After near death Denny Morrison is not just surviving, he is hungry

Originally appeared at "Just breathe, just breathe." These are the critical words paramedics repeated on May 7 to Olympian Denny Morrison after his motorcycle careened into a left-turning car at a Calgary intersection. In photographs large pieces of metal and plastic surround the eviscerated Read more

Prospect Tobias Lindberg scoring and comfortable at the Memorial Cup

Originally appeared at the Official Website for the Ottawa Senators. On Tuesday night at the Memorial Cup, Tobias Lindberg scored a goal he’s been working on for a long time. The 19-year-old Senators’ prospect took a pass from linemate Sam Harding, Read more

Play as you are: Olympians set positive goals for LGBTQ in Canadian sport

Originally appeared at The news: On Tuesday the Canadian Olympic Committee announced plans to foster LGBTQ inclusivity in national sport. The #OneTeam Athlete Ambassador program will hit schools to speak about mental fitness and equality, supported by a first-ever school resource Read more

Mellow tone on deck at Canadian Olympic Swim Trials

Posted on by Callum Ng in WRITING | 5 Comments

Swimmers qualifying for London 2012 will ‘board the bus’ at the start end of the pool, booking their ticket for the Olympic Games!

There’s a giant double decker bus on deck in Montreal and for the moment, it’s empty. With less than 24 hours before the start of the meet the imagery is certainly not lost on any of the Olympic hopefuls.

Earn a spot on the bus. Go to London.

The tone on deck is understandably mellow. Today is Monday, and there’s no hiding it, Olympic dreams will live on or die in the following days.

Not to be overly dramatic, there are plenty of smiles on deck and in fact, maybe a greater number of nervous coaches than athletes. As Marnie McBean the Canadian Olympic rowing champion famously says, “for an athlete, the hardest part is waiting, the competition is easy.” This is hardly ever more accurate than at an Olympic Trials. All the preparation is done, the only thing left to do is race.

The pool looks great. In fact, it’s probably one of the highest profile Canadian swim trials in recent memory. Again at the famous Parc Olympique, it’ll be broadcast live on Sportsnet. One hour of exciting swimming television, every night, mostly in primetime. Sportsnet’s embrace of all sports and the ‘fueled by fans’ tag line extends to the pool. This is great for the sport.

Furthermore, it is the first time that Olympic and Paralympic Trials are combined. Add that to two new corporate sponsors in RBC and Air Canada, and all of a sudden swimming looks like the sexiest Olympic sport around.

And it might live up to the hype. This is easily the best class of Canadian swim talent in maybe two decades, with Cochrane, Hayden, Wilkinson and McCabe leading a team that has both medal shots and the start of some depth in certain events.

I’ll be on deck all week, finding live stories and waiting for them to unfold. It’s going to be exciting, and, at very least, that bus looks really cool.

Follow @CallumNg for updates, and other Canadian swimming related stuff that I guarantee you can’t find anywhere else. :)

Flames fans still have choices even if no playoffs

Posted on by Callum Ng in Hockey, WRITING | Leave a comment

Originally published, The Hockey Writers March 23, 2012

If the Flames miss the post-season again, there are still plenty of teams to cheer for. Or cheer against, depending on who you are.

As the regular season wanes for the Calgary Flames, and a four game win-less streak makes the playoff picture slightly faded, Flames fans have something to consider.

If their Flaming C doesn’t see post-season play, who else do they cheer for? What kind of fan do they want to be April to June, sans squad?

For Canadian hockey fans, this is question that isn’t easily answered. They are really passionate about hockey, and therefore, equally fervent about the team they support. For many Canadians, cold winter nights are spent in front of the television set, living and dying with their team of choice.

(Unless of course you grew up in Vancouver, which might be a reason why the Canucks fan base is notoriously inconsistent, but that’s another topic altogether)

If you are an unlucky supporter of a club below 8th place after 82, on either side of the 49thparallel, deciding who to cheer for in the post-season has a number of challenges and creates a handful of personas.

As I have been part of this group many times over in my hockey loving life, I am intimately familiar with the variety and will do my best to share a few.

Denial Guy

This unfortunate dude spends the entire playoffs talking about how his team almost made it in. To make it worse, he then compares the playoff performances of other teams to his own, in hypothetical situations. Finally, Extreme Denial Guy will ruin playoff game watching by making reference to his team’s players by their nicknames, (while they play golf), during the play between two completely different teams.

The Hater

This behavior comes about after a few years of missing the post-season. Commonly, The Hater will develop a chagrin towards a division or classic rival. Particularly if that rival is a threat for Lord Stanley. As a modern example and in the case of Flames fans, that anger is usually directed towards the Canucks. The Extreme Hater will even go so far as to cheer openly for team playing his hated rival.

The Sympathizer

This is a special breed of hockey fan. This turncoat actually pretends to be a hater but secretly cheers for the rival team. If The Sympathizer comes out in the open, she’ll claim that she, ‘just likes so-so because he’s from her hometown’, or, ‘she respects the way he plays.’ The Extreme Sympathizer may even support a legendary rival. Such as when Flames fans cheered for the Oilers in ’06. In this case, it was because the Oilers are ‘a Canadian team.’

The Bandwagon Baby

You can’t really hold anything against this guy. He’s just looking for someone to cheer for. So he chooses the favourite, the team that rolls through the first two rounds. Every player on his chosen team turns into a hero, cruising through D with supreme skills or warding off the opponent with exceptional defensive ability. The Extreme Bandwagon Baby might even drop some coin on an authentic garment or two. Just to feel a part of it.

The Faker

We’ve all done it. Maybe not in hockey, but in at least one pro team sport. Example question: “Are you a Habs fan?” Answer: “Yeah man, I mean the Flames are my fav, but I’ve been cheering for the Habs since I was a kid too.” No he hasn’t. In this hypothetical situation, he starts dropping players nicknames and fist pumping after goals. The Extreme Faker even knows a few legendary stats like, ‘24 cups’ or ‘Jacques Plante’.

The Newbie

This is the most hapless of all fans who miss their home team. The Newbie, not unlike The Bandwagon Baby, just wants to get in the game. So she tells everyone that she misses her team, but is all for one team or another. The difference between her and the Bandwagon’er is that she usually chooses a sentimental favourite, maybe Gramps favourite squad or something. The Extreme Newbie will buy an Authentic Replica Jersey, at full retail price.

Before I get a handful of angry, insecure tweets because I’ve exposed you, I’ll say this: I’ve been all of these fans in one way or another. The beauty about the game of hockey is that it breeds great fans, passionate fans, emotional fans. The Stanley Cup Playoffs isn’t just a long tournament, it’s a war. Winning that war isn’t just the greatest accomplishment possible for the team, but the sweetest ecstasy for the fans.

What Flames fans wouldn’t give for that ecstasy. Unfortunately, they may not get a chance this season.

Gonna’ get REAL in Montreal!

Posted on by Callum Ng in WRITING | Leave a comment

It’s gonna’ get real in Montreal. 12 days from now.

I’m very excited to be a part of the communications team for Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Swimming Trials. March 27 – April 1, 2012.

Trials are special because the Olympics are special. The meet in Montreal will be where so many Olympic dreams will become REAL, and often in dramatic fashion.

(Who remembers backstroke standout Jake Tapp qualifying for the Beijing team in a swim off?)

I’ll be on deck, in the mixed zone, everywhere. Collecting and sharing the stories of your favourite Canadian swimmers, and some you might not have heard of before.

Keep glued on and for updates and news.
And real time baby! @CallumNg

It’s gonna’ be so live! Can’t wait to get there.

Critical “mini-trip” for the Flames starts tonight in Phoenix

Posted on by Callum Ng in Hockey, WRITING | 1 Comment

Originally published, The Hockey Writers March 1, 2012

Miikka Kiprusoff can’t be the only player on his game Thursday night if the Flames are to knock off Shane Doan and the smokin’ hot Coyotes. (Colleen De Neve, Calgary Herald)

The Calgary Flames open up the month of March with a mini road trip on back-to-back nights. First up tonight it will be the Phoenix Coyotes, followed by the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.

These are important games. Yes, that gets said a whole lot this time of year, but it’s pretty obvious when you’re talking about a Flames team that went winless, (0-2-2), in their previous four games, all at home.

I’m not sure if it’s the calendar turning to March, or that the Flames’ winless skid put them 11th, but these games feel pretty big. The two teams in 8th and 9th, Dallas and Colorado, are winning games at a regular rate. Being four points back is one thing, but the Flames also need to make up regulation wins on their Western Conference rivals. Through 64 games, Dallas has 29, compared to 26 for Colorado. The Flames have 25 regulation wins, although they do have a game at hand. (Can we ignore LA and assume they’ll keep losing?) It goes without saying that those regulation wins would make a difference should we encounter a point total tie at the end of the season.

Facing the Coyotes, a team who didn’t lose in regulation in the month of February, the Flames will need some big efforts from their top two lines. It needs to be an Iggy-show, Cammie-show, Olli, Glennie, a whoever-show, it doesn’t matter. NOT a Kipper-show. In the words of a famous but not-well-known Flames analyst, (my brother), “if it wasn’t for Kipper doing the scorpion every other night, the Flames would be 12th”, at the time the team was 9th, now even with Miikka’s superb goaltending, they’re almost in that quoted spot.

If the Flames do manage a win, it’ll be short-lived and a short victory flight to Anaheim to face the Ducks less than 24 hours later. This is a building that has confounded every edition of the Calgary Flames since their last win at the Honda Center on January 19, 2004. Most people would tell you that there’s no particular reason for this and I’d have to agree. It’s just a date. The only people talking about it will be those sitting or watching from the other side of the plexiglass. However, against a somewhat surging Ducks team the Flames will have to be good. As Brent Sutter commented after the team’s full practice on Wednesday, “a big part of the game is about emotion, we need to have that, I was us to have that.” Certainly, to overcome those tired game legs, it’ll be all about emotion in California on Friday.

It’s a critical potential four points for the Flames because it doesn’t get any easier from here. Example? On Sunday they’ll be back in the ‘Dome for another pretty important game. An afternoon tilt with none other than the Dallas Stars. Depending on the next 48 hours, it could be a battle for 8th, or not.

Calgary Flames to honour Al MacInnis Feb 27

Posted on by Callum Ng in Hockey, WRITING | Leave a comment

Originally published, The Hockey Writers Feb 27, 2012

Al MacInnis (puckpassion/flickr)

Al MacInnis will be honoured on February 27, prior to puck drop between the Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues.

The Hall of Fame defenceman, notorious for his booming shot, will receive a banner in the rafters of the Scotiabank Saddledome as part of the “Forever A Flame” program. MacInnis will be the first ever to receive such an honour.

A native of Inverness, Nova Scotia, MacInnis wore #2 for the length of his career and played 23 NHL seasons. The Flames drafted him in the 1981 Entry Draft, and although he played his first NHL game on December 30, 1981 it wouldn’t be until 1983-84 that he would complete the bulk of an NHL schedule.

From there however, MacInnis put together stunning Hall of Fame numbers. Starting as a full-time pro in the 1984-85 campaign, MacInnis rolled at a point per game pace and was voted to his first All-Star Game, (it was in Calgary that year).

MacInnis went on to be a 13-time All Star but for Flames fans who were around at the time, his most memorable moments had to come during the 1989 Stanley Cup victory. Amazingly, MacInnis led the league in post-season scoring during that run becoming the first defenceman to ever achieve that feat. Of those numbers, four goals and five assists were registered in the final series against Montreal, which led to a Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs.

MacInnis announced his retirement on September 9, 2005 as a member of the St. Louis Blues, with 1,274 career NHL points. Of that total, many were attributed to his rocket of a shot which legitimately made him one of the most feared offensive-defenceman in NHL history. MacInnis was the “Hardest Shot” king over the course of his All-Star Game appearances between 1991 and 2003. Similar to Zdeno Chara today, if MacInnis was competing in the “Hardest Shot” competition, you knew he was going to win.

MacInnis is still the Flames assists leader, with 609, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.

Callum Ng covers the Calgary Flames for The Hockey Writers, follow him on Twitter @CallumNg

As Bad As You Wanna’ Breathe

Posted on by Callum Ng in Uncategorized, WRITING | Leave a comment

I have a few swimmer friends preparing for Olympic Trials, and with just over one month to go, people are looking for that final edge, push, or motivation.

Getting ready for one day, more or less a few minutes of your life that makes the difference between legends and lost souls can be daunting.

Different people deal with that kind of pressure differently. Some ignore it, others fight it, a select few manage to embrace it.

Either way, to be successful, when you’re battling for a big goal you’re going to have to want it. Bad.

One of those swimmer friends shared this video with me that’s been going around the internet and really stuck with me.

“When you wanna’ be successful, as bad as you wanna’ breathe, then you’ll be successful.”


Western Conference Playoff Predictions

Posted on by Callum Ng in Uncategorized, WRITING | Leave a comment

Over the past few NHL seasons, the Western Conference has been perennially tight when it comes to those final few playoff spots. Last season it was Chicago, fighting off Dallas and coming within a Patty Kane right hook of ending up in 9th place. Of course, the Blackhawks went on to come within a similarly slim margin of knocking off the President’s Trophy winners, but a Burrows one-timer wrote the ending to that story in favour of the hometown Canucks.

This season, just after the All Star break, the schedule resumes with no less than five, (ok sure, maybe six), teams in the hunt for the evermore elusive 8th and final.

Starting from the Top

LA Kings

Darryl Sutter might as well have rode an Alberta-bred stallion into town, because that’s the effect he has had on the previously disorganized Kings. Since taking over from Terry Murray before Christmas, a refreshed Sutter squad as gone 9-2-6 and currently sits in 7th place in the West. Sutter teams don’t typically falter down the stretch, and I don’t see that happening here, which is why the Kings are loosely included in this conversation.
End of season projection: 7th or better

Colorado Avalanche

Collective sigh on behalf of the Avs when it comes to goaltending. I mean, Varlamov is young and no doubt adjusting to the starting role, but there’s no leniency in the Wild West. With a sub 900 save percentage and a GAA that usually sits around a big ugly trois, the nets has to be the biggest focus here. What I do think is that this core group of younger players has been to this party before, and knows what they’ll need to do to avoid missing the post-season. The only question that’s left is can they. I like the Colorado group and if anyone emerges late season, it’s going to be the Avalanche.
End of season projection: 8th

Calgary Flames

Welcoming The Squid to town, ok pause, isn’t that what they should call him? Cammalleri > Calamari. My almost seventy year-old pops and lover of the game, can’t pronounce hockey names worth a darn. In Cammalleri’s last stint with the Flames, my Dad almost always said Calamari. “Why doesn’t that Michael Calamari score more!?” God forbid when Sven Baertschi finally cracks the line up. Anyways, The Squid was a good call, but the Flames will need more than tough angle one-timers to play past the regular season. How about a decent power play? They’ll also need to catch a fast track on some current injuries including David Moss and Curtis Glencross.
End of season projection: 9th

Phoenix Coyotes

Can I just say that I wish I was a hockey fan in the desert? Upon cruising to the ‘Yotes site, there’s an ad for their Feb 4th tilt against the Sharks: $1.00 hot dogs. One dollar!? You could almost take the whole family out for a game AND dinner for less than a single ticket inside Rogers Arena or the Scotiabank Saddledome. Haha, but I digress. This is a really aging squad, doesn’t mean they can’t pull it off but sitting on the wrong end of the bubble is bad news for anyone paying attention to the plight of the Desert Dogs.
End of season projection: 10th

Minnesota Wild

After starting the season looking like a serious contender, the Wild have slowed up big time. A second losing skid, (3-6-1 in their last 10), finds them planted in 8th spot, although they did get four out of four points against Dallas and Colorado before the break. Honestly, this team plays games in a confusing fashion, without consistency. There doesn’t seem to be a fluid offensive system and when the defense breaks down in their zone, it gets ugly. Bright spot alert! Mikko Koivu is skating. If he gets back in the line up it will definitely help.
End of season projection: 11th

Dallas Stars

Jaaaamie Benn. Ok, got that out of my system. Kid can snipe. Definitely an NHL heavyweight if not already. However, I’m not sure if Benn’s emergence in the last season or so is enough to push his team into some extra April ice time. Dallas is tremendously streaky, right? Despite kicking off the campaign 11-4-0, since Nov 12, the team has gone 14-17-2. Winning or losing in little packets of twos and threes. With Brendan Morrow out, (although apparently close to return), they’ll have to win consistently to have a chance. Meh, I don’t see that happening.
End of season projection: 12th

But what about the Anaheim Ducks…?
C’mon, who are you Jamie McLennan? Haha, no way…

Stamkos shows off and Chara smashes rubber at the 2012 All Star Skills

Posted on by Callum Ng in WRITING | Leave a comment

Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara hammers a slapper 108.8 MPH to win the Harden Shot Competition (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

All Star weekend commenced today in Ottawa, giving NHL fans a chance to see the superstars of their game in a more relaxed, entertainment focused environment.

Interestingly enough, the event that most embraces this big show mentality, the Breakway Challenge, turned out to be a relative sleeper compared to the other events.

The Breakaway Challenge has a slam dunk comp. format, where creativity is encouraged. The big difference is that in the case of hockey, it is more a show of technical skill than unbelievable athletic ability. No doubt, Corey Perry’s magnet stick blade is a sweet skill, but nobody is showing off anything similar to a 40+” vertical like in basketball.

But enough about that. (Oh, by the Patty Kane won the Breakaway Challenge. Something to do with a cape).

The Accuracy Shooting was mostly interesting to fans because it showcased the deadly sniping skills of budding superstar Jamie Benn. It was also a nice feature for him, and will no doubt enhance his profile in other hockey markets, such as fans from the NE and Atlantic Divisions who don’t see much of Dallas’ #14.

Skip ahead to the Skills Challenge Relay, which was cool because it gave other players a chance to, well, do something. We saw both Sedins in this one, along with NW division counterpart Jarome Iginla. One-timer magic from the likes of @Hartsy19, Letang and Tavares. Highlights had to be unreal tight turns from #1 Fantasy Draft pick Pavel Datsyuk, and how the Sedin twins are actually more accurate passers when they saucer cross ice. Unreal.

I could intro. the Hardest Shot competition with a preamble but instead I’ll just start with this: 108.8. You’re kidding right? That’s how many miles per hour Zdeno Chara can smash rubber. I really don’t even know what to say. Apparently he uses a 160 flex stick. It’s a Warrior in case you were wondering. Solid endorsement deal Warrior, well played. Special mention goes to pretend bronze medalist Daniel Alfredsson, 101.3. Not bad for weighing 59 lbs less than big Chara.

At this point, we’ve been watching for over two and a half hours, clearly an event made long enough to give the fans in the building some bang for their buck. It’s more than likely that much of the television audience either bailed when Corey Perry pulled something short out of his trousers, (which was momentarily scary), or watched passively throughout.

I will say that the CBC broadcast was prepared for the lulls in action, and filled the dead spots with, well, Carey Price. He was mic’d up and hilarious. The Habs ‘tender demonstrated his well-known charisma, and exchanged classic hockey boy quips with the broadcast team. It was mostly funny because while Carey was having a “beauty time” as he might put it, Glenn Healy was trying to provide overly serious, analyst type commentary. Haha, during the Breakaway Challenge, most of Healy’s remarks were lost on Price who was busy trying to think of the next goofy manoeuver.

Coming full circle, the night ended with an actual breakaway event, in the Elimination Shoot Out. Thank goodness for that. Relating to what I mentioned about a slam dunk comp., this one gave the players a chance to show power and force, combined with sweet skills. Tavares approached this with grave seriousness, probably because he had a chance to win something for once. It worked well. Jarome Iginla actually scored on his first attempt, (rare for Flames fans to see) . However the eventual winner, Steven Stamkos, did everything. He used his skates, faked a snapper, everything. It was literally a delight to watch. It also woke my buddies on the couch, to the sound of my exclamations. So sick.

All in all, as a big hockey fan, I sat through the entire Skill Competition. Doubtful that casual fans would have made it more than half an hour and that’s too bad because they missed this…

July in 250 words or less!

Posted on by Callum Ng in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Invitation to the Royal Reception

Canada Day on The Hill

I have to say that July has been a pretty interesting month. It started in Ottawa, where I was invited to a reception hosting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, (Will and Kate). I also met Prime Minister Harper, and Governor General Johnston. Not only this, but I hung out in the tent room, a giant former indoor tennis court with fabric stretched from wall to ceiling.
A little story about the whole event:

Crazy stuff happening on the home front! I added another truck to the Green Grads fleet, added some new employees and I am now considering two additional services for the fall. I have to say that is has been a crazy month for my business. Both in terms of milestones, and the amount of change that accompanies them. It is awesome to construct the evolution of my little company, as it goes from small to…not so small, to…who knows!

The entire month of July blew by, underneath rainy Vancouver skies. I am writing this in a Montreal hotel room hoping to fly back today to some real summer. This past weekend I announced Summer Nationals and Pan American Games Trials! It was a lot of fun, both to do something I find really enjoyable, (announcing), and to see old friends and teammates.

Tonight it is a flight back to Vancouver, and an oath to a good friend to make August an epic summer month. Time to let it unfold.

[WCSE 2011] Photos and final video!

Posted on by Callum Ng in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Also posted some final reflections on YouTube

Fellow Canadian Charmaine Crooks

Our mentor, Tracey Holmes, prior to speaking!

Our entire team, including Frankie Fredericks

Speaking at the WCSE