Thursday, February 26, 2015

San Jose Sharks Stadium Game: one fan's experience

This past Saturday, February 21rst, the San Jose Sharks played the Los Angeles Kings at Levi Stadium. This was the first outside (stadium) game in which San Jose participated. &0,205 fans packed Levi Stadium to watch the Northern California Boys of Winter play their Southern California rivals.

I was there! My son, Sebastian, and his friend, John, were my hosts for the experience.

The day was unbelievable with perfect weather. Before the game or events began, we took a side trip to the SAP Center. Disney-On-Ice was the featured even and we were surrounded by hordes of pint-sized humanoids wearing Princess costumes. Yikes! Among the first inside the official Sharks store, we spent WAY TOO much money on souvenirs. It was then decided we should eat before the game. I wish I could remember the name of the Mexican restaurant but I didn’t write it down. The eatery had very good Pina Coladas, though! John is a Pittsburgh Penguins fan, (we'll forgive him for that). He wore his Penguins jersey to lunch. The catch phrase of the day was "Appropriate Attire" after we teased him about not wearing teal. He did purchase an official Sharks Stadium jersey and had it on for the actual game (hence, the appropriate attire).

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Ultimate Betrayal: Friday the 13th & the Templar Knights

Friday the 13th is often considered a bad day. Why do people fear a Friday on the 13th day?

It began with the Order of the Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon. The military group was also called the Temple of Solomon, the Knights of Christ (La Milice du Christ), or just Templar Knights. The Templars were founded between 1114 & 1118 after the First Crusade by Hugues de Payens, a French nobleman. There were nine founding members: Hugues de Payen, Geoffrey de St. Omer, Payen de Montdidier, Archambaud de St. Agnan, Andre de Montbaud, Geoffrey Bisol, Rossal, Gondamer, and possibly Hugues the Count of Champagne. They were pledged to the Church, not any individual king. Unlike other religious orders such as the Benedictines or Cistercians, the Templars were both monks and warriors. The stated purpose was to protect Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land.  Templar Knights were famous for both the discipline and courage. A commonly accepted symbol was of two knights riding the same horse to signify the Order’s vow of poverty.

That was debatable.

The group established their home in Jerusalem, on the site of the ancient Temple of Solomon.  In a shirt time, their reputation was so respected King Baldwin II set aside rooms in his palace for the men. Eventually the Templars held lands in almost every country. They established the first banking system. New initiates were taken from the nobility although the standards did lessen – allowing non-nobility to enlist. Templars had farms, wineries, and horse-breeding studs in Outremer (the name for the Christian-held territories in the Holy Lands).

Friday, February 6, 2015

Left For Dead: A Thaelia's World Story

19th day of the Fire Moon

I feel as if I’m stuffed in a box. I can’t breathe.

His body was on fire with the pain.  Kyler of Jurendeldt carefully opened his eyes. Groaning with the effort, he carefully tested his right arm. His forearm and hand throbbed but Kyler didn’t think any bones were broken.  Flexing muscles, Kyler was happy his left arm was also relatively well. Something felt off with his left shoulder but his back seemed fine.  The battle-wounded knight took his time to sit up.

Palpating along the bone of his shoulder he found the source of the hellish pain: an arrow was embedded. The tip had gone through his hauberk and stuck fast. Gritting his teeth and swearing Kyler yanked out the projectile. He could feel fresh blood dripping from the raw wound.
Kyler rubbed the grit and blood from his eyes. Slowly the blurred landscape came into focus.  He was surrounded by piles of corpses. A headless warrior still griping a sword in its left hand lay partially over Kyler’s legs. Two more bodies hemmed him in.

Ignoring the pain from a multitude of cuts bruises and over-taxed muscles, Kyler pushed the bodies of his dead comrades off and away from his. He took stock of his location.

Thick grey clouds towered in the distance. The air was thick with humidity. Kyler swore he saw a burst of lightning on the horizon. A storm was coming his way.

“Who won the battle? Zabe’s Blood, where are my friends Josilin and Sandin? Why wasn’t I taken from the field by the Golden Arrows?” He looked at the devastation around him. Dead men, horses, and dogs were piled almost two thick about the meadow. Grass was trampled to mud and coated black with blood, bile, and gore. His own mount, Dario, stared at him with lifeless eyes. The stallion’s once dappled grey coat a pincushion of barbed arrows.

A cloud of despair shrouded Kyler. “What do I do now? Where do I go?” He recognized more companions. Not a one displayed any signs of life.

Tears fell from Kyler’s eyes leaving a trail of light-colored flesh amidst the grime and gore on his cheeks. “Gone, all gone...and I don’t know why we were fighting other than the King’s edict.” Gentle tears turned to violent sobs, every move sending tendrils of pain along his abused body.

Monday, February 2, 2015

San Jose Sharks update

Once a Shark, always a Shark in my book. Just how many active players in the NHL are former San Jose skaters or netminders? The answer is 32. I have listed the names, position, and new team below. New Jersey has the most with four while St. Louis is next with three ex-Sharks players on the active roster. I apologize if I left anyone out.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Black Ice: the story of Val James - the first black ice hockey player

Every now and then I like to spread the word about new books. SInce I love ice hockey, I thought this might be a good one to pass on.

"I am pleased and proud to announce the pending release of Black Ice: The Val James Story, a book I wrote with and about Valmore James, the first black American to play in the NHL. Val was the son of migrant farm workers from the Deep South who moved to Long Island during the JFK years to work on the farms that then filled large swaths of Long Island. Val was introduced to ice hockey at the late age of 13 when his father was hired as a night watchman at the Long Island Arena, home rink of John Brophy and the Long Island Ducks of the old Eastern Hockey League. From these humble roots, Val worked his way up through the lowest minor leagues to a place in hockey history as the first American-born black player to skate in the NHL as a member of Scotty Bowman's Buffalo Sabres. He would also become the first black player of any nationality to play for the Maple Leafs in the hockey mecca of Toronto. Val is remembered as a legendary enforcer and beloved teammate but the untold story of the abuse he had to endure and overcome on the way to his impossible dream is shocking and inspiring. Val's own recollections are joined by those of Scotty Bowman, Mike Keenan, John Muckler, John Brophy, Lou Vairo, Nick Fotiu, Kevin Lowe, Paul Stewart, Ted Nolan, and many other hockey "names" on whom Val made an impression over the years."

Black Ice is being published by ECW Press of Toronto. The hardcover release date is February 1, 2015, however, I am told that Amazon pre-orders have already started to ship.

The following link to the publisher's webpage for the book contains an internal link that will get you to an excerpt of the first 30 pages of the book:

I hope you will consider reading this book.

Warm regards,

John G in PA

Official Press release:

LEASE February 1, 2015
Publicity Contact: Sarah Dunn
ECW Press
Tel: 416.694.3348 ext. 158
Email: sarah@ecwpress.comValmore

James was born in Ocala, Florida, and raised in Long Island, New York. After 15 years of junior and professional hockey, Val hung up his skates and settled in Ontario, Canada, where he and his wife, Ina,recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.John Gallagher was born in New York City, where he worked as a police officer and an assistant district attorney. He later served as a White House Fellow in Washington, D.C. John now lives with his family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he works as a federal prosecutor.

Title: Black Ice: The Val James Story
Authors: Valmore James and John Gallagher
Publisher: ECW Press
Canadian distributor: Jaguar Book Group
U.S. distributor: Legato Publishers Group, a PGW affiliate
Publication: February 1, 2015
Price: $24.95 U.S./CDN
Specifications: 6 x 9", 228 pages, cloth, photo section
ISBN-13: 978-1-77041-201-