some time, but don't think for a second he isn't in the hearts and minds of everyone in the hockey community.
Since 20-year-old Kevin Kenny sustained a spinal cord injury while playing for the Pittsburgh Three Rivers Vengeance on Nov. 16, there has been an outpouring of support from the hockey community.(Photo: Kevin Kenny Foundation)
The career path for the 20-year-old forward took an unfortunate detour this month when he crashed into the boards during a game and sustained a spinal cord injury.
Since the accident Nov. 16 while playing in a North American Tier 3 Hockey League game for the Pittsburgh Three Rivers Vengeance against the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks, Kenny has undergone two successful spinal surgeries.
John Kenny, Kevin's father, released a statement Monday to inform the public that "Kevin has sustained a spinal cord injury and his prognosis is guarded."
The outpouring of emotion, prayer and support for the Kenny family from all levels in the hockey fraternity has been nothing short of remarkable. Not only was the Kevin Kenny Fund founded to help alleviate medical costs, but fundraisers are continually being organized, and the Cards for Kenny Campaign was created to provide added motivation during Kenny's recovery effort.
Kevin Kenny's immediate family, including his father, mother, Carolyn, and sister, Colleen, have acknowledged the "overwhelming support from the hockey community." Colleen is a senior at Miami University in Ohio.
Kevin Quinn, Kenny's high school coach at Quaker Valley High School, provided with an update on his former captain at the Leetsdale, Pa., school.
The first spinal surgery was performed immediately after the injury. A second surgery was performed the following day (Nov. 18) in order to stabilize the area. John Kenny told the hit was a "normal hockey play that you see 100 times in a game."
Kenny fell awkwardly with his back hitting the boards and remained on the ice before receiving assistance.
"He's getting excellent treatment, and the community is rallying around him, but that doesn't escape the fact he's got a very tough situation," Quinn said. "We continue to pray and send positive thoughts to him and the family.
"There is a window of opportunity for him because he's the kind of kid who will do whatever it takes to not only walk again, but skate again," he continued. "Right now, we're not even thinking about that. We're thinking about each day and getting through the breathing. Hopefully, good news will be coming our way."

*For more information on Kevin Kenny, please

*Donations are being accepted

*Support may also be given via Twitter at: #prayersforKenny and #prayforKevin.
(Photo: Kevin Kenny Foundation)
Kenny has played for the Vengeance since 2012, scoring 16 goals and 29 assists the past two seasons. He helped Quaker Valley to the Class A Penguins Cup and state title in 2011-12 while serving as captain, producing 18 goals and 39 assists.
"He's a two-way player; he has skill and scoring touch but also likes to finish checks," Quinn said. "He plays a tough brand of hockey even though he isn't the biggest kid (5-foot-11, 170 pounds).
"I know he'll fight through this and he won't use it as a crutch to not be successful in whatever the next step might be for him."
Quinn has spoken on behalf of the family numerous times in an effort to help with the overwhelming requests of support.
"The game of hockey is what he loves and what we all love so much, but it's also an incredible community to grow up in," Quinn said. "I grew up in Canada and have lived in United States the past 20 years and I know how much both countries love the game.
"The emails and phone calls have been off the hook, and we've had to create liaisons to deal with the outpouring of support. The entire high school community, amateur hockey community and thePittsburgh Penguins have all been so supportive."
For more information on Kevin Kenny, please visit
Donations are being accepted at Cards from players who wish to offer their support to the 'Cards for Kenny Campaign' can be mailed to: Cards for Kenny, c/o Renee Heininger, 205 Carriage Court, Pittsburgh, PA, 15238. Support may also be given via Twitter at: #prayersforKenny 

Friday, November 15, 2013

How Hockey Parents can Shoot and Score Good Photos

                                                   CATCHING THE ACTION


NewsChannel 9 Photojournalist Mark Folsom
We know how challenging it is for our kids to handle a stick and puck and maneuver around the ice. It can be challenging for those of us in the stands who want to catch all the great action and reaction. Ice arenas are far from ideal settings to capture those magical moments, but with a few tricks of the trade, you may be able to snap some keepsake shots. My colleague and dear friend, NewsChannel 9 photojournalist Mark Folsom is one of the best in the business. He's kindly agreed to assist those of us in the amateur photography league. So let's get started! .

This is a fast moving sport Mark. What advice do you have to help us make our photos look their best?
Find a good place to set yourself up to get the action. Be as close to the ice as you can. It's great for getting the close-ups of action shots of your favorite player, or go to the middle of the stands to cover as much ice as possible. Also position yourself for viewing both goals they should be equal distance from your lens. Using a lens with a 135 - 300 mm focal length with a lens opening of 2.8 should be sufficient. Try using a higher ISO setting for the camera maybe 800 - 1600 modern cameras are pretty good at that level. ISO is the sensitivity to the light. Anticipate the action and focus on the eyes and get ready to press the shutter release.

Light in a hockey rink is awful. Should we use a flash? 
The Light reflecting from the Ice is a problem because it tricks your camera into thinking it is brighter than it actually is . You need to compensate for that by telling the camera to open up the amount of light it lets in by a full stop or two. You should use the flash if you have a powerful external flash unit because  the distance the light has to travel to get to your subject is greater.

How do we get our pictures to be bright and crisp, instead of blurry and grainy?

Without a fast lens photos can be blurry
Use a fast lens to get the most light to the camera and a high shutter speed to freeze the action as much as possible. A shutter speed of 1/250th a second should be enough, but a higher speed may be necessary to freeze the action. Fast ISO helps this but try and stay under 3200 ISO. Only the more advanced and expensive cameras are good above this sensitivity level. 

Where are the best spots in a rink to get good shots?
I would try down by the glass (if it's clean) at first where you can be close to the action. Then try the corners or behind the goal is another good place to position yourself and let the action come to you. Even though you don't have the big lens, there is plenty you can do to take some really good sports photos.

Your Photography Game Plan 

* Get in position
* Work out in advance where you should be
* Anticipate the action
* Try to predict what's going to happen so you're ready at the crucial moment
* Use your zoom telephoto for shots that put you at the thick of the action
* Use fast shutter speeds
* Increase your iso if you can
* Keeping shooting- - set your camera to shoot a continuous series of pictures in a single purse
* Zoom in as far as you can, be beware of using digital zoom because it may not give you the image quality you'll need if you are going to crop.

Not all good sports photos have to be of the action of the game itself. You might get some great pictures if you turn your back on the main event and photograph the reactions of the crowd. It really works if you're able to catch the expression of spectators just at a key moment of anticipation, triumph or even defeat. I snapped this shot at a Syracuse Crunch game right at the moment they scored and captured the enthusiasm of  one of our youth hockey players. 

Or - look for candid shots of competitors, tense with concentration, exhausted at the end of the game, or like this, overjoyed as they are awarded the prize.

Photo by Tim Kane

Friday, November 8, 2013

Hockey Tournament Tables that Turn a Profit!

No trophy this tournament, but our team netted a nice profit at our tables by offering delicious dishes and beautiful baskets. Check out our menu board!

A great way to advertise what you're selling!  We used a white board (hockey themed of course) and dry erase markers, That made it easy to whip up the menu and make changes on the fly. Other parents raided their kid's rooms for  big art boards.

Big sellers included Chicken Riggies, Walk Away Tacos,  Pork Sliders and Macaroni & Cheese


Crock pot city,  Don't forget to bring a power chord to plug them all in.

We sweetend the fundriaisng pot with sweets.  Hockey stick and puck-shaped cookies and half moons sold like hot cakes! 

Caramel applies, half moon cookies and Tim Horton donuts were in demand.  Cleverly wrapped fruit and nut snacks were gobbled up too at our Thanksgiving tournament tables.

With a little bit of luck, you will strike it rich with a lottery basket

or really clean up with a bucket of suds!

Just a few ideas to help you score some big bucks at your next tournament!

( For drinks, consider selling cups or small cartons of chololate milk and plug what the research says about it being so good for hockey players after a game!)

And the first place trophy for coming up with the best selling tournament food goes to....

                    By Nancy Blais
                     Goalie Mom

4 Tbsp Butter
2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
1 medium green pepper, chopped
3 hot cherry peppers, chopped
1 medium onion,  chopped
Roasted red peppers, chopped (use as many or as little as you like)
2 cups water
2 tsp chicken bouillon
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp corn starch or flour
1 lb rigatoni, cooked and drained

In a large pot, melt the butter and add the chicken.  Cook over medium heat until tender.
 Add the peppers, onions, cherry peppers and roasted red peppers. Continue cooking until soft (5-7 minutes)
Add water, bouillon, sauce, heavy cream and spices.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
In a small bowl mix cornstarch or flour with 2 Tbsp of water until dissolved
Add to sauce, stirriing continuously until it thckens
When thickened, mix sauce with rigatoni together in a deep bowl and serve immediately
( if you want, you can add other ingredients like mushrooms or olives)

Enjoy and be prepared for a sell-out at your tournament table!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Review of The Puck Hog 2

November 14, 2012

The Puck Hog 2: Haunted Hockey In Lake Placid by Christie Casciano

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

Those powerful words come from none other than Stan Fischler, hockey's maven. I'm pretty sure Fischler has read every book on the subject of hockey. Oh yeah, and he's written a few dozen, too. So Fischler knows something about hockey books.

Clearly Fischler has taken to Christie Casciano's series of books called The Puck Hog. Back in 2010 she released the original book in conjunction with the AHL's Syracuse Crunch. Well the whole gang is back in 2012 with The Puck Hog Volume 2: Haunted Hockey in Lake Placid.

Buy The Book:

Sophia, Eddie and the whole team have graduated to Squirts level and are travelling to Lake Placid. The team is extra excited as several Canadian teams are making the trip south, and the gang is eager to show their stuff against the best. But as the team gets ready for the big showdown with the Canadians, mysteries arise and a totally different kind of Miracle On Ice is needed in Lake Placid this time around.

Casciano has clearly found a great calling with the Puck Hog franchise. She has followed up the original with another winner, but this time really expands the boundaries of the children's themed hockey boo. This is great as it opens up endless possibilities.

"On many of my school visits, children asked whether I was going to write a second book and there was a lot of encouragement to continue the adventures of The Puck Hog team. So I carefully listened to suggestions of school and hockey kids, collaborated with the husband, along with our two hockey players and decided to create the adventure in Lake Placid," Casciano says.

"For the second book,. 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!"

Great lessons to be learned all around from a great book. The title gets an obvious push in the Syracuse area and New York State, but you online book orderers should not discount this book when placing your Christmas orders. It isn't the most banner year for children's hockey books. But this one is an excellent choice for the young reader in your family.

I'm a big fan of family-friendly activities. Books and hockey top my list. Christie Cansciano brings the best of both worlds in The Puck Hog Volume 2: Haunted Hockey in Lake Placid.

Posted by Joe Pelletier 
Published author and freelance hockey journalist based in Hockeyville!

Facebook: /GreatestHockeyLegends
Twitter @HockeyLegends

Labels: Christie Casciano, Hockey Books For Kids, The Puck Hog


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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Team Building

Positions and numbers have been assigned. The schedule is out and games are about to begin. Before the kids hit the ice, you may want to take a time out for team building. A team building activity can be a key component to creating a successful team. It gives the kids a chance to learn how to work together and trust each other. Important stuff! Our coach picked a challenging walk down to the falls to build the team up and we had a blast!

 Stronger bonds and good teamwork makes for a unified team--and can help instill a sense of unity and pride. On this trip to Salmon River Falls in Pulaski, the kids took the goals to great heights, or in this case, depths, allowing the team to build that trust factor and enjoy a breathtaking view.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pink the Rink

Pink the Rink! The idea for the fundraiser started two summers ago when the captains and the officers of the Oswego State Men's ACHA hockey team wanted to do something to give back to the community. A suggestion was made the have the players wear pink jerseys to be raffled off after the game. And from that suggestion Pink the Rink was born!

My daughter Sophia said it was a "good drop" No bounce!
These boys are raising spirits and money too! Last year the team donated $1200 to the Upstate Cancer Center after their first Pink the Rink weekend and this year drummed up another $1100!  This is a great example of a true team effort from the planning to the designing stages. The jersey logo was the creation of former Assistant Captain Chris Cavanaugh ('12) and parents helped secure donations for raffle prizes.
  " As hockey players, coaches and support personnel involved with the team, we realize how fortunate we are and we are hoping that with the money raised, that we will be able to help in a small way, assist in curing this disease that has touched so many of us."

     Now that's a team. Stick taps for the Oswego State Men's ACHA D1 hockey team!

St. Bonaventure's Captain presents a $100.00 check

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