Some sadness and a brief update from behind the scenes.

First and foremost, our condolences the Zarem Family.  Dave Zarem has been instrumental in keeping roller hockey alive and healthy in Detroit and is the heart of the Detroit Mission Stars.  Unfortunately he got the news yesterday while here that his brother had passed.   It’s never easy even discussing death and everyone handles it a bit differently.  I’m uncomfortable writing about it.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you Dave.  The roller hockey world is a tight family and his pain is felt throughout the Hershey Centre.

I wanted to write a quick blog before we get into the craziness of the event today.  Crazy in a good way.    I realize that a moment comes, then it’s gone, and you’ll never have it back.  My biggest frustration is honestly that I can’t do everything that I would like to do in my mind, most of the time requiring being 2 or 3 places at once.

I wish I could just hang out and talk to parents because I really enjoy taking in a game without interruptions and having conversations with great customers that have made huge commitments to get to the tournament.  However if I do this I can’t simultaneously take pictures or video and capture the moment of what is happening that they’ll have forever, besides the memory.  

It’s a tough balance and I hope that people don’t feel like I’m unapproachable because I’m running trying to capture all these great moments to share.   I find it very rewarding when I know I get a great shot of a kid or we video a great play and that’s a moment that the family will cherish forever. 

We’re at a bit of a transition in the tournament.   The Silver Division is coming to a close and the last of those teams are leaving and the Gold Teams have filtered in, some deep into their divisions already.   It’s also a personal transition, as my family is leaving.   Besides running this company, it’s awesome that my boys get to experience the tournament as young hockey players.  It’s also nice having my wife at the rink, as she often gives me a different perspective on something that I just don’t see.   She knew nothing about hockey before she met me, but she’s a full-blown hockey mom now.   On the way to the airport my youngest asked me 3 times when Winternationals was.   Couldn’t ask for more solid proof that this tournament gets kids excited about playing more.

We had a nice staff meeting last night, followed by some bonding time at the Playdium and dinner afterwards.  A few minor details were brought up to make sure we’re on top of situations at the rink then it was fun time.    We all jumped in the go-carts and took over the track, which was a lot of fun.

Phil Nolan, who runs the Mississauga Mission Rattlers, came to me yesterday with a question I could only laugh at.  He asked if I intentionally cropped Mission off the jersey since they are not a NARCh Sponsor?  The question left me a bit perplexed that people would even think that.   I crop pictures to make the pictures look better.  Funny that people would think I have enough time or would be that spiteful.

I certainly don’t go out of my way to promote a company that is not a sponsor, but at the same time I would never not give credit to someone for doing something great at our tournament because of what they’re wearing.   Mission is a solid company and they’re not a sponsor due to personal indifferences between me and the guy that runs the company, but I have a feeling the difference will be resolved at some point and Mission will once again be part of our tournament.  They’re missing out.

Lonny Lovins has been doing a good job of writing some blogs to keep people that enjoy reading them informed.   I’m writing less, and focused more on the visual things, like videos and pictures.    I hit a lot more people that way because honestly I don’t think people read these blogs very much.  If the blast emails are indication, I know this to be the case, as half the questions I get asked are in the blast and people just don’t bother to read.

The response from the LIVE production has been tremendous.  Got a great positive response from a dad from Namibia that was appreciative, which is awesome.  Having said that, it’s taking a tremendous amount of coordination and effort with some very smart people involved and it’s still not without hiccups.   As I type this I’m listening to the LIVE feed from the first game and we’re having audio problems, which is frustrating.  I want more than anything for this to be perfect and professional.  That’s part of the reason we haven’t done streaming for quite a few years.  Other facilities don’t have the same capabilities as the Hershey Centre, so we’re taking full advantage of every asset we have access to.

You won’t be hearing a lot from me in the form of blogs, but hopefully my presence is felt elsewhere in what you get out of following the NARCh FINALS.

As always, thanks for being part of NARCh!  Without your support, we wouldn’t be having so much fun!