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Fantasy Hockey World Junior Hockey Pool

Easy pool, pick game winners, or regulation ties, OfficePool takes care of all the stats. Name of Group is FckTheNHL. Just need to register with the system, join Group, and make your picks for each game, it will run right through to the finals.

http://games.officepools.com/opg/wjhc12/enter_picks

Let’s have fun!

PRESIDENT Thumb Administator
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PRESIDENT Thumb Administator
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PRESIDENT Thumb Administator
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Field Hockey Ellen Hoog

Check out this interview with Ellen Hoog. She is cute and she doesn’t understand a question later on in the video. Funny.

PRESIDENT Thumb Administator
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PRESIDENT Thumb Administator
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PRESIDENT Thumb Administator
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PRESIDENT Thumb Administator
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PRESIDENT Thumb Administator
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PRESIDENT Thumb Administator
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PRESIDENT Thumb Administator
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PRESIDENT Thumb Administator
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PRESIDENT Thumb Administator
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PRESIDENT Thumb Administator
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War Time and the Games of Hockey - It's People WHEN WAR WASN'T AN ANALOGY: REMEMBERING CONN SMYTHE

The relationship between professional sports and the military has long been a complicated one. To outside observers the NFL often seems like another branch of the American Military. Don Cherry sets aside time each week on Coach’s Corner to remember the fallen men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Both Brian Burke and Luke Schenn travelled to Afghanistan in the summer of 2011 to visit troops serving there with the latter sponsoring a program for the military men and women known as “Luke’s Troops”. While today the relationship is mostly symbolic, in the past the connection was much more direct. No man better demonstrates the relationship between hockey and the military than Conn Smythe.

Smythe was born February 1, 1895 just up the street from the future site of Maple Leaf Gardens. Smythe was attending the University of Toronto when he enlisted to serve in the First World War, in March of 1915. While enlisted Smythe organized a team to compete in the Ontario Hockey Association’s senior league; the team never played as his 40th Battery was shipped overseas in February of 1916.

Smythe’s Battery was sent to Ypres and fought for nearly two months in the trenches near the Somme. Smythe was a fearless soldier, on March 5, 1917, he was awarded the Military Cross for “dispersing an enemy party at a critical time. Himself accounted for three of the enemy with his revolver.” During a German counter-attack he rushed in, shot three Germans and dragged several Canadian soldiers back to safety. No big deal.

While serving with the Royal Flying Corps Smythe was shot down in October of 1917 and held as a POW by the Germans. He made two failed escape attempts and was placed in solitary confinement as a result. He was released at the end of the war. Then he came home and founded the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In September of 1939 after the outbreak of the Second World War the league contemplated cancelling the season. According to September 1939 New York Times article the seven NHL teams decided that the season would continue as schedule despite the outbreak of war. “President Frank Calder of Montreal said he understood some players had already enlisted in Canadian units but that the league policy would be to “carry on” indefinitely.

While Mr. Calder did not believe that conscription would be necessary he stated that should it come to that the league would “attempt to operate with the best personnel it can muster”. While the NHL was trying to distance itself from the War, Conn Smythe had other ideas.

Conn Smythe enlisting a Toronto reporter.

At the outbreak of the Second World War Smythe was GM of the Leafs. In the early summer of 1940 he circulated a letter to his Maple Leaf players instructing them to “sign up immediately with some non-permanent militia unit and get your military training in as soon as possible” as “you might be wanted immediately” and “you might be wanted for a comparatively long time”.

Smythe did not believe that they would necessarily be needed to serve but it was best to be prepared in case they were called upon. Smythe reminded the players that “in the meantime, until called upon, you have a job to do at home.” Their job was “to report fit and ready to play the best hockey of your career for the Toronto Maple Leafs this winter… and you must have had your military training, which, incidentally, should send you down here fit.” He also reminded players that they would require a Passport to travel to the United States.

The article summarizing the letter also made note that the Leafs were “no strangers to military training”. In the fall of 1939 for “more than a month” the Leafs “underwent machine-gun drills” and “reported daily for lectures and practical instruction and made marked progress in general militia training.” Smythe wanted his Leafs to be ready to serve if called upon.

Early in the war there was speculation that Smythe might quit his job to join the military. On January 16, 1941 Smythe said that he would enlist in the army “anytime they give me a job”. Speculation was rampant as Smythe missed a meeting with the League’s Board of Governors to make a visit to Ottawa. According to Smythe he was there “to ‘help out’ a friend with private business”. While he was eager to serve Canada should the opportunity arise he said “in the meantime ‘I’m going back to Toronto to watch the Leafs win a hockey game.”

Soon after Conn was back serving with the Canadian Military. In 1941 he formed the 30th Battery. It was a sportsmen’s anti-aircraft battery, part of the 7th Toronto Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, Canadian Active Army. Smythe was made acting major and Officer Commanding. His battery first served on Vancouver Island and was then sent to England in 1942. He spent two years there before being sent to France in July of 1944.

On July 29 1944 the Washinton Post reported that Smythe had been “severely wounded” in France “following an enemy bombing attack some nights ago”. Toronto Star War Correspondent Frederick Griffin reported that Smythe “was in charge of an anti-aircraft battery defending French bridges held by Canadian troops.

During the attack an ammunition truck was hit and Smythe lead some of his boys with firefighting equipment. Just then two German planes swung low, dropping bombs and machine-gunning the Canadians. Smythe was knocked out by a fragment of explosive in his back.” Smythe was sent back to Canada in September.

When he returned Smythe spoke out about his belief that the Canadian Military was using improperly trained troops, which lead to unnecessary casualties. Maj. Smythe released a statement that claimed that “the reinforcements received now are green, inexperience, and poorly trained.” Maj. Smythe and the officers he spoke with also believed that “large numbers of unnecessary casualties result from this greenness, both to the rookies and to the other soldiers, who have the added task of trying to look after the newcomers as well as themselves.” In response, the Canadian Government sent Defense Minister James L. Ralston to investigate these claims.

After the War Smythe returned to his role as GM and lead the Leafs to 6 Stanley Cups in 10 years between 1942 and 1951. It is fitting that the trophy which bears his name is given to the player most valuable to his team during the Stanley Cup playoffs, the ultimate battle of the NHL season. While Conn survived, many were not as fortunate.

It is important to take the time to remember their sacrifices and to appreciate the freedom for which they fought.

Article by Danny Gray at http://oilersnation.com/

PRESIDENT Thumb Administator
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War Time and the Games of Hockey - It's People Ice Hockey in Wartime: 11 Things to Remember

In Canada, patriotism and hockey go hand in hand. We hear it whenever the anthem is sung before a game, whether in a local hockey rink or in a major arena. We feel it when the Canadian flag is lifted to the rafters after a gold-medal victory. We see it in the faces of excited fans and proud players.

In fact, hockey is so deeply engrained in Canadian pride and morale that during both World Wars, the federal government urged various leagues to continue operation during wartime.

They considered hockey a crucial dynamic of the Canadian home front.

“We don’t have a major crisis as was going on in the First World War or the Second World War,” says legendary play-by-play announcer Jim Robson, comparing today’s hockey to the past. “Sports became a real release or outlet for people in those tough times.”

“It was the escape of the reality.”

So today, on Remembrance Day which happens to fall on 11-11-11 this year, I’m posting 11 facts about hockey and warfare that will remind you that an NHL lockout isn’t the worst thing that could happen to hockey…

Lest we forget.

1. In 1914 Vancouver was the first Canadian city to be threatened by war with the Germans. Reports of German cruisers prowling in the waters off the coast alerted both Victoria and Vancouver into action. Guns were set up at the entrance to the Burrard Inlet and Vancouver’s harbour was under constant patrol.

Cyclone Taylor, the Vancouver Millionaires’ star player, enlisted to go overseas.

“If they wanted me and needed me, I was ready to go,” he said, but because of Taylor’s off-season position as an immigration officer, Taylor was granted an honourable discharge from active duty and continued to play for the Millionaires. Vancouver won the Stanley Cup during the war in 1915.

2. Despite wanting to enlist in WWI, Frank and Lester Patrick, the brothers behind the Millionaires and Victoria Aristocrats, were requested to stay in Vancouver and Victoria by Ottawa, due to the fact that hockey was considered vital to the morale on the West Coast.

However, in 1917, the Canadian government needed the Victoria Arena for military operations, forcing Lester’s Victoria Aristocrats to move to Spokane, Washington. Hockey would return to Victoria for the 1918-1919 season with the establishment of the Victoria Cougars.

Conn Smythe, during WWII
3. Conn Smythe, the Maple Leafs owner and managing director, was taken prisoner in WWI when his plane was shot down by German forces in 1917. He was imprisoned for 14 months. Despite his frightening experience, Smythe enlisted again in WWII at nearly 50 years of age and was badly injured in a Luftwaffe raid in 1944, and returned home two months later.

4. In WWII, overseas service was not compulsory for Canadian males, mostly due to Quebec’s backlash to conscription. Instead, men could sign up for the “Home Defense Draft”, which was perfect for Canada’s hockey players.

After 30 days of compulsory training, hockey players could get back to playing hockey without fear of being called up again. But as the war raged on, the government increased the length of home-defense duties to six months, then indefinite. Feeling the pressure to avoid the label “duty dodger”, many hockey players enlisted voluntarily, but this upset team owners who didn’t want their investments dying on the battlefield. Other non-combat duties were found for hockey players, such as physical-education instructors or as players on temporary leagues established on various military bases, much like you see in Kandahar in recent years.

5 During WWII, Maple Leafs prospect Howie Meeker (who now resides on Vancouver Island) was badly maimed by a grenade blast. He was told he would never walk again, yet miraculously Meeker recovered and went on to beat Gordie Howe for Rookie of the Year in 1946-1947.

6. By 1942-1943, around 80 hockey players were in the armed forces. In wartime the six-team NHL responded to the draft by filling their rosters with players who were too lame, “too young, too old or too married to be drafted.” 16 year olds hit the ice with men considered far too old for hockey, and injury-plagued players like Rocket Richard finally had the opportunity to prove their skills.

7. Due to curfew restrictions in WWII, overtime was discontinued from the regular season and would not return for 41 years.

8. A shortage of certain materials in wartime affected the game of hockey. Errant pucks could not be kept by fans. Pucks had to be returned to the ice due to a shortage of rubber. Also the scarcity of gasoline affected crowd turnout; many fans who lived far from the arena could not afford to travel to games.

9. As far as researchers know, only two NHLers died in WWII: Dudley “Red” Garrett and Joe Turner, who died 3 weeks apart in 1944.

10. A casualty to war, the New York Americans went under after the 1941-42 season, leaving the NHL with its “Original Six” franchises.

11. Despite widely felt struggles in the NHL, WWII proved to be a prosperous business for some teams. Surprisingly, Maple Leaf Gardens donated absolutely nothing to war charities, despite the fact that earnings soared from $192,274 in 1939 to $315,763 in 1945.

Sadly it appears the NHL has always, first and foremost, been a business.

If you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to think about those who have lost their lives in order to improve the world we live in today.

Article by Katie Maximick at http://canuckshockeyblog.com/
(Facts and figures from Hockey Central and GreatestHockeyLegends.com)

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