Tonight was my first opportunity to cover a Canucks game.

It was an away game against the Minnesota Wild, and because of my class schedule, I had to write my recap solely off of the box score.

It may not be spectacular, in fact it isn’t. But for a pageant-gal like me, I am still shocked that I am able to write about short-handed goals and five-minute majors as though I’ve spent my life at the rink.

I am proud to report that I have approximately 7 hockey terms in my sport vocabulary, and that I can successfully interpret hockey stats.

Writing for the Eagles was my first personal point, and covering the Canucks is my second. All I need is to pursue a third opportunity that is completely out of my comfort zone, and then they’ll be callin’ me Hat Trick Hayles…

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And be sure to check out my lovely game recap at Vancity Sports Blog.

@HayleyWoodin

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Many years ago when I was in my all-girl band (with a male drummer), I learned an interesting lesson.

Our “managers,” the lead singer’s parents and my extended family, were very involved in the promotion of our band, and took their kids to casting calls of all kinds. They explained that you never say no, and you always say yes to opportunities, no matter what.

So for instance, they would joke that if they took their son to a casting call and the producers asked him if he could speak Portugese, you say yes, go home and learn all of the Portugese you can.

Of course it’s maybe not the smartest thing to do, but the moral of the story is to not close any doors.

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2011 is to be fearless, meaning that I am going to strive to not shy away from any positive opportunities presented to me.

It was with this in mind, along with the fact that I recently completed an amazing two-week internship at 24 Hours Vancouver, that I decided to begin covering the Surrey Eagles Junior A hockey team for Vancity Sports Blog.

The founder of the site contacted me right at the beginning of January and pitched to me the chance to cover the team and submit articles on a regular basis.

I enjoy taking things on, and am looking to expand my journalism portfolio, so I gladly welcomed the opportunity.

It wasn’t until the day before the Eagles’ first home game of 2011 that it really hit me: I know absolutely nothing about hockey, apart from the basics, like how the players try and aim at the opposing team’s net, and they sometimes get the puck in.

The joke that you should tell potential employers whatever they want to hear, and then go home and learn it, became all too real…

Luckily, I know several people who are great sportswriters who have guided me while I’ve written two home game articles and one away game recap.

What have I learned?

Well, I’ve learned that I do like hockey, I’ve learned some lingo and I’ve learned that I should think things through before I commit several weeks to doing something I know nothing about. But all in all, I’m glad I took someone up on the chance to do something completely out of my comfort zone, and I do believe that I’m better for it.

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@HayleyWoodin

And check out my Surrey Eagles posts at Vancity Sports Blog or at the Surrey Eagles’ website.

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Sports are not my writing “niche.”

I know enough about hockey, football, baseball, soccer, tennis and golf to get by, and that’s good enough for me.

In my second semester of first year journalism, one of our instructors taught us about covering beats, like music, entertainment, business and yes, sports.

As a class we watched the Canada vs. USSR 1972 Summit Series hockey game, and were told to write about what the game meant.

I’m quite proud of the piece I wrote, and decided to post it on my blog.

* * *

They weren’t just playing hockey.

With 34 seconds left in the third period of the eighth game, the Soviets played for acceptance and validation while the Canadians played for freedom, patriotism and identity in the USSR vs. Canada 1972 Summit Series hockey game.

It was a mental, athletic and historic battle fought with sticks instead of guns that pitted democracy and communism against one another in an epitomic ideological war.

And that is why it mattered.

Canada’s win was reclamation of Canadian identity and a confirmation that Canadian life was a successful way of life, a sense of validation that lingers to this day.

“It was a war, our society vs. theirs,” said Phil Esposito, Team Canada’s undisputed leader throughout the series, according to www.1972summitseries.com.

In fact, it mattered so much, that on Sept. 28, Canadian society essentially shut down to watch Game 8, the tiebreaker game being played in Moscow, the final game.

Each side had won three games respectively and had tied one: the game itself and everything it stood for relied on Game 8.

The Summit On Ice 30th Anniversary DVD released in 2002 documented the series.

“[But] it wasn’t just another series. It was the series,” said Canadian Frank Mahovlich on the DVD that captures the events now entrenched as an iconic part of Canadian history.

“It turned out to be more than just a hockey series. A lot of pride came into play — pride in yourself, pride in your team, pride in your country,” said Ed Johnston, one of Canada’s goal tenders, according to www.1972summitseries.com.

And pride for your identity.

Teamwork, determination and independence were what Canada stood for, elements accentuated by the game and thus components of a lifestyle that were put on the line, a solid red line.

Canada’s struggle over the decades for victory in the Olympics and the failure to reclaim her world title made the game a game of redemption.

Because only amateurs were allowed to play in the Olympics and professional Soviet players were considered amateurs, Canadian players were constantly put at a disadvantage.

But that didn’t matter this time.

With 34 seconds left in the third period of the eighth game, what commentator Foster Hewitt described as “the goal heard around the world” put an end to the Summit Series.

What may have been a conclusion was a rebirth to others and, as Canadian player Guy Lapointe put it, an unforgettable moment.

“Who says nothing lasts forever? This series will.”

* * *

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@HayleyWoodin

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