WCA was invited to attend the 2010 memorial cup in Brandon, Manitoba from May 14th through May 23rd. We started our journey on May 13th and being the city guy that I am and having never been to Brandon, was surprised we needed to drive 3 hours from Winnipeg as there was no local airport. Brandon was a lot smaller place than I had even imagined. We went on the morning of the fourteenth to get our credentials. The first day I met some great people! This small place of Brandon showed its colours quite quickly by helping with directions and showing excitement for the tournament. When I arrived at the arena I was very impressed with the facilities and the fact everything was under one roof. Easy access to Molson house and the hockey hall of fame display. I enjoyed whooping a friend at some interactive games. LOL!! Enjoyed peeking at the trophies and then off to work and set up. The staff was amazing at the arena and helped us out lots. That night the game was a killer – the poor Brandon team got tumbled but yet, at the end of game, the fans and players were still great. A highlight for me was meeting up with Braydon Schenn and his family along with Luke Schenn, who I know from the time he spent in Kelowna. What I didn’t realize and found so exciting was the fan following the Memorial Cup has. I met a fan that has been to twenty seven Memorial Cups and, in fact, was wearing Hall of Famer, Harry Howell’s game used jersey from a tournament in the 1950s. What I would do for that jersey; an exquisite piece for any collection! I met an individual from California that attended as he loves watching junior hockey and no other hockey. I met fans from my home town, Kelowna, BC, Moncton, NB and lots of places in between! Congratulations to the Windsor Spitfires on their second straight Memorial Cup victory. It was great to meet future star, Taylor Hall, and his teammates. Thank you to the CHL and Brandon for showing us a great time!
Over the last couple months, WCA has done some amazing private signings with the likes of Mike Modano, Ryan Miller, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Shea Weber and many others. But the one that kills me the most is Miikka Kiprusoff. I negotiated a deal over 4 months ago for over 400 pieces. The agent that I worked with took the items to Kipper to have signed and he indicated that he would do it over the next week or so. That didn’t happen. Kiprusoff began to try and renegotiate the contract. So for the last couple months I have been renegotiating and have finally came to an agreement. Hard to believe how, after dealing with so many professional players, one bad experience can put such a bad taste in your mouth. WCA would have pulled out of the contract if it wouldn’t have been disappointing hundreds of customers who were waiting for their special-to-them Kiprusoff items for such a long time. Kipper, with bonuses, will make approx. 9 million this year. I can see why signing autographs is not a priority for him but at the same time, does he not want to keep his fans happy and stick to a business agreement that was made? Live and learn….
On a positive note, Pavel Datsyuk was a true professional and WCA had no problems getting our items on time. He was happy to do personalizations and our contract was implemented precisely. So for the most part, I enjoy dealing with the players and love getting different things done to share with our loyal customers. Make sure you keep an eye on our website for signings in the works. WCA is currently negotiating 3 biggies including an NHL MVP…Until next time!
Sorry it has taken so long since my last rant! The last few months have been a very busy time for West Coast Authentic. We anticipated a bit of a slower start in January but that hasn’t happened with the completion of over 25 auctions alongside all the other day-to-day business we are trying to keep pace with!
December was an amazing month for WCA. We had the pleasure of having my friend Bernie Parent, HOF, Gerry Cheevers and HOF, Ted Lindsay come into Kelowna for a public signing during our Christmas show. All three were wonderful to host and a pleasure to chat with. The turnout was impressive. Thanks to all who attended!
The following week, we had Gordie Howe, Mr. Hockey, in town for a public signing. Mr. Howe was very gracious to all of his fans who took the time to stop by! It was very humbling to be able to spend approximately 7 quality hours with,arguably, the best hockey player in the world. It was amazing to say the least. It was also engaging to hear him talk about his wife who he lost this past year; his love for her is apparent in almost every story, in almost every breath. When you’re with him, you sense a bit of the magnitude of his loss. I believe it keeps him going by keeping busy these days.
We then made it through the Christmas rush and right into the week of the World Juniors. With Canada bringing home a silver medal with the assistance of our own Kelowna Rockets member, Brandon McMillan, Canadian pride was running well. A disappointing loss for sure but we are certainly proud of Brandon’s effort and his representation of Kelowna!
Also want to commend Tyler Myers on the wonderful year he is having! Very exciting to watch him play in the NHL and doing so well. I’m wondering if anyone else finds it funny that you, too, are watching more Buffalo games! LOL
Can anyone believe that the 2010 Olympics are only a couple of weeks away! I certainly can’t. With regards to the team picks…it is wild just how many great players come from the Canadian pool. I would love to create a second team out of the other players; I think it would be able to compete with the current teams very well. The only player I was disappointed in not being named was Vincent LaCavalier. Although he has had a slow start to his year, he would have been a great asset and a pleasure to watch. I wouldn’t mind seeing Phaneuf on the team as well, just to help in controlling Ovechkin as he did a few years ago in the World Juniors! WCA will be in various locations to raise money for charities on the coast throughout the two and a half weeks of the Olympics. My family and I are fortunate to be able to take in some of the events. I will attempt to blog a bit while there so watch for my updates. Also in the upcoming weeks we will be doing private signings with N.H.L. stars Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Carey Price and more. Watch the website for details on how you can order your items! We are ramping up on our private signings so stay tuned for the latest additions! We currently have an AMAZING inventory of 2010 Olympic jerseys IN STOCK from Luongo to Alexander , “The Great”. Contact us to get YOUR favourites!
I am also very excited to announce that WCA will be bringing you a new and improved website. We are in the final stages of an innovative, up-to-date website that will be more user- friendly and have lots of extras! You’ll want to check out the latest inventory and utilize our new online shopping cart.
On another note, I want to express my sincerest heartbreak for the people of Haiti as well as those Canadians who lost their lives during the recent earthquake. For the families abroad and the living Haitians, life can only be reassembled with the continued assistance of the rest of the world. WCA is proud to support this cause and I encourage all of our customers and sports fans to give to the Red Cross to make their burden a little bit less. Every little bit counts.
Lastly, I just wanted to comment on the Patrice Cormier flying elbow incident which resulted in Cormier receiving the suspension for the rest of the year including playoffs. After watching the hit, I believe it is one of the most devastating, premeditated hits that I’ve ever seen in hockey and this needs to be addressed from the ground up. I just watched a bunch of 9 year-olds brawling on TSN in a Russian game which included some 20 or more kids. Something needs to be done about this type of behaviour on the ice and I think that Cormier is very lucky is able to play hockey after this year. He very easily could have killed Mikael Tam and this type of incident has no place in the game of hockey. Hopefully, he has learned a valuable lesson and can make better with the community as well as prove himself again on the ice.
Here’s looking forward to a spectacular 2010! Hope everyone is finding themselves refreshed and ready to make 2010 the best it can be for you and your families! Feel free to drop me a line anytime with your comments, wishlists or fundraising needs!
Wow! The seven days from Nov 11th to Nov 18th was a whirlwind but I’m finally taking the time to share parts of it with everyone.
We had the pleasure of having my now good friend, Bernie Parent visit us for the second time and with him he brought his good friends Bob “The Hound” Kelly, Dave “The Hammer” Schultz and Joe Watson all from the Philadelphia Flyers Broad Street Bullies. Also to join our week was HOFer Marcel Dionne, future HOFer Jeremy Roenick and goalie great Byron Dafoe. I have met lots of pro athletes over my years but this group of guys make me speechless. WCA assisted in getting these guys into Kelowna for a fundraiser put on by the Jaycees. They were to sign some autographs and mingle with guests. Well they went above and beyond what was asked of them!!!!
Mr. Dionne worked the room with his gentle smile making everyone who approached him feel at ease. Once again – a true professional and a great person to work with. Bob Kelly led the Bullies with a speech and video that had people laughing like crazy. They also put a package together that included a trip to Philly with a meet and greet that raised over $6,000.00.
Then Jeremy did a 30 minute stand up show that rocked the house! Not one person moved from their table – deeply intrigued by the stories he told and the way in which he told them! Jeremy along with business partner, Craig Conley, didn’t stop there; they also spent money from their own pockets at the auction. (I was fortunate enough to spend almost two entire days with these two guys and even hit the town both nights! I’m still recouping. Jeremy danced and signed autographs for everyone that asked.)
And of course good friend Bernie and Joe Watson had us all in stitches with their stories. Bernie says he made Joe look good – Joe says he made Bernie look good. I think the both made it possible to win two Stanley Cups in the 70s. Amazing how different stories can be from the guy that stopped the puck in net and the defense that tried to keep the shots from going to the net! LOL Dave Schultz looks like he can still play or at least be in movies. You would never guess this man once led the league in penalty minutes. Truly a very nice man.
On the following Wednesday, the 18th I was finally able to take a step back and reflect on my week and spent my birthday relaxing with my beautiful wife and 2 gorgeous daughters watching a movie and chilling out. What more can this man ask for. I am still putting all the memories together as it was such a busy and event-filled week but I AM sure of this – it was a week I will always remember and talk about for years to come.
OHL PLAYER SUSPENDED for the year.
Recently most of us have seen the vicious hit in the OHL last week. If some have not, here is a bit of background.
Michael Liambas was suspended for the year plus playoffs after a boarding call in a game against the Kitchener Rangers. He was assessed a match penalty for the hit on Ben Fanelli. The 16 year-old was taken to hospital in critical condition but thankfully has been recently released from hospital.
The question I ask is, “Does the punishment fit the crime?”. I feel that Liambas 100% did not try, in any way, to hurt the kid. I do believe that he was going too fast and a penalty was warranted but a year suspension is extreme. We can go back to many incidents over the last couple of years. One of the more highly publicized incidents was Todd Bertuzzi’s hit on Steve Moore. Bertuzzi’s premeditated jump ended a career for Moore. Liambas was obviously not premeditated but yet gets a year suspension. I personally think all leagues should get together and come up with the same ruling for these type of head shots.
Back to the Liambas hit – if Ben Fanelli did not get hurt I don’t think it would have been a match penalty. I truly hope Fanelli gets a clean bill of health and resumes his career. I also hope Liambas can also come back from this incident and resume his hockey