In compiling our Alternative Hockey Awards for 2013, we amassed an elephantine list of odd, weird, wonderful, deplorable and generally awesome stories from around the puck world.
Then we realized we had only reached the end of February in our research …
Yes, it was a wack-tastic year in hockey. Crazy coaches. Angry birds. The Harlem Shake. Chewbacca playing for the San Jose Sharks. But it also had some really interesting and heartfelt moments worth remembering too.
Here is our annual look back at the other stuff that happened in the last 12 months, beyond the traditional NHL year in review content you’ll find this time of year. We begin with the best team in hockey …
Team Of The Year
What if we told you that a hockey team cruised through 2013 without losing a game until Nov. 17, in the course of winning 62 consecutive games? What if we told you that this team didn’t disappoint in the postseason either, sweeping its way to a championship? What if we told you this team had a legitimate star player who expects to shine in Sochi?
Sounds pretty impressive, right? And yet because the Minnesota Golden Gophers are a women’s hockey team, it’s entirely possible the majority of puckheads were unaware of their exploits in 2013: The 62-game streak, stopped on Nov. 17 by North Dakota; the women’s Frozen Four win over Boston University, the fourth title in team history; the emergence of Amanda Kessel as an American hockey star; and becoming the first women’s team in NCAA hockey history to complete a perfect season (41-0-0).
They’re one of the most successful teams in the history of women’s hockey, and unquestionably the team of the year for 2013.
Coach Of The Year
Chris Clark of the Wenatchee Wild didn’t appreciate the officiating in his team’s NAHL game against the Kenai River Brown Bears. So he did what any calm, rational person would do to protest their performance, which was to grab a hockey stick, put on sunglasses and pretend to be a blind man on the ice.
In a shocking turn of events, he was ejected.
Owner Of The Year
Christopher Knight, who purchased the Belfast Giants, was revealed to “have engaged in sexual activity with a person aged between 12 and 15 [in 2003], and he remains on the sex offenders register” in Florida, and then saw the Giants abandon their own franchise to distance themselves from him.
Potential Terrorist Sleeper Agent And/Or Bird Of The Year
The Bakersfield Condor, who flew away during the national anthem and caused all sorts of mayhem before fleeing down the tunnel. DURING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM, PEOPLE.
Best Moment Of Self-Deprecation And/Or Foreshadowing For The Season
“Marijuana's legal in some areas…" - Ryan Whitney, then of the Edmonton Oilers, upon hearing Adrian Dater of the Denver Post had ranked the Oilers third overall in the NHL heading into the season.
Hockey Pundit Of The Year
Stephen A. Smith of ESPN declaring the Chicago Blackhawks’ record points streak inferior due to “3 ties.”
Hockey Insider Of The Year
Bobby Ryan interviews Ottawans who have no idea who the hell he is.
Worst Glaring Omission
Cosmo’s list of the 2013 Hockey Hottest Players didn’t include Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, which is like leaving Wayne Gretzky off a list of guys named Wayne Gretzky. Cosmo had to issue a clarification of the “snub”, writing that it needed representation from all 30 teams, that the list was based on a fan vote, and democracy led to the selection of Brian Boyle over Lundqvist for the Rangers.
JumboTron Moment of the Year
The Dallas Stars captured Manti Te'o's girlfriend in section 125 during their home opener. The only way this could have been better is if it was an image of a catfish.
Great Moments In Gender Equality, Vol. 1
The “Girl’s Guide To Watching The Rangers”, in which a New York Rangers website writer offered inane, insulting advice to hypothetical women fans who can’t handle the rigors of gender neutral coverage. As in, like, read a roster because knowing the names of the players will make you seem smarter.
Great Moments In Gender Equality, Vol. 2
Duncan Keith stepped in it when he argued with Karen Thomson and said she should be “the first female ref” in an oafish spin on “you never played the game.” Don Cherry then took the puck and skated off into abject sexism with his “women don’t belong in the locker room” nonsense.
Amateur Dentist of the Year
Remember when Krys Barch popped one of his teeth out in the penalty box and tossed it to a fan?
Best In-Arena Protest
Montreal Canadiens fans, 17,000 strong, chanted “WE WANT P.K.” at a game in January. Who knew there was such a strong desire for the Habs to play shorthanded? Oh, wait, P.K. Subban, out due to a contract squabble. Got it.
Oblivious Idiot Of The Year
Inferiority Complex Of The Year
Every team should strive to live vicariously through another.
Tension Breaker Of the Year
Bruins fans turn to porn after Game 6 loss. Hopefully for more than 17 seconds.
Fundraiser Of The Year
North Dakota's West Fargo Hockey Association hoped to raise $90,000 … by selling 200 guns. Including a Bushmaster AR-15, which was used to shoot 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School one month earlier. Despite this, demand for raffle tickets was so overwhelming that the organization halted the sale.
Golf Course Of The Year
New Jersey Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov hit Brad Marchand of the Bruins in the head with an elbow in April, causing a "mild" concussion. Northlands Golf Course of Vancouver offered the Devils defenseman free golf for the rest of the year as a reward for injuring the Bruins forward. They later apologized.
Debt Settlement of the Year
No, not the New Jersey Devils finally securing new owners. We’re talking about the World Junior wager between teammates Gabriel Landeskog and Erik Johnson of the Colorado Avalanche, in which Landeskog was forced to rock a T-shirt that read “I HEART AMERICAN BOYS” after the U.S. defeated the Swedes for gold.
Much respect for Landeskog for honoring the bet, no matter how humbling the experience.
Best New Division Name (tie)
Worst New Division Name (tie)
Revisionist History Award
Did you know Claude Giroux and the Flyers were trying to avenge their 2012 playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins when they faced them last January? Traveling back in time and changing the result of an embarrassing playoff loss … is there anything Sidney Crosby can’t do?
Best Chirp Of 2013
Sidney Crosby Is An Evil Jerk Moment of 2013
Preferential treatment at the DMV. My god, he’s a monster.
Save Of The Year
Jose Theodore snagging a Rafael Nadal shot at the Rogers Cup, without spilling a drop of beer.
Worst Blown Call Of 2013
While Matt Duchene was just a smidgen offside against the Nashville Predators, it has to be this play from a Czech4 League game in which James Luštinec of HC Trutnov was credited with a penalty shot goal that actually hit the goal frame and bounced out, never coming close to crossing the goal line. Yuck.
Head Shot Of The Year
With due respect to John Scott on Loui Eriksson, the year’s most memorable headshot goes to Brent Burns, RW (real Wookie) for the San Jose Sharks:
Most Delightfully Weird Hockey Internet Thing Of The Year
Best Goal Celebration That’s Already Outdated
Hey, remember when Kaepernicking was a thing? Logan Couture does.
Group Dance Meme Of The Year
CON LOS TERRORISTAS!
Canadian Media Moment of 2013
TSN gets drunk, passes out and doesn’t know what hit them. Oh, and they also made a “Hangover” parody too.
Banner Raising Of The Year
The Orlando Solar Bears finally raised the International Hockey League Turner Cup championship banner they won in 2001 on Feb. 3, 2013, because the IHL folded the year after they won it. (The Bears are back as an ECHL franchise.)
Hockey Commercial Of The Year
Clarkston High School’s hockey team presents the joys of hockey in their hallways to promote an upcoming game.
Game Of The Year
United Arab Emirates sent their U17 squad to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, for the inaugural Turkmenistan President's Cup in February. There, they faced off against the U17 HC Silver Lions from St. Petersburg, Russia. And lost 60-0. Yes, that’s a goal a minute pace.
Jack Edwards Moment Of The Year
Fan Of The Year
Honorable mention: Guy who face-planted on concrete while fighting at a Rangers game.
Pierre McGuire Award For Hot Action Between The Benches
The AHL’s Rockford Ice Hogs and Chicago Wolves have a brawl inside the boards.
Retirement Announcement of the Year
Teemu Selanne announcing his final season in the NHL with a hilarious viral video.
Rob Ford Hockey Moment Of 2013
Conspiracy Theory of the Year (tie)
We don’t know what was more outlandish: The Russian official who accused the U.S. of trumping up domestic assault charges against Semyon Varlamov because it would mess with the Russian Olympic team in Sochi, or Senators owner Eugene Melnyk calling for a CSI investigation in order to establish that Matt Cooke intended to stomp on Erik Karlsson’s ankle.
Worst Fight of 2013
From the Swiss Eishockey League, Alain Berger of SC Bern and Sebastien Schilt of Gottéron don’t drop the gloves.
Prom Proposal Of The Year
When in doubt, incorporate the Tampa Bay Lightning and hockey cards.
Sightlines Of The Year
Whoever got stuck behind the unpeeled backing of the replacement glass in Florida.
Best Game Delay Distraction
If the glass breaks in the arena, there’s really only one thing you can do: ZAMBONI WATERSKIING.
Putting Us All To Shame Award
Scott Stafford, one-handed hockey player, tries out for CHL’s Denver Cutthroats
Finally, Greatest On-Ice Tribute Of 2013