Sunday, January 02, 2011

2010 Top Twelve Highlights

2010 was filled with more ups and downs than a dozen Duncan Yo-Yos. The passing of my Uncle Dan “Santa Claus” Dwyer, the Bruins playoff loss to Philadelphia, and my Uncle Jack’s recent reunion with Uncle Dan have aided and abetted many of my anxieties. To ward off these and other worries, I now present the highlights, a baker’s dozen in quasi-chronological order:

Winter Classic in Boston
Marco Sturm’s upraised arms as he celebrates his game-winning goal against the Flyers, at Fenway Park. We’ll miss you, Marco. Best of luck with the Kings.

Hole in One Donuts
Lights, camera, donuts. Big and bold on the beach, these all-stars made their short movie debut. The sandy stars were sacrificed for art’s sake (order your 2010 donut calendar by contacting the AMHL photographer via the AMHL Shutterfly site), but the others were plain perfect for the taste buds.

The Tooth Fairy
For some, this flick was too much tutu, not enough (Jordin)Tootoo But I enjoyed it. Then again, I watch Oprah. And listen to Celine Dion.

AMHL Old Home Week
Hanging out with my hockey pals, many of whom I hadn’t seen or with whom I hadn’t spoken in months, made my week.

Hershey Hockey
Mr. Hockey was in town for his annual visit, which often includes a road trip. A couple years ago my dad, my wife, and I drove to Lake Placid, but this fall pilgrimage was to Chocolate Town, PA. The two games we attended were fulfilling—but not as much as the trolley tour, where the punny business proprietors dispensed not only their wry humor but also Hershey Hugs and Kisses.

Molasses Donuts
The Inn Victoria (Chester VT) doesn’t feature the delectable circular concoctions all the time, but ask Proprietor Penelope and she’s apt to appease your appetite. The Willow Bake Shoppe (Rockport, ME), in business since 1949, does deliver the much munched Molasses Donut every day (open mornings only). Asked about the secret to the shoppe’s success, Proprietor Patti replied, “Everybody loves donuts and the recipe is old.”

Hockey (and Donut) Books
Slap Shot Original, Time to Make the Donuts, King Leary, and Don Messer: The Man Behind the Music top my list. Hockey fans know about all about the Hanson Brothers’ exploits in the hallmark of hockey movies and will relish Dave Hanson’s behind-the-scenes anecdotes. Time to Make the Donuts, the birth of Dunkin’ Donuts Nation and the brand’s ascension into the pastry pantheon—as chronicled by DD’s father, William Rosenberg with help from Jessica Keener—is a must-read for not only donut lovers but also entrepreneur types. King Leary, a hockey novel, is flat-out the funniest book I’ve read this year. A whirligig of a read, it’s best enjoyed with a glass of your favourite ginger ale. And whether you're a fiddle fan or not—and I am—learning about Mr. Messer's masterful marketing strategy and tactics was worth the read.

Hockey Videos
Timmy Thomas’s big-time save against the Toronto Maple Leafs: The save speaks for itself, but focus on the fans who stand and then slump back into their seats. And in case you’ve been living in a snow cave, or mayhap want to revive that holiday spirit, here’s an encore performance of “All I Want for Christmas” as performed by the Belfast Giants.

First French Hockey Story
Someday (when I make the corrections) I’ll share the full story about a trip to Le Quartier Nord, but for now I’m savoring the time spent in Boston’s North End and my teacher telling me that I’m an over-achiever. (The class resumes in late January but only if we have enough matriculators. Under-achiever, over-achiever, or just want to learn how to communicate with Les Québécois, please learn more about the Concord-Carlisle Community Education class, course #3391.)

Hockey on the Radio
Two kinds of people in the world: those who love Jack Edwards and those who mute the TV when he’s on. I love his passion and his bantor with Andy Brickley, but sometimes I change the lines, as it were in hockey parlance, so that I can listen to the action—“left to right across (my) radio” according to Dave Goucher and Bob Beers. Another dandy duo is Hardy and Trupiano. The former infuses Ultimate Frisbee references into the repartee; the latter tells great Gordie Howe stories.

St. Andrews, New Brunswick
Two trips in 2010: The first in the summer when the AMHL Photographer departed for a two-hour tour of the Bay of Fundy. While she was aboard the Zodiac Hurricane, I sat seaside at the Hungry Whale Café and comforted myself with a St.-Viateur Bagle. (Caution: The owner’s allegiance is to le bleu, blanc et rouge). The second trip, last week, was heavenly…Espionage in St. John…Honeybeans for an afternoon snack…Old Tyme Pizza for dinner…Christmas lights on the wharf…the walk back to the safehouse, as we admired the brilliance of Orion’s Belt…Canadaaaah.

Friday Skates
In July, I skated three times—a grand total of less than hour—as the AMHL Hawks, Kings, Stars, and Whalers dressed for their games. Two months after the surgery to repair the direct hernia surgery, I was still wobbly and weak but budding with confidence as I rounded Rink Two. But a few days later, at my next PT session, my right knee buckled. I limped into the chiropractor’s office with a brace on my knee and then—thanks to Dr. Jamal De Vita—walked out of the office carrying that brace in my hand.

AMHL Comebacks
“Here I come, baby,” Brent Delehey, who had been out action for a few months, said as the Big Bad Bruin hunted his opponent in last week's AMHL Thursday Championship. Brent was gleeful to be playing again—ditto for John Bionelli and Scott Gelin. As for me, I’m more centered, more balanced, and (despite the pain my surgeon said is to be expected) back at PT. I hope to be playing again this spring.
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