Canada ’08: New Years in Saint John

Well things are going very nicely here in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada – thanks for asking. The family welcome for our Christmas and New Year break has been marvellously warm and kind – a complete contrast thankfully to the Canadian winter that we face here.   

I run every day – it’s a given. That applies to wherever in the world I am and whatever other commitments I have, I alwaysrun – at least a short distance, every day. Through the cold, fog, rain, snow and icy sidewalks, being here in the Atlantic Canada city of Saint John presents no exception to that rule.

I have to say it’s been difficult.

In fact I can honestly say that all told, its the most difficult place I’ve ever run in.



Continue reading “Canada ’08: New Years in Saint John”

Canada ’08: Things to do with Zambonis

As anyone reading other blogs on this site regarding my travels will perhaps know. One of my favourite pastimes is to identify quirky, interesting and diverse stories from the North American media. Yet another story or two came to my attention in the past few days concerning that venerable Canadian institution – the Zamboni.

For those not in the know about such things, a Zamboni is a large ride-on machine that cleans the surface of a recreational or sports ice rink. It’s a much loved machine, I’m not quite sure why it’s held in quite such high affection but you just have to love the Zamboni. Continue reading “Canada ’08: Things to do with Zambonis”

Canada ’08: Hockey Refs eh!

I tend to go easy on officials in any of the sports I watch. I’m not one for thinking that the referee has some sort of mysterious vendetta against my favourites and will never give a decision their way come what may. It’s an unenviable job being a referee or a linesman in my view – I try to cut them a little slack.

Sometimes it can only be observed though that the official(s) are having a bit of an off-night. I recall one infamous occasion then an American referee and his linesmen officiating at a Nottingham Panthers game had such a woeful performance that prior to the following week’s game, the Lower Parliament Street organist played Three Blind Mice as the stripeys skated out to start the game. Dear old Eric on the organ was duly knuckle rapped for that piece of fun I believe but the officials in question took it all in fun by posing in their uniforms, complete with false mouse whiskers for the next edition of the Ice Hockey News Review publication.

Here’s a recent smile that came my way anyway. I love this sign, it’s so lovingly created and passionate in it’s detail. Hockey refs – we love you really.

Canada ’08: When Penticton Ruled the World

Fifty-three years ago the might of the Soviet Union team were the world new super-power in ice hockey winning the World Championships. Always previously known as ‘Canada’s game’ the on-ice game was changing fast as the Soviets had defeated the East York Lyndhursts of Ontario who were representing Canada. This ignominious defeat by seven goals to two sent shock waves reverberating through Canada and the world of hockey. Previous to this, mighty Canada had always sent a top amateur team to contest the competition against other nations and now the call went out for someone to restore Canada’s pride. The team selected for the task were The Penticton Vees. 

Penticton is but a small (and very pleasant) town at the southern end of Okanagan Lake. Tourists visit for the fine beach and winter skiing. Although always being fond of it’s hockey, it’s probably an unlikely place to search for a team to beat the might of the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, the Penticton Vees were the chosen to claim back the title, the team and Canada’s reputation being seriously at stake.

Continue reading “Canada ’08: When Penticton Ruled the World”