Sunday, July 31, 2011

Zambonis Autographed CD and Sticker

I will write more about my experience skating/playing hockey for 24 hours at Skating for Hope when I have the energy, but here’s another donation I received in the mail. The Zambonis are a band that sings songs about hockey and amidst all the preparation for the event, they didn’t cross my mind until I was putting together the 24-hour song playlist. With extreme short notice, I emailed band leader Dave “Zamboni”, and asked them if they were available to play at Skating for Hope. He got back to me and told me they couldn’t make it, but he would send some CDs. He also told me that for next year, he thought they could be there to play songs and emcee the whole event. This first year of Skating for Hope was amazing, but I know that next year’s is going to be even better. Thank you again to my family, friends, and everyone that supported Skating for Hope through hard work, donations, skating, and hockey!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Skating for Hope First Outline (3/9/11)

Well, it's not going to be exactly like this, but it's still going to kick ass!!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Miracle DVD

Yes, I do.

And in case you didn’t hear, we’ll be having a midnight showing (with a sound system and projector) of this movie at Skating for Hope at midnight!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Puck You, Look at Some of My Puckin' Collection...

Tonight was the last Skating for Hope committee meeting before things kick off Saturday morning. I tried to concentrate as much as I could, but I really have been getting stressed, excited, pumped, and worried all at once these past few days. I know it’s the first year of Skating for Hope, but I want it to go well enough so people will want to come back next year. I know it won’t be perfect and will be a learning experience, but it’s hard to tell that to yourself when it seems like you have 94 thoughts in your head all at once. Once I get going on Saturday, I’m hoping the stress will slowly leave. I know once I feel the puck on my stick for the first game, I should be A-O-K.

Some notes on these pucks:

I think the Celebrity Hat Trick puck was a stocking stuffer one Christmas.

I ran down the aisle at warm-ups of a Hockey East championship game one year, and grabbed the HE puck…I think we may use this one on Saturday.

Info on the 2005 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees is here.

Here’s my blog about the “Gahden’s” Last Hurrah.

On October 21st, 2007, the Worcester Sharks had a “Pink at the Rink” game, and I got to drop this puck for the ceremonial face-off (those guys just look a little bigger than me!). In addition to this game, their goalie wore a pink mask for all of October that was auctioned off for a $5000 donation to Hope Lodge.

The Boston College Hockey was the first of my favorite teams to win a championship, when they did in OT on April 7, 2001.

In case you didn’t know, I love the Boston Bruins and they won The Cup this year.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Tournament DVD

I owe my parents so much that no amount of words I can write will ever measure up to it. They have supported me through diseases (both unchosen and brought upon myself), provided me with an education, and shown me what it means to love someone unconditionally.

On top of everything immeasurable, they’re always introducing me to things that they know I’ll love. They told me about Trailer Park Boys, and that became one of my favorite all-time TV shows (see Rickyisms if you haven’t already). And one year, they gave me The Tournament DVD. It’s a mockumentary about crazy pee-wee hockey parents, and it’s hilarious. If you like hockey and the Christopher Guest movies (Spinal Tap, Best in Show, etc.), you should definitely put this one on your Netflix list.

Thanks for everything, Mom and Dad!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Slap Shot DVD

Sorry to brag, but I got paid to watch Slap Shot tonight. I watched it with three Hope Lodge guests, and two of them had never seen it before. Luckily, no one in the group was offended by the language and humor of this movie – the best hockey film ever made, in case you didn’t know. I pointed out Paul D’Amato to them, and told them how he was from Worcester and donated a raffle prize to Skating for Hope. There was a lot of laughter in the Hope Lodge basement tonight…take that, cancer.

For more about Slap Shot, you can check out the trivia, goofs, and quotes from the movie as listed on

“I’m listening to the F’N song!”

Monday, July 25, 2011

Do You Believe in Miracles? DVD

Welcome to my week of inspiration through hockey in the movies…

When I was walking down the stairs to start my shift at Hope Lodge tonight, I could feel the stress of wanting every last detail of Skating for Hope to be already taken care of. Then, I thought of the reason I wanted to do the whole thing – all of the Hope Lodge guests past and present. I thought of the challenges they have to put up with on a daily basis, and how any worries I have about the skate-a-thon really don’t compare to the stress of dealing with cancer. I thought of those guests who have lost their battles with cancer. My stress of planning the event soon passed, and I was reminded that my initial goal for Skating for Hope was only that I skate 24 hours for Hope Lodge. That’s already happening, and now I have a lot of other people supporting the event along with me.

Even with the inspiration from Hope Lodge guests and support from everyone, I think during the nights this week I will be looking for more inspiration from my collection of hockey movies. First up tonight is the documentary (yes, I’m a documentary dork) about the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team titled Do You Believe in Miracles?. Although I don’t remember specifics of watching the games that year, I do remember running around with my older brother Jon and singing “We are the Champions” over and over (something I wouldn’t do again until BC Hockey won a national title in 2001). It was a big year for me…US won Olympic hockey gold, and The Empire Strikes Back came out. Off to get inspired by some college kids who beat the best hockey team in the world…

Do I believe in miracles? Yes!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

AHL All-Star Skills Competition Program and Game Ticket (1/25/09, 1/26/09)

When I started working at Hope Lodge 4 years ago, the Worcester Sharks were the first organization in the community that I contacted to try and make a connection with. I was put in touch with Mike Myers, and he immediately told me Hope Lodge could get free tickets to any game we wanted. Awesome.

The Sharks also helped out when Mike designed a pink goalie mask for Thomas Greiss to wear for the month of October. It was auctioned off at $5000, with all money going to Hope Lodge.

A couple of months later, we had a 17-year-old guest staying at Hope Lodge. He wanted to go to a Sharks game, but they didn’t have any home games scheduled for when he was here. So, Mike Myers and Sharks player Riley Armstrong came to visit him at Hope Lodge. It was great, and you can read that whole story here.

I wondered if Hope Lodge would still get free tickets when the AHL All-Star game came to Worcester two years ago, and we did. I think the highlight for me was watching former BC Eagle Cory Schneider setting a record by making 18 saves on 19 shots in the All-Star Skills competition.

Not surprisingly, the Sharks are helping Hope Lodge with Skating for Hope. Finz is making two appearances, and the Sharks provided games and prizes to keep the event going. Oh yeah, they are making me a Sharks jersey…sweet!

Thank you for all the support, Sharks!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hockey Pictures (1996-1999)

It’s hard to believe, but in one week I will be in the middle of my 24-hour skate.

While looking through all my pictures for some BC Hockey shots, I also came across these.

I graduated from BC 15 (yikes) years ago and ever since my friends Scott, Carl, and I have had an ongoing video game hockey tournament. These pictures show Scott (holding an original Playstation controller) questioning what he thought was a goal, penalty, or something and later doing a celebratory dance in front of Carl after he scored. It’s been 15 years and as you can see from my YouTube video, we’re not going to stop anytime soon.

For two summers, I taught roller hockey at Camp Mah-Kee-Nac in Lenox, MA. The camp had a really nice outdoor roller hockey rink, and campers from 6-16 played their daily. This are pictures of my and Jeff (who was the head of the hockey program) and all the rollerblades in the hockey shed. You gotta love the Punisher shirt I’m wearing! Whenever a camper didn’t show up for roller hockey, we would have them paged to the rink. Because most of the office staff was British, I sometimes had fun with who got paged in addition to late campers. Cam Neely, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Bobby Orr were all asked to report to the rink more than one time.

After I got my first pair of rollerblades, I knew that I wanted to try them out during my next visit to Prince Edward Island. Right down the street from my parents’ cottage, there is a school that had an outdoor rink. During the school year, they would flood it so the kids could play hockey at recess (why couldn’t I have been born in Canada?). So, this is a picture of me the day I played hockey in Canada for the first time. It was just me shooting alone, but I was playing hockey. When PEI had to give names to all the streets for 911 calls, I guess naming the street near the rink was an easy decision.

A few years after I graduated, my friends and I went to the ESPN Zone in New York. While my friend Drew was taking pictures of me playing the hockey shootout game, a girl came up to him and asked what team I played for. Without missing a beat Drew replied, “Oh, the Boston Bruins.” Her reply was, “Oh yeah, I thought he looked familiar.” I did pretty well shooting, but no one asked me for an autograph.

In 1999, I went up to visit my brother Tom at the University of Vermont on Easter weekend. Here are some action shots of our street hockey game. Tom is in net, and his friend Shane is in the purple t-shirt. Not sure who the other guys are, but fun was had by all.

I can’t wait for next Saturday to be here, and I’m hoping to add many, many more pictures to my hockey collection…

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mike Birbiglia Sleepwalk with Me Signed Book and My Girlfriend's Boyfriend Ticket (4/2/11)

Last April, I got to chat for a second time with someone that I consider to be one of my heroes. Raised in nearby Shrewsbury, MA, Mike Birbiglia is one of my favorite comedians and has dealt with life challenges that are similar to mine. Mike was raised Catholic and also “served time” as an altar boy (and like Mike, my answer is, “No, I wasn’t…” Mike also went to Saint John’s, but like his older brother (who was in my class), he didn’t complete 4 years there. “Birbigs” has had his share of medical issues, too. While I have been dealing with Crohn’s most of my life, Mike has been dealing with a sleepwalking disorder. Additionally, both of us are cancer survivors. I have used humor to deal with my issues, and so has Mike…he’s just a lot funnier than me. I bet I could kick his ass in hockey, though. When I knew Skating for Hope was officially booked, I thought of what my “dream schedule” would be. Mike was on there, so I emailed him to see if he was interested in participating. Although I never heard back from him, I hope he knows it’s an open invite (no, I’m not going to make a YouTube video). Thanks for all the laughs, Mike.

To read more about Mike and watch his “Wiffle Ball Tony” routine that I love, you can check out the blog I wrote on the day I went to see his show in April.

PS – His book Sleepwalk with Me is now available in paperback here.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Today’s article from the Worcester Telegram and Gazette (Hope is the thing with skates)

Here’s the scanned version of today’s article about Skating for Hope from the Worcester Telegram. A couple of things…One, I think they could have picked a better picture of Jess and me (he took about 50). Two, they printed the wrong website address for SFH. Still, it’s always good to get more publicity!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

BC Hockey Pics (1998-2001)

My name is Dave and I love hockey. I never played in an organized game as a kid, but got in plenty of street and pond hockey. As a member of the McGrath household, my NHL allegiance was unquestionable. We watched the Bruins, went to the “Gahden”, and suffered together each year they fell short of winning The Cup. College hockey wasn’t a big part of my life growing up, but that all changed in the summer of 1991…

One afternoon while I was working at Mini Farms in downtown Westboro, my aunt called me to see if I wanted to go with her and my cousin Katie on a tour of Boston College. Growing up I had rooted against BC when we went to see the Eagles play Holy Cross (my dad’s alma mater), but I liked the idea of going to a Catholic school near Boston.

As we walked around Upper Campus, I was impressed. When the tour took us into Conte Forum, everything changed. I pictured myself watching hockey games there, and I knew BC was the school for me. The following year I applied early, and got into my #1 pick.

Although the Eagles didn’t have their most successful years while I was there, they did win the Beanpot my sophomore year. After I graduated in 1996, the program really started to take off.

When I moved to Waltham in 1997, one of my roommates was in the Pike’s Peak Club, and we followed the Eagles religiously that season. Even before the season started, he managed to score the prior season’s team picture and we proudly hung it up in our “bar room” (I loved it when people came over and asked me where I was in the picture). We were chaperones (no joke) for the Pike’s Peak sponsored trip to a BC game up at UNH, where the yellow Superfan t-shirts were unveiled. We watched the Eagles rise through the national rankings, and went to the Championship game against Michigan that year. To this date, it is the most heartbreaking sporting event I’ve attended.

Still, I kept following the BC boys and watched them fall short in 1999 and 2000. In 2001, BC Hockey did something I’m guessing no other team in any other sport has ever done. They had lost in the NCAA tournament to Michigan in 1998, Maine in 1999, and North Dakota in 2000. In 2001, they beat these three teams in their way to BC’s first hockey championship since 1949. Two really great things about this: 1. It was the first time one of “my” teams (Bruins, Sox, Pats, BC) won a championship. 2. Those freakin’ BU fans couldn’t chant “1949!” anymore (I actually started chanting “1995!” whenever I went to a BC-BU game after 2001).

The Eagles have since won titles in 2008 and 2010, and (even with this year’s first round upset) don’t appear to be letting up anytime soon. My name is Dave, and I love BC hockey.

I love BC hockey, and it was really a no-brainer that as soon as I had booked the rink for Skating for Hope, I started trying to get some Eagles there. Three former BC hockey players (Jamie O’Leary, Blake Bellefeuille, and Bobby Allen) responded immediately that they wanted to participate, and I have been looking forward to skating with them ever since. Now, Paul Stewart is going to ref this game and it looks like we’re going to have some former BU Terriers to play against (I predict I will be in the penalty box about 10 seconds in). Skating for Hope was a dream of mine 2 years ago, and these BCers are making part of it a BC Hockey fantasy for me. Thanks again, guys.

Here are some of the BC pictures taken by my dad and me:

Bobby Allen from 1998 championship game against Michigan.

Blake Bellefeuille from 1998 championship game against Michigan.

My friends Patrick, Scott, Father Monan (then BC president) and me at the 1998 championship game.

Me by the team photo before going to 1997-1998 BC Hockey postseason dinner.

BC skating out at a game in 2000 (senior night?).

Blake Bellefeuille at warm-ups.

2000 BC Lineup, a roster with 9 (I think – Farkas, Gionta, Bellefeuille, Mottau, Kolanos, Allen, Scuderi, Orpik, Clemmensen) players who would play in the NHL.

The sign on the Mass Pike (it was fun pulling over to take this one!).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Poems from a Tragic Comic Book Cover (2006)

Five years ago I published my first book of poetry, Poems from a Tragic Comic: Surviving cancer, drinking, and women.

My idea for the cover was almost a precursor to this blog, and my sister Carolyn made the idea a reality.

I wanted the cover to be a smorgasbord of events and emotions that captured the kinds of feelings contained in my poems. There are medical things, drinking things, dating things, and sports things.

The BC hockey pieces demonstrate this wide range of emotions in particular. I wanted to include a BC-BU ticket because that rivalry is near and dear to my heart. The BC hockey pictures define the Wide World of Sports tagline “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” – they are the sign on the Mass Pike after BC won the championship in 2001, and a picture of the players after they lost the championship game in OT in 1998.

Most of the other items I’ve blogged about already:

  1. My Friends in Blue
  2. Court Summons from a Best Friend
  3. Hospital Bracelets – Cancer and Kidney Stone
  4. Note from Suzie
  5. Rejection Letter from BC Stylus (which is also included in this book – a promise I made myself when they rejected me)
  6. Tragic Comic Note
  7. Focusin
  8. Note from a Friend
  9. Westboro House of Pizza Menu

Eventually, I’ll have to make one huge collage of everything I scan.

More on BC hockey tomorrow…

Monday, July 18, 2011

Email from Bruins Foundation with Skating for Hope Raffle Prize Attached

Today, I got this email from the Bruins Foundation with a Skating for Hope raffle prize attached. It’s a certificate good for two loge tickets to a 2011-2012 Bruins game AND a ride on the Zamboni. Sweet!

Not only did they donate this raffle prize, but they are also going to be at Skating for Hope from 5-10PM (including Blades and the Ice Girls from 5-8!). Woo hoo!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bruins/Penguins Ticket (10/20/08) with Video - Asking Stanley Cup Out to Skating for Hope

In June of 2008, I was watching a Stanley Cup Finals game between the Red Wings and Penguins. Even though the Bruins had been eliminated by the “Hated Habs” in game 7 of the first round that year, I keep watching every game until hockey’s holy grail is awarded. This game between the Wings and Pens was an instant classic. As I watched the game go into triple overtime, I kept asking myself, “Why don’t more people love this sport?” My passion and questioning turned into a typed-out rant (after the game ended, 4-3 Penguins, and I emailed it to the biggest hockey fans I know: my parents.

My parents forwarded it to hockey fans they knew, including people that worked for the Boston Bruins. One Bruins employee was so struck by my love for hockey that she emailed my father back and said she wanted to treat me and a guest to the Bruins home opener that year. The B’s lost 2-1 in a shootout, but I was still psyched that it was my writing that got me there – and in some great seats!

This year, The Cup returned to Boston. Let me say that again: The Boston Bruins won The Cup. 2011 Stanley Cup Champs: My Beloved B’s. It really happened.

What’s really happening soon is Skating for Hope, my 24-hour skate-a-thon to benefit the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge in Worcester, MA. I know the schedule may say differently, but I think it’s worth asking Stanley out to Skating for Hope…Here’s to that really happening, too:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ticket to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II (7/15/11)

I’ll admit it – I haven’t read all of the Harry Potter books. But, I have seen all of the movies and they didn’t disappoint.

And even though there are a lot of similarities between the HP movies and the “Holy Trilogy”, I still think Star Wars is better than Harry Potter (no offense to J.K.).

Here are my top ten reasons (or the ten reasons I thought of first):

  1. Lightsabers are better than wands – they are an original weapon that you have to make yourself
  2. The Force is stronger than any spell
  3. Harry had typical fantasy creatures (unicorns, elves, goblins), but Star Wars had original creatures (Jawas, Ewoks, the whole cantina crowd, Rancor)
  4. Yoda
  5. Vader is more badass than Voldemort
  6. The toys
  7. Harrison Ford as Han Solo
  8. Four words: Princess Leia’s metal bikini
  9. Star Wars has the Robot Chicken and Family Guy parodies
  10. Lucas’ special effects paved the way for movies like the HP series

And I did wear my Empire t-shirt and bring my lightsaber to the theatre. I’m sure I confused some people when I asked them if they were pumped for “Episode VII”, but I thought it was funny…

Friday, July 15, 2011

Jim Craig Autographed Picture (Skating for Hope Raffle Prize)

Two more Skating for Hope raffle items arrived in the mail today – this autographed picture and this donation from Green Mountain Coffee. Thanks for the support, Jim Craig!

I don’t think I will ever get tired of watching these highlights:

Skating for Hope is only two weeks away!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Slap Shot Autographed Dr. Hook (Paul D'Amato) Picture

When I was thinking of who to invite to Skating for Hope, I wondered if anyone from the movie Slap Shot would be available.

This is what the Hanson brothers wanted:

· Participation compensation is $1500.00(USD) each Player, each event. Compensation is due upon arrival prior to the Event in the form of three separate cashier’s checks; one payable to Jeffery Carlson, one payable to Steven Carlson, LLC., one payable to David J. Hanson, Inc.

· Host will make all agreed upon travel arrangements and be responsible for all round trip airfare charges for Jeffery Carlson -Grand Rapids, Michigan (GRR), Steven Carlson, Vicki Mabrey-Sacramento, California (SMF), and David Hanson -Pittsburgh, PA (PIT).

· All advertising and promotion uses of the Hanson Brothers, Players names./photographs/likenesses, et al. must include the following phrase in a legible fashion: The Official Home of the Hanson Brothers.

· Host will arrange and provide all hotel accommodations; one room per Player for entire duration of the expected stay.

· Host will arrange and provide all ground transportation to and from airports, hotels and the events.

· Host will ensure a private locker room for the game stocked with sodas, tape, towels, and three hockey sticks (2 left, 1 right).

· Host will provide meals or $45.00 (USD) per Player for food per diem for entire duration of his expected stay and checked bag fees if applicable.

Yeah…No thanks, Hansons.

I had much better luck with Worcester native Paul D’Amato, who played the bad guy Tim “Dr. Hook” McCracken in the movie. Paul emailed me back right away, and it was not with a list of demands. He said he was really interested in being involved, but wasn’t sure if he would be in Florida for an acting gig at the time. When I followed up with him last week, he told me that he was going to working in FLA during the SFH weekend but would be happy to send items for a raffle prize. This is what I got in the mail, along with a Dr. Hook t-shirt. You can check out the Dr. Hook website here, and the Dr. Hook online store here. Thanks again, Paul!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rescue Me Season 5 DVDs Autographed by Denis Leary

I’ve written before about how lucky I am to have such a loving and supportive family. One of the most important lessons my family teaches me on a regular basis is a simple one: Step up when someone needs help.

It’s easy, and it comes in many forms. It’s a visit to the hospital. It’s a loaning a car or driving someone when their car is out of commission. It’s offering to talk to someone (and meaning it) during emotionally challenging times. It’s helping each other move. It’s lending your skills or area of expertise. It’s simply being there.

These past two years, my family has been a huge support of my t-shirt blog and Skating for Hope. Neither of these ideas would have been brought into reality without their help.

After Skating for Hope was made official, my mom helped out by getting these autographed Rescue Me DVDs (along with a signed book) for a raffle prize. I didn’t ask her to, she just did it. Thanks again, Mom.

Trying to list the number of times my family has helped me seems like an overwhelming task, but it will certainly be a chapter in a book someday…

PS – Last season of Rescue Me just started very bittersweetly.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Red Sox / Yankees Tickets and Picture of Yankee Stadium Scoreboard (4/11/05, 5/28/05)

With the MLB All-Star game being played tonight, I thought tonight would be a good time to share two of the best Red Sox/Yankees games I’ve ever attended.

I went to the April 11th game with my older brother Jon. The Sox got their World Series rings before the game, and Mariano Rivera got a huge applause. To his credit, he was a great sport about it. The Sox won 8-1, and just about everyone at Fenway went home happy.

The next month, I went with my friend Joanne to see the Sox play in enemy territory. Outside of the stadium, they were selling t-shirts that said, “There was no curse, the Red Sox just sucked for 86 years.” I thought that was pretty funny, but there were a few Yankees fans that weren’t amused by the Dropkick Murphys T-shirt I was wearing.

What I witnessed inside the stadium was amazing. It was a 17-1 Red Sox rout of the Yanks, the biggest margin of victory ever in the rivalry. Renteria even had a grand slam for f’s sake. One of my favorite parts was in the middle of the 8th when all the Red Sox fans started singing “Sweet Caroline” in front of the remaining, stunned Yankees fans. I think by the end, my friend Joanne was the only NY fan left in the place.

Here’s to the AL coming back to win tonight, so the Sox can have home field advantage in the 2011 World Series after they beat the Yankees in the ALCS. GO SOX!!!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

My 5-Second State of the Union Address Sign (1/27/10)

I don’t like the way the world is. I don’t like the way our country is. And I didn’t in late January of 2010 either.

Even though I voted for President Obama, I thought he could have saved us all time during his first State of the Union address by just reading the sign:

And I don’t blame the president for the way things are – they were already messed up when he took office. I think George Carlin says it best here:

I know capitalists and anti-socialists will say that wealthy people are entitled to all their assets and have no obligation to share with anyone. Even though it was recently in the Washington Post, it’s not really news that the gap between the rich and poor is bigger than it ever has been. And until the top .1 percent (or even top 1 percent) want to change the system or there is another revolution, I don’t see things changing any time soon.