[Ed. Note: Rock the Brock will be a reoccuring post from Brock Kerchner, co-host of the Old Barn Hockey Show on 1460 The Ticket in Harrisburg, featuring a weekly chat on all things Hershey Bears]
My Repentance- Let it be publicly known that I have black and orange in my blood. Let it be known that I own one red jersey and 14 orange. Let it be known that I have led cheers for the orange and black at the Verizon Center and cheered at the puck hitting the twine of the home goal. It has been instilled in me since childhood. I will continue to cheer first for the orange and black but the team affiliated with my beloved Bears will be my number 2. I apologize. Please forgive me. However, I am passionate to who I support! Case in point: Me, in my autographed red sweater, with former Capitals Head Coach Bruce Boudreau. I am introducing my daughter, Gabby, to her namesake.
StrawBERRYs and CHAMPAGNE- The next course for the Hershey Bears will easily be this dessert. RW Alex Berry in 3 Hershey preseason games put up 2 goals and an assist leading the team. Berry did not play last season at all due to a serious arm injury. It won’t be long before he joins the Chocolate I am sure. His time with the Royals will really be getting him back up to game speed. C Joel Champagne doesn’t fit the bottle mold standing in at 6’4” and 217. He has the size and can move that size on the ice very well. He is young but some time in Reading will be good for his experience. I expect to see him in Hershey later in the season as injuries start to stack up.
A new Holtby- Rico Suave is in the crease. A different Rico this year so far though. Last year it would have been a cocky Rico. Hershey knows Holtby as an image of former Bears goaltender Ron Hextall. It appears Olaf Kolzig has sculpted Holtby into a mold more true to his image since we last crossed paths. Cool, calm, and collected is what we saw in preseason. Precise and clean work moving the puck as opposed to the more quick and sometimes dangerous maneuvers of old. Holtby is a great goaltender. No doubt about it but you used to be able to get him off his game easily by some bumps or interrupting his rituals. Sunday, I specifically noticed a linesman in the crease in the way of his “Beginning the Period” ritual. He just paused and waited for the linesman to finish checking the net. He then finished the ritual and settled in for the faceoff. The old Holtby would have tried to finish while making it known the linesman was not welcome and then storm around unhappy which could lead to a costly penalty or mistake. Seems like Hotlby is a changed player after reaching the big dance.
The Return of Sjogren- We woke up and there wasn’t even a note on the pillow. He didn’t even say goodbye. Needless to say Mattias Sjogren’s departure last year from the Bears to head back to Sweden was sudden. Bears Fan wasn’t impressed. His best game was the season opener last year in Binghamton. He looked great… finesse, hands, great awareness… but it disappeared quickly and so did he. He popped up back in DC in mid April and practiced with the Capitals until their playoff run was over. Well Sjogren is back. He looked great in preseason. I saw more hustle and a little down in the corners from him that I hadn’t seen before. It looks like he has matured in the past year on and off the ice. I truly feel he got some bad advice from his agent who was having a disagreement with GM GM. Forgive and Forget. Wear the Chocolate proudly Mattias.
DC Hockey Hiatus- This is gonna be brutal. Let’s not shy away from the truth. Let’s get it out in the open. Don’t hold it in, Let it out, Scream, Weep, etc. It could be a while until hockey returns to DC, so let’s talk about a trip to your roots. Make a visit down to the farm. You can easily hit a Reading Royals and Hershey Bears game in a weekend. 3 hours to Reading and less to Hershey. Make it happen. You won’t find more of an NHL atmosphere anywhere else in the world then at Giant Center. Who says time travel is a joke? Come see the future now in Hershey and Reading.
If you want to learn more about me and my story, visit a previous story published here. I dedicate this weekly culmination of thoughts to my grandparents who loved working down on their farms. They taught me to do my best and take pride in everything I do. And a Happy Birthday to my sister who Rocks the Red hair. Go Bears.