Battle Tales

Jul 20, 2021 11 min read
Battle Tales

Investor is the chat nickname of Ricky Lobel, Hedgehog's first non-family investor. It's an accurate label! Gonna label the Lobel? Gotta do it right. Around here that Investor is a legendary figure.

Last month we needed to kickstart the Hedgehog rewards program. Ricky stepped up to the plate for a white-hot streak. He shared all of these stories off the cuff, to encourage and edify new entrants to the Hedgehog community. (By the way... join us on Discord!)

His proverbs were drawn from real life — for various definitions of "real." We preserved the following text here so future generations can enjoy its essential wisdom.

Our thanks to Ricky, again. For everything, man, for everything. And now, in his own words...

Elevator pitch

One time I was privileged to meet Doug Weight, who was an important member of the Anaheim Ducks some time ago.  He was the centerpiece of a trade that sent away one of the Duck's most popular players, so he was not well-liked.

After an ugly loss, with my extensive connections to the Ducks I happened to meet Mr. Weight. I said hi, that I was a big fan, and he proceeded to close the elevator door on me. A season later he was traded and soon was out of the league.

There's a lesson there but I'll let you guys ascertain that :)

The people have spoken

Back when the skies were a little bluer, the Ducks introduced the BAZOOKA BLAST. This bazooka cannon shot T-shirts at the crowd, which would entertain everyone, especially when the Ducks played poorly.

One day, a lawyer complained about the potential safety concerns of said bazooka cannon. And they took it away.

Through a mass campaign, the bazooka was eventually brought back. Happiness returned to the land. Although I've personally never had the pleasure of catching its ammunition, the cannon fires.

Why so serious?

Picture this: I am sitting in Staples Center, which is the stadium of the Duck's main rival, the Los Angeles Kings. And predictably I am heckling.

Keep in mind, I am keeping it PG. And the game is crazy, back-and-forth action all around. I merely said our mascot was better than theirs. Which is true, by the way.

A Kings fan behind me got so upset that he got up, visibly perturbed, and left for an entire period. I then overheard him say when he came back that he was so mad he had to walk away for a while to cool off.

This same fan told me that the water in LA was better than in Orange County. By all accounts maybe it is. A true tall tale to be sure.

When to walk away

A mild-mannered man wearing a simple Ducks jersey in the Shark Tank was heckling. For him it had been a tough year. Lots of ups and downs. The Ducks were not good to put it mildly.

However, this fan today was inspired. See, there was a player named Joe Thornton on the Sharks. For reference, here is his photo:

The fan merely said that he belonged in a retirement community. Many, many times. Eventually, an usher went to the fan and told him this was not an appropriate line of commentary. He was promptly escorted out.

The story ends well, though. The fan later witnessed much success. Meanwhile, Joe Thornton was just eliminated from the playoffs getting the record for most games played without winning a Stanley Cup.

Bring the enthusiasm

I am going to give you a less personal, but no less fascinating tale. One time a team won the Stanley Cup — back in the day when orange groves covered Southern California.

This team was extremely excited. Nobody knows exactly what happened but what we do know is that there was a party and a pool. One player decided in a drunken stupor, when all good ideas come to pass, that he should drop-kick Stanley Cup trophy into the pool. He proceeded to do this and shattered his leg in the process.

But he left an indelible mark; legend says that the dent is still there, right next to where his name is engraved forever as Stanley Cup Champion. A legend was born.

Shattering moment

A truly classic fan story, which also involves a man who probably drank more than he should (or did he?)

A rivalry game had gotten... well, acrimonious is one way to put it. Elevated levels of truculence, to be sure. A scrum broke out between all the players on the ice. Punches were thrown. Suddenly after a thunderous hit, the glass literally shattered between the players and the fans.

An aforementioned fan saw his opportunity for ever-lasting fame and grasped it with both hands. He took off the helmet from one of the players and proceeded to don said helmet himself. Here is the image:

Another legend was born that day on November 20.

Don't be greedy

One day friends of young and old were playing a popular roleplaying game entitled Dungeons and Dragons. The campaign had only just started, so we were still getting to know each other. As is common in games such as this, the fellowship was carousing in a bar. Much merriment was had and it was a glorious time.

Suddenly, a fire broke out and mayhem was prevalent. Of course the entire party panicked, but not brave Kal'Ren Steelskin. No, he made sure to steal all the gold in the room. He nearly burned himself in the process, but he did it.

This greedy character would seemingly know no bounds, and Kal'ren stole wantonly from everyone and everywhere.

Some said he was downtrodden, others said he was depressed, but I always personally thought he did it for the simple reason that he could. Some men just want to watch the world burn, as they say.

One day, dear Kal'ren went too a step too far. He tried to steal a priceless jewel and was sucked into an abyss of pure darkness. The shopkeeper, aware of avarice, had deliberately cursed the jewel to cause this deleterious effect. Sadly (sort of) Kal'ren learned his lesson too late.

Net worth

Back to hockey. There used to be a mild-mannered player who we would call a "lunch pail" type player. He worked hard but simply lacked the skill top-end players naturally possessed. Still, of course he was in the NHL which meant something.

He did his thing and contributed, gaining almost no notoriety in the process, until... one day, as a practical joke, he was literally traded for one dollar. Using my sources, I have seen the paperwork, and it's right there in the contract.

Perhaps he used this slight as motivation. It could be he had untapped potential. No one knows for sure. But Kris Draper proceeded to play 1,137 games for his new team and show the world that maybe, just maybe he was worth more than one dollar.

Ain't over till it's over

Picture this. The game is 3 to 2 in your favor and you just made a beautiful defensive play to steal the puck. The empty net to salt the game away is right in front of you, almost calling to you with its sweet song.

Backing up a bit, Patrick Stefan was never going to live up to this potential of being a number-one overall pick. But he had carved a niche for himself as a defensively responsible player that could occasionally chip the puck in the net.

When he made that play I talked about above, he was well-established in this role in the NHL. After this play, things would dramatically change.

Because you see, that yawning empty net suddenly closed itself like a brick wall. Patrick Stefan, while skating in all alone to score on an empty net, proceeded to fall down and miss it.

What made the play truly legendary was that the opposing team, with 10 seconds left in the game, proceeded to take the puck up the ice and tie the game with seconds to spare.

It just goes to show you can't take anything for granted, even a gimme empty-netter.

Value the dream

42-year Zamboni driver David Ayres was happy with his life. He had dreams of playing in the NHL as a goalie but his skill level sadly did not allow for it. He got to be the Zamboni driver for his favorite hockey team the Toronto Maple Leafs and has a beautiful family. The ice never had been shaved better, it has been said.

One day the Carolina Hurricanes were in town. In freak accidents both the starting and backup goalies were injured during the game. They needed a goalie and had nowhere left to turn... except. In their time of need, they turned to David Ayres. You see, he was also a pickup goaltender in a local beer league.

David came on the ice with 30 minutes left and proceeded to shut the door against his favorite team and employer, only allowing one goal.

Now a movie is being made and David's long forgotten NHL dream really did come to pass. Gotta love happy endings!

Appreciation appreciates

Here you go, this one is rather personal for me, and near and dear to my heart.

Back in 2003, I was a young fan with big dreams and a newly discovered love of ice hockey. You see this was the year the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim made a Cinderella run all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. This team had no business being there, but they made it work with huge effort and an incredible goaltending performance.

I was immediately enthralled. I would keep individual stats in my school planner and update it with daily stats every single game. By hand of course; smartphones weren't a thing back then. Of course I dreamed daily about going to a game, but I knew it was too much money, so I never asked my parents for it.

Then one day, I got a strange call from the school attendant saying my mom was here to talk to me. I was confused since previously she had never done anything like this. I saw her and she gave me two tickets to a game in the Cup Final for my Dad and me.

For as long as I live, I'll never ever forget it. While the game was amazing, that one gesture will always stick with me, even more so now that my mom has since passed away.

The little things truly do count.

Never surrender

You get a rather infamous story that no doubt has many lessons associated with it.

Back some time ago, there were certainly less teams in the NHL and Google didn't exist (so basically millions of years ago). The Montreal Canadians had a young prodigy goaltender by the name of Patrick Roy. He was one of a kind to be sure in the best way possible.

He had already made a name for himself and had tremendous potential to do even more with his career, but for now, he was still young and it was also known he had a temper to match.

A seemingly innocuous game against the Detroit Red Wings turned south rather quickly. First it was one goal let in, then two, then three, then four. Roy at this point was wondering, "Why am I still in this game?" Indeed, the Canadians left him in the game for a total of NINE goals.

It reached a breaking point. He was pulled and infamously went up to the team owner and said something. No one knows exactly what was said, but a day later he was no longer a Montreal Canadian.

He would go on to have a Hall of Fame Career and be widely considered one of the best goaltenders of all time. As they say, you reap what you sow.

Sweet constancy

This is another personal story but it's about the first time I watched Hockey Night in Canada with my dad. In Canada it's functionally a holiday. Every Saturday in Canada the country shuts down essentially because everyone is watching hockey.

It's been an institution in Canada for over 70 years. You would always know it's on because an iconic theme would always start blazing. Bum bum bum bum bum...

So I sit done with my dad and hear this for the first time. It's a big day Montreal versus Toronto the ultimate rivalry game. And it felt absolutely magical.

There's something about this broadcast that feels so authentic and just all about the hockey. The broadcast has changed over the years but Dad and I haven't. We still for big games sit down and prepare with Molson Canadian and some pizza for a night of beautiful hockey.

It's nice when some things change... but it's also nice when some things stay the same. When I think of my Dad, it's those nights sitting and getting excited about the game on a Saturday night. I will always treasure it.

DYOR

Let's go back in time to the NHL draft in the late '90s. The Vancouver Canucks has been mired in mediocrity. Nobody expected much out of them... a perfect situation for new GM Brian Burke.

You see, this draft wasn't as noteworthy, but next year a Russian phenom named Pavel Bure was absolutely tearing up the Russian leagues. The problem was, he wasn't eligible for the draft. He had played 9 qualifying games and you needed 10.

The Canucks knew better. They had literally scouted this man every possible moment and they knew that he had in fact played a 10th game. It was low-key and informal but it had happened. And they had evidence.

In the last round of the draft, the Canucks shocked the hockey world by announcing they were selecting Pavel. The entire room went into an uproar. Rumor has it one rival GM even wanted to fight Brian. The draft was delayed by two hours as the NHL researched the claim.

Finally they concurred with the Canucks. The rest, as they say, is history. Bure would go on to be one of the most dynamic and prolific goal-scorers of all time.

Doing your research almost always pays dividends!

Legends beget legends

So in 1905, before the World Wars and a simpler time by and large, the Ottawa Silver Seven had just won the Stanley Cup. The Stanley Cup is one of the oldest trophies in the world.

The team had just went to a fancy banquet and alcohol had been consumed, as is proper for a celebration of this magnitude.

The team decided that it would be just the darnedest thing to attempt to kick the Stanley Cup across the nearby Canal and see if they could vault the chasm. One particularly drunk member proceeded to do just that — or attempt to, anyway. Legend has it he drop-kicked the trophy straight into the canal and shattered his leg in the process.

However. A legend had been born! Not the very first, neither the last, as you may have figured out by now.

A day later, random passersby located the trophy frozen in the middle of the canal. Thankfully it was recovered. Supposedly if you look close enough, you can still see the dent from the mighty kick.

The Stanley Cup has been involved in many adventures but that one may be the most unique.

Seek silver linings

This next story is just about enjoying life and not sweating the small stuff. Since people roll dice to get this reward...

There was a young individual named Ricardo had no idea about the game craps. Certainly the mechanics behind it were a mystery. However, he was encouraged to play on one of his first gambling trips. Of course he wouldn't say no!

Ricardo didn't have a lot of money but the enthusiasm was there. That day he proceeded to roll consecutively 75 times. Without crapping out.

It was a wild session and much winnings were had by all. Some would say it was a one in a million type of experience. He ended up 10x-ing his initial investment easily.

In the future he would always play, and usually he would end up down more often than not. But that was okay. These would easily be forgotten amidst the sands of time.

Life gives you lemons sometimes for sure, but it also gives you beautiful things. Take the time to bask in it all.

Gratitude attitude

A man on the way to Houston just wanted to get away and eat some good BBQ. Who can blame him? The BBQ in Texas is mouthwatering. He boarded the flight with the utmost enthusiasm.

On the way there, the plane was caught in the most violent electrical storm you can imagine. Harrowing wouldn't even begin to describe it. The man witnessed lightning cascading all around him. Then the emergency klaxon sound started blaring. And panic ensued. He felt the same way!

Then a certain serenity engulfed him. It was okay — he had lived a good life. How could he complain? Sure it was pretty short, but nonetheless he was content.

After two failed landings, the plane miraculously landed on a third attempt.

It changed the man's life. Ever after, he didn't take things for granted. Mundane tasks such as taking a bath felt like the greatest. The man was thankful for what he had, instead of bemoaning what he did not.

It's important to enjoy the little things, truly, because that's what makes life worth living. Gratitude is wonderful!

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