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Fashion faux pas?!

September 12th, 2012

We have all had embarassing moments… right? I had a pretty good one Friday night when Billie Jo and I were hosting the big Calgary Zoo fundraiser called Zoogala. I decided on this big night I would treat myself to a new pair of pants. As excited as a kid on their first day of school, I threw them on and was pretty darn excited. Took all the tags off (or so I thought) and drove to the event. When I got out of my truck, a few people started pointing and laughing at me. That can’t be good. One was my wife, one was Trish, Marketing Director of the Calgary Zoo. The store left the ink tag on my pants, and I forgot to check. Big Oops! You know the tag that explodes ink everywhere if you take it off yourself. The store has a special machine, now I have an unwanted accessory, and the perception that I stole a pair of pants from the store. I can post the receipt if you want to see it! :p.
It was too late to go home and change. I called the store to see if they had a mobile unit they could bring to the zoo that cuts ink tags off. Not so lucky. I then asked the worst case scenario if I cut it off, they responded… “do you like tye dye pants?!” ha ha. I got my answer.

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I’m pretty darn proud!

September 10th, 2012

Kids are awesome, this is true. As he did last year, my son decided he would have another lemonade stand this year. He has this thing how he really wants to help out the community. His old bike got too small, and same with his golf clubs, so he wanted to sell them. Instead of keeping the money to buy video games etc, he wants to donate all the money to charity.
Last year he raised $60 with his lemonade stand. He decided he wanted the money to go to the Alberta Children’s Hospital. We brought the money down the the hospital, he got his picture taken with an over sized cheque, got to write his name on their wall of donors and he was ecstatic. This time around, with the help of some neighbourhood pals recruiting customers, he raised $93. I couldn’t be more proud. You’re proud of your kids anyway, but this puts it over the top! Thanks to all of you that stopped by as well, as my wife told me there were several.
What a great feeling!!

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Ahhhh hockey!

September 7th, 2012

Anybody else in the thick of hockey season?! Kids get a couple months to rest up, and then WHAMMO… it’s a hockey and back-to-school double-shot! For my son his first day of school was Tuesday, his first on-ice session with Simons Valley was the same day. You were probably in the same boat.
I have dedicated the month of September to being in the rink and helping kids develop. It might be the best feeling in the world. Is there any better smell in the world than the smell of a hockey rink? Not the stinky hockey bag, but the actual rink. Whether you are crunching through leaves on a crisp fall day, or stomping through the snow in the winter, it’s a beautiful smell waiting for you inside. I can’t even describe what it smells like. Stale coffee? partly. 75 year old wood in some cases? Ahhh yes! It’s a fabulous place to be.
Sure, I understand hockey is expensive, but kids learn so much about structure, respect, teamwork etc etc. And most of all, they get to play the greatest game in the world.
Last year I coached my son’s Novice team, and I plan on doing the same this year. Hundreds of hours volunteering in the best culture in the world- hockey! And Simons Valley is awesome. I have never worked with a group so dedicated to making hockey the best experience a kid can ever have.
While the NHL bickers about who needs to make more money, stop by a local rink some day and watch kids playing our game just for the love of it. The way everybody started.


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Yesterday I had the privilege to be on our brother station, The Fan 960 to talk about Big Brother Day. For those that may not know, I am entering my second year as a big brother here in Calgary. A mentor for a 10 year old boy. Big Brothers/Big Sisters has a blitz to get a 100 matches in a 100 days. I was first introduced to the idea when I was emceeing the Henry Burris All-Star gala. Henry used mentoring back in the day to help shape the man he is today. We got talking after his event last year and I checked things out. Sometimes it takes a few days to make sure it feels right in your heart. I have always subscribed to the theory, if it tugs at your heart, then do it. What’s the worst thing that can happen?! People ask me why I am a big brother when I already have a son? Quick answer…. I love kids. I wanted to have 5 kids. Our son was born early due to a placental abrubtion, and sometimes you have to play the cards you are dealt in life. That’s also why I am a hockey coach and play road hockey with kids every day. They’re awesome! Besides… what’s the harm in having one more person in your life that cares about you?! That’s how I feel about my little. He’s a great guy. Quite often when we get together, I teach him about giving back to his community. Not that he doesn’t know how, but everybody could use a little refreshing from time to time. If it’s Tim Hortons Camp Day, that’s where we go. Same for McHappy day at McDonalds etc.
In my first year we would hang out once a week, and now that I’m in my second year it’s once a month. Super easy and very rewarding. It’s nice to know you’re making a difference in your community. Sometimes you don’t know. Last weekend my little brother was asked in a classroom session who was influential in his life and he named me. It made my day and reminded me I can make a difference, you can too!!

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Ahhh Long weekend!

August 31st, 2012

Ahhh the long weekend. Or at least it used to be long until we realized we need to get back a day early to get the kids ready for school, and in some cases, hockey starts too.
When I was a kid I used to hate labour day weekend because I knew I was just killing time before school started. I wanted every day to freeze in time as we inched towards back to school. Growing up in Ontario, I was always so excited when the CNE opened (Canadian National Exhibition), but knew it was always the 2 weeks before Labour Day and back to school. Bittersweet I guess.
I was never a good student and LOVED school for all the wrong reasons. Football, my friends, parties. I did love my teachers, and appreciated all the hard work they put in, and thank them for my patience. Having 2 sisters that went to the same school before me, teachers always had similar expectations for me as my brainiac sisters. Boy were they surprised. Ha
Anyway, parents getting ready for craziness for lunches, I feel your pain. Teachers, thanks for all you do. Bus drivers, we love you too. And students…. try and be a little better than I was! Ha

Have a GREAT weekend and be safe!!

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What a day!!

August 29th, 2012

As I have mentioned before, my son and I love spending time together. Especially in the mountains. I feel so lucky that I do what I do, which enables me to spend tons of quality time with my son.
He loves to hike mountains (as do I), and he is in charge of where we are going next. Yesterday he wanted to take on the big beehive at Lake Louise. If you have ever been to the Tea House, it’s about 2 kms up passed there on some tricky, narrow, steep hiking trails. I am very proud of my little man. He just pushes himself up the mountain. I prefer a break or two but he can just keep going. In total it’s about an 11 or 12 km hike. Your legs are definitely sore but it’s a great sense of accomplishment.
Let me just say that the view from the top is beyond spectacular. At one point we were at the top of the mountain all by ourselves taking in the magnificent beauty. That’s quite a feeling. All alone seeing nothing but the peaks of other mountains.
Seeing fresh bear tracks near the top gets the blood flowing I tell ya. You never thought you could hike so fast! LOL
And the conversations you have with each other are chats you likely would never have if you weren’t spending this quality time together. I love and cherish every second of it!

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What a GREAT weekend!

August 27th, 2012

This weekend was as satisying an experience I have ever had giving back to the wonderful community of Calgary. I was asked to take part to help coach the first ever CTRL-F hockey camp on the campus of SAIT. It was the brainchild of Rob Kerr, the play-by-play voice of the Calgary Flames on Sportsnet. CTRL-F stands for Calgary, Teamwork, Respect and Fun. It was a lot of kids from the heros hockey program, a program that funds hockey for kids in families that otherwise couldn’t afford to play. Just a wonderful concept and amazing organization. Lots of sports media personalities from Global, CTV, The Sun, Herald etc coached, mentored, and shared stories for a great cause. Normally we spend every day in the trenches as rivals, but there was no competition on these two days, it was all about the kids. The Flames helped with lunches, brought Mikael Backlund down to meet the kids, SAIT offered up their players and coaching staff, plus their facility etc etc. I could go on all day to speak about the people in our community that stepped up to make it happen. I was proud to be there and see the big smiles on the kids faces. That totally made my weekend.


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Hockey is back!!

August 24th, 2012

And so it begins…. minor hockey season is here again. For Simons Valley (the community we live and coach in) starts Sunday with meetings, but I am very honoured to be asked to help coach the Heros hockey program this weekend. Heros hockey is a program in place for kids that couldn’t normally afford to play hockey. Why? because hockey is expensive. Our registration is close to $1,000, throw in team jackets, tournaments etc and it’s a few grand. Don’t get me wrong, hockey is awesome. The benefits far outweigh the cost. Not just how great the game is, but the leadership, teamwork skills the kids learn, plus respect. All of these things can be transferred for use in their every day life. is the website of a program put in place by some pretty amazing people. This weekend Calgary media are being asked to step up and help our community, along with the amazing people at Sait that are offering up their facility. Giving back feels so good!!
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Lake Louise Tea House

August 22nd, 2012

If you have never done the Lake Louise Tea House hike, put it on your list of things to do this summer (or next). It’s about 4 kms up and an easier 4 kms down from the parking lot. My son and I did it yesterday. It was our second time in the last 3 weeks. My son and I love hiking together. We both have an insatiable desire of being in the mountains, and LOVE hiking. It’s a great way to have conversations that you wouldn’t normally have as you go trekking up some beautiful country. And when you get there… STUNNING views on all sides, and a chance to get your energy back up with a fresh sandwich and cup of tea at the tea house. Out of nowhere the tea house pops up where summer staffers live on the mountain for the season and hand carry any garbage down the hill to Chateau Lake Louise.
There’s a very cool glacier lake at the top on one side, a view of the hotel on another, a waterfall going down the side of the mountain, and many different, unique views of mountains in front of you. As my wife says, it makes you feel very small in the mountains like that! Small, and very blessed to live where we do.
We ended up seeing some wildlife. I thought it was a badger, but after texting a friend and doing some iphone research, apparently it was a marmot. Who knew?! It was kinda hissing at us too. We bailed from the area,
Anyway, I strongly recommend the hike. It’s great for all ages and has a nice easy walking trail to follow. You feel safe with lots of people around, and best of all, it’s free.

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Ahhh Gardens in Calgary

August 21st, 2012

My son wanted to have his own garden this year so we let him pick two things he wanted to plant. Didn’t want to overwhelm him in his first year, a good chance to spend lots of time watering and taking care of his plants. He decided that he wanted to plant sunflowers and pumpkins. Perfect! I remember as a kid our parents let me and my two sisters pick one thing each when we were growing up on a farm in Ottawa. I also picked sunflowers and I was happy to see them grow very high. I’m not sure how high exactly because everything seemed better as a kid. I just remember, with my parents help, it was a pretty successful project.
I didn’t know exactly what to tell my son about being a good gardener, but I do know TLC helps a lot of things in life. I told him the two things he will need for sure are sun and water. The essentials of most plants in a garden in this part of the world. I forgot we lived in Calgary. The bunnies ate his pumpkins and the hail killed his sunflowers. Builds character, right?! LOL Well…. there’s always next year!


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