Hodge: May Days always a fun affair
Wait a minute—let me make sure I have this correct.
The Los Angeles Kings are playing the Phoenix Coyotes for the Western Conference title in the National Hockey League?
And the winner of that series will face either the New York Rangers or the New Jersey Devils from the Eastern Conference for the Stanley Cup final?
How did this all happen?
If ever there was question of whether or not the NHL has reached parity, surely this year’s playoffs offer a resolve.
I know of absolutely no hockey pundit who would have predicted a possible LA-New Jersey or (even stranger) a Phoenix-New Jersey Stanley Cup final. That possibility, however, is not far out of reach.
At time of this column’s penning, the Kings lead their series with Phoenix 2-0, while the New vs. New battle is tied at one game each.
It was never supposed to shape up like this. Not even close.
With the exception of the Rangers, none of the other final four clubs remaining were ranked in the top six or eight teams expected to emerge this far.
The Rangers last won the Stanley Cup some 18 years ago (Seriously? That long ago?) with a veteran captain named Mark Messier leading the way.
Ironically, Messier helped defeat the Vancouver Canucks that year for the Cup – the team most people believed would emerge as Western Conference champions this season.
Los Angeles has never won the cup since joining the NHL in 1967. In fact, they have only been to the final round once and that was in 1993 when they had a fellow named Wayne Gretzky skating on their club.
Phoenix has never had a sniff of the Cup since they took over the Winnipeg Jets team some 15 years ago.
The last time the Devils won the Cup was in 2003, when they had the wheels and no one was shocked when they dumped the Anaheim Ducks.
Prior to that, their previous win was in the year 2000 when they unexpectedly reached the finals and beat out the Dallas Stars.
That was a bit of an upset year but one that wife Teresa will never forget. Her stepson, Steve Kelly, joined the Devils late in the season (filling in for an injured player) and helped them win the Cup.
However, not too many hockey fans predicted this year’s version of the Devils, despite still having the cagey veteran Martin Brodeur between the pipes, would be a serious.
While all this hockey weirdness may be great for odds makers in Vegas and appeal to the few hockey fans in the U.S. Southwest, it is not exactly spellbinding for a whole lot of Canadian hockey fans.
Our only solace is that L.A., who dumped our Canucks, may win it all and therefore somehow ease the pain of our early demise.
Just about as surprising as this year’s NHL playoffs is the fact I have been asked to judge this Saturday’s Rutland May Day’s Parade.
It should be a wonderful family event and organizers are anticipating another large crowd of onlookers.
The Rutland May Days parade always draws a passle of folks from Rutland and the rest of Kelowna regardless the weather. Community spirit and support at its best!
I had the distinct honour of being in a number of parades around the community during my three years as a city councillor and had a wonderful experience every time.
I will never forget last summer’s parade in Rutland, when a number of council members, including then mayor Sharon Shepherd, handed out roses to the crowd. Kids looking for candy were not thrilled, but the women certainly were.
My council cronies and the city float temporarily left me behind after I sidestepped into the courtyard at a seniors’ complex to hand out roses.
One kind elderly resident insisted I wait for a glass of lemonade. She was simply too sweet to say no too.
This Saturday’s event promises to be another grand time.
Make sure you grab the family or friends, a lawn chair, and a hat and join the parade fun.
See you there.