Oct 21, 2007

Profile on Blackhawks organist Frank Pellico

From Paul Ladewski on dailysouthtown.com:
At a time when live organ music has been drowned out by computer-programmed rock-'n'-roll in most sports arenas, Blackhawks organist Frank Pellico is a survivor.

About half of the 30 NHL teams employ keyboard players, but Pellico is among the few who play an actual organ at the games.

What's more, Pellico said, "to my knowledge, the Blackhawks are the only team that has an organ of this size and capacity. I mean, a real pipe organ."
"Frank loves to play the organ, and he loves hockey. And the fans love him," Blackhawks game operations chief Ben Broder said. "It's great to have him around."

For that, local puck-heads also can thank Bill Wirtz, the late Blackhawks owner.

With Al Melgard at the controls, the 3,663-pipe Barton organ was a fixture at Blackhawks games at Chicago Stadium for years. Ever the traditionalist, Wirtz made a commitment to duplicate the sound as best as possible when the team moved to the United Center after the 1993-94 season.

The result is a custom-designed Allen organ, the largest the company had built at the time. Add the 300,000-watt sound system that was installed a year ago, and Pellico is among those who believes the sound is as good as it gets in any arena these days.

"Three hundred thousand watts? That's mind-boggling," said Pellico, whom Melgard mentored as a youth. "The previous system was decent, but it was made for the spoken word. Because there were no base speakers, it didn't do justice to organ music, which has very deep sounds in the pedals. Now the CDs and the organ sound dynamite, so we have the best of both worlds."

Still, Pellico admits to some apprehension when the Blackhawks moved across the street to the new arena.

At the cozy old Stadium, Pellico was stationed literally within reach of the fans in the mezzanine area. At the cavernous United Center, he is up, up and away from the action on the seventh floor.

"It's 100 percent different in the new building," he said. "In the old one, when somebody wanted to make a public announcement, the cue for me to stop was when the person began to talk. In the new building, I wear a headset to stay in contact with a producer. ... It's a whole different game now."
Pellico takes center stage between the second and third periods, a four- to six-minute segment called "The Frank Pellico Show" in which he showcases his skills.

"It gives me a chance to show what I can do on the keyboard rather than just play dun-dun-dun-dun, dun-dun-dun-dun to get some crowd noise," he said. "I can play anything I want to show people that I really did study music."

Even if Broder and others are in his earpiece once in a while.

"Frank is so humble; we like to razz him sometimes," Broder said. "You know, stuff like 'C'mon, Frank, you can pump it up better than that!' But the fans give him a thunderous ovation every time."

At 66, Pellico has too much fun to give it up any time soon.

"I love what I do, and the Blackhawks have been very good to me," he said. "What more could a person ask for?"
(via Kukla's Korner)


Oct 16, 2007

Phoenix Coyotes trademark the "White Out" promotion

The Phoenix Coyotes haven't run a playoff "white out" promotion since 2001-2002, but they're ready just in case. The Arizona Republic reports that the Coyotes have trademark rights to the word "White Out":
... the Coyotes have trademark rights to the term "White Out." The club registered the term even before moving from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Phoenix and has reapplied when necessary to keep it up to date.
Steve Weinreich, a Coyotes' vice president and the team's general counsel, told the Daily Collegian recently that any variation of the "White Out" term for marketing purposes is a violation.

It isn't unusual for teams, coaches or athletes to secure the rights to marketing slogans.

• Miami Heat coach Pat Riley once registered the term "Three-peat" when he was coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.

• Ring announcer Michael Buffer has the trademark on "Let's get ready to rumble." In fact, Holbrook said NHL clubs used to use that at the start of games but now must pay Buffer if they use it.

• The Seattle Seahawks and Texas A&M wrangled over the "12th Man" in a lawsuit last year. The Seahawks now pay a licensing fee to A&M to use it.

• And first baseman Tony Clark registered "Anybody, anytime" this season after he coined it and it became the motto of the Diamondbacks.

The Coyotes' tradition began when the club was in Winnipeg and officials asked fans to wear all white in a 1987 playoff game against Calgary in response to the Flames' "Sea of Red."

Read the entire article...

(via Kukla's Korner)

Oct 15, 2007

Tavares & Couture in head-to-head intermission contest

The Ottawa 67's (OHL) are hosting a unique intermission in November. It's a tip of the hat to a common intermission promotion in years gone by - having actual players compete in a skills competition. Here's an excerpt from the team's web site:
Two of the best prospects in the Ontario Hockey League will compete against each other in a one-on-one charity shootout during the first intermission when the Oshawa Generals visit the Ottawa 67’s on November 9th. John Tavares, the Generals’ leading scorer from Oakville, will face the 67’s Logan Couture in the special event that will mark the first of six meetings between the division rivals this year.

Tavares will be competing on behalf of the Special Olympics Foundation while Couture will play for the Canadian Cancer Society. They will be attempting to put the puck past each other’s starting goaltenders.

The two young stars have been rivals ever since the Generals, who committed to selecting Couture first overall in the 2005 OHL Priority Selection, opted instead to go with Tavares two days prior to the draft after the OHL made its early-entry ruling for the then 15-year-old. November 9th’s shootout gives Couture the opportunity for revenge.

The 67’s won last year’s season series between the two teams winning four of six games. Three of those games were decided by only one goal.

Oct 14, 2007

Vancouver Canucks want your playlist

"What do you want to hear? Upload your Canucks playlist to iTunes. 1 Mix contributor per month will be chosen to sit with DJ Dave and select songs from their personal iMix to play during the game." (via Kukla's Korner)

There's more about this promotion on their web site, along with the Canucks Top 10 playlist. We've mentioned DJ Dave before -- the Canucks were one of the first teams to set up a section on their forum where fans could discuss game music, make requests, etc. Nice to see

If you're a fan of hockey music, visit our sister site: HockeyMusic.ca

Pre-game power outage in San Jose

From the San Jose Mercury News:

A pregame power outage delayed the start of the Sharks home opener Saturday night by about 20 minutes.

Players were warming up on the ice when the arena bowl went totally dark about 7:05 p.m. Five seconds later, the HP Pavilion generators kicked in and there was enough light for the players to continue skating, but limited power elsewhere in the building.

Fans weren't able to enter the building for a short period and the parking lot was also dark.

As efforts were being made to restore the power, Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson and Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli huddled to determine the best way to begin the game once conditions were ready.

They decided to go ahead without the normal season-opening ceremonies and national anthem because further delays might require additional warm-up time for players who had been idle nearly 50 minutes.

The two were also in contact with NHL officials in Toronto, who gave the green light to play even though the normal TV feed to league headquarters was not available.

The game began at 8 p.m., but the building's public address and music systems were not working. Both were restored about 15 minutes later, but for the first 8:13 of the first period, it was pure hockey without any of the usual game-night presentations.

...and more from the San Jose Sharks web site:

Team Teal faced one of the craziest nights in franchise history Saturday night, but it unfortunately ended up in an opening night 2-1 loss. First, the night started with an internal power outage inside HP Pavilion that delayed the contest 20 minutes. San Jose then tied a franchise record by holding Boston to zero shots in the second period. Next, with 38 seconds left in regulation, the Sharks appeared to forced overtime with a dramatic Milan Michalek goal.
The Sharks had planned to honor Mike Ricci with an honorary faceoff before the game, but the delay ruined that opportunity. The game also began without the national anthems in an effort to make up for lost time.

Oct 13, 2007

New scoreboard installation in Buffalo

Check out this vid of a new scoreboard installation in Buffalo.

Boos in Buffalo

From Sabres Edge:

The Sabres have been holding a competition since the summer to find an in-game host at HSBC Arena. They are down to the final two contestants. But really, who would want to do it?

Forget Philadelphia. Buffalo fans have become the quickest to pull the trigger on booing in the United States. They booed the Sabres into getting rid of previous in-game host Nicolas Picholas. They boo anthem singer Doug Allen. They boo the refs. They boo the opposition. They boo the power play. Sure enough, they booed the final two contestants.

The first one leads a church youth group. The second is a military reservist, who looked like he immediately regretted applying for the job. They played a clip of him singing a takeoff of the "Piano Man," with words about the Sabres that he penned himself. The words were good, the singing so-so, and the fans buried him.

Tough crowd, as expected.

**Third-period update: The Sabres asked the crowd to vote on which host they liked best. Nominee One: "Boooo!" Nominee Two: "Boooooooooooooooooooooo!"

Video & background on the Sabres MC contestants are here.

Via Hockey Capital

Oct 7, 2007

Conan O'Brien: Mr. Met attempted suicide

Seen on YouTube: Conan O'Brien sketch with Mr. Met & the Philly Phanatic:

Columbus Blue Jackets add a cannon

From the Ottawa Sun:
Ken Hitchcock is a U.S. Civil War junkie who coaches a team named for Ohio's union soldiers. So he was ecstatic when the Blue Jackets asked him to help pick out an authentic cannon to "fire" a salute at Nationwide Arena every time his team comes on the ice, scores or wins. The team paid $20,000 US for an 1873 Napoleon field gun that will flash and billow smoke, while a 105-decibel blast is triggered in the rafters.