A Weekend of Rush…

After spending a couple days in Seattle, it is time now to head out for a weekend that I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time.  (Photo credit:  Andrew MacNaughton)

Me and my three best friends, are heading to Central Washington to play some golf and to see Rush at the Gorge Amphitheater on Saturday night.

Rush is Rush…it’s going to be great…but at the Gorge?  Wow…there aren’t words to describe it.  I’ve seen them there twice and even Neil Peart (the drummer for Rush) said in his book “Ghost Rider” that the Gorge was the most scenic setting that he had ever played in.

From there, its a return trip home to see the boys play at the Clark County Amphitheater on Sunday night.

Needless to say, I won’t be doing any blog updates this weekend as I totally immerse myself into good friends, great music and hopefully some good golf in some good weather.

I don’t have as good of seats as I had the last time I saw them (2nd row at Clark County), the 13th row at the Gorge is really good.  My seats for Sunday are back in the 2nd level, but they were free, so I’m not complaining.  When you’re seeing Rush, there are no bad seats.

While I know the band won’t be rusty for the shows, I’m a bit worried about my golf game.  I’ve only played two rounds this spring and while they’ve had moments of glory, it has been spread out with some moments of absolute horror.  I’m driving the ball great, but the iron play hasn’t been stellar.  I’ve never had a short game, so that is nothing new…oh well, it will be great to get out and chase the little white ball around on a couple courses that I’ve never played – Apple Tree in Yakima and Moses Pointe in Moses Lake.

I now sign off until next week…have a great weekend, dear readers…I know I will.

 

Memorial Day Thoughts…

On this Memorial Day, I want to talk a little about my Father…

Harold Lawrence Kemper was born December 17, 1930, at the family farm in the rural farming town of Verboort, OR.  He was one of eight boys, with the eighth boy passing away at birth.

His oldest brother Clarence still lives on the family farm today.

He led a typical life on the farm, but it wasn’t an easy life as he lost his Mother at the age of seven and his Father at the age of 18.  He grew up acquiring his Father’s love of baseball and he played and managed at the semi-pro level as he got older.

He joined the U.S. Army and was a Sergeant in the Korean Conflict – called a police action, but from every picture I’ve seen of it, it looked like a war to me – leading men on the front lines in battle.  He never talked about the war, and we never asked.

He was awarded a Purple Heart medal for being injured during the battle, something I didn’t know until we moved out of our family house in Cornelius and the medal was found in a box in our storage room.  

Upon returning from Korea, he met Barbara LaBonte in Verboort, and they were married in October of 1953.  They raised five children – four boys and one girl – and both spent over 20 years working in the growing high-tech industry at Tektronix.  

He passed away on July 1, 1992, at the age of 61 due to complications from Cancer.  

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of my Father and what he did to help me become the person that I am today.  He got me, and the rest of my family, into hockey by taking us to see the Portland Buckaroos and then when the Winter Hawks came to town in 1976, the family went to the first game and were hooked.

In later years, my wife Vicki and I would sit in our seats in Section 10 at the ole MC and at times, I could hear my Father bellowing from his seat in Section 52.   It was usually directed at an official…something that he also passed down to his youngest son, and something that his son has to watch while broadcasting hockey games.

My Mom still attends games with my family and my brothers family and is such a great Grandmother to all of the Grandkids in the Kemper family.  I only wish my Father would still be by her side watching the next generation grow up.  

Thanks Dad…you are missed tremendously.

 

Congratulations Chiefs…

Ten years ago, the Spokane Chiefs had to sit in their own building and watch as their rival to the Southwest, the Portland Winter Hawks skated around their home ice with the Memorial Cup.

Today, Chris Bruton (pictured) and his teammates got to do the same thing after defeating the host team and OHL Champion Kitchener Rangers 4-1 to win their second Memorial Cup Championship.  Their first came in 1991.

This picture was taken before the Cup broke in two pieces – more on that in a second – but either way, the CHL, WHL and the Lilac City can be very proud of their boys for bringing the Cup back to the WHL.  

The Vancouver Giants were great Champions…I’m sure the Chiefs will be as well.

I didn’t get a chance to watch the game today, but I did listen to the radio feed of the final 20 minutes from Kitchener and the Rangers broadcasters and I thought they did a good job in a difficult circumstance as the home town team went down to defeat.  I can only imagine that Mike Boyle – who is very vociferous in a regular season game, let alone the Memorial Cup Final – may not have a voice left tonight – and he probably doesn’t give a rip.

For the Winter Hawks, they can now think back and say that their final game of their disastrous 2007-08 season ended in a dramatic win over the now Memorial Cup Champions.  Its a small consolation, for sure.

Back to the breaking of the Cup….

When the Winter Hawks hosted the Memorial Cup Championship party in March of this year, at the post-game celebration at the Skybox Pub – the Cup was there as a lot of people posed and took pictures with the Cup and while I was getting a close up look at it, I noticed that the Cup portion wasn’t very secure on top of the base portion.  I assumed that it would take just a little tightening to make it secure, but it doesn’t look like it got tightened.

Rest assured that no one at the celebration did anything to damage the Cup as it was treated with respect, as it should have been.  

Either way, I thought at the time that it wouldn’t take much for this to come loose…guess I was right on that one as well.

Tomorrow, I’ll post some special thoughts on Memorial Day…

Blind Squirrel…

Back on December 1st of last year, I had a chance to be a part of the WHL Insider segment on the Shaw Broadcast of the Hawks vs. Kelowna game that night.  Studio host Dan Elliott asked me about the odds of a US team coming out of the West and about Spokane forward Drayson Bowman.  Looking back now…I seem pretty smart…proof that a blind squirrel will find a nut every now and then…

 

 

Best of luck to the Spokane Chiefs as they take on either the Kitchener Rangers or Belleville Bulls on Sunday.  Bring the Cup back to the WHL for another year, boys…

March Highlights…

Here are the March goal highlights…coming soon – the Hawks Top 10 Goals (as determined by me) for 2007-08.

 

 

Weekend Wrap-Up…

You ever have those weekends where you need a weekend to recover from your weekend?  Yeah…me too.

I spent Saturday at a swim meet, a trip to Ikea, a BBQ and then followed that on Sunday with an all-day trip to Seattle to watch the Mariners take on the Padres.  This was after a Friday afternoon of golfing in 97 degree heat…I’m bushed.

But…here are some hockey thoughts after the weekend where I didn’t get a chance to see any hockey…

First off, congratulations to Keith Hamilton, the Hawks 2nd Round (#39 overall) Bantam Pick in 2007, for being selected to the BC Major Midget All-Star Team.  

Hamilton played for the Okanagan Rockets and was selected based on a vote of the Coaches in the BCMML.  

Hamilton has already signed to play in Portland and has a shot to be a 16 year old rookie in 2008-09.

In the NHL, Marian Hossa chipped in four points (1 goal, 3 assists) to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup Final, knocking off the Philadelphia Flyers in five games yesterday.

Hossa is now tied for 2nd in playoff scoring with 19 (tied with Henrik Zetterburg & Evgeni Malkin), two points behind linemate Sidney Crosby.

The Pens now wait for the winner of the Detroit/Dallas series that has been forced to a Game 6 tonight after the Stars finally won at the Joe Louis Arena after dropping the first three games of the series.

Does Cinderella’s slipper still fit the Stars?  I hope so, but it will be a long battle in the next two games to get to the final.

The Spokane Chiefs won both games this weekend in the Memorial Cup in Kitchener to be in the drivers seat heading into game action this week.

Drayson Bowman continues to excel, scoring four goals in two games and Dustin Tokarski stood tall in their 2-1 win over the host Kitchener Rangers yesterday.

If Belleville knocks off Gastineau tonight, the Chiefs have the direct path to the Championship game which is so key in this relatively short tournament.

For the Hawks, the next big date is in late June when the Import Draft will take place.  The Hawks will pick third overall and should, hopefully, get an impact player.

From what I understand, Radim Valchar will be back as a 19 year old in 2008-09, meaning the Hawks will most likely only use one selection in the Import Draft.

And, lastly, I have received some e-mails with questions about the audit and the results and I just want to make it public that I have no inside information on what the audit revealed or what the league intends to do with the information.  Any official news will come from the team or the league and it won’t be on this site first.

Thanks for your understanding…comments or e-mails (hawksblog@comcast.net) always encouraged.

Still Alive…

The Dallas Stars are still alive after their 3-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 4 last night in Dallas.

Former Hawk Brenden Morrow continued his stellar play in the post-season with his 9th goal of the playoffs to give the Stars their insurance goal late in the 3rd period.

A lot has been made this year about teams coming back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series as the last team to do this was the 1975 New York Islanders 33 years ago.  The previous team was the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs – 33 years prior to the Islanders win.

The Stars almost had it happen to them after taking a 3-0 lead over the San Jose Sharks, only to see the Sharks rally to force a Game 6, that ended with a Morrow OT winner in the 4th extra period.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Flyers are also down 3-0 and facing elimination tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins.  

I haven’t heard if Braydon Coburn will be able to go tonight with his eye injury.  It didn’t look very good when they showed Coburn in the press box on Tuesday night, but I’m sure if he can see at all out of the eye, he will play.

One thing is for certain, it has been a lot of fun watching the former Hawks play so well in the playoffs this year.

(Photo credit – AP – Tony Gutierrez)

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