Archive for the ‘Giants’ Category

It’s Berry Season

Himalayan Blackberry
Despite being a manly, athletic, dog-owning guy’s guy, I also enjoy picking wild-growing fruit. And ’tis the season.

What is in season now are the early berries like salmonberries, mild in flavor and not very sweet. But the real heyday starts with blackberries, which come into season somewhere between now and the end of August.

The fun thing about blackberries is that they grow everywhere and produce fruit like crazy. So grab a bucket and chances are you’re within 500 feet of a blackberry bush already. But I have a few hints about how to harvest them.

Keep in mind that the species you will almost certainly encounter is the non-native Himalayan blackberry (rubus discolor). Tasty fruit, came from Europe. You can tell it from the less common native Pacific blackberry (rubus ursinus) because the former has 5-leaf groups, and the latter 3-leaf groups. The Himalayan blackberry is a pest here, but that’s to your advantage: the other problem is that blackberry bushes are unpleasantly prickly. Solve the pestilent plant problem and the prickly plant problems with a hand pruner.

No, really: take a hand pruner with you, and cut the branches away as you pick. You’ll get more berries faster with fewer pricks, and you’ll be doing the ecosystem a solid by helping (however slightly) to reduce the spread of this alien invader.

Note that if you really want to wipe out a blackberry bush, you’ll have to use more desperate methods, which amount to either pesticides or completely mowing the canes and then digging up the roots. Apparently goats will eat blackberry bushes in preference to almost any other food, so if you have a herd of goats, kiss your blackberry problems goodbye.

That was a good idea.

Last week we took a visiting family member to see the Vancouver Giants play. Now that was a good idea. I’m afraid with all the frenzy of Canucks playing these days, I had kind of forgotten about the guys playing in the WHL. After going the game last week, I know my husband and I will be going back again. It’s exciting hockey for one thing – the players are hungry and chomping at the bit to play. The price is RIGHT for sure – $18 per person to sit 3 rows back from the ice? Crazy. Also, the team is camera friendly. I called ahead to make sure my camera was okay to take to the game and with seats that close to the ice, I had ample opportunity to take some great action shots of the players. We even got a free gift when we entered the Coliseum – a Western Conference Champion Banner.

After such a good experience, I felt I can’t NOT support the Giants. I’m a big fan now.

Giants Now Slade-less

slade.jpgVancouver’s always seemed like a black hole for goalies, we didn’t think this really went past the NHL but this week the Vancouver Giants have lost their goalie and it’s big news around the WHL.

Unhappy with his role of splitting Vancouver’s netminding duties with 17-year-old Tyson Sexsmith, Slade said he’d rather pursue a professional gig in the East Coast Hockey League than sit on the bench every other game in the “Dub.” [vancouversun]

Slade is 9-1-1-1 this year and helped the team win the Memorial Cup last year. He’s second in the league in goal against average, save percentage and career shut outs. Slade is obviously frustrated, not getting nearly as many starts as he’d like.

Tyson Sexsmith (now the lone goalie listed on the team’s website) is currently 11-1-0-0 and right behind Slade in the standings. For once a Vancouver team’s got a great starting goalie and a just-as-great backup. But Slade is unhappy and sports columnists are having a field day. Instead of being bitter, we really should wish our star goalie the best of luck, especially since he’s taking a real gamble.

…by leaving the Giants, Slade assures himself of nothing. The club still holds his rights, so he can’t sign of his own accord with another WHL club if his professional aspirations don’t pan out.[vancouversun]

The Giants sit atop the Western Conference right now and heading into a four game road trip, starting with Spokane tomorrow [vancouvergiants]

Can’t Forget Our Champs

Sure the Canucks season is about to kick off but let us not forget about the one team in this city that actually WON a championship last year: The Vancouver Giants

The Giants’ regular season is underway and this past weekend they raised their Western Hockey League Champions banner to the rafters in the Pacific Colliseum along with two others for the 2006 B.C. Division and Western Conference.

Our boys made it all the way to the Memorial Cup last year and it doesn’t look like they’ve lost any of that steam.

Not every Vancouver hockey team blows

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Kelowna Rockets, originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

The Vancouver Canucks may be out of the playoffs before they even began, but the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Vancouver Giants are still alive and kicking in their season [vg]. .

They’re in the second round of the WHL playoffs, facing off against the Portland Winterhawks [mbp].

According to their site it’s “Hockey with heart”. That almost sounds like a dig at the lame duck professional players on the Canucks. Having followed the Kelowna Rockets for years I can attest to the level of quality and passion in the WHL.

There’s still this thing called the WHL

Kelowna Rockets

Originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

I realize that while the Vancouver Giants were the big hockey draw last year while the Canucks were locked out, most people seem to have forgotten about them. It would be a shame if all the fan support and success that they earned themselves last season was just forgotten because the millionaires are back in GM Place.

Especially in a year when Vancouver is hosting the Canadian junior hockey’s top tournament the Memorial Cup the Giants are a great team and a great value. If you want to catch some really good hockey then go to a game.

The Giants are currently third in the WHL’s Western Conference BC Division behind the Kootenay Ice and the Kelowna Rockets. For information on tickets and game schedules go to the Giants’ official site.

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