Happy New Year!

The 2010 year ended tonight with a 4-3 loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds despite the efforts of the short-handed Portland Winterhawks in front of a large energetic crowd.

Craig Cunningham tallied the hat trick for Portland but unfortunately the game will be remembered for other reasons than that and because of that I’m going to make the following comments.

It was extremely unfortunate and disappointing that at the post-game New Years celebration, every conversation that I had with fans in the building started with comments about the officials.  On a night when two teams played an energetic, entertaining hockey game in front of a lively crowd, what folks will remember is the officiating.  That should not be the case.

Normally I don’t make comments on the air or on the blog about officiating.  Tonight, I’ll make an exception.  When fans talk to me about officials I tell them that it is an extremely hard, thankless job…one that I would never want to have.  Most nights you’re going to piss someone off.

The power plays tonight were 6-0 in favor of Seattle.  Portland, who fought tooth and nail for 60 minutes, didn’t get rewarded with a power play.  Jason Nissen and Steve Papp are going to be what people remember from this game.   And that is, as I said above, unfortunate and disappointing.

And with that, I’m signing off for the night, wishing all my readers a Happy New Year and I hope that you all have a great 2011!


  1. AS you have oft times been reminded I was a relatively high ranked on field official for another similar sport. I believe you do an injustice in not speaking the truth about what you factually saw. By continuing to be a yes man for a sub par hawks team or sub par officiating team you condone and accept these actions and lack of performance your broadcast team’s creditability is at stake. You do need to continue to pointing out that “the KIng has NO cloths”. If , in fact the WHL (CJHL) is the development league for officials how will they realize the incompetency of their efforts if the loudest voice of the Hawks ducks his responsibility to journalism as well as educating the fans as to what is fair officiating and what is not.

    Every comment you make on the air IS YOUR OPINION as to what has happened. I believe that you are very wrong in not pointing out errors. It leaves a poor impression. Many of your fellow pronouncers do without demeaning themselves. Let’s tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

  2. I agree that officials are never liked, and never told, hey great game tonight. They work hard and with Hockey being a constant flow they at times will miss calls, or make the wrong call. Over the course of a full season I believe this evens out… Last night seemed to be the night that Portland was just not going to get any breaks and all of those borderline calls went against Portland.

    My disappointment was not from the game nor the officials, it was from the attendees that choose to throw soda, beer and whatever else on the ice after the game. Portland has always been a classy hockey town. We do not need attendees coming to the games and throwing items on the ice. This is the first time in recent memory that an opponent that earned a three star for the game, choose to not participate in getting the recognition for a great effort. Vocal booing is one thing, but throwing items on the ice after the game, come on Portland we’re better then that.

  3. Very “politically correct” statement. Much kinder than I could be after attending the game!!! You are “spot on” in acknowledging that the game will be remembered because of the officiating and that is sad because the Winterhawks played quite well. I dont however have much sympathy for the officials, they take the job knowing what it entails and in the case of Mr. Nissen – he keeps spreading his brand of ineptness year after year with little or no significant improvement in his skill set.
    I do have a statistics question to pose, how frequently does a team (collectively over the league) actually make it through an entire game without committing any infractions (at least those called by officials) other than matching with the opposing team resulting in a similar lopsided powerplay situation like the New Year’s eve game?

  4. Don,
    First off, I have never claimed to be, nor am I a journalist. I’m not ducking anything. I’ve learned that bashing officials is a waste of time. Do you think the WHL cares what my opinion is on the officials? I think you are over-estimating my “voice” and just how “loud” it is. The Portland Winterhawks organization has more people in higher positions that will, if they choose, discuss these matters with the WHL office.

    I am a broadcaster…one of 22 in the league. I think you’ll find the vast majority of the 22 will agree with my statement that we are not only here to call games and promote our teams, but to promote the league as well. If that makes me a “yes man” in your eyes, I can live with that.


  5. Andy,

    You continually remind us that this is YOUR blog. Everyone has opinions and whether your a “Yes Man” or not, whether you “bash” officials or not…..you still have a voice and an opinion.

    I do believe that if you write about the disappointment of the fans’ subject matter and your discontent with it, you can at least offer some opinion of the officiating. Afterall, you have to admit, that Sutter punching Rattie in the face should result in a 2 minute minor for roughing, correct?

    We rely on your sharing of information and opinions on Hawk matters. If you don’t choose to participate in all Hawk matters, this would become a lonely blog site.


  6. KBH,
    I wasn’t discontented with the fans disappointment, but the reason for the disappointment (in this case the officiating). There were a number of opportunities last night for Nissen and Papp to award the Hawks a power play…why they didn’t is unknown. For anyone who listened to the broadcast last night, my opinion of the officiating was apparent.

    And I did participate on this blog in what happened last night…just in a tactful manner. I’m sorry if that isn’t what some people wanted to read…


  7. l could not attend the game last night, but listened to it on the radio like I do all of the games that I can’t attend. I was reading earlier comments on this and I find it sad to read that Portland fans reacted in throwing stuff on the ice after the game. That doesn’t say much for out team.

  8. maybe im wrong here, but i thought nissen called (or not called) a better game than papp. i prefer the refs to stay out of it (nissen) but i kept seeing papp with his arm up.

  9. Hey Andy,

    I would like to start by agreeing on two things, A: Its awful being at a game (especially a game with an aftergame celebration) to see fans throwing debris on the ice. I have no illusions that those fans will see this and feel abashed, but there it is regardless. B: It was awful to have to watch our guys so dispirited and angry by the end of the game that the resulting penalty spree ensued. The hardest of all to watch was Jordan getting sent to the locker room after a game where he stood up for abused teammates twice and then got called for a chippy penalty with an ensuing unsportsmanlike. While I don’t AGREE with slashing the glass I completely understand his frustration. The game desolved to where it did in the last few minutes because the officials would not control the game through the first two periods. The Hawks played a night and day kind of game compared to Tuesday and I’m crazy excited to see this team with all the guns blazing, Cunningham scoring over and over on Picard will go down as one of my favorite moments this year. BUT also this year will stick in my craw as the worst feeling I’ve had about the officials ever in 20 years of being a Portland fan.

    All that aside its always a pleasure to listen in on 95.5 so that I can listen while I drive and not hear ringing in my ears after the games over ;) here’s to looking forward to a killer rest of the second half.


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