03/13/2013 10:22 pm
The Anaheim Ducks closed out their three-game home stand on Sunday night by hosting both the St. Louis Blues and CHOC Night, a time to shine the spotlight on Orange County’s only freestanding children’s hospital, CHOC Children’s.
And the good guys continued their winning ways at Honda Center, defeating the Blues 4-2 for their 11th straight win at home.
If the opposing team scores first? No problem! Fueled by a shorthanded goal from forward Andrew Cogliano, the Ducks overcame a sluggish first period to come from behind, twice, and secure the victory and their hold on the top spot in the Pacific Division.
It was great to see the Ducks score a win on CHOC Night, a night set aside to raise money and awareness for the local pediatric state-of-the-art facility. All throughout the evening, fans were given a glimpse inside how CHOC serves our kids and a chance to donate to the hospital that has impacted so many families.
Out in front of Honda Center at the Hockey Spot, fans could purchase raffle tickets to win items like a Ducks team signed jersey, player autographed CHOC t-shirts and other prizes. A limited amount of 2012 “Choco Bears” with player signatures were also for sale.
Inside, the Ducks hosted a Silent Auction with prizes up for bid such as a Zamboni ride, a Teemu Selanne autographed package, and a post-game player meet-and-greet.
Even viewers watching the telecast from home were able to donate by texting “CHOC” to “90999” to make a $5 donation. Pepsi matched donations received that evening up to $2,000. And for every Ducks goal scored that night (there were four), Smile Generation made a donation to CHOC.
This year’s CHOC Night celebrated a seven-year partnership between CHOC Children’s and the Anaheim Ducks. CHOC’s beautiful new South Tower, The Bill Homes Tower, is now open and serving the community. The seven-story tower adds over 425,000 square feet of space to the campus and includes patient care services such as an advanced pediatric emergency department, operating rooms, laboratory, imaging and radiology services.
This new structure shows a commitment to pediatric healthcare excellence, not only for Orange County, but also for surrounding communities. I believe we are very fortunate to have such life-changing and life-giving care available to children and families right here in our own backyard. Even if you’ve never had to utilize their services, I’m sure you know a family who has.
As a fan of the Ducks, I’ve always been proud of their partnership with CHOC. It never gets old seeing the faces of those brave kids light up each time Wild Wing and the players visit and share the gift of hockey.
Thank you, Anaheim Ducks for your continued support of one of Orange County’s true treasures. And thank you, CHOC Children’s, for your continued commitment to providing excellence in pediatric care for our kids and families!
03/05/2013 12:44 pm
While Honda Center may be best known as the home of our Anaheim Ducks, last Thursday the arena played host for a morning to 13,000 students from all over Southern California who came to participate in the Ducks 13th annual First Flight Field Trip.
Representing 160 schools from as far away as Temecula and Victorville, the 3rd through 6th graders had the chance to be a part of a very unique learning experience that teaches math and science objectives through the sport of hockey.
A part of the Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Program (Scholastic Curriculum of Recreation and Education), this award-winning event is their largest of the year and one of my personal favorites. These kids get to sit in on a NHL practice, and for many of them, it’s their first exposure to hockey. The curriculum used is designed to meet the state standards. And all of this is provided for free to participating students, educators and staff, thanks to the Anaheim Ducks Foundation, over 200 volunteers and several corporations such as Honda, Whole Foods Tustin, Microsoft, BMX Pros and Discovery Science Center.
This year’s theme was “Turn Up the Energy” and focused on science concepts such as kinetic energy and potential energy. Each part of the program explored how these different forms of energy are defined and how that translates into how we eat, play and live.
The morning kicked off with an interactive “playground” set up in the Honda Center parking lot that featured 45 hands-on exhibits. Kids got the chance to see kinetic energy, potential energy and the Law of Conservation of Energy demonstrated in fun ways that they could understand.
My favorite exhibit was “Mad Ducks”. A mallard-themed version of the uber-popular game, Angry Birds, “Mad Ducks” featured a station where kids slingshot rubber balls across the parking lot into a wall of cardboard boxes. The arsenal included “Potential Perry”, “Kinetic Cam”, and “L.O.C.O.E. (Law of Conservation of Energy) Luca”. So clever! The kids loved it, as it took a game they were already familiar with and used it to teach energy concepts.
Once inside the Honda Center “classroom”, all students were given a 24-page workbook that went into more detail about the different forms of energy, as well as the history of the Ducks and some hockey basics. Wild Wing dropped in from the rafters and Ducks forward and Long Beach native, Emerson Etem, opened the on-ice portion of the program by leading the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Ducks then came out onto the ice for a short practice, to the screams of approval from the students. All while the players were running drills, Ducks P.A. announcer Phil Hulett and Ducks television play-by-play announcer John Ahlers walked the students through several pages of the workbook, using videos viewed on HondaVison and live player interviews on the ice to help further reinforce the concepts of energy. From eating the right kinds of foods (stored or potential energy) to skating and shooting the puck (kinetic energy), the Ducks shared how the right preparation and training helps them play the sport of hockey.
After the brief practice wrapped up, the players put on a skills competition show, clearly the students’ favorite part of the morning. From obstacle courses to hardest shot, Team White and Team Black went head-to-head, showing the kids how these energy concepts translate onto the ice.
Team White came away victorious, with big wins from Luca Sbisa and fan favorite, Teemu Selanne. But it was the students who were the biggest winners of the day. Educating the local youth through hockey—no one does this better than the Anaheim Ducks.
Anna Liao from Orange was at Honda Center that morning with her 3rd grade son, Garret, whom she homeschools. Liao has been attending the First Flight Field Trip since Garret was in Kindergarten.
“It’s a fabulous event,” said Liao. “They combine science and hockey in such a meaningful way. It’s what helped turn me into a hockey fan.”
After the conclusion of the event, I had the chance to speak with Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin. A veteran at participating in the First Flight Field Trip, and a father himself, it’s clear to him the unique opportunity these kids receive through the program.
“It’s great to see them excited about learning and I know it’s fun for them to be able to watch a NHL practice,” said Beauchemin.
The Ducks blueliner is also serving as this year’s Wild Wingers Kids Club Captain. Having involved his son in the process, Beauchemin has been able to see first hand the impact these programs have on kids in the community.
“It’s been great to be able to enjoy the experience with my son. Everyone on his hockey team has a Kids Club Kit and they’ve been so excited. The Ducks do so much for the sport of hockey here.”
Indeed, they do. From the Wild Wingers Kids Club to the First Flight Field Trip and all of the other events offered through the S.C.O.R.E. program, the Anaheim Ducks organization’s commitment to growing the sport of hockey by providing these unique experiences for our local kids is unmatched.
The 13,000 students who left Honda Center that morning knowing a little bit more about how the principles of energy are used out on the ice are proof of that.
For more information about the Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Program, visit ducksscore.com
**Photos of Garret Liao courtesy of Anna Liao
02/27/2013 11:32 pm
The way to a woman’s heart on Valentine’s Day may not be through candy and flowers.
It might just be through her love for hockey.
That’s what long time Anaheim Ducks fan Carlos Bustos knew when it came time to plan this year’s Valentine’s Day for his wife, Christine.
As Ducks season seat holders since 2006, the two have enjoyed most all of the fan and charity events the organization holds each season. But there was one event that the couple had yet to attend—Dux in Tux.
In its 13th year, the popular annual fundraising dinner features some of Orange County’s most well known chefs alongside the Anaheim Ducks players who serve as “sous chefs” for the evening, providing fans with a unique dining experience, all while raising money in support of the Anaheim Ducks Foundation.
Knowing how much Christine wanted to attend, Carlos decided to surprise his wife of 26 years on Valentine’s Day with tickets to the event.
“I bought the tickets about a week and a half before Valentine’s Day,” said Carlos. “And to keep Christine from finding out, I coordinated with the sales agent to not charge my credit card or send an email confirmation until the night of the 14th. The day after I made the purchase, the event sold out.”
And Carlos didn’t just share the news with his wife by giving her a simple note inside of a heart-shaped card. He got a little more creative.
The week leading up to Valentine’s Day, Christine had been fighting a cold, so the two had already planned on staying home that evening. Carlos picked up Chinese food from their favorite take-out place and made a small switcheroo with the fortune cookies.
“I took a pair of tweezers and carefully pulled out the fortune from one of the cookies and replaced it with my own handwritten fortune that said we were going to Dux in Tux.”
After enjoying dinner, Carlos put the fortune cookies out on the table, with the altered one up front, hoping Christine would grab it first.
She did, and almost couldn’t believe what she was reading.
“When I read the fortune, I was so excited that I tried to scream. But because I had laryngitis, all that came out were squeaks,” recalled Christine. “It didn’t matter. I was so happy.”
Her first thoughts upon learning she’d be attending this exclusive event didn’t include what dress to wear or if she could get an appointment at the salon.
“My first thought was that I needed to tweet this. I wanted to share the news with my Ducks Family.”
A sign of the digital times we live in, Christine immediately shared the news and photos of the handwritten fortune with her fellow Ducks fans on Twitter and Facebook, who were thrilled for her.
And last Friday evening, Christine and Carlos joined over 300 guests at the Hyatt Regency Irvine, as local chefs donated their time, created beautiful table designs and prepared delicious meals for their guests. The Anaheim Ducks, looking sharp in their tuxedos, assisted with serving the food, pouring the wine and spent a great deal of time visiting with the fans at each table.
The dinner program, co-emceed by Ducks television play-by-play announcer John Ahlers and Ducks television host Kent French, spotlighted the Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Program, the award-winning program that offers free educational standards-based curriculum to students in schools throughout Southern California. Since 2005, these in-class and physical education programs have impacted over 25,000 students annually.
The evening’s special honoree was 5th grade teacher Rachel Therrien, from Graham Elementary in Los Angeles, who was presented with the S.C.O.R.E. Captain Award in recognition of her commitment to the S.C.O.R.E. Program. A big fan of hockey and the Anaheim Ducks, she uses her love for the sport to positively influence her students and is a perfect example of the S.C.O.R.E. Program in action.
Throughout the night, a silent auction was open to all guests and included exclusive items such as team-signed jerseys and game-used helmets and sticks. And as a part of the dinner program, Kent French served as the live auctioneer for some incredible packages and experiences that were available to the highest bidder, including a Ducks Road Trip package and a one-of-a-kind dinner hosted by Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau and his wife, Crystal.
But the real winner of the night was the Anaheim Ducks Foundation and their S.C.O.R.E. Program, which, thanks to the money raised, will continue to use the sport of hockey to promote healthy and active living and the pursuit of academic excellence in the youth in our community.
And for Christine and Carlos Bustos, it was a night they won’t soon forget. They enjoyed a five-course meal created by Executive Chef Darrin Finkel from Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney. They got to chat with their “sous chef”, Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano, as well as many other Ducks players, including two of Christine’s favorites, forwards Bobby Ryan and Teemu Selanne.
“Everyone was so friendly and personable. This event is a great way to meet and talk with the players and support a great cause.”
And now that she’s had a taste of this event, Christine plans on making attendance at Dux in Tux an annual tradition.
“We had a fantastic time,” said Christine. “I’m already saving my pennies for next year.”
For more information on the Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Program, visit ducksscore.com
**Player photos courtesy of Christine and Carlos Bustos
02/17/2013 9:49 pm
The Anaheim Ducks are back at Honda Center this week after a six-game road trip, their longest of this compressed season, one that lasted 11 days and covered 5,742 miles.
And to say it was successful would be an understatement.
The Ducks finished the trip 5-1, including three shootout wins, and come home with a record of 11-2-1 and 23 out of a possible 28 points. With a quarter of the season in the books, the Ducks sit at the top of the Pacific Division, and 2nd in both the Western Conference and overall League standings, right behind the Chicago Blackhawks, who have yet to lose a game in regulation.
So, who had the Anaheim Ducks starting the season like this?
I was hopeful, but I will admit, I didn’t see this coming. Like many Ducks fans, I wanted to see what this team could do with a full season under new head coach Bruce Boudreau. And based on the Ducks recent history of bad starts and less-than-stellar play in the October, November and December months, there was a line of thinking that suggested starting the season in January might actually benefit this team.
And boy, has it ever. This shortened season looks great on the Ducks so far.
Their cross-country adventure, which included two back-to-back sets, pitted the Ducks against some of the top teams in the Western Conference in arenas that have given them fits. This trip was more than just “let’s see if the Ducks can escape this trip with six points”. It was a measuring stick to see how well this team could match up against the best in the conference. And I think they’ve shown themselves, and those watching, that this start is not a fluke.
They won those five games in different ways. Sometimes they dominated. Sometimes they came from behind. And the last game of the trip against the Nashville Predators, they willed themselves to win when they were running on fumes. It’s the mark of a championship-level team when they win games they shouldn’t necessarily win. That’s how you are successful in this league.
The scoring has come from all over, 1st line to 4th line, including the young kids like Nick Bonino, Matt Beleskey and Patrick Maroon. The defense looks like they are coming together, with this season’s additions of Sheldon Souray, Bryan Allen and Ben Lovejoy. The Ducks went from not being able to kill a penalty to save their lives, to killing them off with regularity, including three in OT on this trip. (The power play? That’s another story…..But hey, room for improvement, right?)
And what more can be said about the Ducks goaltender Viktor Fasth? The super Swede is 8-0 in his first eight starts, including four shootout wins. And after stepping in for the injured Jonas Hiller on February 8 in Dallas, he played both back-to-back sets. Ducks fans know it’s been a very long time since this team has had a netminder who is strong in back-to-back contests AND in the shootout.
Why are they winning? I could point to contributions up and down the bench, which is the way it should be if a team wants to win on a regular basis, but I place a large amount of the success this team is experiencing on the one who is standing behind the bench. Head coach Bruce Boudreau believes in this team. And he’s got them believing in themselves. Every game, no matter who they are playing, no matter the score, they believe they can win. Don’t ever underestimate the powerful things people can do when they have someone who believes in them.
This team may not even be playing their best hockey yet. For a season that took so long to get here, the Anaheim Ducks are sure making it worth the wait.
The Ducks are back in town, so don’t miss any of the action! Here’s the schedule of their upcoming home games, and some fun ways you can get connected.
Upcoming Home Schedule
Monday, February 18, 7:00 pm vs Columbus Blue Jackets Buy Tickets
Sunday, February 24, 5:00 pm vs Colorado Avalance Buy Tickets
Wednesday, February 27, 7:00 pm vs Nashville Predators Buy Tickets
Friday, March 1, 7:00 pm vs Minnesota Wild Buy Tickets
7th Annual Wild Wingers Kids Club/CHOC Kits for Kids Donation Drive
Donate this season’s awesome Wild Wingers Kids Club Kit to the inspiring kids at CHOC Children’s!
For every 2 or more kits donated, you will receive an autographed Anaheim Ducks photo.
For every 5 or more kits donated, you will automatically be entered into a drawing to win your very own 14-person suite to an Anaheim Ducks game.
For every 10 or more kits donated, you will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a Meet and Greet with Kids Club Captain Francois Beauchemin, a game used stick and 4 tickets to that game.
Receive a 20% percent discount on the price of the kits for every 4 or more donated ($20 instead of $25).
For more information and to donate a kit, visit anaheimducks.com/CHOC
Anaheim Ducks Foundation Puck Wall
The Ducks are offering a unique way for fans to make their mark in the brand new Team Store that will be opening later this year at Honda Center as a part of the arena’s Grand Terrace Project.
Through Sunday, March 10, for a $100 donation, fans and supporters can customize a limited-edition silver-plated puck that will be located permanently within the new Team Store. There are three design options available and the pucks can be customized with personalized messages. All proceeds from the Puck Wall will benefit the Anaheim Ducks Foundation.
For more information and to order your personalized puck, visit anaheimducks.com/puckwall
02/14/2013 11:18 am
It’s been one year.
One year since my younger daughter pulled her brand new jersey over her head, laced up her first pair of skates and joined her Mini-Mite team on the ice.
As I reflect back on the past 12 months, I’m overwhelmed with pride at what she has accomplished.
She went from crawling out on the ice on her hands and knees, unsure of herself, to flying across the ice without fear.
She’s learning the game. She passes the puck, something that is not too common for six-year-olds I’ve noticed, and tries to position herself at the front of the net to receive a pass from her teammate.
She worked hard at making the transition from Mini-Mite to Mite. The first time she played up with the bigger kids, I don’t think she touched the puck once. But she didn’t get discouraged. She kept at it. She skated harder. She pushed herself. And it paid off.
She grew four inches taller, forcing me to buy her a new stick. She thought that was cool. And although I still put most of her equipment on for her, she’s trying to learn to dress herself.
She went from being the only girl playing at her level, to being one of five. But this has never really mattered to her. Teammates are teammates, whether they are boys or girls.
Not wanting to miss a minute, she doesn’t like to be late to the rink. After getting dressed, she stands at the glass, patiently waiting her turn, intently watching the Zamboni cut the ice.
Sometimes she cries about having to get up early on a Saturday morning, weary from a full week of first grade. But somehow, stepping into the cold gives her energy.
As I watch her play, my body frozen to its core, she warms my heart by looking my way with a smile. She’s still young enough to want to look for mommy and daddy in the stands.
Most of all, she’s having fun and she’s developing a real love for the sport of hockey. When the NHL lockout ended, she was the first of my kids to ask me when we were going to a Ducks game. She couldn’t wait to get back to Honda Center and watch her favorite team play.
Sometimes I’ll turn on hockey games in the evening, even when the Ducks aren’t playing, and she’ll curl up on my lap to watch with me.
“Who are we rooting for Mommy?” she’ll ask.
“Who would you like to root for?” I’ll say. “The home team?”
“I like green, so let’s root for the green jerseys.”
She cheers her chosen team of the night on to victory, whether it’s the team in green, the team in black and gold, or the team with the webbed D on the front. And she thinks it’s a real treat if the game goes to a shootout.
She’s making the connection between what she’s seeing on television, or at the arena, and the sport she plays. And she’s taking pride in it, soaking up everything she can learn. As a parent, that’s all I can ask for.
Every time she steps off the ice, I say to her,
“You were great! Did you have fun?”
And every single time, she looks up at me, her face exhausted but happy, and says,
Do you have a child who would like to give ice hockey a try?
This weekend is USA Hockey’s “Hockey Weekend Across America”, and as part of the celebration, the Anaheim Ducks and the NHL are hosting “Try Hockey for Free Day” this Saturday, February 16 here locally at Westminster Ice, from 2:10-3:10pm. Children ages 4-9 will be provided with the equipment needed for a one-hour instruction session on hockey and skating basics. Click here to register or visit anaheimducks.com/tryhockeyforfree
02/01/2013 7:56 am
Last week before the Anaheim Ducks came home to Honda Center for this season’s Opening Night, some very talented SoCal high school hockey players got the chance to skate on the same ice as their hockey heroes in the 2nd Annual Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League All-Star Game.
Varsity and JV rosters comprised of 72 of the top players in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League were rewarded for their standout performances this season by playing the sport they love on actual NHL ice.
What an amazing opportunity for these kids.
A part of the Anaheim Ducks G.O.A.L. program (Growth Outreach Awareness Locally), the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League (ADHSHL) was started in 2008 with one team from one school, the JSerra Catholic High School Ice Lions in San Juan Capistrano.
Now, the league boasts 14 teams from 12 schools that hail from all over Southern California. And the league, which hosts their games at Anaheim Ice, has their eye on continued growth each year. With support from the Anaheim Ducks, these kids not only get to play hockey, but get to represent their high school while doing it. That’s a great source of pride for these players, their families and their fellow students.
The JV game was up first, with the White Team defeating the Black Team by the score of 8-5. Los Alamitos High School’s Tripp Krenmuir scored a hat trick on the night, which earned him MVP honors.
In the Varsity contest, it was the Black Team that defeated the White Team, 5-2, with Corona del Mar High School’s Tyler Maloney taking home the award for MVP, tallying one goal and one assist.
With both MVPs coming from schools that are new to the league this year, I could tell by their words that Krenmuir and Maloney were grateful for the unique opportunity to be at Honda Center that night, representing their school and their teammates.
Beyond the two All-Star games, the night was packed with a full schedule of activities. Between periods, the All-Stars got to compete in skills competitions, including fastest skater and goaltender relays.
Also featured that night were the finals in the 3rd Annual Mini 1-on-1 Tournament. More than 155 shooters and goalies competed across the Squirt, PeeWee and Bantam divisions over the past few months at The Rinks locations. The finalists got to show off their skills to the fans at Honda Center. It was great to see these young kids compete with such confidence and poise.
And if that wasn’t enough action for one night, fans in attendance were also a part of the inaugural Battle of the Bands contest, where kids from high schools in the ADHSHL performed for the chance to win $1000. Votes for the four finalists were tallied through texting and at the end of the night, FIA, representing Huntington Beach High School, came away with the most votes and took home the top prize.
From the Battle of the Bands to the battle on the ice, each of the events spotlighted at Honda Center last week reinforced the impact the Anaheim Ducks and their G.O.A.L. program are having on the growth of youth hockey in Southern California. The quality programming is providing local kids the opportunity to learn, play and get connected with this great sport. And that is excellent news for SoCal hockey.
This past Tuesday night, the Ducks first round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Emerson Etem (selected 29th overall, from Long Beach, CA), took the ice in San Jose for his first NHL game. According to the Ducks, Etem is the 13th player in NHL history born and trained in Southern California to appear in an NHL game, with nine of those 13 coming in the last eight seasons (since 2005-06). And since the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, NHL clubs have selected 17 players from Southern California.
While many may always consider this area of surf and sand to be a “non-traditional” hockey market, the recent growth of the sport here and it’s impact on kids in our community cannot be denied. The 72 players who represented their high schools at Honda Center that night may not ever play on NHL ice again, but they should celebrate the fact that they are a part of a special movement here locally in their sport, fueled in large part by the commitment of the Anaheim Ducks.
California a hockey hotbed? Why not?
For more information on the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League and all of the great events provided through the Anaheim Ducks G.O.A.L. program, visit ducksgoal.com
01/28/2013 10:13 am
Those who attend Anaheim Ducks games with any regularity will tell you that there are some things about being at Honda Center for a game that just make the experience feel right.
Like seeing long time Ducks fans, the Tennis Balls, sit in their usual seats behind the goal at the west end of the lower bowl.
Or hearing Public Address Announcer Phil Hulett’s voice introduce the team and call the Anaheim Ducks goals.
And listening to singer Dawn Wright kick things off each night with her very recognizable and powerful rendition of our national anthem.
There’s comfort and familiarity in these things. Without them, the experience feels like it’s missing something. But when they are in place, it’s as if all is right in the hockey world.
While the puck may have dropped on the Anaheim Ducks season the previous Saturday, Friday night was Opening Night, when fans were able to welcome their team back to Honda Center, where things are familiar, and it feels like home.
Before the arena took on that emotional orange glow and the players were announced, I caught up with Dawn Wright as she prepared for her own long overdue return to the Honda Center ice.
I remember the first time I heard Dawn sing at a Ducks game. Introduced as “Dawn Wright from Tustin”, I immediately took note. As someone who shares her hometown, I felt a sort of connection with her. We Tustinites love our little city.
And I was blown away as she sang her unique version of The Star-Spangled Banner. It was absolutely flawless. The girl has some pipes. And I think it’s her version of our national anthem, combined with her stellar vocal skills and her bubbly enthusiasm that have made her a fan favorite at Honda Center.
“No, really?” Wright said when I suggested that those cheers she hears each time her name is announced are specifically for her.
“Oh, yes,” I replied. She was humbled at the thought.
Wright began singing when she joined the choir in junior high. She loved it, and realizing she had some talent, continued singing during her high school years, winning solos and performing in school musicals.
It was in 1994, as a 16-year old, that she got her first “big break” – the chance to sing the national anthem at an Angels game.
“At the time, my mom had a wallpaper hanging business,” recalled Wright. “One of her clients was the Angels radio announcer, (the late) Bob Starr.
“My mom asked him how I could get an opportunity to sing the national anthem at Angel Stadium, and he said all I needed to do was send in a recorded audition on a cassette tape.
“So I got out my boom box, plugged in the microphone, recorded myself singing the anthem acapella and sent it in.”
Soon she was standing near home plate at the Big A, using her big voice to belt out that big song.
In 1997, she got the chance to do the same at a Mighty Ducks game, and it was then that Wright was introduced to the sport of hockey.
“I love it,” said Wright with a big smile.
“You have to watch hockey live and take in the sights and the sounds. It’s about the whole experience, and now (my husband) Scott and I get to bring our six-year old daughter, Emma, to the games. She loves it too. It’s a privilege to be able to experience this as a family.”
Wright, who now resides in Corona and works part time for Orange County based High Society Wedding and Event Planning, keeps her approach to singing the American national anthem very deliberate.
“It’s not an easy song to sing and it’s an important song. I try to keep it moving at a good pace so fans can join in. I love it when they sing along. And no one likes it if it’s too slow.”
She feels that fans appreciate the fact that she doesn’t “mess around with the song” by adding too much of her own interpretation. But she’s made one small and memorable change.
“I think it was in 2003. I was practicing in the car while my dad drove me to Angel Stadium, and he suggested adding the modulation. I used it that day and have used it ever since.”
The modulation she added a decade ago, found at the end of the phrase, “Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there…”, makes her performance of the anthem unmistakably identifiable. And it never fails to stir up the emotions of the crowd.
A song with a long history of amazing and moving versions found alongside flawed, overdone and even annoying performances, Wright, a true performer, was hard pressed to recall a time where singing the anthem hasn’t gone well for her. Having performed this song hundreds of times, she has a simple but effective approach to her preparation each night.
“My family is a huge support to me. Before I go out to sing, they remind me to remember my intonation and to think of every performance as my first time out there. That’s how I keep my energy up each time. I don’t take any of this for granted.”
And after having to endure the NHL’s several month long lockout, Wright is definitely grateful to be back at Honda Center once again as the primary anthem singer, even if it is for a shortened season.
“I’m so glad Ducks hockey is back. I missed it, much more than I thought I would. I can’t wait to see Teemu and the boys back out on the ice.”
As I took my seat before the start of the Ducks home opener Friday night versus the Vancouver Canucks, I looked to my right and spotted the Tennis Balls, wearing those bright neon jackets of theirs, sitting in their usual seats behind the goal at the west end of the lower bowl.
Then I heard Phil Hulett’s smooth voice come over the arena speakers.
And for the first time this season, Dawn Wright made her way out onto the ice to the cheers of the Ducks faithful. With a smile on her face that lit up the arena, she belted out the Canadian and American national anthems.
She nailed them both, naturally, with a performance that might have been a little more emotional than usual.
Then the puck dropped.
And I smiled to myself.
Finally, all was right in the hockey world.
It felt good to be home.
01/24/2013 10:18 am
It’s finally here, Ducks fans!
Opening Night at Honda Center!
As someone who thought we probably wouldn’t see the puck drop here until next fall, I can’t wait to get out there and welcome our boys back.
According to the Anaheim Ducks, the game is sold out, but watch for last minute ticket releases.
And if you’re one of the lucky ones who has a ticket to Friday night’s contest against the Vancouver Canucks, there are some fun giveaways and activities planned throughout the afternoon and evening.
Miller Lite Home Opener Lounge
Beginning at 3:30pm outside the Honda Center north doors, The Miller Lite Lounge will be open to all fans. Get there early and stop by to enjoy some drinks and music before the game.
Player Red Carpet Arrival and Photo Booth
What better way to welcome the boys back home then by actually greeting them as they walk into Honda Center? Be at the north doors between 4:00 – 5:00pm as the Ducks arrive and interact with fans on their way into the arena.
All fans in attendance will find a commemorative Teemu Selanne #8 t-shirt on their seats when they arrive. Go ahead and show your Ducks spirit by wearing the shirt during the game. Teemu will think that’s fantastic.
Honda Motorcycle Giveaway
Fans who voted online for their favorite Ducks-designed motorcycle helmet are entered for a chance to win a Honda 2013 CRF250L Motorcycle and the winning helmet design. Three semi-finalists will be down on the ice during the second intermission as they announce the winner.
Giveaways All Night
The Ducks have various giveaways planned throughout the night, including a “Jersey off the Back” presentation for several super lucky fans.
“Surprise Puck” Sales
Friday night’s game marks the first of four “Surprise Puck” sales. The pucks will be available for purchase for $30 each at Section 212 starting at 5:30pm. Fans will choose a puck randomly and will either receive a Ducks player autographed commemorative puck OR 23 lucky fans will receive a surprise Ducks player autographed orange puck. Winners will get to meet the Ducks player who signed their winning orange puck. Awesome, right? Other “Surprise Puck” sale dates are February 27 vs. Nashville, March 22 vs. Detroit and April 27 vs. Phoenix (Fan Appreciation Night). All proceeds benefit the Anaheim Ducks Foundation.
Photo Contest on Instagram
Grab your smart phones and post photos celebrating the Ducks Opening Night festivities on Instagram with the hashtag #duckshomeopener to be entered for a chance to win a team autographed jersey.
And don’t forget to stop by the Anaheim Ducks Team Store, as they’ve stocked some new merchandise for this season.
Plan on getting there early, and be in your seat by 6:45pm for the opening and player introductions. Friday night traffic + rainy weather will make the travel and parking slow, so plan ahead. So much going on, you won’t want to miss a minute of it!
Drop the Puck! Go Ducks!!
01/22/2013 6:40 am
It was standing room only at Buffalo Wild Wings in Orange on Saturday night.
A capacity crowd, well over 500 Ducks fans showed up to watch the puck drop on the Anaheim Ducks season.
And what a game it was, which saw the good guys scoring seven times, including two from newcomer Daniel Winnik and two from not-so-old timer and face of the franchise, Teemu Selanne, for a 7-3 victory over the Canucks in Vancouver.
After season upon season of slow starts, this win was exactly the kind of start the Ducks needed. The victory gave the fans plenty to cheer about and along with the Ducks 5-4 win over Calgary Monday night, I can sense there is some hope that maybe, just maybe, things will go different this time.
I stopped by the watch party, not only to watch the Ducks kick off the season but to chat with the hosts, the Anaheim Ducks Die Hards Booster Club. The newly formed Advisory Committee was busy all night, welcoming fans and selling memberships.
And let me just say, y’all thought this season’s Wild Wingers Kids Club kit was awesome? Wait until you see what a Die Hards membership will get you:
• Die Hards Hooded Sweatshirt (sizes: M,L,XL,XXL)
• Teemu Selanne Limited Edition Bobblehead. (Each one is individually numbered, e.g. 1 of 725)
• Die Hards Duffel Bag
• Die Hards Flag
• Die Hards Custom Coffee Mug
• One (1) FREE Coffee voucher to be used during a Ducks game at Honda Center
All of these great items valued at over $400 are available now for only $45. And as a bonus, if you sign up before Monday, January 28, you will only pay $40.
It goes without saying that my favorite item in this season’s kit is the Teemu Bobblehead. I’m not sure it looks much like Teemu. The Flash himself thinks it more resembles Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler. But that’s the quirky charm of bobbleheads, right? They hardly ever look like the player they’re supposed to represent. And fans spend a bunch of time analyzing it and trying to figure out who it does look like. But in the end, it’s still a must-have. And since this Teemu Bobblehead is a limited edition item, you can only purchase it by becoming a Die Hards member. How can you pass that up?
Just like with the Wild Wingers Kids Club program, a Die Hards membership gets you much more than just items in a bag.
• The group will be hosting more watch parties throughout the season at Buffalo Wild Wings (see tentative schedule below).
• They have developed a new Volunteer Incentive Program (V.I.P.) for members that allows them to serve at the Die Hards booth at Honda Center during games, at watch parties and other events, and earn points toward receiving autographed Ducks memorabilia.
• A road trip to the Saturday, March 2, 2013 game against the Phoenix Coyotes is being planned. (more information will be available soon)
• Volunteer opportunities are available to come alongside the Ducks and support our local community. This is by far one of my favorite aspects of the group. You can join them in serving at places like the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County and CHOC Children’s all year long. I joined the group last fall for the 2012 CHOC Walk and had a blast.
• They are continuing with their “Puck for a Buck” program, which allows fans to purchase a $1 raffle ticket at the Die Hards booth during home games for a chance to win a Ducks autographed puck. All proceeds go to the Anaheim Ducks Foundation.
As I spoke with the Advisory Committee, you couldn’t miss their excitement to have Ducks hockey back and to be able to bring in new members again.
“This is the best way for fans to support the Ducks in their play and their efforts locally as seen through the Anaheim Ducks Foundation,” said Terri Ticer, this season’s Events/Volunteer Liason.
Even with the shortened season, I think this is a fantastic program that you won’t want to miss being a part of this year. Besides all the great membership items you will receive, I believe there’s something unique and energizing about connecting with fellow Ducks fans, both at games and in service to our community. If what I saw at Saturday’s watch party is any indication of what the season holds, it’s going to be a fun ride.
Sign up for membership today by clicking here. Or stop by the Die Hards counter outside of Section 214 on the concourse level at Honda Center during any upcoming Ducks home game.
You can enter for a chance to win a membership right here on the blog! The Anaheim Ducks have been generous enough to give me one (1) Ducks Die Hards Membership to give away. Just enter a comment below and share what you are most excited about now that Ducks hockey is back. The giveaway will remain open until 3:00pm Friday, January 25, 2013. Winners will be selected using random.org.
Anaheim Ducks Die Hards 2012/13 Advisory Committee
Anne Marie Hull – Game Day Event Coordinator
Jennie Schueller – Treasurer
Terri Ticer – Events/Volunteer Liason
Karen Sheffield – V.I.P. Liason
Watch Party Schedule at Buffalo Wild Wings in Orange (tentative)
Monday, 7:30pm February 25, 2013 vs. Los Angeles
Tuesday, 5:00pm March 12, 2013 vs. Minnesota
Saturday, 8:00pm April 13, 2013 vs. Los Angeles
Monday, 7:30pm April 22, 2013 vs. Edmonton
Be sure to visit the Die Hards new website and “like” them on Facebook
Good luck and Go Ducks!!
This giveaway is now closed.
Congratulations to Frank! And thank you to all who entered!
01/17/2013 11:44 pm
I wasn’t the only one in my house who missed Ducks hockey over these past few months.
So did my kids.
And when I told them on Monday that I was going to watch the Ducks practice, my younger daughter’s face lit up.
“Are they done fighting about the money?” she asked, with hope in her voice.
“They are,” I said. “And you know what? They did exactly what you suggested and split the money in half.”
She smiled, proud to have come up with that idea.
So their next question was when could they watch the Ducks play. While we may have to wait an extra week for the boys to come home from their start on the road, you don’t have to wait to get your kids ready for this season of Ducks hockey.
Wild Wingers Kids Club is back, captained by Ducks defenseman, Francois Beauchemin, and this year’s kit has some fantastic, creative new items that you won’t want you or your kids to miss.
I kept my kids in suspense a bit, making them wait to see what was in the box (which is half the size of boxes used in previous years) by showing them each item one at a time.
I started with the items they know and love, like the calendar and the t-shirt. And then I brought out a new item, the Ducks pillowcase, which they thought was “the best”….until, they saw the “Beauch Buds” ear buds. Awesome!!
Also included is a free ticket voucher for a Ducks home game, discounts to local businesses and attractions, monthly prizes, and access to both an exclusive party at Boomers! Irvine and the End of the Year party at Knott’s Berry Farm, where Captain Beauch and other Ducks players will be on hand for an autograph session.
Here’s a complete list of the items included, an over $300 value for only $25:
• One (1) FREE ticket voucher to a select 2012-13 Anaheim Ducks Home Game. Voucher can be used as credit towards any seat with the TICKET UPGRADE OPTION!
• Francois Beauchemin Jersey T-Shirt
• Anaheim Ducks Pillow Case
• Anaheim Ducks Beauch-Buds Ear Buds
• Official Anaheim Ducks Customizable Locker Room Sign
• Wild Wingers Kids Club 12-Month Wall Calendar
• Free Hot Dog and Drink for One (1) Ducks Home Game
• Invitation to the Wild Wingers Kids Club VIP Party at Boomers! Irvine
• Invitation to the annual Wild Wingers Kids Club End of the Year party at Knott’s Berry Farm, featuring an autograph session with Kids Club Captain Francois Beauchemin, Wild Wing, and several other Anaheim Ducks players!
• Wild Wingers Kids Club membership benefits to Knott’s Berry Farm, Boomers! Irvine, Soak City, SpeedZone and more!
I love the fun items in this year’s kit almost as much as my kids do. Don’t think I won’t be using those ear buds. And what I like about the choice of Beauchemin as this season’s Captain is that they’re not only spotlighting the fact that he’s a Ducks veteran blueliner, but that he’s a dad. These photos with his son are off-the-charts cute, don’t you think? I still feel the Ducks are the best at providing a cost effective way for kids to get engaged with the great sport of hockey. And for all the items and experiences that are included, you can’t beat the price.
With the season about ready to kick-off, you can sign your kids up for membership today by clicking here. Or stop by the Wild Wingers Kids Club counter on the concourse level at Honda Center during any upcoming Ducks home game.
You can enter for a chance to win a membership right here on the blog! The Anaheim Ducks have been generous enough to give me two (2) Kids Club memberships to give away. Just enter a comment below and share what item in this season’s Kids Club kit you or your kids are most excited about. The giveaway will remain open until 9:00pm January 21, 2013. Winners will be selected using random.org.
Good luck and Go Ducks!!
This giveaway is now closed.
Congratulations to Tony and Bernadette!!
Thank you all for entering!