Fire Red strike out Lightning

Kelly Stanford, Calgary Fire Red (in white) shows some surprise as she is penalized for a face-off infringement during their Alberta Female Hockey League Midget Elite game against Airdrie Lightning at Genesis Place Arena, Airdrie on December 15, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

December 15, 2018

It took a Saturday night shoot out to strike out the Lightning. After regular time, the Calgary and Airdrie Midget Elite teams were even with a Kelly Stanford goal for Calgary scored after five minutes of the game, and Airdrie’s reply two minutes into the third period.

The four on four play changed nothing after five minutes of extra time, so it was down to the sharp shooters. Up first was Isobel Pettem-Shand who deked the Airdrie goalie and squeezed the puck in under her glove. At the other end, Fire Red goalie Cassidy Brown pad saved Airdrie’s first shot from captain #4. Bex Alloway was stopped in Calgary’s second shot by Aidrie’s goalie #1 then Airdrie’s second shot hit the post. It was down to Kelly Stanford to close things out. The right hander didn’t disappoint with a perfectly timed shot that glided the puck underneath the goalie’s glove.

Final score: Airdrie Lightning 1-2 Calgary Fire Red MAA

Song of the match

Lots of country tunes on offer from the Airdrie sound crew at Genesis Place Arena. I’m going with Canadian Girls by Dean Brody for its jolly nice hockey lyrics: She grew up watching hockey with her Daddy on Saturday nights. He taught her to tie her skates, her brothers taught her how to fight. It’s a great country song with a splendid video to accompany. Given our pre-game chat over pints and pancakes at Smitties, check out the singer’s attire that includes a Peaky Blinder hat plus a #22 Wickenheiser Canada jersey and Brody’s beautiful chorus lyric: Irresistible, loveable, trouble though sometimes girls.

Up next: Calgary Fire Red MAA return to face up to their sisters in White on Sunday, December 16 at Henry Viney Arena, Calgary. Puck drop is at 16:45.

More action from the game

For more photos from the Alberta Female Hockey League Midget Elite game between Calgary Fire Red and Airdrie Lightning, please visit J. Ashley Nixon Communications.

Standings

For the latest information on the Midget AA Elite standings, please visit the Alberta Female Hockey League.

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White Win Second Fire Derby

Fire White’s Chyenne Risling (in red) and Fire Red’s Jayna Barnden (in white) in action during their Alberta Female Hockey League Midget Elite game at East Calgary Twin Arenas on December 9, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

December 9, 2018

Fast and furious it was. Female hockey at its high octane best. The Fire Derby ended with a Fire White win over their Fire Red sisters on Sunday at East Calgary Twin Arenas. For two periods there was no score, hardly a pause for breath except for the taking of eight penalties which showed how hard this game was fought. Fire White broke the deadlock five minutes into the final period after Emily Baldwin got free and skated to the net. Fire White’s goalie, Rebecca Boswell pad saved but the puck spun up, Baldwin got a handle on it and before the Red defence could recover, scored from behind the goalie’s back.

Red retaliated rapidly with a goal scored five-hole by Isobel Pettem-Shand. Fire White’s goalie, Cienna Kinghorn stood up to several pressure waves from the Reds and with six minutes to go White took the lead with a goal from their captain, Brooke McCool. Carys Ursell got an insurance goal with three minutes to go.

Final score: Calgary Fire White MAA 3-1 Calgary Fire Red MAA

Song of the match

The top song comes from the car park today where a jolly tailgate party brought the Fire Red and White parents together for a bevvie and a burger before the game. And there was a bit of disco dancing in the snow: Do the Hustle!

Up next

Calgary Fire Red MAA sally north on Saturday, December 15 to play against Airdrie Lightning at Genesis Place Arena. Puck drop is at 19:30.

More action from the game

For more photos from the Alberta Female Hockey League Midget Elite game between Calgary Fire Red and Calgary Fire White, please visit J. Ashley Nixon Communications.

Standings

For the latest information on the Midget AA Elite standings, please visit the Alberta Female Hockey League.

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Shoot Out Win for Calgary Fire Red

Bex Alloway celebrates her shootout goal for Calgary Fire Red in their Alberta Female Hockey League Midget Elite game against Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs at Great Plains Arena, Calgary on December 8, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

 

December 8, 2018

Two shootout goals by Calgary Fire Red decided their game against Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs at Great Plains on Saturday. Fire Red got the opening goal in the first period, scored unassisted by Kelly Stanford. Red Deer drew even six minutes into the second period with a goal from Kyla Hansel. With just seconds remaining in regular time, Fire Red’s Hannah Suto dropped her stick and held on to a Red Deer player as she headed to the bench. The penalty was carried over into overtime and the Chiefs thought they had scored using their four on three advantage. Indeed, the full celebration was in swing but the referees waved the goal off due to a high stick.

The shootout was executed with clinical precision by Isobel Pettem-Shand and Bex Alloway who both showed nice moves to beat the Red Deer goalie, Madison McLaren on her glove side. At the other end, Cassidy Brown held strong on both shots and that was the game.

Final score: Calgary Fire Red MAA 2-1 Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs

Song of the match

DJ Bob was on virtual turntable duty at Great Plains and played Happy performed by Pharrell Williams. It’s featured in the fab animated film Despicable Me 2. Close your eyes and just imagine Minions on the ice. Playing hockey. Played here.

Up next: Calgary Fire Red MAA had a turnaround quicker than I can keep up with and played against their sister team, the Calgary Fire White, at East Calgary Twin Arenas on Sunday, December 9.

More action from the game

For more photos from the Alberta Female Hockey League Midget Elite game between Calgary Fire Red and Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs, please visit J. Ashley Nixon Photography here.

Standings

For the latest information on the Midget AA Elite standings, please visit the Alberta Female Hockey League.

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Fire Storm the North

Ashley Death (Peace Country Storm) and Skye Mathew (Fire Red, in white) face off during their Alberta Female Hockey League Midget Elite game at the Weyerhaeuser Arena, Grande Prairie, Alberta on December 1, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

December 1, 2018

The road north on Saturday was long and white. A snowstorm announced the arrival of December and followed the Calgary Fire Red Midget AA team bus up the QE2 Highway. We passed an overturned semi that had shed its timber load across the road and several other ditched vehicles but made the 716 km journey to Grande Prairie for the Midget Elite Alberta Female Hockey League game against Peace Country Storm safe and well. A Tim Hortons stop almost halfway in Spring Grove provided not only coffee and baked goods but the Wick Fest trophy which had erroneously made its way out of Winsport last weekend with the St. Albert team.

Rebecca Alloway opened the scoring, unassisted for Fire Red a couple of minutes into the opening period at the Weyerhaeuser Arena but the advantage was short-lived after Tea Vasseur equalized for the Storm. Strong defence by both teams kept the score that way until seven minutes into the second period when Kelly Stanford broke through her defensive marker to hit the puck up and over the glove of the Storm goalie, Grace Lutz.

Stanford scored her second goal of the game 13 minutes into the final period but the Storm still looked dangerous, forcing some solid work between the pipes by Fire Red’s goalie, Rebecca Boswell. With less than a minute remaining, Siobhan Sullivan took the game out of contention with an empty-netter.

Final score: Peace Country 1-4 Calgary Fire Red MAA

Up next: Further heavy snow accompanied the Fire Red team as they journeyed south on Sunday morning. With safety concerns associated with more snow before a late night departure from Red Deer, the decision was taken to cancel the game against the Sutter Fund Chiefs. That fixture will be rescheduled for March next year but the teams will meet in Calgary on Saturday, December 8 at Great Plains Arena (puck-drop: 19:00).

More action from the game

For more photos from the game please visit J. Ashley Nixon Communications.

Standings

For the latest information on the Midget AA Elite standings, please visit the Alberta Female Hockey League.

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Fire Red flick on the power play to win at WickFest

Calgary Fire Red after winning the WickFest Midget Elite Division 1 final over Pilot Mound Buffaloes at Winsport, Calgary, Alberta, Canada on November 25, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Three power play goals in ninety seconds secured a WickFest win for Fire Red over the Buffaloes at Winsport on Sunday. Another power play goal and an empty-netter in the third gave the Alberta team a final score of 5-1 over the Manitoba team, a set of gold medals and a banner. The Buffaloes, who made it to the final with wins against opposition from Saskatchewan and British Columbia, had to settle for silver and a long, twelve-hour bus ride back to Pilot Mound Hockey Academy. Strangely, and sadly, neither team got a trophy as some other team, allegedly, ran off with it.

Kaitlyn Severson scored the first for Fire Red five minutes into the game after Ashley Episcopo was called for tripping. The Firehose was turned on halfway through the second as the Buffaloes went repeatedly short-handed. First, Olivia Sutton put in a blaster from the blue line. Then Rebecca Alloway capitalized on some good hustle in front of the net by Jayna Barnden to put the Fire up by three. Teah Workman finished this burst of energy with the team’s fourth goal less than a minute later.

The Buffaloes became boisterous, resulting in a five-minute major to Hailey Anderson for downing Barnden with a body check into the boards. Carrigan Umperville scored the only goal for Pilot Mound with less than two minutes remaining in the second period. Barnden fortunately recovered and came back into the game after the flood. Skye Mathew put in an empty-netter with four minutes to go.

Final score: Pilot Mound Buffaloes 1-5 Calgary Fire Red MAA

More action from the game

For more photos from the game please visit J. Ashley Nixon Communications.

Up next: Calgary Fire Red MAA move on from Wickenheiser to Weyerhaeuser on December 1. At the other end of a long road trip north, they will face off against Peace Country Female Athletic Club (PCFAC) Storm at the Weyerhaeuser Arena, Grande Prairie. This Alberta Female Hockey League game is followed the next day by a second road game against Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs.

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Steven Wilson covers his own songs to the bone in Calgary

Steven Wilson performs at the Palace Theatre, Calgary, Alberta, Nov 19, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Steven Wilson has written a lot of songs. Quite a few. You can hear them played under the names of No-Man and Porcupine Tree, that started in the 1980’s. They are found in more recent collaborations such as Blackfield and Storm Corrosion. All in addition to the five studio album’s worth of songs in his solo career to date. It’s a pretty reasonable thing then, and something his old fans appreciate, for him to go into his back catalogue spanning over thirty years to play Porcupine Tree songs like Arriving Somewhere But Not Here, Lazarus, and Heartattack in a Layby. “They are not covers, they are my songs”, Wilson expressed, with a tad of outrage, in response to a review of his recent show in Vancouver.

He was at the Palace Theatre, Calgary, performing in the 2018 To the Bone World Tour as the band known as Steven Wilson. This was his second gig in Cowtown after a three-year break (see my review of that first show from 2015 He doesn’t Do Happy here). Although he played a cover of a song by Prince in the encore (more on that later), let’s be clear: the rest of the songs were his.

Asylum and Ancestral

Sadly, I was unable to catch the first set from the beginning. What I did hear was The Same Asylum as Before from To the Bone, a beautiful song that has a Tears for Fears feel to it (perfectly legitimate given that Wilson has collaborated in productions with that great band) and Ancestral from Hand. Cannot. Erase. That song doesn’t just have a good guitar solo, it features one of the most uplifting, serene string performances, played live on this tour with surgical precision by clinician guitarist, Alex Hutchings.

Raucous riffs to disco grooves

In Arriving Somewhere But Not Here, from Porcupine Tree’s Deadwing (2005), the band started off together, gently handling small cube-shaped shakers, then Hutchings let it rip with a raucous riff on his English-made Waghorn guitar that even had some LED lights to show off his handiwork. That had lots of the Proggies banging their heads in delight. As a mood creator and balancer extraordinaire, Wilson followed that heaviness with some disco. It served as a moment for Steven to explain some of his musical influences, which show up with wonderful diversity in To the Bone. Variety is one of the reasons this writer really loves Steven Wilson’s music; he’s prepared to take risks, to explore and keep pushing the progressive rock genre. There were plenty in the audience grooving along to the Abba-Esque Permanating so take that as a good sign of appreciation.

Detonation

As I noted in my 2017 review of the To the Bone album, Song of I would make such a great soundtrack for a future James Bond film, hopefully before Daniel Craig is ready to “give it all up”. My personal favourite from that album, the explosive Detonation, came up, again, with perfect sonic juxtaposition after Wilson’s acoustic version of Lazarus (from Porcupine Tree’s Deadwing) in front of a backdrop of lovely quotidian family film, perhaps from Wilson’s own childhood. Next up was some pitch-perfect three-part harmony by Wilson, Hutchins, and bass/Chapman Stick player, Nick Beggs in Heartattack in a Layby from Porcupine Tree’s 2002 album, Absentia. Adam Holzman’s ethereal chords on the Korg keyboard got Vermillioncore going before transcending into a racing bass and guitar dual, powered up at the back by Craig Blundell’s mighty drumming all the way through to a very hard stop. Holzman led the way again into the last song before the encore, Sleep Together from Porcupine Tree’s album from 2007, Fear of a Blank Planet. It was, lyrically, a fitting end to the “official set” marked by its power chord sequence and words “Switch off the future now, Let’s leave forever.”

Prince in the Palace

Prince was in The Palace for the encore as Steven Wilson played his version of Sign o’ the Times, the opening song from the same titled album from 1987. In its introduction, Wilson quizzed the audience about his influences in his teenage years, then revealed he had a poster of Prince on his bedroom wall. Just one piece of evidence that explains his mission as an eclectic musician, unafraid to mix genres and be a Prog Rocker who likes to have fun. Except that is when he is singing (self-confessed) miserable songs. He performed two of those at the closing, either side of the Prince cover. The first, The Sound of Muzak, another song from Porcupine Tree’s In Absentia was introduced with a story about performing it in a gig in Japan, where the band struggled to get the audience to sing along to the chorus. It was so quiet in the auditorium that “there were tumbleweeds blowing around”, Wilson explained. Mindful of his earlier observation about Calgary being a bit quiet, the Canadian folks responded pretty well to Wilson’s pointing finger directions, at least in singing the “going down” part of “One of the wonders of the world is going down, It’s going down I know.“

The Raven flies out

When you want to be clear that the evening’s entertainment is coming to a close, the iconic The Raven that Refused to Sing is the one that Steven Wilson must play (unless you really want to be melancholic, in your Drive Home). And they did. Beautifully; reverently, in front of the stage screen showing the magical animated bird and other characters from the short film directed by Jess Cope and Simon Cartwright.

Steven Wilson is on his way east now to do some gigs in Ontario and Quebec before a run-up to the end of the year in the USA. Come back west, Steven Wilson, you are always welcome. Come back to Calgary soon!

Please visit my photo website J. Ashley Nixon for more photos from the Steven Wilson gig at the Palace Theatre, Calgary.

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A Marvel in his own lifetime. RIP Stan Lee

Stan Lee at the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo (Calgary Expo), May 1, 2016
© J. Ashley Nixon

Stan Lee died today, aged 95.  I had the good fortune to be in the Stampede Corral, Calgary on May 16, 2016, to photograph and listen to the creator of Spider-Man and many other characters in the Marvel universe. It was no doubt the top event of the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo (Calgary Expo) that year and turned out to be, fun, engaging and informative about his life and creative process as a writer. He told stories, answered questions and gave the behind the scenes to how he Spider-Man came about, his favorite cameo roles, his crusade for comicbooks and more.

You can read my original article from 2016 here.

Thank you for your work, the characters you created and the Marvel legacy you leave behind. RIP Stan Lee.

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