Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Greetings from the Equipment Room

***Reposted from the "Venom Views" blog on Cottonmouths.com

Howdy, Snakes fans! Smoke here. I thought I’d break the trend and come on here to Venom Views to announce that I’m not going to retire…not yet, anyway. I’ll be honest…I did give it some thought. Craig Stahl and I talked about retiring together, only half-jokingly. But after taking some time off I knew I wasn’t ready to walk away from the game just yet. I was planning to announce my decision during a prime-time special on ESPN, but it seems that Lebron stole my thunder. So I’ll have to make my announcement here in Venom Views that I’ll be returning for another season at the end of the Cottonmouths’ bench.

I want to thank everybody who came down to the Civic Center for our Locker Room Sale this past weekend. We had a pretty good turnout and sold quite a bit of equipment, which will help me make space in the Equipment Room for the new gear coming in. As many of you already know, the SPHL signed a new equipment sponsorship deal with Sherbrooke Hockey (SBK), and we will be buying sticks, gloves and pants exclusively from them. This means we had lots of Sherwood gear left over and I was trying to clear that out. We do still have some gear left, which we will probably try to sell at the CYHA Youth Hockey registration as we have in the past several years. We also have lots of Sherwood sticks I’d like to sell, so if you know anybody who needs hockey sticks, keep your eyes open for that event next month.

I’ve been keeping pretty busy this summer. I placed the order with SBK for our new pants and gloves back in May. After that, I completed my inventory and began working on my budget for the upcoming season. In mid-June I attended the PHATS/SPHEM conference in Fort Lauderdale. That’s the annual meeting of Professional Hockey Equipment Managers and Athletic Trainers. They have one of the best trade shows in the business, which offers a chance to see the new equipment and hear presentations from some of the equipment manufacturers. It’s also a great networking opportunity and a chance to catch up with old friends. At the Hall of Fame banquet I received an award for my 1,000th professional game worked. All in all, it was a pretty good week.

After the conference, I had a chance to return home to Phoenix for a visit with my family and friends, and a trip to Lubbock, Texas for our family reunion and a visit with my Grandmother. It was a long trip, but a good one. I got to reconnect with some people I hadn’t seen in a lot of years. After returning to Phoenix I spent about a week enjoying the dry desert air, got to take in a few Diamondbacks games (all of which they lost), and just generally tried to refamiliarize myself with the place where I grew up. I’m always amazed at how much it has grown each time I visit. I hardly recognize it sometimes, but I do miss it.

Now I’m back in Columbus for the remainder of the summer and I’m gearing up (so to speak) for another season of Cottonmouths hockey. We’re rapidly approaching my favorite time of year. Now that we’ve started signing players it’s time to start contacting the guys and finding out what sticks and skates they use so I can start putting together my orders. We’ll assign numbers for each of the guys and figure out which size jersey to give them. For the rest of the summer I’ll be placing and following up on orders and getting ready for training camp in October. Hockey season is right around the corner.

Finally, I’d like to take a moment to thank Craig Stahl for his time with the Cottonmouths. I’m going to miss Stahlsey every day at the rink. His love of the game, and of life in general, is infectious…and it will be missed. I worked with Stahlsey in New Mexico and he was a big part of my decision to come here 3 years ago. I had hit a low point in my career and was ready to walk away from hockey. I needed to rediscover the joy of the game, and Craig helped me do that. For that I am truly thankful.

Now, bring on the season! Go Snakes!

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