5 Random Leafs thoughts to close out March

It’s the end of March. The weather is getting nicer, baseball is back, and in a normal year we’d be in the final days of the regular season and gearing up for the playoffs right now. Instead here we are still trapped in the pre trade deadline world, where my LeafsPR twitter notifications are keeping me on top of Scott Sabourin’s movements more than providing me with much in the way of trade news. C’est la vie. At this point we can probably assume that something will happen, and there are less than two weeks left for that to happen. The Leafs play tonight, as far as we know there haven’t been any mysterious scratches from the lineup, so we’ll wait another day for a trade. Here are a few stray thoughts to consider heading into April.

1. Would a powerplay point shot change things for the Leafs?

It’s no secret the Leafs powerplay has suffered of late, and to the credit of Sheldon Keefe, after Leafs fans calling for it all year, he’s finally getting around to loading up the first unit and putting Nylander, Marner, Matthews, and Tavares on the ice at the same time. Cool. That should definitely be an improvement, but with Morgan Rielly as the defenseman out there with them, I’m left wondering if the lack of heavy point shot is the biggest problem for the Leafs powerplay?

Rielly does a lot of things well offensively, but he does not have an intimidating point shot. Neither did Tyson Barrie for that matter last season. The last great first unit powerplay point shot belonged to Jake Gardiner, and frankly I think it’s something that needs to come back, and if not on the top unit, can we at least see it on the second unit?

With the Leafs letting Mikko Lehtonen go, the only resident heavy shooter from the blueline is Jake Muzzin, a guy that is already doing a lot of heavy lifting 5v5 and on the penalty kill, putting him out on the powerplay might be a bit much, but it’s also an experiment worth considering. With the second unit being loaded up with net presence guys, Hyman and Simmonds, he could be an interesting fit there, although technically they could rely on Jason Spezza for that shot as well. I guess what I’m saying is that I’d be curious to see either Muzzin or Spezza on the top unit.

2. Wayne Simmonds hasn’t been the same since being back from his injury

The Leafs seem to be dealing a more cautious version of Wayne Simmonds which isn’t ideal, and really isn’t ideal when they’ve been trying to make him a top six forward at times. Given the fact that the cap situation really won’t allow for Simmonds to be scratched at all and Simmonds really only plays around 11 minutes a night, there isn’t an opportunity for dialing him back further, but if the opportunity presents to reassess his injury, it might be worth it.

Simmonds had a big first game back from his injury where he picked up an assist and through six hits against Calgary. In the four games since, Simmonds has zero points, has thrown just two hits in those four games, and is only averaging a shot per game.

While this isn’t major, it’s something to keep an eye on.

3. Maybe it’s the line

Zach Hyman has rightfully be recalled to focus on his top six duties as of late, and as such the HEM line is no more. Now I guess it’s  either the SEM line or the EMS line, depending on how you look at it with Simmonds joining Pierre Engvall and Ilya Mikheyev.

Even before his injury Simmonds wasn’t dynamic enough to be a suitable replacement for Hyman to keep that line afloat, so maybe it’s time to break them up. Mikheyev has the speed to compliment Joe Thornton and Jason Spezza, and give them some added defensive responsibility, and Engvall playing with Alexander Kerfoot and Simmonds seems like it has the potential of being enough of a pain in the ass checking line that will slow the opposition down, but still be a blackhole for generating any offense for the Leafs.

4. Scott Laughton needs to be a Leafs deadline target

There are a collection of role players around the NHL that I love, and Scott Laughton as a potential third line center or winger is definitely one of them. The pending UFA recently made the TSN Trade Bait Board list at 16th overall on the strength of the Flyers seeing their goaltending situation implode this year. Laughton’s 17 points in 31 games certainly speaks to the fact that he can be a complimentary offensive player, as well as a defensive contributor, but his 92 hits this season might speak more to what Toronto could use to diversify it’s style of play amongst the forward group. Priced at $2.3M the Leafs might not even need to ask the Flyers to retain much in the way of salary to bring him in, but if they did that would certainly leave Toronto with even more flexibility down the stretch to improve in other areas. As for what he’d cost, well, I have no idea, but I’d imagine the Leafs would be able to escape with their four top prospects still in the organization.

5. Strength of the reserve list

With the return of Simmonds, and Alex Galchenyuk looking like he belongs on the Leafs, it seems like things have gone pretty quiet for taxi squad movement onto the Leafs roster, but it raises an important question about what the organizational depth situation will look like heading into the playoffs. With the Leafs presumably adding at the trade deadline it’s entirely possible that some of the current roster players will find their way onto the taxi squad to make way for shiny new things, and assuming they clear waivers, that depth will be great for the Leafs.

Now if those roster players don’t clear waivers, or the Leafs don’t add to their lineup, it’s worth taking a look at what depth the Leafs have at each position.

On defense, Martin Marincin, Calle Rosén, Timothy Liljegren, Teemu Kivihalme, and possibly healthy Rasmus Sandin make for promising depth and really other than adding a physical option to that group the Leafs seem to have their bases covered as best they can.

On forward it’s a bit shakier. Nic Petan has shown promise at time, and Alexander Barabanov could be a suitable bottom six spark plug. If Nick Robertson is healed up he’s certainly an exciting option, but along with players like Adam Brooks, Kenny Agostino, Joey Anderson, and Denis Malgin, the Leafs would presumably be trying to fit bigger question marks into their lineup, and again without really having a physical option beyond the feistiness of Anderson or putting in a true enforcer like Sabourin.

It will be interesting to see if the Leafs do anything in regards to their depth in next couple of weeks as well. While it may not be a priority, having some options that could be switched in and out of the lineup based on the style of play of their opponent might be helpful. Jimmy Vesey or Travis Boyd were huge losses for the Leafs, but when it comes to the forward depth situation, it’s possible we might miss them down the stretch and into the playoffs.

As always, let us know your thoughts. Is Laughton a fit for the Leafs? Have I been too harsh on Simmonds? Tell us what you think in the comments.

What I Like About Big Man Logan Stanley

Saturday night with 13:41 left in the second period, Logan Stanley scored his first-ever NHL goal against the Calgary Flames. Congratulations to the big man for getting his first goal and honestly, what I would say would be a successful first season in the NHL.

The guy isn’t going to win the Calder Trophy, but he’s a solid third-pairing defenseman. He won’t put up points, but he will throw a big hit, block some shots and will be a big presence when there’s a scrum around the net. We should also mention how great of a smile he has and when he shows it off on the ice it brings a smile to my face. Look at that smile in the photo we’ve got for him.

I think he’s sort of replaced Dustin Byfuglien. I know there are tons of obvious differences and that phrase could get me run out of Manitoba. What I mean by it is he’s got a presence in the back end where he can calm things down, not because he’s angry or mean but because he’s so big that guys generally don’t want to mess with him. How many times have we watched someone try to hit Stanley and they just fall down because he’s just too big.

He might not be the best fighter out there, but he’ll scrap and stand-up for his teammates. Last season while playing for the Manitoba Moose, Stanley got into four fights and stood up for his teammates and himself. If you want a winning team, you NEED to have a guy like what who’s out there and policing the game, that’s what Byfuglien did. Everyone wants Byfuglien back, well here’s a guy who can do some of the same things but also bring some other attributes to the game. Again, Stanley is an NHL rookie with tons of potential and he won’t be Byfuglien, but he’s filled a role that needed to be filled.

Stanley only averages 12:22 of ice time per game, but he’s noticeable when he’s on the ice. Sometimes that’s a good thing, other times not so much. Sometimes he looks like he owns the ice and other times he looks very uncomfortable. That’s fine because he’s a rookie defenseman, he’s going to grow, get better and start taking up more ice time and learn how to take up more of the ice with his big 6′ 7″, 225-pound frame. He could be a solid shutdown defenseman, that will come in time as he gains confidence. To be noticeable early in your career is a good place to be, especially as a defenseman.

The last thing I love about the big man is his passing, he makes these long-ice passes to get the puck out of the defensive zone and sometimes that can turn into scoring chances. I know the plus-minus is pretty much a useless stat, but the guy is a +11 with only two points. So he has to be doing something right. Even if those passes aren’t turning into points, he’s doing a good job defending and doing the right things that get the Jets points in the standings.

So long story short, I like Stanley’s presence on the ice and the fact he can help police the game. Even if he’s not the best fighter, I like that he’s noticeable on the ice even when he looks uncomfortable and his passing game is solid as a rookie, and he’s got that good smile. He won’t have a ton of points, but he will be a core piece in whatever NHL team he plays for, hopefully with the Jets for a long time.

Let me know in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter or Instagram if I’m spot on with my thoughts on Stanley or if I’m way off.

FGD 38 Working late in Vancouver 830pm MT, SN West

For the seventh time this season, the Calgary Flames (16-18-3, 35 points) are playing one of their most bitter rivals, the Vancouver Canucks (16-18-3, 35 points). The Flames have slid down the standings since these teams last met, and now they’re tied in the standings with identical records. Neither team has realistic playoff ambitions, but the Canucks and Flames would probably be equally satisfied tanking each others’ dwindling post-season hopes. That’s the fun of a long-standing rivalry: it doesn’t take much to make 60 minutes of hockey a success.

The puck drops just after 8:30 p.m. MT and you can catch the action on Sportsnet West (and the national feed) or on Sportsnet 960 The Fan. It’s the latest start of the year, so put on some coffee!

For a view from the other side, visit the fine folks over at Canucks Army!

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Tkachuk – Lindholm – Mangiapane
Gaudreau – Monahan – Ritchie
Lucic – Backlund – Bennett
Nordstrom – Ryan- Dube

Giordano – Valimaki
Hanifin – Tanev
Nesterov – Stone

Jacob Markstrom is tonight’s starter, backed up by David Rittich. With Dillon Dube slotting back into the lineup, Josh Leivo joins Juuso Valimaki as the projected scratch. The taxi squad is Louis Domingue, Oliver Kylington, Alex Petrovic, Buddy Robinson, Zac Rinaldo and Dominik Simon. Chris Tanev missed practice yesterday but is expected to play.

The Flames are 5-6-0 through 11 games under Darryl Sutter. They seemed energized, structured and executed well in his first few games, but their execution has become a bit spotty of late and they’ve also become fairly unlucky as they’ve gotten a bit sloppier – they make a handful of mistakes with puck management per game, but they all seem to end up in their net.

The remainder of the season will likely be all about building habits and structures for next season – similar to how Sutter used the tail-end of 2002-03 – so the little things will be pretty big as the new bench boss seeks to cement his core pieces heading into next season.

The Canucks

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Hoglander – Horvat – Boeser
Vesey – Miller – Virtanen
Motte – Sutter – Boyd
Roussel – Graovac – Hawryluk

Edler – Schmidt
Hughes – Hamonic
Benn – Myers

Thatcher Demko starts for the Canucks, backed up by Braden Holtby. The Canucks are going to be without Adam Gaudette (due to a COVID-19 positive test) and waiver claim Travis Boyd looks to be rotating in. The projected extras look to be Jalen Chatfield, Marc Michaelis and Zack MacEwen. Their taxi squad is Michael DiPietro, Olli Juolevi, Ashton Sautner, Brogan Rafferty, Loui Eriksson and Tyler Graovac (who probably gets activated today).

The Canucks have been off for the better part of a week, enjoying some time off after a hectic schedule to this point. The big questions are how healthy they are – even independent of Gaudette’s COVID status and those implications – and how rusty they could be after a long layoff. Either way, the Canucks are a young, fast, skilled team and they’ll be a tough night at the office for a Flames group that does not score that much lately.

The numbers

Calgary Vancouver
Wins 16 16
Points (%) 35 (.473) 35 (.473)
Adjusted Corsi For 51.4% 46.6%
Expected Goals 51.7% 47.1%
Power Play 20.5% 19.8%
Penalty Kill 80.8% 78.6%

The drive to 65

If you peruse most standings projections, it becomes apparent that 65 points probably gets you into the playoffs. That’s a 32-23-1 record, or thereabouts, or a .580 points percentage.

The Flames have an 16-18-3 record, 35 points, and a .473 points percentage. They need 30 more points to punch their ticket to the post-season, the equivalent of a .789 points percentage over the remaining 19 games.

Unfit to play report

The Flames are healthy.

The Canucks are without Justin Bailey, Micheal Ferland, Elias Pettersson, Jay Beagle and Tanner Pearson. Adam Gaudette is on the COVID-19 protocol list after a positive test.

When last we met

The Flames have won four of six games against Vancouver this season. Their last meeting was a 5-1 loss back on Feb. 17 where the Flames didn’t look particularly great.

Know thy enemy

Your recommended Twitter follows for tonight’s contest:

WWYDW What are you still looking forward to as the Canucks close out the season

Hello, and welcome back to WWYDW, the only hockey column on the internet to ever have the phrase “Clobberin’ time!” removed from their headline by an editor.

If there’s one creepy-crawly that won’t be biting the Vancouver Canucks in 2021, it’s the playoff bug. Two blowout losses to the Winnipeg Jets have made it clear to all but the most blue-sky fans that the Canucks are going to miss out on the postseason, and that’s obviously led to some discontent.

To keep things on the up-and-up, however, we’d like to shift focus from the playoffs to those other things a fan might look forward to as the 2021 season nears its conclusion. If you’re reading this column, chances are you’re enough of a diehard to watch every remaining game anyway, so what’s the harm in having something to cheer for that isn’t a chance at the Stanley Cup?

Whether it be trade deadline deals, the emergence of even more young talent, or Thatcher Demko keeping his name in the Vezina hunt, there are still plenty of positive storylines at play as the Canucks play their final dozen-and-a-half games.

Which will you be utilizing to keep your spirits up from here on out?

This week, we’re asking you:

What are you still looking forward to over the “stretch run” of the 2021 season?

Last week, we asked:

Do you believe that the Canucks will make the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs?

(And if your opinion has changed on this, how so?)

And, yeah, given that it dropped right after that 5-1 loss, our timing was pretty off on this one.

Your understandably sarcastic and embittered responses are below!

Kanucked:

They have a seven-game road trip in early April which includes a back-to-back and travel between two different cities. Not an easy way to get back into a playoff race. I can understand any fan hoping that they get back into it. Not reasonable for anybody in management or ownership to think that way. Maximize assets!

JDMay101:

Haaaahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…

*deep breath*

…Baaahahahahahahahahahahaha!

GBMoneymatters:

Think Canucks will make the playoffs? That delusion/dream faded a long time ago. The only chance was to sweep Montreal. They didn’t. Dug too deep a hole at the start of the year. Time to jettison expiring contracts for picks (I don’t care which picks). It’s about asset management.

speering major:

I feel like this is some sort of test and if you answer wrong, someone will step in to appoint power of attorney.

It’s hard to describe how far in the rearview dreams of the 2021 playoffs are.

Ragnarok Ouroboros:

No, the Canucks will not make the playoffs this year. There are several factors that show this is not their year:

  • If you look at the Corsi charts for the last 15 games, you realize the Canucks were on the wrong side of those charts.
  • The Canucks are outshot most games and they have been the beneficiary of outstanding goaltending by Demko who stole several games. Relying on Demko is not sustainable/
  • The Canucks lost 1/3 of their top-six forwards to injury (Petterson and Pearson). Add to that all the other injuries they have incurred lately you realize that the wins are not sustainable.
  • The North Division seems to have some of the best goalies in the league such as Hellebuyck, Price, and Markstrom. These goalies are all capable of stealing games themselves. Just look at Wednesday night’s game where the Canucks outplayed Winnipeg but lost 5-1.
  • Virtanen is just a passenger on the team. He has only four points on the season. He is a turnover machine in his own end, and when he brings the puck into the opponent’s zone, he just circles the net and either loses the puck or passes it to the point-man. I look forward to him being traded.
  • Brady Holtby has been a complete failure. He is letting in at least four goals every game, and no team can win with that kind of goaltending.
  • The NHL schedule is very unfavorable to the Canucks. They started the year playing a game basically every second day for 16 games, and the Canucks could not compete against the more rested teams. The Canucks have played more games than any other team in the league. The also just finished another stretch of games where they played at least every second night. The Canucks were at a disadvantage from the start and it is reflected in the standings.
  • Bad contracts really hurt the Canucks this year. They lost Toffoli, Markstrom, and Tanev all because of the bad contracts the team holds. This was made worse by the impacts of Covid on the Cap Space, causing the Canucks to be really constrained in what they could do.

They won’t make the playoffs this year, but they will be a better team next year.

North Van Halen:

Yes, Virginia, I believe in Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, and the Great Pumpkin.

At this point, all of those are much more probable than a Canucks playoff run.

wojohowitz:

The sad truth is Benning does not have the acumen to build a contender. The deluded take solace in having another four or five top-ten draft picks – like perennial losing has an upside.

Kanuckhotep:

Ten days to two weeks ago, the aspirations of making the playoffs looked somewhat believable. The cards they’ve been dealt this season strongly suggests a different outcome and early trips to the golf course. The team is too injured and the great youth core too young to make a season of it now. More irritating than that is ominous Covid and its impact on the whole world, hockey included. I realize they have to play, but it looks stupid. Can’t have another season like this one regardless of the Canucks being a good team or not.

J-Canuck:

I thought there was a possibility given Demko’s run. We saw that in the bubble last year, but OT loss to MTL and back-to-back to the Jets puts it away.

In the last two unconventional seasons, the Canucks got good luck and bad luck. Last year the shutdown came as Tanev and Markey went down and the break allowed them to heal. The Canucks went on a playoff run that was very memorable. This year, the compressed schedule, player changes and injuries took their toll.

Fred-65:

Watching last night’s game (man, there’s not a lot of alternatives on TV LOL) I was surprised when Green pulled Demko with 5:30 left in the game. That IMHO said one thing, desperation: he knew they needed points to make the playoffs and put all his chips on red. It failed, so here we are.

Jimbo start making your deals and try … please … try to keep the cap in your mind. We don’t want other teams’ leftovers, we want draft picks, because, after all, that is supposed to be your strength…

Too low to compete and not bad enough to get a high pick. I think the current hot word is vanilla, we’re going to be vanilla. LOL.

Kootenaydude:

After the first month, the only people talking playoffs was the local media. I stand by my original comment at the beginning of the season. Canucks just miss the playoffs and get some Lotto Luck!!

Defenceman Factory:

No, the Canucks will not make the playoffs.

This is not a big change from how I answered this question after the first game of the season. It was known the team had underlying issues and would be hard pressed to make the playoffs had the season gone well. The season has not gone well. The problems with the team are structural, and cannot be band-aided over with marginal upgrades to the bottom-six.

The Canucks have enough key pieces to become a serious playoff team. The question now is, do they patiently look to further draft and develop, or do they move out expendable assets and add the necessary pieces through trade and UFAs? Given a two-year window for the expiration of large veteran contracts, I expect more trading of picks and prospects.

TheRealPB:

I think there’s probably still a realistic chance of them making the playoffs only because the Flames and Canadiens are inconsistent (mostly garbage), just like us. Even with games in hand, I think it’ll come down to a coin-flip between the three to make the last spot. Actually, I think the North in general is weak; TO is far worse than advertised, I’ll never believe in the Oilers, and I think Winnipeg is better, but they’ve also had some down days. I think the story changes if any of those top three add what they need (depth forwards, better F, better goaltending depth) and then the separation from the bottom teams becomes more pronounced. If the Canucks sneak into the playoffs, they might eke out a win or two, but it’s hard not to see them getting crushed. For the long-term health of the team (especially translating vets into futures) you’d have to hope we aren’t still a point or two out at the end of this layoff.

Darren C:

No!

SkateJimmy!:

My concern, one I think others share, is that we squeak in and then go out early. Management will describe that as an invaluable learning experience for the young core, but of course it’ll mean a lower draft pick. And the mediocrity gets perpetuated as a bubble team. My response to management would be “isn’t actually contending for the Stanley Cup the REAL experience you want for the players?” The fact that GMJB says we’re two years away is precisely because management has fooled itself for years in thinking the team is close and can be turned around in a hurry. Please someone do an interview with a Cup-winning GM who looks into the camera and says it got done in a hurry.

Murzyn:

No, I don’t think the Canucks will qualify for the postseason: too big a hole to start off from and not enough games against the Senators…

Cageyvet:

I’d be slightly less surprised to see Santa Claus come down my chimney. We were going to have to continue at a 7-out-of-9 pace and that’s just not going to happen.

TheRealRusty:

Time to spin the draft lottery simulator.

Chris the Curmudgeon:

(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)

No, we will not make the playoffs. It is simply too difficult to make up ground when always playing teams in your own division, especially when dealing with significant injuries and in an era with so many three-point games. It is the losing record against Montreal that will have done us in at the end. It is pretty clear that the Leaves, Oilers, and Jets are the three best teams in the div, and we are all but statistically blocked from finishing ahead of any of them. Conversely, I firmly believe we are a better team than either of Calgary or Ottawa. For us, the race is for fourth and is thus with the Canadiens, clearly the weakest team currently on track for the playoffs in the North. However, we have no games left to make up ground on them, have left too many points on the table in our head-to-heads, and Montreal has six(!) games in hand. Too high a hill at this point.

LiborPolasek:

For this year, the pretend playoff push is over…

Beer Can Boyd:

No.

Women of Oilersnation Allison Bullock

Today is Trans Day of Visibility and I’m excited that I get to share the story of Allison Bullock, a transgender woman, advocate and mentor, and Oilers fan.

If you missed last week’s feature, we met the woman behind Oil Doodles, Wendy Lam!

 

Women of Oilersnation

 

I’ve been following Allie for a while now on social media and have been patiently waiting to watch a game and/or hit the golf course with her (thanks, Covid). Allie uses her social media to empower the trans community and educate others on how they can be better allies, with plenty of Oilers tweets in between, of course. Her willingness to be herself in a world that isn’t always kind is inspiring, empowering, and simply incredible. I continue to be inspired by Allie day after day, and I hope you will now, too.

Getting to hear Allison’s story and share it is an honour—let’s meet this incredible woman!

Women of Oilersnation

MEET ALLISON BULLOCK

KYLA: Who is Allison?

ALLISON: My name is Allison Katherine Bullock. I’m 49 and an openly Transgender woman. I’m a lifelong Oiler fan having grown up in Edmonton and Fort McMurray.

What’s your day job?

I’m a Bodily Injury Adjuster (don’t judge!).

What are your passions?

I am passionate about authenticity, Transgender rights, and the LGTBQ community. I’m also passionate about living life with love, passion and joy. While I enjoy sports, and the Oilers specifically, I do not live and die by their success. 

What is something interesting about you that not many people know?

The obvious answer is that I wasn’t always who I am now… but I have never been shy about talking about that! I’ve always been pretty open about who I am and who I am becoming. I don’t think many people know that I mentor Transgender youth and parents of Transgender children in how to navigate life in today’s society. 

There may be a few people reading this article who may just be finding out the interesting fact that I am no longer the person they knew. Uh, sorry? Lol!

KYLA: How did you get into hockey and what role has it played in your life?

ALLISON: I played hockey in my pre-transition life from a very young age until midget. Even into adulthood I played ball hockey. I would like to think I was reasonably good at it 😊

Hockey played many roles in my life, often conflicting roles too… I enjoyed playing hockey for the sheer enjoyment and athleticism. Hockey was also important because it gave me a way to hide from who I really was, as I was nowhere close to being able to accept the truth of it. At the same time, hockey also gave me the knowledge that I was different from all the other players… it was a complicated relationship!

KYLA: There is a phrase, “Hockey is for everyone” that we hear around the hockey world, but there’s a large gap between this statement and what actually goes on in the hockey world to truly make hockey for everyone. As a transgender woman, what has your experience been in the hockey community? Have you faced any hardships or had any really positive experiences?

ALLISON: You are very right. There is a giant disconnect between that phrase and what the current situation is. The more appropriate term should be “Hockey watching is for everyone, as long as you keep your opinions to yourself”. Maybe some with think this is harsh, and I am sure there will be more than one “Not all hockey people” comment, but it’s the honest truth. There is still a long way for the sport to come before we can truly say it is for everyone. Just look at the comments surrounding Cassie Campbell or any of the women doing commentary on hockey broadcasts. We haven’t even touched the issue of diversity and the experiences of Akim Aliu and K’Andre Miller. I can tell you that I had been in many dressing rooms in my pre-transition life and heard all sorts of racist and misogynistic commentary. 

Since I have transitioned my experiences around hockey have been mostly excellent. I should clarify that to say hockey fandom instead of hockey as I haven’t laced up skates and played since I revealed my “authentic self” to the world. Playing team sports as a transgender woman is a whole different battle that I haven’t had the energy to tackle as of yet. I guess that statement right there proves my point that there is a long way to go regarding acceptance and “being for everyone”.

What I can tell you is that the hockey fandom, and Oilers twitter specifically, has been very good to me. I have met most of my closest friends through it and my life would not be near as amazing as it is right now without it. Yes, I do get the odd transphobic and/or misogynistic comment (find me a woman who hasn’t) but the funny thing about the keyboard warriors is that they would never say that to my face. In any of the watch parties or meetups I have been to I have never been treated with anything but the utmost care and respect.

I can remember setting up a last minute watch party to last years BOA rematch after Kassian/Tkachuk round 1 and having more than 30 people show up! My favourite moment was a couple of random guys coming up to me and asking if I was @alliebeefree and how cool it was to meet me and how much they respect me for living authentically! These were 2 “good old hockey boys” and they didn’t give a damn that I was Transgender… if anything, it made them like me even more. (I’m sorry I can’t remember your names, but if you are reading it you know who you are and thank you, you made my night!).

Women of Oilersnation

KYLA: In her feature, Jen Wrobel shared that the first Oilers Girls Night was your debut party and that night raised over $2100 for You Can Play Canada. What did that night mean to you?

ALLISON: OMG. It meant the world to me! First of all… Jen and her sister Krista are forces of nature! When those women want something done, you just get out of the way and watch with amazement! The third member of the triumvirate, Lynn, is such an amazing woman and she just seems to know everyone and has a way of getting things done! I am so blessed to have them in my life.

That night was the night I truly realized I could be who I was meant to be, and that people could SEE me for who I was meant to me. It was the moment that started it all, it crystallized what my life was going to be going forward. I owe so much to them for making me feel safe and comfortable… and I met so many people who will forever be life long friends, whether they know it or not! 😊

KYLA: What is the best advice you could give other transgender people in the hockey community?

ALLISON: The same thing I would tell them about any aspect of life: Be authentic, find your people and don’t worry about the rest. 

KYLA: What would you like to see from the hockey community as a whole to ensure hockey and its fans celebrate the diversity within it and ensure an inclusive space for the LGTBQIA2+ community?

ALLISON: I would like to see more than lip service given to the Queer community and inclusion. There needs to be education and diversity training and I would like to see poor behaviour (transphobia, hate speech, etc) called out at every single turn. It won’t happen over night, but with the right tools we can make inroads.

KYLA: What does hockey mean to you?

ALLISON: It’s the quintessential Canadian activity! It gives us something to rally around, allows us to connect with people we may not normally connect with and, honestly, in COVID times… it gives us something to do at night! 

KYLA: What is your favourite Oilers memory?

ALLISON: I was at the game Gretzky got 50 in 39. Easily the biggest sports moment I saw live!

KYLA: What do you enjoy most about being part of the Oilersnation community?

ALLISON: Easily, the almost universal acceptance that I have received for who I am and the relationships I have made as a result.

CONNECT WITH ALLISON ON TWITTER & INSTAGRAM!

Women of Oilersnation

her Soul Shot shows women how powerful they are through sport by providing resources, community, and inspiration for all women to live their soul’s truth and take their shot in sports.

Learn more on her Soul Shot’s website, listen to the her Soul Shot Podcast and follow us on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.


Important
This site makes use of cookies which may contain tracking information about visitors. By continuing to browse this site you agree to our use of cookies.