7 in 7 Premiere

As I sat on Cocoa Beach during All-Star break, there was one thing kept popping into my mind- work!  I love writing so much; English-Writing was one of my majors at UNH.  I decided I should do more of it.

The night before every game I send my producer a long list of ideas of stories I want to add to the broadcast, player and coach quotes I want to highlight, and much more.  Due to time restrictions, penalties, goal replays, etc., I only get a fraction of these notes in so-boom- here’s the perfect place to share the rest.

I love sports- hockey and golf are my absolute favorite.  I really like politics (but as I have been safely doing while sports coverage is my job,  I will stay FAR AWAY from that subject.)  I like traveling, reading, surfing, art, shoes and much more.  So this will be a mixture of everything noteworthy or interesting that happens in my week, thus-‘7 in 7.’


1. The Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto was excellent. Tons of fun all in once place.  They had a really neat theatre showing the Stanley Cup Playoffs recap of the prior year. The trophy room practically sings when you walk inside it.  There’s a new interactive section where fans can shoot on a digital goalie, practice their broadcasting skills, play trivia and more.  My favorite was seeing the tools that artists used to etch names and titles into the trophies.  Can you imagine doing that??? Arthritis!!

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2.  Andrej Nestrasil was out with an injury for over a month. He rehabbed in Charlotte for 3 games before returning to the Canes’ lineup in January.  This was the longest that the 23-year-old forward and Calder Cup winner had every been sidelined.  One thing he said to the media that stood out to me was that he was miserable not just because of discomfort but without hockey he said he “has nothing to look forward to.”

Nestrasil is missing his front tooth but says he will put in his fake set when he goes on a date.  He showed us in Tampa what it looks like!



3.When the Canes hosted the Rangers in December, one of the players had a skate issue that was fixed immediately by the equipment staff.  One of the officials also had a skate problem but when that happens, they have to battle through and wait until intermission for the fix.  Each referee has his blade dimensions written with permanent marker on his skate so when this happens anyone, anywhere can take care of he problem.  The home team handles the officials’ needs, and by the way- the home locker room has extra sets of refs gear in case luggage mishaps or other problems occur.


4.  Ryan Murphy has been very candid when discussing his development.  He’s said he had a lot to learn and plenty of growing to do.  He’s only 21! He played in 48 NHL games last season, but this season he has spent a majority of time in Charlotte (earning a spot in the AHL All-Star festivities.)  As a big point-getter in the OHL he had to start thinking defense first now that he has graduated to professional hockey.  He told me that this year with the Checkers’ he watched every single shift on video with the coaches. It forced him to learn better positioning and “count the guys in front” of him for better gap control.  He picked up his conditioning too and said he often lifts with Stanley Cup winter Chad LaRose who shares great stories but when I asked about those….”That’s confidential,” he joked.  LaRose has been setting a great example showing patience and work ethic and poise and experience.  Murphy has certainly matured and his interviews are so thoughtful.  Really happy his work is paying off!


4. Pass it On!  It’s the shop inside InterAct in Raleigh, near Cameron Village.  It’s a safe haven for people suffering from domestic abuse.  This is where I volunteer and I love it here!

It’s a great place to donate ANYTHING to.  They will find a use.  The clothes are very affordable, gently used and great brands!!  They’ve got J Crew, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Banana Republic and so many good finds!

Prices: Jackets $6, Pans, shorts, skirts $5, Sweaters, tops $6, Dresses $8, Suits $10, Shoes $5, Accessories $1.  You should pop in! They’re open Mon-Sat.


(You can always volunteer there, too!)


5.  I’m reading ‘Boy on Ice,’ by John Branch. It’s the story of Derek Boogaard in a VERY detailed account.  This is one of the most revealing quotes from his father, Len (mind you, this is over ten years ago):

“You got your bell rung?  Well, here’s a Tylenol or whatever.  The only thing that bothered me was his hands.  He would fight and his knuckles would be pushed back to the wrist.  And then he’s have to have it manipulated and have his knuckles put back in place.  His hands were a mess.  My concern was always, okay, he’s going to suffer with this later on in life, in terms of arthritis.  It was his hands that I was more worried about.”


6. This is my favorite hair spray to use and this commercial is awesome!!!


Aussie Commercial


7. Finally, some inspiration….  “You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf.”



Jay Harrison is not your average professional athlete.
Known as “Harry” in the locker room, Harrison could easily be named “Mr. Everything” because of his wide range of interests and diverse knowledge.

Harrison is engaging and thoughtful, too, and if you sit down with him for five minutes, you never know where the conversation will go. One day it could be about World War I, which his great-great-grandfather served for the Canadian army. Another day he’ll tell you stories from a month-long road trip with his former AHL team, the Toronto Marlies, who embarked on a brutal winter as Harrison was climbing his way to the NHL.

Harrison has always loved hockey, but what makes him unique are his passions for dozens of other things, like his music, which has accompanied him from Oshawa, Ontario, to Raleigh, North Carolina, and every stop in between.

“Becoming a pro” as they say is all about the work you commit to your craft. It applies to hockey just as much as it applies to Harrison’s favorite hobby.

Harrison will tell you that playing an instrument “requires dedication and repetition to get results.” But it’s also stress relieving and challenging. Harrison plays three instruments: guitar, violin and piano.

At age 10, Harrison’s parents gave him a guitar for Christmas, exactly what he wished for. His uncle Brad “Buck” taught him to play the first song he learned: “Running Down a Dream.”

Harrison and his grandfather shared their love of music together, and he remembers listening to Travis Tritt with his family. His younger brother, Tyler, also played guitar, and the two brothers have spent countless hours together jamming to their favorite tunes and trying to imitate Slash, Harrison’s favorite musician.

The brothers’ first concert was seeing Matchbox 20 at Massey Hall in downtown Toronto when Harrison was in ninth grade. He was captivated by the energy of the crowd and the connection to the music.

“Time stands still when you’re captured by a musical artist that you admire,” he said.

Life takes you many places, and minor league hockey brought Harrison to rural Newfoundland, where his sport and music intersected perfectly. Not every young adult would enjoy the culture of folk Irish tradition, but Harrison made the best of the situation and basked in the experience. The island is known for its Irish roots, and it was there he met local fiddler Pat Moran.

Moran’s band, The Punters, often played at O’Reilly’s Pub in the quaint downtown of St. John’s. Moran said there was a young man in the crowd, a tall, fit young man.

“There was something different about him” Moran said of Harrison.

Once the two were introduced, they met several times a month, and Moran taught Harrison how to play the fiddle.

“He was always very inquisitive,” Moran said. “He always wanted to pick your brain. He could have easily made a career in the music scene if he wanted to. We have a job waiting for him if he wants it.”

Harrison smiles when he thinks about all he has learned.

“It’s another gift that hockey has given me,” he said. “It adds parts to myself that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t play the game.”

The path on which hockey has taken him has exposed him to things he may never see or know about had he chosen a different career.

“You enjoy things you never knew you liked and get an appreciation for other cultures,” Harrison said. “With each chapter of life you immerse yourself in what you’re doing.”

Hockey and his passion for music have united at other times, too. He’ll sometimes bring his guitar with him to play with his teammates during downtime. Last season when the Hurricanes stopped in Nashville, he got an exclusive tour of the Gibson factory, the birthplace of guitars used by legends like BB King. Harrison learned about the storied company and was shown how the hand-made instrument is brought to life. He was most excited to see the craftsmanship and quality of the guitars, further appreciating the passion of fellow musicians.

So why does Harrison enjoy playing and listening to music so much? The answer reveals his personality perfectly.

“It’s a life skill to connect to people without knowing them,” he said. “It crosses culture and time. It’s extremely human.”

Those are the exact reasons why Harrison is passing along the art to his three daughters. When road trips separate him from his family, he makes sure to communicate with his girls via FaceTime, fitting in violin lessons with his oldest daughter, Presley.

“It comes back full circle,” he said. “It allows them to develop and be inspired. Not to force them but expose them to new things and allow them to take their own path.”

———-written October 2014- Edited by Michael Smith.————