Tag Archives: hockey

The Edmonton Oilers Are Going to the Playoffs!

This may be a bit off topic for this blog, but I just have to mention this. After 11 years of missing the playoffs, the Edmonton Oilers have finally clinched a playoff spot!

The last time they were in the playoffs, they went all the way to the seventh game in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Carolina Hurricanes. After that, not a single playoff game. That’s changing this season, though. Thanks to great play from Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Patrick Maroon, Cam Talbot, Andrej Sekera, and Adam Larsson, the Oilers are a playoff team. They went from one of the worst teams to possibly taking first in the division in only a year. Amazing turnaround.

I have to mention that both McDavid and Draisaitl are among the top 10 players in the league in points, McDavid leading with 89, and Draisaitl having the highest point total with 71 for a German-born player in NHL history. Still 6 games to go! Will McDavid make 30 goals or 100 points? Who knows?

Sorry about the diversion from the usual, but this is a big thing for me, being an Oilers fan. Can’t wait for the playoffs!

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I’m an Edmonton Oilers Fan

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an Edmonton Oilers fan. For those who don’t know, it’s one of the teams in the National Hockey League (NHL). Back in the 1980s, the team had one of the greatest dynasties, led by the legendary Wayne Gretzky. He was eventually traded away to the Los Angeles Kings, and at the end of the decade, the Oilers won their last Stanley Cup.

Fast forward to last year, the Oilers had missed the playoffs since they went to the Finals in 2006, narrowly losing the Stanley Cup in seven games. They’ve been going through a ten year rebuild, rebooted a couple times. The most recent rebuild has been incredibly successful. The Oilers are back, and so is Wayne Gretzky. He rejoined the Oilers, but as partner and vice-chairman.

In 2015, the Oilers drafted Connor McDavid, who is now the league’s leading assist and point scorer in only his second season. He’s a Gretzky or Crosby-like player, and is likely to be the top scorer in the NHL for several years. Other standouts this season are Leon Draisaitl, who’s turned out to be a very good offensive player, Patrick Maroon, who has had an incredible breakout year in the middle of his career, and Cam Talbot, who is now third in the league in wins by a goaltender.

I spent eleven years in Japan, and most of that time, the Oilers were out of the playoffs. Now that I’m back in Canada, I’m really enjoying watching them win. They just beat the San Jose Sharks tonight, tying them for first in the division. It seems so weird saying that now.

So, who else is a sports fan?

My Memories of Northlands Coliseum

The Edmonton Oilers had their final game at Rexall Place, formerly known as Northlands Coliseum, tonight. I was fortunate enough to watch it. It was a great game, the Oilers defeating the Vancouver Canucks 6-2. Top players scored goals in a high scoring game in front of the very talented alumni of the past forty-two years.

My personal memories of the arena are varied and span nearly twenty years. Other than watching the games on TV, I have attended several games, including one season around 1990 when we had a package of around fifteen games or so.  Our seats were up pretty high, and there was a woman sitting next to us who was incredibly loud and foul-mouthed. We had the misfortune of sitting next to her at an Edmonton Trappers baseball game once, too. What luck. But it was great to watch the Oilers several times in person that season. Another year, I went with my dad and grandfather, and our seats were right behind the Oilers’ bench. Our view of the game wasn’t very good. All I could see was Glen Sather’s back. And then the last game I saw was at the end of the Edmonton Roadrunners’ 2004-05 season, just before I went to Japan. The NHL was on strike then, so we had to watch an AHL game.

I have also been to the Coliseum to see some other events, such as a circus, Klondike Days, and even a Billy Joel concert. However, my biggest highlight was actually playing a game in the Coliseum. To see the stands from the ice surface was amazing. There were very few people in the stands (family members of players), but the place just seemed massive. As a kid of around ten or eleven years old, it made me really want to play there as a pro. That obviously didn’t happen. But still, I played on the ice that the Edmonton Oilers played on. Amazing!

Do you have any memories like this? Let me know in the comments below.

Let’s Talk About Sports

Reading and writing seem like such inactive activities. Just sitting and reading or writing. But do any of you like to do sports?

These days, I enjoy hiking and walking long distance. I’ve walked 35 km in one day once, and many times between 10 and 15 km. That’s actually pretty normal for me now.

In the past, I’ve done a variety of sports. From 8 to 12 years old, I played hockey. My first year was as defence, while the other three years were at right wing. Around the end of elementary school, I started playing golf and skiing, as well. In grade nine, I joined the ski club at junior high school. I played a bit of volleyball, as well. But going into high school, I continued golfing, then mostly went on a break from pretty much any sport in university and after.

As for watching, I still enjoy watching hockey. I’m excited about Edmonton’s new arena downtown, and I’m looking forward to seeing the Edmonton Oilers play there starting next year. I also like watching the Olympics when I can. But while living in Japan, I developed a liking for sumo. I haven’t watched recently, but I followed many of the rikishi.

So how about you? Do you do or watch any sports?

Life in Japan: What Japan Needs from Canada

Having lived in Japan for ten years, there are quite a few things from Canada I don’t have access to at all.  Occasionally, I’ll be able to eat a real hot dog in Costco, find Marmite in Union, and A&W Root Beer in Carnival, but there are some things that are impossible to find here. This week’s question comes from stomperdad.

Besides family, what do you miss about Canada that you wish Japan had?

Most of things I miss are food.  There are a lot of similar fast food restaurants here, such as McDonald’s, Subway, and Burger King, but what I really want isn’t available here.

Harvey's burger and fries.
Harvey’s burger and fries.

I always loved going to Harvey’s. The ability to customise your burger is missing from fast food places in Japan.  And eating a Harvey’s hamburger was so satisfying.

I’m not a big fan of pizza, since I don’t like pizza sauce or tomatoes, but I loved getting pizza from Panago. Again, you can customise the entire pizza. It’s just absolutely wonderful.

Although you can get KFC here in Japan, the fries are totally different. I miss the fries and gravy from Canada.

And speaking of fries, I really want New York Fries and gravy, and maybe even poutine.

Moving away from the restaurants and into general food, I miss pepperoni (what we get here in Japan is incredibly hard and it’s called spicy salami), affordable cheese, Cheez Whiz, dill pickle potato chips, salt and vinegar potato chips other than Pringles, raspberries, saskatoon berries, and bacon. You can get bacon in Japan, but what’s here is thick and never crispy. I really want crispy bacon! I also miss Canadian Chinese food. What’s here is good, but I think it’s better in Canada.

Other things include using a debit card (Japan is cash-based), efficient banks, 24 hour ATMs (they close for the night in Japan), and roads that are easy to drive on. I also miss being able to watch NHL games on TV. Can’t get them here at all.

I’m sure there’s more, but this is what I can think of at the moment.

If you have any questions about living in Japan, please see the original post and leave your questions in the comments.

September Means…

It’s September now, and it’s one of those months I have a love-hate relationship with.

When I was a kid, it meant going back to school and summer vacation ending.  Good thing is, I liked school.  But I loved summer vacation.

Now, it means a lot of different things.  On the positive side, it’s time for hockey to start.  Training camp opens this month, and it gets me excited for the new season.  Here in Japan, it means a less hot month than August.  September is still the second hottest month, though.  But it does mean it’s getting more comfortable. I’m also going to get to meet my new niece.

On the other hand, it means winter is coming.  I find the prospect of shorter days and cold weather depressing.  It’s no secret that I don’t like winter.  Not sure if I’d call this a positive or negative, but September is the busiest month for typhoons, too.  But I like typhoons. It also means I have to renew my passport.  I don’t like government procedures and forms.

There are other things that happen, such as cicadas dying, fall foods becoming available, new electronics models become available, and so on.

What does September mean to you?