Hodge Podge by Charlie Hodge – June 19th

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I’m not so sure about ‘dynasty’ as a deserved term, however certainly the Chicago Black Hawks deserve full applause for earning their third Stanley Cup in six years.My memories of teams that garner such a lofty term involve winning at least two cups in a row and four wins in six years.  Nit-picking aside there is no question Blackhawk ownership and (especially) management have compiled a focused, disciplined, deep roster of blended talents and moulded a winner.The trick facing the club now is how to keep the club together with contract and salary cap issues in order to reach that nearly impossible fourth cup. Somebody on the high paid Chicago roster has to go, the questions is who will that someone be?For Kelowna hockey fans there was a bonus silver lining to the Blackhawk title as we were able to watch former Kelowna Rocket star Duncan Keith dominate the blue line and win the highly coveted Conn Smythe trophy – emblematic of the top jock in the playoffs.Keith of course is just one of many players who toiled for a Kelowna junior hockey club and later moved on to the NHL. Oddly enough the large share of those players were defensemen.In addition to Keith, broadcasting the final Stanley Cup series was play by play master Jim Hughson who spent years as the play by play man for both the Kelowna Buckaroos and the early Kelowna Wings.The list of actual players over the years who once skated on Kelowna ice before joining the bigs is very impressive. Below is just a partial list (without researching on line) from my aged brain. Some dabbled with the old Kelowna Buckaroos, some with the Kelowna Wings and numerous from our present club the Rockets.Aside from the Keith Kelowna can brag about Shea Webber, Jamie Benn, Josh Gorges, Sheldon Souray, Luke Schenn, Tyson Barrie, Alex Edler, Tyler Myers,  Scott Hannan, Chuck Kobasew, Brett McLean,  Tyler Spurgeon, Kiel McLeod, Mikael Backlund,  Blake Comeau, Vern Fiddler, Travis Moen, Scott Parker, Todd Fedoruk, and Troy Brodie,Even Mike Babcock (newly anointed Maple Leaf coach) toiled in Kelowna as a mediocre defence man with the Wings.Former Buckaroos (from my years as trainer or stick boy) begins with (surprise surprise) defensemen Greg Fox and Dave Lewis, as well as forwards Gene Carr, Butch Deadmarsh, Ron Andruff, Blair Chapman, Greg Adams, Mark Lofthouse and Don Barber.While I followed the last two playoff rounds with some interest I admit my main hockey focus the past month has been on precisely what the Toronto Maple Leafs will do with their fourth round draft pick come the June junior draft.I cannot recall the last time there was as much keen, positive national attention focus on the Leafs, however the hiring of Babcock reinvigorated fans. Heck, once they get rid of Phil Kessel, I may just have to put on the Leafs sweater on my wall.Go Leafs Go – sort of.

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I just heard about the tragic loss of respected Kelowna journalist Trevor Rockliffe. While I never worked directly with Trevor I am familiar with his fine work and tremendous personality.Trevor was both very professional and very popular with co-workers and his sudden traumatic demise has rocked not only his friends and family but all of us connected to the media world, big or small.Rockliffe, age 54, was the news director for Castanet for four years before leaving last year to work on the TV show Highway Thru Hell.According to newsman Wayne Moore, a close friend and former co-worker, Rockliffe was working on his vehicle Friday when the jack gave way.My sincere condolences to Trevor’s friends and family including wife Colleen and his four children.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.

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