Wednesday 30 November 2011

The New Windsor Poet Laureate is......

Today I am taking the time to write about my dad, Marty Gervais, who was just named Windsor's Poet Laureate!!!  Great job dad!  The link is posted below

The way I understand this honour is that my dad was pretty much just named Captain of the city of Windsor. He will now be called upon to lead and represent our city with courage, fearlessness and a great competitive edge.... How will he do this you ask?  By the power and force of.......... POEMS!!!!

I am not entirely sure what approach he will take for this, as he has a long decorated career of poems, some inspired by the Catholic Church, some inspired by hockey or boxing, but don't be surprised if he catches everyone off guard with a quick Haiku!

Though most of us will be expecting his poems to be presented in a "Ballad"- written in straight-forward verse, seldom with detail, but always with graphic simplicity and force. Most "Ballads" are suitable for singing, and with my dad's extensive experience in the school choir as a young boy and the weekly Sunday mass he attends, this style is the heavy favourite moving forward.

We mustn't rule out an "Epic" a long narrative poem celebrating the adventures and achievements of a hero.  It will be difficult for him not to write about his hero, former Detroit Tiger Reno Bertoia. Who was also the inspiration for my dad's novel titled RENO, which was nominated for the international Three-Day Novel Writing contest.

Though every great warrior/superhero has a weakness. For superman it was Kryptonite, for the Green Lantern it was the colour yellow and for my dad it is math. That is why it will be very unlikely that he represents our great City of Windsor with a "Ghazal." This fearsome poem is made up like an odd numbered chain of couplets, where each couplet is an independent poem. The "Ghazal" has a refrain of one to three words that repeat, and an inline rhyme that precedes the refrain.
Lines 1 and 2, then every second line, has this refrain and inline rhyme, and the last couplet should refer to the authors pen-name... The rhyming scheme is AA bA cA dA eA etc.

See, there is just too much math and too many rules to obey for my dad, who was instrumental in helping us with our History or English homework, but just dreadful when it came to math. Hence, the reason I was enrolled (against my own will) in KUMON math, summer 97.

Expect some "Free Verse" poetry to be tossed into the mix, allowing my dad to parade freely, like a dog running around on a farm. Speaking of dogs, this particular form of expression was used by Ezra Pound, who our late Scottish Terrier "Ezra" was named after.

There you have it sports fans, new Captain, Marty (dad) Gervais and what you may or may not hear from him ;)

In closing, I honour my father with a Haiku

With no leadership
Father appointed the Throne
Windsor Poet Laureate

Friday 18 November 2011

Tweets and Blogs

Since the recent surge in Twitter, I must admit that blogging has taken a backseat. In fact, blogging has pretty much lost its seat.  Especially after my girlfriend bought me the new iPhone, I have been on that thing all the time, mostly Tweeting.

Then I received an email today from someone telling me how much they enjoyed my blog, and since I have time to write, I figured it would be a nice break from watching Sons of Anarchy ;)

Where are we at?  We just fresh off of a break in our schedule, we will take on 1st place Chamonix tomorrow night at home. I am very excited to get back to game action, this week off has seemed like an eternity.  Though it has done some good, I feel more energized on the ice now, the practices are fun and the morale of the group is high. We have to make the most of that because in the game of hockey, morale can change in a heartbeat.

I might check out the GET Vosges Basketball game after ours. Hoping to arrive there after coming off a great win by our boys and celebrating with a few cold beverages in the stands!

On an unrelated note, I took advantage of our week off from practice to get my mind moving on some ideas. With lots of free time here in France and my passion for training and working out, I have been bouncing some ideas around, perhaps leading to my own Training/Fitness Website. The spin on this? It would be geared for the French population.

It is still in the works, it allows me to have other goals outside of hockey and it might even help with my game on the ice. For the first time in years, my entire day is NOT filled with thoughts about hockey.

Thanks for reading and if you want to follow my Tweets, you might enjoy it. Lots of pictures!!!

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Still nice to Win

We have now won 3 games in a row. Sounds great for a 26 game regular season but two of those wins are actually Coupe de la Ligue games against Strasbourg, who for some reason do not seem very interested in competing in that Cup.  Both times they have left their star goaltender on the bench and turned to their backup.  Usually a backup goalie in France does not see much action all season, except for when a game is out of reach (winning or losing). 

If they are only focused on the regular season, this tactic of resting their #1 goalie seems to be working, with lopsided wins in Grenoble and at home vs. Morzine. As for us, with our slow start, we want to win any game we can, build confidence and bring that into our regular season games.

That is just what happened when we got our first win against Strasbourg a week ago Tuesday. With a huge weight lifted off our backs, we carried that momentum into Saturday's home game and beat Amiens 3-1.  So now with another win under our belts last night in Coupe de la Ligue, we will head to Rouen on Saturday with a bit more confidence. We will need it as most of us recall the 17-4 loss we suffered last year in their building.  That just doesn't happen in hockey?

On a personal note, after a tough game at home against Amiens, I had a bit of a groin strain, so the coach wanted to keep me off the ice for a few days to heal up and prepare for Saturday. I was still planning on playing last night in Strasbourg but with Saturday's game in Rouen being a league game, he decided to keep me out.  I plan on practicing tonight to see how it feels and hopefully by the weekend I will be 100%.

In the meantime, I have been spending more time on my Twitter account @Gervz15 and even more time watching the Detroit Tigers try and take down the powerful Yankees. Just like what we will attempt to do against Rouen, take them down.

Go Tigers

Monday 26 September 2011

A Different Fate

Do you ever look at a certain situation and wish it had turned out differently?  I'm sure we all experience this on a regular basis. The key is trying not to dwell on it too much, forget about it and move on.  Well our loss the other night to Gap is still stinging. It wasn't one of those close games that just happened to go the other way on a fluke play. This was a game where we were not into from the beginning.

We got scored on 12 seconds into the game, then a few shifts later and that was pretty much all she wrote!  We ended up losing 7-3 and just feeling like shit.  For a while we had been struggling to score goals, but for even longer we have been struggling to keep them out of our net. Every game we are allowing around 6 goals.  Mostly on our own mistakes, turnovers, giveaways and countless 2 on 1s or breakaways.

How can we stop the bleeding?  Well indirectly I believe that if we score the first goal and play some of the game with a lead, our defensive instincts will kick in.  I am hoping that Tuesday's home game against Strasbourg can be that game. 

I am not sure what tonight's practice has in store for us, but considering the way we played on the road Saturday night, I am thinking it will involve.........skating?  Bag skate or not, we are all just eager to get back on the ice and put our loss to Gap behind us and start focusing on our game tomorrow. 

It feels like we are in a slump right now but to be in a slump, you have to have previously been at a higher point, from which you have dropped down from...... So far our highest point was beating a Division 1 team, so we can't really call this being in a slump. Our team is too strong for this to continue, we will prevail, we will battle our way out of this and we will surprise everybody when we pull out a huge victory on an unsuspecting opponent.

Let's get things started the right way with a win tomorrow night in Coupe de la Ligue action, then follow it up with another one Saturday night. It is not going to be pretty, but we will get this done!!!

Monday 19 September 2011

We're Back

Ok everyone, we are back in action, now in Pro Hockey France year 5!!!!

This is incredible how fast these years have gone by, I can't believe I am already in my 5th year of Professional hockey or should I say 5th year living the dream!

So let's get right to it, we played our Home Opener last Saturday at our new rink here in Epinal, the building was packed, it was a great atmosphere, but......we lost 6-1.  Ya, so on the hockey side of things, our team is a little behind in our preparations, we didn't get started until August 16th and with the new rink, there were a few technical things that interfered. No excuses though.

We have another game at home tomorrow against Dijon in Coupe de la Ligue action. I feel that this game can be a stepping stone for us and a game that can give us some much needed confidence as we head to Marseille on Saturday to take on Gap.  They are currently playing out of the new rink in Marseille because of renovations being done at their home rink in Gap.

Instead of yoga this morning, we took advantage of some free ice and had a practice. I think the more we hit the ice, the better right now. We really need to start executing and getting sharp out there. More crisp passes, better decisions and scoring on our opportunities.  This will all come and everyone is working towards making this happen, so with a solid game tomorrow night, it should send us on the right pathway!

Thanks for reading, check back soon

Monday 28 March 2011

The Lighter Side

Hello everyone, firstly I would just like to thank everyone for the great feedback I got from my previous entry "The Dream." For those of you who took a few minutes of your time to read it then send me emails, I read everyone of them and really appreciate your stories too!

Ok, so what have I been doing at the start of this off season?  Well I am going to change things up today and not talk about hockey at all. Usually I am giving details on a previous game or talking about how bad some of the rinks are in France or pouring out an emotional blog about how much I love being a hockey player....Here I go again talking about hockey......Stop!

Ok, today I am going to write about what I did this weekend

Alright, so Friday morning I woke up and the first thing I did was check to see the Habs got destroyed by the Bruins 7-0, very upsetting news....  Look how pathetic I am, I can't avoid hockey, it is my driving force, I have no control over what I am typing....

Right, ok so Friday night my lovely French girlfriend Marion and I went to see a few of her cousins in Mulhouse about 85km away, but this includes many little towns and lots of 50km/hour speed limits, so it took a little while to get there.  Once we arrived, we were greeted with the standard kiss on each cheek.  I threw out a right hand for a manly handshake but was told in French "We are not gay, you are family." Ok so kiss away!  After the uncomfortable arrival, I was given a beer and quickly felt more relaxed :)   We had a great night, we made Flammenkuche which is a specialty from the Alsace region where we were and resembles a pizza but with no tomoato sauce and made on a wrap. The key ingredients were the cream and the onions ;)   After eating a few of those, the night was winding down and I stayed up with Marion's two cousins Philippe and Renaud to taste some of his Armagnac, which is a type of Brandy from the Southwest of France and distilled from wine and aged in oak barrels.

That lasted until close to 5am.  Then we woke up to fresh croissants and baguettes. The North American inside me was craving bacon and eggs but "when in Rome" right?

The next night we had a costume party for Marion's friend Marie.  This had been planned for over a month now and Marion was putting the pressure on me to get my act together and come up with a costume.  She was an 80s aerobics instructor and I was Elvis.

We both had a great time this weekend and taking advantage of it now is key because during the season and even late in the off season, this abuse on my body can't be the best LOL!  I forgot how much I love Pringles though.

I hope everyone likes the picture of Marion and I, out of the 25 people there, we were easily in the top 5 best costumes, but that's what years of celebrating Halloween in North American does for you!

Tuesday 22 March 2011

The Dream

A few weeks ago my dad sent me an email titled "The Dream."  At first I was not sure what it was but as soon as I opened the attached picture it was clear.  I had not seen these drawing in so long and had basically forgotten about it....

In my father's office at the University of Windsor, hangs a framed drawing I did back in around 1993, the same year the Canadiens won the cup!  Back then, I was very much into drawing hockey players, especially goalies.  I would always start with either their mask or their blocker and go from there.  But one day in front of Hockey Night in Canada I drew something different.

What I drew was actually a description of what I did every night; I would dream I was a Pro hockey player, scoring goals, winning championships etc...

I think every young kid who has a passion for hockey dreams of being a professional hockey player at some point in their life and for me it was no different.  Growing up with an older brother playing travel hockey and a father who worshiped Maurice Rocket Richard, it was from about the age of 3 that I wanted to be a hockey player for a living. It just seemed like the perfect job, so from that point on I dreamt of just playing hockey. It wasn't that I wanted to avoid working in the real world from 9-5, it was just that I loved hockey and that is all I wanted to do.

Over the years that followed, nobody would have predicted that I would be earning my living as a professional hockey player, not even my brothers, especially my brothers hahaha.  The fact is, I was not very good. Though the year I drew that picture I was actually voted "Most Exciting Player" for my league. What league you ask?   Tier II house league in Windsor.

I was cut from AAA (obviously), then cut from A, then assigned to a team in Teir I house league.  I played 1 game and was then cut from that and dropped down to the lowest possible level for my age, anything lower I would have been playing in a  road hockey league.  But I did win "most exciting."  :)

So to fast track, I finally made a travel team, then got a bit better, I made a junior hockey team, was drafted to the OHL in the14th round, 293rd overall (at least I was drafted right?)  Then I played up and down with Jr. B and the OHL, until settling in at the University of British Columbia for 4 years. Faced with many different challenges, my dream was still clear.

Seeing this drawing now is pretty cool. It is like I could see the future back then around the age of 11. Wearing the number 88 in the drawing was most likely for Eric Lindros, my favourite player at the time. Though some may contest that I wore number 88 because unconsciously I knew that I would be playing Pro Hockey in Epinal, France where the city postal code is 88 000 or perhaps it is because my French girlfriend who is from Epinal was born in '88???

This is my 4th season in France and my 3rd in Epinal.  The French league is nowhere close to the NHL but it is a good league in Europe and just perfect for me.  The feeling really sets in when I am asked what I do for a living....Occupation: Pro Hockey Player!
That is just how I envisioned things as a young boy in Windsor, Ontario watching Hockey Night in Canada.

The dream lives on....